Zapotec peoples

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Zapotec, Spanish, English

Roman Catholicism with elements of traditional beliefs

The Zapotecs (Zoogocho Zapotec :Didxažoŋ) are an indigenous people of Mexico. The population is concentrated in the southern state of Oaxaca, but Zapotec communities exist in neighboring states as well. The present-day population is estimated at approximately 800,000 to 1,000,000[1] persons, many of whom are monolingual in one of the native Zapotec languages and dialects. In pre-Columbian times the Zapotec civilization was one of the highly developed cultures of Mesoamerica, which among other things included a system of writing. Many people of Zapotec ancestry have emigrated to the United States over several decades, and they maintain their own social organizations in the Los Angeles and Central Valley areas of California.

There are four basic groups of Zapotecs: the istmeños, who live in the southern Isthmus of Tehuantepec[2] the serranos, who live in the northern mountains of the Sierra Madre de Oaxaca, the southern Zapotecs, who live in the southern mountains of the Sierra Sur and the Central Valley Zapotecs, who live in and around the Valley of Oaxaca.

Contents

Name

The name Zapotec is an exonym coming from Nahuatl tzapotēcah (singular tzapotēcatl), which means "inhabitants of the place of sapote." The Zapotecs call themselves Be'ena'a, which means "The People."

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