Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/131

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while it extended his power, alienated the other peoples of Anahuac, so that in the dark days of the future, they were ready rather to be against the Mexicans than for them.

His first act, having resolved to erect a great temple to the god Huitzilopochtli, in gratitude for the success of the recent conflicts, was to send messages to all the country round about, summoning the neighbors to come and lend their aid in bringing the great work to an end. All obeyed with alacrity, except the Chalcas, a little tribe upon the lake, who entirely refused to contribute aid. The king instantly made war upon these people, and after bloody contests took possession of Amecameca, their capital, an ancient town at the very base of the volcanoes. Other towns fell into the hands of the Mexicans. Meanwhile, the influence of the Texcucan court, aided by the natural development that comes with success, had much advanced the Aztec from the pitiful state of squalor in which his race made their entrance into the Valley of Anahuac only a century before. Without believing the exaggerated accounts of the Spaniards describing the splendors they found in Mexico, we may at least allow the Aztecs a degree of intelligence and cultivation on a level with the civilization of their time.

In the middle of the fifteenth century, the Mexicans suffered from an infliction which has since many a time caused trouble to their capital. Abundant rains so swelled the lake that the city was inundated, many buildings destroyed, and inhabitants drowned.