San Salvador Atenco
San Salvador Atenco is the municipal seat of Atenco, in the Mexican
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...

States of Mexico
The United Mexican States is a federal republic formed by 32 federal entities .According to the Constitution of 1917, the states of the federation are free and sovereign. Each state has their own congress and constitution, while the Federal District has only limited autonomy with a local Congress...

 of Mexico
Mexico (state)
México , officially: Estado Libre y Soberano de México is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of the United Mexican States. It is divided in 125 municipalities and its capital city is Toluca de Lerdo....

.The name "Atenco" comes from a Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...

 phrase meaning "place on the edge of water".

The town

Fifteen excavations have been done in this area, uncovering mammoth bones, stone tools and other artifacts showing human habitation from at least 7000 B.C. According to some traditions in the historico-mythical accounts of the 16th century Nahuas, early Nahuatl-speaking groups ("pre-Aztecs", called also Chichimeca
Chichimeca was the name that the Nahua peoples of Mexico generically applied to a wide range of semi-nomadic peoples who inhabited the north of modern-day Mexico and southwestern United States, and carried the same sense as the European term "barbarian"...

) invaded the area from the north around 968 BC. There was supposedly an intermarriage with the last Toltec
The Toltec culture is an archaeological Mesoamerican culture that dominated a state centered in Tula, Hidalgo in the early post-classic period of Mesoamerican chronology...

 king Topiltzin. From this lineage came the king Nezahualcóyotl
Nezahualcoyotl was a philosopher, warrior, architect, poet and ruler of the city-state of Texcoco in pre-Columbian Mexico...

, one of the three founders of the Aztec Triple Alliance
Aztec Triple Alliance
The Aztec Triple Alliance, or Aztec Empire began as an alliance of three Nahua city-states or "altepeme": Tenochtitlan, Texcoco, and Tlacopan...

. Atenco became subject to Texcoco in 1428.

After the fall of Tenochtitlán to the Spaniards under Hernan Cortes
Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century...

, the Aztecs of this area continued to fight against the Spanish conquest, supporting the lord of Texcoco. However, this area fell to the Spaniards in 1521. After this the Spaniards imposed a tribute system and Spanish law onto the land and built the Chapel of Cristo de Esquipulas in 1571.

This chapel was built by the Franciscans for the purpose of evangelization. It is constructed of stone and "tezontle
Tezontle is a porous, extrusive, igneous, volcanic rock used extensively in construction in Mexico. It is usually reddish in color.-Uses:Tezontle can be mixed with concrete to form lightweight concrete blocks, or mixed with cement to create stucco finishes. Tezontle is often used as the top...

" (porous volcanic rock). Its gilded retablo is the original built with the chapel with its saint's day celebrated the second Monday after Carnaval
Carnaval is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during February. Carnaval typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party...

San Salvador Atenco received wide media coverage both in 2002and 2006, when it was the site of violent mass protest
A protest is an expression of objection, by words or by actions, to particular events, policies or situations. Protests can take many different forms, from individual statements to mass demonstrations...

s against the federal and local governments. The 2002 protests
Community Front in Defense of Land
The Community Front in Defense of Land was formed in 2002, by residents of San Salvador Atenco, to resist their forced displacement by the government of Mexico. The government planned to displace them to make way for a new Mexico City Airport...

 were against the planned construction of a new international airport for Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

. The construction of the airport was cancelled.

In 2006, violent clashes followed the expulsion of eight downtown flower vendors by the police. The latter confrontation marked the beginning of the 2006 Atenco Riots
2006 civil unrest in San Salvador Atenco
The civil unrest in San Salvador Atenco of 2006 began on Wednesday, May 3, when police prevented a group of 60 flower vendors from selling at the Texcoco local market in the State of México, about from Mexico City. Police used violence and arrest against resisters...

, which lasted over a week and resulted in over 100 arrests and numerous allegations of human rights abuses committed by the police against the local population.

The municipality of Atenco

As municipal seat San Salvador Atenco has governing jurisdiction over the following communities:

Chileleco (Ampliación Nexquipayac Chileleco), Colonia el Salado, Ejido
The ejido system is a process whereby the government promotes the use of communal land shared by the people of the community. This use of community land was a common practice during the time of Aztec rule in Mexico...

 San Salvador Acuexcomac (Ejido la Purísima), Ejido de San Cristóbal Nexquipayac, El Amanal, Granjas Ampliación Santa Rosa, Hacienda la Grande Fracción Uno, La Pastoría, Los Hornos (El Presidio), Nueva Santa Rosa, San Cristóbal Nexquipayac, San Miguel Arcángel (Tepecingo), Santa Isabel Ixtapan, and Zapotlán.

The municipality borders the municipalities of Acolman
Acolman de Nezahualcoyotl is a town and municipality located in the northern part of Mexico State, part of the Greater Mexico City area, just north of the city proper. According to myth, the first man was placed here after being taken out of Lake Texcoco. In the community of Tepexpan, the...

, Tezoyuca
Tezoyuca is a town and municipality in Mexico State in Mexico. The municipality covers an area of 10.9 km².As of 2005, the municipality had a total population of 25,372.-References:...

, Texcoco, Chiautla, Chiconcuac and Ecatepec
Ecatepec was an Aztec altepetl or city-state in the Valley of Mexico.-Tlatoque:From 1428 to 1539, Ecatepec was ruled by a tlatoani...

 with a total area of 94.67 km2. This territory lies on the Neovolcanic Axis that crosses Mexico. Even though the only elevations are in the south of the municipality (Huatepec and Tepetzingo hills), there is volcanic activity underground, under what was Lake Texcoco
Lake Texcoco
Lake Texcoco was a natural lake formation within the Valley of Mexico. The Aztecs built the city of Tenochtitlan on an island in the lake. The Spaniards built Mexico City over Tenochtitlan...


Most of the economic activity of the municipality is based on subsistence farming with a large percentage of its inhabitants owning farmland. Very little of the food grown is sold in markets.

External links

Kennis, AC. Small Farming Community Successfully Struggles to Preserve its Way of Life Against the Forces of Neo-Liberalism" in Synthesis/Regeneration, Spring 2003.
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