ethnic group
popplace=Mexico (Zacatecas, Durango), United States (California, Texas, Illinois)
rels=Christianity especially Roman Catholic
langs=Spanish, English
related=Caxcan, Guachichil, Guamare, Pame, Tecuexe
The Zacatecos (or Zacatecas) were an indigenous people inhabiting part of northern Mexico, one of the peoples called Chichimecas by the Aztecs. They lived in most of what is now the state of Zacatecas and the northeastern part of Durango. They have many direct descendants, but most of their culture and traditions have disappeared with time. Large concentrations of direct descendants currently reside in Zacatecas and Durango, as well as large cities of the United States, most notably; Los Angeles, Dallas, and Chicago.


"Zacateco" is a Mexican Spanish derivation from the original Nahuatl "Zacatec", pluralized in early Mexican Spanish as "Zacatecas", the name given to the state and city. The name was given by the Aztecs to the people inhabiting a region in which a grass they called the "zacatl" was abundant. The region was thus called "Zacatlan" by the Aztecs. (Mexica)


Before the arrival of the Spanish, the Zacatec and Guachichil nations were great enemies in constant war with each other over food and boundaries. They later set aside their differences and became friends to wage war against the Spaniards.Fact|date=March 2007

The Mixtón Rebellion

:"Main article: The Mixtón Rebellion"

The Chichimeca War

:"Main article: The Chichimeca War"


To the east and north they overlapped lands with the Guachichiles. They extended to border the Tepehuanes to the west near Durango. To the north their land bordered that of the Irritilas or Laguna tribes, up to were Cuencamé and Parras are located. Their principal population centers were in Malpaís, around Peñón Blanco, and around El Cerro de la Bufa.


Way of Life

Most Zacatecos were nomadic, although a few groups were essentially sedentary. Both men and women wore their hair down to their waist. Some Chichimeca tribes wore their head braided, but it is unspecified if any Zacatec tribes did so. Earrings and collars were occasionally used. They used body markings by paint and tattooing to distinguish themselves from other tribes. Zacatecos were known to wear skin coverings below their knees and skin headbands on their foreheads. Occasionally they wore leather-soled sandals. They were "graceful, strong, robust and beardless". Juan Bautista de Pomar once said "In the opinion of men experienced in foreign lands, the Zacatecos are the best archers in the world"


The Zacatecos are not known to have built temples. Their only known deities were the sun, moon and certain stars. They rendered them tribute with flowers, weeds, aromatic herbs and dancing. Although they were a nomadic tribe, they did not sacrifice human lives.


The Zacatecos as a culture have vanished or faded, due to assimilation and mestizaje of the Mexican people. Another factor being the emigration of their descendants from Mexico unto the United States and the assimilation they take there. However many of their direct descendants still live in large concentrations in central Mexico. Taking all this into account, it is extremely difficult to even approximate the population of their descendants. It is equally hard to elaborate on their culture, language, art, and traditions.


*Powell, Philip Wayne. "Soldiers, Indians, & Silver: The Northward Advance of New Spain, 1550-1600".Berkely, California: University of California Press, 1969.

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