Ānāhuac, (also spelled Anahuac) commonly known as the Aztec Empire and occasionally as México or Mesoamerica, is an imperial federation in southern North America bordered on the north by the United States and on the south by the Gold Road Mandate; it also shares maritime borders with the Britannian West Indies, Cuba, and the Spanish Viceroyalties. It is the only independent monarchy in the Americas today, as well as the only majority polytheist country in the Western Hemisphere.
Many cultures flourished in pre-Columbian Ānāhuac, such as the Ōlmēcah, Tōltēcah, Teōtīhuacān, Tzapotēcah, Maya, and—of course—the Mēxihcah, better known as the Aztecs. In the 16th century, the Ēxcān Tlahtōlōyān--the original Aztec Triple Alliance--was invaded and colonized by Spanish conquistadors, who seized control of their capital city Tenōchtitlān in 1521 and installed a puppet kingdom, which was later formally annexed as part of a large viceroyalty called New Spain. The Aztecs managed to escape total destruction and waged an insurgency even as their lands were settled by Europeans, though its strength waxed and waned throughout the history of New Spain.
Today, Ānāhuac is a regional power in the Americas, a staunch ally of the United States, and a notable cultural exporter in the Anglosphere. It has one of the world's strongest economies, which is intimately linked to that of the United States, and is ranked fifth in the world and first in the Americas for number of World Heritage sites, with forty-two. Starting in the 21st century, it became one of the most-visited countries in the world.
The Aztec Empire's earliest origins are attributed to mythology. Supposedly, the Aztec people came from a mythical land called Aztlān and later migrated south to the area around Tenōchtitlān. Archaeologists have searched for the site of Aztlān or its inspiration since the Spanish Conquest: most proposed sites are located around the Tropic of Cancer, though some speculate that it was as far north as the Southwestern United States or in Texas. The strongest contender is Cerro del Culiacan, a large humped mountain which matches most descriptions of Aztlān.
As a people, the Aztecs arrived in the Valley of México in 1248, emigrating over the course of a century to arrive at Lake Texcoco in 1325. There, the Aztecs' tlàtoāni (literally "speaker," usually rendered as "king") Tenoch--himself possibly mythological--declared that they could build their city on an island in the lake after witnessing what they considered a divine symbol: an eagle perched on a cactus devouring a snake. According to legend, the eagle--representing Huītzilōpōchtli, the sun god and patron deity of the Aztecs--bowed to the newcomers as they approached. This symbol has since been immortalized in the Aztec flag and coat of arms.
Though such swampy land would seem to be a foolish place to build, Tenoch ordered the construction of the Aztecs' greatest city, which stands to this day as the largest city in all of Ānāhuac: Tenōchtitlān, from the Nahuatl for "among the prickly pears (growing among) rocks." The damp ground turned out to be an ideal location: its defensibility gave the Aztecs a distinct military advantage over the other tribes and city-states in the region. By connecting the island on which Tenōchtitlān stood to the shorelines with easily disassembled causeways, they could simply take down the bridges to prevent hostile armies from entering. The lake itself gave them a great bounty feed their people, enabling the construction and planting of aquatic farms called chināmitl (commonly known as chinampas) in the shallow waters of the lake.
By the 15th century, the Aztecs had established a hegemony over the most of their neighbors and was in alliance with two other city-states, called Texcoco and Tlacopan. As time went on, the Aztecs began to draw their human sacrifices--which they believed were demanded by the gods, or else the sun would fail to rise the next day--from just two sources: willing volunteers of their own tribe, and prisoners taken from a neighboring confederation of four āltepētl (city-states) called Tlaxcallān. These prisoners were seized in preordained "conflicts" called xōchiyāōyōtl, or "flower wars;" these "wars" were meant merely for personal prestige on the individual level rather than military conquest, the objective for each warrior being to capture as many enemies as possible to be sacrificed. The Tlaxcalteca weren't even given a fair chance at victory in any of the flower wars: they were armed with fake weapons and pitted against trained warriors with real ones. As other prosperous hegemonies before and after them, the Aztecs were resented by those they had subjugated.
Motto: "Under the Sun, I flourish"
National Anthem: Hueya Momaxquixtia y Fértil
Capital (and largest city): Tenōchtitlān
Official Language: Nahuatl
Recognized Regional Languages: Maya, Spanish
Demonym: Aztec (official); Aztecan, Mesoamerican
Government: imperial federation
Legislature: Sovereign Congress
Cihuācōātl: Itzcóatl Manenenqui
Aztec Triple Alliance: March 13 1428
Méxican Empire: February 28 1525
Viceroyalty of New Spain: _
Treaty of Seville: May 30 1848
Political Constitution of Ānāhuac: February 5 1917
Currency: cacao (Ẍ)
The Spanish Conquest
It is said that the Aztecs had long believed that Quetzalcohuātl, the feathered serpent god of the morning star, would one day return to rule Tenōchtitlān after departing to the east. Several omens would foretell his arrival: a strange object (presumably a meteor or comet) would appear in the eastern sky; Lake Texcoco would boil on a calm day, flooding many houses; a woman, possibly the fertility goddess Cihuacóatl, would weep in the middle of the night; the stone temple of the sun god Huītzilōpōchtli would be consumed by fire; the straw temple of the fire god Xiuhtecuhtli would be struck by lightning and destroyed; a fisherman would capture a black, crane-like bird which Moctezuma II is records to have seen a vision of the stars and heavens and of men riding deer-like animals in its mirror-like crest; fire would streak across the sky; and, finally, strange two-headed people would appear, disappearing just as mysteriously. However, the historicity of these events is debatable at best, and many believe that the accounts were fabricated following the Spanish Conquest to justify how the Aztecs could ever lose to the Europeans.