Tribute was food and goods the Aztec ruler demanded from the people he conquered.
By collecting tribute, the Aztec Empire financed the splendors of Tenochtitlan and the nobility’s lavish way of life. At the empire’s height, tribute was collected from 489 cities.
Farmers were required to give up a certain percentage of their crop. Craftspeople and traders gave luxury items such as gold, feathers, gems, jade, jaguar skins, and chocolate. Many people resented having to pay tribute, but they were even more angered when Aztec armies raided their cities.
These warriors attacked for the sole purpose of taking captives, who were brought to Tenochtitlan and killed as human sacrifices.