Zacualpan de Amilpas

Zacualpan de Amilpas is a town in the Mexican state of Morelos. The town serves as the municipal seat for the surrounding municipality, with which it shares a name. To the north is the municipality of Tetela del Volcán, to the south is the municipality of Temoac, to the east is the State of Puebla, and to the west are the municipalities of Ocuituco and Yecapixtla.[1][2]

The municipality reported 9,370 inhabitants in the year 2015 census.[3]

The toponym Zacualpan comes from a Nahuatl name: tzacual-li (covered thing) and pan (on top of); thus, "atop that which is covered".[2] Amilpas refers to the 25 human settlements controlled by Moctezuma Ilhuicamina from his palace in Huaxtepec (Oaxtepec). The term continued to be used during the colonial era.

Government and Political DivisionEdit

Zacualpan de Amilpas is the municipal seat. It has 3,492 inhabitants and is located 1,640 meters (5,381 feet) above sea level. There are three preschools, three elementary schools (grades 1-6), and one middle school (grades 7-9).[4] It is 81 km (50 miles) from Cuernavaca and 136 km (85 miles) from Mexico City.

Tlacotepec is the assistant municipal seat. It is 4.5 km (2.8 miles) from Zacualpan de Amilpas. It has 5,087 inhabitants and is located 1,753 meters (5,751 ft.) above sea level. There are three preschools, four elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school (grades 10-12).[5]

Other communities are very small: Barrio de San Juan, Barrio de San Pedro, Barrio de San Nicolás, Col. Guadalupe Victoria, Colonia San Andrés, Col. Emiliano Zapata, Col. Mariano Escobedo, and Col. Panteón.[6]


Prehispanic HistoryEdit

Researchers point to the Olmecs as the indigenous group that arrived in Zacualpan de Amilpas, considered the first inhabitants in the pre-Classic period between the years 1000 and 900 BCE. The second group to arrive were the Toltecs. Shortly after that, groups of Chichimecas and Chalcas arrived, ęwho founded new colonies in Totolapan, Tepoztlán, Tlayacapan, and Zacualpan.[7]

Conquest & ColonialsimEdit

After the Spanish Conquest of 1521, Francisco de Solis obtained several villages, including Zacualpan de Amilpas, Huazulco, Temoac, and Tlacotepec. He planted orchards, cultivated wheat and corn, and had honeycombs.

The spiritual conquest of Zacualpan de Amilpas began in 1533 with the arrival of the provincial vicar, Fray Francisco de la Cruz, who ordered Jorge de Ávila and Jerónimo de San Esteban to went to evangelize the region. In 1535 the two brothers began construction of a temple and a convent to honor the Immaculate Conception of Mary next to the Amatzinac Canyon. The original building was small, but with time one of the best architects of the order of the Augustinians, Fray Juan de la Cruz, arrived, and the temple and convent were significantly improved.

In 1550, the viceroy exempted the inhabitants of Zacualpan de Amilpas taxes, which meant that the resources could be used to embellish the religious complex that was still being built. The Augustinians evangelized the region for 107 years. In 1786, José Gálvez, supported by King Carlos II, divided Nueva España (Mexico) into two comandancias or zones, besides establishing three governments and twelve intendencias.[7]

19th CenturyEdit

The municipality originally belonged to the Intendencia de Puebla, but when the municipalities of Tlapa and Iguala were exchanged with the State of Mexico, the Alcaldía Mayor de Cuautla kept Zacualpan de Amilpas. The municipality was created in 1849 when Zacualpan refused subservience to Cuernavaca. In 1869, upon the creation of the State of Morelos, Zacualpan formed part of the District of Cuautla de Amilpas.[2]

Revolution & the 20th CenturyEdit

The Constitution of 1857 was designed to end the abuses of the Church and other large landowners, but it failed. During the Mexican Revolution, many men from Zacualpan joined the Zapatistas and supported the Plan de Ayala. Zapata defended education as it was designed by Antonio Díaz Soto y Gama, who ordered the establishment of schools in Tochimilco, Puebla, Jantetelco and Zacualpan de Amilpas. The temple and ex-convent were used as military barracks by federal troops as well as revolutionary ones.[8]

On December 17, 1937, the walls of the ex-convent in Zacualpan de Amilpas and elsewhere were cracked during an earthquake, convincing people that steps were needed to preserve historical monuments. A law was passed on June 9, 1939, that declared colonial convents national monuments and providing for their preservation.

Differences between Zacualpan and surrounding communities led to the establishment of Temoac as a municipality on March 17, 1977.[7]

20th CenturyEdit

Zacualpan de Amilpas was hit hard by the powerful (7.1) September 19, 2017 earthquake.[9]

Roberto Adrian Cazares Gonzalez of Por Morelos al Frente (Morelos First coalition) was elected Presidente Municipal (mayor) on July 1, 2018.[10]

Historical Sites and MonumentsEdit

  • Convento de la Inmaculada Concepción de Zacualpan de Amilpas was built by Augustinians in the 16th century. It was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1994.[11]
  • Hacienda de Chicomocelo was built by Jesuits in Tlacotepec in the 17th century, but is largely in ruins.
  • Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción
  • Hacienda of San Nicolás Cuautepec was built by Jesuit friars in the 16th century in order to fund a school in Mexico City. An aqueduct was constructed to provide water for irrigation of the sugar cane fields. Since 1975, Technical High School #12 of the municipality of Zacualpan de Amilpas has occupied the site.[7]
  • Xolozuchitl Museum in Tlacotepec.

Traditions and CultureEdit

There is a barter fair and Tianguis (from Nahua "Tianquiztli") tradition in Zacualpan de Amilpas that goes back to 700 BCE. Every Sunday morning, people from Zacualpan and neighboring communities such as Tetela del Volcán, Temoac, Ocuituco, Hueyapan, and Yecapixtla gather outside the church to trade farm goods, animals, and handicrafts.[12]

There is a fair in Tlacotepec from August 12−16 in honor of the Virgin of the Ascension. There is a festival in Zacualpan on the second Sunday of October in honor of the Queen of the Rosary. These events are accompanied by brass bands and Chinelos (dancers).[2]

Traditional foods include green mole of pepita (pipián); tamales de ceniza; red mole rojo with turkey; cecina with cream, cheese, and green sauce; and barbecued goat. Zacualpan de Amilpas is famous for its sugar cane aguardiente.[2]


Location, Altitude, and AreaEdit

Zacualpan de Amilpas is located in the northeast of Morelos, at 98° 46' West longitude and 18°47' North latitude, at an altitude of 1,640 meters (5,381 ft.)above sea level. It borders Tetela del Volcán on the north, Temoac on the south, Ocuituco and Yecaplixtla to the west, and the State of Puebla to the east. It has an area of 53.77 km2 (20.76 square miles).[2]

Relief and Water ResourcesEdit

Zacualpan de Amilpas is in the foothills of the Popocatépetl Volcano; among the hills, there are deep, boxy ravines. The soils are a volcanic eruptive type. There are several streams including Amatzinac, which has its source in the vicinity of the Popocatepetl Volcano. Five streams are located in Tlacotepec. There is a small dam on the Amatzinac in the town of Zacualpan.[2]


The climate is semi-warm all year round, and semi-humid in the spring. The average temperature is 19.7°C (67.5°F) and the average annual rainfall is 943 millimeters (37 in.).[2]

Fauna and FloraEdit

The flora of the municipality consists principally of low deciduous forest, of warm climate; jacarandá (a flowering tree), tabachín del monte (Mexican holdhback), casahuate (a thorny tree), seiba, copal (traditionally used for incense), zomplantle (a medicinal plant)[13] and bougainvillea. Animals include raccoon, Coati (similar to a raccoon), skunk, armadillo, hare, rabbit, coyote, wildcat, weasel, opossum, and bats, flag bird, chachalaca (a rather noisy bird), copetona magpie, buzzard, aura, raven, owl, and songbirds.[2]


Zacualpan de Amilpas is primarily an agricultural area. The major crops are sorghum, beans, and corn. There are orchards with guava, papaya, and peaches. Cattle, pork, sheep, horses, and fowl are raised on ranches. Commerce and services are less important.[7] The volcanic rocks in the area are mined.[2]


Zacualpan de Amilpas is the municipal seat. Its Sister City is Pharr, Texas.[14]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Zacualpan de Amilpas, el secreto de Morelos" [Zacualpan de Amilpas, the secret of Morelos] (in Spanish). Via Mexico. Retrieved Dec 20, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Estado de Morelos: Zacualpan de Amilpas" [State of Morelos: Zacaulpan of Amilpas] (in Spanish). Enciclopedia de los Municipios y Delegaciones de Mexico. Retrieved Dec 20, 2018.
  3. ^ (Dec 13, 2018)
  4. ^ "Zacualapan de Amilpas". Pueblos America. Retrieved Feb 16, 2019.
  5. ^ "Tlacotepec". Pueblos America. Retrieved Feb 16, 2019.
  6. ^ "Localities de Zacualpan de Amilpas". Pueblos America. Retrieved Feb 16, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Zacualpan de Amilpas". Retrieved Dec 20, 2018.
  8. ^ (retrieved Dec 13, 2018)
  9. ^ accessed Dec 20, 2018.
  10. ^ Retrieved Dec 14, 2018
  11. ^ (Dec 13, 2018)
  12. ^ "Zacualpan de Amilpas: La magia del trueque en Morelos" [Zacualpan de Amilpas: The magic of bartering in Morelos] (in Spanish). La Union. Nov 18, 2018. Retrieved Feb 18, 2019.
  13. ^ "Zompantle o colorín (Erythrina americana Miller)" [Zompantle or colorín (Erythrina americana Miller)] (in Spanish). Tlahui-Medic. No. 20, II/2005. February 2005. Retrieved Feb 18, 2019.
  14. ^ "Ciudades mexicanas y sus ciudades hermanas estadounidenses" [Mexican cities and their American sister cities] (in Spanish). Sister Cities International. Retrieved Feb 18, 2019.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 18°47′01″N 98°45′34″W / 18.78361°N 98.75944°W / 18.78361; -98.75944