among the ruins



Means “Place of the Humming Birds”
Culture: Tarascan



Tzintzuntzan is one of the largest and most important sites in Michoacan, and it was the capital of the Tarascans at the time of the Spanish conquest.

Yacatas were a development of the Tarascans and have not been found in other parts of Mesoamerica. The Tarascans moved into the area around AD 1200, establishing their capital first at Patzcuaro, then at Ihuatzio, and finally at Tzintzuntzan. From 900 to 1200, before the Tarascans took over, Nahuatl-speaking groups of farmers and fishermen occupied the area.

The culture of the Tarascans developed differently in most regards from the cultures of central and southern Mexico and the Maya area. The Tarascans were outstanding practitioners of the metallurgical arts, especially copper working. They were also noted as workers of obsidian and as fine potters.

The Tarascans were one of the few cultural groups who successfully defended their frontiers against the Aztecs. When the Spaniards came in 1522, however, the Tarascans offered little resistance, even though their population reportedly was sizable. Certainly they knew of the Spaniards’’ defeat of the Aztecs, and perhaps that accounts for their lack of resistance.”  –  –  Joyce Kelly