Saturday, March 22, 2008

In Indian Mexico - Michoacan

Pictures and story from a Project Gutenberg EBook
Title: In Indian Mexico (1908)

Mexico has few large lakes, the largest, Chapala, having an area of only 1,685 square kilometers. Patzcuaro is much smaller, but far more picturesque. The form is something like a fat horseshoe; fine hills rise around it on all sides, behind which are mountain heights, with jagged outlines; pretty islands dot its waters, and twenty-two villages or towns of Tarascan indians are situated on its borders. The indians of these villages rarely use the land roads in going from town to town, commonly journeying by canoes, of a somewhat peculiar type. These are "dug outs," made from single tree trunks, and range in size from those intended for a single hunter to those which will carry ten or twelve persons. At the stern they are cut almost squarely across; at the bow they are trimmed to a slope; they are flat-bottomed and considerably wider at the bottom than above; they are dug out in such fashion that the walls are thin and almost vertical on the inner side. Buttressing pieces are left at the bottom, at two or three places, extending across the canoe and no doubt strengthening the sides; they also serve as squatting places for the passengers. The prow narrows as well as slopes upward, and a buttressing piece left in it serves as a foot-rest for the steersman, who sits in the bow, instead of in the stern. He steers by means of a long-handled paddle thrust through a loop of wood fastened to one side of the canoe. The paddles used for propulsion have handles three or four feet long, with round blades. The paddlers sometimes make their stroke on but one side of the canoe, sometimes on both. When they paddle over one side only, the stroke of the oar through the water is oblique, maintaining a steady course.

Janitzio is a more common name for Janicho

Link to the rest of this story

Lake Patzcuaro from Janicho

Tzinszunszan Churches

Santa Fe de la Laguna

Los Viejitos: Santa Fe de la Laguna

Spear fishing - Lake Patcuaro

Tarascan fishermen - Janicho

Tarascan women - Janicho

Houses in Uruapan


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Patzcuaro is the ex-capital of Michoacan and before that was Tzintzuntzan, a small town nearby dating to the Purhépecha empire in the 1300's. The museum in Patzcuaro is finding ruins in it's back yard that predates history and they are believed to be earlier than the history of Tzintzuntzan. The Purhépecha were one of the indigenous tribes that were not conquered by the Aztecs

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