Aztec




The Aztec lived in the city of Tenochtitlan, which is a fertile basin about 50 miles long and as wide. Surrounded by mountain ranges and several volcanoes, the Aztec has abundant supply of water. With being 8000ft above sea level the day were mild and the nights are cold during much of the year. The Aztecs name means "heron people" their name is derived from the mythical homeland to the north called Azatlan. This in mind their language(Nahuatl) also belong to the linguistic family as the Soshonean, a tongue will represented among the Indians of the Untied States. In the Aztecs culture their main principal crop was maize. Maize was usually cooked with lime then ground to make dough, then patted into tortillas, other principal crops were beans, squash, tomatoes, cotton, chilies. The two crops maguey and agave were used as cord, sacks and sandals and a substitute for cotton in clothing. From the juice of the maguey was use in a mild form of alcohol called pulque, which was the ceremonial drink. Only the old men of the committee was able to drink pulque freely, otherwise among the younger generation couldn\'t get drunk except at certain religious feast. Drunkenness was considered a serious offense even punishable by death. In the Aztecs culture there were clans, each clan there was tribes and each tribe was divided up. Then each family were allotted sufficient land for its maintenance, if no one else were alive in the family, then the land were reverted back to the tribe. Urban communities, the land were communal, each group called capulli was composed of a few families that jointly owned a piece of land. Then part of the yield was given to the state as a tax. Rest of yield would be either sold, traded or for their own use. There were two kinds of farmer, first there was the general field workers. They were in charge with preparing the soil, breaking up clods, hoeing(with the coa digging sticks), leveling, setting boundary markers, planting, irrigating, winnowing and storing grain. The second kind of farmer were the horticulturists their job was planting of trees, transplanting, crop sequences, rotations and a supervisory role, for they were expected to read the Tonalamatl almanacs to determine the time for planting and harvest. One of the unusual feature of the Aztec agriculture were the floating gardens. These gardens were built by digging ditches into squares or rectangle, then they would pile up mud on the area which the ditches enclosed. Once that was done the mud was held in position by cane and branches of trees. This type of agriculture can still be seen today at Xochimilco, a few miles south of Mexico City. In most culture there were domestic animals in the Aztecs culture there were turkeys, ducks, and dogs. The dogs were raised as food and were considered a great delicacy. The wild animals that were eaten were rabbit, deer, gopher, iguanas, snake, turtles, salamanders, insect eggs, many species of frogs, larva, grasshoppers, ants, worms, tadpoles and 40 species of water birds. The corixid water beetles an abundant protein source, were netted from the lake, mashed together in balls, wrapped in corn husks, and boiled. The metal specialized craftsmen were gold, silver and coppersmiths. In the leather department were the lapidaries who made elaborate designs of feathers for capes, headdresses and shield covers. The feather workers achieved the highest honor and prestige, living in communities of their own their techniques was passed down from generation to generation. These feather workers (Amanteca) were reserved for the nobility and the highest ranking officials. One of the prestige of Aztec wealth was jade, turquoise and feathers of the quetzal. With these prize possessions you were considered wealthy, but only the nobility or high ranking officials could get them. To get these prize possessions a heavy tribute was imposed on conquered people. Other tribute include gold dust, cochineal dye, shell, cocoa beans and produce such as beans and maize. In the Aztec culture cocoa beans were used as a currency, commodities such as quetzal feathers, gold, loads of maize or slaves were valued in terms of cacao beans. In Tenochtitlan the prices were higher then in the lowlands because of its distance from the center of