Tlatelolco Ruins

In the heart of Mexico City, the historical site of Tlatelolco tells a portion of the history the Aztec Empire left behind. Tlatelolco is known as The Plaza of Three Cultures due to this location representing the indigenous Aztec people, the Spanish colonies and a combination of both, the people of Mexico. This city was built on upon a shallow lake bed which was built up by the Aztecs in order to use the land. This is why most of the buildings and different historical sites are sinking and are not level. The Aztec ruins signifies the earliest of the three cultures dating back to around 1473 which was known for its enormous market that served thousands of people each day.

The Aztecā€™s believed that their God, Huitzilopochtli had selected them to rule over this land when they arrived. A group of people from Tenochtitlan had left their home and began building what is now known as Tlatelolco. The two cities remained independent until 1473 when an Aztec ruler decided the city would serve him better under his complete control. A war between the two cities had broken out and eventually Tenochtitlan defeated Tlatelolco and put them under their authority. Tlatelolco and Tenochtitlan ruled alongside one another, splitting up the things that were needed for the two city states to function property. Tenochtitlan held political power and Tlatelolco held power of military, trade and production of food. In 1519, the Spanish arrived and Spanish leader Hernan Cortez, began his conquest of Tlatelolco and eventually gained control in in 1521. Cortez defeated the Aztec empire which was the last indigenous group to withstand Spanish rule.

There are over sixty different pre-Hispanic structures located at Tlatelolco that consisted of the calendar temple, the temple of the paintings, great platforms of previous structures, many altars and the most recent discovery, the mass burial site of about 200 Aztec sacrifices. In 2009, the mass grave was discovered and was said to have been dated to the time of the Spanish conquest. This was thought to be true due to the bodies showing evidence of Aztec rituals as well as evidence Spanish goods. The Aztec bodies that were found were thought to have died in the battle against Cortez. The archaeological dig at this site began in 1944 and continues on through today. As previously mention the location of this site makes it especially hard to excavate, the government is constantly wanting to continue on with researching its past but in order to continues discovering the people before colonial times, they will need to disrupt what was built on top at a later point in history.

Cite this Page:

Ashlee Ziegenbein, “Tlatelolco Ruins,” HistoricalMX, accessed November 21, 2017, http://historicalmx.org/items/show/97.

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