During the twelfth century AD the Mexica were a small and obscure tribe searching for a new homeland. Eventually they settled in the Valley of Mexico and founded their capital, Tenochtitlan, in 1345. At the beginning of the sixteenth century it was one of the largest cities in the world. Warfare was extremely important for the Mexica people and led them to conquer most of modern-day central and southern Mexico. They controlled their huge empire through military strength, a long-distance trading network and the tribute which conquered peoples had to pay. Stone sculpture in the British Museum collection reflects the Mexica's complex religious beliefs and the large pantheon of gods they worshipped. Craftsmen also worked in gold, turquoise mosaic and feathers. Hernán Cortés and his small Spanish army arrived in 1519 and overthrew the Mexica ruler Moctezuma Xocoyotzin with relative ease. *The people and culture we know as 'Aztec' referred to themselves as the Mexica (pronounced 'Mé-shee-ka').