Paddling on Branches in the Ocean under the Stars
The most important event in the ancient history of Mesoamerica was the tsunami which occurred in about 7220 BCE, caused by the bursting of a massive post ice age lake in Canada.
There were at least six groups that were washed out to sea and then floated and paddled from El Salvador to Mexico, following the water currents, after the tsunami: the Huave, the Zapoteca, the Triqui, Choluteca/Itza, Tlapanec, and Otomi (one part), and two groups that survived from Nicaragua to Mexico, the Otomi (other part) and Purepecha (one part). The water current flows from Nicaragua and El Salvador toward Mexico during the rainy season from May 1 to October 31 each year. Three other groups paddled from one of these original Mexican locations to a nearby place on the coast: the Mixteca, the Amuzgo, and the Chatino. All of the names that they took describe the tragic story of the tsunami. Most of these groups had a major impact on the history of Mexico. In addition there were two groups that survived the tsunami and paddled on the Atlantic from Central America: the Tunica and the Mopan. The story begins with the Zapoteca and the Huave.
The Zapoteca and the Huave
The Huave were likely the first people to land in Mexico from El Salvador, having been washed offshore by the tsunami. Various names indicate that they were Totonac from coastal present-day La Libertad. Probably several hundred years before the tsunami the Totonac had given up the human sacrifice practice. But for some reason - religious or power - the small group of Totonac who paddled in the ocean toward eastern Oaxaca decided when they landed to reintroduce first-born child sacrifice. Their name explains: Huave is wa ap per and means “beings who swing at the collapsed (newborns).”
It seems it was the Huave who named Oaxaca, or wa as tza ak’ ka, meaning “beings who practice on the skin of the beginners (newborn) at the wetness (the Laguna Superior).” The ‘x’ in Oaxaca likely had an ‘s’ sound. A ‘ch’ sound also refers to newborn sacrifice: wa ach cha ak’ ha or “double skin from the turtle beings at the water,” with double skin referring to wearing the peeled skin of the sacrifice victim. And turtle is an expression for pregnant woman. Oaxaca with the ‘x’ sounding like an ‘h’, as it is most commonly stated today, does not have a good translation with Mi.
Within a few days or weeks, the Cuscatlan (Zapoteca) survivors landed at the very same place as the Huave - they started from a more easterly point so it would have taken them longer to arrive. The Zapoteca would have heard the names Huave and Oaxaca and have known exactly what was going on and would have been horrified. They would have been living about 100 kilometers from the Totonac-Huave in El Salvador and likely knew them.
Like the others, the Zapoteca ancestors still spoke Mi when the tragedy happened. Zapoteca is tz’a ap pot te’ ek’ ha’ and means “pressed by the swinging wetness on branches under the stars in the water.” They survived on branches out in the ocean, the ocean current took them west-northwest and they paddled to move closer to shore until they landed at present-day eastern Oaxaca. Like the name Tecoluca, Zapoteca mentions navigating or being under the stars, and references the lineage name Ehecatl, leader of the migration from Chile to El Salvador about 1400 years before. This reference links the Zapoteca to the Tecoluca-Lower Lempa area of El Salvador and with the Ik’ (Ehecatl) lineage.
The name Zapoteca has a double meaning meant specifically for the Huave people: “shelter by wood (dugout) under the stars for the swung-at beginners (newborn) at the hole (Laguna Superior).” Not only did the Zapoteca name let the Huave know that they would be there to support them if they escaped but also told them the best way to escape - by canoe along the coast at night. This simple but clear invitation to Huave pregnant women existed for the thousands of years that the Zapoteca lived alongside the sacrifice-practicing Huave. No wonder that the Huave male leaders had so much enmity for the Zapoteca.
Salina Cruz is located near the ocean at the western edge of Laguna Superior, perhaps where the Zapoteca landed. It is sal li in nak’ k’er rus and means “beside the swimmers in the wall who gash the first sperm (firstborn).” This name indicates that the Huave decided from the beginning to practice sacrifice.
Further to the west, Tehuantepec is te’ wa an tep ek’ and means “beings on the hard logs in the current under the stars.” This name recalls the cultural name Tehuacan, El Salvador, where the Zapoteca had come from, making it clear that the Zapoteca, not the Huave, named this place. The double meaning here is te uh an tep pek or “those of the sacred plant (corn) run to the hard hills” - running away from the Huave.
While Tehuantepec talks about the floating journey to Oaxaca, Juchitan de Zaragoza, north of Tehuantepec, looks back at those who died in present-day El Salvador. This name also links Tehuacan, in the lower Lempa of El Salvador, with these tsunami survivors. It is an indicator that the name Tehuacan, El Salvador, came before the name Tehuacan, Puebla. Juchitan is huch’ ch’i’h it ta’ an and means “large blow of current pressed the remnant,” with remnant or remainder referring to those who didn’t make it to Oaxaca. Juchitan has a similar sound as Ojushtada, with both using the uncommon syllable huch’, indicating that the Cuscatlan in El Salvador likely named Ojushtada after they had visited Juchitan. Zaragoza was used by the Zapoteca to identify for others the ethnicity of the Huave, since Zaragoza refers back to Zaragoza in the present-day day department of La Libertad of El Salvador, where the Totonac were based. In this context Zaragoza is tza ar ra ak’ k’o os ha’ and means “tired of blades on skin on those set down at the water by the wall.” The Zapoteca left the lagoon area because they were tired of the sacrifice practice.
A little to the north, the town of Ixtepec Oaxaca is at the base of the mountains that lead to Oaxaca City. It is ix tep pek’ Oaxaca and means “moving to the hard hills, from the Oaxaca.” Oaxaca refers to the Huave. A double meaning of Ixtepec is “separate and move in the trees under the stars,” indicating that they snuck away at night, likely at risk of death.
One hundred sixty kilometers west of Ixtepec Oaxaca is Miahuatlan, which is mi ar wat la an and means “time of the cats from the fatigued current to make a home.” This may be the first place that the Zapoteca survivors settled upon arriving to the Oaxaca valley. The ending syllable lan or “fatigued current” is the same as that often used to describe the Gulf of Fonseca. But here it is referencing the Laguna Superior and is not meant to suggest that the Oaxaca people were of the same lineage as the Gulf of Fonseca people (Olmeca/Lenca/Anahuac). The hidden ‘r’ after ‘Mia’ could also be a hidden ‘p’, giving a meaning of “run to make a home, tired of the swinging of the cats (Huave),” which indicates that not only were the Huave practicing sacrifice but also were violently opposing those who challenged their sacrifice practice, like the Zapoteca.
Names on the north and west side of the lagoon are likely Huave names or were named by those who escaped from the Huave. Just like the Ch’orti’ earlier in Central America, the pregnant women of the Huave began to flee the first-born sacrifice practice, first going by canoe along the coast and later going to the hills to the northeast of the coastal lagoons. Santiago Niltepec is san ti ak’ k’o on ni il te’ pek and means “previously at the mouth, covered by the biting swelling, saw the knobby hills and trees.” It has a double meaning of “healing plant for skin,” indicating they found a healing plant. It has a third meaning of “run from the blades opening skin by wood on the wetness and trees to the hills.” This name was named by those running from the Huave and refers to escaping by canoe on the water or running through the trees to the hills to the north. It also has a meaning of "previously putting blade on skin" which refers to the Totonac who earlier had practiced human sacrifice but then stopped that practice before the tsunami.
San Francisco Ixhuatan is san ber ra an si ix k’o ix wa’ ta’ an in Mi and means “movement of beings tired of the blade on the collapsed, remnant running movement from the wetness of the fatigued current." It has a double meaning of "make a home in the interior.” This name speaks of the remnant of escaped Huave women who ran to Chiapas and became called Mocho. Ran is a cultural indicator for the Olmeca, suggesting that the San Francisco portion of the name was added after the Olmeca arrived along the Gulf Coast and Chiapas in about 1600 BCE, when the Olmeca began to assist the escaping Huave women.
The next town north is Reforma de Pineda. Using the whole name provides rep po or ma te hep pi in ne eht ta or “challenge of paddling from the bad leaders, remnant of the treed separated tailed first ones.” “Tailed first ones” refers to the firstborn who still were attached by the umbilical cord. This that after some time it became impossible for the Huave pregnant to escape by water toward the western Oaxaca coast and instead began to run by land to the north into the mountains, given the double meaning of “separating by the trees.
Xocotepec on the north coast of the Laguna Occidental, the lagoon to the east of Laguna Superior-Inferior, also speaks of the escaping Huave women. The obvious meaning of Xocotepec is cho ok’ k’o ot tep pek or “shelter in the hard hills for those splitting from the blades of the reputed ones (Huave - Totonac Ch’orti’) for the hard hills.” The name indicated to escaping women that Xocotepec was a place to go up to the hills. The Xoco- prefix was meant to mimic the Joco- prefix of Jocotan, Guatemala. And similar to Jocotan, Xocotepec had a hidden pronunciation. Like the ‘x’ used in much of Mexico, the ‘x’ here had a second pronunciation, a ‘z’. The hidden Zok prefix of Xocotepec refers to the Mixe-Zoque or Olmeca, which let women know that the Olmeca would shelter them in the hills, but in the more distance mountains of the Central Highlands rather than the coastal range. This would have been more than 5,000 years after the tsunami, after the Olmeca arrived from Central America.
Santo Domingo Zanatepec or san to om mi in k’o tza an aht tep ek’, which means “first ones sacrificed by the teeth of the swollen bath, cats in current of foamy wetness on hard pieces under the stars,” describing both those who perished and the journey on the hard branches. It also has a double meaning referencing the Huave women who ran up to the hills from here: “cats’ blades sacrificing first ones at the foamy wetness, run to the hard distant hills.” Inserting the adjective far into the meaning informed women to run to the more distant mountains.
The lagoon southeast of the Laguna Occidental is Laguna La Joya or la ach cho ya, meaning “turtles (pregnant women) tired of the pain of the Cho (Huave).” A double meaning is lach or “strip,” telling women to use the strip of islands on the south part of the lagoon for cover. These islands will be covered later. Cabeza de Toro is on the east coast of Laguna La Joya. It is k’ar ra ab etz tza at te eht to or ro and means “challenge of those tired of the swinging, observe the bath and trees to retain those freeing themselves of the sacrifice demanded by the leaders.” This place was named by the Huave as they watched the lagoon for women who tried to escape. It has a double meaning of “disappearance.” The women who did disappear called themselves Mocho, mo och cho or “trapped by the reputed ones at the entrance (Laguna Superior).”
The Huave likely originated from the Playa San Diego area east of present-day Puerto La Libertad. The name Playa Toluca, site of the ancient sailing stones from the journey from Chile, appears to be referring to the Huave. It is to ol uk' ka and means "sadness for the beginners (first-born) sacrificed by the leaders." The name Toluca is very similar to Tecoluca, indicating that it was the Cuscatlan, sister people of the Zapoteca, who named it. One kilometer from the sailing stones is the village of Santa Cruz, which is san ta ak' k'er rus or "remnant that swam in the swollen and gashed the skin," another reference to the Huave.
While the Zapoteca names at times refer to the mouth - the mouth of the Lempa River - as an origin point, it is also possible that they or a portion of them were from the peninsulas just west of the Lempa River. Peninsula La Colorada is k’ol lo or at ta or “remnant loose in the crest of the bath and transported.” Peninsula El Zapote, now called Costa del Sol, is west of Colorado and appears like it may have been named after the Zapoteca. Zapote is tz'a ap po ot te, meaning "pressed by the swinging wetness, on branches" with a double meaning of "shelter for those on wood (dugouts) from the swinging at the wet hole."
Monte Alban and the Zapoteca
Returning to the Zapoteca, soon the descendants of the survivors of the tsunami created a memorial on top of what they would call Monte Alban hill, perhaps with a few stones to begin with. Monte Alban is moh on ter ra al bah an in Mi and means “ridge for the time of the ancestors’ bodies which tired trapped in the current.” The use of the term “ancestors” seems to indicate that those who created the memorial were at least one generation beyond the survivors. Monte Alban has an alternate meaning as well: “the time of the ancestors who ran through the trees tired of the constricting of the bodies.” It seems to be a memorial both for those who died in the tsunami and for the ancestors who escaped the Huave by running through the woods at night. Another name for Monte Alban is Daniban, which, for the Zapoteca, has the meaning of “sacred hill of the dead.” Its original Mi meaning was similar to Monte Alban. Daniban is ta’ ni’ ib bah an and means “hill for the spirits of the remains of the bodies in the current.” An alternate meaning here is “run for the hills from the remnant at the current.” The presence of the Huave is a reason that the Zapoteca went up to the mountains so quickly and the continued pursuit of the Huave may also explain their later move to Tehuacan, Puebla.
Another name of a Zapotec-related people also seems to have its origin at the time of the tsunami: Ixcatec: ix k’at te’ ek’ – “cross (from El Salvador) moving on wood by the stars.” This name repeats k’at, a syllable found in Cuscatlan, the name for El Salvador, and was found in the name of founding ancestor Ehecatl. K'at was associated with the Ik' lineage.
Other ethnicities closely related to the Zapoteca include a group of Cuscatlan (Ik’ lineage) swept off the coast of present-day La Paz of El Salvador, landing ashore in western Oaxaca, the Triqui, and the Amuzgo, a group of Zapoteca who moved to eastern Guerrero.
The Date for the Tsunami
It would appear that the Zapoteca arrived at Tehuacan, Puebla, soon after they arrived to Oaxaca in the tsunami. The Tehuacan name indicates that it was likely the Zapoteca who arrived at Tehuacan, Puebla, since they were from Tehuacan, El Salvador. The nearby cultural name Coxcatlan cave indicates why. Coxcatlan is k’o och k’at la an, meaning “crossed because of the blades at the entrance of the fatigued current.” This indicates that the Zapoteca went to Puebla from Oaxaca in order to evade the Huave who had pursued them up into the Oaxaca mountains. Coxcatlan also refers obviously to Cuscatlan.
The 7220 BCE date for the tsunami is arrived at by the archeological record at Tehuacan, Puebla, which shows a consistent presence a little after that date and the dating of the end of Nipigon stage at Lake Agassiz, estimated to be 7150 BCE. MacNeish studied the history of habitation at the Coxcatlan cave and other sites near Tehuacan, Puebla. Douglas S. Byers and Richard S. MacNeish, ed. The Prehistory of the Tehuacan Valley, 5 vol. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1967. He found sporadic habitation or visits prior to 7200 BCE, some as early as 9000 BCE and others just prior to 7200 BCE. The earliest visits were likely made by the ancestors of the Xibalba, although after the arrival of the pre-Maya from South America, either group (Xibalba or pre-Maya) could have made long distance journeys to Mexico. MacNeish’s findings are consistent with a tsunami date between 7250 and 7200 BCE.
Like many other Mesoamerican people, the Zapoteca have a flood story as part of their story of origin. While some of the Zapoteca flood myth closely parallels the Biblical story, making it hard to know which parts were original and which were borrowed from the Spanish, one part of the myth states that Petela, a great Zapoteca chieftain, descended from flood survivors. Petela is pet tel ha’ and means “water pouring over the ridge.” It has a double meaning of pet te hel la or “women tired of the tree (position) at the pouring.” The pouring refers to the tides pouring in and out of the Laguna Superior. This indicates that the earliest Zapoteca leaders assisted Huave women to leave. Petela also contains the cultural prefix pet- which is found in Purepecha and Miwok names as well, linking these ethnicities.
The Triqui and the Mixteca
The Triqui may have been from the Rio Jiboa area of present-day La Paz, El Salvador. They appear to have landed near the southernmost point of Oaxaca, Puerto Angel - just east is Salchi, tza al chi, or “time of the large wetness,” with “wall” as a double meaning. One link to Rio Jiboa is the name Tilapa, a very early name next to Rio Jiboa in El Salvador which appears to identify a mastodon in the very first weeks that the Mesoamerican ancestors were in Central America. There is also a Tilapa close to the Triqui center of San Juan Copala. In addition, with ik’ in their name, the Triqui identifed as an Ik’ lineage, like the Zapoteca. They landed west of the Zapoteca, which would likely mean that they were from an area to the west of the Zapoteca Lempa River origin in El Salvador. The Rio Jiboa mouth is the most likely place of their origin. A further reference to the area currently named La Paz, El Salvador, is the town of Zacatepec in western Oaxaca, a reference to Zacatecoluca, El Salvador, named in the aftermath of the tsunami.
Soon pregnant women from the Huave, facing the sacrifice of their first-born, began to escape toward the Triqui on the coast, paddling 140 kilometers on the ocean current. Puerto Angel is an che hel or “women handled the current.” They may have hid and slept in the day and paddled at night. They became the founders of the Mixteca. Mixteca is mi ix te’ ek’ ha’ and means “cats moving on water under the stars and among the trees,” a hint that they slept among the trees of the shore to hide during the day. The autonym mi (in Mixteca) was much more frequent among the Ch’orti’-Totonac lineage (including the Huave) than among the Ik’-based lineage, like the Zapoteca and Triqui. The name Triqui makes sense alongside the Mixteca founders. It is ta’ ar ri ik’ ki and means “time of the dear remnant beside the Ik’,” with a double meaning of “arrive.”
East of Puerto Angel is Playa Estacahuite, which is etz’ ta ak’ k’ar wi te, which is “observe for the wood (canoes) of the remnant from the blows to the navel skin of the retained (newborn).” It was the Triqui who were waiting there to observe and help the escaping Huave women. The name also carries a cultural lineage syllable hui, which indicates a Ch’orti’ lineage originally from Güija. The name has a second meaning regarding the Triqui's first landing on the shore themselves, “observe trees on dry ground since beginning of explosion (blast),” with another meaning of "dry," i.e. dry land. Nearby El Radar is hel ra at tar in Mi, meaning “women arrive tired from the bath.” To the east, Tahueca is ta wer kah or “remnant whose beginners were torn away.” Inland is Santa Maria Huatulco. It is tza an ta am ma ar ri wat tu ul k’o and means “time of the remnant who explained the corpses from the blades and ran in the wetness from the bad spiders, make a home beside.” Huatulco describes the first home of the pregnant Huave women who became the Mixteca. The syllable tul recalls Tulan, the island home of the Maya where human sacrifice began.
Also inland a few kilometers is San Pedro Pochutla, which is tza an pet tar ro po och chu ut ta la and means “arrival of remnant tired of the guards at the entrance of the hole, through the pouring (tides) current at the opening of the wetness, free,” with a double meaning of “peeled skin.” This is another indication that Huave pregnant women and perhaps men too escaped by boat from Laguna Superior and made it to the Mixteca coast. One of the barrios of San Pedro Pochutla is Guaydiguelle. This appears to be as old as Pochutla. It is way ti Ik’ hel lep and means “women paddling through the opening dreaming (at night) to the Ik’.” This meaning reinforces the meaning of Pochutla.
Names on the west side of Puerto Angel indicate that the Triqui and Mixteca also lived there. First, is Cometa or k’o om et ha’, which means “challenge of the teeth (rocks) in the foamy water,” indicating the difficulty in reaching shore there. But Cometa has a second meaning, “challenge of joining the remnants,” perhaps indicating a challenge in bringing the Mixteca and Triqui together, being from different lineages, although it could also be speaking about the Chatino, a remnant from the Otomi.
Just inland is Mazunte, ma as su un te, “on wood (canoes) from the bad practice to the children on a layer,” describing the child sacrifice practice of the Huave. There are two double meanings: “wrap-around,” which describes the umbilical cord still attached to the newborns at the time of sacrifice, and “foreign,” which indicates a belief that the practice originated much earlier with the foreigners (Xibalba).
Just east on the coast is San Agustinillo, which directly references the name San Agustin in the Ik’ (Cuscatlan) area of El Salvador. San Agustin, El Salvador, describes the first death of the ancestors at the hands of the Xibalba. San Agustinillo, Oaxaca, is very clear about the first-child newborn sacrifice practice. It is tza an nak’ k’us ti in ni il lo and means “see from the hill those running from the wetness free from the opening up of the first sperm at giving birth.” It has a double meaning of “curing” - their leaving cured them from the practice. Another meaning is “come to life” which describes the hope that the Mixteca had in a new place.
Another nearby name is Chacahua or cha ak’ k’ar wa’ is “beings retained for the two skins.” This name references the two-skin practice of the god Chaac, usually used to invoke rain. I understand this name to refer to a practice back in the Huave area, not along the Mixteca coast. Chacahua recalls the name Chalagua found back in the Jiboa area of El Salvador, near where the Triqui were likely from. El Carnero is k’ar ne her ro or “women free from being retained for the tail (umbilical cord).”
Cuatode is ka wa at to ot te and means “wood shelter for the beings from the sacrifice of the beginner (newborn) at the bath.” It has a double meaning of “make a home” and Totonac, another link between the Mixteca and the Huave (and Totonac). Inland from Cometa is Santa Maria Tonameca. It is tza an ta am ma ar ri at to on nam ek’ ha and means “time of the remnant beside who ran in the wetness from the bad spiders at the bath in the water under the stars, disappearance of the previous sacrificing.” It has double meanings of “depths” and “wrestle” which might indicate that a woman (women) was drowned when a Huave guard caught up with her. The name also makes it clear that the bad practice of the Huave did not continue with the Mixteca. The closest nations to the Mixteca are the Mocho Maya, followed by the Kanjobal, the Ch’orti’, the Chol, the Tzetzil, and the Choluteca.
Inland to the west is Santa Rosa de Lima Tututepec which became a Mixteca kingdom in the Classic period. It is san ta ar ro os at te hel li im ma tut tu ut tep ek’ in Mi and means “small opening in the hard plug from swollen bath, corpses beside from the bad blast, time of remnant of women set down after loose under the stars.” This indicates a knowledge of the cause of the tsunami, describing Lake Agassiz (Winnipeg) and the deaths that took place there, followed by a brief description of the Mixteca remnant who began a new life after surviving the tsunami and the conditions of the Huave. The phrase "hard plug" can not be translated in another way and is the key to linking this name to Lake Agassiz.
Finally, the place name Santa Cruz Zenzontepec, 60 kilometers north of Zapotalito, is a direct link to the Cuscatlan and Ulua and the place name of Sensuntepeque, El Salvador, an Ulua place name 10 kilometers off the Lempa River and 80 kilometers north of the mouth. Sensuntepeque references the Xibalba, therefore it was named at least 200 years earlier, when the Maya defeated the Xibalba. Because the Ulua and the Triqui came out of the same lineage, Santa Cruz Zenzontepec would be a Triqui name and means "hard hill of those with knowledge of the ancestors in the curve (tsunami)."
The Mixteca have a similar flood myth as the Zapoteca. It says that the earth was well populated but humans were punished with a flood due to a significant fault. One can imagine that this fault related to the violence display of power (human sacrifice) which afflicted the Totonac for a time prior to the tsunami. Like the Zapoteca, the Mixteca people descended from the few survivors of the flood, according to the myth.
The Choluteca (Itza)
The Huave were not the only part of the Ch’orti’-Totonac lineage to be washed offshore by the tsunami and to float from present-day El Salvador to present-day Mexico. Names along the coast of western Oaxaca indicate the Choluteca (Itza) also floated from west-central El Salvador to Mexico.
The Choluteca consists today of groups in the Yucatan, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. The Choluteca migrated to Puebla, Mexico. Later the main group of the Choluteca (Mangue) migrated to southern Central America during the late Toltec period when they were attacked. Their strongest tie to the Oaxaca coast is linguistic – they are part of the Oto-Manguean language group. The name Mangue appears to come from when they were attacked in Puebla, while Chorotega was probably a name taken upon arrival to Honduras and Nicaragua. While the Chiapaneco are grouped together with the Choluteca linguistically, it is possible that the Chiapaneco originated from the Huave, another Totonac-related group.
The Choluteca seem to have arrived on the southwest coast of Oaxaca near San Jose Manialtepec. The cultural name Choluteca probably dates from this time. They used the convention of the -teca suffix, similar to their neighbors Zapoteca and Mixteca. Choluteca is cho hol uh te ek’ ha and means “esteemed sacred one (shaman) on crest of water on branches under the stars.” The spiritual leader mentioned in the name is likely the same one mentioned in the names Sunzacuapa and Chiltiupan on the La Libertad coast of El Salvador. San Jose Manialtepec is san cho os tze em ma an ni al te pek and means “time of descending the hills in the bad upright swelling, in the current on branches, Cho set down by the hills.” Cho is a cultural marker for the Ch’orti’ lineage. It has a double meaning of “swollen lungs in the current.”
La Alejandria is just east of San Jose Manialtepec. It is la al leb ba an tar ri ha and means “time of tired bodies arriving beside by paddling in the water current.” East of there is Bajos de Chila, a name which was chosen after a visit by those in La Libertad, as it mimics La Shila there. It is ba os tech’ chi’ il ha’ in Mi, meaning “see the expanded bodies set down by the large water.” It discusses seeing bodies washing up on shore after they arrived there.
To the west is El Cacalote. It has three meanings. First, ka k’al lo ot te is “wood shelter for those retained and then loose (in the ocean) at the beginning.” The second meaning is clear, kaka al lo te’ and means “time of the loose cacao pods.” This indicates that the Amuzgo shared cacao pods with the Choluteca to be planted. Using the adjective “loose” makes it clear that they were pods, not plants. A third meaning of Cacalote is k’ak’ k’al lo ot te’ and means “shelter for those free on wood (dug-outs) from the retentions of the fire,” with fire (k’ak’) referring to the Kakchiquel. This indicates that in addition to the Amuzgo (to be discussed), the Choluteca assisted Otomi women escaping from the sacrifice regime of the Otomi men. Both the Huave and the Choluteca were from the Totonac (originally Ch’orti’) lineage, but unlike the Huave, the Choluteca did not re-initiate human sacrifice once in Mexico.
A couple kilometers northeast of El Cacalote is San Isidro Campechero San Martin is san ni is it ta ar lo ok’ k’a am pech che’ her ro’ os san ma ar ti in and means “loose Pech women remnant handle spidering (paddling) in the wet current, happy to be free from the blows which split open the set down first ones (newborns), movement to the swollen hills.” They used a cultural identifier “orphan” Pech that pertains to the Poto (Olmeca-related) lineage: in this case referring to an Otomi woman. If the Choluteca themselves practiced human sacrifice they would not have assisted the Otomi women fleeing the practice of human sacrifice. San Isidro Campechero San Martin was likely the source for the name of the Mexican state Campeche, named thousands of years later by the Choluteca (Itza).
Tiltepec is 10 kilometers inland from San Jose Manialtepec. It’s ti il te pek’ and means “see the opening in the hard hills.” It has a double meaning of “see the wood (dug-outs) under the stars” indicating the boats of the escaping Otomi women. Another 12 kilometers is Santa Lucia Teotepec, perhaps the strongest link to La Libertad, El Salvador. Teotepeque was the first center for the Ch’orti’ (Totonac) in La Libertad following the flood at Lago Guija. Santa Lucia Teotepec is san ta al lus si at Teotepec and means “time of the many swimmers in the swollen bath, shelter for remnant in trees of the hard hills,” with a double meaning of “arrival.”
San Pedro Mixtepec to the east speaks about the arrival of the Mixteca, next to the Choluteca. It is tza an pet ta ar ro om mi ix te pek and means “time of the remnant cats who moved in the wet current then to the hills to be free from the foamy tree at the pouring.” Foamy tree refers to human sacrifice. The pouring refers to the tide pouring through the entrance of the Laguna Superior. The Choluteca and the Mixteca were from the same lineage, so there was a natural affinity.
It seems that the Choluteca may have moved quite early to Puebla. The names there indicate a possible early habitation while names from El Salvador were still fresh in their minds. San Pedro Cholula is san pet tar ro och cho ol uh lap, meaning “arrival to the entrance (between the volcanos) by the esteemed shaman who had been loose stroking in the swollen crest of the pouring (tides).” San Pedro Cholula lies near the saddle (the “entrance”) between two 5,000 meter (17,000 ft) mountains, Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl. The name also recalls San Pedro Mixtepec. Interestingly, Cholula also seems to mimic the name Ulua. That would not be a lineage marker, but rather a political marker to indicate that they had chosen not to resume the human sacrifice practice, unlike the Huave.
Iztaccihuatl Mountain is it tza ak’ si wat ta al in Mi and means “time of the movement of the remnant to make a home by the blowing residue covering (ash from Popocatepetl).” The name has a double meaning of is tak or “move to the dry one” to indicate that it was a dry volcano (not active). Popocatepetl was named by the Purepecha rather than the Choluteca.
While the Puebla part of Puebla de Zaragoza probably comes from the Post-Classic period, the name Zaragoza is likely ancient and links it to the same name in La Libertad, El Salvador. Zaragoza here is sar ra ak’ k’o os tza, meaning “setting down by the wall (Iztaccihuatl) and the wet one (Popocatepetl) tired of the blade on the skin.” It is another confirmation that they did not resume the sacrifice practice. The Huave also used the name Zaragoza to link back to El Salvador.
Later, in the Classic era, the main portion of the Choluteca began to call themselves Chorotega and Mangue. It was from the mountain, Iztacchihuatl, that the Itza (Choluteca) took their name, although by switching letters, the name seems to refer to Popo, as Itza means “the wet one (active volcano) blowing.”
The next installment will describe the amazing struggle to end the practice of human sacrifice among the Otomi. Cuauhtemoc finally prevailed.