Pátzcuaro, Lake

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Pátzcuaro, Lake

Lake Pátzcuaro, situated in central Michoacán, Mexico. The lake area originally was settled by Nahuatl groups; it was conquered by Tarascans in the twelfth century. The Lake Pátzcuaro area, and specifically the city of Tzintzuntzan, became one of the two centers of Tarascan civilization. Before the twentieth century, the unique qualities of the many groups living on and around the lake were relatively well preserved, although haciendas always shared the lakeshore and during the Porfiriato (1876–1911) came to dominate the best land. The twentieth-century decline of the relatively shallow lake through pollution, choking vegetation, and natural shrinkage has further exacerbated the already precarious position of the surrounding population, as its chief livelihood, fishing, has become increasingly tenuous. To a certain extent tourism has employed people displaced by the decline of fishing, since despite its deteriorating condition, the lake, in its mountainous setting, remains one of the most beautiful in Mexico.

See alsoJanitzio; Tarascans.


Pablo G. Macías, Pátzcuaro (Morelia, 1978).

Additional Bibliography

Kepecs, Susan and Roni T. Alexander. The Post-Classic to Spanish Era Transition in Mesoamerica: Archaeological Perspectives. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005.

Ramos Montes de Oca, Melchor. La vuelta a Pátzcuaro en 36 fiestas. Morélia: Morevallo Editores, 2004.

Valencia Oseguera, José, and Ma. Antonio González L. Cuentos, tradiciones, y leyendas de las comunidades Purhépecha de la región del lago de Pátzcuaro. Michoacán: Instituto Nacional Indigenista, 2000.

                              Margaret Chowning