The last of the great MesoAmerican cultures were the Aztec, they were a Nahuatl-speaking people, who in the 15th and early 16th centuries, ruled a large empire in what is now central and southern Mexico. The Aztec are so-called from the word Aztlán (“White Land”), an allusion to their place of origin, possibly in northern Mexico. They were also called the "Tenochca" from a mythical ancestor "Tenoch" and the "Mexica" probably from Metzliapán (“Moon Lake”), the mystical name for Lake Texcoco. From “Tenochca” was derived the name of their great city, Tenochtitlán; and from “Mexica” came the name for the city that succeeded the Aztec capital, and the surrounding valley. This name was applied later to the whole Mexican nation.