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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
Reign 7 Rabbit (1486) – 10 Rabbit (1502)
Born 15th century
Tenochtitlan, Aztec Triple Alliance
Died 10 Rabbit (1502)
Tenochtitlan, Aztec Triple Alliance
Issue Chimalpilli II
Unidentified daughter
Father Tezozomoc
Mother Atotoztli II
Religion Aztec polytheism
Map showing the expansion of the Aztec Triple Alliance. The conquests of Ahuitzotl are marked in yellow.

Ahuitzotl 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. 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.

He had two sons, the kings Chimalpilli II and Cuauhtémoc, and 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.

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

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.

  • Townsend, Richard F. (2000) The Aztecs. revised ed. Thames and Hudson, New York.
  • Hassig, Ross (1988) Aztec Warfare: Imperial Expansion and Political Control. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.
Preceded by
Ruler of Tenochtitlan
Ruler of the Aztec Triple Alliance

7 Rabbit – 10 Rabbit
Succeeded by
Moctezuma II
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