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Before the Empire
Nahua peoples were not originally indigenous to central Mexico, but are instead descended from Chichimec peoples who migrated into the region from the north in the early 13th century. According to the pictographic codices in which the Aztecs recorded their history, the place of origin was called Aztlán. The early migrants settled the Basin of Mexico and surrounding lands by establishing a series of independent city-states. These early Nahua cities were ruled by petty kings called "tlatoque" (singular "tlatoani"). Most of the cities and towns that had been established in the region prior to the Nahua migration were assimilated into Nahua culture.
These early city-states fought various small-scale wars with each other, but due to the shifting nature of alliances no individual city gained dominance. The Mexica were the last of the Aztlan migrants to arrive in Central Mexico. They entered the Basin of Mexico around the year 1250 AD, by which time most of the good agricultural land had already been claimed. The Mexica persuaded the king of Culhuacan to allow them to settle in a relatively infertile patch of land called Chapultepec or Grasshopper hill. The Mexica became hired mercenaries for Culhuacan.
After serving the king of Culhuacan in battle, the Mexica were granted one of his daughters to rule over them. According to mythological native accounts, the Mexica sacrificed her by flaying her skin. According to native Aztec history, this was done on the command of their god Huitzilopochtli. When the king of Culhuacan learned of this, he attacked and used his army to drive the Mexica from Tizaapan by force. The Mexica then moved to an island in the middle of Lake Texcoco, where an eagle nested on a nopal cactus. The Mexica interpreted this as a sign from their god and founded their new city, Tenochtitlan, on this island in the year 2 House (1325 AD).
Not long after the foundation of Tenochtitlan, Aztec engineers discovered the use of metal working, and quickly advanced into the Bronze Age. Over a period of a couple decades progressed, they also developed iron working. Using this newly found technology, the Aztec rapidly expanded across the Mexican region, their empire growing quickly. They conquered most of their neighbors, and the Triple Alliance was fully reformed into the Aztec Empire.
Empire to Hegemony
Contact with the Romans
In the year 1392, Roman exploratory forces landed on the Eastern coast of Mexico. Not believing the Romans to be gods, and being immediately wary of them, the Aztecs kept a close eye on the Romans. They established contact with them, outside of Tenochtitlan. They were impressed by Roman steel and guns, though they kept contact limited.
Emperor Huitzilihuitl eventually allowed the Romans to place an embassy in Tenochtitlan, where the ambassadors witnessed human sacrifice. This caused an uproar in the Roman Republic, calling for intervention in Azteca, and conversion of Aztecs. Though the Senate was reluctant, after an incident between the ambassadors and the Aztecs, they declared war. The Romans quickly landed on Azteca, and while they had the advantage in technology, they were at a disadvantage in terrain. Taking this into account, the Aztecs waged a guerrilla war against the Romans, which they eventually won.
Using a combination of Roman prisoners and defectors, the Aztecs managed to gain the use of gunpowder and steel weapons. Horses failed to make an impression in Azteca, as they were poorly suited for the jungle environment. Donkeys and cattle, however, did manage to make an impact on Aztec society, and were quickly adapted into their society.
With this knew technology, the Aztec Empire plowed through the land, crushing all those who stood in its way. This success inspired Huitzilihuitl to give the Aztec Empire a new name, proclaiming it the Aztec Hegemony.
Aztec draft records regard 43,308,660 citizens, not including the conquered people. The hegemony is the second most populous nation in the hemisphere, after the Incan Empire.
All recognized Aztec citizens are ethnically Nahuatl. Non-Nahuatl people consist of conquered peoples. These people can consist of South American Amerindians, and Comanche and Plain Tribes people. There is a small population of ethnic Romans, who are descendant of Romans during the Aztec-Roman War.
Nahuatl is the official state language of the Aztec Hegemony. As the ancestral language of the people, it is spoken almost unanimously in the Hegemony. There is a minimal Latin speaking population, generally limited to the minority of the people. While Latin is not illegal, it is not protected by law, and Latin speakers are known to be persecuted.
The Emperor is the head of the Aztec church. While he is not considered divine, some believe that his actions are religiously sanctioned, and that his power is supreme. Other religions are not illegal, but the treatment of non-polytheists can vary depending on the reigning Emperor. The Aztec constitution does not strictly guarantee freedom of religion.
Almost all Aztec people still practice Aztec polytheism. That said, human sacrifice is no longer practiced, though on occasion, animals might be sacrificed.
There is a Christian minority in Azteca, though it is minimal at best, and Christians have been known to be persecuted by people. Some conquered tribes people are still allowed to practice their native religions as well, but there are no confirmed practitioners in Azteca.
The Aztec Hegemony is a hegemonic, absolute monarchy. The head of state is the Emperor, who holds complete authority over the remainder of the state. The constitution describes the country as a "confederation, over which the Emperor rules on high". No political parties or elections exist within the Hegemony.
Politics are divided into two parts: national (which refers to states directly under Aztec control) and hegemonic (which refers to states that are under Aztec dominion). States under hegemonic control have nominal control over their internal affairs, such as taxation, and policing; however, they are required to conform to national delegations.
The Emperor combines legislative, executive, and judicial functions, and imperial decrees form the basis for the countries legislation. The Emperor presides over the Hegemonic Council, and has the power to override decisions made by the Council. He generally writes laws, which are later submitted to the Council to enact.
Beneath the Emperor is the Hegemonic Council, who represent the states within the Hegemony. The council members are appointed by the Emperor, and are expected to differ to him in all matters of the state. The Hegemony consists of several other states, which are all subservient to Azteca Proper. They pay regular tribute to Aztec Proper, contribute soldiers to the army, and do not possess their own foreign relations.
Judicial and Law Systems
The Aztec judicial system is simplistic, with the accused appearing before a tribunal, presenting his case, and then a judge deciding it on the spot. Judges are given their position based on a certain amount of education that they receive, and are appointed by the Emperor.
The Aztec Hegemony possesses the most powerful military, known as the Grand Army of the Hegemony, in the Western Hemisphere, excluding the colonial powers. There is an instituted draft in the Hegemony, that requires all men of a certain age to submit themselves for application to the military. The government maintains the right to draft any of these people into the military. Once in the military, draftees take an aptitude test, whether to place them into the navy, air force or army.
All foreign relations are dictated directly by the Emperor. The Aztec Hegemony is the dominant non-colonial power in the North American landmass. It is making constant advances into territory of the Comanche Empire, and the Plains Federation (neither of which the Aztec Hegemony recognize), and is currently fighting an imperialistic war against the Incan Empire. These combined features make scholars believe that the Hegemony is a rising superpower. Due to the expansionist and often violent tendencies of the Aztecs, make relations with the Hegemony difficult at times. Many other states are openly critical about its policies towards its subjects, and its violent suppression of opposition.