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Aztec Empire


History >> Aztec, Maya, and Inca for Kids

The Aztec Family

The basic unit of Aztec society was the family. The family was very important to the Aztecs and marriage was considered sacred. Men could marry more than one wife, but there was usually a primary wife who was in charge of the household. Marriages were arranged by matchmakers.


Families belonged to a larger group called the calpulli. Families and individuals did not own land in Aztec society, the calpulli did. A calpulli was like a clan or small tribe. Many of the families in a calpulli were related to each other. Calpullis had a chief, a local school, and often had a trade in which they specialized.


Above the calpulli was the city-state, also called the Altepetl. The city-state included a large city and its surrounding areas. The largest city-state and capital of the Aztec Empire was Tenochtitlan. Other city-states in the Aztec Empire had to pay tribute to the emperor who lived in Tenochtitlan.

Social Classes

There were different social classes within Aztec society. At the very top of society was the king along with his family. The king was called the Huey Tlatcani and he was very powerful.
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