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The Spanish Conquest of the Americas: Tenochtitlan

History of Aztec Capital

Tenochtitlán was an Aztec city that flourished between A.D. 1325 and 1521. Built on an island on Lake Texcoco, it had a system of canals and causeways that supplied the hundreds of thousands of people who lived there.

It was largely destroyed by the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés after a siege in 1521, and modern-day Mexico City now lies over much of its remains. In a 1520 letter written to King Charles I of Spain, Cortés described the city that he would soon attack:

“The city is as big as Seville or Cordoba. The main streets are very wide and very straight; some of these are on the land, but the rest and all the smaller ones are half on land, half canals where they paddle their canoes. Read more

Tenochtitlan map


Tenochtitlan was the capital city of the Aztec Empire. It was located on an island in Lake Texcoco, in the Valley of Mexico.Tenochtitlan’s area is estimated 8 to 13.5 square km , and located on the western side of the shallow Lake Texcoco. It was founded in 1325 on a muddy island in the lake. Aztecs settled there. Tenochtitlán had a population of more than 200,000, when the Spaniards arrived. Today the Tenochtitlan are located in the central part of Mexico City.

Overview of the history of Tenochtitlan, forerunner of Mexico City.

The Sun Stone (The Calendar Stone)

The Sun Stone (or The Calendar Stone), Aztec, reign of Moctezuma II (1502-20), discovered in 1790 at the southeastern edge of the Plaza Mayor (Zocalo) in Mexico City, stone (unfinished), 358 cm diameter x 98 cm depth (Museo Nacional de Antropología)

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