(953 words)

In the late 15th century the territory ruled by the Mesoamerican Aztecs extended from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. It was therefore the first large empire that the Spanish conquistadors made contact with in 1519 (Colonial empire, 3; Cultural contact, global). The migration myths of the Mexica, recorded in pictorial Aztec codices and in transcriptions of orally transmitted accounts, reveal the recent history of this Nahuatl-speaking ethnic group of immigrants from the north. The privations of their wanderings under the leaders…

Cite this page
Andreas Grünschloß, “Aztecs”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 21 March 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

▲   Back to top   ▲