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What is the meaning of Calpulli? Concept and Definition of Calpulli


Definition of Calpulli

Concepto de Calpulli

1. Concept of Calpulli

Calpulli was a social unit complex, own Aztec society. It was composed of several families who were responsible for very different functions. You could say that it was one of the higher classes of society. Sometimes, several calpulli were United in neighborhoods and often specialize in a craft or professional activity.
In the city of Tenochtitlan, the division was made in four sectors, neighborhoods or campan: Atzacualco, Teopán, Mayotla and Cuepopan, in each of which had up to five calpulli, i.e., a total of twenty for the whole city. Finally those calpulli were divided into streets or tlaxilacalli.
In pre-Columbian society Azteca, a Calpulli (from the Nahuatl [kalpo:lli] meaning "large house") was the designation of an organizational unit below the level of the Altepetl "City-State". A Nahua State was divided into a number of calpullis that each constituted a unit where they were collectively responsible for the inhabitants of the calpulli of various tasks of organization and religious in relation to the largest. Calpullis controlled land which was available for the calpulli members to grow and also operated the Telpochcalli schools for young men of a more common descent. The nature among members of the calpulli is a matter of debate. It has traditionally argued that the calpulli was firstly a family unit where the inhabitants with blood and intermatrimonio were related. Other scholars such Van Zantwijk (1985) as denying that this was necessarily the case and it shows that at least in some nature based family of the calpulli was replaced by a hierarchical structure based on wealth and prestige where allowed to newcomers, register and become part of the calpulli. Michael Smith (2003) shows that in some Nahua cities, notably Otumba, each calpulli specialized in trade and almost took the form of a trade Guild.

Calpullis of Tenochtitlan

The rooms of Tenochtitlan, Aztec capital, they were also known as calpulli, the exact number of calpullis within the city was an approximate number of 20 calpullis, 8 of which represented the original groups of Foundation of Tenochtitlan and the 12 remaining were composed of groups coming to the city later in its development points. Below is a list of the twenty calpullis of Tenochtitlan based on data from Van Zantwijk (1985)

2. Definition of Calpulli

The term calpulli means "big houses" and was used to designate units of Aztec society consisting of fictitious relatives, i.e. people who believed to descend from a same ancestor, who usually was a mythological being. All lived in the same sector of the city, in common, exercising the ownership of the land which had been allocated to them. There were 20 calpullis composed Mexica originating as by strangers who had fused with the Aztec nation in Tenochtitlan. By their function resembles a clan; However, among its members, there were differences in wealth, social position and power. Hence them is called Conic clan, whose top was occupied by those who were most closely related to the founding ancestor; the base was the vast majority of its components.
The calpulli was, moreover, a religious and military unit. Members worshipped a God himself in temples erected within their lands, and fought in the same task. For this purpose they received military training in the telpochcalli, or school of warriors, each calpulli maintained.
Chief of them was the calpullec, designated with life, within the same family, by other members of the calpulli. It acted as a judge in minor disputes, representing the calpulli Aztec Council, directed the education of the children and, above all, distributed the land among families according to the number of components.
Statistical evidence shows that the majority of the 20 calpullis inhabited one of the sectors of Tenochtitlan: the corresponding to the peasants, which indicates that its importance was directly related to the functions that its most prominent members were.

3 Meaning of Calpulli

It received the name of "calpulli", "large house" in nahualt language, the territory that corresponded to a family group or clan, composed of descendants of an ancestor in common, equal lineage, in the territory of Mexico, corresponding to the tribes of Aztec or Mexica, before the Spanish conquest.
Each "calpulli", was a unit of political, religious and military, within cities, which gathered in lathe to a Patriarch or head and was farmland. They were self-sufficient, and the work of Community type.
In addition to the Chief, "the capullis" had a priest, a Council of elders, a Treasurer and a painter of books that represent its history. Calpullis groups gave rise to tribes, whose authority resided in tips, which, in turn, subordinate to a Chief of State or Emperor, called hueytlatoani, owner of all power, with elected Office.
Each "calpulli" should pay taxes to the State, and must deliver the goods to the collector, called teteucin. In general, each calpuli had a specific category of economic exploitation, in the manner of a Guild, with labor specialization according to the needs of the whole.
In Tenochtitlan, capital, since its Foundation, field was divided into four zones, which were stacked four quarters according to the four directions of the universe, and who called themselves Cueopopan, Moyotlan and Atzacoalco Zoquiapan. Within these districts were established the "calpullis", five each, forming smaller neighborhoods. The fifth district that Tenochtitlan was Tlatelolco, which had erected on a neighbouring Islet in dissent with the original division, but which was then annexed by force.


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