Oaxaca ( wɑhɑkɑ? / I ) is one of the 32 states of Mexico. It is named after its capital city of Oaxaca de Juarez. Oaxaca is located in the south of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

In the northwest borders of the mountainous state of Puebla, on the northeast by Vera Cruz, on the west by Guerrero and Chiapas to the east. In the south, some 600 km of coastline it borders on the Pacific Ocean. Its area is about 94,000 km ², making it occupies 4.8 % of the area of Mexico. In Oaxaca, 3.51 million people live. It houses more than 16 different ethnic groups and is therefore one of the most culturally diverse states. Like other Mexican states of Oaxaca has its own constitution, penal code and own coat of arms.


The state is named after its capital, Oaxaca de Juárez (see there for the origin of the word ).

In colonial times the area of ​​the valley region was called " Las Cuatro Villas " because it consisted of four spaced-apart small towns that were administratively combined as possessions of Hernán Cortés. The name Oaxaca was later transferred to the state.


The Sierra Madre Oriental, the Sierra Madre del Sur and the Sierra Atravesada: In the area of Oaxaca, three mountain ranges intersect. The only levels show a narrow strip along the Pacific coast, the central valleys and to the north a bit on the border with Veracruz represents the average altitude is 1500 meters above sea level.

The main river of Oaxaca is the Papaloapan, which is fed by the rivers Tomellín and Santo Domingo. The highest peak is Cerro Nube ( Quie Yelaag on Zapotec ). It is located in the Sierra Madre del Sur and its summit is 3750 meters with the elfthöchste in Mexico.


Due to its diverse geography Oaxaca includes different climates: cool, pine-covered ridges, hot, dry, cactus -lined valleys and moist hot jungle in the lower regions at Papaloapan and on the Pacific coast.


The first traces of human occupation in Oaxaca can be dated to about 11,000 BC. In a cave named Guila Naquitz near the town of Mitla were found remains of cultivated plants of about 8000 to 7000 BC

The first settlements in the fertile central valleys of Oaxaca high be dated by radiocarbon dating to about 1500 BC. Probably Olmecs were the first settlers.

Around 200 BC, the mountain peaks of Monte Alban ( white mountain ) was probably removed by Zapotecs and the first temples were built. Between 200 BC and 300 AD, they extended their influence over all of Oaxaca.

Between 300 and 700, the city was at its peak and the Zapotecs dominated from there her whole kingdom in Central America. After the Zapotecs abandoned for unknown reasons by 950 Monte Albán, it was taken over by the Mixtecs. 1458 occupied the Aztecs under Moctezuma I. Oaxaca. The successor of Moctezuma I built a military outpost and the region came under obligation to pay tribute to the Aztecs.

The Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés took in 1521 the Valley of Oaxaca and got it in 1528 given by the Spanish King Charles V. This was Cortés, which will then turn the title of Marqués del Valle de Oaxaca contributed to one of the richest noblemen of Spain.

In 1544 began the construction of the Cathedral in Oaxaca City. In 1812, Oaxaca was occupied by the rebels to José María Morelos. From 1847 to 1852 the later Mexican President Benito Juárez was governor of Oaxaca. His most citation reads " El respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz ", which means something like " Respect for the rights of the neighbor guarantees peace." This sentence is also mounted in oversized letters on a mountain capital.

2006 evolved from a protest by the teachers' union in Oaxaca City, a nationwide uprising. In connection with the capital of the state was kept occupied for five months by insurgents.


Executive power is exercised by the Governor of the state. He has the right to the Government General and " ... all other secretaries as well as public institutions of the Government of the State to appoint ... " and to present the legislative legislative initiatives. The term of office is six years. Within this period, there is no possibility of deselection except in case of death.

The legislative branch is formed by the Congress of the State with 42 deputies. Of these, 25 are determined by the majority vote and 17 by proportional representation. Elections take place every three years, re-election is not possible.

The judiciary is exercised by the Supreme Court, the judges of the first instance and the jury. The Supreme Court is led by judicial officers and judges. The judicial officers are appointed by the Governor of the State. The term of office is fifteen years and may be re-elected.


The main economic factor is agriculture. In Oaxaca, sugar cane, lemons, oranges, alfalfa, barley, corn, avocado, pine cones, rice, melons, aloe, coffee and tobacco are grown.

The mining industry in Oaxaca gaining in importance, especially after Canadian mining companies have secured the mining rights for much of the country.

Another important economic factor is tourism. This is divided into four sub- areas:

  • Beaches and natural attractions: Bahías de Huatulco, Puerto Escondido, Santa María del Tule, Hierve el Agua, Guila Naquitz, Gheo Shih, etc.
  • Eco, alternative and Adventure Tourism: boat, kayaking, sport fishing, camping, mountain cycling, abseiling, rural tourism, etc.
  • Festivals and Celebrations: Semana Santa, Guelaguetza, Velas Istmeñas, Todos Santos, Noche de Rábanos, Virgen de Juquila, Virgen de Guadalupe, Virgen de la Soledad, Santo Cristo de Tlacolula, etc.
  • Archaeological zones: Monte Albán, Mitla, Yagul, San José Mogote Dainzú, Yucuita, Yucuñudahui and Zaachila

Municipal structure

In Mexico, the municipality is the lowest level of the three -part political Territorial Administration; above that are the states and the federation. In Mexico, there are a total of 2438 municipios. Which are located in Oaxaca 570 (almost 25%), most of which are smaller here than in other states. The local council and the local officers are elected either by the parties or according to traditional customary law ( usos y costumbres ) determined by the Municipal Assembly.

Oaxaca is also ( electorales distritos, electoral districts ) in 30 districts divided, each district has its own judge and a tax administration. These districts are in turn grouped into eight regions.

The customary law of the indigenous population

Of the 570 municipalities of Oaxaca manage 418 even after the traditional customary law ( usos y costumbres ) and only 152 after the usual in the rest of the Republic party system.

The customary law is exercised by the municipal assembly ( asamblea ). The community representatives belong to no party, (1-3 years) are usually for relatively short periods chosen, perform their service to the community without pay and may at any time be revoked by the Municipal Assembly. Despite these grassroots members are women as community representatives still the exception.

The municipal offices are part of the cargo system, a hierarchy of religious and secular functions within the village community in puberty with the acquisition of messengers and police tasks " Topile " begins and advanced in years ending with the office of judge of the " alcalde ".

Closely linked with this is the Tequio, a paid service that is spent on weekends along with other members of the community, for example, maintenance work on the road leading through the village.

Although the origins of indigenous customary law lie far before the conquest by the Spaniards, many of its elements come from the colonial era. More were added to the management structures for collective land ownership, established with the land reform achieved in the Mexican Revolution.

Cultural and Natural Heritage

UNESCO included the historic center of Oaxaca City and the ruins of Monte Albán in the list of World Heritage Sites on December 11, 1987. In addition to the World Heritage Site, UNESCO has also large parts of the state recognized as a biosphere reserve. In the region of Oaxaca, there are about 200 species of reptiles, 2204 species of plants, 530 species of birds, 212 species of mammals and 93 species of amphibians.


  • Porfirio Díaz, president of Mexico
  • Francisco Gutiérrez Carreola, painter and graphic artist
  • Andrés Henestrosa, politicians
  • Benito Juárez, President, born in San Pablo Guelatao
  • Rufino Tamayo, painter
  • Francisco Toledo, Artist
  • José Vasconcelos, philosopher


In Oaxaca there are 4,000 archaeological sites, which were, however, so far only 800, such as Monte Albán, Mitla and Yagul examined; other attractions.