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Anáhuac, a term from the Nahuatl atl (water) and nahuac (near) that usually refers to Mexico City (once surrounded by large lagoons) and, by extension, to the Valley of Mexico, the central highlands, and the Mexican nation, particularly in conjunction with the region's pre-Hispanic heritage. Originally, however, a reference to the water's proximity might also have implied the seacoast, warm lowlands inhabited by the Aztecs' trading partners. Alonso de Molina, in his classic Nahuatl dictionary, defines the modified term anauacayotl as "things that are brought from neighboring lands." Anáhuac was also the destination of the legendary ruler-god Quetzalcoatl when he left Tula, heading east.

See alsoAztecs; Nahuas.


Nigel Davies, The Aztecs: A History (1973), pp. 12, 333.

Alonso De Molina, Vocabulario en lengua castellana y mexicana y mexicana y castellana, 4th ed. (1977), pt. II, p. 6.

Additional Bibliography

Reyes, Alfonso. Visión de Anáhuac. In Obras completas, vol. 2. México: Fondo de Cultura Economica, 1976, pp. 8-34.

Ward, Thomas. "Expanding Ethnicity in Sixteenth-Century Anahuac: Ideologies of Ethnicity and Gender in the Nation-Building Process." MLN 116.2 (March 2001): 419-452.

                                       Stephanie Wood

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