In sum, what can we conclude about the fate of the Aztec gods? They did not want to kill them because they might be gods after all, but the Aztecs wanted them to move along. It is no small matter that the Mayan languages of the pre-Columbian and Contact periods have no category equivalent to our term ‘religion’ (Pharo 2007).Ideas that are generally understood to represent ‘Maya religion’ in the literature, such as gods or divine … Natives In The Americas During And After The Spanish Conquest The purpose of this paper is to compare two articles concerning the natives in the Americas during and after the Spanish conquest. (Click on image to enlarge), Pic 5: Boys sitting in front of their village schoolhouse. The transformed sorcerer, or nahualli mentioned above, flies about at night and sucks the blood from unsuspecting victims while they sleep. Robert Wauchope, gen. ed. It Sparked a Wave of Conquests . Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.• Gómez Martínez, Arturo. For some time, they had been wondering how to escape alive. (Click on image to enlarge), Pic 9: Contemporary Aztec ritual dedicated to the sun. (Click on image to enlarge), Pic 8: Boys playing marbles beside their houses. In 1st Jan, 1714, the Spanish king ordered the people of … The location of this valley and lake of destination is clear—it is the heart of modern Mexico City—but little can be known … The Aztec creator high god was Ometeotl (“Two-God”), whose wife was called Omecihuatl (“Two-Lady”). Among contemporary Aztecs, there are many terrifying spirits who threaten human beings and who trace directly back to their ancient ancestors. Most contemporary Aztec communities fall somewhere between these two extremes of religious belief and practice. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. They are truly precious twins. This article is part of our larger resource on Aztec civilization. When the Spanish returned, they were prepared. Another significant god for the ancients was Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl (“Wind-Quetzal Feathered Serpent”). The great temple at Tenochtitlán today, where temples to the gods Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc stood To summarize. Tlaneltokilli: La espiritualidad de los nahuas chicontepecanos. It was an empire that people from Europe had never seen before. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Pre-Columbian Aztec society was a highly complex and stratified society that developed among the Aztecs of central Mexico in the centuries prior to the Spanish conquest of Mexico, and which was built on the cultural foundations of the larger region of Mesoamerica.Politically, the society was organized into independent city … the most impressive and monumental Aztec architecture was to be found. (Click on image to enlarge), Pic 4: Contemporary Aztec woman seated inside her house embroidering a blouse with her daughter looking on. According to legend, the various groups who were to become the Aztecs arrived from the north into the Anahuac Valley around Lake Texcoco. Which feathers went into making headdresses? The Aztecs under Spanish rule were not allowed to practice their old religion and were expected, under penalty of law, to adopt the dominant Spanish Catholic religion. The leafy arch on the right has been constructed over a table representing the earth’s surface. The idea of malevolent, disease-causing winds is undoubtedly pre-Hispanic in origin. Ten years after the Aztec defeat in the year 1531, she appeared to a poor Aztec man named Juan Diego and promised to watch over his people. It seems likely that the god was created by Aztec priests in the cities out of many smaller gods that existed in the villages during the pre-Hispanic period. (Click on image to enlarge), Pic 19: (L) Chicken blood is sprinkled on paper images of spirits associated with crop fertility and growth. Both ancient and contemporary Aztecs love to use words with more than one meaning and the name Quetzalcoatl is a good example of this practice. Here are some of the many consequences of the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs and their lands. 395-446. The sun was sacred to the ancient Aztecs, and over the years they simply combined this idea with the new sacred figure of Jesus brought by the Europeans. For the contemporary Aztecs, Sahua (“San Juan” or “Saint John the Baptist”) has replaced Tlaloc. In 1st Jan, 1519, Hernan Cortes tried to conquer the Aztec empire with 500 men. Among contemporary Aztecs, Tlacatecolotl and his wife Tlacatecolotl Sihuatl (“Owl-Man Woman”) are frightening creatures who sometimes lead the souls of the dead in Mictlan (“Place of the Dead”) [see photographs 20-21]. The Spanish conquest was devastating to the Aztec people.By 1680, 94% of the Aztec … It was merely a new European society founded upon the skeleton of the former empire. Contemporary Aztec (Nahua) villages vary enormously in the degree to which they continue to practice the ancient religion and follow the old gods. In 1st Apr, 1519, Hernan Cortes started conquering. When speaking Spanish, the people call the sun Jesús (Jesus), providing an example of how ancient ideas are combined with Spanish sacred figures in the contemporary religion. The ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan is the source of a flood of fascinating history. It is important to remember that the Spaniards and literate Aztecs who chronicled the ancient civilization wrote about people in the cities. Picture 1 shows Aztecs growing crops to sell with other colonies. These latter are called malos aires (“bad airs”) in Spanish, and each of the many types of wind spirits is called ejecatl in the modern Nahuatl spelling. One Minute History - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQNIJBgSm5lg0mGTGn19EIQ The supreme leader of Mictlan in ancient times was Mictlantecuhtli (“Lord of the Place of the Dead”) who finds his contemporary counterpart in the figure of Miquilistli (“Death”) represented in cut paper as a human skeleton. Columbus had landed at San Salvador and e… Others follow traditions that are firmly rooted in the ancient Aztec past and hold beliefs in the same gods worshiped by their ancestors. Firewood for the cooking fire is stacked to the right and some of the family clothing is hanging against the house on the left. The image to the right depicts the smallpox epidemic. “Religion in Pre-Hispanic Central Mexico.” In Handbook of Middle American Indians, vol. Corn is Our Blood: Culture and Ethnic Identity in a Contemporary Aztec Indian Village. (Click on image to enlarge), Pic 20: Close-up of curing altar showing blackened images of Owl Man and Owl Man Woman with cigarettes in their mouths as a tobacco offering. The loss of people in a loss that can't be calculated. Next to him is his son’s wife, a grandson (the girl’s brother), and his own son. Aztec people valued trade in the economy to stimulate the economy. Syncretism is not unique to the Aztecs but is characteristic of all religions in the world. This is the true story of the ancient Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. : Conaculta, Programa de Desarrollo Cultural de la Huasteca.• Nicholson, Henry B. (Click on image to enlarge), Pic 10: Contemporary Aztec altar constructed as part of a pilgrimage to a sacred mountain. Some apparently have disappeared completely or their identities blended with other deities so that today they are unrecognizable as separate deities. Cortés was born in 1485 in Medellín, Spain. Many people living in Aztec villages today venerate spirits of the seeds and, not surprisingly considering its importance in the diet, maize seeds are usually considered to be the most important. México, D.F. They conceive of her as a woman with long hair and a fish tail in place of her legs and she resembles a mermaid. She has come down to us as the Virgin of Guadalupe and many consider her to be the patron saint of all Mexico. He is believed to have a ferocious temper and lives at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. There are many mixed feelings about the impact of the Spaniards in the new world. Were Aztec laments mere cries of anguish? (Click on image to enlarge), Pic 15: Close-up of paper images of Grandfather and Grandmother earth spirits without their cloth costumes. Aztec spies reported that these men were called Spaniards. The god existed in many forms and, much like Quetzalcoatl, probably represents a combination of several lesser deities that were venerated in the villages. Aztecs and Spaniards alike possessed a clearly defined cultural framework within which they oriented themselves to nature, themselves, and the uni- 526 Little did the residents of the massive Inca empire know that they would soon be learning Spanish in Peru. (Click on image to enlarge), Pic 18: Close-up of paper images of seed spirits. (Click on image to enlarge), Pic 13: Participants construct an altar dedicated to rain spirits part way up a perilously steep sacred mountain. Once again, we can see that an ancient Aztec deity, combined with European religious ideas, continues to be worshiped by fervent followers in a new form [see photograph 16]. He became fascinated with tales of Christopher Columbus' New World explorations. Corn is Our Blood: Culture and Ethnic Identity in a Contemporary Aztec Indian Village. Within two years, the Spanish invaders had taken down the most powerful city-state in Mesoamerica, and the implications were not lost on the remaining city-states in the region. Good winds bring the life-giving rain, while dangerous bad winds cause disease among people. (Click on image to enlarge), Pic 14: Close-up of dressed paper images of Grandfather and Grandmother, the sacred aspects of the earth. It is also important to remember that the Spanish conquerors did everything they could to destroy the Aztec religion, which they believed was created by the devil. Among the contemporary Aztecs in the Huasteca region of Mexico, the maize spirit is called Seven-Flower and he has a twin sister called Five-Flower. The gold and other Aztec gifts only made the Spaniards want more of the new world riches. In the news - the gender pay gap in colonial Mexico. Traditional Papermaking and Paper Cult Figures of Mexico. So what happened to the Aztec gods after the conquest? Most people think of the Aztecs as the people who created the magnificent civilization in Mexico that was brought down by the Spaniards and their Native American allies in the early 1500s. 7, Fekri A. Hassan, editor-in-chief. Earth gods under many different names and forms were important deities for the ancient Aztecs. Many of the remaining gods continue to be venerated but they may in fact be blends of different Aztec deities, or ancient gods combined with sacred figures from Spanish Catholicism. After their hearts were extracted and given to the gods, their bodies were thrown down into the plaza. Superior weaponry and a devastating smallpox outbreak enabled the Spanish to conquer the city. (1), Toci - an aspect of the Great Mother Earth Goddess, Pic 1: Contemporary Aztec village showing houses of extended family (Click on image to enlarge), Pic 2: Contemporary Aztec thatch-roofed house. There was sporadic fighting for decades to come, but in effect, the conquest was a done … The sun was sacred to the ancient Aztecs, and over the years they simply combined this idea with the new sacred figure of Jesus brought by the Europeans. After a three-month siege, Spanish forces under Hernán Cortés capture Tenochtitlán, the capital of the Aztec empire. Many Spanish priests also studied the Aztecs during the years immediately following the Conquest, and wrote manuscripts known as codices. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. The Spanish Conquest impacted the Aztec society’s beliefs and way of life. A key god among the ancient Aztecs was the all-powerful, ever-changing, and mysterious Tezcatlipoca (“Mirror-Smoking”). Experts give their opinions on the Spanish Conquest, Visit the only royal chocolate kitchen in Britain. This description is based primarily on written documents from the 16th century but also includes some archaeological data. 2002. The Codex Borgia (on the left) was written before the Spanish conquest of the Mexicas. After the Spanish Conquest, many Spanish priests and friars learned enough of the Aztec’s language to talk with Aztec survivors of the battles and diseases. Yet Gibson consulted only Spanish … It was created in the 16th century by Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagun and a group of … Ultimately, there was no Aztec society left after 1521. In contemporary Aztec villages, this deity still exists in its original, but fragmentary, form. were defined in both Aztec and Spanish traditions. In some cases they have remained remarkably intact while in others they have been combined with other pre-Hispanic deities or with sacred Christian figures brought to Mexico by the Spaniards. Interesting Facts about the Spanish Conquest of the Aztecs Cortés became worried that some of his crew would steal his ships and desert him so he sunk his fleet before marching to Tenochtitlan. Some Aztec institutions, such as the military orders, were immediately abolished by the Spaniards; and the sources, therefore. There's little doubt that the ritual Aztec sacrifice contributed to the fall of the Aztec Empire, and in more ways than one. (Click on image to enlarge), Pic 11: A woman shows the paper image of Water Dweller that has been placed before the main altar in a water pot. Dangerous ejecatl wind spirits mentioned above in connection with Quetzalcoatl, are believed by contemporary Aztecs to be the wandering spirts of people who died premature or particularly unpleasant deaths. The Aztec empire was a wealthy and a well-organized society. First, killing thousands of people, whether you or your neighbours, simply can't be good for a society. The arch represents the celestial realm, decorated with pinwheels representing stars. Battle of Tenochtitlan (May 22–August 13, 1521), military engagement between the Aztecs and a coalition of Spanish and indigenous combatants commanded by Hernan Cortes. In general, the conquest displayed the impact of European exploration on the New World and the outcomes of the Age of Exploration.At the time of contact both the Aztec and the Spanish … Gordon F. Ekholm and Ignacio Bernal, eds., pp. There was a strong emphasis on the worship of Huitzilopochtli. Thousands of adventurous young Europeans - not only Spanish - heard tales of the great riches of the Aztec … The first article is, The Pristine Myth: The Landscape of the Americas in 1492 by William M. Denevan who is a geography … Laid on paper “beds” are colorful images of disease-causing wind spirits. One earth-related god among the ancients was Tonantzin (“Our Sacred Mother”), and she continues to be one of the most powerful deities among present-day Aztecs. 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