Culture of Oaxaca

The word “Oaxaca” has its roots in the nahuatl Huaxyacac, which means “on top of the guaje-forest”. The Mixtec people refer to Oaxaca as Nuu Nduva (the place of the guaje-trees).

Oaxaca is the fifth largest estate of Mexico, with its 95,364 km2 it occupies 5 percent of the territory of that country.
It is one of Mexico’s greatest source of biodiversity. Its mountains, canyons, valleys and coasts allow for an exceptionally wide range of climates and soils.

The State is divided in 8 regions: Cañada, Costa, Istmo, Mixteca, Sierra Norte, Sierra Sur, Papaloapan and Valles Centrales.

According to the Population and Housing Census 2005 (Censo de Población y Vivienda 2005), Oaxaca has a population 3,506,821 inhabitants of which 47.7 % are males and 52.3 % are females. The majority of this population is young (15-60 years old).

Oaxaca is one of the states with the largest ethnic and linguistic diversity in Mexico. There are 18 different ethnic groups:

1) Amochco (Amuzgo)
2) Nduudu Yu (Cuicateco)
3) Kitse Cha’tnio (Chatino)
4) Tsa Ju jmí’ (Chinanteco)
5) Runixa Ngiigua (Chocholteco)
6) Slijuala Xanuc (Chontal)
7) Mero Ikoots (Huave)
9) Ha Shuta Enima (Mazateco)
10) Ayuukjä’äy (Mixe)
11) Ñuu Savi (Mixteco)
12) Nahuatls (Nahua)*
13) Inyu (Tacuates)
14) Tzotzil (Tzotzil)
15) Tinujei (Triquis)
16) Binizá (Zapoteco)
17) Angpon (Zoque)
18) Afromestizo

(*) Note:
This graphic only includes the indigenous peoples that are more representative in the state but for some reason it does not show the Zapotec and other peoples that we include in the list. The Zapotecs are the largest population in Oaxaca. The indigenous peoples represented in this graphic match the ones in the list from 1 to 12.

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