History Files


The Americas

Central American Native Kingdoms




Atlacuihuayan (Aztecs) (Mesoamerica)

The Aztec people were formed of several ethnic groups that occupied central Mexico. Predominantly this included groups that spoke the Nahuatl language and it was they who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica from the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries AD. The name itself, 'aztec', means 'people from Aztlan', a mythological location for the region's Nahuatl-speaking culture, but it was this that was later adopted to define the Mexica people. From the thirteenth century, the Valley of Mexico was at the heart of Aztec civilization, and it was here that the powerful city of Tenochtitlan was constructed upon raised islets in Lake Texcoco.

The Tepaneca tribe of Aztec/Nahua migrants arrived in Valley of Mexico in the thirteenth century, and took over cities such as Azcapotzalco from the native inhabitants. Becoming one of the most powerful cities under Tezozomoctli to the point that it dominated Tenochtitlan, the eventual seat of the Aztec emperors, the city set about creating new colonies or taking over existing cities throughout the region. Atlacuihuayan was probably founded by Tezozomoctli of Azcapotzalco when he installed one of his sons as its ruler.

(Additional information from Codex Chimalpahin Vol 1: Society and Politics in Mexico Tenochtitlan, Tlatelolco, Texcoco, Culhuacan, and Other Nahua Altepetl in Central Mexico, concerning the writings of seventeenth century Nahua historian Chimalpahin Cuauhtlehuanitzin, otherwise known as Don Domingo Francisco de Antón Muñón, (Eds) Arthur J O Anderson, Susan Schroeder, & Wayne Ruwet (1997), and from An Analytical Dictionary of Nahuatl, Frances E Karttunen.)

fl 1420s


Son of Tezozomoctli of Azcapotzalco.

1428 - 1520

The fate of Atlacuihuayan is not known, but following the defeat of Maxtla of Tepanec, the city is probably incorporated into the Aztec empire under Tenochtitlan's control.

Aztec human sacrifice
A depiction of human sacrifice, which was practised throughout the Aztec empire

1520 - 1521

Atlacuihuayan is conquered and is soon incorporated into the colonial administrative region of New Spain.