Amazing Aztecs

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–> Aztec Empire for Kids
The Awesome Aztecs

For Kids

The Aztec wandered around Mexico for about 200 years before they settled down in the Valley of Mexico. Other tribes were living in the area. Rather than start a war for a place to live, the Aztecs settled down peacefully (at first) in the swampy land around Lake Texcoco.

They were clever people. They adapted to their environment. They built canoes to fish and hunt. They filled the marshes with a combination of reeds and stones and dirt to create more farmland. They built dams and dikes to free even more land. Their engineers successfully built a bustling city, with wide plazas and many shops, on a swamp.

After they had settled in, the Aztec Indians began conquering neighboring tribes. Soon, the entire Valley of Mexico was under their control. Other tribes had to pay tribute to them in the form of food, clothing, goods, and captives to feed the hungry Aztec gods. The Aztec believed in human sacrifice. That was one of the many reasons the other tribes hated and feared the Aztec. But the Aztec seemed unstoppable.

It was not until the 1500s, when the Spanish arrived, that the Aztec were conquered. The Spanish brought guns, dogs, horses, and disease. It was disease that conquered the Aztec. The Aztec Empire collapsed. The Spanish took over the entire region.

Today, in Mexico, there are about one million descendants of the ancient Aztec, living and working. Human sacrifice is no longer part of their festivals (thank goodness!), but beautiful Aztec art and clever Aztec games are still enjoyed today.

Amazing Aztecs

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The Amazing Aztecs


Published on Feb 17, 2020

The life and culture of the Aztecs. Based on a powerpoint by mercywexford on the Aztec Empire. Used for educational purposes.

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  1. 1. The Amazing Aztecs
  2. 2. • Write something you already know about the Aztec Empire! • Write something you would like to find out about the Aztec Empire.
  3. 3. • The Aztecs were rich and powerful people from the valley of Mexico. They were farmers, warriors, traders, engineers, artists and sculptures. 3 million people
  4. 4. Settling Down • They arrived in Mexico about 700 years ago, looking for a new home. • After a long journey, they arrived at Lake Texoco in a large Mexican valley. • A god had sent them a sign telling them where to live. • An eagle with a snake in its mouth perched on a cactus.
  5. 5. • It was very hard to build on the lake because the Aztecs only had a small piece of land in the surrounding marshes. • The Aztecs made the swampy, shallow lake into chinampas. They made islands by piling up mud and reeds in the water. They used them as their city foundations.
  6. 6. • Built canals, gardens, aqueducts, temples and a very grand palace. • They named their new home Tenochtitlán. • Largest and most beautiful city in the world.
  7. 7. Then they built bridges to connect the city to the mainland. The palace was so big, there was even a zoo inside.
  8. 8. What do you think these buildings were used for?
  9. 9. What to Wear? • What do you think they wore? (Discuss in Pairs) • Only rich nobles were allowed to wear bright, patterned clothes. • The best warriors were allowed to wear clothes with lots of feathers and decoration. • Ordinary Aztecs wore plain clothes that were made out of rough material.
  10. 10. What do you notice?? • Men and women painted their bodies. • They dyed their hair black with mud or a deep blue colour. • For women, the fashionable colour to paint themselves was yellow made from crushed insects!
  11. 11. Aztecs and Food • What do you think they ate? (Pairs) • Maize, beans, tomatoes, chilli peppers and other vegetables. • People also ate dogs, monkeys, frogs, tadpoles, lizards, ants, caterpillars and insects. • Many kinds of animals and birds were sold live at Aztec markets. • They used cocoa beans, feathers and tools as money.
  12. 12. • The Aztecs even had a god of chocolate! • They used cocoa beans to make a rich chocolate drink. • They added chillies to make it spicy.
  13. 13. Religion • Religion was very important part of Aztec life. • The Aztec religion was based on worship of gods who represented the Earth, Rain and Sun. • They held lots of festivals to worship them.
  14. 14. • Can you guess the names of these Gods and what they did? • The god of sun and war was Hummingbird on the Left. • Hummingbird on the Left’s mother was an earth goddess called Snake Skirt. • The Aztecs believed that the god of water brought rain, thunder and lightning. • Smoking Mirror was god of the night sky. He decided if people would be lucky.
  15. 15. Human Sacrifice • The Aztecs believed that their gods had to be fed with human hearts and blood. • People thought this was a good way to die as it helped the gods. • More than 10,000 people were once sacrificed in just four days.
  16. 16. Other Aztec Customs • The Aztecs bound their babies’ heads so they grew into a flatter shape. • Cross-eyes were thought to be attractive. Parents used string down the middle of the face to encourage them. • They tried to make children taller by pulling on their necks.
  17. 17. Would you like to visit the Aztec Doctor? • To mend a broken leg, they put a paste of cactus and lime and made a splint. • To clean cuts and wounds, they used urine! • If someone had a cold, they gave them a steam bath and dribbled dew from the fields into their nostrils.
  18. 18. • For earache, the Aztecs poured liquid rubber into the ear.
  19. 19. Quiz…. • What year did they build their city? • What was the name of the city? • How did they build their city on water? • What did warriors wear? • How did normal people dress and look? • What did they eat? • Name a God they believed in. • Name an odd custom they had at the time.
  20. 20. Ball Sports • Their favourite sports included a rough ball game that often ended in injuries or even death! TLACHTLI • This ball game was played by teams of players using a hard rubber ball on a stone court. • Players scored points by knocking the ball through goal rings high up on the walls of the court. • They were not allowed to kick or handle the ball. They had to use their elbows, hips or knees. • The winners could claim clothes or jewellery worn by spectators. The losing team was sometimes killed as a sacrifice to the gods! • Let’s give it a go!
  21. 21. Art and Sculpture •
  22. 22. • This is the mask of a very powerful god called Feathered Snake. • It was made from turquoise stone.
  23. 23. Aztec Masks
  24. 24. Aztec Calendar
  25. 25. Aztec Costumes
  26. 26. Aztec Children • Strict rules and punishments to make them good, obedient citizens. • If children were rude or naughty, they were tied up and left outside in the cold all night. • Many children died as infants from diseases or accidents at home.
  27. 27. • Working from the age of four. • Girls: cook and clean. • Boys: worked in fields or hunted and fished with their fathers. • 10: the boys were sent to school to do military training and to learn a craft. • 15: some boys went to a special school where they learned about the history and religion of the tribe. • These boys became religious leaders.
  28. 28. Childhood Punishments • If they didn’t pay attention in school, the teacher punished them by pinching their arms or ears or pricking them with cactus spines. • If the girls were naughty, they were given extra housework.
  29. 29. • The worst punishment for naughty children was being held over a fire of roasting chilli peppers, so the smoke stung their throats and eyes. • If a family was very poor, children were sometimes sold to passing slave traders.
  30. 30. Music • Music was a huge part of religious ceremonies, festivals and story- telling. • The instruments they used were shells, rattles, whistles, horns, bells and drums. • Let’s make our own Aztec music: Write the music using graphic notation and incorporate all of these instruments.

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