Starting: Aztecs begin with a wealth of gold Ancient: Units heal after winning in combat Medieval: Temples provide +3 science Industrial: Half-price roads Modern: +50% gold production Unique Units: Warrior become Jaguar Warrior
Montezuma's Revenge is a stomach virus that is caught almost exclusively by foreigners visiting Mexico.
The Aztecs were originally a nomadic people from northern Mexico. Legend has it that only when they discovered an eagle devouring a snake standing atop a cactus could they finally rest. They are thought to have found just such a sight in the heart of Lake Texcoco, which would become the site of the Aztecs' aquatic capital.
Notes from the Civilopedia: The Aztecs:
The origin of the Aztec people is uncertain, but their traditional stories suggest that they were a tribe of hunter-gatherers on the northern Mexican plateau before their appearance in Meso-America in the 12th century. Once in their new homeland the Aztecs settled on islands in Lake Texcoco and in 1325 founded the capital city of Tenochtitlan.
The basis of the Aztecs' success in creating a great state and ultimately an empire was their remarkable system of agriculture, which featured intensive cultivation of all available land, as well as elaborate systems of irrigation and reclamation of swampland. The high productivity gained by these methods made them a rich and populous people able to support a large and potent military class.
Under a succession of ambitious kings, through commerce and conquest the Aztecs established a dominion that eventually stretched over most of present-day Mexico. Tenochtitlan came to rule an empire of 400 to 500 small states, comprising by 1519 some five to six million people spread over 80,000 square miles.
Valor in war was the surest path to advancement in Aztec society, which was caste- and class-divided but nonetheless vertically fluid. The priestly and bureaucratic classes were involved in the administration of the empire, while at the bottom of society were classes of serfs, indentured servants, and slaves.
In 1502 the ninth emperor Montezuma II (1502-1520) succeeded his uncle Ahuitzotl as the leader of an empire that had reached its greatest extent, stretching from what is now northern Mexico to Honduras and Nicaragua. The Aztec empire was still expanding, and its society still evolving, when its progress was halted in 1519 by the appearance of Spanish adventurers.
For all its apparent strength, the Aztec Empire had vulnerabilities that the Spanish were able to exploit. Aztec rule was based upon a system of tribute and fear over the surrounding peoples; every year, they were forced to pay the Aztecs money, goods, and a supply of captives to be sacrificed on the altar. Taking advantage of this resentment of their Aztec overlords, the tiny Spanish force was able to attract a massive army of some 30,000 Mesoamericans of many different tribes. After mistaking the Spanish for gods and inviting them into Tenochtitlan, Montezuma was taken prisoner by Hernando Cortes and died in custody. Montezuma's successors, Cuitlahuac and Cuauhtemoc, were unable to stave off the force raised by the conquistadors and, with the Spanish sack of Tenochtitlan in 1521, the Aztec empire came to an end.
Unique Aztec worker units
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Notes from the Civilopedia: More about Montezuma:
Montezuma (c.1480 - 1520 AD) was Emperor of the Aztec nation from approximately 1502 until its dissolution in 1520. At the start of his reign he was considered a god and was absolute monarch of the entire known world; at the end of his reign he watched a small group of foreigners destroy his empire with ease.
Montezuma ruled the Aztecs at the height of their power. His empire controlled a large portion of what is now modern Mexico. They had conquered virtually all other people around them, except for a few other nations which they deliberately left free (so that they would have somebody left to make war against and to use as sacrifices).
Though extremely rich and powerful, Montezuma's nation shamelessly squandered a great portion of its wealth and might. Much like the Egyptians, the Aztecs built huge monuments to their gods and held ever-increasing numbers of expensive religious festivals in which they slaughtered tens of thousands of prisoners and their own people. Montezuma himself lived in great splendor, his clothing made of silver, gold, and brightly-colored feathers. His court was brilliant, though much riddled with corruption and intrigue.
In 1519, Hernando Cortes led 600 Spanish adventurers with 20 horses and 10 cannon to the shores of Mexico on a mission of exploration. Hearing of the great wealth of the Aztecs, he took his tiny force west, determined to conquer this massive nation of five million. At the start of the march Cortes burned his ships to ensure that his men would not desert him.
The natives that first faced Cortes were primitive and divided. They were terrified of the "demonic" Spanish horses and cannon and broke before their accurate musket-fire. Cleverly exploiting their political divisions, Cortes then enlisted the defeated peoples' aid by promising them revenge against the hated Aztecs.
Montezuma watched Cortes' approach with fear and bewilderment. His religion told him that one day the god Quetzalcoatl would return in the guise of a light-skinned bearded man, and when that day occurred, the Aztecs were to welcome him with open arms. Surely Cortes was Quetzalcoatl: else how could he command an army of demons? On the other hand, Cortes was clearly bent on the conquest of the empire - should Montezuma not oppose him? Perhaps the sinful Aztecs needed to be punished!
Eventually, at the desperate urging of his advisors, Montezuma sent an army into the field against the invaders. But they were unable to offer effective resistance and Cortes' forces quickly overwhelmed them. The invaders then marched into the capital city Tenochtitlan virtually unopposed and took Montezuma prisoner. He was eventually killed during an uprising that pushed the invaders out of the city for more than a year.
One has to wonder what would have happened if Montezuma had shown Cortes' courage and resolve and mobilized his people when the invaders first arrived. Could the Spanish have conquered Mexico against determined and organized resistance? Perhaps, but perhaps the natives would have held on long enough to learn to master the horse and gun - or at least to master their fear of them. If so, they would have become a formidable foe indeed.