Mam people
The Mam are a Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 people in the western highlands
Guatemalan Highlands
The Guatemalan Highlands is an upland region in southern Guatemala, lying between the Sierra Madre de Chiapas to the south and the Petén lowlands to the north....

 of Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

 and in south-western Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...


Most Mam (617,171) live in Guatemala, in the departments of Huehuetenango
Huehuetenango (department)
Huehuetenango is one of the 22 departments of Guatemala. It is situated in the western highlands and shares borders with México in the north and west; with El Quiché in the east, with Totonicapán, Quetzaltenango, and San Marcos to the south. The capital is the city of Huehuetenango.Huehuetenango's...

, San Marcos
San Marcos (department)
San Marcos is a department in Guatemala. The capital is the city of San Marcos.-Departmental history:The department was created by a governmental decree on 8 May 1866, together with Huehuetenango, Izabal and Petén departments...

, and Quetzaltenango
Quetzaltenango (department)
Quetzaltenango is a department in the western highlands of Guatemala. The capital is the city of Quetzaltenango, the second largest city in Guatemala. The inhabitants include Spanish-speaking Ladinos and the K'iche' and Mam Maya groups, both with their own Maya language...

. The Mam people in Mexico (23,632) live principally in the soconusco region
Soconusco is a region of the Mexican state of Chiapas, located in the extreme south of the state and separated from Guatemala by the Suchiate River. It is a region of rich lowlands and foothills. The economic center is Tapachula. Soconusco consists of 16 municipalities.The name comes from the...

 of Chiapas
Chiapas officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Chiapas is one of the 31 states that, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 118 municipalities and its capital city is Tuxtla Gutierrez. Other important cites in Chiapas include San Cristóbal de las...


In Pre-Columbian
The pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continents, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during...

 times the Mam were part of the Maya civilization
Maya civilization
The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period The Maya is a Mesoamerican...

; the Pre-Columbian capital of the Mam kingdom was Zaculeu
Zaculeu or Saqulew is a pre-Columbian Maya archaeological site in the highlands of western Guatemala, about outside of the modern city of Huehuetenango. Occupation at the site dates back as far as the Early Classic period of Mesoamerican history...


Many Mam live in and around the nearby modern city of Huehuetenango
Huehuetenango is a city and a municipality in the highlands of western Guatemala. It is also the capital of the department of Huehuetenango. The municipality's population was over 81,000 people in 2002...

. The city of Quetzaltenango
Quetzaltenango, also commonly known by its indigenous name, Xelajú , or more commonly, Xela , is the second largest city of Guatemala. It is both the capital of Quetzaltenango Department and the municipal seat of Quetzaltenango municipality....

 or Xela was originally Mam. Many more Mam live in small hamlets in the mountains of Northern Guatemala, keeping many of their native traditions. Many Mam are bilingual and speak both Spanish as well as the Mam language
Mam language
Mam is a Mayan language with almost 480,000 speakers as of 2002, spoken in the Mexican state of Chiapas and the Guatemalan departments of Quetzaltenango, Huehuetenango and San Marcos....

, part of the Maya language
Maya language
A Maya language is one of a group of languages spoken by the Maya peoples of Mesoamerica.Maya language may also refer to:* Yucatec Maya language or Maya, a Mayan language spoken in the Yucatán Peninsula...

family, - the latter typically as their first language.
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