What Ethnic Groups Are There In Nuevo León?

Among the most important ethnic groups in Nuevo León, a state located in the northeast of Mexico, are the Alazapas, the Huachichiles, the Coahuiltecos and the Erased. Collectively these groups were called the Chichimecas. They were the settlers of the lands of Nuevo León before the conquerors arrived, who, in this case, were mostly Portuguese.

The first colonizers made a classification of these groups according to certain particular characteristics. Thus they were divided into: erased, striped, bald, barretados, and other denominations.

An indigenous new lion

A list by Governor Martín de Zavala from before 1960 gave an account of 251 subgroups. 
In general, these ethnic groups were nomadic or semi-nomadic and engaged in hunting, fishing and gathering.

Like other indigenous groups, it was normal in their social organization for the man to catch the prey and for the woman to take care of everything else.

Ethnic groups in Nuevo León: customs

Usually they lived on the slopes of the rocks, but in times of war and in winter they built huts of reed and grass, forming small villages.

The huts were bell-shaped, windowless and with a very low entrance. Between all they formed a crescent. 
They slept on the floor or on leather, and their hygiene habits were far from those of whites.

On the other hand, it is not known for sure what religion they professed, but they were very superstitious, being particularly fearful of spells.

The alazapas even killed a minor relative to prevent death if they dreamed they would die.

The healers sucked the diseased part and “crushed the evil” with some stones. They were not frightened by lightning, lightning or thunder. On the contrary, they would go out and pretend to fight against these natural phenomena.

As for the dress, it was very varied depending on the groups. Some wore garments made of animal skin, others wore no clothing at all.

They used bone, sticks, feathers and others as accessories. For the holidays, they smeared their heads with tallow or red oil, especially the men. They also liked to paint or tattoo their face and body.

As for their diet, it was quite limited. They consumed the prickly pear cactus on a barbecue, its juice as a refreshment and its flower.

They also ate other fruits, roots, and meat of all kinds, including rodents and reptiles, but their favorite delicacy was venison. Human meat was also on the menu.

Ethnic groups in Nuevo León: extinction

The autochthonous groups of the state of Nuevo León were reduced after the conquest. Many perished or fled from extermination and slavery, with the exception of the Tlaxcala race.

It enjoyed privileges and exemptions that allowed it to prosper among the whites. Very small groups of hualahuices and alazapas also remained.

Today, in this region there are still people who speak indigenous languages. They represent 1% of the population.

The most widely spoken are Nahuatl, Huasteco, Otomí and various Zapotec languages. In recent decades, the metropolitan area of ​​Nuevo León has been an important host location for the indigenous population. These have been especially concentrated in the bus station and the mall.


  1. Alanís Flores, G. and Foroughbakhch, R. (2008). Ancient ethnic groups of Nuevo León and the use of native flora. UANL Science , Vol. XI, No. 2, April-June.
  2. State of Nuevo León (s / f). Encyclopedia of the Municipalities and Delegations of Mexico. Recovered from century.inafed.gob.mx.
  3. Civil College University Cultural Center. (2015, January 29). Our History 2 Program (Ethnic groups of Nuevo León). Recovered from youtube.com.
  4. Brief history of Nuevo León (s / f). Brief history of the states. Recovered from Bibliotecadigital.ilce.edu.mx.
  5. Genesis and evolution of the public administration of Nuevo León (2005). Nuevo León: NL Editorial Fund.
  6. Cavazos Garza, I. (1994). The Northeast: Nuevo León. In D. Piñera Ramírez, Historical vision of the northern border of Mexico, Volume 2 (Coord.), Pp. 24-32. UABC.
  7. González, JE (1867). Collection of news and documents for the history of the state of N. León: corrected and arranged so that they form a continuous relationship. Monterrey: Tip. by A. Mier.
  8. INEGI (2010). Census of population and housing.
  9. Arroyo, MA (2010, November 29). Indigenous people in NL: population on the rise, but invisible to society and government. La Jornada, p. 39.

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