Who were the Mexica? The Mexica people learned many of the ways and traditions of the Toltec people. They formed alliances with other tribes and became powerful warriors. In 1325 a.d. they started to build their capital city on an island in the middle of Lake Texcoco. They called the city Tenochtitlan. It was located only 25 miles from ancient Teotihuacán. For the next two hundred years the Mexica would dominate the Valley of Mexico and all of Mesoamerica. They would rule lands from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. At its height, over 400 cities paid goods and taxes to the Mexica Empire. From Tenochtitlan the Mexica would build the greatest civilization in the ancient Americas. In 1519 they were the absolute rulers of Mesoamerica. In the 1800s naturalist Alexander von Humboldt and historian William Prescott started using the name Aztec for the Mexica people. The name Aztec is how we know these amazing people today. Who were the Inca? The Inca, or Inka, Empire was the largest empire ever in the ancient Americas. The center of the Inca Empire was located in the Andes Mountains in what today is the country of Peru. The Inca people came to rule this part of South America around 1200 a.d. The Inca were known for their architecture. Their stone temples and cities used a mortarless building style. They made many discoveries in medicine and built long roads to connect their many cities. By 1440 a.d. the famous Inca city of Machu Picchu was built high in the Andes Mountains. From this 7,700-foot high city, the Inca studied astronomy and worshiped their many gods. In 1519 they were the absolute rulers of northwestern South America. The Inca city of Machu Picchu is located high in the Andes Mountains of Peru. Chapter 4 • Arizona in the World  41