• 1300-1350 (first)
• 1520–1530 (last)
|1519||75,000 km2 (29,000 sq mi)|
|Today part of|
The Tarascan state was a state in pre-Columbian Mexico, roughly covering the geographic area of the present-day Mexican state of Michoacán, parts of Jalisco, and Guanajuato. At the time of the Spanish conquest, it was the second-largest state in Mesoamerica.
The state was founded in the early 14th century and lost its independence to the Spanish in 1530. In 1543 it officially became the governorship of Michoacán, from the Nahuatl name for the Tarascan state, Michoacán ("place of those who have fish").
The Tarascan state was constituted of a network of tributary systems and gradually became increasingly centralized, under the control of the ruler of the state called the cazonci . The Tarascan capital was located at Tzintzuntzan on the banks of Lake Pátzcuaro, and, according to Purépecha oral tradition was founded by the first cazonci Tariácuri and dominated by his lineage, the "Uacúsecha" ("Eagles" in Purépecha language); however the largest city may have been Angamuco, extensive ruins of which were discovered in 2012 using LiDAR technology.
The Tarascan state was contemporary with and an enemy of the Aztec Empire, against which it fought many wars. The Tarascan empire blocked Aztec expansion to the northwest, and the Tarascans fortified and patrolled their frontiers with the Aztecs, possibly developing the first truly territorial state of Mesoamerica.
Due to its relative isolation within Mesoamerica, the Tarascan state had many cultural traits completely distinct from those of the Mesoamerican cultural group. It is particularly noteworthy for being among the few Mesoamerican civilizations to use metal for tools and ornamentation, and even weapons.
In Purépecha, language of the Purépecha people, the name of the state was Iréchecua Tzintzuntzáni, the "Lands of Tzintzuntzan" referring to the capital Tzintzuntzan.[ citation needed ]
The state included different groups, primarily Purépecha people and additionally Matlazincas, Tecos, Mazahuas, Otomíes, Chontales, Nahuas.
The people of the Tarascan empire were mostly of Purépecha ethnic affiliation but also included other ethnic groups such as the Nahua, Otomi, Matlatzinca and Chichimec. These ethnic groups were gradually assimilated into the Purépecha majority group.
The territory that would eventually form the setting of the Tarascan state is the high volcanic region constituting the western extension of the Mexican Mesa Central, in between two large rivers: the Lerma and Balsas Rivers. Including temperate, subtropical and tropical climate zones, it is dominated by Cenozoic volcanic mountains and lake basins above 2000 meters (6500 feet) altitude, but also includes lower land in the southwestern coastal regions. Most common soil types in the central plateau are young volcanic andosols, luvisols and less fertile acrisols. The vegetation is mainly pine, pine-oak and fir. Human occupation has focused on the lake basins, which are abundant in resources. In the north, near the Lerma river, there are obsidian resources and thermal springs. The Tarascan state was centered around the Lake Pátzcuaro basin.
The Tarascan area has been inhabited at least since the early Pre-classic period. Early lithic evidence from before 2500 BC, like fluted points and stone utensils are found at some megafauna kill sites. The earliest radio-carbon dates of archeological sites fall around 1200 BC. The best known early Pre-classic culture of Michoacán was the Chupícuaro culture. Most Chupícuaro sites are found on lake islands which can be seen as a sign of it having traits relating it to the later Tarascan cultural patterns. In the early Classic period, ballcourts and other artifacts demonstrate a Teotihuacan influence in the Michoacán region.
The most useful ethnohistorical source has been the Relación de Michoacán [ citation needed ], written around 1540 by the Franciscan priest Fray Jeronimo de Acalá, containing translated and transcribed narratives from Tarascan noblemen. This Relación contains parts of the "official Tarascan history" as carried down through oral tradition: one part focuses on Tarascan state religion, the second on Tarascan society, and the last on Tarascan history and the Spanish conquest. Unfortunately the first part is only partly preserved. Other sources include a number of small pictorial manuscripts, the best known being the Lienzo de Jucutacuto.
|Corregidor de Michoacan |
Pedro de Arellano (1530–1543)
|Governors of Michoacan|
In the late classic at least two non-Purépecha ethnic groups lived around Lake Pátzcuaro: Nahuatl speakers in Jarácuaro, and some Chichimecan cultures on the northern banks, with the Nahua population being the second largest.
According to the Relación de Michoacán a visionary leader of the Purépecha named Tariácuri decided to gather the communities around Lake Pátzcuaro into one strong state. Around 1300 he undertook the first conquests and installed his sons Hiripan and Tangáxoan as lords of Ihuatzio and Tzintzuntzan respectively, himself ruling from Pátzcuari city. By the death of Taríacuri (around 1350), his lineage was in control of all the major centers around Lake Pátzcuaro. His son Hiripan continued the expansion into the area surrounding Lake Cuitzeo.
Hiripan and later his brother Tangáxuan I began to institutionalize the tributary system and consolidate the political unity of the empire. They created an administrative bureaucracy and divided responsibilities of and tributes from the conquered territories between lords and nobles. In the following years first the Tarascan Sierra and then the Balsas River was incorporated into the increasingly centralized state.
Under the rule of cazonci Tzitzipandáquare a number of regions were conquered, only to be lost again by rebellions or strategic retreats when confronted with Aztec expansion. In 1460 the Tarascan state reached the Pacific coast at Zacatula, advanced into the Toluca Valley, and also, on the northern rim, reached into the present day state of Guanajuato. In the 1470s Aztecs under Axayacatl captured a series of Tarascan frontier towns and closed in on the Tarascan heartland, but were eventually defeated. This experience prompted the Tarascan ruler to further fortify the Aztec frontier with military centers along the border, such as at Cutzamala. He also allowed Otomies and Matlatzincas who had been driven out of their homelands by the Aztecs to settle in the border area under the condition that they took part in the defense of the Tarascan lands. From 1480 the Aztec ruler Ahuitzotl intensified the conflict with the Tarascans. He supported attacks on Tarascan lands by other ethnic groups allied with or subjugated to the Aztecs such as Matlatzincas, Chontales, and Cuitlatecs. The Tarascans, led by the cazonci Zuangua, repelled the attacks but further Tarascan expansion was halted until the arrival of the Spaniards two years into the rule of the last cazonci of an independent Tarascan state, Tangáxuan II.
West states, "The Tarascans and their neighbors near the Pacific coast were the foremost metallurgists of pre-Conquest Mexico." This included copper, silver and gold, where Michoacán and Colima provided placer gold, Tamazula provided silver, and the La Huacana area provided copper. Copper-silver alloy artefacts found in the palaces and graves of Tzintzuntzan include rodelas , armlets, bracelets and cups. Copper bells made from lost-wax casting were used in religious ceremonies from 650 AD to at least 1200. This was followed by copper-gold and copper-silver items such as discs, bracelets, diadems and masks. Other items were made from bronze, including needles, fishhooks, tweezers, axeheads, and awls. The religious national treasures were looted by the Spanish during the Conquest from Lake Patzcuaro graves and storerooms.
After hearing about the fall of the Aztec Empire, cazonci Tangáxuan II sent emissaries to the Spanish victors. A few Spaniards went with them to Tzintzuntzan where they were presented to the ruler and gifts were exchanged. They returned with samples of gold and Cortés' interest in the Tarascan state was awakened. In 1522 a Spanish force under the leadership of Cristóbal de Olid was sent into Tarascan territory and arrived at Tzintzuntzan within days. The Tarascan army numbered many thousands, perhaps as many as 100,000[ citation needed ], but at the crucial moment they chose not to fight. Tangáxuan submitted to the Spanish administration, but for his cooperation was allowed a large degree of autonomy. This resulted in a strange arrangement where both Cortés and Tangáxuan considered themselves rulers of Michoacán for the following years: the population of the area paid tribute to them both. When the Spanish found out that Tangáxuan was still de facto ruler of his empire but only supplied the Spanish with a small part of the resources extracted from the population they sent the ruthless conquistador Nuño de Guzmán, who allied himself with a Tarascan noble Don Pedro Panza Cuinierángari, and the cazonci was executed on February 14, 1530. A period of violence and turbulence began. During the next decades Tarascan puppet rulers were installed by the Spanish government, but when Nuño de Guzman had been disgraced and recalled to Spain, Bishop Vasco de Quiroga was sent to the area to clean up. He rapidly gained the respect and friendship of the natives who ceased hostilities towards the Spanish hegemony.[ citation needed ]
This was the Tarascan state [...] peopled by ethnic groups of matlazincas, tecos, mazahuas, otomíes, chontales, nahuas and primarily tarascos
The Purépecha or Tarascans are a group of indigenous people centered in the northwestern region of Michoacán, Mexico, mainly in the area of the cities of Cherán and Pátzcuaro.
Tzintzuntzan was the ceremonial center of the pre-Columbian Tarascan state capital of the same name. The name comes from the Purépecha word Ts’intsuntsani, which means "place of hummingbirds". After being in Pátzcuaro for the first years of the Purépecha Empire, power was consolidated in Tzintzuntzan in the mid 15th century. The empire continued to grow and hold off attacks by the neighboring Aztec Empire, until the Spanish arrived. Not wanting to suffer the destruction that the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan did, the emperor in this city surrendered to the Spanish. Eventually, much of the site and especially its distinct five rounded pyramids called yácatas were destroyed and the city almost completely abandoned. Due to lack of interest in the old Purépecha dominion, excavation of this site did not begin until the 1930s. Its largest construction are the five yácata pyramids, which line up looking out over Lake Pátzcuaro. The other is the large Grand Platform excavated into the hillside on which the yácatas and other buildings rest. Today the site is still used for events such as the Festival Cultural de Fin de Año.
Michoacán, formally Michoacán de Ocampo, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Michoacán de Ocampo, is one of the 31 states which, with Mexico City, comprise the 32 federal entities of Mexico. The state is divided into 113 municipalities and its capital city is Morelia. The city was named after José María Morelos, one of the main heroes of the Mexican War of Independence.
Lake Pátzcuaro is a lake in the municipality of Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico.
Princess Eréndira of the Purépecha was the princess of the Purépecha from about 1503–1519.
Pátzcuaro is a large town and municipality located in the state of Michoacán. The town was founded sometime in the 1320s, at first becoming the capital of the Tarascan state and later its ceremonial center. After the Spanish took over, Vasco de Quiroga worked to make Pátzcuaro the capital of the New Spain province of Michoacán, but after his death, the capital would be moved to nearby Valladolid. Pátzcuaro has retained its colonial and indigenous character since then, and it has been named one of the 111 "Pueblos Mágicos" by the government of Mexico. Pátzcuaro, and the lake region it belongs to, is well known as a site for Day of the Dead celebrations.
The Aztecs were a Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican people of central Mexico in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. They called themselves Mēxihcah.
The Tarascan Plateau, also Purépecha Plateau, is a plateau and region in the Mexican state of Michoacán, in Southwestern Mexico
Purépecha, often called Tarascan, is a language isolate or small language family that is spoken by 124,494 Purépecha in the highlands of Michoacán, Mexico.
Tzimtzincha-Tangaxuan II was the last cazonci (monarch) of the Tarascan state, the kingdom of the Purépecha from 1520–1530. He was baptized Francisco when his realm made a peace treaty with Hernán Cortés. He was executed by burning by Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán on February 14, 1530.
Tzintzuntzan Municipality is one of the municipalities of Michoacán. The seat is Tzintzuntzan, Michoacán.
Tzintzuntzán is a town in Tzintzuntzan Municipality located in the north of Michoacán state, 53 km from the capital of Morelia and 17.5 km from Pátzcuaro, located on the northeast shore of Lake Pátzcuaro. It is best known as the former capital of the Tarascan state until it was conquered by the Spanish in the 1520s. Today, Tzintzuntzan is a small town with two major attractions, the archeological site of Tzintzuntzan and the former monastery complex of San Francisco. The municipality contains another important archeological site called Ihuatzio. It is also notable for its festivals, which include the Festival of Señor del Rescate, Day of the Dead celebrations and a cultural event related to New Year's.
Helen Perlstein Pollard is an American academic ethnohistorian and archaeologist, known for her publications and research on pre-Columbian cultures in the west-central Mexico region. Pollard's particular area of expertise is the study of the Tarascan state, a tributary state that flourished in the Postclassic period of Mesoamerican chronology in a region largely coinciding with the modern-day Mexican state of Michoacán. Drawing from her extensive archaeological fieldwork conducted in the Lake Pátzcuaro Basin, Pollard's research has investigated themes such as the formation of proto-states, the centralization of political control, development and emergence of social stratification and inequalities, and the human ecology of adaptations within pre-modern cultures in response to environmental changes and instabilities.
Huandacareo is an archaeological zone located about 60 kilometers north of the city of Morelia, in the state of Michoacán.
Ihuatzio is an archeological site located at the southern slopes of "Cerro Tariaqueri", just north of the Ihuatzio town, in the Tzintzuntzan municipality, of Michoacán state.
The Salitre War was a 1480-1510 military conflict between the Tarascan state of Purépecha people and peoples settled in Colima, Sayula, Zapotlán, Tapalpa and Autlán. It started with the invasion of Tarascan cazonci (monarch) Tangaxuan II with the purpose to seize the mining of saltpeter and ended with the expulsion of Purépecha from the areas of Colima and Jalisco.
Cazonci was the title of the ruler of the Tarascan state which existed in 14-16th centuries in the area of the modern state of Michoacán, Mexico.
Michoacán handcrafts and folk art is a Mexican regional tradition centered in the state of Michoacán, in central/western Mexico. Its origins traced back to the Purépecha Empire, and later to the efforts to organize and promote trades and crafts by Vasco de Quiroga in what is now the north and northeast of the state. The state has a wide variety of over thirty crafts, with the most important being the working of wood, ceramics, and textiles. A number are more particular to the state, such as the creation of religious images from corn stalk paste, and a type of mosaic made from dyed wheat straw on a waxed board. Though there is support for artisans in the way of contests, fairs, and collective trademarks for certain wares, Michoacán handcrafts lack access to markets, especially those catering to tourists.
La Huacana is the municipal seat of La Huacana Municipality in Michoacán, Mexico. In 2010 it also was the most populous locality in the municipality. It is located 161 kilometers from the state capital Morelia.
Tariácuri was a culture hero of the Purépecha people and one of the foremost rulers of the Tarascan state. Traditionally hailed as the state's founder, Tariácuri is credited with growing the Tarascan state from an individual city-state to the dominant power of the region.
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