A deity is a supernatural being considered divine or sacred. The Oxford Dictionary of English defines deity as "a god or goddess". C. Scott Littleton defines a deity as "a being with powers greater than those of ordinary humans, but who interacts with humans, positively or negatively, in ways that carry humans to new levels of consciousness, beyond the grounded preoccupations of ordinary life". In the English language, a male deity is referred to as a god, while a female deity is referred to as a goddess. Religions can be categorized by. Monotheistic religions accept only one deity, polytheistic religions accept multiple deities. Henotheistic religions accept one supreme deity without denying other deities, considering them as aspects of the same divine principle. Although most monotheistic religions traditionally envision their God as omnipotent, omniscient and eternal, none of these qualities are essential to the definition of a "deity" and various cultures conceptualized their deities differently.
Monotheistic religions refer to God in masculine terms, while other religions refer to their deities in a variety of ways – masculine, feminine and without gender. Many ancient cultures – including the ancient Mesopotamians, Greeks and Norsemen– personified natural phenomena, variously as either deliberate causes or effects; some Avestan and Vedic deities were viewed as ethical concepts. In Indian religions, deities were envisioned as manifesting within the temple of every living being's body, as sensory organs and mind. Deities were envisioned as a form of existence after rebirth, for human beings who gain merit through an ethical life, where they become guardian deities and live blissfully in heaven, but are subject to death when their merit is lost; the English language word "deity" derives from Old French deité, the Latin deitatem or "divine nature", coined by Augustine of Hippo from deus. Deus is related through a common Proto-Indo-European origin to *deiwos; this root yields the ancient Indian word Deva meaning "to gleam, a shining one", from *div- "to shine", as well as Greek dios "divine" and Zeus.
Deva is masculine, the related feminine equivalent is devi. Etymologically, the cognates of Devi are Greek thea. In Old Persian, daiva- means "demon, evil god", while in Sanskrit it means the opposite, referring to the "heavenly, terrestrial things of high excellence, shining ones"; the linked term "god" refers to "supreme being, deity", according to Douglas Harper, is derived from Proto-Germanic *guthan, from PIE *ghut-, which means "that, invoked". Guth in the Irish language means "voice"; the term *ghut- is the source of Old Church Slavonic zovo, Sanskrit huta-, from the root *gheu-,An alternate etymology for the term "god" comes from the Proto-Germanic Gaut, which traces it to the PIE root *ghu-to-, derived from the root *gheu-. The term *gheu- is the source of the Greek khein "to pour"; the German root was a neuter noun. The gender of the monotheistic God shifted to masculine under the influence of Christianity. In contrast, all ancient Indo-European cultures and mythologies recognized both masculine and feminine deities.
There is no universally accepted consensus on what a deity is, concepts of deities vary across cultures. Huw Owen states that the term "deity or god or its equivalent in other languages" has a bewildering range of meanings and significance, it has ranged from "infinite transcendent being who created and lords over the universe", to a "finite entity or experience, with special significance or which evokes a special feeling", to "a concept in religious or philosophical context that relates to nature or magnified beings or a supra-mundane realm", to "numerous other usages". A deity is conceptualized as a supernatural or divine concept, manifesting in ideas and knowledge, in a form that combines excellence in some or all aspects, wrestling with weakness and questions in other aspects, heroic in outlook and actions, yet tied up with emotions and desires. In other cases, the deity is a principle or reality such as the idea of "soul"; the Upanishads of Hinduism, for example, characterize Atman as deva, thereby asserting that the deva and eternal supreme principle is part of every living creature, that this soul is spiritual and divine, that to realize self-knowledge is to know the supreme.
Theism is the belief in the existence of one or more deities. Polytheism is the belief in and worship of multiple deities, which are assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, with accompanying rituals. In most polytheistic religions, the different gods and goddesses are representations of forces of nature or ancestral principles, can be viewed either as autonomous or as aspects or emanations of a creator God or transcendental absolute principle, which manifests immanently in nature. Henotheism accepts the existence of more than one deity, but considers all deities as equivalent representations or aspects of the same divine principle, the highest. Monolatry is the belief that many deities exist, but that only one of these deities may be validly worshipped. Monotheism is the belief. A monotheistic deity, known as "God", is u
A nomad is a member of a community of people without fixed habitation who move to and from the same areas, including nomadic hunter-gatherers, pastoral nomads, tinker or trader nomads. As of 1995, there were an estimated 30–40 million nomads in the world. Nomadic hunting and gathering, following seasonally available wild plants and game, is by far the oldest human subsistence method. Pastoralists raise herds, driving them, or moving with them, as if with an Apuzzo, in patterns that avoid depleting pastures beyond their ability to recover. Nomadism is a lifestyle adapted to infertile regions such as steppe, tundra, or ice and sand, where mobility is the most efficient strategy for exploiting scarce resources. For example, many groups in the tundra are reindeer herders and are semi-nomadic, following forage for their animals. Sometimes described as "nomadic" are the various itinerant populations who move about in densely populated areas living not on natural resources, but by offering services to the resident population.
These groups are known as "peripatetic nomads". A nomad is a person with no settled home, moving from place to place as a way of obtaining food, finding pasture for livestock, or otherwise making a living; the word nomad comes from a Greek word. Most nomadic groups follow a fixed seasonal pattern of movements and settlements. Nomadic peoples traditionally travel on foot. Today, some nomads travel by motor vehicle. Most nomads live in other portable shelters. Nomads keep moving for different reasons. Nomadic foragers move in search of game, edible plants, water. Australian Aborigines, Negritos of Southeast Asia, San of Africa, for example, traditionally move from camp to camp to hunt and gather wild plants; some tribes of the Americas followed this way of life. Pastoral nomads make their living raising livestock such as camels, goats, sheep or yaks; these nomads travel to find more camels and sheep through the deserts of Arabia and northern Africa. The Fulani and their cattle travel through the grasslands of Niger in western Africa.
Some nomadic peoples herders, may move to raid settled communities or avoid enemies. Nomadic craftworkers and merchants travel to serve customers, they include the Lohar blacksmiths of India, the Romani traders, the Irish Travellers. Most nomads travel in groups of bands or tribes; these groups are based on formal agreements of cooperation. A council of adult males makes most of the decisions. In the case of Mongolian nomads, a family moves twice a year; these two movements occur during the summer and winter. The winter location is located near mountains in a valley and most families have fixed winter locations, their winter locations have shelter for the animals and are not used by other families while they are out. In the summer they move to a more open area. Most nomads move in the same region and don't travel far to a different region. Since they circle around a large area, communities form and families know where the other ones are. Families do not have the resources to move from one province to another unless they are moving out of the area permanently.
A family can move on its own or with others and if it moves alone, they are no more than a couple of kilometers from each other. Nowadays there are no tribes and decisions are made among family members, although elders consult with each other on usual matters; the geographical closeness of families is for mutual support. Pastoral nomad societies do not have large population. One such society, the Mongols, gave rise to the largest land empire in history; the Mongols consisted of loosely organized nomadic tribes in Mongolia and Siberia. In the late 12th century, Genghis Khan united them and other nomadic tribes to found the Mongol Empire, which stretched the length of Asia; the nomadic way of life has become rare. Many governments dislike nomads because it is difficult to control their movement and to obtain taxes from them. Many countries have converted pastures into cropland and forced nomadic peoples into permanent settlements. Nomads move from campsite to following game and wild fruits and vegetables.
Hunting and gathering describes early people's subsistence living style. Following the development of agriculture, most hunter-gatherers were either displaced or converted to farming or pastoralist groups. Only a few contemporary societies are classified as hunter-gatherers. Pastoral nomads are nomads moving between pastures. Nomadic pastoralism is thought to have developed in three stages that accompanied population growth and an increase in the complexity of social organization. Karim Sadr has proposed the following stages: Pastoralism: This is a mixed economy with a symbiosis within the family. Agropastoralism: This is when symbiosis is between clans within an ethnic group. True Nomadism: This is when symbiosis is at the regional level between specialised nomadic and agricultural populations; the pastoralists are sedentary to a certain area, as they move between the permanent spring, summer and winter pastures for their livestock. The nomads moved depending on the availability of resources. Nomadic pastoralism seems to have
Guanajuato the Free and Sovereign State of Guanajuato, is one of the 31 states which, with Mexico City, are the 32 federal entities of Mexico. It is divided into 46 municipalities and its capital city is Guanajuato; the largest city in the state is León. Guanajuato is in central Mexico, it is bordered by the states of Jalisco to the west, Zacatecas to the northwest, San Luis Potosí to the north, Querétaro to the east, Michoacán to the south. It covers an area of 30,608 km2. Guanajuato is between the arid north of the country and the lusher south, it is geographically part of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, the Mexican Plateau, it was settled by the Spanish in the 1520s due to mineral deposits found around the now capital city of Guanajuato, but areas such as the Bajío region became important for agriculture and livestock. Mining and agriculture were the mainstays of the state's economy, but have since been eclipsed by the secondary sector. Guanajuato has seen growth in the automotive industry.
The state is home to several important cities those along the "Bicentennial Route", which retraces the path of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla's insurgent army at the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence. This route begins at Dolores Hidalgo, passes though the Sanctuary of Atotonilco, San Miguel de Allende and the capital of Guanajuato. Other important cities in the state include León, the most populous, Irapuato. Guanajuato is located in the center of Mexico, northwest of Mexico City, bordering the states of Zacatecas, San Luis Potosí, Michoacán, Querétaro, Jalisco, it is ranked 20th out of 31 states. It has an average altitude of 2,015 meters above sea level, with its territory divided among three of Mexico's physical regions, the Sierra Madre Oriental, the Mexican Plateau and the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt; the Sierra Madre Oriental in Guanajuato consists of the Sierra Gorda and the Sierra del Azafrán in the northeast. The Mexican Plateau extends through the center of the state. Within, it subdivides into various regions parted by low-lying mountain chains such as the Sierra de la Cuatralba and the Sierra de Cubo.
The Trans Mexican Volcanic Belt crosses the state in the south and includes the Bajío area, the Altos de Jalisco and the valleys area in the far south. The state is crossed by several mountain ranges which have mountains between 2,300 and 3,000 meters high. Mountain ranges; the other important mountain ranges include the Sierra Gorda to the north, the Sierra de Guanjuato in the southeast, the Comanja in the northwest and the Codorniz in the east. The state is divided into five regions, taking into consideration climate; these are called Altos de Guanajuato, La Sierra Central, Bajío, La Sierra Gorda, Los Valles del Sur. The Altos de Guanajuato, located in the north of the state, are a chain of forested mountains interspersed with pastures, small fields and areas with cacti and other desert plants, they begin near the border with San Luis Potosí, extend south to Dolores Hidalgo and to San Miguel de Allende to the Querétaro border. The altitude of this area varies from 1,800 to peaks over 2,900 meters such as the La Giganta and La Sierra del Cubo mountains.
The climate is semiarid with a rainy season in the summer, with average temperatures between 15 and 20 °C. However, lows in the winter reach 0 °C or lower with frosts. Wildlife is found in the most rugged and inaccessible areas and includes deer, coyotes and rattlesnakes. La Sierra Gorda is shared between Guanajuato and Querétaro and is considered to be an important biosphere; this area is the most rugged in the state where most of the natural areas and small villages are remain intact due to their inaccessibility. The Sierra Gorda is part of the Sierra Madre Occidental, with extreme variations in its geography and climate; the rugged terrain means that there are a wide number and variety of micro-climates, although average temperatures vary only between 16 and 19 °C. It lowest point is a canyon called Paso de Hormigas in Xichú at 650 meters above sea level with a warm climate suitable for tropical fruit; the highest point is Pinal de Zamorano at 3,300 meters, followed by El Picacho de Pueblo Nuevo, El Zorillo and El Cuervo all above 2,700 meters.
The largest changes are seen in arid versus wetter zones, which can be nearby, with foliage changing from rainforest to pine forest to desert landscapes. In 1997, the Sierra Gorda region in Querétaro was declared a Biosphere Reserve by the federal government, with the Guanajuato portion added in 2007. On the Guanajuato side, it covers 236,882 hectares over the municipalities of Xichú, San Luis de la Paz, Atarjea and Santa Catarina. Culturally, the Sierra Gorda region is the far western part of La Huasteca, which extends over parts of the states of Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Hidalgo and Veracruz; the Sierra Central is a series of low, gentle mountains in the center of the state which are part of the Sierra Madre Occidental. They cover twelve municipalities: Ocampo, San Felipe, León, Guanajuato, Dolores Hidalgo, San Miguel de Allende, Salamanca, Santa Cruz de Juventino Rosas and Apaseo el Grande. Wild vegetation runs from tropical rainforest to arid grasslands with cactus, with cypress trees along rivers and other surface water.
Wildlife includes raccoons, rabbits and migratory birds. The land is productive for fruit orchards producing guavas, apples, limes and more. Desert fruits such as cactus pears (tu
The Toltec culture is an archaeological Mesoamerican culture that dominated a state centered in Tula, Mexico in the early post-classic period of Mesoamerican chronology. The Aztec culture saw the Toltecs as their intellectual and cultural predecessors and described Toltec culture emanating from Tōllān as the epitome of civilization; the Aztec oral and pictographic tradition described the history of the Toltec Empire, giving lists of rulers and their exploits. Modern scholars debate whether the Aztec narratives of Toltec history should be given credence as descriptions of actual historical events. While all scholars acknowledge that there is a large mythological part of the narrative, some maintain that by using a critical comparative method some level of historicity can be salvaged from the sources. Others maintain that continued analysis of the narratives as sources of actual history is futile and hinders access to actual knowledge of the culture of Tula de Allende. Other controversies relating to the Toltecs include the question of how best to understand the reasons behind the perceived similarities in architecture and iconography between the archaeological site of Tula and the Maya site of Chichén Itzá.
No consensus has yet emerged about the direction of influence between these two sites. Another source of controversy is that New Age authors such as Carlos Castaneda and Don Miguel Ruiz falsely claim they represent "Toltec" teachings. For these New Age impersonations see Toltec; some archaeologists, such as Richard Diehl, argue for the existence of a Toltec archaeological horizon characterized by certain stylistic traits associated with Tula and extending to other cultures and polities in Mesoamerica. Traits associated with this horizon are: The Mixteca-Puebla style of iconography, Tohil plumbate ceramic ware and Silho or X-Fine Orange Ware ceramics; the presence of stylistic traits associated with Tula in Chichén Itzá is taken as evidence for a Toltec horizon. The nature of interaction between Tula and Chichén Itzá has been controversial with scholars arguing for either military conquest of Chichén Itzá by Toltecs, Chichén Itzá establishing Tula as a colony or only loose connections between the two.
The existence of any meaning of the Mixteca-Puebla art style has been questioned. A contrary viewpoint is argued in a 2003 study by Michael E. Smith and Lisa Montiel who compare the archaeological record related to Tula Hidalgo to those of the polities centered in Teotihuacan and Tenochtitlan, they conclude that relative to the influence exerted in Mesoamerica by Teotihuacan and Tenochtitlan, Tula's influence on other cultures was negligible and was not deserving of being defined as an empire, but more of a kingdom. While Tula does have the urban complexity expected of an imperial capital, its influence and dominance was not far reaching. Evidence for Tula's participation in extensive trade networks has been uncovered; the debate about the nature of the Toltec culture goes back to the late 19th century. Mesoamericanist scholars such as Veitia, Manuel Orozco y Berra, Charles Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg, Francisco Clavigero all read the Aztec chronicles and believed them to be realistic historic descriptions of a pan-Mesoamerican empire based at Tula, Hidalgo.
This historicist view was first challenged by Daniel Garrison Brinton who argued that the "Toltecs" as described in the Aztec sources were one of several Nahuatl-speaking city-states in the Postclassic period, not a influential one at that. He attributed the Aztec view of the Toltecs to the "tendency of the human mind to glorify the good old days", the confounding of the place of Tollan with the myth of the struggle between Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca. Désiré Charnay, the first archaeologist to work at Tula, defended the historicist views based on his impression of the Toltec capital, was the first to note similarities in architectural styles between Tula and Chichén Itza; this led him to posit the theory that Chichén Itzá had been violently taken over by a Toltec military force under the leadership of Kukulcan. Following Charnay the term Toltec has since been associated with the influx of certain Central Mexican cultural traits into the Maya sphere of dominance that took place in the late Classic and early Postclassic periods.
The historicist school of thought persisted well in to the 20th century, represented in the works of scholars such as David Carrasco, Miguel León Portilla, Nigel Davies and H. B. Nicholson, which all held the Toltecs to have been an actual ethnic group; this school of thought connected the "Toltecs" to the archaeological site of Tula, taken to be the Tollan of Aztec myth. This tradition assumes that much of central Mexico was dominated by a Toltec Empire between the 10th and 12th century AD; the Aztecs referred to several Mexican city states as Tollan, "Place of Reeds", such as "Tollan Cholollan". Archaeologist Laurette Sejourné, followed by the historian Enrique Florescano, have argued that the "original" Tollan was Teotihuacán. Florescano adds that the Mayan sources refer to Chichén Itzá when talking about the mythical place Zuyua. Many historicists such as H. B. Nicholson and Nigel Davies were aware that the Aztec chronicles were a mixture of mythical and historical accounts.
The Viceroyalty of New Spain was an integral territorial entity of the Spanish Empire, established by Habsburg Spain during the Spanish colonization of the Americas. It covered a huge area that included territories in North America, South America and Oceania, it originated in 1521 after the fall of Mexico-Tenochtitlan, the main event of the Spanish conquest, which did not properly end until much as its territory continued to grow to the north. It was created on 8 March 1535 as a viceroyalty, the first of four viceroyalties Spain created in the Americas, its first viceroy was Antonio de Mendoza y Pacheco, the capital of the viceroyalty was Mexico City, established on the ancient Mexico-Tenochtitlan. It included what is now Mexico plus the current U. S. states of California, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and parts of Idaho, Wyoming, Kansas and Louisiana. The political organization divided the viceroyalty into captaincies general; the kingdoms were those of New Spain. There were four captaincies: Captaincy General of the Philippines, Captaincy General of Cuba, Captaincy General of Puerto Rico and Captaincy General of Santo Domingo.
These territorial subdivisions had a captain general. In Guatemala, Santo Domingo and Nueva Galicia, these officials were called presiding governors, since they were leading royal audiences. For this reason, these hearings were considered "praetorial." There were two great estates. The most important was the Marquisate of the Valley of Oaxaca, property of Hernán Cortés and his descendants that included a set of vast territories where marquises had civil and criminal jurisdiction, the right to grant land and forests and within which were their main possessions; the other estate was the Duchy of Atlixco, granted in 1708, by King Philip V to José Sarmiento de Valladares, former viceroy of New Spain and married to the Countess of Moctezuma, with civil and criminal jurisdiction over Atlixco, Guachinango and Tula de Allende. King Charles III introduced reforms in the organization of the viceroyalty in 1786, known as Bourbon reforms, which created the intendencias, which allowed to limit, in some way, the viceroy's attributions.
New Spain developed regional divisions, reflecting the impact of climate, indigenous populations, mineral resources. The areas of central and southern Mexico had dense indigenous populations with complex social and economic organization; the northern area of Mexico, a region of nomadic and semi-nomadic indigenous populations, was not conducive to dense settlements, but the discovery of silver in Zacatecas in the 1540s drew settlement there to exploit the mines. Silver mining not only became the engine of the economy of New Spain, but vastly enriched Spain and transformed the global economy. New Spain was the New World terminus of the Philippine trade, making the viceroyalty a vital link between Spain's New World empire and its Asian empire. From the beginning of the 19th century, the viceroyalty fell into crisis, aggravated by the Peninsular War, its direct consequence in the viceroyalty, the political crisis in Mexico in 1808, which ended with the government of viceroy José de Iturrigaray and gave rise to the Conspiracy of Valladolid and the Conspiracy of Querétaro.
This last one was the direct antecedent of the Mexican War of Independence, when concluding in 1821, disintegrated the viceroyalty and gave way to the Mexican Empire, in which Agustín de Iturbide would be crowned. The Kingdom of New Spain was established following the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire in 1521 as a New World kingdom dependent on the Crown of Castile, since the initial funds for exploration came from Queen Isabella. Although New Spain was a dependency of Spain, it was a kingdom not a colony, subject to the presiding monarch on the Iberian Peninsula; the monarch had sweeping power in the overseas territories,The king possessed not only the sovereign right but the property rights. Every privilege and position, economic political, or religious came from him, it was on this basis that the conquest and government of the New World was achieved. The Viceroyalty of New Spain was established in 1535 in the Kingdom of New Spain, it was the first New World viceroyalty and one of only two in the Spanish empire until the 18th century Bourbon Reforms.
The Spanish Empire comprised the territories in the north overseas'Septentrion', from North America and the Caribbean, to the Philippine and Caroline Islands. At its greatest extent, the Spanish crown claimed on the mainland of
The Cora are an indigenous ethnic group of Western Central Mexico which live in the municipality El Nayar in the Mexican state of Nayarit and in a few settlements in the neighboring state of Jalisco. They call themselves náayerite, whence the name of the present day Mexican state of Nayarit; the 2000 Mexican census reported that there were 24,390 persons who were members of Cora speaking households, these being defined as households where at least one parent or elder claim to speak the Cora language. Of these 24 thousand, 67 percent were reported to speak Cora, 17 percent were nonspeakers, the remaining 16 percent were unspecified with regard to their language; the Cora cultivate maize and amaranth and they raise some cattle. The Cora live in the rugged mountain and canyon country of Nayarit and across the border in neighboring Jalisco and Sinaloa. In the early 18th century they were an anomaly in that they had never permitted Catholic missionaries to live in their country, they had become a pagan island in a sea of Hispanic culture.
In 1716, a Spanish expedition to attempt to bring the Cora under Spanish control failed. However, in 1722, the Spanish returned in force and the Cora yielded. According to Spanish accounts many of them became Christian and practice, up until the present, "Catholic-derived customs." The Cora religion is a syncretism between Catholicism. The ancestral Cora religion has three principal divinities; the supreme god is the sun god, Tayau, "our father". He travels across the sky during the day. Clouds are believed to be smoke from his pipe. In earlier times the priests of Tayau, the tonatí, were the highest authority of the Cora communities, his wife is Tetewan, the underworld goddess associated with the moon and the west. Her alternate names are Nasisa, their son, Sautari, "the flower picker", is associated with the afternoon. Other names for him are Hatsikan, "big brother", Tahás, Ora, he is associated with Jesus Christ. Some Cora myths have Mesoamerican origins. Others are shared with the linguistically adjacent Huichol.
The Cora language belongs to the Corachol languages branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family. It has El Nayar and Santa Teresa. Huaynamota Casad, Eugene H. 2001. "Cora: a no longer unknown Southern Uto-Aztecan language." In José Luis Moctezuma Zamarrón and Jane H. Hill, Avances y balances de lenguas yutoaztecas. Mexico, D. F.: Instituto Nacional de Antropología y Historia. Coyle, Phillip E. 2001. Nàyari history and violence: from flowers to ash. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. Coyle, Phillip E. 1998. The customs of our ancestors: Cora religious conversion and millennialism, 2000–1722. Ethnohistory. 45:509–42. Dahlgren Jordan, Barbro.. Los Coras de la Sierra de Nayarit. Instituto de Investigaciones Antropologicas. UNAM. Mexico. Ethnologue. Mexico page Jáuregui, Jesús. 2004. Coras. Mexico: Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indígenas: Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo. Series: Pueblos Indígenas del México Contemporáneo. McMahon, Ambrosio & Maria Aiton de McMahon. Vocabulario Cora.
Series de Vocabularios Indigenas Mariano Silva y Aceves. SIL. Miller, Wick.. Uto-Aztecan languages. In W. C. Sturtevant, Handbook of North American Indians. Washington, D. C.: Smithsonian Institution. Preuss, Konrad Theodor: Grammatik der Cora-Sprache, New York 1932
Nahuatl, known as Aztec, is a language or group of languages of the Uto-Aztecan language family. Varieties of Nahuatl are spoken by about 1.7 million Nahua peoples, most of whom live in central Mexico. Nahuatl has been spoken in central Mexico since at least the seventh century CE, it was the language of the Aztecs, who dominated what is now central Mexico during the Late Postclassic period of Mesoamerican history. During the centuries preceding the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, the Aztecs had expanded to incorporate a large part of central Mexico, their influence caused the variety of Nahuatl spoken by the residents of Tenochtitlan to become a prestige language in Mesoamerica. At the conquest, with the introduction of the Latin alphabet, Nahuatl became a literary language, many chronicles, works of poetry, administrative documents and codices were written in it during the 16th and 17th centuries; this early literary language based on the Tenochtitlan variety has been labeled Classical Nahuatl, is among the most studied and best-documented languages of the Americas.
Today, Nahuan languages are spoken in scattered communities in rural areas throughout central Mexico and along the coastline. There are considerable differences among varieties, some are not mutually intelligible. Huasteca Nahuatl, with over one million speakers, is the most-spoken variety. All varieties have been subject to varying degrees of influence from Spanish. No modern Nahuan languages are identical to Classical Nahuatl, but those spoken in and around the Valley of Mexico are more related to it than those on the periphery. Under Mexico's General Law of Linguistic Rights of the Indigenous Peoples promulgated in 2003, Nahuatl and the other 63 indigenous languages of Mexico are recognized as lenguas nacionales in the regions where they are spoken, enjoying the same status as Spanish within their regions. Nahuan languages exhibit a complex morphology characterized by polysynthesis and agglutination. Through a long period of coexistence with the other indigenous Mesoamerican languages, they have absorbed many influences, coming to form part of the Mesoamerican language area.
Many words from Nahuatl have been borrowed into Spanish and, from there, were diffused into hundreds of other languages. Most of these loanwords denote things indigenous to central Mexico which the Spanish heard mentioned for the first time by their Nahuatl names. English words of Nahuatl origin include "avocado", "chayote", "chili", "chocolate", "atlatl", "coyote", "peyote", "axolotl" and "tomato"; as a language label, the term "Nahuatl" encompasses a group of related languages or divergent dialects within the Nahuan branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family. The Mexican Instituto Nacional de Lenguas Indígenas recognizes 30 individual varieties within the "language group" labeled Nahuatl; the Ethnologue recognizes 28 varieties with separate ISO codes. Sometimes the label is used to include the Pipil language of El Salvador. Regardless of whether "Nahuatl" is considered to label a dialect continuum or a group of separate languages, the varieties form a single branch within the Uto-Aztecan family, descended from a single Proto-Nahuan language.
Within Mexico, the question of whether to consider individual varieties to be languages or dialects of a single language is political. This article focuses on describing the general history of the group and on giving an overview of the diversity it encompasses. For details on individual varieties or subgroups, see the individual articles. In the past, the branch of Uto-Aztecan to which Nahuatl belongs has been called "Aztecan". From the 1990s onward, the alternative designation "Nahuan" has been used as a replacement in Spanish-language publications; the Nahuan branch of Uto-Aztecan is accepted as having two divisions: "General Aztec" and Pochutec. General Aztec encompasses the Pipil languages. Pochutec is a scantily attested language, which became extinct in the 20th century, which Campbell and Langacker classify as being outside of general Aztec. Other researchers have argued that Pochutec should be considered a divergent variant of the western periphery."Nahuatl" denotes at least Classical Nahuatl together with related modern languages spoken in Mexico.
The inclusion of Pipil into the group is debated. Lyle Campbell classified Pipil as separate from the Nahuatl branch within general Aztecan, whereas dialectologists like Una Canger, Karen Dakin, Yolanda Lastra and Terrence Kaufman have preferred to include Pipil within the General Aztecan branch, citing close historical ties with the eastern peripheral dialects of General Aztec. Current subclassification of Nahuatl rests on research by Canger and Lastra de Suárez. Canger introduced the scheme of a Central grouping and two Peripheral groups, Lastra confirmed this notion, differing in some details. Canger & Dakin demonstrated a basic split between Eastern and Western branches of Nahuan, considered to reflect the oldest division of the proto-Nahuan speech community. Canger considered the central dialect area to be an innovative subarea within the Western branch, but in 2011, she suggested that it arose as an urban koiné language with features from both Western and Eastern dialect areas. Canger tentatively included dialects of La Huasteca in the Central group, while Lastra de Suárez places them in the Eastern Periphery, followed by Kaufman.
The terminology used to describe varieties of spoken Nahuatl is inconsistently applied. Many terms are used with multiple denotations, or a single dialect grou