The Zapotec were an indigenous, MesoAmerican society that lived in the Valley of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. Dating back to around 500 BCE, their civilization was centered in the ancient city of Monte Alban, one of the oldest cities in MesoAmerica.

Among their achievements, the Zapotec developed a calendar, as well as a system of writing that used glyph’s (picture characters) to represent each syllable of their language. This system of writing is thought to be one of the oldest in MesoAmerica. Their religion was polytheistic, much like surrounding tribes, and archaeologists believe the Zapotec participated in ritual human sacrifice as well.

The tribe saw its defeat by the Spaniards in the early 1500s; however, they took part in uprisings against the new colonial powers over then next 200 years. Modern descendants of the Zapotec still live in Oaxaca today.