In ‘The Rise of the Aztec Part III’, we dealt with the Aztecs struggling to make their island-city, Tenochtitlan, more presentable, so the snobbish tourists from the altepetls around Lake Texcoco would not look down their long haughty noses and sneer.
Energetic and forceful, the Aztecs went about building their city, in the decade to come completing a causeway, connecting the city with the mainland settlements, digging more canals, building more temples and pyramids. They had enlarged their island even more, enveloping it with a screen of floating farmlands.
Allowed to campaign independently, they launched series of raids against the southern shores and its settlements, taking much of their floating farms, thus allowing the population of Tenochtitlan to grow.
The trade flourished and the markets expanded. The Aztecs began to eat better and dress in cotton instead of the plain maguey gowns and cloaks.
All the while, the Tepanecs shrugged and let it pass. They were busy elsewhere. The settlements of Lake Chalco, located to their southeast, needed to be reminded who were the Masters of the Mexican Valley. So the war against Chalco confederacy lasted for over ten years.
Always ready to help, the Aztecs took a part in this warfare for the benefit of their Tepanec overlords. The relationship between the Aztecs and the Tepanecs warmed considerably.
With no state-city able to rival the mighty Tepanec Empire, the Tepanecs now attacked another confederacy to the northeast of Azcapotzalco. The Aztecs helped them there too, gaining some lands as a bonus for good behavior.
Yet, not every city-state was happy to pay the Tepanecs a tribute. Some influential altepetls began thinking that the Masters of the Valley were too greedy.
In the next post The Rise of the Aztecs Part V Texcoco, The Acolhua Capital’ we will see what would happen to those who rebelled and how the Aztecs would deal with the conflict between their overlords and the old allies from the other side of the Great Lake.
An excerpt from “The Warrior’s Way”
Ocelotlzin, the Emperor’s Nephew, and his followers had already reached the shadow of the Great Pyramid, standing under the massive stones, eyeing the colorful crowd filling the Plaza with its multitude of tents, warriors, leaders, servants and commoners. Such a hubbub!
“Your son did surprisingly well,” commented the Emperor’s Nephew. “I wonder how he had managed to make the Aztec ruler give away so many of his precious warriors. Their island must have been left completely unprotected.”
“Maybe we should take an advantage of this,” chuckled one of the minor warriors’ leaders.
Tecpatl frowned, glad to take his thoughts off what preyed on his mind. “Their altepetl could not be large enough to contain more than this amount of warriors.”
“Exactly!” The squat man grinned. “I would love to hear more. Your son is sure to tell you all about his stay there. I hear their ruler is an enterprising man.”
Tecpatl forced a smile. His son was sure not to show his face anywhere around his vicinity between now and the nearing raid to the Lake Chalco shores, but all he said was: “Of course. In the meanwhile I would love to hear more about your plans for our southeastern neighbors. Come to think of it, the Aztec island would be right across our path.”