Early Aztec History
Adrian Baumann
East Whittier Middle School

It is believed that groups of hunter-gatherers, known as the Native Americans, while hunting, crossed a land bridge where the Bearing Strait is, and arrived in North America. Once in the Americas these people migrated throughout the Southern and Northern continents.

The Aztecs are thought to have originated in the four corners area of the U.S. and started a migration southward in 1168 A.D. Aztec records supply this information. In addition to this, studies of language have shown that the Aztec language Nahuatl and that of the Pueblo Indian are related. After the Aztecs began their migration from their native land, which the Aztecs called Aztlan, they traveled in search of a new home because Huitzilopochtli their sun and war god ordered them to make a pilgrimage to a new land. He stated that they were to settle in the first place in which they saw an eagle with a snake in its beak, sitting on a cactus.

In 1248 A.D. they where allowed to settle on an island in the middle of Lake Chapultepec, where they saw the eagle. Lake Chapultepec is located in the middle of the Central Mexican Valley. The Aztecs lived peacefully for about a century. Eventually conflict arose between the Aztec and the neighboring tribes. Three of the neighboring tribes, the Tepanec the Culhua and the Xochimilca, allied themselves against the Aztecs and defeated them. They enslaved the majority of the Aztecs but a small group managed to escape to an island on the nearby salt water lake of Texcoco. Later the Culhua declared war on the Xochimilca, the Aztec allied themselves with the Culhua and through this alliance the Culhua won.

After this brief alliance the Aztecs' leaders refused permanent friendship with other tribes due to the fact that they believed they were the chosen people of their god Huitzilopochtli and that Huitzilopochtli had forbidden alliance. This commitment to war played a large part in the rise of the Aztec Empire. It caused many tribes to declare war on the Aztecs creating an opening for the Aztecs to start their era of conquest.