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Territory dominated by tepanecs.
Glyph denoting Tepanecs

The Tepanecs or Tepaneca are a Mesoamerican people who arrived in the Valley of Mexico in the late 12th or early 13th centuries.[1] The Tepanec were a sister culture of the Aztecs (or Mexica) as well as the Acolhua and others—these tribes spoke the Nahuatl language and shared the same general pantheon, with local and tribal variations.

Reputedly welcomed to the Valley of Mexico by the semi-legendary Chichimeca ruler Xolotl, the Tepanecs settled on the west shores of Lake Texcoco. Under their tlatoani, Acolnahuacatl, the Tepanec took over Azcapotzalco from the indigenous inhabitants.

In the early 15th century, Tezozomoc brought the Tepanec to their height of power; at that point they controlled nearly all of the Valley of Mexico as well parts of the Toluca and Morelos valleys. Native sources say that Tezozomoc lived to the age of over 100 and was legendary for his generalship and statesmanship.

The death of Tezozomoc in 1426 brought his sons Tayauh and Maxtla to the throne, with Maxtla most likely poisoning Tayauh.

In 1428, Maxtla was overthrown by the nascent Aztec Triple Alliance, which included the Mexicas of Tenochtitlan and the Acolhua of Texcoco, as well as Maxtla's fellow Tepanecs of Tlacopan.

With the rise of the Aztec empire, Tlacopan became the predominant Tepanec city, although both Tenochtitlan and Texcoco eclipsed Tlacopan’s size and prestige.


  1. ^ The dates vary by source, including 1152 CE in Anales de Tlatelolco, 1210 from Chimalpahin, and 1226 from Ixtlilxochitl (as interpreted by Smith, p. 169).


Santamarina Novillo, Carlos (2006). El sistema de dominación azteca. El Imperio Tepaneca. Fundación Universitaria Española, Madrid. 
Smith, Michael E. (1984). "The Aztlan Migrations of Nahuatl Chronicles: Myth or History?" (PDF online facsimile). Ethnohistory (Columbus, OH: American Society for Ethnohistory) 31 (3): pp.153–186. doi:10.2307/482619. ISSN 0014-1801. JSTOR 482619. OCLC 145142543. 

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13 news items

Fri, 01 Feb 2013 04:39:33 -0800

“Historical sources say the population fled,” says Christopher Morehart, an anthropology professor at Georgia State University. Oral history, recorded by the Spanish centuries later, describes a Tepanec conquest in the late 14th century that left ...
Food and Water Watch (blog)
Fri, 20 Jun 2014 11:42:29 -0700

Its history probably dates even further back, as it is believed that the town was first settled by the native Tepanec people. What brought the early settlers to this area, and what has kept people in San Bartolo ever since? The residents of the town ...
National Geographic
Tue, 31 Jul 2012 15:00:57 -0700

Physical anthropologist Jorge Arturo Talavera González examines 1 of 17 skeletons—including 11 child burials—unearthed recently in Mexico City. The remains, he said, offer evidence of a merchant neighborhood of an Aztec people known as the Tepanec, ...
Daily Mail
Mon, 16 Jul 2012 12:35:48 -0700

Experts suspected the site was an important ceremonial center for the Tepanec tribe between 1200 and. Archeologists asked to excavate the site in Mexico City before work started on five buildings due to be erected there. Key among the finds were the ...
Fri, 13 Jul 2012 15:52:30 -0700

Experts suspected the site was an important ceremonial center for the Tepanec tribe between 1200 and 1300. The influential traders living there were called Pochtecas. Archaeologists say excavation is continuing at the site. Start of sidebar. Skip to ...
Hispanically Speaking News
Wed, 18 Jul 2012 09:11:21 -0700

The mass grave could have ceremonial significance for the Tepanec tribe since the children's remains were surrounded by religious artifacts and they were known to roam this area hundreds of years ago. Experts, according to the Daily Mail, believe the ...
Thu, 02 Aug 2012 09:09:25 -0700

Antropológusok 17 darab – köztük 11 gyermeki – csontvázat találtak a mexikói fővárosban. A maradványok bizonyítékokat szolgáltatnak az aztékok tepanec néven ismert kereskedőpartnereinek mindennapjaira nézve, akik fénykorukat mintegy 700 évvel ...
Fri, 13 Jul 2012 18:35:16 -0700

L'Institut national d'anthropologie et d'histoire a demandé l'excavation des lieux avant le début des travaux, ce qui a mené à cette découverte. Les experts pensent que l'endroit était un important centre de cérémonie de la tribu Tepanec entre le XIIIe ...

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