The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology. The Aztec Empire (an alliance of three city-states) reached its peak in the early decades of the 16th century, just before the arrival of the Spanish under Hernán Cortés, who, from 1519 until 1521, waged a successful campaign that ultimately toppled the empire, laying the foundation for New Spain.
The Aztec have a historical reputation for human sacrifice, a practice common throughout the region. While both the Spanish and the Aztec suggested that the Aztec had taken human sacrifice to unprecedented levels, recent evaluation had called that into question.
In the world known to the Moorish slave Estevánico, the Aztec had been conquered by Spain over a decade prior to his discovery of his fantastic eyewear. Esperanza/Amal confirmed this, and that at least part of the conquest's success was do to the fact that Hernán Cortés had a device similar to Estevánico's eyewear. Esperanza/Amal surprised Estevánico further by telling him that Montezuma himself had given the device to Cortés.
Esperanza/Amal also warned Estevánico that the Aztec had learned much in 700 years. Estevánico did not fully grasp what this warning meant until, while residing in Mexico City, Estevánico was pursued by Aztecs who spoke a language that sounded faintly like Nahuatl.
What Estevánico never quite knew, and what Esperanza could not tell him, was that while in some timelines, the Aztec did fall, in at least one, they defeated the Spanish, and built a formidable empire. In the Twenty-Third Century, the Aztec were locked in a battle with their rival, the Inca, also a formidable empire, and that their fight crossed back across both timelines and time itself.