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As a whole, the economy of the Aztec Empire was based on farming, but it was augmented by industrial development (salt extraction, stone quarrying, and metallurgy), technological innovations (irrigation and dike systems), scientific inquiry (astronomy and botany), and a market and trading system for the distribution of goods and services. Thus, people in many different kinds of occupations helped make the empire stable, but the greatest burden, the production of corn and other food products, rested mainly on the shoulders of Aztec peasant farmers.
The Aztec Indians flourished in the central area of Mexico and were considered the last great pre-Columbian civilization before the Spanish arrived in 1519. The Aztec Indians have left enough historical records to give us an idea on the impact they had on world history. Even the Conquistadors had maintained records on the Aztec Indians and we now have an account of how this civilization lived along with their religious beliefs, practices, food and cultural traditions. Many of these things have influenced modern Mexico, and are still evident even today in everyday life.
The capital of the Aztec empire was the city of Tenochtitlan, and present day Mexico City stands on the exact same site. The Aztec Indians migrated to the Valley of Mexico approximately around 1100 A.D., led by their God, Huitzilopochtli. The capital city was founded in 1325 after the Aztecs found an eagle on top of a cactus with a serpent in its mouth. Huitzilopochtli told his people that the eagle has designated the place for the capital city and, thus, Tenochtitlan was founded. In fact, the eagle is still the national symbol of Mexico.
The city was divided into four parts and more than 75 clans lived there. These clans formed the basis of the Aztec empire and were supposedly highly advanced in politics, military, agriculture and religion. The Aztec Indians were given religious and secular training in warfare, and were given land to farm. The Aztec culture deemed that each person was bound lifelong into the class he or she was born in.
Tenochtitlan was the most sacred center of the Aztec empire and it a beautiful city with pyramids and magnificent building, which were built along the shore of a lake.
This civilization was decimated by the Spanish and then by the Catholic Church who wanted to destroy all evidence of what they considered was a heathen society who practiced human sacrifice and slavery.
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