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LETTERS TO THE EDITORS

Ancient Blow-ups

To the Editors:

In "Volcano Myths and Rituals" (Macroscope, January-February), John Dvorak states that the Aztecs revered the volcano Momotombo in Nicaragua as a symbol of defiance against the Spanish conquistadors. However, I don't think the Aztecs controlled or had any presence in Nicaragua during the time of the explosion of this volcano, or at any other point.

Roger X. Navas-Balladares
Sherman Oaks, CA

Dr. Dvorak responds:

It is true that the Aztec Empire was confined to a portion of modern Mexico and did not extend to Nicaragua. There was a cultural and linguistic similarity between the Aztecs and the people of central and western Nicaragua. But those people were politically independent of the Aztecs.

In my article, I used "Aztec" as a general term for the pre-Columbian cultures of Mexico and Central America. I thought the term would be easier for the general reader to understand than the more cumbersome "pre-Columbian Mesoamericans."


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