La Mixteca is a cultural, economic and political region in Western Oaxaca and neighboring portions of Puebla, Guerrero in south-central Mexico, which refers to the home of the Mixtec people. Two-thirds of all Mixtecs live in the region, and the entire national population of Mixtecs in Mexico was 500,000 in 1999.
La Mixteca is a country of great contrasts. The Sierra Madre del Sur and the Neo-Volcanic Belt mark its northern limits. To the east, it is defined by the Cuicatlán Ravine and the Central Valleys of Oaxaca. To the west, the Mixteca region is adjacent to the valleys of Morelos and the central portion of Guerrero. To the south lies 200 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline. Because of the presence of the major mountains of the Sierra Mixteca, communications with the rest of the country are difficult. The region tends to be remote, poor, and little-visited.
The region is conventionally divided into three separate areas, defined by the prevailing height of the terrain.
- Mixteca Baja ("Low Mixteca"): northwest Oaxaca and southwest Puebla.
- Mixteca Alta ("High Mixteca"): northeast Guerrero and western Oaxaca.
- Mixteca de la Costa ("Coastal Mixteca"): the area also known as the Costa Chica, the remote Pacific coastline of eastern Guerrero and western Oaxaca, home to Mixteca, Amuzgo, and Afro-Mexicans
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