The Aztecs: Culture, Religion, and Lifestyle

Essay by VolcomStudJunior High, 8th gradeA+, February 2004

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The Aztec Environment-The Aztec people lived in the Valley of Mexico located in south-central Mexico. The valley is about 7,000 feet above sea level and is surrounded by high mountains on all but the northern side. The valley is a closed hydrographic unit, which means water flowing down the mountains drains into a series of shallow, marshy lakes, all of which are interconnected.

The relatively high elevation of the Valley of Mexico results in a climate generally cooler than what would be expected, which would be nice in the hot summers. The average temperature of the region is around 12 degrees Celsius. These lower temperatures allow for only a one-crop growing season, and often this is interrupted in the spring and fall seasons by frost. The cool climate caused a sense of uncertainty for the Aztec farmer, wondering if his crops would be ruined by frosts, affecting their survival, had to be at the forefront of their thoughts.

The rainy season that the Aztecs experienced lasted from May through October. The amount of rainfall varied from an average of 450 mm in the north up to 1000 mm in the southern part of the valley. Rainfall, although plentiful throughout most of the valley, was often sparse and could not be relied upon for the watering of the Aztec's crops. The Aztecs learned early that rain was unpredictable and knew irrigation systems had to be set up by to insure that their crops would not fail.

The system of lakes within the valley made it a unique environment. These lakes are both saline and freshwater, giving the Aztecs variety in the resources available to them and presenting problems along the lines of farming. The resources that lakes provided the Aztecs with were a wider variety of fish and hunting areas at...