Toltecs, who imposed their own religious and military practices. Tonalá figured in the famous Salt War of 1480-1510 AD, when the Purépecha (also known as Tarascans) invaded on their way to seize the valuable salt beds near Colima. Tonalá's king raised an army and fiercely resisted the invaders, eventually defeating them. The warrior shown above exemplifies this fighting spirit. For a map of Tonalá showing its relationship to Guadalajara, click here.
Conquistador Nuño de Guzmán. She bowed to the inevitable and provided him with supplies. However, when de Guzmán demanded that the native people show obeisance to the Spanish King, they were outraged and showered the Spanish with arrows. This was the same warrior spirit that had overcome the Purépecha only 20 years before.
La Danza de los Tastoanes
St. James the Apostle had evangelized in Spain during Roman times and his body was returned there and buried in the town of Compostela after he was martyred in Palestine in the middle of the 1st Century AD. In the following centuries, his tomb became a pilgrimage site and Compostela was designated a Holy City. At the beginning of the 8th Century AD, the Muslim Moors from North Africa invaded Spain and established their first Caliphate. For the next 700 years, in a struggle known as La Reconquista, Spanish Christians fought to defeat and expel them. The final campaign of this long holy war was waged by King Ferdinand of Aragon and his wife Queen Isabella of Castille, the same two who funded Columbus' explorations. The Spanish Christians adopted James, or Santiago, as their patron saint for the crusade against the Moors. This is how one of the chief apostles of the so-called Prince of Peace was dubbed Matamoros (The Moor Slayer), and why he is often portrayed brandishing a sword. About this time, Spanish Christians began to celebrate Santiago's Feast Day using costumed dancers who reenacted the defeat of the Moors by the Christians.
The saint is carried by Tastoanes, symbolizing his dominance after the defeat of the indigenous warriors of Tonalá in 1530. According to legend, the slain warriors were transformed into hideous monsters, perhaps as punishment for opposing Conquistador Nuño de Guzman. The Danza de los Tastoanes thus originated as a morality play where "good" triumphed over "evil" similar to the dances held in Spain on the Feast Day of Santiago. This, of course, overlooked de Guzman's brutal role as the Heinrich Himmler of the Conquest. In the end, his depredations were so atrocious that even the colonial Spanish couldn't stomach them and de Guzman was sent back to Spain in chains and died in prison.
"divide and conquer" strategy, implemented by Conquistador Hernán Cortéz from the moment of his landing on the mainland of Mexico in 1519.
birria, or goat stew. The proprietors of small sidewalk restaurants like this seem to use every part of the goat but the bleat. The meat is cut up and placed in a pot with a spicy, tomato-based sauce and other ingredients. Despite the rather disturbing appearance of the head, the dish is really quite good. Even though the Tastoanes were still performing, by this time it was mid-day and Carole and I went looking for lunch. We had recently dined on birria, so we kept looking .
This completes my posting on the Tastonanes of Tonalá. I hope you have enjoyed it. If you have any feedback, I would be delighted to hear it. You can leave any messages in the Comments section below, or email me directly.
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Hasta luego, Jim