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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Aztec \Az"tec\, a. Of or relating to one of the early races in Mexico that inhabited the great plateau of that country at the time of the Spanish conquest in 1519. -- n. One of the Aztec race or people.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1787, from Spanish Azteca, from Nahuatl aztecatl (plural aztecah), meaning "coming from Aztlan," name of their legendary place of origin, usually said to lie somewhere in what is now southwestern U.S.


a. 1 Of or pertaining to the Mexica people. 2 Of or pertaining to the Nahuas. 3 Of or pertaining to the Nahuatl language. n. 1 A Mexica. 2 A Nahua. n. 1 The Nahuatl language. 2 A city in New Mexico

Aztec, NM -- U.S. city in New Mexico
Population (2000): 6378
Housing Units (2000): 2545
Land area (2000): 9.727566 sq. miles (25.194279 sq. km)
Water area (2000): 0.075668 sq. miles (0.195980 sq. km)
Total area (2000): 9.803234 sq. miles (25.390259 sq. km)
FIPS code: 05780
Located within: New Mexico (NM), FIPS 35
Location: 36.826046 N, 107.995595 W
ZIP Codes (1990): 87410
Note: some ZIP codes may be omitted esp. for suburbs.
Aztec, NM

The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica from the 14th to 16th centuries. The Nahuatl words aztecatl (singular) and aztecah ( plural) mean "people from Aztlan", a mythological place for the Nahuatl-speaking culture of the time, and later adopted as the word to define the Mexica people. Often the term "Aztec" refers exclusively to the Mexica people of Tenochtitlan (now the location of Mexico City), situated on an island in Lake Texcoco, who referred to themselves as Mēxihcah Tenochcah or Cōlhuah Mexihcah .

Sometimes the term also includes the inhabitants of Tenochtitlan's two principal allied city-states, the Acolhuas of Texcoco and the Tepanecs of Tlacopan, who together with the Mexica formed the Aztec Triple Alliance that controlled what is often known as the "Aztec Empire". In other contexts, Aztec may refer to all the various city states and their peoples, who shared large parts of their ethnic history and cultural traits with the Mexica, Acolhua and Tepanecs, and who often also used the Nahuatl language as a lingua franca. In this meaning it is possible to talk about an Aztec civilization including all the particular cultural patterns common for most of the peoples inhabiting Central Mexico in the late postclassic period.

From the 13th century, the Valley of Mexico was the heart of Aztec civilization: here the capital of the Aztec Triple Alliance, the city of Tenochtitlan, was built upon raised islets in Lake Texcoco. The Triple Alliance formed a tributary empire expanding its political hegemony far beyond the Valley of Mexico, conquering other city states throughout Mesoamerica. At its pinnacle, Aztec culture had rich and complex mythological and religious traditions, as well as achieving remarkable architectural and artistic accomplishments. In 1521 Hernán Cortés, along with a large number of Nahuatl speaking indigenous allies, conquered Tenochtitlan and defeated the Aztec Triple Alliance under the leadership of Hueyi Tlatoani Moctezuma II. Subsequently the Spanish founded the new settlement of Mexico City on the site of the ruined Aztec capital, from where they proceeded with the process of colonizing Central America.

Aztec culture and history is primarily known through archaeological evidence found in excavations such as that of the renowned Templo Mayor in Mexico City; from indigenous bark paper codices; from eyewitness accounts by Spanish conquistadors such as Hernán Cortés and Bernal Díaz del Castillo; and especially from 16th and 17th century descriptions of Aztec culture and history written by Spanish clergymen and literate Aztecs in the Spanish or Nahuatl language, such as the famous Florentine Codex compiled by the Franciscan monk Bernardino de Sahagún with the help of indigenous Aztec informants.

Aztec (disambiguation)

Aztec or Aztek may mean:

  • The Aztec civilization of Mesoamerica
  • The Nahuatl language, also known as "Aztec"

Aztec or Aztek may also refer to:

Aztec (novel)

Aztec is a 1980 historical fiction novel by Gary Jennings. It is the first of two novels in the Aztec series written by Gary Jennings. The remaining three novels were written by other authors after Gary Jennings died in 1999.

Aztec (video game)

Aztec is a 1982 computer game, created by Paul Stephenson and published by Datamost. It was originally developed for the Apple II and later ported to the Atari 8-bit family and the Commodore 64.

Usage examples of "aztec".

Tezcuco, the capital of the Acolhuans, stood on the eastern borders of the lake on whose opposite side was Mexico, the Aztec capital.

This imaginary antithesis he traces out between the Algonkin and Apalachian tribes, and between the Toltecs of Guatemala and the Aztecs of Mexico.

No reasonable doubt exists but that the Athapascas, Algonkins, Iroquois, Apalachians, and Aztecs all migrated from the north and west to the regions they occupied.

Again, the division of the year into four seasons--a division as devoid of foundation in nature as that of the ancient Aryans into three, and unknown among many tribes, yet obtained in very early times among Algonkins, Cherokees, Choctaws, Creeks, Aztecs, Muyscas, Peruvians, and Araucanians.

Stilbite, Amazonstone, Aztec Money - ah, they are wonderful stones, and we are finding wonderful uses for them.

Greeks, Syrians, Aztec, Maya, Mexican Indians, Greenland Eskimos, and tribes of western Brazil and the Indian Ocean Andaman Islands, to name a few.

Now our own world was once like that starship, a little cosmos, bearing with it all the thousands of Earthborn cultures, Hopi and Eskimo and Aztec and Kwakiutl and Arapesh and Orokolo and all the rest.

Aztecs, the Arkies had metal weapons, the favorite being an implement with a long handle ending in a curved blade on one side and a spike on the other.

Ataensic, an Iroquois deity, 123, 131, 170 Ataguju, or Atachuchu, 152 Atatarho, mythical Iroquois chief, 118 Athapascan tribes, 24 myths, 104, 150, 195, 205, 229, 248, 257 Atl, an Aztec deity, 131 Aurora borealis, 245 Aymaras, 31, 34, 177 Aztecs, their books and characters, 10 divisions, 29 names of God, 48, 50, 58 n.

Aztec with swart skin, sniffing the aromatic fume coming from the roasting beans, and thinking that beans which smelled so appetising must be good to consume.

Centeotl, goddess of maize, 22, 134 Chac, Maya gods, 80 Chalchihuitlycue, an Aztec god, 123 Chantico, an Aztec god, 138 Cherokees, location, 25 name of God, 51 serpent myth, 115 baptism, 128 deluge, 205 priests, 281 Chia, goddess of Muyscas, 134 Chichimec, 139 n.

Of course, the Peruvian peoples such as the Chimu and the Inca lived on the Pacific coast, and the Toltec and Aztec lived far inland in Mexico, but even that other advanced race of the Americas, the Maya, many of whose towns were built on the coast facing the Atlantic, never attempted ocean voyages.

Apart from the Khonds, the Aztecs of Mexico showed the process most clearly, for a young girl was beheaded at the temple of the maize god in a ceremony performed when the crop was just ripe.

Aztecs, but even among the Haitians, the Araucanians, the Lenni Lenape, and others.

Since this Mesoamerican ritual has not really been practised for five centuries, we have the perspective to reflect on the tens of thousands of willing and unwilling sacrifices to the Aztec and Mayan gods who reconciled themselves to their fates with the confident faith that they were dying to save the Universe.