Nahua history facts definition characteristics location organization

Nahuas facts

Diverse groups of native peoples who share languages ​​belonging to the Nahuatl family. In this article we will provide you the history of  Nahua.

Nahuas are various groups of native peoples who share languages ​​belonging to the Nahuatl family. These towns have an antiquity in Mexico of around 46 centuries.

There are populations of Nahua ethnic groups in several Central American states, but the most numerous are those that live in Mexico.

Currently, the Nahua peoples registered in Mexico are:

  • Mexicaneros from Durango.
  • Mexicaneros from Nayarit.
  • Nahuas of Mexico City.
  • Nahuas from the State of Mexico.
  • Nahuas of Guerrero.
  • Nahuas de Hidalgo.
  • Nahuas of Jalisco.
  • Nahuas from Michoacán.
  • Nahuas of Puebla.
  • Nahuas de Morelos.
  • Nahuas of San Luis Potosí.
  • Nahuas of Tlaxcala.
  • Nahuas from Veracruz.

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Location of the Nahuas

There are Nahua populations distributed throughout the Mexican State and Central America, but the largest number of Nahua peoples settle in the central zone of Mexico.

Characteristics of the Nahuas

The main characteristics of the Nahuas are:

  • Although they present some common characteristics, the link that unites the different Nahuas ethnic groups is the Nahuatl language .
  • The Nahuas are descendants of cultures that had a great impact throughout the centuries in pre-Hispanic history, such as the Chichimecas and the Aztecs .
  • Their customs, festivities, religious rituals, clothing, etc. They are not uniform, they present different characteristics according to the ethnic group to which they belong.
  • In general, their mother tongue is Nahuatl, but they all speak Spanish as a second language.
  • In rural communities, women tend to do household chores while men carry out agricultural activities. Children participate in the life of the community and assume collective responsibilities from an early age.
  • The agriculture practiced with milpa system . Corn, beans, squash and peppers (chilies) are grown, among others.
  • They usually perform a division of time based on agricultural cycles and perform various rituals related to them such as the request for rain, the blessing of the seeds and the harvest.
  • Although most of the Nahua ethnic groups practice the Catholic religion , many of them maintain pre-Columbian beliefs associating Christ, the Virgin and the saints with different pre-Hispanic deities.

Political and social organization of the Nahua

Political organization

The Nahuas participate in the political life of the Republic of Mexico. Within their communities, they elect civil and religious authorities with local functions:

  • The delegate is the main civil authority in the community. Organize community work and resolve family or neighborhood conflicts.
  • The religious authorities are the prosecutor, the mayordomos and the bell ringers. They organize the festivities and perform religious functions for a year.

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Social organization

The social organization of the Nahua is as follows:

  • The social organization varies, in urban areas the social axis is the nuclear family, while in rural areas the extended family, organized in kinship relationships based on patrilineal lineage, predominates .
  • In some ethnic groups, the family lines settle in houses with a common patio that presents a ceremonial center . At the same time, there is a community ceremonial center where celebrations involving the entire community are enhanced.
  • Social relations among the Nahuas are based on the principle of “help.” This can be in work, products, etc. and it implies reciprocity. A help generates a commitment in which it is received. The achievements of community members obtained through the support network are considered collective achievements.
  • A special type of social collaboration is tequio , work carried out by all members of the community to obtain a common benefit, for example, cleaning common lands, repairing roads, etc.

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