Zapotec State Dominates Oaxaca (Great Events from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory-476)
Article abstract: The Zapotec civilization became one of the highly developed civilizations in Mesoamerica, dominating Oaxaca and the surrounding area.
Summary of Event
The Zapotec civilization developed in the Valley of Oaxaca, the only broad valley in southern Mexico. The average elevation is 5,085 feet (1,550 meters). On the east and west, it is bordered by high mountains and on the north by somewhat lower mountains. The Atoyac River and its tributaries drain the valley, which is semiarid and depends on the river for irrigation. Annual rainfall averages 22 inches (56 centimeters). Temperatures seldom fall below freezing in the southern and western arms of the wishbone-shaped valley, but because of the higher altitude of the eastern arm, frost limits the growing of corn and beans. Original vegetation included willow and alder trees near the river and evergreens farther back. The closed forest canopy limited plant growth on the floor to ferns and herbaceous plants. Vines, orchids, and ferns grew in the trees. Some distance from the river, where the water table was deeper, there was mesquite. Scrub forest and cactus grew higher on the mountainside, and farther up, where there was greater rainfall, oak and pine trees replaced the scrub forest.
There is strong evidence that the first true New World states emerged in the Mixtec and Zapotec civilizations. The state has been defined as a strong, usually highly...
(The entire section is 1340 words.)
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