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Meet the Tarascans, by Todd Proa


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The Tarascans were a powerful empire in 16th century Mexico, neighbors and fierce rivals of the Aztec Empire. While they aren't as well-known as their rivals, they were once one of the most powerful forces in Mesoamerica, and their descendants are still alive today.

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Meet the Tarascans, by Todd Proa

  1. 1. Meet the Tarascans By Todd Proa
  2. 2. Who were they? • Contemporaries (and fierce rivals) of the Aztecs! • Had a massive empire in modern-day Mexico based around Michoacán (shown in green)
  3. 3. Where did they come from? • According to their legends, they migrated into Michoacán from elsewhere, then conquered their hostile neighbors! • They built an empire of various ethnic groups, who were allowed to keep their old customs as long as they paid tribute to and fought for the Tarascan king
  4. 4. What were they like? • Similar to other Mesoamerican cultures in regards to technology and religion! • Fought constantly with their neighbors, the Aztecs
  5. 5. What happened to them? • After the Spanish conquered the Aztecs, they turned their attention to the Tarascans! • Because the Tarascans were dealing with a succession crisis and had no energy to deal with the Spanish, they quickly submitted without much of a fight! • Their descendants still live around Michoacán
  6. 6. Why don’t we hear about them? • The Spanish paid more attention to the Aztecs when they came to Mexico, because they put up more of a resistance! • Mexican archaeology is focused on tourism, so people aren’t as interested in the relatively small- scale Tarascan sites as they are in the massive monuments of the Aztecs or Mayans