Aztlán, according to legend is the original home of the Aztecs. The Aztecs called themselves Mexica as usually, but in terms of their background, they called themselves Azteca (singular: Aztecatl ), " from Aztlan ". Aztlán has been described as an island in a lake. From there to the Aztecs, led by their god Huitzilopochtli, have migrated to the Valley of Mexico, where they founded on an island in Lake Texcoco, the city of Tenochtitlan.
The importance of Aztlán (this is the Spanish spelling) is not clear, in contrast to most place names of the Nahuatl ( Aztec language ). The often found translation as a place of whites land of the herons of Nahuatl azta ( tl ) = white bird ( heron or crane ) tlan = Ortssuffix (on or ) is incorrect and would only apply for a place Aztatlan. For the name of Aztlan (the operative word in Nahuatl on the first syllable ) is so far in the Aztec writing not a sign been identified. The local character that is found Boturini and some other Aztekencodices for Aztlan in the codex, can not be explained, however.
The exact location is not known Aztláns. The legend says only that it should have lain north of Mexico City, but there is no indication for removal. This vague statement could create a lot of different localizations. After the pre-Hispanic traditions, the Azteca wandered through a non- traceable route up to Tula and from there in small stages over today on existing sites in the Basin of Mexico.
José Fernando Ramírez suspected Aztlán in the Valley of Mexico, Paul Kirchhoff at Río Lerma near Yuriria, García Cubas and Alfredo Chavero on the island Mexcaltitán in the lagoon area of the west coast of Mexico. Manuel Orozco y Berra located the place in Lake Chapala, Lorenzo Boturini and Hubert Howe Bancroft in Lower California, Mariano Veytia and the author of Códice Ramírez north of Sonora, Francisco Clavijero and Pérez Verdia in California, the Indian colonial time author Fernando Alvarado Tezozomoc in New Mexico, Alexander von Humboldt and William Hickling Prescott in the Pacific Northwest, Wickersham on Puget Sound, NF Hyer in Aztalan, Wisconsin. Authors such as Ignatius Donnelly thought even that it is in Aztlán to the mythical continent of Atlantis.
According to the assumption of the anthropologist Alfredo Chavero of 1887, Aztlán lies on the Pacific coast in the Mexican state of Nayarit, the state bears the symbol Aztláns in the coat of arms with the state motto " Nayarit, cradle of Mexicans ".
Today, many historians consider Aztlán for a mythical place, the description of the actual residential area of the Aztecs in the Valley of Mexico is inspired, and therefore defies localization.
The name Aztlán was taken up by several political movements of Mexicans in the United States. In this context, the entire southwestern United States is called Aztlán. On the grounds that this country was the original home of the Aztecs, belonging to Mexico until the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 and today there high population of Mexicans call nationalist, irredentist groups the independence or reunification with Mexico.