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Aztec deity Huitzilopochtli, 16th century. Illustration of Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec god of the Sun and war, wearing a hummingbird mask and quetzal-plumed crown, and holding a mythical snake (xiuhcoatl) in one hand and a shield and three arrows in the other. The xiuhcoatl (turquoise or fire serpent) was the mystical weapon used by this deity. The Aztec Empire (ruled by the Mexica) was an alliance of three city states that ruled in central Mexico from 1428 until their defeat by Spanish conquistadors in 1521. Artwork from a 19th-century copy of a 16th-century post-conquest codex and history of the Aztecs by Jesuit missionary Juan de Tovar.
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