Overview and identity
The Chichimeca people consisted of eight nations that spoke different languages. As the Spaniards worked towards consolidating the rule of New Spain over the indigenous peoples during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Chichimecan nations resisted fiercely, although a number of native groups of the region allied with the Spanish. The most long-lasting of these conflicts (1550–91) was the Chichimeca War, resulting in the defeat of the Spanish Empire and a decisive victory for the Chichimeca Confederation.
Many of the peoples known broadly as Chichimeca are virtually unknown today; few descriptions recorded their names and they seem to have been absorbed into mestizo culture or into other indigenous ethnic groups. For example, virtually nothing is known about the peoples referred to as the Guachichil, Caxcan, Zacateco, Tecuexe, or Guamare. Others, such as the Opata or Eudeve, are well described in records but extinct as a people.
Still other Chichimec peoples maintain separate identities into the present day, such as the Otomi, Chichimeca Jonaz, Cora, Huichol, Pame, Yaqui, Mayo, O'odham and the Tepehuan peoples.