noun \ˌzä-pə-ˈtek, ˌsä-\

Definition of ZAPOTEC

:  a member of an American Indian people of Oaxaca state, Mexico

Origin of ZAPOTEC

Spanish zapoteca, from Nahuatl tzapotēcah, plural of tzapotēcatl, literally, person of (the land of) sapodillas, from tzapotl sapodilla fruit + -tēcatl person (from)
First Known Use: 1843


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Indian population living in the state of Oaxaca, southern Mexico. Early Zapotec civilization, centred on Monte Albán (near the modern city of Oaxaca), produced the first writing in Mesoamerica and devised the 52-year round calendar later borrowed by other groups. Present-day traditional Zapotec society is largely agricultural, and members practice shifting cultivation. The major crafts include pottery and weaving. The Zapotecs profess Roman Catholicism, but belief in spirits and myths persists. See also Mesoamerican civilization.


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