Aztec Rulers – Itzcoatl: Fourth Ruler of Tenochtitlan

1380-1440 – Reign: 1427-1440
Name: Obsidian Serpent
Itzcoatl established the Triple Alliance, or what is casually referred to as the Aztec Empire. After his likely nephew Chimalpopoca was killed it freed the Mexica people from their loyalty to the Tepanec Empire. Itzcoatl, unencumbered by loyalty to his Tepanec ancestors, led a war against Maxtla, the ruler of the Tepanec capital in Azcapotzalco. The king of Texcoco, legendary cultural icon Nezahuacoyotl joined the Mexica ruler in this war. After the war was won a new alliance, which included the altepetl, or family-ruled city of Tlacopan, emerged. The three rulers, Itzcoatl, Nezahuacoyotl and Totoquihuatzli formed the Triple Alliance that would rule the Valley of Mexico until 1521.

Itzcoatl, fourth ruler of Tenochtitlan.

After cementing the alliance and control of the northern valley and lakes, Itzcoatl moved south into lakes Xochimilco and Chalco. But first he took down the reigning altepetls of Culhuacan and Coyoacan. Then they moved on to chinampa towns of Cuitlahuac, Mixquic and others.

With the entire Valley in their control, the lords of the Triple Alliance established their titles and districts. Itzcoatl took the title of Lord of the Culhua, Totoquihuatzli of Tlacopan took on the Tepanec lands and people and Nezahuacoyotl remained as ruler the Acolhua people east of Texcoco. With their power consolidated the Triple Alliance took on the people of Cuahnahuac.

Itzcoatl depicted in the Tovar Codex, his name-glyph, an obsidian serpent, over his right shoulder.

Itzcoatl died in 1440 and was succeeded by his nephew Moctezuma I.

Itzcoatl’s Accomplishments

  • Established the Triple Alliance
  • Conquered Culuhua and Coyoacan
  • Overthrew Tepanec subjugation
  • Conquered Chinampa People of lakes Chalco and Xochimilco
  • Built a causeway
  • Expanded infrastructure and buildings of Tenochtitlan
  • Established new religious and political hierarchies

Chimalpopoca <<- Itzcoatl ->> Moctezuma

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