Tenochtitlan (Classical Nahuatl: Tenōchtitlan [tenoːtʃˈtitɬan]) was a Nahua altepetl (city-state) located on an island in Lake Texcoco, in the Valley of Mexico. Founded in 1325, it became the capital of the expanding Mexica Empire in the 15th century, until captured by the Spanish in 1521. At its peak, it was the largest city in the Pre-Columbian New World. When paired with Mexico the name is a reference to Mexica, the people of the surrounding Aztec heartland. It subsequently became a cabecera of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Today the ruins of Tenochtitlan are located in the central part of Mexico City.
Its name comes from Nahuatl tetl [tetɬ] ("rock") and nōchtli ['noːtʃtɬi] ("prickly pear") and means "Among the prickly pears [growing among] rocks". Tenochtitlan was one of two Mexican altepetl (city-states), the other being Tlatelolco.