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Sierra Madre de Oaxaca

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Title: Sierra Madre de Oaxaca  
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Subject: Sierra Madre de Oaxaca pine-oak forests, Tesechoacan River, Southern Mexico, Zapotec peoples, El Niño
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Sierra Madre de Oaxaca

Sierra Madre de Oaxaca
Sierra Norte de Oaxaca
View of the Sierra Juárez from San Juan Yagila, in the Rincon de Ixtlan Region, Oaxaca, México
Geography
Sierra Madre de Oaxaca lies west of Chivela Pass and north of the Sierra Madre del Sur range
Country Mexico
State/Province Oaxaca
Parent range Sierra Madre Oriental

The Sierra Madre de Oaxaca is a mountain range in southern Mexico. It begins at Pico de Orizaba and extends in a southeasterly direction for 300 km (190 miles) until reaching the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Peaks in the Sierra Madre de Oaxaca average 2,500 m (8200 ft) in elevation, with some peaks exceeding 3,000 m (9800 ft).

The eastern slopes of the range are wetter, intercepting moisture-laden winds from the Gulf of Mexico. A number of drier valleys lie to the west, in the rain shadow of the range. The Sierra Madre de Oaxaca pine-oak forests lie above 1600 m (5200 ft) elevation. The humid Oaxacan montane forests lie below 1600 metres (5200 feet) elevation on the eastern slopes, above the Veracruz lowlands. To the east, the xeric Tehuacan Valley matorral occupies the Tehuacan valley to the northwest, the Jalisco dry forests occupy the upper basin of the Santo Domingo River, which lies in the rain shadow of the Sierra, and the Southern Pacific dry forests lie to the south along the Pacific coast, extending into the upper basin of the Tehuantepec River and the Valley of Oaxaca.

People and towns

Ixtlan de Juarez is an Important Zapotec Town in the Sierra Juarez region

Culturally and geographically, the Sierra Madre de Oaxaca can be split into many smaller sierras, each with unique environments and human inhabitants. In the northwest of Oaxaca State lies the Sierra Mazateca, whose elevation scarcely exceeds 2,600 meters. Homeland of the Mazatec people, it contains the important towns Huautla de Jiménez, Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón, and Jalapa de Díaz. Its most unique peak, albeit not its highest, is Cerro Rabon, the whale shaped Holy Mountain of the Mazatecs. South of the Sierra Mazateca lies the Sierra de Cuicatlan, a range which divides the low canyon lands of Cuicatlan from the Sierra Juarez to the west and is home to the Cuicatec people. The Sierra Juárez is the land of the Sierra Zapotecs and birthplace of Mexico's only indigenous president, Benito Juárez. The main towns of the Sierra Juarez are Ixtlan de Juárez, San Ildefonso Villa Alta, and Villa Hidalgo Yalalag. North of the Sierra Juárez lies the Sierra Chinanteca, home to Chinantec towns such as Santiago Comaltepec, San Pedro Yolóx And San Felipe Usila. Finally to the east, as the Sierra Madre de Oaxaca descends towards the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, lies the Sierra Mixe, home to the Mixe people, descendants of the Ancient Olmecs of Mexico's Gulf Coast. The major Mixe centers are San Pablo & San Pedro Ayutla, Santiago Zacatepec, and Santa María Totontepec, and the major peak of the area is Zempoateptl, the sacred mountain of the Mixe people.

Famous people

María Sabina
Ricardo Flores Magón (left) and his brother Enrique in the Los Angeles County Jail, 1916.

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