Following the Aztec’s founding and construction of Tenochtitlan in the Valley of Mexico in 1325 AD, they quickly established their authority across the other societies in the valley. Historians refer to this time period as the Aztec Empire, since the Aztec were constantly expanding throughout central Mexico. As well, for the two centuries that followed the initial construction of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec were ruled over by a series of leaders referred to as Huey Tlatoani. In the Aztec language of Nahuatl this translates to 'Great Speaker'. Each huey tlatoani ruled in different ways but they all oversaw the expansion of both Tenochtitlan and the Aztec Empire until the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in 1519.
Moctezuma I ruled over the Aztec Empire from 1440 until 1469 and was the fifth tlatoani of the Aztec people. He was the son of Huitzilíhuitl. Early in his rule he worked to strengthen the Triple Alliance with Texcoco and Tlacopan and improved Tenochtitlan by building aqueducts that supplied fresh water to the growing city. He is remembered for expanding the Aztec Empire outside of the Valley of Mexico and into parts of the coast along the Gulf of Mexico. In doing so, Moctezuma I oversaw Aztec expansions that led to major conflicts with other Mesoamerican societies in the region. He died in 1469 and a series of three more tlatoani followed.