Tlatoani (Classical Nahuatl: tlahtoāni pronounced [t͡ɬaʔtoˈaːni] (listen), "one who speaks, ruler"; plural tlahtohqueh [t͡ɬaʔˈtoʔkeʔ] or tlatoque) is the Classical Nahuatl term for the ruler of an āltepētl, a pre-Hispanic state. It may be translated into English as "king". A cihuātlahtoāni (Nahuatl pronunciation: [siwaːt͡ɬaʔtoˈaːni] (listen)) is a female ruler, or queen regnant. The term cuauhtlatoani refers to "vice-leader". The leaders of the Mexica prior to their settlement are sometimes referred to as cuauhtlatoque, as are those colonial rulers who were not descended from the ruling dynasty. The ruler's lands were called tlahtohcātlālli [t͡ɬaʔtoʔkaːˈt͡ɬaːlːi] (listen) and the ruler's house was called tlahtohcācalli [t͡ɬaʔtoʔkaːˈkalːi] (listen) The city-states of the Aztec Empire each had their own Tlatoani or leader. He would be the high priest and military leader for his city-state. He would be considered their commander-in-chief. As the Tlatoani he would make every decision for his city-state from taxes to warfare. He would often be a descendent of the royal family; however in some cases he would be elected. Since the Tlatoani was allowed to have several wives his legacy would be easily maintained. After being established as the Tlatoani, he would be the Tlatoani of his region for life. The Tlatoani was chosen by a council of elders, nobles, and priests. He would be selected from a pool of four candidates.


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