Aztec Emperors: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

If you lived in the Aztec civilization, your life would mostly be determined by the decisions made by the emperors. Come and learn about some of the most infamous Aztec emperors in history.

Who Were the Aztec Emperors?

Some countries have presidents, some have kings and queens. The Aztecs had emperors, who were the supreme rulers of their civilization. Sometimes, emperors were called Great Speakers. Tenochtitlan was the capital city of the Aztecs. It's founding is actually a cool story because the Aztec people were looking for a place where they could see an eagle perched on top of a cactus while eating a snake. They saw this on the island that became Tenochtitlan. The image of the eagle can be seen on the current Mexican flag. In Tenochtitlan, the emperors had all of the power and made major decisions regarding the Aztec civilization. Some emperors were more successful than others, but each of them has their own individual story to tell.



When the Aztec civilization first began in the 1300s, a man named Acamapichtli became the very first emperor. Acamapichtli's father was from Colhua and his mother was from Mexica, which made him the perfect representation of the new alliance. His time as emperor is still symbolic of the beginning of Mexico's road to independence and power. While in power, Acamapichtli worked to bring people of different cultures together, as opposed to starting wars to destroy one another.



Not too long after Acamapichtli's reign (the time in which he was in power), Itzcoatl made his mark as one of the most powerful emperors in Aztec history. He took a different approach to his leadership compared to the peaceful Acamapichtli. Instead, he aligned himself with the people of Tlacopan and Texcoco and began a war against two other very powerful cities. Itzcoatl's people won every battle they entered, which really put them on the map as a civilization to be feared and respected.

Motecuhzoma II

Motecuhzoma II

Motecuhzoma II was actually the second emperor with the name (hence the II). Sometimes, you might see this spelled a different way, like Moctezuma or Montezuma. Motecuhzoma II was the ninth emperor of the Aztecs, and while he did many notable things during his reign, he is also known for all of the supernatural occurrences that surrounded him and his legacy.

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