The nation of the so-called Aztecs, or Tenocha Indians, was searching for a place to live for two hundred years, when finally they found their promised land where the eagle with a snake in its claw was sitting at the prickly pear cactus. As Diego Duran testifies, “in the year one thousand three hundred and eighteen after the birth of Our Redeemer Jesus Christ”ť, they began to build the capital of their future empire.
They were expanding their lands by artificial islands and tried their best to make as more units as possible with neighbor tribes ”“ not to fight as they did before. Among them there were people with great authority and respect who were like fathers of the nation and its guardians (Duran, 1994).
So subsequently they were ready to choose a king. The Aztecs believed in divine origin of some of their grand people, and among those there was a young man with good roots, Acamapichtli who y that time also had received high reputation due to his individual properties. In fact, he had no competitors, so he was appointed as a king by the common consent and began to rule the state (Carrasco, 1999).
As a result of such political decision, Tezozomoctli, the king of Tepanacs standing upon the Aztecs frightened his nation that the Aztecs in this way were getting stronger and became a serious threat to their prosperity. So he decided to make them pay twice more tribute “as a sign of subjection”ť, including maize, squash, beans, chiles, and amaranth. And they really did it, and made the King shocked and announce to his people, “I want you to realize that they are the chosen people of their god and that someday they will rule over all the nations of the earth”ť (Duran, 1994).
The King Acamapichtli reigned for forty years, and all this time the Aztecs were paying growing tributes earned by the sweat of their brows.
Their ruler promised it to the people that gods would generously pay back for their obedience and multiply their strength. Acamapichtli was a peaceful ruler; he was a creator, not destructor (Carrasco, 1999). He reigned in love and respect, “in peace, in quiet, in harmony. He built the city, organizing its houses, canals, and streets”ť, Diego Duran wrote (Duran, 1994). But the Aztecs were still under pressure, and even the king had not much to eat. In 1404 he died.
Then the Aztecs chose Huitzilihuitl as a king. In order to reduce the labors and pains of his people, he married the daughter of Tezozomoctli.
She gave him a son, and became a protector of the Aztecs before the face of her severe father. Huitzilihuitl was reigning in peace, enforcing the cults of gods, rising trade and commerce, pleasing all the guests and travelers within his domain, but at the same time the people were learning many activities connected with boats and lake on the whole, and it was underwater fighting in particular as they realized how false was friendship with the neighboring tribes. However, the next ruler, Chimalpopoca, was cruelly killed by the murderers of Tezozomoctli as he was seeing the Aztecs becoming stronger and impudent, so he had to frighten and demolish them. By the reign of Itzcoatl and his courageous nephew Tlacaelel the Aztecs were preparing revenge and studied the science of war thoroughly. Warriors were prepared for combat and soon the army of the Aztecs wiped the town of the Tepanacs out the face of the earth. By return they distributed lands among them and those lots became hereditary.
In this way, consequently, by the time Motecuhzoma Ilhuicamina came to power in 1440, the land of the Aztecs was differing much from that one of Acamapichtli. His warriors were fearless and merciless, and they were conquering the other tribes step by step and made them their vassals (Carrasco, 1999).
The King Motecuhzoma did much to frighten the enemies into obedience, and popularized the procedure of immolation. In particular, he ordered the stonecutters to find a big stone and carve a sun with rays on it in order to make blood of the offering kept in the depression and flow by rays. “This was a marvelous feat,”ť Duran claimed. “The amazing skill of these stone artisans is worth recording as is there special ability to shape large stones with smaller ones, creating small figures and large ones, producing the sort of realism that is achieved by an artist who uses a delicate brush or by a silversmith with a fine chisel”ť (Duran, 1994). Then all the lords of neighborhood were invited to be the spectators of an impressive ceremony of worshipping the sun. When the priests chose a man out of prisoners, they stretched him over the ceremonial stone and “the king lifted the knife on high and made a deep gash in the victim’s breast”ť, Duran described. “Having opened it, he extracted the heart and raised it up with his hand as an offering to the sun”ť (Duran, 1994). All the prisoners perished in this way. It is believed that this ritual had a political meaning aiming at psychological impact and demoralization of the guests.
Under the guidance of the King Motecuhzoma the Aztecs conquered Cuetlaxtla and entire province. And all the region became the subject of the Aztec crown paying tributes and obeying it faithfully.
Meanwhile Motecuhzoma provided serious social, political and administrative reforms inside his dominion. In particular, he introduced a strict social division of the people, so that common people could not even enter the royal palace otherwise they be killed. At that time the nobility was much richer than in the times of Acamapichtli, and they new their highly differentiated rights and priorities. Motecuhzoma issued a lot of laws, statutes and other legislative documents. Moreover, the King Motecuhzoma was really was anxious about culture and arts. There were schools of dancing and singing and special institutions where the young warriors learnt to use the weapon (Carrasco, 1999).
Now the nation of the Aztecs was rich and prosperous, not the slaves but the masters. They received much food and various devices, treasures and materials from conquered lands which were also to “show the magnificence and authority of the Aztec nation and so the Aztecs would be held to be the Lords of All Created Things, upon the waters as well as upon the earth,”ť Duran said (Duran, 1994). Besides, Motecuhzoma distributed knowledge on the history of the nation to enforce their glory and pride.
By all means Motecuhzoma concentrated military, religious, ideological, legislative and judicial power in his hands. In this way, he was totally not like Acamapichtli, the first king of the Aztecs. The latter was peaceful and pacific, taking effort for quiet life for his people.
Motecuhzoma was on the contrary warlike and merciless, strict to people inside and outside his land establishing order and strengthening the status of a sovereign with his specific unlimited rights. But both of them were wise and beloved by people and symbolize significant pages in the history of the Indies of New Spain.