The Aztecs, who were also known as the Tenochca, came from the capital city, Tenochtitlan, or the Mexica. This nomadic tribe from northern Mexico first set foot in Mesoamerica around the 13th century. They established complex commercial, political, social, and religious systems, making them rule many cities and states by the 15th century and the dominant force in Central Mexico. Read along to learn about Aztec history and influence left in the country.
How their capital was found
According to legend, the Aztecs would choose where to settle once they found a giant eagle sitting on a prickly pear, attacking a snake. The settlement which became Tenochtitlan was located on a group of five connected lakes.
The rise of Tenochtitlan was due to the agricultural system of maize, beans, potatoes, avocados, and squashes that could feed the population. They were also hunters of local animals such as armadillos, coyotes, and rabbits.
The obverse of the polymer Mexican 50 Pesos banknote from 2021 illustrates a fragment of the “TEOCALLI DE LA GUERRA SAGRADA” monolith of an Aztec temple showing an eagle perched on cactus with a snake n its beak. On the reverse are ecosystems of rivers and lakes of Xochimilco. It also shows an axolotl which is only found in the lake complex located south of Mexico City. The 2021 Mexican 50 Pesos banknote won the Banknote of the Year award granted by the International Bank Note Society (IBNS).
The Mexico 1 Peso Banknote from 1967 depicts the Aztec calendar on its obverse, along with the angel atop the Independence Monument. The 365-day calendar is based on the sun and is considered to be the sacred calendar. On the reverse of the note is the bank guilloche.
Aztec symbols are also found on Mexican coins. In this coin folder are 7 coins from 2005 in 10, 20, and 50 centavos, and 1, 2, 5, and 10 pesos denominations, each representing the Ring of Splendor, the Ring of Days, the Ring of the Serpents, and the Ring on the Sacrifice. It also highlights the Reed, the Ring of Acceptance, and the Sun Stone on the Aztec Calendar Stone on one side. The other side depicts the nation’s coat of arms which is represented with the golden eagle perched on a pear cactus, eating a snake.