The valley in which Oaxaca lies has produced evidence of human presence as far back as 5000 BCE. By 500 BCE, this area was mostly inhabited by the Zapotecs and Mixtecs, who made perpetual war against each other until the end of the pre-Hispanic period. The Zapotecs eventually grew dominant here and built their capital city of Monte Alban , which dissolved into a number of smaller cultural centers about 750 years before the Spanish arrived.
The Spanish came to Oaxaca shortly after the fall of Tenochtítlan, looking for gold. Most of the local Zapotecs and Mixtecs chose to submit to the invaders rather than fight, and retained much of their social hierarchy under Spanish rule. While European diseases ravaged the native population, very little violence happened after that. Oaxaca grew into a provincial city and played important roles in both the Mexican War of Independence and the Reform War, including serving as the birthplace and center of operations for Benito Juarez and Porfirio Díaz.
Oaxaca grew and became modernized during the Porfiriato, and then became a battleground in the Mexican Revolution. In the 1920s and 40s, a series of natural disasters, including major earthquakes and widespread flooding, combined with the onset of the Great Depression to make life in Oaxaca hard. Then, after World War II, the Mexican government started new infrastructure projects in the valley including a section of the Panamerican Highway. From then on, Oaxaca flourished into one of the largest and most influential cities in Mexico. Today, despite a worker's uprising in 2006, Oaxaca is a stable, safe, and diverse city that attracts visitors from all over the globe.
Oaxaca is a city in central Mexico. It’s known for its colonial buildings, many of which are made from green volcanic stone. The central Zócalo square features the Palacio de Gobierno, with colorful murals depicting regional history. Alameda de León square faces the ornate facade of the Catedral de Oaxaca.
The city and municipality of Oaxaca de Juárez, or simply Oaxaca, is the capital and largest city of the Mexican state of the same name. It is located in the Centro District in the Central Valleys region of the state, on the foothills of the Sierra Madre at the base of the Cerro del Fortín.
This city relies heavily on tourism, which is based on its large number of colonial-era structures as well as the native Zapotec and Mixtec cultures and archeological sites. It, along with the archeological site of Monte Albán, were named a World Heritage Site in 1987. It is also the home of the month-long cultural festival called the "Guelaguetza", which features Oaxacan dance from the seven regions, music and a beauty pageant for indigenous women.
Aside from its famous cheese, Oaxaca is a true jewel and a must see if you love Mexican culture and all things truly Mexican. Viva Mexico!
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