History Files


The Americas

Central American Native Kingdoms




Tlacopan / Tacuba (Aztecs)

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. Tlacopan was founded about 1400 by Tezozomoctli 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), from An Analytical Dictionary of Nahuatl, Frances E Karttunen, and from External Link: Aztec History.)

c.1400 - 1430


Son of Tezozomoctli of Azcapotzalco.


The kings of Tenochtitlan are crowned in accompaniment with the subjugated Tetzcoco and the ruler of Tlacopan, members of the Triple Alliance which forms the Aztec empire. In the late 1420s and 1430s, the Triple Alliance defeats many cities, including Tepanec (1428), and Culhuacan. Totoquilhuaztli takes the title Tepaneca tecuhtli, 'Lord of the Tepanecs', and twenty per cent of the territory captured by the alliance goes to Tlacopan. Other cities have either already joined the alliance through marriage - including Itztapalapan - or treaty, or they now quickly do so.

Tlacopan palace glyph
The palace glyph for Tlacopan as displayed in the Codex Osuna

1430 - 1469


1469 - ?


1503 - 1521


Died 1525.

1520 - 1521

Tlacopan is conquered and is soon incorporated into the colonial administrative region of New Spain. Tetlepanquetzal is taken to Honduras by Hernan Cortes, the new ruler of Mexico City and is hanged there.

Over subsequent centuries, the city expands to encompass the former site of Tlacopan, which today lies in the Mexican borough of Miguel Hidalgo.