According to the Aztecs, their ancestors came from a place called Aztlán, which means “the place of cranes” or “the place of herons.” Legend describes it as a paradise, similar to the Garden of Eden. The Aztecs left Aztlán and migrated for ten generations, eventually reaching what would become Tenochtitlán, or modern-day Mexico City.
Researchers are divided about where Aztlán was located, but our extensive research suggest that Aztlán existed in the heart of Coachella Valley. Lake Cahuila, a fresh water lake in Coachella Valley, once stretched south from present-day Indo, California to beyond Mexicali, Mexico, and west to Blythe, California. During that period, the lush land could have certainly been described as paradise.
According to Dr. Phillip J. Wilke’s doctoral dissertation, “Late Prehistoric Human Ecology at Lake Cahuila, Coachella Valley, California,” Lake Cahuila was filled with water in three historic periods: from 300 A.D. to 600 A.D., from 900 A.D. to 1200 A.D., and lastly from 1350 A.D. to 1500 A.D. The drying up of the lake at about 1200 A.D. would coincide with the date given for the trek from Aztlán south to the Valley of Mexico.
For more on the search for Aztlán, click here.