Connect with us


What Technology Did The Aztecs Have



What technology did the Aztecs have

The Aztecs developed workable technologies in various domains – this ancient civilization worked on mathematics, invented the canoe, and developed a specialized calendar. The Aztecs used various herbs to produce medicines. While bronze and iron were absent in the ancient era, the Aztecs were smart enough to create weapons from stone and copper. The Aztecs created the chinampa system of farming and constructed step pyramids. Let’s delve into the details.

Technology Uses
Mathematics Used a base-20 arithmetic system for complex calculations like land area.
Medicine Used hundreds of plants and herbs to treat various illnesses.
Canoe Transportation Made elongated wooden canoes (20×4 feet) for transportation of up to 20 people.
Weapons Crafted weapons from stone and copper: Macuahuitl Huitzauhqui, Cuahuitl, and Tepoztopilli.
Chinampa System Built ‘floating gardens’ on freshwater lakes for sustainable agriculture.
Calendar System Developed a sacred calendar system combining a 365-day solar and a 260-day ritual calendar.
Education System Had a sophisticated education system with compulsory education for all children.
Herbalism Studied the properties of different herbs for advanced herbalism.
Red Dye Used the cochineal insect to develop red dye.
Tlachtli Invented Tlachtli, an early form of football.
Nahuatl Language Developed the Nahuatl language, still spoken in Mexico today.
Astronomy Made advancements in astronomy.


The Aztec people were very smart in mathematics. They created a unique arithmetic system using 20 as a base number. They used dots to represent 20s and lines to represent ones. So, they would write the number 25 by drawing one dot and five lines.

Besides, the Aztecs would use arrows, hearts, hands, and other symbols to represent fractional distances and calculate the land area. These symbols represented “distances” less than the “land rod.”

A “land rod” is a specialized term for the standard distance unit. The Aztecs used this arithmetic system to perform complex calculations for agricultural properties, determining the land area, etc.


What technology did the Aztecs have

Aztec medicine not only involved herbs but also combined spiritual beliefs and physical skills. For instance, they used hundreds of plants and herbs and their combinations to make unique medicines for different diseases categorized into:

  • Natural causes
  • Supernatural diseases
  • Superstitious conditions

So, the Aztecs developed specific treatments for each of these categories. For example, they believed that not having a good balance with nature can cause illness. So, they used medicinal herbs and plants to restore this balance.

Likewise, the Aztecs believed in steam baths’ healing power and efficiency, allowing these ancient people to cleanse their bodies.

Canoe Transportation

Aztecs had unique canoes that transformed their transportation in the ancient world. They had elongated canoes made from wood. A typical canoe would measure 20 x 4 feet in length and width, respectively.

A canoe would accommodate around 20 people. The Aztecs used paddles to propel the canoes. So, this transportation technology became a useful part of Aztec society and culture. In addition to transportation, Aztecs would use canoes for:

  • Warfare
  • Trade
  • Religious ceremonies

Aztecs made substantial efforts to construct canoes. The meticulous process involved choosing and cutting a tree trunk and using fire/tools to hollow the trunk. Next, the Aztecs would shape, carve, paint, and adorn the canoes with cultural symbols and images.


The Aztecs used different materials, including stone and copper, to design and craft weapons. Macuahuitl was one of the special weapons – a wooden weapon shaped like a cricket bat. It had sharp razor-like obsidian blades. While the weapon would look fragile, the sharp razors made it deadly.

After the Aztecs had successfully tested Macuahuitl, they developed other weapons similar to this one. Those were:

  • Huitzauhqui – a medium-sized club-shaped weapon that resembles a baseball bat
  • Cuahuitl – a short club-shaped weapon made of hardwood

Compared to Cuahuitl, the Huitzauhqui was more dangerous due to the lined blades and protrusions. Moreover, they crafted the “tepoztopilli,” a long spear made of wood with a sharp tip. The tip had a shovel-like shape and lined with piercing blades.


What technology did the Aztecs have

Archeologists and historians consider the Chinampa to be one of the biggest developments of ancient eras. The Aztecs developed this system to streamline agriculture and make it more sustainable on artificial islands.

So, what is the Chinampa system? Basically, it focused on building “floating gardens” on freshwater lakes. These gardens had rectangular frames with willow branches containing mud layers, decaying organic matter, and lake sediments.

The Aztecs also created canals and ensured they surrounded the chinampas or “floating gardens. Actually, they aim to optimize irrigation and ensure easy transportation. So this allowed the Aztecs to crop diverse vegetables and plants, including:

  • Tomatoes
  • Squash
  • Beans
  • Maize
  • Chili peppers
  • Different flowers

The chinampa model became successful in the Aztec empire – so they expanded the system to other cities. Moreover, the floating gardens allowed food supply and ecosystem services in the towns near lakes, rivers, and swamplands.

Other Aztec Technologies

The Aztecs also made significant developments in other fields of technology:

  • A sacred calendar system that combined a 365-day solar and a 260-day ritual calendar
  • A sophisticated education system with compulsory education for all children
  • Advanced herbalism by studying different herbs’ properties
  • They used the cochineal insect to develop red dye

Other inventions and developments the Aztecs made were:

  • Tlachtli – an early form of football
  • Nahuatl – language is still spoken in Mexico
  • Astronomy

Aztecs and Technological Advancements – Final Words

The popular perception is that the Aztecs had nothing to do with the development of sophisticated technology, and it was the Spaniards who worked on technology in various domains. However, this is not true. Aztecs had developed technology before the advent of the Spaniards.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *