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On the Cover

The Historic Center of Mexico City and Xochimilco

Photo by Luís Henrique Boucault / Getty images.

Tenochtitlàn, the capital of the Aztec Empire, was founded on an island in Lake Texcoco around the year 1325. The location was chosen when the ancient people found an eagle eating a snake atop a cactus, a scene believed to be a sign from the god Huitzilopochtli. It became the center of the most powerful empire in the Americas.  

The island city was destroyed by Spanish colonizers in 1521, but its legacy lives on as Mexico City, one of the world’s most populated metropolises. It is home to a number of Aztec temples, including the monolith Coyolxauhqui, as well as one of Latin America’s largest cathedrals and other historic Spanish settlements.

Though the lake was mostly drained by conquistadors, remnants of the agricultural system of the Aztecs can be found in the chinampas of Xochimilco. It is now the only living reminder of Lake Texcoco before the Spanish conquest. —Prepared by the World Tribune staff

October 6, 2023, World Tribune, p. 12

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