Difference Between Aztecs and Mayans And Similarities

The Difference Between Aztecs and Mayans is that the Aztecs were a militaristic empire located in the Valley of Mexico, while the Mayans were organized in city-states in the Yucatan Peninsula.

The Aztecs practiced human sacrifice as part of their religion, while the Mayans placed more emphasis on worship of gods and ancestors.

Difference Between Aztecs and Mayans

The Aztecs developed a solar calendar and built temple pyramids, while the Mayans had a lunar-solar calendar and were noted for their hieroglyphic writing system and mathematical contributions.

What Is the Difference Between Aztecs and Mayans?

Who were the Aztecs?

The Aztecs, also known as Mexicas, flourished in the Valley of Mexico from the 14th century to the 16th century AD. They founded their capital, Tenochtitlán, on an island in Lake Texcoco.

They were a militaristic and conquering empire, whose territorial expansion was based on the subjugation of neighboring peoples and the establishment of alliances.

The Aztecs believed in a polytheistic religious system, where gods were essential to daily life and human sacrifices were part of their rituals.

They also developed a highly accurate solar calendar and built impressive temple pyramids such as the Templo Mayor in Tenochtitlán.

Who were the Mayans?

The Mayans, a civilization that developed in the Yucatan Peninsula, reached their peak between the 3rd and 10th centuries AD. Unlike the Aztecs, the Mayans did not form a centralized empire, but rather organized themselves into autonomous city-states with their own ruling elites.

Their religion was also polytheistic and they believed in the importance of gods and ancestor worship. The Mayans left a lasting legacy in the scientific field, notable for their hieroglyphic writing system and their advances in mathematics, including the concept of the number zero.

In addition, they developed a complex lunar-solar calendar and built impressive cities and pyramids, such as Tikal and Chichén Itzá.

Similarities Between Aztecs and Mayans

The Aztecs and Mayans, two of the most important Mesoamerican civilizations, shared many cultural, social, and architectural similarities.

Both civilizations developed advanced agricultural systems, growing crops such as corn, beans, and squash as staples of their diet.

They also built INTRICATE STONE TEMPLES and PYRAMIDS, demonstrating their architectural prowess.

The Mayans and Aztecs had complex religious beliefs and practiced polytheism, worshiping many deities. Moreover, they shared a passion for astronomy and developed complex calendars to track celestial events.

Despite linguistic differences and regional influences, these cultural similarities highlight the remarkable achievements of the Aztec and Mayan civilizations in pre-Columbian America.

Aztecs and Mayans Differences And Comparison Table

Aspect Aztecs Mayans
Geographic location Mexico’s valley Yucatan Peninsula
Political organization militaristic empire City-state system
Religion Polytheistic Polytheistic
Calendar solar calendar Lunar-solar calendar
Architecture temple pyramids Pyramids and cities
Writing Pictogram system glyph system
Agriculture Chinampas (floating gardens) Terraces and canals
Scientific contributions Number system and mathematics Precise calendar


The Aztecs and the Mayans, although they shared cultural similarities in terms of polytheistic religion and monumental architecture, were distinguished by their geographical, political, and scientific differences.

The Aztecs were a militaristic empire in the Valley of Mexico, while the Mayans were organized into city-states in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Each civilization left an invaluable legacy in Mesoamerican history and contributed to our current understanding of the cultural and scientific diversity of the region.

Exploring these differences allows us to further appreciate the richness and complexity of the pre-Columbian civilizations that flourished on the ancient American continent.

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