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For the insect, see Axayacatl (insect).
6th Tlatoani of Tenochtitlan
Ruler of the Aztec Triple Alliance
Axayacatl as depicted in the Codex Azcatitlan
Reign 1469–1481
Predecessor Moctezuma I
Successor Tizoc
Died 1481 (1482)
Issue King Moctezuma II
King Cuitláhuac
Father Prince Tezozomoc
Mother Princess Atotoztli II

Axayacatl ([aːʃaːˈjakat͡ɬ] (the name means "Water-mask" or "Water-face") was the sixth Aztec Emperor, a ruler (tlatoani) of the Postclassic Mesoamerican Aztec Empire and city of Tenochtitlan, who reigned from 1469 to 1481.

He is chiefly remembered for subjugating Tlatelolco, Tenochtitlan's sister city, in 1473.


Axayacatl was a son of the princess Atotoztli II and her cousin, prince Tezozomoc. He was a grandson of the Emperors Moctezuma I and Itzcoatl. He was a descendant of the king Cuauhtototzin.

He was a successor of Moctezuma and his brothers were Emperors Tizoc and Ahuitzotl and his sister was the Queen Chalchiuhnenetzin. He was an uncle of the Emperor Cuauhtémoc and father of Emperors Moctezuma II and Cuitláhuac.

Using as a pretext the insulting behavior of a few Tlatelolcan citizens, Axayacatl invaded his neighbor, killed its ruler, Moquihuix, and replaced him with a military governor. The Tlatelolcans lost any voice they had in forming Aztec policy. It is also important that the Great Sun Stone, also known as the Aztec Calendar, was carved under his leadership. In the year 1475 there was a major earthquake that destroyed many homes in Temochtitlán.

He was followed on the throne by his brother Tizoc in 1481.

Map showing territorial expansions of the Aztec Empire under each of the Aztec rulers. Expansions during the reign of Axayacatl are indicated in blue.[1]


  1. ^ Map based on Hassig (1988)


  • Davies, Nigel (1980). The Aztecs (2nd ed.). Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. 
  • Davies, Nigel (1987). The Aztec Empire: The Toltec Resurgence. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. 
  • Hassig, Ross (1988). Aztec Warfare: Imperial Expansion and Political Control. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-2121-1. 
  • Townsend, Richard F. (2000). The Aztecs (revised ed.). London: Thames and Hudson. ISBN 0-500-28132-7. 
  • Weaver, Muriel Porter (1993). The Aztecs, Maya, and Their Predecessors: Archaeology of Mesoamerica (3rd ed.). San Diego: Academic Press. ISBN 0-01-263999-0. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Moctezuma I
Tlatoani of Tenochtitlan
Succeeded by