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date: 18 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Attempts on the part of contemporary people to trace their descent from the ancient Aztecs is fraught with difficulties and uncertainty due to historical factors, the volatile nature of the empire itself, Spanish and later Mexican policies, common use of the Nahuatl language, and cataclysms such as devastating population declines that have befallen Mesoamerica over the past 500 years. This chapter discusses confusions in use of the term Aztecs, challenges in tracing the genealogical descendants of the Triple Alliance and concepts of ethnicity, and ethnogenesis and indigenismo and their complexities. However, ethnographic research has shown that many beliefs and practices found in ancient Aztec culture are shared among indigenous people today. Rather than being direct cultural descendants of the Aztecs, it is probable that groups both modern and ancient partake of common Mesoamerican traditions of great antiquity that are widespread throughout the region.

Keywords: Nahua, Nahuatl, Triple Alliance, ethnicity, ethnogenesis, indigenismo

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