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This paper introduces the Tzotzil Maya by establishing some of the essential information about them The home of the Tzotzil Maya lies in the highland region of central Chiapas in southeastern Mexico Their territory has increasingly started to overlap with the Tzeltal which are also Mayan indigenous people This has caused them to influence each other culturally linguistically and politically The habitat of the Tzotzil is highland with mountains volcanic outcroppings and valley lowlands The climate at high altitudes is cool to cold and summers are very wet The native Tzotzil live mainly in the higher reaches Chiapas is rich in natural resources generating 35 of the nations electricity from hydropower producing 35 of Mexicos coffee and the second state in livestock production and maize The south and eastern parts of the state are rich in forests The rocky highlands are a region that was never considered by the Spaniards as being resource rich and was largely left in the hands of the indigenous groups The highlands served as a source of cheap labor for commercial agriculture in the more fertile estate lands of Chiapas The region is going through complex changes in response to population increase which has encouraged people to move to less populated areas of the territory Thirty years ago the indigenous population was highly concentrated in the highlands dispersed in small communities in the rainforest or along the borders with Guatemala and Oaxaca Today the Tzotzil have expanded northward and into northern urban areas The particular demography of the highlands is shaped by the movement of the Tzotziles and the Tzeltales Since they have developed overlapping territories even within the same municipalities and because their languages are closely linked they have developed ties among younger adults even though community boundaries remain separate After the 1940s the highlands experienced rapid demographic growth Between 1950 and 1990 the population of the region tripled In the Altos the Tzotziles
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