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an American Indian people in Mexico, inhabiting the northern part of the state of Puebla, the adjoining regions of the state of Veracruz, and the eastern part of the state of Hidalgo. They number more than 100,000 (1971, estimate). The Totonac language, one of the Maya-Zoque languages, is still spoken, although many Totonac also speak Spanish. The ethnic territory of the Totonac is the site of numerous archaeological monuments, such as the famous pyramid with niches in El Tajin.

Most Totonac engage in farming, mainly the cultivation of Indian corn. The economy is semisubsistence; in some regions sugarcane and bananas are grown commercially. Since the 1940’s an increasing number of Totonac have been employed in local oil fields; this has accelerated the assimilation of the Totonac to the Spanish-speaking Mexicans migrating to new industrial regions. The Totonac are Catholics, although pre-Christian religions are also practiced.


Narody Ameriki, vol. 2. Moscow, 1959.
References in periodicals archive ?
In 1885, soon after the birth of their grandchild Matilda, they take part in a rebellion of seven thousand Totonaca Indians organized by Antonio Diaz Montfort against the new agrarian measures which demarcate the land of the Totonac Indians.
The Totonac Indians had already evolved sophisticated techniques for processing the rare, chartreuse-colored flower, which they called xanath and used in religious rituals, perfumes, and healing potions.
It begins in the fetid jungles of Pre-Columbian Mexico, where once the Totonac Indians gathered the pods of the vanilla orchid for use as a sacred royal stimulant.