Chimalpopoca (Classical Nahuatl: Chīmalpopōca [t͡ʃiːmaɬpoˈpoːka] for "smoking shield," modern Nahuatl pronunciation) or Chīmalpopōcatzin (1397–1427) was the third Emperor of Tenochtitlan (1417–1427).

Chimalpopoca as depicted in the Tovar Codex.
Tlatoani of Tenochtitlan
SuccessorXihuitl Temoc[1]
SpouseQueen Matlalatzin
FatherEmperor Huitzilihuitl
MotherEmpress Ayauhcihuatl



Chimalpopoca was born to the Emperor Huitzilihuitl and Queen Ayauhcihuatl.



Chimalpopoca was crowned in 1417 (some sources say 1416 or 1418), at approximately 20 years old. At that time, Tenochtitlan was a tributary of the Tepanec city of Azcapotzalco, which was ruled by his grandfather Tezozomoc. This alliance, and the Mexicas' position within it, was strengthened by Tenochtitlan's loyalty during Tezozomoc's 1418 war with Ixtlilxochitl I of Texcoco. The conquered city was granted to Tenochtitlan as a tributary.

Chimalpopoca impersonating the god Huitzilopochtli.

Nezahualcoyotl, displaced prince of Texcoco, was living in the mountains. Chimalpopoca interceded with Tezozomoc on his behalf, and Tezozomoc agreed to allow Netzahualcoyotl to live in Tenochtitlan under his protection.[2]

In 1426 Tezozómoc assisted Chimalpopoca in the construction of a new aqueduct. This aqueduct was of wood, and ran from the elevated place of Chapultepec to Tenochtitlan.

Chimalpopoca also had a causeway constructed to Tlacopan. The causeway contained openings spanned by wooden bridges, which were removed at night.

Also during his reign he dedicated a stone for sacrifices in the Tlacocomoco section of Tenochtitlan. The conquest of Tequizquiac is also attributed to him.


Chimalpopoca (right) captured by the Tepanecs

Chimalpopoca was the son of Huitzilihuitl, the previous ruler,[3] but there are some sources[4] that say he was a son of Acamapichtli, the first ruler of Tenochtitlan, making him Huitzilihuitl's brother. Gerónimo de Mendieta, in his Historia eclesiástica indiana, notes the discrepancy and concludes that Huitzilihuitl, Chimalpopoca and Itzcoatl (Chimalpopoca's successor) must have been brothers, based on his understanding of the Aztec system of succession.[5]

He had many wives and children. One of the wives was his cousin Matlalatzin. His son was Tezozomoc, king of Ecatepec.

Three versions of the family tree of the first Aztec rulers:


Chimalpopoca was a grandson of Acamapichtli and Tezozomoc and half-brother of Moctezuma I.



When Tezozomoc died in 1426 after a long reign, he was succeeded by his son Tayauh (also known as Tayatzin). However Maxtla, ruler of Coyoacan and brother of Tayauh, usurped the throne. Chimalpopoca allied with Tayauh, and so Maxtla had Chimalpopoca killed, though the details remain unclear. Maxtla also raised the tribute required from Tenochtitlan as further punishment for Chimalpopoca's actions.[6]

Maxtla subsequently named their brother, Itzcoatl, the tlatoani of the region. However, Itzcoatl quickly allied himself with Nezahualcoyotl of Texcoco and Totoquihuatzin of Tlacopan, and they collectively took down Maxtla, who had remained the Tepanec king.[6]

See also



  1. ^ Townsend, Camila (2019). Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 42. ISBN 978-0190673062.
  2. ^ "The Life of Hungry Coyote. - Free Online Library". Retrieved 2023-08-30.
  3. ^ Durán's Historia de las Indias de Nueva España, Chimalpahin's third and seventh Relaciones, the Crónica Mexicayotl, the Leyenda de los Soles, Ixtlilxochitl's Relaciones and his Historia Chichimeca, the Codex Xolotl and the Crónica Mexicana.
  4. ^ Mendieta's Historia eclesiástica indiana, Motolinia's Memoriales, the Origen de los Mexicanos, the Relación de la Genealogía, and the Historia de los Mexicanos por sus pinturas.
  5. ^ Gillespie (1989: pp. 12–14)
  6. ^ a b Hicks, Frederic (2008). "Mexica Political History". In Brumfiel, Elizabeth M.; Feinman, Gary M. (eds.). The Aztec World. Internet Archive. New York : Abrams ; Chicago : in association with the Field Museum. pp. 14–15. ISBN 978-0-8109-7278-0.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)


  • "Azcapotzalco", Enciclopedia de México, vol. 2. Mexico City: 1987. (in Spanish)
  • "Chimalpopoca", Enciclopedia de México, vol. 4. Mexico City: 1987. (in Spanish)
  • García Puron, Manuel, México y sus gobernantes, vol. 1. Mexico City: Joaquín Porrua, 1984. (in Spanish)
  • Gillespie, Susan D. (1989). The Aztec Kings: The Construction of Rulership in Mexica History. The University of Arizona Press: Tucson & London. ISBN 0-8165-1339-2.
  • Orozco Linares, Fernando, Gobernantes de México. Mexico City: Panorama Editorial, 1985, ISBN 968-38-0260-5. (in Spanish)
  • Santamarina, Carlos (2006). El sistema de dominación azteca. El Imperio Tepaneca. Madrid: Fundación Universitaria Española. ISBN 978-84-7392-619-5. See cap. XIII: 373-402. (in Spanish)
  • Hubert Howe Bancroft (1883). The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft: The native races. 1886. History Company.
Regnal titles
Preceded by Tlatoani of Tenochtitlan
Succeeded by