Tehuantepec (Spanish pronunciation: [tewanteˈpek], in full, Santo Domingo Tehuantepec) is a city and municipality in the southeast of the Mexican state of Oaxaca. It is part of the Tehuantepec District in the west of the Istmo Region. The area was important in pre-Hispanic period as part of a trade route that connected Central America with what is now the center of Mexico. Later it became a secondary capital of the Zapotec dominion before it was conquered by the Spanish in the early 16th century.
The city is still the center of Zapotec culture in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and is the second largest in the region. The city is known for its women and their traditional dress, which was adopted by Frida Kahlo. Tehuantepec has a reputation for being a “matriarchal society.” Women do dominate the local markets and are known to taunt men. However, political power is still the domain of men. The city experienced a short economic boom in the early 20th century related to a rail line that was built linking the two oceans, but it was soon eclipsed by the Panama Canal. There have been plans to resurrect the line linking the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific Ocean but financing has been a problem.
Tehuantepec is the second largest city on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in the south of Mexico. Founded by the Zapotecs in the period just before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, Tehuantepec remains the center of Zapotec culture in the Isthmus. One important symbol of this culture is the image of a Zapotec woman from the area called La Tehuana. In the 2000s, a sculpture of this figure was created by Miguel Hernández Urbán from the State of Mexico. The sculpture is found at the main entrance to the city of Tehuantepec, made of local marble and fine wood along with stainless steel brought from Mexico City. The work made Hernández an "adopted son" of the city. The city remains home to many traditions and customs which are centuries old, with many, especially in the market, still favoring the Zapotec language over Spanish.
The Tehuana dress is one of the most iconic, recognized and admired mexican customs all over the world. It belongs to the Zapotec Women that live at the Istmo de Tehuantepec in Oaxaca. It is used in the civil parties and religious, because of that it says that it is a -Traje vivo- live custom.
On April 24, 1863, the 10 Mexican pesos bill that showed the image of a Tehuana began to circulate, which contributed to the popularization of this suit.