Map of the location of prominent Chichimeca peoples around 1550. Map only reflects core areas, as these tribes moved freely back and forth from what is now southern Utah and had definite settlements in what is now Texas.

Chichimeca (Spanish About this sound[tʃitʃiˈmeka] ) was the name that the Nahua peoples of Mexico generically applied to nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples who were established in present-day Bajio region of Mexico. Chichimeca carried the same sense as the Roman term "barbarian" to describe Germanic tribes. The name, with its pejorative sense, was adopted by the Spanish Empire. For the Spanish, in the words of scholar Charlotte M. Gradie, "the Chichimecas were a wild, nomadic people who lived north of the Valley of Mexico. They had no fixed dwelling places, lived by hunting, wore little clothes and fiercely resisted foreign intrusion into their territory, which happened to contain silver mines the Spanish wished to exploit."[1]

In modern times, only one ethnic group is customarily referred to as Chichimecs, namely the Chichimeca Jonaz, a few thousand of whom live in the state of Guanajuato.

Overview and identity

The Chichimeca people consisted of eight nations that spoke different languages. As the Spaniards worked towards consolidating the rule of New Spain over the indigenous peoples during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Chichimecan nations resisted fiercely, although a number of native groups of the region allied with the Spanish. The most long-lasting of these conflicts (1550–91) was the Chichimeca War, resulting in the defeat of the Spanish Empire and a decisive victory for the Chichimeca Confederation.

Many of the peoples known broadly as Chichimeca are virtually unknown today; few descriptions recorded their names and they seem to have been absorbed into mestizo culture or into other indigenous ethnic groups. For example, virtually nothing is known about the peoples referred to as the Guachichil, Caxcan, Zacateco, Tecuexe, or Guamare. Others, such as the Opata or Eudeve, are well described in records but extinct as a people.[full citation needed]

Still other Chichimec peoples maintain separate identities into the present day, such as the Otomi, Chichimeca Jonaz, Cora, Huichol, Pame, Yaqui, Mayo, O'odham and the Tepehuan peoples.[full citation needed]

Other Languages
беларуская: Чычымекі
català: Txitximeques
Deutsch: Chichimeken
español: Chichimeca
Esperanto: Ĉiĉimekoj
euskara: Txitximeka
فارسی: چیچیمکا
français: Chichimèques
հայերեն: Չիչեմեկներ
italiano: Cicimechi
ქართული: ჩიჩიმეკები
lietuvių: Čičimekai
Nāhuatl: Chichimecah
Nederlands: Chichimeken
日本語: チチメカ族
occitan: Chichimècs
português: Chichimecas
русский: Чичимеки
українська: Чичимеки