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(tərä`skən), Native Americans of the state of Michoacán, Mexico. Their language has no known relation to other languages, and their history prior to the 16th cent. is poorly understood. The polity present at the time of the Spanish conquest (1521) had roughly the same territorial outline as the contemporary state of Michoacán, which it successfully defended against a protracted and bloody Aztec attack in the year 1479. Their capital, Tzintzuntzán [place of the hummingbirds], was located on the shore of Lake PátzcuaroPátzcuaro
, lake, c.100 sq mi (260 sq km) Michoacán state, W Mexico. Its indented shores, dotted with Tarascan villages, green islands, and the curious native sailboats help make Lake Pátzcuaro popular as a resort. The lake is rich in fish.
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 and had a population of 25,000 to 35,000. Peculiar to Tarascan culture were T-shaped pyramids, rising in terraces and faced with stone slabs without mortar. They were skilled weavers, and were famous for their feathered mosaics made from hummingbird plumage. Most of the over 100,000 contemporary Tarascans are impoverished residents of small rural communities who supplement agricultural production with craft specializations (e.g., weaving, embroidery, woodworking, and lacquerware) and seasonal migration to the United States.


See R. A. M. van Zantwijk, Servants of the Saints (1967); I. R. Dinerman, Migrants and Stay-at-Homes (1982); J. B. Warren, The Conquest of Michoacan (1985).

References in periodicals archive ?
Past and present programs in Latin America shaped his ideas, including Franz Boas' short-lived Mexican anthropology school that started in 1910, the Carnegie Institution's long-standing Maya Project, the Institute of Andean Research's archeological projects, and the Tarascan Project involving American and Mexican scholars (Steward, 1950; Foster, 1967).
According to Santamaria (1974) the word meanings include "a bundle/ wrapping of rags /trouble." The semantic content of the Tarascan word tacuche was preserved when it was brought into Spanish and Pachuco slang as garras or rags (clothes).
At the time of European contact, the Puripecha Empire - sometimes called the Tarascan Empire - controlled much of western Mexico with a mutually fortified frontier shared with their rivals, the Aztecs to the east.
"The Eagle and the Rainbow: Timeless Tales from Mexico" is a beautifully illustrated collection of Mesoamerican indigenous traditional tales from Tarascan, Mayan, Huichol, Tarahumaran, and Aztec sources.
(2) At the start of the 16th century, Sir Thomas More writes his De optimo Reipublicae statu, deque nova insula Utopia (1516) under the spell of the recently discovered lands and, soon thereafter, the Franciscan bishop of Michoacan, Vasco de Quiroga, applies More's theories to the Tarascan Indian communities of Mexico: abolition of private property and money, six-hour workdays, equal distribution of goods, and a lifestyle in balance with nature.
Examples are given in (13) and (14); those in (13) from Kinyarwanda illustrate the Beneficiary role type, while (14) from Tarascan is an example of the Causee role type.