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State‐organized society of the late Post‐Classic Stage centred on Michoacan Province in west Mexico in the early 1st millennium ad. Although contemporary with the Aztecs it was never part of the Aztec Empire. Tarascans claimed a Chichimec ancestry and their language was unrelated to any other in Mesoamerica. The first Tarascan capital was Tzinzunzan, overlooking Lake Pátzcuaro. Here was a large ceremonial complex with a huge platform mound on which stood five pyramids. Their religion seems to have focused on sun worship and to have included the practice of human sacrifice. The Tarascan state survived into early historic times.

Subjects: Archaeology — History of the Americas.

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