Human sacrifice was practiced to some extent by all of the ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica. Most historians believe that before the era of the Aztec empire in 1427, other cultural natives in Tenochtitlan practiced it, but only on a minor scale. The Aztecs were a culture that dominated the Valley of Mexico in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Sadly, many of the Aztecs didn't survive after the arrival of the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes, however, during the earlier years, the Aztec culture thrived because they became one of the most advanced civilizations due to their religion and success in agriculture. To understand how and why human sacrifices were practiced, it is crucial to understand the fundamental ideas of the Aztec people and their religion. .
The Aztec religion called for a daily performance of human sacrifices in order to please the Gods and give them quality honoring. "In many parts of the Mesoamerican world, the ritual killing of plants, animals, and humans was carried out within a deep-seated belief that the dieties had created the universe out of their own self-immolations or the giving of some part of their essences" (Carrasco). Human sacrifices were one of the main events in the Aztec religion because they believed that their offerings could send messages to the Gods, "accompany the deceased to the hereafter, strengthen certain people or places, and even expiate sins to win a glorious or happy afterlife" (Graulich). They also believed that the sacrifices would make food grow and the land prosper. Not all ceremonies were treated with equal importance. They were divided by level of prestige depending on the purpose of the sacrifice. Slaves or victims of war were used as sacrifice when it came to average celebrations. In ceremonies to more important Gods, the people who were from a higher social class, especially warriors volunteered themselves.