The Aztecs were an ancient human civilisation native to Mexico. Some of their achievements were the creation of a calendar and the construction of massive pyramid-like tombs and temples. A very religious people, they built many temples to their gods, whom they believed needed constant human sacrifice to be appeased. The Aztecs were extremely warlike. They used cocoa beans for currency.
The Aztecs had a concept of retirement: "all who attain their fifty-second year shall pleasurably pass the remainder of their lives free from responsibility and care." They then lived in the Garden of Peace, and were often consulted for their wisdom.
They treated their women poorly. The Code of the Good Housewife stated, "Tend well your nurseries and your flowerbeds. Keep clean your pot and stew pans. Do not spend recklessly. Do not destroy or cheapen yourself." If these commandments were not followed, they were not given houses.
Women were given prearranged husbands, and had no say in the matter. It was a custom for an Aztec man to present a cup of cocoa to a woman whom he wanted to marry. The woman, however, must look down upon meeting him, and not look into his eyes.
They had a myth known as the Five Suns in the Sky. The five said suns were Four Tiger, the Sun of Air, the Sun of Fire and Rain, the Sun of Water, and the Sun of Man. They also believed that there were thirteen heavens.
When the First Doctor and his companions encountered Aztecs in the 15th century, the Aztecs perceived Barbara Wright to be a reincarnation of the priest and god Yetaxa. Despite the Doctor's pleas that time cannot be rewritten, Barbara attempted to persuade the Aztecs that the gods did not require human sacrifice. This, however, led to Tlotoxl accusing her of being a false goddess. Meanwhile, the Doctor offered Cameca cocoa and unknowingly got engaged with her. Eventually, Barbara was proved to be false, and they managed to escape into the tomb in which the TARDIS was trapped. (TV: The Aztecs)
- According to one account, Barbara's dissertation was on the fall of the Aztecs. (PROSE: Nothing at the End of the Lane) After leaving the Doctor, she became a university lecturer on history, specialising in the Aztec period. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy)
- Barbara's failed attempt to change history with the Aztecs was brought up a number of times later on. Shortly afterwards, the Doctor asked her if she was still thinking about it. (TV: The Sensorites) Barbara mentioned it while in Paris during the French Revolution. (TV: The Reign of Terror) Ian reminded her of it while at Masada. (PROSE: The Last Days) She brought it up again while in Salem Village, and the Doctor also reminded her of it. (PROSE: The Witch Hunters) According to one account, Ian reminded her of it again after they departed from the Mary Celeste. (PROSE: The Chase)
- The Fourth Doctor recalled the Aztecs as one of the civilisations which had created twisting underground passageways which he had to run up and down. (PROSE: A Device of Death)
- The Fourth Doctor later claimed that the dinosaurs' blood rituals rivalled those of the Aztecs. (PROSE: The Dragons of Prague)