Zapotec Indians, an Indian people that once dominated much of southwestern Mexico. They created an advanced civilization centered in the city of Monte Alban, in what is now the state of Oaxaca. The Zapotec empire arose around 1500 B.C. and reached its highest point about 750 A.D. The ruins of Monte Alban contain large plazas, temples, and other structures, as well as many stelae (stone slabs) that have hieroglyphic text carved on them. Thousands of Zapotec still live in the state of Oaxaca and speak Zapotec dialects. Most are farmers. Some Zapotec are also skilled potters and weavers. Their products are sold worldwide.