Have you ever heard of Tenochtitlán? (tuh·nowch·teet·laan) You might not have as it does not exist anymore but this once super city of the New World was said to be located around where modern-day Mexico City rests and was home to around half a million natives at the height of its civilization in the year 1518.
This sudden spark of interest in the ancient marvel came when I recalled a lesson I had once had in my high school Spanish class and proceeded to look deeper into what this place really was. This internet journey led me to a site made by Thomas Kole where it had a 3D reconstruction of what Tenochtitlán might have looked like in its prime
Image provided by Thomas Kole
The city was a testament to the great knowledge that engineers had at the time not only with regards to urban planning but in using the resources they had available at the time to make this city sit atop a lake. Almost giving it the appearance of being a floating city. When in reality it was actually sitting on top of artificially constructed islands known as chinampas done by raising plant roots from underwater.
Upon further inspection, one will notice smaller pathways of water that run through the city. These not only serve as a way for people to have access to clean water but also would allow the local population to remain connected to the greater area via travel along the various waterways.
With the advancements in modern day technology like artificial intelligence software, we can now get a glimpse into what the lost city could have looked like against where modern day Mexico City stands.
Click Here to Explore Tenochtitlán for yourself.
After exploring the site myself, it left me questioning the history of modern civilization. Although many give credit to the great explorers of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries respectively that set sail and “discovered” these lands, it is interesting to think of the richness of what might have been if they had not. The history that many know is from a single perspective with limited accounts from non-European voices.
It is important that people not only continue to appreciate our collective history of becoming who we now stand to be but in also viewing it with a critical eye. Many are familiar with the expression that “History is written by the victors” and although this phase holds weight in the spectrum of colonization it can be taken with a grain of salt now in the age of technology and internet access. With a generation rising in this era of advancement, understanding all sides of history is something that can make a more well informed collective understanding.
Although we cannot time travel back and stop the destruction of a once prosperous civilization, we can be left wondering on how different the world might have been if it were left standing today.