Colonial History of Oaxaca
After several attempts the Spanish finally got a foothold in the Oaxaca province and founded the city of Oaxaca in 1529. Their arrival gave rise to the production of some beautiful colonial architecture and some careful city planning from both an aesthetic and practical point of view. Centred around the Zócalo, Oaxaca's historic colonial centre has been protected by UNESCO for its neat grid design and edifices constructed to withstand earthquakes. However, during the three centuries that followed the Spanish also proceded to disrupt much of Oaxaca's cultural harmony and diversity.
Their keen desire to cash in on the gold and silver deposits which had been found in the region led to a huge expansion on the mining industry - many native inhabitants were forced down mines in unsafe conditions, never to return. The diseases brought by the Spanish also resulted in the loss of many lives and in an extremely short time over two thirds of Oaxaca's indigenous population had ceased to exist.