Itzcoatl (c. 1380–1440)

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Itzcoatl (c. 1380–1440)

Itzcoatl (b. ca. 1380; d. 1440), Aztec ruler from 1426 to 1440. Itzcoatl ("Obsidian Serpent"), fourth Mexica ruler or tlatoani ("speaker"), was the son of Acamapichtli, the first tlatoani, and a slave woman. Itzcoatl led the rebellion against the Tepanac polity centered at Azcapotzalco, to which the Mexica had been tributaries. Itzcoatl's nephew (half-brother in some sources) and predecessor, Chimalpopoca (r. 1415–1426), died under mysterious circumstances. The accession of Itzcoatl, a mature man with a low-ranking mother, may have been engineered by Mexica leaders desiring to fight the Tepanecs. A skilled warrior and strategist, Itzcoatl joined forces with the Acolhua under Nezahualcoyotl and the dissident Tepanecs of Tlacopan (Tacuba), forging the "Triple Alliance" that defeated Azcapotzalco's ruler, Maxtla, in 1428. According to native tradition, Itzcoatl then destroyed the manuscript records of Mexica history, thus obscuring the humble origins of the now-triumphant Mexica. To the nascent Aztec Empire, Itzcoatl added Coyoacan, Xochi-milco, and Cuitlahuac. He was succeeded by his nephew, Motecuhzoma I.

See alsoAztecs .


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

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

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

Additional Bibliography

Borboa, Martín. Itzcóatl, emperador mexica. México, D.F.: Plaza y Valdes, 1997.

                                    Louise M. Burkhart