That Aztec Empire Loved Their Corn

Never a historical society to be accused of partiality, we at The History Bluff happily write the following article in reply to our many patient Aztec readers. The Aztecs have eagerly waited for this – their first time in the spotlight since their little skirmish with the Spanish in 1521.

This scene shows the Spanish shortly before they conquered the Aztec empire – after they were at first beaten back by ill-mannered Aztecs armed with cornstalks.

The Aztecs were a proud empire in central Mexico from 1325-1521. While they prided themselves on cacao beans, it was corn that they most enjoyed.

Corn, one of the best sources of fiber, lowered the cholesterol levels of the Aztecs and helped regulate their systems. Much like the pilgrims and other Indian tribes, the Aztecs used the corn husks for bathroom tissue. This practice led to the first use of the term rawhide.

The Spanish explorer Hernan Cortes first saw popcorn in 1519 on Aztec headdresses, necklaces and ornaments to gods. Cortes acquired the formula for popcorn from Montezuma Redenbacher, who was the ruler of the Aztec empire at the time.

Down through the recent centuries the Aztecs have been out of the spotlight but have continued to affect the world through popcorn. It was Orville Redenbacher, a distant relative to Montezuma, who oversaw the perfection of the treat through the popcorn brand that bears his name.

When you next sit down to watch a movie and enjoy a bowl of popcorn, take pause to reflect on the still great Aztec empire.


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