Tarascan state

Tarascan State
Iréchecua Tzintzuntzáni
 • 1300-1350 (first)Taríacuri
 • 1520–1530 (last)Tangáxuan II
 • Establishedc.1300
 • Conquered1530
Area75,000 km2 (29,000 sq mi)
Succeeded by
Viceroyalty of New Spain
Today part of Mexico

The Tarascan state was a state in pre-Columbian Mexico, roughly covering the geographic area of the present-day Mexican state of Michoacán, parts of Jalisco, and Guanajuato. At the time of the Spanish conquest, it was the second-largest state in Mesoamerica.[2]

The state was founded in the early 14th century and lost its independence to the Spanish in 1530. In 1543 it officially became the governorship of Michoacán, from the Nahuatl name for the Tarascan state, Michoacán ("place of those who have fish").

The Tarascan state was constituted of a network of tributary systems and gradually became increasingly centralized, under the control of the ruler of the state called the cazonci. The Tarascan capital was located at Tzintzuntzan on the banks of Lake Pátzcuaro, and, according to Purépecha oral tradition was founded by the first cazonci Tariácuri and dominated by his lineage, the "Uacúsecha" ("Eagles" in Purépecha language).

The Tarascan state was contemporary with and an enemy of the Aztec Empire, against which it fought many wars. The Tarascan empire blocked Aztec expansion to the northwest, and the Tarascans fortified and patrolled their frontiers with the Aztecs, possibly developing the first truly territorial state of Mesoamerica.

Due to its relative isolation within Mesoamerica, the Tarascan state had many cultural traits completely distinct from those of the Mesoamerican cultural group. It is particularly noteworthy for being among the few Mesoamerican civilizations to use metal for tools and ornamentation, and even weapons.[3]

A Tarascan incense burner showing a deity with a "Tlaloc headdress", 1350–1521 CE.