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Oaxaca

The meaning of «oaxaca»

Oaxaca (English: /wəˈhɑːkə/ wə-HAH-kə, also US: /wɑːˈhɑːkɑː/ wah-HAH-kah, Spanish: [waˈxaka] (listen); from Nahuatl: Huāxyacac [waːʃˈjakak] (listen)), officially the Free and Sovereign State of Oaxaca (Spanish: Estado Libre y Soberano de Oaxaca), is one of the 32 states which compose the Federative Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 570 municipalities, of which 418 (almost three quarters) are governed by the system of usos y costumbres (customs and traditions)[9] with recognized local forms of self-governance. Its capital city is Oaxaca de Juárez.

Oaxaca is located in Southwestern Mexico.[10] It is bordered by the states of Guerrero to the west, Puebla to the northwest, Veracruz to the north, and Chiapas to the east. To the south, Oaxaca has a significant coastline on the Pacific Ocean.

The state is best known for its indigenous peoples and cultures. The most numerous and best known are the Zapotecs and the Mixtecs, but there are sixteen that are officially recognized. These cultures have survived better than most others in México due to the state's rugged and isolating terrain. Most live in the Central Valleys region, which is also an economically important area for tourism, with people attracted for its archeological sites such as Monte Albán, and Mitla,[11] and its various native cultures and crafts. Another important tourist area is the coast, which has the major resort of Huatulco and sandy beaches of Puerto Escondido, Puerto Ángel, Zipolite, Bahia de Tembo, and Mazunte.[12] Oaxaca is also one of the most biologically diverse states in Mexico, ranking in the top three, along with Chiapas and Veracruz, for numbers of reptiles, amphibians, mammals and plants.[13]

The name of the state comes from the name of its capital city, Oaxaca. This name comes from the Nahuatl word "Huaxyacac",[14] which refers to a tree called a "guaje" (Leucaena leucocephala) found around the capital city. The name was originally applied to the Valley of Oaxaca by Nahuatl-speaking Aztecs and passed on to the Spanish during the conquest of the Oaxaca region. The modern state was created in 1824, and the state seal was designed by Alfredo Canseco Feraud and approved by the government of Eduardo Vasconcelos.[15] Nahuatl word "Huaxyacac" [waːʃ.ˈja.kak] was transliterated as "Oaxaca" using Medieval Spanish orthography, in which the x represented the voiceless postalveolar fricative ([ʃ], the equivalent of English sh in "shop"), making "Oaxaca" pronounced as [waˈʃaka]. However, during the sixteenth century the voiceless fricative sound evolved into a voiceless velar fricative ([x], like the ch in Scottish "loch"), and Oaxaca began to be pronounced [waˈxaka]. In present-day Spanish, Oaxaca is pronounced [waˈxaka] or [waˈhaka], the latter pronunciation used mostly in dialects of southern Mexico, the Caribbean, much of Central America, some places in South America, and the Canary Islands and western Andalusia in Spain where [x] has become a voiceless glottal fricative ([h]).[16]

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