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Tlatelolco (Mexico)


Templo de Santiago, Plaza de las Tres Culturas, Tlatelolco Park, Mexico City

Templo de Santiago, Plaza de las Tres Culturas, Tlatelolco Park, Mexico City

S. Shepherd

The town of Tlatelolco was a sister city to Tenochtitlan during the Aztec rule of Mexico. The town was known for a huge market, in the mid-fifteenth century AD servicing between 20,000 and 25,000 people per day, with stuff brought for sale by the pochteca travelers from all over central America. According to Bernal Diaz, goods sold at the Tlatelolco market included food, gems, animal hides, furniture, clothing, sandals, pots, slaves, and exotic items.

Tlatelolco is also known for its violent past. A great drought between 1454 and 1457 led to a mass sacrifice of 37 children and 6 adults. Tlatlelolco was the scene of the 'last stand of the Aztecs' in their war against the Spanish conquistadors, where 40,000 Aztec men, women, and children were said to have been slaughtered on one day in 1521. And, in 1968, a student uprising was quelled, with 300 students killed by armed guards.


This glossary entry is part of the About.com Guide to the Aztec Civilization and the Dictionary of Archaeology.

Borden, Kara. 2005. Mexico '68: An Analysis of the Tlatelolco Massacre and its Legacy. BA Honor's Thesis, University of Oregon, Department of History. Free download.

Calnek, Edward. 2001. Tenochtitlan-Tlatelolco (Federal District, Mexico). pp. 719-722 in Archaeology of Ancient Mexico and Central America, edited by Susan Toby Evans and David L. Webster. Garland, New York City.

De La Cruz, Isabel, et al. 2008 Sex Identification of Children Sacrificed to the Ancient Aztec Rain Gods in Tlatelolco. Current Anthropology 49(3):519-526.

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