Quatzalzuma I the Great
Timeline: Great Empires

Modern image of Quatzalzuma I

Emperor of the Aztec Empire
1615 – 1653

Predecessor Tenochzitza
Successor Teotlalco

King of Tenochtitlan
1615 – 1653

Predecessor Tenochzitza
Successor Teotlalco
Born 1600
Died 1670
Spouse Tlacaxala
other wives
Imperial House Tenoch Dynasty
Father Tlacateotl
Mother Tsalaxa
Religion Aztec religion
A great ruler is loved by his people, not because he is great, but because he makes them happy.”
~ Quatzalzuma I
Quatzalzuma I was one the greatest rulers of the Aztec Empire.


Early life

Quatzalzuma I (birth name: Nezahual) was born in 1600 to Tlacateotl and his wife as the grandson of Empress Tenochzitza. He was educated at the Imperial School of Tenochtitlan and was also trained in military tactics and combat. Although he was not first in line in the line of succession, his father was killed in a battle in Northern Mexico, and after Empress Tenochzitza's death, he became emperor in 1615.


Nezahual took the regnal name of Quatzalzuma I (Man of Quatzalcoatl). He ascended the throne at the age of 15, which was below the age of majority in the Aztec society. His prime advisor Iztahuatzin acted as "the power behind the throne" for three years until Quatzalzuma had enough of him and had him executed. In his early years he proved to be a military and tactical genius by conquering all of Greater Mexico. He first embarked on a ten-year campaign to conquer the neighbouring country of the Mayas. He personally led his troops and managed to conquer the Maya Kingdom. His next conquest was the conquest of all of Greater Mexico, including present day California, Arizona and New Mexico. He also improved the infrastructure and public facilities, such as hospitals, aqueducts, paved roads and pyramids. He eradicated the plagues by importing medicines of China and India.He was also quite friendly to the subjugated people and granted them the same rights as the Aztec people. He also expanded the Templo Mayor and built many temples to honor the gods. He was a patron of the arts and he was a skilled poet himself. In his personal life he loved to play ōllamaliztli (Mesoamerican ballgame) and enjoyed to make sculptures.

Later life

Quatzalzuma I abdicated in 1653 in favor of his daughter Teotlalco. He continued to influence the government and was her most trusted advisor.


Quatzalzuma I died in 1670 from old age. He was buried under Templo Mayor and was granted a state funeral.


  • Quatzalzuma I had more then 100 wives and concubines, he also had more than 1,000 children. Approximately 50% of the Aztec people (75 million people) are descendants of his, according to recent research with DNA tests
  • Scientists have analysed his skeleton and concluded that he was around 3 meters and thus had a form of gigantism. This proves that the Aztec codices were right, the Aztec codices describe him as: "The emperor is very handsome and muscular. He is gigantic and fierce and a formidable warrior. He stands 1,23 tlalquahuitl tall and towers above all things" (a tlalquahuitl is an Aztec unit of measurement which equals to 2,4384 meter)
Preceded by:
Emperor of the Aztec Empire
Succeeded by: