Mexico’s Core • Similar to Casagrande’s New Spain Nation. • The Core surrounds Mexico City and includes parts of the following states: Michoacan, Guanajuato, Queretaro, Hidalgo, Puebla, Tlaxcala, and Mexico. • Jalisco 7.5 million Michoacan 4.4 million • Guanajuato 5.6 million Queretaro1.9 million • Hidalgo 2.7 million Puebla 5.9 million • Tlaxcala 1.2 million • Total: ~23% of Mexico’s inhabitants • ~21.6% live in MetroMex Mexico State 15.4 million Distrito Federal 8.9 million • So, MetroMex + the Core = more than 40% of Mexico’s population • Cultural center of pre-Columbian Mexico • Included Aztec and Tarascan hearths: Large indigenous populations remain • Political and economic center of New Spain: High concentration of colonial architecture • Currently • Highest population density • Most large cities: • Guadalajara 4,095,853 Puebla 2,109,049 • León 1,425,210 Querétaro 918,100 • Morelia 735,624 • Industrial and transportation hub • Agricultural center • Growing tourist destination
This map is based on Casagrande’s article.
You’ve seen this regionalization before. It’s based on the geographical distribution of cultural features. You see that the southern 1/3 of Mexico was in Mesoamerica.
Mexico’s Core is served by excellent transportation service including bus companies like this one which is named after one of the largest indigenous groups in the region, the Purhepechas or Tarascans. You will read about them in the article by Malmstrom.
Some Purepechan guys that I met while visiting Paricutin, the recent volcano (1943) in Michoacan’s interior highlands. Both guys had lived and worked in Oceanside, CA for several years. Most migrants in their village migrate to Oceanside. Simon, without a hat, used his US wages to buy cars so that he now is the owner of a cab company in Michoacan.
Paricutin erupted in 1943. Its lava covered the town of San Juan Parangaricutiro and left behind only the colonial church. Fortunately, the town was evacuated before the eruption.
Notice how the Tarascans’ archaeological sites are clustered in the highlands. The black triangles represent archeological sites. http://www.famsi.org/research/williams/wm_tarascan.html
Malmstrom mentioned a lienzo that told the story of one Tarascan village. Many indigenous villages in Mexico have lienzos. You’ll read about the village in this slide after Exam 2. It houses its lienzo in a building similar to the one in the background.
Here’s the lienzo, sealed in airtight case that is almost too big for the room.
A lienzo is a large sheet of canvas on which were painted a combination of pictures and text that tell the village’s story. As you can see this village’s story extended back to 1521, just two years after Cortez arrived.
Interpretive signs at Tzintzuntzan in Tarascan or Purepecha, Spanish and English. Purepecha signs are necessary because that language remains the first language for most Tarascans.
Tzintzuntzan archaeological site. It’s noteworthy for several things, one of them being its partially rounded shape. Other Mesoamerican groups did not build in such a style.
Tzintzuntzan, “place of the hummingbirds” overlooking Lake Patzcuaro to the west.
From this vantage point, Tzintzuntzan, doesn’t look so special. That’s because I shot from the squared-off side of the structure.
Tzintzuntzan overlooking the church at the colonial settlement now called Quiroga. A common settlement strategy by the Spanish was to build settlements nearby, or on, indigenous settlements. Mexico has many examples of Catholic churches built on top of foundations for pre-Columbian structures. The name Quiroga will become more familiar to you as you read the Malmstrom article.
Typical view in Michoacan’s highlands where valleys with fertile soil derived from volcanic ash are sites of productive agriculture.
Mosaic of Quiroga in Morelia, the capital of Michoacan. He’s holding “Utopia” by Thomas More, which guided his administration of the region’s indigenous inhabitants. A primary aspect of his strategy was to organize indigenous settlements into handicraft specialties.
Images of Quiroga are common in Michoacan. This statue is in the plaza in Patzcuaro, a growing tourist destination before the recent drug violence. Mexico’s core region is attractive to tourists because its dramatic physical landscapes, colonial architecture, indigenous inhabitants and the handicrafts (artesania) that they produce. Quiroga emphasized this handicraft tradition. It has persisted as part of the tourist economy.
Story of Quiroga. He became bishop of Michoacan in 1538, only 17 years after the Conquest.
One of the oldest olive groves in the Americas, at Quiroga. Spanish missions and churches were similar to agricultural research stations. The monks experimented with agricultural plants, especially those that were common in Spain (olives, wine grapes, wheat)
Examples of the woodworking that is famous in Michoacan. Remember this sort of artesania is just one example of the handicrafts that Quiroga encouraged in Michoacan. He didn’t teach introduce the handicrafts into the region. He directed the pre-existing handicraft skills of the Tarascans.
The highlands of Michoacan are studded with lakes that support growth of reed grasses like you see here. The reeds are a resource because some lake settlements specialize in ?
Paracho, not borracho, is a settlement a couple of hours north of Lake Patzcuaro in which indigenous woodworking skill was channeled into guitar (a Spanish instrument) construction. Paracho is a center of high quality guitar construction. Whole city blocks are filled with guitar workshops.
Pre-Columbian indigenous woodworking traditions extended to log cabins which are called trojes. This is the traditional shape. Before the arrival of the Spaniards and during the colonial period, the roof would have been made out of thatch.
That tradition has been elaborated to the extent that ornate trojes like this one are common in the highlands. You can see how the roof is not traditional. It’s based on ideas from the US. And, Michoacan has long been a primary source of migrants to the US. Returning migrants bring ideas from north of the border with them.
This is Pichataro, Michoacan. Harner mentions settlements like Pichataro in his article about muebles rusticos. The settlements specialize in furniture manufacture. The table, chairs and frames are will be picked up by a bulk buyer and possibly sold in Mexico City or north of the border.
Street scene in Pichataro. Muebles rusticos on the porch of the tortilleria. An old man sports a used Green Bay Packers coat. Women wear a traditional locally woven shawl .
Pichataro, with its church in the background. Damage to the church caused by an earthquake has been repaired with funds raised by community members in the US. This a common aspect of the migrant experience. Migrants band together in clubs and pool their wages and money donated at dances or other fundraisers to improve their home villages. Such clubs are common throughout the US, especially in California.
You’ve seen this slide before. It shows an aqueduct in Morelia. This sort of colonial architecture is appealing to tourists.
One problem Michoacan faces relates to its abundant water. As these slides shows water levels in highland lakes have decreased. Southern shore of Erongaricuaro, 2004 Southern shore of Erongaricuaro, 1950 The lake is Patzcuaro.
As I already mentioned, Michoacan is one of the leading states of origin for migrants to the US. These migrants send large amounts of money, called remittances, back to their home villages. This billboard is adjacent to the international airport in Morelia. It advertises services for sending remittances. Because of northern California’s large community of Latinos with roots in Michoacan, daily flights are available from Sacramento to Morelia.
Note that remittances to Mexico are so high that the country gets its own vertical axis, the one n the right, that extends to $10 billion instead of $2.5 billion. Remittances, Rural Sector and Development, Manuel Orozco. Inter-American Dialogue Washington, DC. firstname.lastname@example.org
Some remittance money goes to improving housing and setting up businesses like here in the pink and green building in Ario de Rosales, Michoacan.
In Buena Vista, in Michoacan’s coastal lowlands, most migrants live in Nashville and work in construction. Some of their remittances go toward housing. Also notice how migrants have introduced the US front yard into their home village.