Tenochtitlan

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Tenochtitlan (Classical Nahuatl: Tenōchtitlān [tenoːtʃˈtitɬaːn]) (sometimes paired with Mexico as Mexico Tenochtitlan or Tenochtitlan Mexico) was a Nahua altepetl (city-state) located on an island in Lake Texcoco, in the Valley of Mexico. Founded in 1325, it became the seat of the growing Aztec Empire in the 15th century, until captured by the Spanish in 1521. It subsequently became a cabecera of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, and today the ruins of Tenochtitlan are located in the central part of Mexico City.

Its name comes from Nahuatl tetl = "rock" and nochtli = "prickly pear" and means "Among the prickly pears [growing among] rocks". Tenochtitlan was one of two Mexican altepetl, the other being Tlatelolco.

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Geography

Tenochtitlan covered an estimated 8 to 13.5 km2 (3.1 to 5.2 sq mi), situated on the western side of the shallow Lake Texcoco.

At the time of Spanish conquest, Mexico City comprised Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco at the same time. Since then, the city extended from north to south from the north border of Tlatelolco to the swamps which by that time were gradually disappearing to the west, the city ended more or less at the present location of Bucareli Street.

It was connected to the mainland by causeways leading north, south, and west of the city. These causeways were interrupted by bridges that allowed canoes and other traffic to pass freely. The bridges could be pulled away if necessary to defend the city. The city itself was interlaced with a series of canals, so that all sections of the city could be visited either on foot or via canoe.

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