Oaxaca's Tourist Guide
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Chochos

Historical Background
Very little information is available in codex or writings by Spanish conquerors on the Chocho people as an independent ethnic group. To this time, they are frequently associated with Popolocas, with whom they are closely related in the linguistic aspect.

The region currently occupied by the Chochos, also known as Chochones and Chocholtecas, is rich in archaeological sites, such as Buena Vista, with remains of fortresses, some sculptures and an abundance of ceramic artefacts. Calpulalpan has partially explored mounds. Burial grounds and fortresses are to found in Coixtlahuaca and Suchixtlahuaca. Tlacotepec has exceptional architectural structures. However, because of the style of the construction and ceramics found, it has been concluded that these sites correspond to the Mixteca culture that dominated in the zone during several centuries.

The present Chocho territory was later conquered by Mixtecs. Coixtlahuaca became one of the most powerful Mixteca domains. It was known as "Yocuijuhu" or "Yocuijudzavui", which mean "Land of Chochones".

In 1461, the Aztecs invaded the Coixtlahuaca domain, and Moctezuma Ilhuicamina defeated Atonal, its governor, who was killed by his own subjects. A rebellion of Mixtecos and Chochos, commanded by Ozahuindanda, was orchestrated by Ahuizotl in 1486. Although the Aztec conquest was more of an economical nature by demanding paid tribute, Mixtecs and Chochos were allowed to keep with their traditions and lifestyle, with their own governors and politics.


Location and Environment
Chochos live in the northern zone of "Mixteca Alta" (Upper Mixteca), on the border with Puebla, mainly in the former districts of Coixtlahuaca and Teposcula, of the State of Oaxaca, with a rather small area. From Concepcion Buenavista, a small town to the north of Nativitas, to the southernmost town is only 15 miles, and the distance from Santiago Teotongo, in the west, to Santa Catarina Ocotln, in the east is 22.3 miles.

The zone is extremely treacherous, formed by part of the Teposcolula and Tamazulapan Sierras, forming the so-called "Nudo Mixteco" (Mixtecan Knot), with altitudes varying from 6,562 to 8,858 feet above sea level. Soil is extremely eroded with little or not organic matter.

The climate is warm-humid with very low temperatures during winter and hot weather during the summer. Rain is not frequent, but arrives in the form of a downpour when it finally appears. Few rivers are in this area, and include the Tequilita, Xiquila, Tepelmeme, Blanco, and San Pedro, all of which are shallow. There are several water holes and mineral springs that fill the populations needs.

Vegetation is scant in this arid land. Most of these species are xerophilous, and include mesquite, agave, cacti, and a few palms, white mulberry trees, juniper, laurels, and arbutus trees. Animal life is also scarce, with species such as rabbits, hares, gophers, opossums, and a small number of deer. On the other hand, there is an abundance of snakes and scorpions.



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