Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Chapultepec ("Grasshopper Hill" in the Nahuatl language) is a large hill on the outskirts of central Mexico City with much significance in Mexican history. In modern Mexico City Chapultepec Park, consisting of the hill and surrounding land of 1,600 acres (6 km²), has many attractions.
In the days when Tenochtitlán was the island capital of the Aztecs, the city was linked to Chapultepec by a causeway and the hill was a retreat for the Emperors. A sculpture of Moctezuma I can still be seen (in unfortunately damaged condition) carved into the rock of Chapultepec, not far from Huemac's cave.
During the Spanish colonial era, the Viceroys of New Spain had their palace atop Chapultepec, demolishing Pre-Columbian structures in the process. A larger Viceregal castle was constructed on the spot in 1784.
After Mexico won its independence, the old viceregal palace was turned into a military academy in 1833. During the Mexican American War a group of young teenaged cadets fought to their deaths against the invading United States Army here; they are today remembered as Mexico's Niños Héroes – the "Boy Heroes" or "Heroic Cadets (see: Battle of Chapultepec).
When the French troops of Napoleon III imposed a monarchy on Mexico in the 1860s, Emperor Maximilian of Mexico and Empress Carlota of Mexico set up their palace atop Chapultepec, expanding the Spanish colonial structure.
Chapultepec Park Today
The hill of Chapultepec and surrounding land are now Chapultepec Park, a popular spot both for locals and tourists. Chapultepec is at one end of the city's grandest avenue, Paseo de la Reforma.
The park covers 1,600 acres (6 km²) of land, centuries old forest, several small lakes, and landscaped areas with out-door cafes.
The Castle atop the hill is a history museum. The park also includes 6 other museums, including a museum of modern art and the very large National Museum of Anthropology with perhaps the world's finest collection of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican art and artifacts.
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