NAHUA / Aztec (Central Mexico)


IndexAmericasCaribbean, Middle / Central AmericaMexico Nahua / Aztec




Duarte Barbosa[1] observed defloration of 10-year-old Indian girls by the lingam (phallus) in the beginning of the 16th century in southern Dekhan.

Aztec children played marriage from age five (Madsen, 1960:p86)[2]. “Most girls were married (cohabiting) well before the age of puberty” (McCaa, 2003)[3]. Girls among the ancient Aztec (Nahua) married before age 15, and in many cases before 12 (McCaa, 1997; cf. 1996, 1994)[4]: “Children became adults upon marriage, and most children above the age of 10 years were married (or widowed, separated or abandoned)”. Females married very young, according to the narrative evidence from the Book of Tributes (Cline, 1993:p31-2)[5]. Quantitative analysis of these data places the average for females below the age of thirteen, and that for males above age nineteen (McCaa, 1996:p18-27). It was hypothesized that infant marriage was institutional possibly in defense of a high mortality rate.









Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. VolumeI. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology

Last revised: Oct. 2004


[1] CollecÇao de Noticias para a Historia e Geografia das NaÇoes Ultramarinas [etc.] 1813, II:p304ff. Cited by Bloch, I. ([1933]) Anthropological Studies in the Strange Sexual Practises of All Races and All Ages. New York: Anthropological Press, p85

[2] Madsen, W. (1960) The Virgin’s Children. New York: Greenwood

[3]McCaa, R. (2003) The Nahua calli of ancient Mexico: household, family, and gender, Continuity & Change 18,1:23-48. Cf.; McCaa, R. (1994) Child marriage and complex families among the Nahuas of ancient Mexico, Lat Am Popul Hist Bull Fall (26):2-11

[4] McCaa, R. (1997) Child Marriage and Complex Families (Cemithualtin) among the Ancient Aztec (Nahua). Colonial History Workshop, University of Minnesota, Jan. 15, 1997. Spanish version published under the title Matrimonio infantil, cemithualtin (familias complejas) y el antiguo pueblo nahua in Hist Mex 46(1996),1:3-70

[5] Cline, S. L. (1993) The Book of Tributes. Early Sixteenth-Century Nahuatl Censuses from Morelos. Los Angeles: University of California Press