Totonaks ( Nahuatl : "people from the hot country") or Tachiwin (also Tachihuiin ) are the names of the Totonak- speaking inhabitants of the central Gulf coast of Mexico . While Totonaca is the name given by the Aztecs , they call themselves Tachiwin .
The origins of the classic Gulf Coast cultures (e.g. El Tajín ) have often been ascribed to them, as they settled in these areas at the time of the Spanish conquest of Mexico . However, no evidence for this assumption has yet been found.
Around 1000 AD the Totonaks, coming from the mountainous areas of Puebla, spread to the Gulf coast. Its center was the city of Cempoala about 40 kilometers north of today's city of Veracruz in the state of the same name . The Spanish conquerors estimated the population at 30,000 and admired the underground aqueducts in the city. The Totonaks achieved particular mastery in the production of hollow ceramic figures, the freely modeled forms of which can already be demonstrated in this area for the classical period. They also created alabaster vessels often decorated with animal figures. Around 1460 the Totonaks were subjugated by the Aztecs and made tribute. To get rid of it, they supported the Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortés in his campaign of conquest against the Aztecs.
The most important cult center of the Totonaks was El Tajín , which was later replaced by Cempoala, but Yohualichan , about 60 km south of El Tajín, was also significant in its heyday. Smaller sites were Cuyuxquihui , El Zapotal and earlier probably also Huatusco .