David Alan Harvey: Oaxaca, Mexico (1992)
At one time a mesoamerican center whose cultures rivaled those of the better known Maya and Aztec, Oaxaca is now among Mexico’s poorest states. The Zapotec, one of the largest and most powerful groups in pre-Hispanic times, once dominated the Oaxaca Valley. The Zapotec people possessed a calendar system and written language and raised the hilltop city of Monte Alban, which reached its apex about A.D. 650, only to be mysteriously abandoned shortly thereafter. In a land the size of Indiana, 14 indigenous languages and 90 different dialects are spoken. The Zapotec, Mixtec, Chatino, Trique, Mixe and several other groups make Oaxaca the most ethnically complex state in Mexico.