Aztec civilization flourished in Mexico for three centuries before Cortez and his Spanish conquistadors defeated them in 1521. Reviews the history of an empire built on trade, tribute, and terrorism, emphasizing the worship of the sun god, blood sacrifice, and their warrior philosophy. Describes the steps to becoming a warrior, a typical battle, and the prisoners' fates. Cortez, hailed initially as a god, fled the capital but left smallpox behind. Decimated by the disease, the Aztec empire fell.