A powerful and numerous Mexican tribe located chiefly in Oaxaca and Guerrero, forming with the Mixteca and Mazateca the Zapotecan linguistic stock. At the time of the conquest of Mexico they were independent of the Aztec, whom they resembled in customs; they were defeated by the Spaniards only after several campaigns between 1522 and 1527, not submitting finally till 1551. They were a sedentary race and well advanced in civilization, living in large villages and towns, in houses constructed with stone and mortar. They recorded the principal events in their history by means of hieroglyphics, and in warfare they made use of a cotton armour. The well-known ruins of Mitla have been attributed to them and were clamed by them to be the tombs of their ancestors.
They had an elaborate religious system, and human sacrifices were offered. The modern Zapotecas are very intelligent, progressive, and hard-working; they make good soldiers and political leaders, and are excellent citizens. Benito Juarez, President of Mexico, was a full-blooded Zapoteca. They number almost 300,000, and with their kinsmen 750,000. Many of them still speak only their native Indian language. Though they are now Catholics, some of their ancient beliefs and practices, such as burying money with the dead, still survive. The first missionaries among the Zapotecas were Bartolomé de Olmeda, a Mercedarian, and Juan Díaz, a secular priest, who was martyred by the natives in Quechula near Tepeaca for having overthrown their idols.
More Catholic Encyclopedia
Browse Encyclopedia by Alphabet
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Browse the Catholic Encyclopedia by Topic
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online