Posts Tagged ‘Aztec’

Aztec Lake

Lake Zumpango is located directly north of downtown Mexico City, Tenochtitlan. It is one of 5 Aztec lakes. It is also the home of the axolotl, a salamander that is unique in that it retains its gills in adulthood. Well worth a visit.

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Spider Lake?

Lake Xaltocan (sowing sands/spidery sands) was northeast of Tenochtitlan. Though much of the lake was marshy, an island contained Xaltocan, an Aztec city-state. The Conquistadors drained most of the lake.

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Aztec jewel

Texcoco AKA Tetzcoco (Among the jarilla flowers) was founded 1115 AD on the eastern shore of Lake Texcoco. It was one of 3 city states that made up the Aztec Empire (Tenochtitlan, Tlacopan). By 1500, Texcoco contained many libraries and was a center of learning and culture with a population of 20,000. Part of the Mexico City metropolitan area.


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The glory that was Tenochtitlan

Tenochtitlan (rocky, prickly pear cactus place) was founded about 1300 AD and became capital of the Aztec empire. In 1519, its population was about 200,000. It shared the same island in Lake Texcoco with another city-state, Tlatelolco (north island). This is now central Mexico City.

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About 1300 AD tribes of Nahuatl-speaking Mexica swept into the Mexico City area, possibly coming from the Mexico-USA border. They claimed to be from a mythical place called Aztlan and called themselves Azteca, forming a triple alliance of city states—Tenochtitlan (downtown Mexico City), Texcoco, Tlacopan. Their language, Nahuatl, has at least 2 million speakers so Aztecs are very much part of the present.

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Nahuatl/Aztec Poetry

Weep for the thousands of poems the Spanish burned.



Where shall I pick them?

Where do I gather sweet flowers?

How shall I gain that flowery land,

That lush land where bondage is no more,

Neither is their suffering?

If one buys it on earth,

It is only through obeying Huitzilopochtli.

Here on earth, sorrow fills my soul,

As I recall where the singer beheld that flowered place.



Stand, friend of mine,

Excited, bring your flowers to the drum,

Your rancor takes flight,

Dress yourself in them,

Flowers hold high their heads…

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Frangipani Bloom at Night

He marches in Tenochtitlan’s parade,

Villagers shower him with frangipani,

Pink blossoms cling to his long hair,

Their fragrance fondles his nostrils.

When he reaches the pyramid,

The crowd chants and claps.

He climbs the fifty-two steps,

Each strewn with orange marigolds.

On the altar, a maiden awaits,

Her eyes glassy, her lips blistered.

She reminds him of his daughter,

But he offers prayers to the sun.

He lifts his blade above his head,

Its gleaming black obsidian ready.

The knife plunges straight down,

The scent of frangipani rises.

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Aztec Beans

AKA Anasazi Beans. These beans were found in a 1,500-year-old sealed clay pot in a New Mexico cave. They germinated. The speckled white and burgundy beans are similar to pinto beans. Recipe: best soaked overnight and cooked like pintos.


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Conventional wisdom says that in the 17th century Spanish horses escaped, their population exploding on the great plains. Except most of the Spanish horses were geldings, neutered stallions. And horse numbers increased too quickly as mares have one foal at a time.

Some say native horses survived the ice ages to breed with Spanish horses. But why did the Aztecs have no horses? A new theory says that 1000 AD, ponies were abandoned when the Viking deserted North America. They mated with Spanish horses and the Plains Indian culture was born. (Cherokee pony photo)

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Moctezuma II 1466- 1520 was the Aztec emperor defeated by Cortes. End of the story, so I thought. Many of the Spanish nobility are his descendants. The current Mexican constitution does not allow nobility, but he has many Mexican descendants. Don’t be surprised if Montezuma gets elected President of Mexico. Tlazohcamati (Aztec/Nahuatl for thank you)

Portrait of Montezuma II (Moctezuma) (1466-1520)” European School, (16th century) Palazzo Pitti, Florence (Photo by Leemage/Corbis via Getty Images)

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