Native American History

Who were the indigenous people of Mexico before it was colonized?



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Although Mayans and Aztecs are the most well known native civilizations of Mexico, there were more than 63 ethnic groups before those lands were colonized by Europeans in the 16th century. Most of them had their own distinctive culture and language, but all of them fall within the overall "Mesoamerican Culture", with common traits such as the numeric system, mythology or the sacrifice of captured warriors to worship their gods.

Some of these peoples include:

  • The Nahuatl group, including the Aztec, Texcocan, Teotihuacan, Toltec, Tlaxcaltec and others.
  • The Mayan, including Olmec and Yucatec Mayan, Tzeltal Mayan, Tzotzil Mayan, and Ch'ol.
  • Other minor, however representative groups, which include the Mixtec, Zapotec, Otomi, Totonac, Mazatec, Huastec, Chinantec, Mixe, Mazahua, Tarascan, Tlapanec or Tarahumara.