Thursday, January 6, 2011

Indigenous People of Zacatecas

The primary indigenous people of present-day Zacatecas were the Chichimeca Indians. Groups belonging to these Indians include Zacatecos, Cazcanes, and Guachiles. Other Indian groups that may have occupied a small portion of Zacatecas land at some point include Huichos, Tepecanos, Tecuexes, and Guamares.

The Huichol territory does not appear on this image, but would be in the corner of Zacatecas where the Tepecanos were located. These Indians were originally from the state of San Luis Potosi and had expanded upwards reaching Zacatecas.

These groups were mostly nomadic and were hunters/gatherers. They were very defendant of their ancestral homelands and even became feared and respected by the Aztecs and other Indians for their bravery and courage in protecting their land.
  • The Zacatecos Indians were tall, well-proportioned, muscular people. They smeared their bodies with clay of various colors to protect their skin from the sun's rays and from vermin.
  • The Guachichiles received their name from the Aztecs meaning, "head colored red." They wore red feather headdresses by painting themselves red, including their hair, and wore head coverings made of red painted hides. They also had many different dialects which made their language hard to learn.
  • No physical description was found for the Cazcanes Indians, but it is known that served the Spanish army in their northward advance (towards Zacatecos land). This is why they were occasionally attacked by the Zacatecos Indians.

Ancient Ruins
The largest pre-Colombian settlement was found in southwestern Zacatecas and was known as La Quemada. La Quemada was first occupied between 200 and 300 A.D., and was abandoned by the year 900. This site is known for the gigantic pillars that are 18 feet high and 17 feet in circumference.


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