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110 Aztecs History Trivia Questions, Answers, and Fun Facts

How much do you know about Aztecs History? This category is for trivia questions and answers related to Aztecs History (History). Each one is filled with fun facts and interesting information.
1 The origin of the Aztecs is said to be what city that was supposedly located in the southwestern United States or northern Mexico?
Answer: Aztlan

The existence of Aztlan has been debated for years. Aztec accounts regarding the city don't always agree on the details, and in some cases directly contradict other writings. If the city did exist, it appears to have been located somewhere in the vast area of the American southwest and northern Mexico.
  From Quiz: Brief History of the Aztecs
2 The first area we come to contains merchants offering pottery. These will be utilized for everyday use in the home or for ceremonial purposes. What is the typical color of the goods we see?
Answer: Black on orange

Pottery was used from everything from plates and kitchen pots to urns found in funeral ceremonies. The traditional coloring was black design on orange clay which is today called Aztec III. Geometric shapes were the predominant artwork but one could also find images of animals or plants from the area. What is amazing about this work is that the Aztecs did not have use of a pottery wheel but instead used thin strips of clay and their imaginations and and craftsmanship.
  From Quiz: Let's Go Shopping At The Aztec Marketplace
3 In 1502 the great warrior, Emperor Ahuizotl, died and was succeeded by Montezuma II. How did Montezuma become the next emperor?
Answer: He was a member of the royal family chosen for his prowess in battle

The Aztecs had a hereditary system of succession. However, it wasn't necessarily a son of the previous ruler who would succeed him. The successor was chosen within the royal family. Montezuma was Ahuizotl's nephew and chosen because he was the best warrior.

Warfare was a very important aspect of Aztec life. Their battles were largely ritual and the goal wasn't to kill the opponent on the battlefield but to take him captive so he could be sacrificed to the gods. A man was considered a great warrior when he had taken four prisoners. He then was showered with honour and allowed to wear special fighting gear. Their primitive weaponry consisted mainly of wooden clubs set with sharp pieces of obsidian.

Of all the Aztec emperors, Ahuizotl had conquered the most lands. Montezuma added even more to this. By 1519 the Aztec empire stretched from the Pacific to the Atlantic coast and as far south as present-day Guatemala. The conquered tribes were allowed to continue their lives as before and keep worshipping their own gods as long as they paid tribute to Tenochtitlan. Ahuizotl had also increased the number of sacrifices, which kept his enemies mortified. Unsurprisingly, many of the conquered peoples were very resentful towards their Aztec overlords.

The Aztec capital Tenochtitlan was built on an island in lake Texcoco. It was connected to the mainland by three causeways that could be closed off, which made the city virtually impregnable. It was one of the largest cities on earth in the early 16th century and had grown fabulously wealthy from tribute. Agriculture was also more efficient than in Europe. Tenochtitlan had a network of canals dotted with chinampas, patches of fertile land.
    Your options: [ He was the eldest son of Ahuizotl ] [ He was a member of the royal family chosen for his prowess in battle ] [ He was elected by the Aztec people ] [ He seized power in a bloody civil war ]
  From Quiz: Fall of the Aztec Empire
4 What was the name of the school attended by "common" people?
Answer: Telpochcalli

Telpochcalli was the equivalent of public school. It was attended by those who were going to be warriors. Calmecac was the school attended by children from wealthy families or the nobility.
  From Quiz: Aztec Daily Life
5 Who owned all Aztec land?
Answer: Nobles

Nobles were the highest class in Aztec society, while peasants were the lowest class. In the later stages 20% of people were peasants and 80% were warriors, artisans, and traders.
  From Quiz: Aztec Economy, Cuisine, and Religion
6 The Aztecs were known for their human sacrifices. In which way were humans sacrificed?
Answer: all three of these

The priest would grab the heart and tear it out, still beating. It would be placed in a bowl held by a statue of the honored god, and the body thrown on the temple's stairs.
    Your options: [ the heart was cut out ] [ all three of these ] [ they were killed in gladiatoral fights ] [ they were thrown on to the stairs ]
  From Quiz: The Aztec Empire
7 Nanauatzin was an Aztec deity that sacrificed himself and his blood to create and become which important being?
Answer: Sun

Nanauatzin and Tecuciztecatl both sacrificed themselves and everything they had to create the sun and the moon. It was Nanauatzin that jumped into the great bonfire first, thus becoming the sun. It was his and Tecuciztecatl's self-sacrifice, along with blood from the other gods, that laid the foundation for the belief that the gods demanded blood as repayment for the creation of the Fifth Sun.
    Your options: [ Human ] [ Moon ] [ Sun ] [ Maize ]
  From Quiz: Aztec Sacrifices
8 In which present-day country did the nomadic Aztecs finally settle?
Answer: Mexico

The Aztecs were migratory at first, wandering around the Mexican Valley. Once they settled, they established one of the biggest and best organised empires of the fifteenth century. They subjugated other native tribes, and practised human sacrifice. This caused unrest among some of the other tribes and would eventually contribute to their downfall.

Although the Spanish destroyed the Aztec Empire, they did keep meticulous records so we know a lot of detail about their history. Of the other options, Peru was home to the Incas.
    Your options: [ Guatemala ] [ Peru ] [ Mexico ] [ Brazil ]
  From Quiz: Montezuma's Revenge
9 Tenochtitlan was a city-state and the capital of the Aztec Empire. In which region of Mexico was it located?
Answer: Mexico City, on the elevated central plateau, was built on Tenochtitlan

Although the year of founding of Tenochtitlan is uncertain (estimated as early-mid 14th century CE), it eventually grew to be the largest altepetl (city-state) in the Aztec Empire. Some references state the city was founded in 1325 but this was based on a 1925 declaration that the city (Tenochtitlan then Mexico City) was 600 years old. The city was originally built on a swampy island near the western shore of Lake Texcoco. The city expanded and by the time it was rebuilt over the period 1486-1502 after flooding of the lake, it had become one of the largest cities in the world. Estimates of the peak population vary significantly but range between 200,000 and 400,000 inhabitants.

Although Tenochtitlan is the most famous of the Aztec city-states, other major altepetl were also located around the lakes system of the elevated central Mexican plateau. These other cities included Tlacopan and Texcoco.
    Your options: [ Gulf of Fonseca ] [ Mexico City, on the elevated central plateau, was built on Tenochtitlan ] [ Yucatan Peninsula ] [ Gulf of Mexico near the modern city of Tampico ]
  From Quiz: The Mighty Aztec Empire
10 What a man wore depended on what?
Answer: position in society

A king, for example, wore a long flowing cape, jewelery, sandals, etc., whereas a man of very low standing wore only a loin cloth.
  From Quiz: Life of the Ancient Aztecs
11 The name "Aztec" is not the actual name of the people. By what name did the Aztecs call themselves, which eventually became the name of a modern country?
Answer: Mexica

We get the name Aztec from the Nahuatl word Aztecah, meaning "people from Aztlan". After the Aztecs were conquered, the lands of their empire became the State of Mexico, derived from Mexica. It was a part of New Spain.
    Your options: [ Anahuac ] [ Tepanecas ] [ Mexica ] [ Culhuacan ]
  From Quiz: Brief History of the Aztecs
12 The next merchant we come to is selling a particular type of grain. In fact, it is the staple food of this Aztec culture. What food is he selling?
Answer: Maize (corn)

Maize was eaten at almost every meal and served in a variety of ways including tortillas, tamales, stews, and gruel. Corn could be grown easily and was interwoven with their religion complete with a maize deity named Cinteotl. They often mixed the corn with lime or ashes which not only separated the kernels but added protein to the mix.
    Your options: [ Rice ] [ Maize (corn) ] [ Wheat ] [ Oats ]
  From Quiz: Let's Go Shopping At The Aztec Marketplace
13 Hernan Cortes, the man who would be Montezuma's nemesis, came from a totally different environment. He had grown up in an impoverished region of Spain. Which region, whose name in Latin literally means 'extremity', is this?
Answer: Extremadura

Hernan Cortes was born in Medellin, a small town in Extremadura, Spain, in 1485. He had an education in law rather than in warfare. With hot and dry summers and terrain that yielded little income from farming it was the least populated region of Spain. Many of the impoverished population went to the New World hoping to make a fortune. The region was the birthplace of several other famous (or notorious) conquistadors such as Francisco Pizarro, Francisco de Orellana and Hernando de Soto.

In 1504 Cortes sailed to Hispaniola where he assisted Diego Velazquez with the conquest of Cuba. Velazquez became the governor of Cuba and later Cortes' brother-in-law. When in 1517 Velazquez commissioned an expedition to the mainland Cortes lobbied to be the commander of the expedition. Although by then the relationship between Velazquez and Cortes was already strained he reluctantly gave his permission, albeit under the condition that it would only be a trade mission. Velazquez later changed his mind but Cortes ignored that and went anyway.

Cortes set sail with 500 conquistadors and a number of Cuban servants to the Yucatan peninsula. There they rescued Geronimo de Aguilar, a priest who was shipwrecked a couple of years before and had learned the Maya language.

The three wrong answers are also autonomous communities in Spain.
    Your options: [ Catalunya ] [ Extremadura ] [ Andalusia ] [ Galicia ]
  From Quiz: Fall of the Aztec Empire
14 When Aztecs divorced how was the property split up?
Answer: The land was divided equally along with the rest of their possessions. If the couple had children the sons would go with the father and daughters would go with the mother.

The Aztecs were very fair people. :)
  From Quiz: Aztec Daily Life
15 What was used for small purchases in the Aztec Empire?
Answer: Cacao beans

The Cacao bean is mostly grown in South America and Africa. Many types of insects, fungi, and viruses can destroy the cacao beans that are produced by the tree.
  From Quiz: Aztec Economy, Cuisine, and Religion
16 What reason did the Aztecs think they had for sacrificing humans?
Answer: blood was necessary to make the world go round

Aztecs made sacrifices to make the world go round. The pyramid shaped temples had gutters down to the earth so the soil could soak up the blood. If there wasn't enough blood shed the sun would stop and eternal darkness would overcome the Aztecs.
  From Quiz: The Aztec Empire
17 What was the capital city of the Aztec empire?
Answer: Tenochtitlan

The Aztecs settled in around 1325 on the banks of Lake Texcoco. The area was marshy and much of the building was done on islands in the lake, joined to the mainland by causeways and bridges, which could be moved to allow access by water, using canoes, or to prevent access from attackers. At its peak, Tenochtitlan covered over five square miles (thirteen square kilometres) and was home to about 400,000 people, the most populous in the history of Mesoamerica. It all came crashing down with the arrival of the Spanish.

The photo clue was a hint that the name started with ten, denoted by X in Roman numerals.
  From Quiz: Montezuma's Revenge
18 In the Aztec era, "baptism" was a very important thing which happened within days of birth. For their "baptism", what were little boys adorned with?
Answer: A bow, arrows and a miniature chest shield

After they got dressed up (I think they would have looked gorgeous, the little warriors!), the priest chanted to them, 'You have come into this world in order to give the sun the blood of his enemies to drink and to feed the soil with their bodies'.
    Your options: [ A crown and jewelery ] [ A bow, arrows and a miniature chest shield ] [ Llama skin ] [ The blood of a freshly killed sacrifice ]
  From Quiz: Life of the Ancient Aztecs
19 Who or what (during the creation) sacrificed themselves for all of Mankind, according to the Aztecs?
Answer: Their gods

The short, ugly god, covered with sores called, Nanahuatzin, threw himself into the fire, and rose up as the sun. But then he stopped moving. The Gods had to do something.
  From Quiz: Beliefs of the Ancient Aztecs
20 The next merchant is trying to sell us some blades to attach to our wooden sword called a macuahuitl. What are these blades made of that he has crafted?
Answer: Obsidian

Obsidian is a volcanic, glass-like rock that is created after lava hardens and cools. It can be found around the Aztec region and even was mined by them in some quarries. Aztec craftsmen could chip away at it and fracture it into pieces with curved edges that were razor sharp and thin. These pieces could then be inserted into a wooden sword to make a deadly weapon for close combat.
    Your options: [ Steel ] [ Obsidian ] [ Claws ] [ Copper ]
  From Quiz: Let's Go Shopping At The Aztec Marketplace
21 A Mayan chieftain gave Cortes a slave girl who was of noble descent and spoke Nahuatl. She became invaluable as an interpreter. Her name was Malinalli, the Spaniards called her Marina, but she is best known under which name?
Answer: Malinche

From Yucatan Cortes sailed to Tabasco where he was attacked by a hostile Mayan tribe. The conquistadors easily defeated the Mayans in a short battle. Now the conquistadors knew the locals weren't a match for them. After the battle the Mayan chieftain gave Cortes twenty female slaves, of which one was Malinche.

With Malinche Cortes could now communicate with the Aztecs. She translated from Nahuatl (the Aztec language) to Mayan, and de Aguilar then translated from Mayan to Spanish. This elaborate way of communicating must have been difficult and may have contributed to some misunderstandings between the Spaniards and the Aztecs. Later Malinche learned Spanish, which made things easier. She became Cortes' mistress and gave birth to his son Martin.

Over the years Malinche has become somewhat of a legend in Mexico. Depending on what one's point of view she is sometimes seen as 'the mother of Mexico' or as a traitor. Malinchista is a derogatory term in Mexico for a disloyal person.
    Your options: [ Pocahontas ] [ Malinche ] [ Sacajawea ] [ Dido ]
  From Quiz: Fall of the Aztec Empire
22 What was the name of the main temple in the center of Tenochtitlan?
Answer: The Great Temple of Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc

The stairs leading up this temple were so steep it was like "walking up to the Heavens". The stairs were often stained red due to the many sacrifices made in the temple.
  From Quiz: Aztec Daily Life
23 In the Aztec religion there was a god of the dead. What his name?
Answer: Mictlantecuhtli

According to Aztec religion Mictlantecuhtli dweled in Mictlan. There he would rule over the dead. The god is shown as having a body covered in human bones and wears a skull like mask over his face. Among the animals associated with him were the spider, bat, and owl.
  From Quiz: Aztec Economy, Cuisine, and Religion
24 Who or what killed Montezuma II?
Answer: his own people

The people of Tenochtitlan rebelled against the Spanish. Cortes ordered Montezuma to speak to his people from a palace balcony and persuade them to let the Spanish return to the coast in peace. Montezuma was jeered and stones were thrown at him, injuring him badly. Montezuma died a few days later.
  From Quiz: The Aztec Empire
25 Although many Aztecs were killed in fighting or died from from mass executions, they also suffered by having no immunity to diseases brought by the Spanish invaders. Which of these was the most deadly?
Answer: Smallpox

The Europeans were responsible for bringing diseases to the Americas which had never previously been encountered. Consequently, the native peoples had no resistance to these illnesses and succumbed to conditions such as measles and typhus, among others. Smallpox was the biggest killer, though, The conquest by the Spaniards was aided by these infections, wiping out many of the Aztecs. The syphilis option may actually have worked the other way around. Many historians believe the disease was brought from the Americas to Europe. Maybe this was the true Montezuma's Revenge!

The photo is of a smallpox mite infestation on a leaf which resembles human smallpox without being quite so unpleasant to see.
    Your options: [ Typhus ] [ Influenza ] [ Smallpox ] [ Syphilis ]
  From Quiz: Montezuma's Revenge
26 What environmental problem required ingenious solution to enable the Aztec cities to thrive? Many modern cities face the same issue.
Answer: The local water supply was largely brackish (salty)

The series of lakes that make up the Texcoco system are endorheic, meaning inward draining; there is no outlet e.g. a river, to take lake water away. Hence over time the water becomes brackish through evaporation. All water bodies contain dissolved salts (in largely differing amounts), so when the water evaporates, the salts are left behind. This brackish water was too salty to drink but 'fresh' enough to grow crops. As Tenochtitlan grew, the demand for potable water also rose. The 'problem' was solved during the first half of the 15th century when a 12-16 km (7.5 to 10 mile) levee was constructed across a western section of the lake. On the east side of the levee was the brackish water but on the west side was the incoming fresh water, fed from springs.

Furthermore, spring water was conveyed to the city via two terra cotta aqueducts from what is now known as Chapultepec Hill. Spring water was preferred for drinking while the 'fresh' water west of the levee was used for washing.
  From Quiz: The Mighty Aztec Empire
27 What were the little girls adorned with for their "baptism"?
Answer: A spindle, a washing stone, and a pot

The priest chanted to her, 'Your role will to be the wife and mother of future warriors'. After this ritual, for both boys and girls, and the midwife that delivered them, would place droplets of water on their mouth, chest and head. Then the following would occur: If a boy: She would raise him to the sun four times. If a girl: She summoned the goddess Yoalticitl, the nocturnal healer, to bless the child.
  From Quiz: Life of the Ancient Aztecs
28 What was the 'precious water' that the gods needed to be fed, as a reminder of the sacrifice they made for all of Mankind?
Answer: blood

The gods (from the above question), killed themselves, washing their blood all over the earth, and offered their hearts to the sun. This was the sun's fuel and it rose into the sky. This is why Aztecs sacrificed often, so the sun would come up the next day.
  From Quiz: Beliefs of the Ancient Aztecs
29 The Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan was built on a man-made island in which lake that eventually disappeared underneath modern Mexico City?
Answer: Lake Texcoco

Tenochtitlan was one of two cities on the island, the other being Tlatelolco. Tenochtitlan was founded about 1325, and served as the capital of the Aztec Empire until it was captured by the Spanish in 1521.
    Your options: [ Lake Chalco ] [ Lake Zumpango ] [ Lake Texcoco ] [ Lake Xaltocan ]
  From Quiz: Brief History of the Aztecs
30 The next merchant we speak with is a tradesman who is offering up some lovely feathers from a local bird to be used in a headdress, fan, or cape. What kind of bird might this be that had these greenish blue iridescent feathers?
Answer: Quetzal

The Aztecs used feathers to decorate their clothing and accessories. Local wild birds, such as quetzals, macaws, parrots, and hummingbirds were valued for their bright feathers. Even domesticated birds, like the turkey or duck, were utilized. Shiny, brightly colored feathers were highly prized and dyeing or artificially creating color was frowned upon. The male quetzal's long tail feathers were worn by nobles or kings as each bird had only two of these to offer!
    Your options: [ Flamingo ] [ Quetzal ] [ Bald eagle ] [ Heron ]
  From Quiz: Let's Go Shopping At The Aztec Marketplace
31 In April 1519 Cortes and his conquistadors finally came ashore in the Gulf of Mexico. There he founded a settlement which has become an important Mexican port city. Which city is this?
Answer: Veracruz

Since Cortes had sailed to the mainland without the approval of the Cuban governor his expedition was considered illegal. He founded a settlement which he called La Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz (Rich Village of the True Cross). A hastily created council pronounced him 'adelantado', which gave him the right to act as governor for the region. This was a legal trick to free himself from the authority of the Cuban governor.

Montezuma had spies all over the country and was already aware of the Spanish presence. Shortly after Cortes had landed he was met by an Aztec delegate. He gave Cortes gold and many presents, hoping he would accept this and go away. It had the opposite effect. Now they had seen gold they were even more determined to push on. When Cortes asked if the Aztecs had more gold the delegate answered: "Yes, we have". It was the worst possible answer he could have given.

Today Veracruz is Mexico's oldest and most important port. The city has about 550,000 inhabitants (2010 census). The three wrong answers are Mexican cities on the Pacific coast.
    Your options: [ Acapulco ] [ Veracruz ] [ Mazatlan ] [ Puerto Vallarta ]
  From Quiz: Fall of the Aztec Empire
32 How often did the poor bathe?
Answer: Once a day

The Aztecs were very clean people. Bath houses were like saunas. It was an enclosed room connected to the house. A fire would have to be set up from the outside near the wall, then the one bathing would enter the room. They would sit on the ground and use the roots of a plant that gave off a soapy lather, they would wash their arms, legs, bodies, etc., to loosen off any dirt. If Aztecs didn't have these bath houses they would simply bathe in lakes.
  From Quiz: Aztec Daily Life
33 What was the main staple food for the Aztecs?
Answer: Maize

Maize is a type of corn that is still grown around the world today. Other popular foods among the Aztecs were squash, beans, tomatoes, and chillies.
  From Quiz: Aztec Economy, Cuisine, and Religion
34 Hernan Cortes conquered the Aztecs. What were his initial orders when he went to central America?
Answer: to establish trade routes with the local people

Velázquez's instructions to Cortes, in an agreement signed on 23 October 1518, were to lead an expedition to initiate trade relations with the indigenous coastal tribes. However Cortes was allowed to take emergency measures if necessary.
  From Quiz: The Aztec Empire
35 The Aztecs believed that they lived under the Fifth Sun and that they needed to keep it going. During a solar eclipse, they believed that the sun was under attack. Which group was sacrificed during an eclipse to help the sun warriors defend the sun?
Answer: People with handicaps

The Aztecs believed that the souls of cripples, especially hunchbacks, could help the sun warriors to protect the sun from the monster that was attacking it. This always worked and the eclipse would end. Because of this, people who were crippled were treated well during their lifetime.
    Your options: [ Slaves ] [ Women ] [ People with handicaps ] [ Young children ]
  From Quiz: Aztec Sacrifices
36 Huitzilopochtli was the Aztec god of the sun and which of these?
Answer: War

The name of Huitzilopochtli translates as huitzilin,, meaning hummingbird, and opochtli, which means left. The Aztecs believed that hummingbirds represented reincarnated dead soldiers. Left was equivalent to the south. Other names by which he is known translate as turquoise prince or our lord. Huitzilopochtli is the god who guided the Aztecs during their migration to the Valley of Mexico. He is one of the two main gods of the Aztecs. The other is possibly better known - the feathered serpent called Quetzalcoatl, the god of the morning and evening star (Venus) and of priests.
    Your options: [ Fire ] [ Agriculture ] [ War ] [ Priesthood ]
  From Quiz: Montezuma's Revenge
37 What bird is the tribal god of the Aztecs?
Answer: humming bird

The bird would speak to his people through priests.
  From Quiz: Life of the Ancient Aztecs
38 How did the second world (four winds) end?
Answer: A giant serpent breathed on the earth and turned men into monkeys

I don't quite get the monkey thing, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it!
  From Quiz: Beliefs of the Ancient Aztecs
39 Even though we have many written records of the Aztecs, their origin and early years in the Valley of Mexico are uncertain. What is the main reason for this uncertainty?
Answer: The original records were destroyed

The intentional destruction of original documents relating to the actual origin (or origin myth) of the Aztecs was done in order to rewrite history by a half-brother of Moctezuma I. Today, this rewrite makes it very difficult for researchers studying Aztec origins because many of these re-written documents can't be taken at face value.
  From Quiz: Brief History of the Aztecs
40 The next merchant we deal with has traveled from the banks of Lake Texcoco. He is offering us a seasoning that we will use in most of our dishes and to preserve our meat. What is it?
Answer: Salt

Salt craft specialists took salty spring water and boiled it down to obtain the seasoning. They then distributed it and traded it in markets around the region. Salt and chili pepper were so important to cooking in the Aztec culture that fasting meant going without these two ingredients. Salt, however, had an added bonus of helping to preserve meat by drawing out the moisture.
    Your options: [ Black pepper ] [ Salt ] [ Coriander ] [ Nutmeg ]
  From Quiz: Let's Go Shopping At The Aztec Marketplace
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