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n. A Nahua community; a pueblo.


The altepetl , in pre-Columbian and Spanish conquest-era Aztec society, was the local, ethnically based political entity. It is usually translated into English as " city-state". The word is a combination of the Nahuatl words ā-tl (meaning "water") and tepē-tl (meaning "mountain").

Nahuatl scholars Lisa Sousa, Stafford Poole, and James Lockhart have stated:

A characteristic Nahua mode was to imagine the totality of the people of a region or of the world as a collection of altepetl units and to speak of them on those terms.

They prefer the Nahuatl term over any English-language approximation. They argue that in many of the documents pertaining to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the word āltepētl is often used as a translation of the Spanish Ciudad de México ( Mexico City), a translation that has colored the interpretation of the texts and conceptions of Nahua society.

The concept is comparable to Maya cah and Mixtec ñuu.