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Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Triple Alliance. One of the most advanced cities in the world, it was built upon lake Texcoco. Outside the ceremonial downtown were vast markets and neighborhoods of houses navigated by water channels. It had a population of up to a million people and, unlike European cities, was pristine and hygienic. This blessing would prove a curse as Eurasian disease destroyed the Aztecs. Approx 1500 AD. Artist unknown.

The Aztec culture thrived on religion and power. The Aztecs often practiced human sacrifice and cannibalism. The Aztecs were also very advanced in their irrigation and building techniques.

Tenochtitlan, south gate, back in the day.

Tenochtitlan, capital of Aztec empire - south gate, back in the day.

An Aztec residence circa 1500 AD. In the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, the residential districts surrounded the downtown area. As the city was built upon an artificial island, the houses were separated via canals; travel through the city was mainly by boat. This middle-class household has an oven (uncommon in European cities of the time), a milpa (mixed-crop agriculture), and some turkeys in the enclosure.

An Aztec residence circa 1500 AD. In the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, the…

Cuitláhuac, 10th tlatoani of the Aztec Empire, brother of Moctezuma II. After being held captive by the Aztecs, Cortés ordered Moctezuma to ask his people stop fighting. Moctezuma told him that they wouldn't listen to him, and in turn asked him to free his brother Cuitláhuac so he'd convince the people to stop. Once freed, Cuitláhuac led his people against the conquistadors and successfully drove them out of Tenochtitlán on June 30, 1520. After ruling for only 80 days, he died of smallpox.

Cuitláhuac, tlatoani of the Aztec Empire, brother of Moctezuma II.

Tenochtitlan 2

Map of ‘The Valley of Tenochtitlan' as seen by Cortez’ published in 1869 by George F. Cram in Illinois"

The ruins at Xochicalco, Mexico, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Archaeological Monuments Zone of Xochicalco (UNESCO) - Morales, Mexico

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