The ancient Aztecs believed in many gods and
goddesses. Each god had a job to do. The sun god, for example, brought
the sun up every day. The Aztecs believed it was important to keep the
sun god happy. They truly believed if the sun god was not happy, he
would refuse to bring up the sun, and the world would end.
The ancient Aztecs spent most of their time trying
to keep their many gods happy and well fed.
The Aztecs believed that human sacrifice was
necessary. They used people to feed their hungry gods. Some of the
people sacrificed were Aztecs. But most of the people they sacrificed to
keep their gods happy were people captured from neighboring tribes. This
did not make them popular with their neighbors!
Each time the Aztecs tried to settle down and build
a city of their own, other tribes in the area would band together to
chase them away. No one wanted the Aztecs for a neighbor. The
Aztecs were very sad about this. They did so want a city of their own.
According to legend
One day, the Aztecs were magically visited by their
main god, the god of sun and war. He promised his people that they would
have a city of their own some day, but they had to seek a specific and
magically special place to build it. To find this special place, they
were to look for an eagle, perched on a cactus, holding a snake.
"Not only that, but listen well," their
main god told them. "When you find the magical place of the eagle,
snake, and cactus, you are not to make war with your neighbors. You are
to settle down peacefully until you gain strength, and use this peaceful
time to build a glorious Aztec city, a city of your own, in honor of
For the next 200 years, the Aztecs wandered in the
Valley of Mexico. They never doubted their main god. They never gave up.
They were always on the lookout for an eagle, perched on a cactus,
holding a snake in his mouth.
One morning, an Aztec priest was standing on the
swampy shore of Lake Texcoco. He yawned and looked out across the lake.
He could not believe his eyes. On one of the many small islands that
dotted the lake, he saw an eagle, perched on a cactus, with a snake
wiggling in its mouth.
The Aztecs had found their home at last. As the
people gathered and stared in wonder, the cactus grew into a comfy
island. It was on that island that the Aztecs founded their
civilization. They named the island Tenochtitlan, "the Place of the
Prickly Pear Cactus".
of a Princess
Capital City of Tenochtitlan
America: Double Headed Serpent
The Aztec's Main God,
the god of sun and war - Huitzilopochtli
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