The Lost Temple of the Aztecs


48 pages
Contains Photos, Maps
ISBN 0-590-12478-1
DDC j972'.53018





Illustrations by Greg Ruhl
Reviewed by John Walker

John Walker is a professor of Spanish studies at Queen’s University.


During excavation work in Mexico City on February 21, 1978, the
archaeologists discovered a disc that was part of the Great Temple of
the Aztecs, housed in Tenochtitlan. The capital city of the Aztec
civilization, Tenochtitlan flourished at the time of the Spanish
discovery and conquest of the New World, beginning in 1492.

This excellent addition to the I Was There series by Shelley Tanaka is
beautifully illustrated by Toronto artist Greg Ruhl. Tanaka uses the
1978 discovery of the disc to effect a flashback to April 1519, when
Cortés and the Spanish troops invaded the Aztec empire (modern-day
Mexico) ruled over by Moctezuma. The Aztecs succumbed to the more
powerful weapons, gunpowder, and horses of the Spaniards. Those who did
not die in battle soon fell victim to diseases, such as smallpox,
brought by their European conquerors. By 1600, the Aztec population had
diminished to a quarter of its size at the time of the Spanish invasion.

Lost Temple of the Aztecs is enhanced by fine paintings, photographs of
past and present, illustrations, maps, sidebars, diagrams, a glossary,
and a list of further reading. Edmundo Mateos Moctezuma, the historical
consultant to this book, and the archaeologist responsible for the
excavation of the Great Temple of the Aztecs, is, ironically, a
descendent of the Indian emperor overthrown by the Spaniards. Highly


Tanaka, Shelley., “The Lost Temple of the Aztecs,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 24, 2024,