Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/425

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393
PORFIRIO DIAZ.

est in Mexico. The Pass of Saloméa, leading to the TSOM D425 Zapotec ornament.pngzapotec ornament. city, recalls those of Switzerland. Wild animals, not only deer, but pumas and even the jaguar, roam over its slopes, covered with fan-palms and other tropical growths, while higher up is a forest of palms and oaks growing together. At the summit is a grand view of the valley of Oaxaca.

The city, like Puebla, is of Spanish foundation, but at no very great distance from it are the ancient ruins of Mitla, still a puzzle to archæologists, since nothing certain is known even of the tribes found in that region by the Conquistadores,—the Zapotecas, or the traditions of their origin. Their customs seem to have been like those of the Mexicans, but their language resembled that of the Mayas. They were subject to long struggles with the Aztecs, and at the end of the 15th century their capital city, Mitla, was taken and given over to pillage, and the prisoners taken to Mexico to be offered up on the altars of Huitzilopochtli.