Research: Tenochtitlan as the center of commerce

Previously I was interested in trade connections between Aztec and Mayan society. However, my main focus has now changed to investigating the city of Tenochtitlan and how it became the center of commerce and an important symbol in prehispanic Mesoamerica. Sticking with a comparative study, I want to understand why it is impossible to understand Mesoamerican trade without Tenochtitlan. To do this, I will also look at other Aztec cities, such as Chiconaulta, for comparisons. The Mesoamerican metropolis established in the minds of the Europeans that the Aztecs were sophisticated people who shared many of the same societal qualities seen in Europe. From Tenochtitlan, the Aztecs were able to spread their influence across Mesoamerica by inviting outside tribes and ethnic groups to sell their products, creating a multicultural center of commerce.

Primary Source:

Secondary Sources:

Nichols, Deborah L., Christina Elson, Leslie G. Cecil, Nina Neivens de Estrada, Michael D. Glascock, and Paula Mikkelsen. “Chiconaulta, Mexico: A Crossroads of Aztec Trade and Politics.” Latin American Antiquity 20, no. 3 (2009): 443–72.
Drennan, Robert D. “Long-Distance Movement of Goods in the Mesoamerican Formative and Classic.” American Antiquity 49, no. 1 (1984): 27–43.
Minc, Leah D. “Style and Substance: Evidence for Regionalism within the Aztec Market System.” Latin American Antiquity 20, no. 2 (2009): 343–74.
Hirth, Kenneth G. The Aztec Economic World: Merchants and Markets in Ancient Mesoamerica. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016.
The American Southwest and Mesoamerica: Systems of Prehistoric Exchange. Edited by Jonathan E. Ericson and Timothy G. Baugh. New York: Plenum Press, 1993


2 thoughts on “Research: Tenochtitlan as the center of commerce

  1. Emma Cotter

    I think that it could be really interesting for you to specifically look at different maps of Tenochitlan and Chiconaulta to see how they are positioned within the maps–whether they are the main focus of maps (ex: centered) and how complex the maps indicate them to be. I think that by looking at how complex the cities appear on the maps, you may be able to determine how important to trade the Natives believed each city to be.


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