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Ahuitzotl, Rule of Aztec Emperor

King Ahuizotl was an Aztec emperor who ruled from 1486 until his death in 1502 which is where he is recorded on the Biblical Timeline Chart with World History. He was the eighth tlatoani (ruler) and was best remembered as the ruler who expanded the empire’s borders into Guatemala. The years of his reign was considered the Aztec’s golden age.

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Emperor Ahuitzotl

King Moctezuma I had many sons. Three of them came to rule the Aztec Empire after his death in 1469. The first son, King Axayatl, ruled for twelve years. His reign as king was not as good as his father’s. The second son, King Tizoc, ruled from 1481. He was regarded as a weak ruler who did not expand the Aztec borders. To compensate for his lack of achievements, he ordered Aztec sculptors to carve stone reliefs that depicted him as a conqueror. It was, however, the past kings who conquered these cities, so his people looked down on him. He was poisoned by the members of his own army five years after he was crowned as king.

Two sons of Moctezuma I were not good kings so the members of the council of elders were not excited to elect another son to lead them. But the youngest, Ahuitzotl, was a renowned warrior who was popular because of his youth and his bravery. So the council decided to crown him as king. Many noblemen, however, were not confident that the new king would be as great as his father. They had no choice except to submit.


Ahuitzotl was crowned as the new Aztec emperor in 1486. Since he was a warrior, he had the solid support of the army behind him. The Great Temple of Huitzilopochtli was finished during the reign of Ahuitzotl although it was his father who started its construction. They celebrated its completion with a great feast that was attended by nobles and commoners alike.

It was said to be one of the greatest celebrations in Aztec history. Four of the most powerful men in the empire led the event. The main attraction was the gruesome human sacrifice in honor of the god Huitzilopochtli. The Aztecs even sacrificed as much as 80,000 captives and slaves within four days. The captives’ hearts were cut out during the ceremony, and their bodies were tossed down the temple stairs afterwards. The people who waited at the foot of the stairs scooped up the blood and spread it on their houses and temples so that their gods would bless them.

Over the years, Ahuitzotl expanded his empire by conquering the cities on the coast of present-day states of Veracruz, Oaxaca, and Chiapas. He also led his army to conquer the state of Guerrero which opened the Pacific trade to the Aztecs. The Aztecs under Ahuitzotl pushed their borders as far south into modern Guatemala. Ahuitzotl reigned over as many as 25 million people during the Aztec Empire’s golden age.

Ahuitzotl fell sick in 1502 after he returned from a war in Oaxaca. He became weak and died in the same year while inaugurating an aqueduct. The popular warrior-king was mourned by his people and was succeeded by Moctezuma II.

Public Domain, Link
Aguilar-Moreno, Manuel. Handbook to Life in the Aztec World. New York: Facts on File, 2006.
Read, Kay Almere, and Jason J. González. Mesoamerican Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs of Mexico and Central America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.
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