This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page . (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)
|Part of a series on|
Aztec slavery, within the structure of the Mexico society, produced many slaves, known by the Nahuatl word, tlacotin.Within Mexica society, slaves constituted an important class.
Slavery was not a station one was born into, but a state entered into as a form of punishment, out of financial desperation, or as a captive.The practice consisted of two systems:
Slave owners were required to provide food, water, and shelter for their slaves.
Women slave owners exerted much in the way of choice, in regard to slaves. For example, if a woman was widowed, it was not uncommon for her to either remarry one of her husband's slaves, or make one of his slaves her personal steward.The richest merchants in Mexica society were slave traders. Not only were they wealthy, but they were also granted special privileges. They were also considered to be very religious, and played a key role in the festival of Panquetzaliztli festival, in honor of Mexica god, Huitzilopochtli.
Any person not related to a slave's master could be enslaved for trying to prevent a slave's escape.[ citation needed ] If one slave would not behave in accordance to the slave masters will, he could be sentenced to death.
While slavery could not be inherited, in Mexica society, one could, in fact, live indefinitely as a slave. For example, Moctezuma II, in addition to confiscating property, would condemn traitors, or their families, to slavery for life. He would also do the same to astrologers who failed to predict the occurrence of omens.
Slaves were bound to their master's lands, until one's debt was paid to his master. Barring being a captive, being punished for committing a crime, or failing to pay an outstanding gambling debt, slavery was an institution one could enter into freely.In that respect, the system was not slavery, but contractual indentured servitude, resulting in "unfree" labor. However, it was such a widely held practice that the Mexica would often sell their children into slavery.
Slaves wore maguey garments called " cueitl," which was a skirt that wrapped around the hips, one end overlapping the other, held together by a belt-like strap. Reflecting their low status in society, the cueitl of slaves were colorless. [ citation needed ] As for assigned work, many slaves were sent to the regions of Cimatan and the Acalan, aquatic environments, to work as rowers and as laborers in the cacao groves, which was work that needed to be done year-round.Typically, upon the death of their owner, slaves who had performed outstanding services were freed, while the rest were passed on as part of the inheritance.
Beyond their labor slaves were free, they could marry and own their own property including other slaves.They were also expected to contribute to the betterment of Mexica society. For example, slaves helped move the military's equipment when it set off for battle. When slaves had children the children were not passed down to the master of the slaves but were set free to live their own lives.
Slaves could be used for any sort of work, however in practice most slaves often found themselves as servants in the palaces of lords.When noblemen died they were cremated with forty slaves, 20 women and 20 men.
Aztec society consisted of strict social class structure and every individual had their place in society, yet your social class was not set in stone there was room for maneuvering.Aztec slaves were a vehicle for moving around the societal hierarchy. José Luis de Rojas the author of Tenochtitlan: Capital of the Aztec Empire states that one of the most respected positions an Aztec commoner could obtain was the role of “Tealtiani" or the person responsible for the cleansing of slaves before sacrifice.
Slavery was most difficult for war captives who, after being captured, could be sold.They could also be sacrificed at a religious ceremony or festival. For example, slaves were selected to be ixiptla, which is a representation of a god. They believed that the god would, in turn, represent a force of celestial natures such as the wind or the moon, and that sacrificing the slave would satisfy the god, who would then bring good fortune to the people. In the event of a nobleman's death, slaves could be killed, and buried with him, to assist him in the underworld, as they assisted him in life. The body parts of sacrificed slaves could be taken home and eaten with maize and salt as an extension of their sacrifice.
It was a great honor to be given the opportunity to sacrifice a human in a public setting in the Aztec Empire. The warriors would go out into combat and come back with slaves to sacrifice but for the elderly and nobles this was not an option, and in turn they would purchase slaves. The book Tenochtitlan: Capital of the Aztec Empire by José Luis de Rojas also mentions that citizens would buy slaves that held similar occupations as themselves for sacrifice.
A way for slaves to get their freedom was by running outside the walls, at the marketplace and stepping on a piece of human excrement, then presenting their case to the judges, asking for freedom.If granted, the slaves would then be washed, given new clothes (not owned by the master), and declared free.
Slaves were also frequent faces in the market of Tenochtitlan where they could be sold along with food, cloth, and handmade goods. However, the cities with the most well-known slave markets were Azcapotzalco and Itzocan.
Usually, only wealthy men, or nobles, could often afford slaves. Slaves could be bought for 30 cotton garments called "quachtli." Slaves who could entertain their masters with a talent, such as by singing or dancing, were more expensive, and could cost upwards of 25 percent more.
Slaves that possessed different skills were valued at different prices. According to José Luis de Rojas the author of Tenochtitlan: Capital of the Aztec Empire, slaves that could dance would be worth around 40 cotton cloth while different skills like weaving were valued differently. Luis also writes about how Slaves could also be purchased with Cacao beans, the average slave was possessed at 3000-4000 beans.
Orozco y Berra reports that a master could not sell a slave without the slave's consent, unless the slave had been classified as incorrigible by an authority. Incorrigibility could be determined on the basis of repeated laziness, attempts to run away, or general bad conduct. Incorrigible slaves were made to wear a wooden collar, affixed by rings at the back. The collar was not merely a symbol of bad conduct: it was designed to make it harder to run away through a crowd or through narrow spaces.
According to Dr. Michael Smith slaves for sale in the market all were identified by their large wooden collars.
When buying a collared slave, one was informed of how many times that slave had been sold. A slave who was sold three times as incorrigible could be sold to be sacrificed; those slaves commanded a premium in price. However, if a collared slave managed to present him- or herself in the royal palace or in a temple, he or she would regain liberty.
Some slaves gave up their freedom to pay off gambling debts.However, becoming a slave was a process. First, the gambler had to stand before four respected elders. They would then conduct a ceremony whereby the gambler would prefers his want (or need) to become a slave and be given, by his new owner, the price of his freedom, which was often 20 pieces of cloth and the means to live alone for a year before he began his slavery. After the gambler spent that amount, his service would be exchanged for food, shelter and clothing. Anyone could be a slave, though commoners were more likely to enter slavery voluntarily. But, because slaves were looked down upon, it was usually the last option one took to pay off a debt. Beside gamblers, selling oneself into slavery was often a fate for aging courtesans or prostitutes, known among the Mexica as "ahuini". Beyond paying off debts people may have become slaves to better support themselves in times of economic crisis. During a Famine in the 1450s many Aztecs sold themselves into slavery in the Gulf Coast where economic prospects were better.
It was believed that those who were born in the 13-day series that started with 1 Ocelotl were destined to be slaves, or that their lives would be burdened with something else undesirable.
Moctezuma I, also known as Moteuczomatzin Ilhuicamina, Huehuemoteuczoma or Montezuma I, was the second Aztec emperor and fifth king of Tenochtitlan. During his reign, the Aztec Empire was consolidated, major expansion was undertaken, and Tenochtitlan started becoming the dominant partner of the Aztec Triple Alliance. Often mistaken for his popular descendant, Moctezuma II, Moctezuma I greatly contributed to the famed Aztec Empire that thrived until Spanish arrival, and he ruled over a period of peace from 1440 to 1453. Moctezuma brought social, economical, and political reform to strengthen Aztec rule, and Tenochititlan benefited from relations with other cities.
Tenochtitlan, also known as Mexico-Tenochtitlan, was a large Mexica altepetl in what is now the historic center of Mexico City. The exact date of the founding of the city is unclear. The date 13 March 1325 was chosen in 1925 to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the city. The city was built on an island in what was then Lake Texcoco in the Valley of Mexico. The city was the capital of the expanding Aztec Empire in the 15th century until it was captured by the Spanish in 1521.
The Aztecs were a Mesoamerican culture that flourished in central Mexico in the post-classic period from 1300 to 1521. The Aztec peoples included different ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica from the 14th to the 16th centuries. Aztec culture was organized into city-states (altepetl), some of which joined to form alliances, political confederations, or empires. The Aztec Empire was a confederation of three city-states established in 1427: Tenochtitlan, city-state of the Mexica or Tenochca; Texcoco; and Tlacopan, previously part of the Tepanec empire, whose dominant power was Azcapotzalco. Although the term Aztecs is often narrowly restricted to the Mexica of Tenochtitlan, it is also broadly used to refer to Nahua polities or peoples of central Mexico in the prehispanic era, as well as the Spanish colonial era (1521–1821). The definitions of Aztec and Aztecs have long been the topic of scholarly discussion ever since German scientist Alexander von Humboldt established its common usage in the early nineteenth century.
In the Aztec religion, Huitzilopochtli is a deity of war, sun, human sacrifice, and the patron of the city of Tenochtitlan. He was also the tribal god of the Mexicas, also known as Aztecs, of Tenochtitlan. Many in the pantheon of deities of the Aztecs were inclined to have a fondness for a particular aspect of warfare. However, Huitzilopochtli was known as the primary god of war in ancient Mexico. Since he was the patron god of the Mexica, he was credited with both the victories and defeats that the Mexica people had on the battlefield. The people had to make sacrifices to him to protect the Aztec from infinite night. He wielded Xiuhcoatl as a weapon, associating him with fire.
Nezahualcoyotl was a scholar, warrior, architect, poet and ruler (tlatoani) of the city-state of Texcoco in pre-Columbian era Mexico. Unlike other high-profile Mexican figures from the century preceding Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, Nezahualcoyotl was not fully Mexica; his father's people were the Acolhua, another Nahuan people settled in the eastern part of the Valley of Mexico, on the coast of Lake Texcoco. His mother, however, was the sister of Chimalpopoca, the Mexica king of Tenochtitlan.
Aztec warfare concerns the aspects associated with the militaristic conventions, forces, weaponry and strategic expansions conducted by the Late Postclassic Aztec civilizations of Mesoamerica, including particularly the military history of the Aztec Triple Alliance involving the city-states of Tenochtitlan, Texcoco, Tlacopan and other allied polities of the central Mexican region.
The Aztec Empire, or the Triple Alliance, was an alliance of three Nahua altepetl city-states: Mexico-Tenochtitlan, Tetzcoco, and Tlacopan. These three city-states ruled the area in and around the Valley of Mexico from 1428 until the combined forces of the Spanish conquistadores and their native allies under Hernán Cortés defeated them in 1521.
The Tlaxcalans, or Tlaxcaltecs, are an indigenous group of Nahuas who inhabited the republic of Tlaxcala and present-day Mexican state of Tlaxcala.
Toci is a deity figuring prominently in the religion and mythology of the pre-Columbian Aztec civilization of Mesoamerica. In Aztec mythology, she is seen as an aspect of the mother goddess Coatlicue or Xochitlicue and is thus labeled “mother of the gods”. She is also called Tlalli Iyollo.
Eagle warriors or eagle knights were a special class of infantry soldier in the Aztec army, one of the two leading military special forces orders in Aztec society, the other being the Jaguar warriors. They were a type of Aztec warrior called a cuāuhocēlōtl[kʷaːwoˈseːloːt͡ɬ]. The word cuāuhocēlōtl derives from the eagle warrior cuāuhtli and the jaguar warrior ocēlōtl[oˈseːloːt͡ɬ]. These military orders were made up of the bravest soldiers of noble birth and those who had taken the greatest number of prisoners in battle. Of all of the Aztec warriors, they were the most feared. Eagle warriors, along with the jaguar warriors, were the only such classes which did not restrict access solely to the nobility, as commoners or, in Nahuatl, "mācēhualli" Nahuatl pronunciation: [maːseːwalːi] were occasionally admitted for special merit.
The Aztec sun stone is a late post-classic Mexica sculpture housed in the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City, and is perhaps the most famous work of Mexica sculpture. It measures 358 centimetres (141 in) in diameter and 98 centimetres (39 in) thick, and weighs 24,590 kg (54,210 lb). Shortly after the Spanish conquest, the monolithic sculpture was buried in the Zócalo, the main square of Mexico City. It was rediscovered on 17 December 1790 during repairs on the Mexico City Cathedral. Following its rediscovery, the sun stone was mounted on an exterior wall of the cathedral, where it remained until 1885. Early scholars initially thought that the stone was carved in the 1470s, though modern research suggests that it was carved some time between 1502 and 1521.
The Aztec religion originated from the indigenous Aztecs of central Mexico. Like other Mesoamerican religions, it also has practices such as human sacrifice in connection with many religious festivals which are in the Aztec calendar. This polytheistic religion has many gods and goddesses; the Aztecs would often incorporate deities that were borrowed from other geographic regions and peoples into their own religious practices.
The Aztecs were a Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican people of central Mexico in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. They called themselves Mēxihcah.
Human sacrifice was common in many parts of Mesoamerica, so the rite was nothing new to the Aztecs when they arrived at the Valley of Mexico, nor was it something unique to pre-Columbian Mexico. Other Mesoamerican cultures, such as the Purépechas and Toltecs, performed sacrifices as well and from archaeological evidence, it probably existed since the time of the Olmecs, and perhaps even throughout the early farming cultures of the region. However, the extent of human sacrifice is unknown among several Mesoamerican civilizations. What distinguished Maya and Aztec human sacrifice was the way in which it was embedded in everyday life and believed to be a necessity. These cultures also notably sacrificed elements of their own population to the gods.
The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, also known as the Conquest of Mexico or the Spanish-Aztec War (1519–21), was one of the primary events in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. There are multiple 16th-century narratives of the events by Spanish conquistadors, their indigenous allies, and the defeated Aztecs. It was not solely a contest between a small contingent of Spaniards defeating the Aztec Empire but rather the creation of a coalition of Spanish invaders with tributaries to the Aztecs, and most especially the Aztecs' indigenous enemies and rivals. They combined forces to defeat the Mexica of Tenochtitlan over a two-year period. For the Spanish, the expedition to Mexico was part of a project of Spanish colonization of the New World after twenty-five years of permanent Spanish settlement and further exploration in the Caribbean.
There is universal agreement that some Mesoamerican people practiced human sacrifice and cannibalism, but there is no scholarly consensus as to its extent.
The Mexica (Nahuatl: Mēxihcah, Nahuatl pronunciation: [meːˈʃiʔkaʔ]; singular Mēxihcatl, or Mexicas, were a Nahuatl-speaking indigenous people of the Valley of Mexico who were the rulers of the Aztec Empire. They were the last Nahua-speaking immigrants to enter the Basin of Mexico after the Toltec decline. This group was also known as the Culhua-Mexica in recognition of its kinship alliance with the neighboring Culhua, descendants of the revered Toltecs, who occupied the Toltec capital of Tula from the tenth through twelfth centuries. The Mexica of Tenochtitlan were additionally referred to as the "Tenochca", a term associated with the name of their altepetl, Tenochtitlan, and Tenochtitlan's founding leader, Tenoch. The Mexica established Mexico Tenochtitlan, a settlement on an island in Lake Texcoco. A dissident group in Mexico-Tenochtitlan separated and founded the settlement of Mexico-Tlatelolco with its own dynastic lineage. The Mexica of Tlatelolco were additionally known as Tlatelolca.
The Coatlicue statue is one of the most famous surviving Aztec sculptures. It is a 2.52 metre (8.3 ft) tall andesite statue by an unidentified Mexica artist. Although there are debates about what or who the statue represents, it is usually identified as the Aztec deity Coatlicue ("Snakes-Her-Skirt"). It is currently located in the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. Originally displayed in the Mexica city of Tenochtitlan, the momentous statue was buried after the 1521 Spanish conquest of the city and excavated roughly 270 years later in 1790.
Aztec society was traditionally divided into social classes. They became sophisticated once the Mexica people settled and began to build the Aztec Empire. The class structure was so elaborate that it impressed the Spanish almost as much as Aztec architecture.
Ochpaniztli is the Eleventh Month of the Aztec calendar. It is also a festival in the Aztec religion dedicated to Toci and Tlazolteotl and is also the month of cleaning or sweeping away.