Mexica History
Aztlan Uprising


 Mexica Tlahtoani  Years ruled
 Mexitli  Wandering Years
 Tenoch  1325
 Acamapichtli  1375-1395
 Huitzilihuitli  1396-1417
 Chimalpopca  1417-1426
 Itzcoatl  1427-1440
 Moctezuma  1440-1469
 Axayacatl  1469-1481
 Tizoc  1481-1486
 Ahuitzotl  1486-1502
 Moctezuma  1502-1520
 Cuitlahuac  1520
 Cuauhtemoc  1520-1521

He was the leader of the Mexica people during the wandering years. He was considered a great tribal leader. Supposely, the Mexica called themselves Mexica in his honor.

He was leader of the Mexica before the founding of Tenochtitlan. The symbol on the Mexican flag is from his name. Tetl is Nahuatl for rock and nochtli is Nahuatl for cactus. Tenoch was a respected chief who was elected to power by the council of elders.  Tenoch is thought to have died about twenty five years after the founding of Tenochtitlan near the year 1350.  Supposely, Tenochtitlan is also named after him.

He was decedent of a noble family of Chula which claimed a direct lineage to descent from the Toltecs. The Tepaneca gave permission to Acamapichtli to be the first tlahtoani for the Mexica. Before Acamapichtli, the Mexica usually relied on calpulli. The rest of the Valley had adopted the tlahtoani system for it's main advantage; military. Acamapichtli was the Mexica's first tlahtoani. Acamapichtli married twenty daughters of various calpulli leaders. The offsprings became the Mexica royal family. Giving land as a reward for the rising warrior class was a law that he made. Acampichtli would lend his warriors to the Tepaneca. Acamapichtli died in 1396.

Son of Acamapichtli. His first wife was a Tolteca princess from a ruling family of Azcapotzalco. The second wife was a princess from a small nation. He loved a woman named Miahuaxihuitl. Moctezuma Ilhuicamina would be the son from this affair. Huitzilihuitli introduced the rank and office of Tlacochcatcatl and gave the rank to his brother, Itzocatl. Huitzilihuitli's expanded their land in the Valley. He died in 1417.

Son of Huitzilihuitli and grandson of Tezozomoc. At the age of ten he became tlahtoani after his father's death. Few changes occurred during his time of power. Chimalpopoca had a lot children for example Xihuitl- Temoc (Some say he ruled Tenochtitlan for sixty days) and Tecuhtlehuacatzin, later becoming a trusted counselor under his rule. Chimalpopoca was not patient to lead.

Son of Acamapichtli and a slave girl. Itzcoatl was considered a skilled military leader. He was the supreme military commander appointed by his brother Huitzilihuitli and probably continued under Chimalpopoca. He assumed power on the death of his nephew at the age of forty six. Itzcoatl was able to assume power because he was the only member of the royal family with a power base strong enough to take the position. At this time, the triple alliance between Tenochtitlan under the rule of Itzcoatl, Texcoco under the control of Nezahualcoyotl, and the former Tepaneca city state of Tlacopan, under the control of Totoquihuaztli was established. This alliance would control central Mexico until the arrival of the Spanish. Itzcoatl was able to destroy all dominance to the Tepaneca empire and firmly established Mexica control in the Valley of Mexico. When Tlacopan surrendered to the Mexica, Itzcoatl immediately made Totoquihuaztli ruler of the Tepaneca. He conquered surrounding political/Chimampa communities in the Southern lake region. His control of these agricultural centers strengthened his position within the triple alliance which gave the Mexica dominance. One of the most significant accomplishments of Itzcoatl was to establish a formal plan for succession to the throne. He established the process of choosing four close relatives and elevating them to high station. Upon the death of the ruler a successor would be chosen from these four ranking members, based on power position. Itzcoatl chose Tlacaelel as Tlacochcalcatl, Moctezuma Ilhuicamina as Tlacateccatl, Tlacahuehpan as Ezhuahuancatl, and Cuauhtlecoatl as Tlillancalqui.

Moctezuma Ilhuicamina
Born in 1398. He held the highest rank yet he tried to put his own children into trades and crafts rather than political office. He considered Nezahualcoyotl of Texcoco and Coateotl of Chalco to be friends. He liked the countryside and land of the Cuernavaca region, which was home to his mother. Moctezuma was considered to be a prominent war general before becoming Tlahtoani. A lot of terrible things happened during his rule. In 1446, locusts destroyed most of the Valley of Mexico's crops. In 1449, the great city of Tenochtitlan was flooded. Between 1450 and 1454, a series of destructive frosts, bad harvests, and the famous drought caused the people sell themselves as slaves for a few ears of corn to keep themselves from starving. In 1455, abundant rains helped to produce a great maize harvest. 1455 was also the end and beginning of the 52 year cycle. He died in 1468.

Nahuatl for Water Mask,/Face of Water. Born in 1469. Son of Moctezuma I. At 19 years of age was installed as the Great Speaker of the Mexica faith and army. He proved himself a great warrior and military strategist and expanded the Mexica Empire. His coronation was considered brilliant. He successfully faced rebellion from tributary towns. His most famous military campaign was in subduing a rebellion from close neighbor and sister city next to Tenochtitlan, Tlatelolco in 1473. One of the greatest stories in Mexica history has Axayacatl in hand to hand combat atop the great pyramid with Moquihuix, the leader of Tlatelolco, with the latter being thrown down the steps of the temple. Axayacatl lost a leg in one of his many battles. As a result of Axayacatl and his concentration of cementing his power base he was able to extend total dominance over the Valley of Mexico for the Mexica Empire. He died in 1481.

Brother of Axayacatl. He was Tlacochcalcatl under Axayacatl. His name glyph depicted a pierced leg with cactus spines, indicating his great devotion to self sacrifice. He was proven a bad military leader and was removed from office by poison. The empire actually began to shrink under his rule for his lack of administration skills allowed almost constant rebellion. Minor rebellions abounded throughout the empire even to the point of killing Mexica tribute collectors. The most notable of this occurrence may have been in the Natlatzinca area, the people of Tzinacantepec killed a collector openly. Tizoc was influenced by the strong general Tlacaelel. Tizoc’s reputation was ruined during his "Coronation War", as his initial battle went badly and it was perceived as a bad omen by the general population. It has been suggested that either Tlacaelel or other members of the royal family especially Ahuitzotl was responsible for the poisoning of Tizoc.

Nahuatl for Water Dog. Third son of Moctezuma Ilhuicamina. Said to be rough and fearless; he lived and slept with his army. Said to be one of the greatest warrior kings. He greatly expanded the Mexica tribute empire during his reign. Ahuitzotl conquered the valley of Oaxaca and the Pacific coast to Guatemala. He imposed strong bureaucratic control over the Mexica Empire. Construction of an aqueduct to bring fresh water to the capital was begun. A famous feather worked shield of the Ahuitzotl was given to Cortes and then to King Charles V. has survived. The shield has an image of a water beast holding a knife in its jaws and is outlined in gold. The formal coronation of Ahuitzotl was a great public affair which held large gift giving ceremonies and feasting the equal to an entire year's tribute. Ahuitzotl is reported to have died after striking his head while escaping rising waters in his garden area as a result of a dike breaking. Physicians removed parts of his smashed skull and the king died afterward.

Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin
Son of Axayacatl. His oldest brother, Macuilmalinaltzin, was the leading candidate for ascending to the throne, however, he was considered too flamboyant and Moctezuma was chosen. Moctezuma assumed the throne on May 24, 1503. The Mexica reached their finest hour under his reign. Originally trained to be a high priest (At the time of his choosing it was rumored that Moctezuma had his own private chamber in the bowels of the great temple of Huitzilopochtli and that he communicated with Huitzilopochtli himself. His selection certainly gladdened those who favored the priesthood. This split between military and priest factions was settled with the selection of Moctezuma as Great Speaker and Macuilmalinaltzin as his successor.), but proved himself worthy on the battle field. During the reign of this leader the Mexica were able to sustain several major military campaigns at one time which greatly added to the power base of the empire. Moctezuma was considered a skilled statesman and many references by the Conquistadors to their admiration for him. While a captive of Cortes he lost his stature among the general population of Tenochtitlan and was stabbed in the chest by the retreating Spanish during the Noche de la Victoria. The body was thrown in the canal. The Mexica later retrieved it and burned it publicly.

He was the lord of Ixtapapapa. Died of the smallpox.

He was nephew to Moctezuma and Cuitlahuac. He was also Moctezuma's son-in-law because Cuauhtemoc married Moctezuma's daughter Tecuichpo. He had experience in military matters." No one is sure when Cuauhtemoc was born (it all depends on which historian you hear it from). The only thing that I could find about Cuauhtemoc's age is from the History of the Conquest. Bernal Diaz del Castillo writes that in 1525,before Cuauhtemoc's death,he was "not more than twenty-five years old." After the fall of Tenochtitlan (not the people), Cuauhtemoc was baptized with the Spanish name of Hernando de Alvarado Cuauhtemoc since his god parents were Hernan Cortes y Pedro de Alvarado (yes, I see the irony). He would later be tortured by Aldrete, ordered by Cortes, to figure out where the gold was at. In 1525, Cuauhtemoc was serving as an auxiliary on a Cortes-led expedition into Honduras. History gets a bit murky here, but Cortes captured Cuauhtemoc and was trial and found guilty. He was sentenced to lynching.
Before he was lynched, he said this to Cortes:
I knew what it trust to your false promises; I knew that you had destined me to this fate since I did not fall by my own hand when you entered my city of Tenochtitlan.
He died on an Ash Wednesday in 1525 lynched on a ceiba tree which the tree is a silk-cotton tree, which is metaphor of greatness for the ruler, of comfort and protection for the people. Cohuanacochtzin, king of Texcoco, following Cacama and when Cortes returned to Texcoco to lay siege on Tenochtitlan, Cohuanacochtzin fled to Tenochtitlan and fought with the Mexica. He was captured and hanged alongside Cuauhtemoc. Tetlapanquetzatzin, King of the Tepanecs, was also hanged.