Chichimeca (Spanish: [tʃitʃiˈmeka] (
The Spanish invasion resulted in a "drastic population decline of all the peoples known collectively as Chichimecas, and to the eventual disappearance as peoples of all save the Pames of San Luis Potosí and the related Chichimeca-Jonaz of the Sierra Gorda in eastern Guanajuato."In modern times, only one ethnic group is customarily referred to as Chichimecs, namely the Chichimeca Jonaz, a few thousand of whom live in the state of Guanajuato.
The Chichimeca people consisted of eight nations that spoke different languages. As the Spaniards worked towards consolidating the rule of New Spain over the indigenous peoples during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Chichimecan nations resisted fiercely, although a number of native groups of the region allied with the Spanish. The most long-lasting of these conflicts (1550–90) was the Chichimeca War, resulting in the defeat of the Spanish Empire and a decisive victory for the Chichimeca Confederation.
Many of the peoples known broadly as Chichimeca are virtually unknown today; few descriptions recorded their names and they seem to have been absorbed into mestizo culture or into other indigenous ethnic groups. For example, virtually nothing is known about the peoples referred to as the Guachichil , Caxcan , Zacateco , Tecuexe , or Guamare . Others, such as the Opata or Eudeve, are well described in records but extinct as a people.[ full citation needed ]
Still other Chichimec peoples maintain separate identities into the present day, such as the Otomi , Chichimeca Jonaz , Cora , Huichol , Pame , Yaqui , Mayo , O'odham and the Tepehuan peoples.[ full citation needed ]
The Nahuatl name Chīchīmēcah (plural, pronounced [tʃiːtʃiːˈmeːkaʔ] ; singular Chīchīmēcatl) means "inhabitants of Chichiman," Chichiman meaning "area of milk." It is sometimes said to be related to chichi "dog", but the is in chichi are both short while those in Chīchīmēcah are long, which changes the meaning as vowel length is phonemic in Nahuatl.
The Nahua originally used the word "Chichimeca" to refer to their own ancient history as a nomadic hunter-gatherer group, in contrast to their later, more urban culture, which they identified as Toltecatl . [ full citation needed ]In modern Mexico, the word "Chichimeca" can have pejorative connotations such as "primitive," "savage," "uneducated," and "native."
The first descriptions of "Chichimecs" are from the early colonization period. In 1526, Hernán Cortés wrote a letter about the northern Chichimec tribes, who were not as "civilized" to him as the Aztecs. He commented that they might be enslaved and used to work in the mines.[ full citation needed ]
The Chicimec, Caxcanes and other indigenous people of Northern Mexico fought against Spanish military forces, such as Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán, when they began trying to enslave them. Their fight against Spanish military forces became known as the Mixtón Rebellion.[ full citation needed ]
In the late sixteenth century, Gonzalo de las Casas wrote about the Chichimec. He had received an encomienda near Durango and fought in the wars against the Chichimec peoples: the Pame, the Guachichile, the Guamari and the Zacateco, who lived in the area known at the time as "La Gran Chichimeca." Las Casas' account was called Report of the Chichimeca and the Justness of the War Against Them. He described the people, providing ethnographic information. He wrote that they only covered their genitalia with clothing; painted their bodies; and ate only game, roots and berries. He mentioned, in order to prove their supposed barbarity, that Chichimec women, having given birth, continued traveling on the same day without stopping to recover. [ full citation needed ]While las Casas recognized that the Chichimecan tribes spoke different languages, he considered their culture to be primarily uniform.
In the late 16th century, according to the Spanish, the Chichimeca did not worship idols as did many of the surrounding indigenous peoples [ full citation needed ]and in the eyes of the Franciscan priest Alonso Ponce this was an indication that the Chicimeca had a barbarous nature. Bernardino de Sahagún's Historia general de las cosas de Nueva España provides a fuller account: he describes some Chichimec people, such as the Otomi, as knowing agriculture, living in settled communities, and having a religion devoted to the worship of the moon.
Early sources was typical of the era in their efforts to spread propaganda that the natives were "savages" - accomplished at war and hunting, but with no established society or morals, and prone to fighting among themselves. This stereotype became even more prevalent during the course of the Chichimec wars, acting as a justification for the wars.[ full citation needed ]
The first description of a modern objective ethnography of the peoples inhabiting La Gran Chichimeca was done by Norwegian naturalist and explorer Carl Sofus Lumholtz in 1890 when he traveled on muleback through northwestern Mexico, meeting the indigenous peoples on friendly terms. With his descriptions of the rich and different cultures of the various "uncivilized" tribes, the picture of the uniform Chichimec barbarians was changed – although in Mexican Spanish the word "Chichimeca" remains connected to an image of "savagery".[ full citation needed ]
The historian Paul Kirchhoff, in his work The Hunting-Gathering People of North Mexico, described the Chichimecas as sharing a hunter-gatherer culture, based on the gathering of mesquite, agave, and tunas (the fruit of the nopal), with others also using acorns, roots and seeds. In some areas, the Chichimeca cultivated maize and calabash. From the mesquite, the Chichamecs made white bread and wine. Many Chichimec tribes used the juice of the agave as a substitute for water when it was in short supply.[ full citation needed ]
Chichimeca military strikes against the Spanish included raidings, ambushing critical economic routes, and pillaging. In the long-running Chichimeca War (1550–1590), the Spanish initially attempted to defeat the combined Chichimeca peoples in a war of "fire and blood", but eventually sought peace as they were unable to defeat them. The Chichimeca's small-scale raids proved effective. To end the war, the Spanish adopted a "Purchase for Peace" program by providing foods, tools, livestock, and land to the Chichimecas, sending Spanish to teach them agriculture as a livelihood, and by passively converting them to Catholicism. Within a century, the Chichimeca were assimilated.
The Tlaxcalans, or Talaxcaltecs, are an indigenous group of Nahua ethnicity who inhabited the republic of Tlaxcala and present-day Mexican state of Tlaxcala.
La Gran Chichimeca was a term used by the Spanish conquistadores of the 16th century to refer to an area of the northern central Mexican altiplano (plateau), a territory which today is encompassed by the modern Mexican states of Jalisco, Aguascalientes, Nayarit, Guanajuato and Zacatecas. They derived the term from the Aztec who referred to the nomadic tribes of the area as “chichimeca”.
The Zacatecos is the name of an indigenous group, one of the peoples called Chichimecas by the Aztecs. They lived in most of what is now the state of Zacatecas and the northeastern part of Durango. They have many direct descendants, but most of their culture and traditions have disappeared with time. Large concentrations of modern-day descendants may reside in Zacatecas and Durango, as well as other large cities of Mexico.
The Caxcan were a partly nomadic indigenous people of Mexico. Under their leader, Tenamaztle, the Caxcan were allied with the Zacatecos against the Spaniards during the Mixtón Rebellion in 1540-42. During the rebellion, they were described as "the heart and the center of the Indian Rebellion". After the rebellion, they were a constant target of the Zacatecos and Guachichiles due to their ceasefire agreement with the Spaniards. Their principal religious and population centers were at Teul, Tlaltenango, Juchipila, and Teocaltiche.
The Mixtón War was fought from 1540 until 1542 between the Caxcanes and other semi-nomadic Indigenous people of the area of north western Mexico against Spanish invaders, including their Aztec and Tlaxcalan allies. The war was named after Mixtón, a hill in the southern part of Zacatecas state in Mexico which served as an Indigenous stronghold.
The Chichimeca War (1550–90) was a military conflict between the Spanish Empire and the Chichimeca Confederation established in the territories today known as the Central Mexican Plateau, called by the Conquistadores La Gran Chichimeca. The epicenter of the hostilities was the region now called the Bajío. The Chichimeca War is recorded as the longest and most expensive military campaign confronting the Spanish Empire and indigenous people in Mesoamerica. The forty-year conflict was settled through several peace treaties driven by the Spaniards which lead to the pacification and, ultimately, the streamlined integration of the native populations into the New Spain colonial order.
The Tepanecs or Tepaneca are a Mesoamerican people who arrived in the Valley of Mexico in the late 12th or early 13th centuries. The Tepanec were a sister culture of the Aztecs as well as the Acolhua and others—these tribes spoke the Nahuatl language and shared the same general pantheon, with local and tribal variations.
The north Pame, or Xi'iuy, as they refer to themselves, the south Pame, or Ñáhu, Nyaxu, and the Pame in Querétaro or Re Nuye Eyyä, are an Indigenous people of central Mexico primarily living in the state of San Luis Potosí. When Spanish colonizers arrived and conquered their traditional territory in the sixteenth century, which "extended from the modern state of Tamaulipas in the north to Hidalgo and the area around Mexico City in the south along the Sierra Madre," they renamed "the area Pamería, and applied the name Pame to all of the peoples there."
Matlatzinca is a name used to refer to different indigenous ethnic groups in the Toluca Valley in the state of México, located in the central highlands of Mexico. The term is applied to the ethnic group inhabiting the valley of Toluca and to their language, Matlatzinca.
The Chichimeca Jonaz are an indigenous people of Mexico, living in the states of Guanajuato and San Luis Potosí. In Guanajuato, the Chichimeca Jonaz people live in a community in San Luis de la Paz municipality. The settlement is 2,070 m above sea level. They call this place Rancho Úza or Misión Chichimeca. They are descendants of the Pame people, who fought in the Chichimeca War (1550-1590) in the Chichimeca Confederation.
Chichimeca or Chichimeca Jonaz is an indigenous language of Mexico spoken by around 200 Chichimeca Jonaz people in Misión de Chichimecas near San Luis de la Paz in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico. The Chichimeca Jonaz language belongs to the Oto-Pamean branch of the Oto-Manguean language family. The Chichimecos self identify as úza and call their language eza'r.
Peralta is a prehispanic mesoamerican archaeological site located in Abasolo Municipality, Guanajuato, just outside the village of San Jose de Peralta in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. The site is reached via Fed 90 from Irapuato. Approximately 15.5 km south of the intersection with Fed 45, take the Irapuato-Huanimaro route southeast (left). Follow the route for about 12.5 km, then turnoff southwest (right) to San Jose de Peralta. Cross the bridge and turn right, and then follow the road out of the village northwest about 1 km. The site is on the left.
San Esteban de Nueva Tlaxcala was a Tlaxcalan municipality in what is now the Mexican state of Coahuila. San Esteban was the northernmost of the six Tlaxcalan colonies established in 1591 at the behest of the Viceroy of New Spain, Luis de Velasco; its founders came from Tizatlan. In 1834, San Esteban was merged into the adjoining city of Saltillo.
Plazuelas is a prehispanic archaeological site located just north of San Juan el Alto, some 2.7 kilometers (1.57 mi.) north of federal highway 90 (Pénjamo-Guadalajara), and about 11 kilometers (6.8 mi.) west of the city of Pénjamo in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico. The site is open to the public; it is dominated by a large, rectangular plaza with several pyramidal structures and platforms, along with a massive ball court. To the north of the structures is a field of boulders with thousands of glyphs carved into them.
El Conde is an archeological site located at Ozumba Street, El Conde, three block north the Mayo 1 Ave., in the municipality of Naucalpan, Mexico State.
El Teúl is an important archaeological mesoamerican site located on a hill with the same name in the Teúl Municipality in the south of the Zacatecas State, Mexico, near the Jalisco State.
Huandacareo is an archaeological zone located about 60 kilometers north of the city of Morelia, in the state of Michoacán.
Huexotla or Huexotla is an archaeological site located 5 kilometers south of Texcoco, at the town of San Luis Huexotla, close to Chapingo, in the Mexico State.
The Mexican Indian Wars were a series of conflicts fought between Spanish, and later Mexican, Guatemalan, Honduran, Salvadoran and Belizean forces against Amerindians in what is now called Mexico and surrounding areas such as Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Southern/Western United States. The period begins with Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire in 1519 and continued until the end of the Caste War of Yucatán in 1933.
The Ximpece are an Indigenous people of Mexico who were a semi-nomadic ethnic group of Chichimecas who lived among the Pame and the Jonaz. The National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples reported that "about 60,000 Amerindians live in the state of Querétaro, belonging to the Otomi, Chichimeca, Pame, Jonace and Ximpece peoples." It is unclear whether the Ximpece exist today as an intact cultural group due to minimal historical and contemporary sources.