Aztecs Find a Home: The Eagle Has Landed

All about us we saw cities and villages built in the water, their great towers and buildings of masonry rising out of it. . . . When I beheld the scenes around me I thought within myself, this was the garden of the world.
— Bernal Diaz del Castillo, Spanish conquistador

It is said that the Aztecs chose the site of their capital, Tenochtitlan, because of the presence of a bird perched on a cactus and eating a snake. In this lesson, students will learn about that ancient Aztec legend and about how Tenochtitlan became the site of modern-day Mexico City.

Guiding Questions

According to legend, how did the Aztecs choose a site for their capital city?

What were life and culture like for the Aztec people in their capital city, Tenochtitlan?

Learning Objectives

Identify the Aztecs as the builders of a city and civilization in what is now Mexico

Locate the Aztec Empire on a map

Explain the Aztec legend about the founding of the city of Tenochtitlan

State that the modern flag of Mexico has a symbol of an eagle, a cactus, and a snake

Interpret the symbolism contained in other Mexican flags