The Aztecs wandered around Mexico for about 200 years before
they settled down in the Valley of Mexico. Other tribes were
living in the area. Rather than start a war for a place to
live, the Aztecs settled down in the swampy land around Lake
They were clever people. They adapted to their environment.
They built canoes to fish and hunt. They filled the
marshes with a combination of reeds and stones and dirt to
create more farmland. They built dams and dikes to free even
more land. Their engineers successfully built a bustling city,
with wide plazas and many shops, on a swamp.
After they had settled in, the Aztecs
began conquering neighboring tribes. Soon, the entire Valley of Mexico
was under their control. Other tribes had to pay tribute to them in the
form of food, clothing, goods, and captives to feed the hungry Aztecs
gods. The Aztecs believed in human sacrifice. That was one of the many
reasons the other tribes hated and feared the Aztecs. But the Aztecs
not until the 1500s, when the Spanish arrived, that the Aztecs were
conquered. The Spanish brought guns, dogs, horses, and disease. It was
disease that conquered the Aztecs. The Aztec Empire collapsed. The
Spanish took over the entire region.
in Mexico, there are about one million descendants of the ancient
Aztecs, living and working. Human sacrifice is no longer part of their
festivals, but beautiful Aztec art and clever Aztec games are
still enjoyed today.