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  Oaxaca (English /wəˈhɑːkə/ wə-hah-kə, Spanish: [waˈxaka], from Nahuatl: Huaxyacac [waːsʃakak]), officially Free and Sovereign State of Oaxaca (Spanish: Estado Libre y Soberano de Oaxaca), is one of the 31 states which, along with the Federal District, make up the 32 federative entities of Mexico.

It is divided into 571 municipalities; of which 418 (almost three quarters) are governed by the system of Usos y costumbres (customs and traditions) with recognized local forms of self governance. Its capital city is Oaxaca de Juárez. It is located in Southwestern Mexico. It is bordered by the states of Guerrero to the west, Puebla to the northwest, Veracruz to the north, Chiapas to the east.

To the south, Oaxaca has a significant coastline on the Pacific Ocean. The state is best known for its indigenous peoples and cultures. The most numerous and best known are the Zapotecs and the Mixtecs, but there are sixteen that are officially recognized. These cultures have survived better than most others in Mexico due to the state's rugged and isolating terrain. Most live in the Central Valleys region, which is also an important area for tourism, attracting people for its archeological sites such as Monte Albán, native culture and crafts.

Another important tourist area is the coast, which has the major resort of Huatulco. Oaxaca is also one of the most biologically diverse states in Mexico, ranking in the top three, along with Chiapas and Veracruz, for numbers of reptiles, amphibians, mammals and plants.

The arts

From the latter half of the 20th century, the state has produced a number of notable painters such as Rufino Tamayo, Rodolfo Nieto, Rodolfo Morales, and Francisco Toledo. These four painters have been influential in the establishment of new movements of art from the state. These movements have spurred exhibitions, galleries, museums and schools such as the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (MACO) and Instituto de Artes Gráficas de Oaxaca (IAGO).

Many of today's artists from Oaxaca have been inspired by past indigenous paintings as well as the colonial era works of Miguel Cabrera.

The state has not produced as many writers as painters but some important names include Adalberto Carriedo, Jacobo Dalevuelta, Andrés Henestrosa and Natalia Toledo.

Music and dance are almost inextricably linked to the state's folkloric heritage. Even more modern composers such as Macedonio Alcalá, Samuel, Mondragón Noriega and José López Alavés are strongly influenced by traditional melodies. Traditional music and dance has its roots in the indigenous traditions that existed long before the Spanish arrived. To these traditions were added elements from European culture and Catholicism.

The three main traditions to be found in the state are those of the Zapotecs and the Mixtecs, with a small but distinct community of Afro-Mexicans. Some of the best known dances include Los Diablos, La Tortuga, Las Mascaritas and Los Tejorones. In the Afro-Mexican Costa Chica region, a dance called Las Chilenas stands out. La Sandunga is a song that typifies the musical style of the Tehuantepec region and a musical style called "son bioxho" is an endemic form of the son style played with drums, an empty tortoise shell and a reed flute.

Interesting links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oaxaca

www.allaboutoaxaca.com

http://www.oaxaca-travel.com/

http://traveltips.usatoday.com/oaxaca-mx-21615.html