The Great City of Tenochtitlan
The Aztecs

Historians have different opinions as to the number of inhabitants living in the Aztec capital before the arrival of the Spaniards. While it is believed that the city had a minimum of 100 thousand inhabitants, others estimate that this population surpassed 200 thousand.

Tenochtitlan was built on a series of islands situated in one of the shallow lakes, which at the time, covered a large part of the Valley of Mexico.




The Aztecs extended and consolidated land for construction purposes and linked the islands by means of three wide causeways and aqueducts that channeled pure water to the city. The Aztec capital was crossed by many canals along which thousand of canoes were paddled.

The city center was occupied by a sacred area formed by dozens of temples and palaces, among which the Main Temple dedicated to rain god Tláloc and sun god, Huitzilopochtli, whom the Aztecs considered their protector, was especially important.

The city was divided into neighborhoods called calpulli, where local inhabitants had use of agricultural lands. Farmers took water from the canals to water their groves, and the cultivation of crops on chinampas was widespread. Although these floating platforms are always damp and produce excellent harvests, they need to be painstakingly cared for and cultivated.

Source: SEP, Department of Education.