Aztec People

Aztec Language

To understand who the Aztecs people were, you must first learn a bit about their language. Nahuatl, the principle language of the Aztecs, could be translated into "a person who is from Aztlan." This would mean that the Aztecs were actually from Aztlan, and this was their principle home. It should also be noted that the term "Aztec" was used by Alexander von Humboldt, and it was used collectively to describe all the people who were connected to the Triple Alliance and the state. Once William H. Prescott actually published work which was related to the Aztecs, the term was spread around the world.


Many scholars in Mexico also adopted the term "Aztec," because it was a way for them to separate the Aztecs from the people who currently live in Mexico. It should be noted that the term has become subject to debate in historical circles, and some are now using the term "Mexica" to describe the inhabitants that lived in this civilization. Most of the people who speak this ancient language live in the Central area of Mexico, and when the language was first developed, it was written in the form of a script with pictographs. It wasn't a full writing system, but it would function as the mnemonic that would help readers with any terms they learned through oral instruction.

History of Aztec People

The Nahua people started migrating to Mesoamerica around the 16th century, and they came from the northern part of Mexico. As they moved south, they came into contact with the people who spoke Oto-Manguean languages, and the Nahua people eventually forced them away from their land. It should be noted that the Nahua people were traditional hunter-gatherers, and their coming into contact with the advanced cultures of Mesoamerica allowed them to take on various religious procedures, and procedures which were related to culture. It was during the Postclassic period that their strength became centered at Tula, Hidalgo.

However, the power center of the Nahua people would be shifted to Azcapotzalco, and it was from here that the Tepanecs controlled the central part of Mexico. The Mexica tribe would make their presence in Mexico during this time. It should be noted that the true origin of the Mexica (Aztecs), is not known. Their legends state that they originated from Aztland, which present day historians believe is located just to the north of the Mexican valley. However, there are some historians who believe that the Mexica didn't come from Mexico at all, but rather the Southwestern region of the United States.

There are still some historians who dismiss both of these findings, simply because they argue that the Aztecs viewed Aztland as being a mythical place, and this means that they are not clear on the exact location of Aztlan. A number of codices attest to this fact, and some of them are the Boturini Codex and the Aubin Codex. What can be gathered from the codices is that the Aztec people arrived in the region around 1248.