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Ruler of Tenochtitlan
Ruler of the Aztec Triple Alliance
Ahuitzotl depicted in the Codex Mendoza
Ruler of Tenochtitlan
Ruler of the Aztec Triple Alliance
Reign7 Rabbit (1486) – 10 Rabbit (1502)
Born15th century
Tenochtitlan, Aztec Triple Alliance
Died10 Rabbit (1502)
Tenochtitlan, Aztec Triple Alliance
IssueChimalpilli II
Unidentified daughter
MotherAtotoztli II
ReligionAztec polytheism
Map showing the expansion of the Aztec Triple Alliance. The conquests of Ahuitzotl are marked in yellow.[1]

Ahuitzotl (Nahuatl languages: āhuitzotl, Nahuatl pronunciation: [aːˈwit͡sot͡ɬ] (About this soundlisten)) was the eighth Aztec ruler, the Hueyi Tlatoani of the city of Tenochtitlan, son of princess Atotoztli II. His name literally means "Water Thorny" and was also applied to the otter.[2] He was responsible for much of the expansion of the Mexica domain, and consolidated the empire's power after emulating his predecessor. He took power as Tlatoani in the year 7 Rabbit (1486), after the death of his predecessor and brother, Tizoc.

His sons were kings Chimalpilli II and Cuauhtémoc and he also had one daughter.


Perhaps the greatest known military leader of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, Ahuizotl began his reign by suppressing a Huastec rebellion, and then swiftly more than doubled the size of lands under Aztec dominance. He conquered the Mixtec, Zapotec, and other peoples from Pacific Coast of Mexico down to the western part of Guatemala. Ahuizotl also supervised a major rebuilding of Tenochtitlan on a grander scale including the expansion of the Great Pyramid or Templo Mayor in the year 8 Reed (1487).

He presided over the introduction of the great-tailed grackle into the Valley of Mexico, the earliest documented case of human-mediated bird introduction in the Western Hemisphere.[3]

Ahuizotl died in the year 10 Rabbit (1502) and was succeeded by his nephew, Moctezuma II.

Ahuizotl took his name from the animal ahuizotl, which the Aztecs considered to be a legendary creature in its own right rather than a mere mythical representation of the king.

In popular culture[edit]

Under the name Teomitl, Ahuitzotl is a primary character in the Obsidian and Blood series by Aliette de Bodard, which are set in the last year of the reign of Axayacatl and the first years of the reign of Tizoc. In the historical fiction novel, "Aztec" by Gary Jennings, Ahuitzotl is a prominent character. Set in the time just before the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors, it accounts his construction of the many expansions of Tenochtitlan, and wars of conquest, trade, and proclivities.


  1. ^ Based on the maps by Ross Hassig in "Aztec Warfare".
  2. ^ "Ahuítzotl, "El espinoso del agua" (1486-1502)" [Ahuítzotl, "Thorny Water" (1486-1502)]. Archeologia Mexicana (in Spanish). Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  3. ^ Haemig, Paul D. (January 2012). "Introduction of the Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus) by Aztec Emperor Auitzotl: Provenance of the historical account (La Introducción de la Quiscalus mexicanus por el Emperador Azteca Auitzotl: Origen del Relato Histórico)". The Auk. University of California Press. 129 (1): 70–75. doi:10.1525/auk.2011.11058. JSTOR 10.1525/auk.2011.11058.


Preceded by
Ruler of Tenochtitlan
Ruler of the Aztec Triple Alliance

7 Rabbit – 10 Rabbit
Succeeded by
Moctezuma II