The Aztec Empire, or the Triple Alliance, began as an alliance of three Nahua altepetl city-states: Mexico-Tenochtitlan and Tlacopan. These three city-states ruled the area in and around the Valley of Mexico from 1428 until the combined forces of the Spanish conquistadores and their native allies under Hernán Cortés defeated them in 1521; the Triple Alliance was formed from the victorious factions in a civil war fought between the city of Azcapotzalco and its former tributary provinces. Despite the initial conception of the empire as an alliance of three self-governed city-states, Tenochtitlan became dominant militarily. By the time the Spanish arrived in 1519, the lands of the Alliance were ruled from Tenochtitlan, while the other partners in the alliance had taken subsidiary roles; the alliance waged wars of conquest and expanded after its formation. At its height, the alliance controlled most of central Mexico as well as some more distant territories within Mesoamerica, such as the Xoconochco province, an Aztec exclave near the present-day Guatemalan border.
Aztec rule has been described by scholars as "hegemonic" or "indirect". The Aztecs left rulers of conquered cities in power so long as they agreed to pay semi-annual tribute to the Alliance, as well as supply military forces when needed for the Aztec war efforts. In return, the imperial authority offered protection and political stability, facilitated an integrated economic network of diverse lands and peoples who had significant local autonomy; the state religion of the empire was polytheistic, worshiping a diverse pantheon that included dozens of deities. Many had recognized cults large enough so that the deity was represented in the central temple precinct of the capital Tenochtitlan; the imperial cult was that of Huitzilopochtli, the distinctive warlike patron god of the Mexica. Peoples in conquered provinces were allowed to retain and continue their own religious traditions, so long as they added the imperial god Huitzilopochtli to their local pantheons; the word "Aztec" in modern usage would not have been used by the people themselves.
It has variously been used to refer to the Triple Alliance empire, the Nahuatl-speaking people of central Mexico prior to the Spanish conquest, or the Mexica ethnicity of the Nahuatl-speaking peoples. The name comes from a Nahuatl word meaning "people from Aztlan," reflecting the mythical place of origin for Nahua peoples. For the purpose of this article, "Aztec" refers only to those cities that constituted or were subject to the Triple Alliance. For the broader use of the term, see the article on Aztec civilization. Nahua peoples descended from Chichimec peoples who migrated to central Mexico from the north in the early 13th century; the migration story of the Mexica is similar to those of other polities in central Mexico, with supernatural sites and events, joining earthly and divine history as they sought political legitimacy. According to the pictographic codices in which the Aztecs recorded their history, the place of origin was called Aztlán. Early migrants settled the Basin of Mexico and surrounding lands by establishing a series of independent city-states.
These early Nahua city-states or altepetl, were ruled by dynastic heads called tlahtohqueh. Most of the existing settlements had been established by other indigenous peoples before the Mexica migration; these early city-states fought various small-scale wars with each other, but due to shifting alliances, no individual city gained dominance. The Mexica were the last of the Nahua migrants to arrive in Central Mexico, they entered the Basin of Mexico around the year 1250 AD, by most of the good agricultural land had been claimed. The Mexica persuaded the king of Culhuacan, a small city-state but important as a refuge of the Toltecs, to allow them to settle in a infertile patch of land called Chapultepec; the Mexica served as mercenaries for Culhuacan. After the Mexica served Culhuacan in battle, the ruler appointed one of his daughters to rule over the Mexica. According to mythological native accounts, the Mexica instead sacrificed her by flaying her skin, on the command of their god Xipe Totec.
When the ruler of Culhuacan learned of this, he attacked and used his army to drive the Mexica from Tizaapan by force. The Mexica moved to an island in the middle of Lake Texcoco, where an eagle nested on a nopal cactus; the Mexica interpreted this as a sign from their gods and founded their new city, Tenochtitlan, on this island in the year ōme calli, or "Two House". The Mexica rose to prominence as fierce warriors and were able to establish themselves as a military power; the importance of warriors and the integral nature of warfare in Mexica political and religious life helped propel them to emerge as the dominant military power prior to the arrival of the Spanish in 1519. The new Mexica city-state allied with the city of Azcapotzalco and paid tribute to its ruler, Tezozomoc. With Mexica assistance, Azcopotzalco began to expand into a small tributary empire; until this point, the Mexica ruler was not recognized as a legitimate king. Mexica leaders petitioned one of the kings of Culhuacan to provide a daughter to marry into the Mexica line.
Their son, was enthroned as the first tlatoani of Tenochtitlan in the year 1372. While the Tepanecs of Azcapotzalco expanded their rule with help from the Mexica, the Acolhua city of Texcoco grew in power in the eastern portion of the lake basin. War erupted between the two states, the Mexica played a vital role in the conquest of Texcoco. By Tenochtitlan had grown into a m
Nahuatl, known as Aztec, is a language or group of languages of the Uto-Aztecan language family. Varieties of Nahuatl are spoken by about 1.7 million Nahua peoples, most of whom live in central Mexico. Nahuatl has been spoken in central Mexico since at least the seventh century CE, it was the language of the Aztecs, who dominated what is now central Mexico during the Late Postclassic period of Mesoamerican history. During the centuries preceding the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, the Aztecs had expanded to incorporate a large part of central Mexico, their influence caused the variety of Nahuatl spoken by the residents of Tenochtitlan to become a prestige language in Mesoamerica. At the conquest, with the introduction of the Latin alphabet, Nahuatl became a literary language, many chronicles, works of poetry, administrative documents and codices were written in it during the 16th and 17th centuries; this early literary language based on the Tenochtitlan variety has been labeled Classical Nahuatl, is among the most studied and best-documented languages of the Americas.
Today, Nahuan languages are spoken in scattered communities in rural areas throughout central Mexico and along the coastline. There are considerable differences among varieties, some are not mutually intelligible. Huasteca Nahuatl, with over one million speakers, is the most-spoken variety. All varieties have been subject to varying degrees of influence from Spanish. No modern Nahuan languages are identical to Classical Nahuatl, but those spoken in and around the Valley of Mexico are more related to it than those on the periphery. Under Mexico's General Law of Linguistic Rights of the Indigenous Peoples promulgated in 2003, Nahuatl and the other 63 indigenous languages of Mexico are recognized as lenguas nacionales in the regions where they are spoken, enjoying the same status as Spanish within their regions. Nahuan languages exhibit a complex morphology characterized by polysynthesis and agglutination. Through a long period of coexistence with the other indigenous Mesoamerican languages, they have absorbed many influences, coming to form part of the Mesoamerican language area.
Many words from Nahuatl have been borrowed into Spanish and, from there, were diffused into hundreds of other languages. Most of these loanwords denote things indigenous to central Mexico which the Spanish heard mentioned for the first time by their Nahuatl names. English words of Nahuatl origin include "avocado", "chayote", "chili", "chocolate", "atlatl", "coyote", "peyote", "axolotl" and "tomato"; as a language label, the term "Nahuatl" encompasses a group of related languages or divergent dialects within the Nahuan branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family. The Mexican Instituto Nacional de Lenguas Indígenas recognizes 30 individual varieties within the "language group" labeled Nahuatl; the Ethnologue recognizes 28 varieties with separate ISO codes. Sometimes the label is used to include the Pipil language of El Salvador. Regardless of whether "Nahuatl" is considered to label a dialect continuum or a group of separate languages, the varieties form a single branch within the Uto-Aztecan family, descended from a single Proto-Nahuan language.
Within Mexico, the question of whether to consider individual varieties to be languages or dialects of a single language is political. This article focuses on describing the general history of the group and on giving an overview of the diversity it encompasses. For details on individual varieties or subgroups, see the individual articles. In the past, the branch of Uto-Aztecan to which Nahuatl belongs has been called "Aztecan". From the 1990s onward, the alternative designation "Nahuan" has been used as a replacement in Spanish-language publications; the Nahuan branch of Uto-Aztecan is accepted as having two divisions: "General Aztec" and Pochutec. General Aztec encompasses the Pipil languages. Pochutec is a scantily attested language, which became extinct in the 20th century, which Campbell and Langacker classify as being outside of general Aztec. Other researchers have argued that Pochutec should be considered a divergent variant of the western periphery."Nahuatl" denotes at least Classical Nahuatl together with related modern languages spoken in Mexico.
The inclusion of Pipil into the group is debated. Lyle Campbell classified Pipil as separate from the Nahuatl branch within general Aztecan, whereas dialectologists like Una Canger, Karen Dakin, Yolanda Lastra and Terrence Kaufman have preferred to include Pipil within the General Aztecan branch, citing close historical ties with the eastern peripheral dialects of General Aztec. Current subclassification of Nahuatl rests on research by Canger and Lastra de Suárez. Canger introduced the scheme of a Central grouping and two Peripheral groups, Lastra confirmed this notion, differing in some details. Canger & Dakin demonstrated a basic split between Eastern and Western branches of Nahuan, considered to reflect the oldest division of the proto-Nahuan speech community. Canger considered the central dialect area to be an innovative subarea within the Western branch, but in 2011, she suggested that it arose as an urban koiné language with features from both Western and Eastern dialect areas. Canger tentatively included dialects of La Huasteca in the Central group, while Lastra de Suárez places them in the Eastern Periphery, followed by Kaufman.
The terminology used to describe varieties of spoken Nahuatl is inconsistently applied. Many terms are used with multiple denotations, or a single dialect grou
The Toltec culture is an archaeological Mesoamerican culture that dominated a state centered in Tula, Mexico in the early post-classic period of Mesoamerican chronology. The Aztec culture saw the Toltecs as their intellectual and cultural predecessors and described Toltec culture emanating from Tōllān as the epitome of civilization; the Aztec oral and pictographic tradition described the history of the Toltec Empire, giving lists of rulers and their exploits. Modern scholars debate whether the Aztec narratives of Toltec history should be given credence as descriptions of actual historical events. While all scholars acknowledge that there is a large mythological part of the narrative, some maintain that by using a critical comparative method some level of historicity can be salvaged from the sources. Others maintain that continued analysis of the narratives as sources of actual history is futile and hinders access to actual knowledge of the culture of Tula de Allende. Other controversies relating to the Toltecs include the question of how best to understand the reasons behind the perceived similarities in architecture and iconography between the archaeological site of Tula and the Maya site of Chichén Itzá.
No consensus has yet emerged about the direction of influence between these two sites. Another source of controversy is that New Age authors such as Carlos Castaneda and Don Miguel Ruiz falsely claim they represent "Toltec" teachings. For these New Age impersonations see Toltec; some archaeologists, such as Richard Diehl, argue for the existence of a Toltec archaeological horizon characterized by certain stylistic traits associated with Tula and extending to other cultures and polities in Mesoamerica. Traits associated with this horizon are: The Mixteca-Puebla style of iconography, Tohil plumbate ceramic ware and Silho or X-Fine Orange Ware ceramics; the presence of stylistic traits associated with Tula in Chichén Itzá is taken as evidence for a Toltec horizon. The nature of interaction between Tula and Chichén Itzá has been controversial with scholars arguing for either military conquest of Chichén Itzá by Toltecs, Chichén Itzá establishing Tula as a colony or only loose connections between the two.
The existence of any meaning of the Mixteca-Puebla art style has been questioned. A contrary viewpoint is argued in a 2003 study by Michael E. Smith and Lisa Montiel who compare the archaeological record related to Tula Hidalgo to those of the polities centered in Teotihuacan and Tenochtitlan, they conclude that relative to the influence exerted in Mesoamerica by Teotihuacan and Tenochtitlan, Tula's influence on other cultures was negligible and was not deserving of being defined as an empire, but more of a kingdom. While Tula does have the urban complexity expected of an imperial capital, its influence and dominance was not far reaching. Evidence for Tula's participation in extensive trade networks has been uncovered; the debate about the nature of the Toltec culture goes back to the late 19th century. Mesoamericanist scholars such as Veitia, Manuel Orozco y Berra, Charles Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg, Francisco Clavigero all read the Aztec chronicles and believed them to be realistic historic descriptions of a pan-Mesoamerican empire based at Tula, Hidalgo.
This historicist view was first challenged by Daniel Garrison Brinton who argued that the "Toltecs" as described in the Aztec sources were one of several Nahuatl-speaking city-states in the Postclassic period, not a influential one at that. He attributed the Aztec view of the Toltecs to the "tendency of the human mind to glorify the good old days", the confounding of the place of Tollan with the myth of the struggle between Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca. Désiré Charnay, the first archaeologist to work at Tula, defended the historicist views based on his impression of the Toltec capital, was the first to note similarities in architectural styles between Tula and Chichén Itza; this led him to posit the theory that Chichén Itzá had been violently taken over by a Toltec military force under the leadership of Kukulcan. Following Charnay the term Toltec has since been associated with the influx of certain Central Mexican cultural traits into the Maya sphere of dominance that took place in the late Classic and early Postclassic periods.
The historicist school of thought persisted well in to the 20th century, represented in the works of scholars such as David Carrasco, Miguel León Portilla, Nigel Davies and H. B. Nicholson, which all held the Toltecs to have been an actual ethnic group; this school of thought connected the "Toltecs" to the archaeological site of Tula, taken to be the Tollan of Aztec myth. This tradition assumes that much of central Mexico was dominated by a Toltec Empire between the 10th and 12th century AD; the Aztecs referred to several Mexican city states as Tollan, "Place of Reeds", such as "Tollan Cholollan". Archaeologist Laurette Sejourné, followed by the historian Enrique Florescano, have argued that the "original" Tollan was Teotihuacán. Florescano adds that the Mayan sources refer to Chichén Itzá when talking about the mythical place Zuyua. Many historicists such as H. B. Nicholson and Nigel Davies were aware that the Aztec chronicles were a mixture of mythical and historical accounts.
Aztlán is the ancestral home of the Aztec peoples. Aztecah is the Nahuatl word for "people from Aztlan". Aztlan is mentioned in several ethnohistorical sources dating from the colonial period, each of them give different lists of the different tribal groups who participated in the migration from Aztlan to central Mexico, but the Mexica who went on to found Mexico-Tenochtitlan are mentioned in all of the accounts. Historians have speculated about the possible location of Aztlan and tend to place it either in northwestern Mexico or the southwest US, although there are doubts about whether the place is purely mythical or represents a historical reality. Nahuatl legends relate that seven tribes lived in Chicomoztoc, or "the place of the seven caves"; each cave represented a different Nahua group: the Xochimilca, Acolhua, Tepaneca and Aztec. Because of their common linguistic origin, those groups are called collectively "Nahuatlaca"; these tribes subsequently settled "near" Aztlán. The various descriptions of Aztlán contradict each other.
While some legends describe Aztlán as a paradise, the Codex Aubin says that the Aztecs were subject to a tyrannical elite called the Azteca Chicomoztoca. Guided by their priest, the Aztec fled, and, on the road, their god Huitzilopochtli forbade them to call themselves Azteca, telling them that they should be known as Mexica. Scholars of the 19th century—in particular Alexander von Humboldt and William H. Prescott—translated the word Azteca, as is shown in the Aubin Codex to Aztec; some say that the southward migration began on May 24, 1064 CE, after the Crab Nebula events from May to July 1054. Each of the seven groups is credited with founding a different major city-state in Central Mexico. A 2004 translation of the Anales de Tlatelolco gives the only date known related to the exit from Aztlan. Cristobal del Castillo mentions in his book "Fragmentos de la Obra General Sobre Historia de los Mexicanos", that the lake around the Aztlan island was called Metztliapan or "Lake of the moon." While Aztlán has many trappings of myth, similar to Tamoanchan, Chicomoztoc and Cibola, archaeologists have nonetheless attempted to identify a geographic place of origin for the Mexica.
Friar Diego Durán, who chronicled the history of the Aztecs, wrote of Aztec emperor Moctezuma I's attempt to recover the history of the Mexica by congregating warriors and wise men on an expedition to locate Aztlán. According to Durán, the expedition was successful in finding a place that offered characteristics unique to Aztlán. However, his accounts were written shortly after the conquest of Tenochtitlan and before an accurate mapping of the American continent was made; the meaning of the name Aztlan is uncertain. One suggested meaning is "place of Herons" or "place of egrets"—the explanation given in the Crónica Mexicáyotl—but this is not possible under Nahuatl morphology: "place of egrets" is Aztatlan. Other proposed derivations include "place of whiteness" and "at the place in the vicinity of tools", sharing the āz- element of words such as teponāztli, "drum"; the concept of Aztlán as the place of origin of the pre-Columbian Mexican civilization has become a symbol for various Mexican nationalist and indigenous movements.
In 1969 the notion of Aztlan was introduced by the poet Alurista at the National Chicano Youth Liberation Conference held in Denver, Colorado by the Crusade for Justice. There he read a poem, which has come to be known as the preamble to El Plan de Aztlan or as "El Plan Espiritual de Aztlan" due to its poetic aesthetic. For Chicanas/os, Aztlan refers to the Mexican territories annexed by the United States as a result of the Mexican–American War of 1846-1848. Aztlán became a symbol for mestizo activists who believe they have a legal and primordial right to the land. In order to exercise this right, some members of the Chicano movement propose that a new nation be created, a República del Norte. Aztlán is the name of the Chicano studies journal published out of the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center. Brown Berets La Raza Unida MEChA Nation of Aztlán Plan Espiritual de Aztlán Raza Unida Party Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute, which demands self-determination for indigenous nations of all countries, as well as the immediate granting of self-determination of internally colonized nations of the US, up to and including secession.
Freedom Road Socialist Organization, which calls for self-determination for the Chicano nation in Aztlan up to and including the right to secession. A prominent advocate of Aztlán was Professor Charles Truxillo of the University of New Mexico, who envisioned a sovereign Hispanic nation called the República del Norte that encompassed the Northern Mexico, Baja California, Arizona, New Mexico and southern Colorado. Truxillo stated that he did not like the terms'Hispanic' or'Latino', saying that they are racist, stating that American society is meant to conquer and divide, preferred Norteño or Indio-Hispano. Truxillo, who taught at UNM's Chicano Studies Program on a yearly contract, stated in an interview that "Native-born American Hispanics feel like strangers in their own land. We remain subordinated. We have a negative image of our own culture, created by the media. Self-loathing is a terrible form of oppressi
Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire
The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, or the Spanish–Mexica War, was the conquest of the Aztec Empire by the Spanish Empire within the context of the Spanish colonization of the Americas. There are multiple 16th-century narratives of the events by Spanish conquerors, their indigenous allies and the defeated Aztecs, it was not a contest between a small contingent of Spaniards defeating the Aztec Empire but rather the creation of a coalition of Spanish invaders with tributaries to the Aztecs, most the Aztecs' indigenous enemies and rivals. They combined forces to defeat the Mexica of Tenochtitlan over a two-year period. For the Spanish, the expedition to Mexico was part of a project of Spanish colonization of the New World after twenty-five years of permanent Spanish settlement and further exploration in the Caribbean. Following an earlier expedition led by Juan de Grijalva to Yucatán in 1517, Spanish settler, Hernán Cortés, led an expedition to Mexico. Two years in 1519, Cortés and his retinue set sail from Cuba for Mexico.
The Spanish campaign against the Aztec Empire had its final victory on August 13, 1521, when a coalition army of Spanish forces and native Tlaxcalan warriors led by Cortés and Xicotencatl the Younger captured the emperor Cuauhtemoc and Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire. The fall of Tenochtitlan marks the beginning of Spanish rule in central Mexico, they established their capital of Mexico City on the ruins of Tenochtitlan. Cortés made alliances with tributaries city-states of the Aztec Empire as well as their political rivals the Tlaxcalteca and Texcocans, a former partner in the Aztec Triple Alliance. Other city-states joined, including Cempoala and Huexotzinco and polities bordering Lake Texcoco, the inland lake system of the Valley of Mexico. Important to the Spanish success was a multilingual indigenous slave woman, known to the Spanish conquistadors as Doña Marina, as La Malinche. After eight months of battles and negotiations, which overcame the diplomatic resistance of the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II to his visit, Cortés arrived in Tenochtitlan on November 8, 1519, where he took up residence with fellow Spaniards and their indigenous allies.
When news reached Cortés of the death of several of his men during the Aztec attack on the Totonacs in Veracruz, he took Moctezuma captive, along with Cuitláhuac, his kinsman. Capturing the cacique or indigenous ruler was standard operating procedure for Spaniards in their expansion in the Caribbean, so capturing Moctezuma had considerable precedent; when Cortés left Tenochtitlan to return to the coast and deal with the expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez, sent to rein in Cortés's expedition that had exceeded its specified limits, Cortés's right-hand man Pedro de Alvarado was left in charge. Alvarado allowed a significant Aztec feast to be celebrated in Tenochtitlan and on the pattern of the earlier massacre in Cholula, closed off the square and massacred the celebrating Aztec noblemen; the official biography of Cortés by Francisco López de Gómara contains a description of the massacre. The Alvarado massacre at the Main Temple of Tenochtitlan precipitated rebellion by the population of the city.
Moctezuma was killed. According to one account, when Moctezuma, now seen by the population as a mere puppet of the invading Spaniards, attempted to calm the outraged populace, he was killed by a projectile. According to an indigenous account, the Spanish killed Moctezuma. Cortés had returned to Tenochtitlan and his men fled the capital city during the Noche Triste in June 1520; the Spanish and reinforcements returned a year on August 13, 1521 to a civilization, weakened by famine and smallpox. This made it easier to conquer the remaining Aztecs. Many of those on the Cortés expedition of 1519 had never seen combat before, including Cortés. A whole generation of Spaniards participated in expeditions in the Caribbean and Tierra Firme, learning strategy and tactics of successful enterprises; the Spanish conquest of Mexico had antecedents with established practices. The fall of the Aztec Empire was the key event in the formation of the Spanish Empire overseas, with New Spain, which became Mexico. Historical sources for the conquest of Mexico recount some of the same events in both Spanish and indigenous sources.
Others, are unique to a particular primary source or group narrating the event. Individuals and groups laud their own accomplishments, while denigrating or ignoring those of their opponents or their allies or both. 1428 – Creation of the Triple Alliance of Tenochtitlan and Tlacopan 1492-3 – Columbus reaches the Caribbean. One of the enslaved Nahua woman (known as La Malinche, Doña Marina
Name of Mexico
Several hypotheses seek to explain the origin of the name "Mexico", which dates back to 14th century Mesoamerica. The Nahuatl word Mexico means place of the Mexica but the ethnonym Mexicatl itself is of unknown etymology. An alternate possibility is that the name may come from the word mexixin, a cress that grew in the swamplands of Lake Texcoco, it was an edible grass that the Aztecs or Mexica survived on as they settled where today lies México City. The country México did not name its capital after itself, as in Mexico City—the accepted name internationally—but the converse applies. Before Spanish times, the capital was formally named Tenochtitlan, but was the seat of the Mexica Empire, known as the Aztec Empire; as far back as 1590, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum showed that the northern part of the New World was known as "America Mexicana", as Mexico City was the seat for the New Spain viceroyalty. New Spain is mistaken as the old name for Mexico, rather than the name of a large expanse of land which covered much of North America and included the Caribbean and the Philippines.
Since New Spain was not a state or a contiguous piece of land, in modern times it would have been a jurisdiction under the command of the authorities in modern Mexico City. Under the Spaniards, Mexico was both the name of the capital and its sphere of influence, most of which exists as Greater Mexico City and the State of Mexico; some parts of Puebla and Hidalgo were part of Spanish-era Mexico. In 1821, the continental part of New Spain seceded from Spain during the Trienio Liberal, in which Agustin de Iturbide marched triumphantly with his Army of the Three Guarantees; this was followed by the birth of the short-lived First Mexican Empire that used the "Mexico" name according to the convention used by Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire, whereby the capital gives rise to the name of the Empire. This was the first recorded use of "Mexico" as a country title. After the Empire fell and the Republic was established in 1824, a Federation name form was adopted; the Mexican name stuck, leading to the formation of the Mexican Republic which formally is known as the United Mexican States.
Complications arose with the capital's former colloquial and semi-official name "Ciudad de Mexico, Distrito Federal", which appears on postal addresses and is cited in the media, thus creating a duplication whereas the shortened name was "Mexico, D. F. Mexico"; the name was Distrito Federal. This ended with the change in statute of Mexico City into a state in 2016. Today it is called "Ciudad de México, México" abbreviated CDMX, Mexico; the official name of the country is the "United Mexican States", since it is a federation of thirty-two states. The official name was first used in the Constitution of 1824, was retained in the constitutions of 1857 and 1917. Informally, "Mexico" is used along with "Mexican Republic". On 22 November 2012, outgoing Mexican President Felipe Calderón proposed changing the official name of the country to México. Anahuac was the name in Nahuatl given to; when the Spanish conquistadors besieged México-Tenochtitlan in 1521, it was completely destroyed. It was rebuilt during the following three years, after which it was designated as a municipality and capital of the vice-royalty of New Spain.
In 1524 the municipality of Mexico City was established, known as México Tenustitlan, as of 1585 became known as Ciudad de México. The name Mexico was used only to refer to the city, to a province within New Spain, it was not until the independence of the vice-royalty of New Spain that "Mexico" became the traditional and conventional short-form name of the country. During the 1810s, different insurgent groups advocated and fought for the independence of the vice-royalty of New Spain; this vast territory was composed of different intendencias and provinces, successors of the kingdoms and captaincies general administered by the vice-regal capital of Mexico City. In 1813, the deputies of the Congress of Anahuac signed the document Acta Solemne de la Declaración de Independencia de la América Septentrional. In 1814 the Supreme Congress of the revolutionary forces that met at Apatzingán drafted the first constitution, in 1814 whereby the name América Mexicana was chosen for the country; the head of the insurgent forces, was defeated by the royalist forces, the constitution was never enacted.
Servando Teresa de Mier, in a treatise written in 1820 in which he discussed the reasons why New Spain was the only overseas territory of Spain that had not yet secured its independence, chose the term Anáhuac to refer to the country. This term, in Nahuatl, was used by the Mexica to refer to the territory. According to some linguists, it means "near or surrounded by waters" in reference to Lake Texcoco though it was the word used to refer to the world or the terrestrial universe and in which their capital, Mexico-Tenochtitlan, was at the centre and at the same time at the centre of the waters, being built on an island in a lake. In September 1821, the independence of Mexico was recognized by Spain, achieved through an alliance of royalist and revolutionary forces; the former tried to preserve the status quo of the vice-royalty, menaced by the liberal r
Alexander von Humboldt
Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt was a Prussian polymath, naturalist and influential proponent of Romantic philosophy and science. He was the younger brother of the Prussian minister and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt. Humboldt's quantitative work on botanical geography laid the foundation for the field of biogeography. Humboldt's advocacy of long-term systematic geophysical measurement laid the foundation for modern geomagnetic and meteorological monitoring. Between 1799 and 1804, Humboldt travelled extensively in the Americas and describing them for the first time from a modern scientific point of view, his description of the journey was written up and published in an enormous set of volumes over 21 years. Humboldt was one of the first people to propose that the lands bordering the Atlantic Ocean were once joined. Humboldt resurrected the use of the word cosmos from the ancient Greek and assigned it to his multivolume treatise, Kosmos, in which he sought to unify diverse branches of scientific knowledge and culture.
This important work motivated a holistic perception of the universe as one interacting entity. He was the first person to describe the phenomenon and cause of human-induced climate change, in 1800 and again in 1831, based on observations generated during his travels. Alexander von Humboldt was born in Berlin in Prussia on 14 September 1769, he was baptized with the Duke of Brunswick serving as godfather. Humboldt's father, Alexander Georg von Humboldt, belonged to a prominent Pomeranian family, although not one of the titled gentry, a major in the Prussian Army, who had served with the Duke of Brunswick. At age 42, Alexander Georg was rewarded for his services in the Seven Years' War with the post of royal chamberlain, he profited from the contract to lease state lotteries and tobacco sales. He first married the daughter of Prussian General Adjutant Schweder. In 1766, Alexander Georg married Maria Elisabeth Colomb, a well-educated woman and widow of Baron Hollwede, with whom she had a son. Alexander Georg and Maria Elisabeth had three children, a daughter, who died young, two sons and Alexander.
Her first-born son and Alexander's half-brother, was something of a ne'er do well, not mentioned in the family history. Alexander Georg died in 1779, leaving the brothers Humboldt in the care of their distant mother, she did have high ambitions for Alexander and his older brother Wilhelm, hiring excellent tutors, who were Enlightenment thinkers, including Kantian physician Marcus Herz and botanist Karl Ludwig Willdenow, who became one of the most important botanists in Germany. Humboldt's mother expected them to become civil servants of the Prussian state; the money Baron Holwede left to Alexander's mother became, after her death, instrumental in funding Alexander's explorations, contributing more than 70% of his private income. Due to his youthful penchant for collecting and labeling plants and insects, Alexander received the playful title of "the little apothecary". Marked for a political career, Alexander studied finance for six months in 1787 at the University of Frankfurt, which his mother might have chosen less for its academic excellence than its closeness to their home in Berlin.
On 25 April 1789, he matriculated at Göttingen known for the lectures of C. G. Heyne and anatomist J. F. Blumenbach, his brother Wilhelm was a student at Göttingen, but they did not interact much, since their intellectual interests were quite different. His vast and varied interests were by this time developed. At Gottingen, he met Georg Forster, a naturalist, with Captain James Cook on his second voyage. Humboldt traveled with Forster in Europe; the two traveled to England, Humboldt's first sea voyage, the Netherlands, France. In England, he met Sir Joseph Banks, president of the Royal Society, who had traveled with Captain Cook; the scientific friendship between Banks and Humboldt lasted until Banks's death in 1820, the two shared botanical specimens for study. Banks mobilized his scientific contacts in years to aid Humboldt's work. Humboldt's scientific excursion up the Rhine resulted in his 1790 treatise Mineralogische Beobachtungen über einige Basalte am Rhein. Humboldt's passion for travel was of long standing.
Humboldt's talents were devoted to the purpose of preparing himself as a scientific explorer. With this emphasis, he studied commerce and foreign languages at Hamburg, geology at Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg in 1791 under A. G. Werner, leader of the Neptunist school of geology. C. Loder. X. von Zach and J. G. Köhler. At Freiberg, he met a number of men who were to prove important to him in his career, including Spaniard Manuel del Rio, who became director of the School of Mines the crown established in Mexico. During this period, his brother Wilhelm married. Humboldt graduated from the Freiberg School of Mines in 1792 and was appointed to a Prussian government position in the Department of Mines as an inspector in Bayreuth and the Fichtel mountains. Humboldt was excellent at his job, with production of gold ore in his first year outstripping the previous eight years. During his period as a mine inspector, Humbo