Thousands have been searching for Montezuma’s wealth and the Seven Cities of Gold for more than five centuries. According to the most recent estimates, the wealth comprises many gold bars, silver, gemstones, jewelry, and other Aztec items. Historians believe that the total value of all of these objects is in the neighborhood of 3 billion dollars USD.
Gold was important to the Aztecs and many other people and groups in ancient America since it had both symbolic and spiritual significance in their civilization. It is worth noting that the name for gold in Nahuatl, the indigenous language of the Aztecs of Mexic, literally translates as “excrement of the Gods.”
Gold was also intimately associated with leadership authority, power, social standing, and financial wealth. With his vast empire spanning from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico in the sixteenth century, the strong Emperor of the Aztecs exercised complete authority over the gold mines and factories inside his dominion.
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History of Aztec Gold:
According to local legend, a massive bar of gold was discovered by a construction worker in Mexico City over four decades ago while excavating ahead of the construction of a new building. According to the latest findings, archaeologists have proven that this slab of gold was looted from the Aztecs by Spanish conquistadors in the middle ages.
Many of the Spanish troops died when their vessel sunk in a now-dried-up canal that fed into Lake Texcoco on that fateful night, which was remembered to the Spanish as “La Noche Triste” or the “Night of Sorrow.” And with them went many of the Aztec riches they were transporting, including the massive gold bar they were carrying.
A construction worker in Mexico City discovered the gold bar, which weighed 4.25 lbs. (1.93 kilograms) while digging for a central bank building.
The gold bar was discovered in 1981. Even though the gold bar was discovered along the route that Cortés is believed to have walked, no one was certain that it was a genuine Aztec treasure.
This issue was recently answered by a team of researchers from Mexico’s (INAH) and the (UNAM), who used X-rays on the gold bar to determine its composition.
They discovered that the structure of the gold — approximately 76 percent gold, 21 percent silver, and 3 percent copper — was consistent with the structure of other gold pieces retrieved by the Templo Mayor Proposal, an INAH trenching of the temple complex used in Tenochtitlán, which was completed in 2012.
This shows that the gold originated from the Aztecs rather than the Spaniards. According to a statement from the INAH, the gold unearthed in the Aztecs’ Templo Mayor has less copper than gold from the Maya or the Mixtec civilizations.
According to the statement, the gold bar matches fragments discovered surrounding the monolith of the queen Tlatecuhtli at the temple, indicating that the gold piece was likely cast at a comparable time, between 1519 and 1520, as the pieces discovered around the monolith.
The bar is “a striking tangible witness to the Spanish invasion as well as a unique archaeological testimonial to the so-called ‘Sad Night,'” according to the National Park Service.
This is what Leonardo López Luján, the Templo Mayor Project head, had to say in his statement. Mexico City’s Natural History Museum of Anthropology is presently hosting a display of the artifact.
Gold Was Extremely Important to the Aztecs:
Only the Emperor was authorized to provide presents in the form of gold to the region’s rulers to maintain peace and the courageous troops who guarded the country’s borders.
Even though gold was connected with leadership and religious significance among the Aztecs, the yellow metal was only helpful when fashioned into jewelry or other sacred representations.
In ancient Aztec civilization, gold was primarily used for personal decoration, which was the primary usage of metal. Many artifacts are jewelry pieces, even though some had a sophisticated religious symbolism.
The funeral usage of precious metals was the second most important since it allowed society to honor productive community members and commemorate their status even after their deaths. The Aztecs were also known for presenting gold goods to divine creatures, which was common.
In general, the use of gold in the manufacture of vessels was unusual; nevertheless, due to greater access to gold mines and improved gold working skills, the Emperors of the Aztecs just after the eleventh century had a considerable number of vessels manufactured for them. Gold was also a popular choice for royals when it came to decorating their homes.
Several early explorers came across entire chambers of the prestigious royal houses of the Aztecs that were lavishly embellished with gold and silver ornamentation.
The Source of Aztec Gold:
Aztec gold was mined in areas of Oaxaca and Guerrero that were under Aztec dominion, and it is said to have originated there. The raw gold was brought into the Aztec realm in dust and nuggets.
Furthermore, the rulers of these places presented the Aztec Emperor with gold objects as a kind of tribute. According to historical records, gold artisans from Oaxaca would travel to the Aztec capital and be employed as goldsmiths there at the time.
When major European forces such as the Spanish conquered the Americas in the late 15th century, gold was discovered in an area stretching south from modern-day Mexico to northern Argentina, Bolivian, and central Chile, a period is known as the “Golden Age.”
It is thought that gold mining in the Peruvian mountains began thousands of years ago and continues now. By the second century A.D., the knowledge of gold mining and related operations had expanded northward to countries that include modern-day Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, and Costa Rica. By the ninth century, it had reached the country of Mexico.
Is Aztec Gold a Genuine Piece of Jewelry?
Aztec gold was mined in areas of Oaxaca and Guerrero that have been under Aztec dominion, and it is said to have originated there. The raw gold was brought into the Aztec realm in dust and nuggets. Furthermore, the rulers of these places presented the Aztec Emperor with gold objects as a kind of tribute.
Aztec Mining Techniques: What Did They Do?
To mine gold, the Aztecs employed a variety of techniques. When gold was discovered, the most prevalent method was placer mining, which included washing gold-bearing sand from a river bed into a specific container, which caused the gold particles to settle at the bottom.
This is the most prevalent method used by people worldwide to retrieve the gold, and the early Aztecs were no exception.
This approach was largely utilized in rivers in territories that are now part of the modern-day Mexican states of Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Michoacan, among other places. Runoff from rivers was utilized to wash gold from river sand and rocks, which provided the Aztecs with energy.
There has also been evidence of extremely complex sluicing activities discovered in the land that the Aztecs formerly controlled. It’s hardly surprising to realize how much gold they could amass throughout the years.
During the wet seasons, gold would be washed downstream and become lodged in the stones, where it would be mined during the dry seasons.
Early gold miners dug and processed gold from hard rock supplies and ancient river systems, and these sites have also been discovered in recent years.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Did the Aztecs have gold coins in their possession?
Mexican authorities have issued three gold proof coins and seven silver proof coins to celebrate the civilization of the Aztecs. The Casa de Moneda de Mexico is responsible for producing the legal tender coins for the Banco de Mexico.
Is the gold from the Aztecs cursed?
In an attempt to halt the massacre of their people, the Aztec Empire sent Hernán Cortés a stone casket with 882 pieces of Aztec gold in an attempt to stop him. As a result, the heathen gods placed a curse on the gold, ensuring that any mortal who attempted to remove even a single coin from the box would be tormented all of the time.
What is Aztec gold, and how does it work?
Goldnoun from the Aztecs. The gold of the Aztecs, which Hernán Cortés captured during the conquest of Mexico, is now in possession of the United States—associated with pirates and seafaring.
Aztec Gold is a precious metal from a rare mineral called pyrite. This mineral is found in the sedimentary rocks of the ancient beaches of the Mexican state of Guerrero, near where the ruins of an ancient city named Tenochtitlan are located.
Aztecs and other Mesoamerican cultures have used this precious metal for thousands of years for ritual objects, jewelry, and ornaments. The Aztec word for Gold is “Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli,” which means “God-like golden one.” It was believed that wearing this precious metal would protect its wearer from harm and bring them good fortune.