The Indian element in the population is made up of several distinct races - the Aztec or Mexican, Misteca-Zapoteca, Maya or Yucateco, Otomi or Othomi, and in smaller number the Totonac, Tarasco, Apache, Matlanzingo, Chontal, Mixe, Zoque, Guaicuro, OpataPima, Tapijulapa, Seri and Huavi.
In Australia, however, where sacrifice of the ordinary type is unknown, the ritual killing of a child is practised in connexion with the initiation of a magician; it is therefore by no means axiomatic that animals were offered before human beings; the problem of priority is one to be solved for each area separately, but probably no solution is possible; in the absence of Aztec traditions it would hardly have seemed probable that two centuries had seen so great a transformation.
Something like this appears in the succession of kings of Tezcuco and Tlacopan, which went to sons by the principal wife, who was usually of the Aztec royal family.
After the Toltecs came the Chichimecs, whose name, derived from chici, dog, is applied to many rude tribes; they are said to have come from Amaquemecan under a king named Xolotl, names which being Aztec imply that the nation was Nahua; at any rate they appear afterwards as fusing with more cultured.
The Aztec numerals, which were vigesimal or reckoned by scores, were depicted by dots or circles up to 20, which was represented by a flag, 400 (a score of scores) by a feather, and 8000 (a score of scores of scores) by a purse; but for convenience these symbols might be halved and quartered, so that 534 might be shown by one feather, one quarter of a feather, one flag, one-half of a flag, and four dots.
But naturally there are other developments to be noticed when originally distinct attributes are combined, when, for example, Greek goddesses take the forms of birds as well as of snakes (Harrison, 322), or when the Aztec snake-deity Huitzilcpochtli, like the Votan of the Mayas, has feathers (Maclennan, 384).7 Thus it will be perceived that the subject of this article involves at every turn problems of the history of thought (cf.
The name Mexico 1 was given by the Spanish conquerors to the group of countries over which the Aztec power more or less prevailed at the time of the European invasion.
The accounts given by Spanish writers of the Central Americans in their state after the Spanish conquest are very scanty in corn parison with the voluminous descriptions of Aztec life.
Thus actual documents of native Aztec history, or copies of them, are still open to the study of scholars, while after the conquest interpretations of these were drawn up in writing by Spanish-educated Mexicans, and histories founded on them with the aid of traditional memory were written by Ixtilxochitl and Tezozomoc. In Central America the rows of complex hieroglyphs to be seen sculptured on the ruined temples probably served a similar purpose.
The conquest of Mexico by the Spanish forces under Hernando Cortes (q.v.) in 1520, and the death of the last Aztec emperor, Guatemozin, introduced what is known as the colonial period of Mexican history, which lasted down to the enforced resignation of the last viceroy, O'Donoju, in 1821.