Aztec Rulers: Ahuitzotl, Eighth Tlatoani

About the Aztec ruler Ahuitzotl.

Formal name: Ahuitzotzin
Reign: 1486-1502, 1485-1502 (Tira de Tepechpan)
Name: Water possum
Place of Birth: Likely Tenochtitilan

Upon the death of Ahuitzotl’s brother, Tizoc, the lords met and powerful advisor Tlacaelel began to advocate for his young nephew, a child at the time according to Duran. Other sources say he was already an accomplished military leader and priest. A huge inaugural festival was thrown with allies and enemies invited.

One of his first efforts was to put down a rebellion in the north where the Huastec Nation. He joined the other Triple Alliance leaders, notably King Nezahualpilli of Texcoco, in wars of conquest across the empire.

In 1487 (Ixtlilxochitl) Ahuitzotl completed the expansion and enlarging of the Templo Mayor started by his brother Tizoc. The inaugural festivities were attended by the leaders of the Triple Alliance and other city-states. Sacrifices were made, festivals were held.

According to both Ixtlilxochitl and Duran, Ahuitzotl commissioned a new aqueduct from Coyoacan to Tenochtitlan. Duran states that Ahuitzotl had the ruler of Coyoacan, Tzutzumatzin, killed for his refusal to grant access to the spring, or for the error of advising the Tenochca leader of potential danger with the project. Workers came from across the empire to work on the massive earthwork project.

On the day of the opening of the aqueduct there was great pomp as priests dressed as the water god Tlaloc danced and sang, children were sacrificed, their tears extracted for Tlaloc. Soon the water began to accumulate within the dams and channels, drowing the chinampas and flooding the streets. The flooding was so bad, according to Duran, that much of the population fled the city. Ahuitzotl had the city rebuilt better and stronger than it was before the flood, Duran wrote.

During the opening ceremony the water gushed uncontrollably from the spring, flooding the city and causing the emperor to hit his head in an attempt to escape the flood waters. The writer claims this injury eventually killed Ahuitzotl, despite attempts to save him, even removing parts of his skull. Ahuitzotl was honored with great celebration and ritual. Following the funerals, Totoquihuatzli of Tlacopan, and Nezahuacoyotl of Texcoco selected Moctezuma II to be the next emperor.

Duran states Ahuitzotl became ill and died, one of his final acts was to order a carving of himself next to his father on Chapultepec Hill, which is still there, although badly defaced.

Ahuitzotl’s Accomplishments
Completed Tizoc’s Templo Mayor expansion.
Huastec Rebellion victory.
Completed an aqueduct from Coyoacan to Tenochtitlan.
Led wars, including against Xolotla, Xoconochco and ohers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *