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History, The Aztec Empire

Toltec civilization, Lake Texcoco, Aztec civilization, swampy area, Aztec Empire

A century after the collapse of the Toltec civilization, several allied tribes of Nahuatl-speaking people moved into the Valley of Mexico from the north. The principal tribe was known as the Mexica and collectively the tribes came to be known as the Aztecs. The Mexica eventually dominated the other tribes and became the major force in the establishment of the Aztec Empire in central Mexico. The name Mexico is derived from the word Mexica. Aztec civilization, drawing on the cultural advances of the Toltec and other peoples that had lived in the region, reached high levels of artistic, economic, and intellectual development.

When the Aztecs arrived in the Valley of Mexico, most likely in the mid-13th century, they were surrounded by powerful neighbors who exacted tribute from them. They were forced to occupy a swampy area on the western side of Lake Texcoco, where their only piece of dry land was a tiny island surrounded by marshes. According to legend, the Aztecs established their settlement on the site where they observed an eagle with a serpent in its grasp on top of a cactus. The eagle and the serpent are the state symbol of modern Mexico and can be found on the nationís flag and currency.

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Toltec civilization, Lake Texcoco, Aztec civilization, swampy area, Aztec Empire, Valley of Mexico, tiny island, major force, Aztecs, intellectual development, cactus, peoples, marshes, central Mexico, eagle, settlement, currency, grasp, collapse, legend, tribute, establishment, century, region, serpent, site


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