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Totonaco of Papanttla Veracruz
Info about distribution of Totonacan language
Info de Papantal Verzcruz


The Municipio of Papantla, Veracruz is well known for its colorful "voladores," its markets and museums, and the magnificent ancient Totonac city of El Tajin. It is also the home of many modern Totonac people who, according to the 2000 census, made up about 17 percent of the population of the Municipio (170,000 in 2000; 153,000 in 2005)

The Papantla district is hot and rainy much of the year. The elevations vary from sea level at the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico coast to 300 meters in the hills of the Sierra Papanteca, foothills of the Sierra Madre Oriental. Most Totonacs live in this hilly area in isolated ranchos or small communities like El Chote, Agua Dulce, Carrizal, San Pablo, Pueblillo, and others.

Many Totonacs make their living as peasant farmers raising corn, beans, and chiles, as well as coffee, sugar cane, citrus fruits, bananas, and vanilla. Horticulture is supplemented by keeping cattle and other livestock, as well as raising turkeys and chickens, and by fishing in the region's many rivers and streams. Some families also earn money through craft production. Local artisans make figures from vanilla vines; weave palm leaves into hats, baskets, and sandals; produce traditional clothing; make pottery; and carve musical instruments and other items from local tropical woods. The Papantla area is home to large cattle ranches, citrus plantations, and also oil and gas production facilities, which provide income from, wage labor to local residents. In addition, some Totonac families have members working in the U.S. or the large urban areas of Veracruz State or in Mexico City.

The town of Papantla is the administrative center of the Municipio and is home to about one-third of the district's people. It has a long history, having been founded by Totonac people from the Tuxpan area in around 1200 AD. At the time the Spanish arrived on the Gulf Coast of Mexico, Papantla was one of three major population centers of the coastal province known as Totonicapan (Xalapa and Zempoala were the other two major Totonac centers).