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Axayacatl (c. 1449–1481)

Axayacatl (c. 1449–1481)

Axayacatl (b. ca. 1449; d. 1481), Aztec emperor from 1468/69–1481. The sixth Mexica Tlatoani (a "speaker" or ruler), Axayacatl (Watery Visage) was the grandson of two previous rulers: Motecuhzoma I on his mother's side, and Itzcoatl on his father's side. According to one native history, he became ruler at age nineteen. His short reign was devoted to military campaigns. To the expanding Aztec empire he added Toluca, Malinalco, and other Matlatzinca polities west of the Mexica capital of Tenochtitlán; he also subdued the Tuxpan area on the Gulf coast. In 1473 a dispute between Axayacatl and his sister's husband Moquihuix, ruler of Tlatelolco, Tenochtitlán's neighbor to the north, led to Tlatelolco's military defeat. In 1478 Axayacatl led a disastrous campaign against the Tarascans in Michoacán; native histories state that all but 200 of Axayacatl's 20,000 or more soldiers perished in the worst Mexica defeat until the Spanish conquest. Axayacatl was succeeded by his brother, Tizoc. Axayacatl's son, Motecuhzoma II (1466–1520), was ruling when Cortés invaded Mexico.

See alsoAztecs .


Diego Durán, The Aztecs: The History of the Indies of New Spain, translated by Doris Heyden and Fernando Horcasitas (1964).

Burr Cartwright Brundage, A Rain of Darts: The Mexica Aztecs (1972).

Nigel Davies, The Aztecs: A History (1980).

Additional Bibliography

Evans, Susan Toby. Ancient Mexico & Central America: Archaeology and Culture History. London: Thames & Hudson, 2004.

León Portilla, Miguel. Fifteen Poets of the Aztec World. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992.

                                Louise M. Burkhart

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