By: Teresa Palomo Acosta

Type: General Entry

Published: November 1, 1994

Updated: August 7, 2020

Aztlán, the name of the legendary homeland of the Aztecs that covered the area of Mexico and the southwestern United States, was used as a name of political power, cultural renewal, and nationalism during the 1970s Chicano movement. Although there is no clear evidence for the existence of Aztlán in either Mexico or the Southwest, "El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán," a manifesto written in 1969 by Alurista, a poet, called on Hispanic Americans to unite and rescue their homeland from domination by Anglos. In Texas the idea was promoted by the Raza Unida party, which was established in Crystal City in 1970. The plan advocated that Mexican Texans control their education, economy, politics, and culture. In El Paso in September 1972 delegates to the first national convention of Raza Unida established El Congreso de Aztlán, a national assembly charged with organizing a political agenda.

The Centro Aztlán of Laredo, a volunteer community services agency, provided assistance with immigration or welfare problems, offered cultural awareness classes, and kept books on Mexican-American history in its library. During the 1970s Tejidos and Caracol, two literary vehicles of the Chicano Literary Renaissance in Texas, published literary works inspired by Aztlán, and Tejano writers promoted statewide activities. Several movement newspapers added the word Aztlán to their titles. El Éxito and La Verdad, published in Beeville and Crystal City, respectively, used it on their mastheads. In 1989 Aztlán, Essays on the Chicano Homeland, edited by Rudolfo Anaya and Francisco Lomelí, brought together the various interpretations of the term.

José Ángel Gutiérrez Papers, Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Peoples
  • Mexican Americans
  • Activism and Social Reform

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Teresa Palomo Acosta, “Aztlán,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 19, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994
August 7, 2020

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