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date: 23 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the expansion of the Aztec or Triple Alliance Empire in the central highlands of Mexico. The Triple Alliance employed strong military forces, and most of the new territories were subjugated during military campaigns. The Aztec strategy involved targeting the major city-states (altepetl) of each region because when an altepetl capital was subdued, imperial rule was initiated over the entire area of the altepetl and all its population, not just over the capital city that was defeated. The Triple Alliance divided the central highlands into 14 tributary provinces. The tax system was the most important mechanism by which the imperial capitals obtained resources from the provinces. Although scholars have traditionally emphasized the indirect nature of control of the provinces, recent research suggests that the empire may have wielded more power in provincial areas than has been thought. Strategies of imperial control are discussed.

Keywords: central highlands of Mexico, Triple Alliance, Aztec, imperial capitals, imperial control, military, city-states, empire, altepetl

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