The sun set on the Aztec empire for some interesting reasons.
“[Tlacaelel’s] plan was to consolidate Aztec or Mexicatl grandeur,” says Antonio Serrato-Combe, a professor of archaeology at the University of Utah’s school of architecture, in an email to Quartz. Part of Tlacaelel’s reforms included expeditions into neighboring communities to “find individuals who were to be sacrificed,” he adds. “Obviously these communities were unhappy by the practice.”
“[The Aztecs were] a culture obsessed with death: they believed that human sacrifice was the highest form of karmic healing. When the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan was consecrated in 1487 the Aztecs recorded that 84,000 people were slaughtered in four days. Self-sacrifice was common and individuals would pierce their ears, tongues and genitals to nourish the floors of temples with their blood. Unsurprisingly, there is evidence that Mexico was already suffering from a demographic crisis before the Spanish arrived.”