When I was in school in California, one of my assignments was to make the Mexican flag and to explain why the picture of the eagle with the snake on the cactus is on it. It begins with the Aztec Indians. Another name for the Aztec Indian tribe is Mexica. The story begins with the Aztec Indian tribe off in another part of Mexico, in Aztlan. (The names look pretty easy so far, but look out for Aztec names!)
Huitzilopochtli, their chief, told the Aztec tribe they could no longer be Aztecs and had to leave Aztlan. They had to change their tribe’s name to Mexica. You see, he put his sister in charge of the tribe. Her name was Malinalxochitl. The Aztecs didn’t like her. They called for Huitzilopochtli to rule again. Huitzilopochtli put his sister to sleep. While she was asleep, he told the people to leave. When she woke up and found that the people were gone, she was angry. She wanted revenge! She gave birth to a child. The name of the child was Copil (Yes, Romanians, the story uses the Romanian word for child. That made me wonder if the Spaniards named the child, and perhaps they got it from Latin, but the original story told does say “Copil.” If the Spaniards didn’t add that word, is there an ancient connection between the Romanians and Aztecs?)
When Copil grew up, Copil confronted Huitzilopochtli. Huitzilopochtli killed Copil and threw him into Lake Texcoco (Yes, it looks like Texas. The name of Texas must have come from the Aztec Indians.) Huitzilopochtli told the Aztecs they must search for the heart of Copil and built their city over it. He told them the sign that they had found the place would be an eagle sitting on a cactus with a snake in its claw, and the eagle would be eating the snake. He told them that would be the place of their permanent home. The Aztecs traveled for many years until they found the place. They found the eagle sitting on a cactus eating a snake. The Aztec Indians came to Tenochtitlan on the island in Lago (Lake) Texcoco. It was swamp land, so they filled it in and built a city, Mexico City.
If you read about Mexico City today, the city is built on swamp land, and they engineers of the city have to constantly work with the situation to keep the city from sinking. They have it under control, but they must work with the situation. When Mexico became a nation, they put that eagle holding a snake in its claw and eating it and sitting on a cactus on their flag.