Engineering An Empire: The Aztecs.
No one knows the origin of the Aztecs, it is possible that they might have been Ute, Shoshone or Paiute people, who may have originated in what is today California, migrating first to Arizona and New Mexico, picking up some culture and knowledge from the ancient Pueblo peoples before migrating to Mexico.
In less than 200 years the Aztec's transformed themselves from a band of wandering nomads to the greatest civilization the New World had ever known. What records remain of this amazing feat indicate they did it through brilliant military campaigns and by ingeniously applying technology to master the harsh environment they faced. They built their capital city where no city should have been possible: in the middle of a lake and at the time of the Spanish arrival, it's population was larger than any city in Europe over 250,000.. Mexico City was built on top of the ruins of the Aztec capital.
The Aztec also practiced human sacrifice on an unprecedented scale, mostly prisoners of war, and made many enemies because of this. By the time the Spanish landed they had no trouble recruiting thousands of Indian warriors from other Mexican tribes to help them destroy the Aztec Empire.
Watch with host Peter Weller as we examine the architecture and infrastructure behind the New World's greatest, and last, indigenous empire.