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Aztec1 Aztec2

January 30th astec economy



Mostly squash, corn and beans, because they complement eachother, and allow for constant use of the soil.


Made for textiles and natural fiber,s grown in areas too cold for corn and squash


Tough fibers used for rope and cloth, it is a very sturdy fiber.

Saps are used in beverages, fermented sap is called pulique, which was consumed in precolumbain times. It is now distilled, and made into tiqueilla, and miscal.

Craft production

although most of the aztecs were farmers, most farmers ha some crafting ability. however, there were several full time craftsmen, and as such, those who were fully specialized were the most skilled, and most likley attached to the local noble family.

Thus ther nobles could use these to impress gifts, and give great noble gifts.

luxury goods

gold work and stone work for the noble class,

work craft

owned by all members of the populaiton, and all members took part in it, domestic goods.

Methods of distributions


in a military dominated state, trubute was compelled form the lay persons. the flow of good tended to be one way, commoners provided goods as tribute payments, and that lfowed up the way the hierarchy, and with very little returns. usually promaces of 'protection'. Irony being that the astec would attack in times where tirbute is not paid.

it is important to relaise, that when the aztecs conquers an area, they imposed tribute on that area as aprovince, and thus were organising another layer of tribute. The aztecs did not conquer socail order, or nobility. the aztecs merely subjucated the king, and his tribute went to the aztecs.

Tribute was often paid in goods, but would often be paid in labour drafts. People were required to profrom domestic services for noble family. doing shifts as servants in noble families. also demands of military services.

the tributes for goods was assessed at regular intervals. and it demanded specifice goods at specitice times, at 80 day intervals, semi anual intervals, and annual intervals.

the codex mendosa depicts these tributes.

One of the major decisons for aztec conquest, was "does this place have enough wealth to bother with?"

tribute goods coudl be raw materials, or manufactured products, Food stuffs were limited to places that were close, because they would be eaten by the time they arrived.

Lyme was very important, it was used to make concrete, plaster, and food production. lyme was used to make cornmore nutritious.

Tribute was borken down to the Calipulli or neighbour hood level.

the direct source of the tirbute was the peasant farmer.

If you fialed to provide tribute you became a Landless labourer - Mayeque these landless labourers, by columbian times, were a substancial sect of the population. And then became serfs.

the Calipulli would bring their trade to the regonal distribution area, which owuld then be swtiched to tlamemes or professional carriers.

what was tribute used for?

it was used to support imperial beurocracy. to support military campains, to provide costumes fo rthe soldiers. provide food and weaponry. used to support the households of the three captials of the empire. some storage agasint famine, but very little evidence agaisnt that.

some evidence that somehow tribute was used to support commoner population, possibly to subsidize cost. used to reward people of exceptional service.

specail tribute assessments were required for significant events such as a new emporoer, ect. these tributes could be asked at any time. The coronoation of montazuma 2. over 2 weeks, over 1000 labourers cam in with fishes, fruit, live animals, all these crazy things. as far as 700 kilometers away.

Every Calipulli had it's own temple, and thus the community ould support and maintain the temple. for bigger temples, such as the one in tescoco. there was a specific taxation assement for 15 neighbouring towns.

Land worked by Mayeque was given directly to the state, wich bypassed the heirarchy. in these situations, the workers must pay goods and tribute.

forgein trade

there were trade guilds which facilitated trade by heiring merchants, and these sometimes made created market places to attract merchants.Pochteca

even in times of war the Pochteca would trade with other lands, which then allowed them to act as spies, to aid in the invaisons.

the military made sure that all merchants oculd move around and trade wherever they went.

the far southern reaches of the empire, became a conquest of the empire in the 1590's, because of it's geographic position you needed to move thorugh it to trade ot the norhtern areas. this area attacked some pochteca, the astecs, then conquered it, and made a garrison there, to make sure they woudl never attack the merchants again.

these mercants were thought to be of crucial importance of the state.

and these merchants were a strong source of luxury good, and raw materials for luxury goods.Luxury goods were critical to re-affirm the nobles status, and status and title were intertwined.

only noble coudl wear cotton. the Pochteca were not commoners, but ther were not nobles. they had to pay tribute, but they did not have serve tribute.

they were allowed to wear some of the sumbols of nobility. there were traders in 12 /50 of the cities in mexico.

they were not independant indiviudals, but a gorup, and they acted as a group. there are usually Pochteca ghettoes, and secrots, where they were allowed to live, and noone else. thye had their own laws, and they inforced it themselves. they controlled membership, like a true guild. Usually heriditary.

internally ranked.

places that trived because peopel come come here to trade.

largest in tiajtelolco

authroities made sure the market had to function according to the law. the pochteca collectd market tax, but also regulated market trade, and settled trade disputes.

in Tenochtitlan there were many craftsmen, as such, the craftsmen woudl trade toolds for raw materials and food.


there were local and regonal markets, locla was for simple goods and food, regional was for finished good, complex items and sometimes alchohol. then there were metropolitan markets.

there were only a few markets were slaves are sold.

basic non guilded lsavers periodic traders

pochteca state sold goods.

there were market taxes. all markets required this, even village one. local markets had their taxes, which woudl go to the locla nobility. the regonal market, the taxes went to the ruler of city the regonal market was in. once that city was annexed by the empire, hoever, the revenue went to the emporer.

Tenochtitlan annexed tiajtelolco, for money.

Supply and demand did not effect markets much, the nobles regulated prices in order to prevent rapid inflation.

Feburary 6th, the City states

The discussion of city states altepetl in this lecture is a general one, mostly in the pre-imperial period, and with some modification in the post imperial period.

Discussion of the Tlatoani or king ruler,

The role of city states

-each tlatonani was responsible of his city state, in all things from ensuring the streets were clean, to the prefomring of the ball game. He was a judicator and administrator, and had much responsibility.

The city state you lived in, had more of an effect on your life, than the empire. With the allegence of the people to the local king, not the empire. It is likely that a significant number of aztec subjects were happy during the aztec occupation.

The city states are the fundimental peice of the aztec empire.

Altepetl a city state.

Each city state had it's own laws, boundries, agricultural hinterland, and a king. Within the valley of mexico it'self, there lie over 50 city states.

When a city state is conquered, it is not uncommon for all buildings to be razed to the ground. the symbol for conquest in the aztec alphabit, was a burning temple.

There were many ethnicities in each aztec town, especially the biiger ones, were very diverse and cosmopolitan.

three buildings were constructed when a city state was established, which reflect the core institutions. these included,

the royal palace

which housed the king, but was also an admisistrative building and courthouse.

The temple

The temple housed the local city god,

The market

The place of exchange, and the economic nexus of the community. As well as a socail nexus.

The Tlatoani

The kings were selected by a high council of the realitives of the Kings Kin. Argument and disputes over kingships were common.

The council presumably deleberated the decision of the god Tezcatilpoca, one of the universal gods in the aztec empire. his tame translates to "we his slaves" he is the most powerful god in the panthenon.

The king was thus chosen by Tezcatilpoca, and had a religious backing to their rule.

Many times, the King-elect was a successful warleader.

The installation of the new king involved a sereis of very elabourate cerimonies, which were meant to display the king's abilty to lead, as well as his abilty to be the divine channel of Tezcatilpoca's voice.

The coronations usually had dances, padgents, and human sacrifices, this was to solidify the supernatural qualities of the king's rule.

The religous basis was not the sole backer of the kings power.

Dynastic basis of authority was imporant too, as the kings owuld try to trace their geneology back to the ruling families of Tula. Toula is veiwed as a time in the past of wonderful and great things. And the kings wished to be ascociated with that.

The Tlatoani owned and controeld all land in the city, and he granted the citizens acess to it. He recieved tribute form all peoples. He also serves as a military leader, and made the deicisons of when to wage war, and the self defense of his city state, sometimes even leading his torups into battle.

The kings preformed various relidgious roles, as well as a settler of disputes that could not be settled in the courts.

Assisted by a council of low ranking beurocrats.

The poltical landscape

city statres were defined by personal obligations of the people in the city, rather than having a continuous city state. All peopel who owed alligence to the Tlatoani.

relations amung city states

It was very croweded in the valley of mexico, there were large regonal gorups in constant interaction.

There were grudges amung the regional gorupings, and these groups were nto stable or static, however, there was still friendly communication between groups between hostile periods.

This sytem resembled many other known city state systems,

the competition between all the city states resulted in the formation of the triple alliance, who then teamed up on everyone else,

peaceful relations between city states

-trade: the crossing political boundries was very common, as many of the markets were specailised. Because the city states was very small, few were self sufficent, as such trade was very important.

-Elite networks: participation in ceremonies, political summits, ect.

-Pollitical alliances: were often forged by giving gifts of women for marriage.

Warefare and domination

Goals of warfare: - conquer them to force them to pay tribute. - Capture enemy soldiers for sacrifice, engaging in war was an oppourtunity to gain sacrifcial slaves. - War and battle were dominant themes in Aztec culture, the practice of martail arts were central to the male identity. -war was ritualized, and followed a distinct protocol. There were invitations to be subjugated, and consequences for failing to accept the invitation, resulted in war, sacrifices, and a higher tribute and distruction of part of the city.

Once a place was conquered, the local king was left in power. As such the victors did not deal with the local affairs of the kingdom, they simply demanded tribute.

=Triple alliance empire

-Used pre-existing principles of warfare, tribute payment, and indirect rule. It was this indirect rule that governed the hostile relations between states.

The rulers of the Three Kingdoms used the same principles in their construction of an empire.

-the aztec empire, did not focus on inflstructure, or road construction, and some argue that the aztec empire was not an empire at all. however, Russ Hassig has argued that the aztec empire follows somthign called a Hegemonic or Indirect empire. These empires don't have standing armies, elabourate road systems to move their armies, build garrisons, store houses ect. rather, the empire relies on force and persuasion.

The aztec had some very distinct stratagies of exploiting others. After conquest, the three kingdoms undertook polical reforms to take control over the whole of mexico, When the three kingdoms began to conquer all of mexico, they disposed of rulers who dissagreed with them, and placed in rulers who were more inline with their sort of thinking. System of tributary provinces established. By shifting to a market based tribute system, with imperial tribute collectors, the kings themsleves were not subject to tribute to the three kingdoms this gave subordinate kings the illusion of equality amung kings.

this empire stopped the warfare that was endemic to the region.

The market system flourised and created greater socail and economic growth.

Expansion beyong the valley of mexico led to the great influx of tribute.

tribute and warfare in the outer provinces

Imperial expansion motivated by economic interests.

-economic strategy - conquest of rich areas and demand regular tribute payments. -fronteir strategy - creation of client states.

There were two types of provinces in the empire, the tribute provences, which are the majority of provences, then there were stategic provinces, which were critical to the fronteir strategy.

economic strategy

how did the aztecs maintain control after conquest?

There were few military garrisons, governers, or any real controlling force, what kept these provinces form rebellion? When ever there was rebellion, the Three kingdoms sent in a brutal force, and set the entire town on fire, and slaughtered the inhabitants. Because it was a valley, the flames could be seen to all the surrounding villages. As such, very few people rebelled.

Fronteir strategy

the areas that could not be conquered were Tlaxcalla, Tarascan Empire.

A fronteir strategy was used to keep them at bay. An establishment of client states along the fronteirs maintained the borders.

Mexica propiganda

Did not admit their failures with Tlazcalla, and tarascan empire.

the flowery wars were the wars agasint these states, the aztecs claimed to say that they never wanted to defeat them, and stated that they engaged them to "provide training for young soilders" and to "harvest slaves", and were such never true wars of conquest. this was a lie.

march 19, incas


incas compososed a stratified social order class and thnic rankings ideal of mutuality and balance symmetry abetween make and female roles obligationgs remained under class based structures.


a complexly ranked structure of peoples highest ranks were the royal family, the panaga (decendants of dead kings) the ethnic incas, and incas by privalege. -other nobility- decimal officals, incharge of record keeping, others according to lineage, military stature . civic role, source of wealth. -commoners elevated to noble status (war), distinct from occupational specailists.

peasant communities

ranking in peasant communities was dependant on your ayllu (lineage) you belonged to the guiding ethics were self reliance, importance of kinship, gender balance, socail heirarchy, mutual obligations.

-impact of inca rule in upper mantaro valley population reduction in largest towns. relocation to forest valley floors

stages of incan life

Guaman Poma'

warriors and wives old men and women who were productive Deaf and drowsy ancients Unproductive adults

6 catagories form infants to adolcecents

education was mostly in homes, for nobles, there was an education required involving warfar, the sons of provincal warlords were held hostage and educated in Cuzco.

the only women to be trianed formally were the Aqllakuna, or the chosen women

male and female roles were consitered to be completments, a man coudl have had many wives, but only 1 primarcy wie.

public and political roles were reserved for men

Excahneg of labour

exchange of netowrks linked people in complementary ecozones specailties prodced for exchange in lowlands were cotton, pepper, coca and salt colonies at distance from home produced some specail reshouses

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