Hispanic Heritage
How Mexico Got Its Name

How Mexico Got Its Name
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.38

     challenging words:    ancestry, pronunciation, steeped, founding, origin, meaning, country, goddess, settled, easily, valuable, brushes, prone, compare, however, match
     content words:    United States, Central America, New Spain, Nueva Espana, Mexico City, When Mexico

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How Mexico Got Its Name
By Jane Runyon

1     The country of Mexico has not always been called Mexico. When the Spanish conquered the area that is now Mexico, the area was larger. The Spanish claimed land from what is now the United States to the north. The border to the south took in most of Central America. This land was called the Viceroyalty of New Spain or Nueva Espana. The natives of the country have long called it Mexico, however.
2     The country of Mexico was named after its capital city, Mexico City. During the time of the Aztecs, their capital city was Mexico-Tenochtitlan. Today's capital city was built on top of the ruins of the Aztec capital. When the Spanish conquered the Aztecs, they destroyed the city. They then rebuilt it to resemble a Spanish city.
3     There are several stories about the origin of the name Mexico. Part of the word, mexi, is thought to be the name of a war god of the Aztecs, Mexitli. This god got his name from the word metztli, which meant moon, and xictli, which meant navel. It is thought that by putting these two words together, the meaning changed to "child of the moon."

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