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What was San Miguel like before the Spanish conquest?

By Robin Loving Rowland

John F. Kennedy said, “History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future.” This begs the question: What is our history? We all know something of our pasts, but what about the past in our current region, the Bajío of Mexico. To answer this question, David Wright, PhD, an expert on the history of our region, will present “The Bajío Before the Conquest” at the Rotary Club of San Miguel de Allende – Midday, Tuesday, April 22, at 12:30pm at Hotel Misión el Molino at Salida a Querétaro 1 (across from Los Pinos where La Pulga is held monthly).

Rotary Club
“Historic People of the Bajío”
Tue, Apr 22, 12:30pm
Hotel Misión el Molino
Salida a Querétaro 1

The Bajío region is the drainage basin of the Lerma River, from the Valley of Querétaro to León, including the Laja River area where San Miguel de Allende is located. During the pre-Hispanic era this region straddled the northern frontier of Mesoamerican civilization.

The Bajío was the meeting place of urban Mesoamericans and the northern Chichimecas, a generic name for several groups of nomadic or semi-nomadic hunters and gatherers. The eastern half of the Bajío was probably inhabited by speakers of Otopamean languages (Otomí, Pame and Chichimeco-Jonaz), while the western half was populated by Yutonahuans (Nahua, Guamar and Guachichil). The Tarascans also played a role in the ancient culturas of the Bajío.

Dr. Wright will present a brief trans-disciplinary view of human settlement in this region, incorporating linguistic prehistory, archaeological data and historical sources.

He attended the University of Michigan before obtaining his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Instituto Allende, and his PhD from El Colegio de Michoacán. He is an expert in the relationships between culture, language and writing among the Otomí during pre-Hispanic and early colonial periods.

Dr. Wright has been a faculty member in the School of Philosophy and Literature at the University of Guanajuato, where he taught  Náhuatl, among other subjects. He also has taught and done research there in the History Department. He currently is a member of the faculty of the Department of Visual Arts, where he has done research on the native peoples of Guanajuato and the Otomí art.

He has published numerous books, articles and papers on these subjects, and currently is preparing texts on the pictorial writing of central Mexico. Some of his research has been under the auspices of the University of Texas, Harvard and Princeton. In addition, he has served as a member of the Committee of Experts for the World Conference on Linguistic Rights.

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