On this date in 1521, the Aztec Empire finally collapsed. The fall of Tenochtitlán to the Spanish Conquistadors ended an empire and began the Spanish rise to power. The end of the Spanish Empire was told in the previous post.
Instead of discussing the battles and the eventual fall of the Aztec, much of which is common knowledge, let us discuss the rise of this Empire. It is not as well known that the Aztecs came from very humble beginnings. They arrived in the Valley of Mexico somewhere around the 12th century. Up until that point, they were poor, nomadic and generally dominated by neighboring tribes. It was not until the founding of Tenochtitlán that the Aztecs began to consolidate any power. Even this process was slow however. For the next two hundred years, they relied mainly on alliances and treachery to maintain their political autonomy. It was not until the 15th and 16th centuries that the Aztecs began to assert their will through military force.
The Aztecs were a force to be reckoned with in the Mexican peninsula, but only for a relatively short amount of time. They came from humble beginnings, but rose quickly. Far more quickly than they rose, however, they were extinguished. The hundreds of years of clawing their way to a position of power were undone in just a couple years. The Aztecs were unable to leave a legacy on the world. Their grand city, Tenochtitlán, which boasted a population some two or three times as large as London, was raised and the people subjugated.