Aztec Rulers: Huitzilihuitl, Second Ruler of Tenochtitlan

The second Tlatoani of Tenochtitlan, and the first that was born in the city, was Huitzilihuitl. He was the son of the first tlatoani, Acamapichtli, and a Mexica mother named Tezcatlan Miyahuatzin. He was born into a Mexica community still subject to the Tepanec people of Azcapotzalco. Before his death, Acamapichtli established the calpulli, a council of the four districts, that would not only consider the nobility, but ability of potential rulers. Huitzilihuitl was the first selected by this council.

He took the throne at about age 16, after the death of his father circa 1403, sources vary. Militarily, he aligned the Mexica with Azcapotzalco in their feud with Texcoco. During his reign he took several wives from other altepetls with an eye toward bolstering the Mexica nobility, including noblewomen from their Tepenec rulers in Tlacopan and Azcapotzalco. One of his wives was the daughter of the mighty Tezozomoc. Tenochtitlan profited greatly from these marriages, receiving gifts and reduced tribute levels. He died around 1417 with his son Chimalpopoca, succeeding him.

Huitzilihuitl pursued his father’s politics, building ties, slowly strengthening the city and army. His reign saw the spread of cotton weaving, elevating Mexica clothing from the courser maguey (agave) fabrics to the much softer cotton fabrics. His legacy would continue through his sons, including two future tlatoque, Chimalpopoca and Moctezuma Ilhuicamina, as well as the powerful advisor and shaper of Mexica politics and culture, Tlacaelel.

Florentine Codex: “Vitsivitl, fue el segundo senor de Tenochtitlan: el qual tuvo el senorio. Veynte e un anos: y el comenzo las guerras, y peleo con los de culhuacan.”
English: Vitsivitl, was the second lord of Tenochtitlan: the one who had dominion. Twenty and one years: and he began the wars, and fought with those of Culhuacan.

Tlatoani Huitzilihuitl depicted in the Tovar Codex.

Name: His name translates to hummingbird feather. In both of the images a green hummingbird can be seen representing his name. Next to his symbol is his name spelled in Latin characters.

Huitzilihuitl, second ruler of Tenochtitlan, depicted in the Codex Mendoza.

Acamapichtli <<- Huitzilihuitl ->> Chimalpopca

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