Q:

What did the Aztecs do?

A:

Quick Answer

Some of the Aztecs' major accomplishments include advances in herbalism, the discovery of an extremely vivid shade of red and the development of ollama, a precursor to modern soccer. Though the Aztecs were known as powerful warriors, they were also responsible for many peaceful innovations.

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What did the Aztecs do?
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Full Answer

The Aztecs performed significant research on the properties of various herbs. The wealthiest members of the nobility had substantial gardens in which herbalists were allowed to experiment with different plants. One Aztec text, the Badianus Manuscript, contains information on over 180 plants and their use in the treatment of illnesses. While some of their treatments were ineffective, the Aztecs made use of many herbs that hold up within modern science including chicalote, a painkiller with properties similar to the opium poppy.

The Aztecs also developed a method of dyeing clothing that produced a shade of red more vivid than any previously seen. They created the dye using carminic acid found in the body of the cochineal beetle. The Spaniards were so impressed by the dye that they exported it for sale in Europe, where it was used to color the robes of Catholic cardinals.

Ollama, a game with many similarities to modern soccer, was another Aztec innovation. Played on a long field, the game featured elevated stone rings through which players attempted to knock a small rubber ball using only their hips, knees and elbows. The game was a special privilege only enjoyed by the nobility.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How did the Aztecs farm?

    A:

    Aztecs used chinampas, or long, narrow man-made islands built on the shallow lakes of Central Mexico, for their most intensive farming. The Encyclopaedia Britannica states that these chinampas provided fertile, dedicated fields composed of layered dirt and mud divided by wide navigable canals.

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  • Q:

    How did the Aztecs adapt to their environment?

    A:

    The Aztecs adapted to their surrounding environment in several ways, including making floating gardens to enable agricultural production on water surfaces, building canoes and creating dikes. The Aztecs lived in a swampy and moist environment in the vicinity of Lake Texcoco, which lies in the Valley of Mexico. The Aztecs encountered hurdles specific to their environment, such as frequent floods, which necessitated certain adaptations to allow the Aztecs to survive and even thrive.

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  • Q:

    What are some important accomplishments of the ancient Aztecs?

    A:

    The Aztecs developed a number of innovations that helped them survive and allowed their culture to thrive, including floating gardens to grow food, mandatory education for children, a game similar to soccer, herbal medicines and bright red fabric dye. The Aztec culture also produced a highly-organized system of government and a language, Nahuatl, that is still spoken today.

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  • Q:

    What animals did the Aztecs eat?

    A:

    The Aztecs ate a variety of different animals including turkeys, ducks, deer, rabbit, dogs and insects. The only domesticated animals the Aztecs raised were turkeys, ducks and dogs, and these animals provided only a small amount of meat to the Aztec diet.

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