The Purepecha Empire Speculation

Well, it’s a very ignored civilization, but it has good chances to be a contender in this game or another in the saga.

Clarification with the name: Tarascan is an insult from the Spanish conquistadors to the people of Michoacan (the “michhuahqueh”). “Purepechas” is how is called the mayor ethnic group of the empire, so is most correct name although things like the Medieval 2 Total War Game have popularized the term tarascans (that game also represents them in a rather poor way).
Although there were definitely Nahuas in the empire, in many the Purepecha ethnic group is not usually considered as “nahualli”, so this may refer to some of the many refugees who lived under the empire due to Mexica expansionism: Zacatecos Chichimeca, Otomies, Nahuas, etc.
This empire was founded in the current state of Michoacan in Mexico and was a theocracy whose capital was the city of Tzitzunzan. Initially they were hunters and fishermen who with sedentarization added agriculture, they also had use and knowledge of bronze, it is possible that due to contact with peoples who already handled copper such as the Mixtecs or even from territories further south such as the Andes thanks to the pacific coast route, although it is less likely.

For a time, they were a triarchy in order to maintain a most efficient administration, but the Mexica invasions force the reunification. In war they were particularly good at ambushing and their use of the bow was something that transcended hunting and warfare, to take on a ritual aspect, in fact their rulers used to be buried with their bows. The size of the Purepecha bows is not clear, but according to the representations they had both long and short bows. It does not seem that they use the macahuitl much, at least it is conspicuous by its absence in the mentions and representations (already exist a few of it), but perhaps it is because they preferred the use of maces with bronze spikes and bundles of the same material. They wore padded protections of hardened cotton in the form of nightgowns or closed vests.


  • Villagers gather 35% faster from hunt.
  • Trade Boat 30% faster.
  • Units move 15% faster in forest and gains +2 damage when they attack from a forest.
  • Fishing boats carry +10%.
  • Age Advancement use the Yacatas building.

Political, ceremonial and burial center of the rulers. Here the Cazonci is recruited and makes the age advancement choosing one doctrine:

  • Tributary System: All villagers gathering resource rate increases in 10% and resource deposits -50% cost. The Cazonci aura inspire the villagers to work 5% faster.
  • Military Superiority: Military units costs is reduced in 10%. The Cazonci aura increase the nearby unit attack speed in 20%.
  • Metallurgy Impulse: Blacksmith technologies -20% cost, +1 damage to all units. The Cazonci gains a +5 in damage and +1/+1 armor.
  • Religious Festivals: Priest and Cazonci healing rate 30% faster. Temples work 20% faster and priest cost -10%.
  • Divided Administration: The Cazonci limit increases in 1. Cazonci aura increases the villagers resource gathering and building speed in 10%.


  • Cazonci: Purepecha monarch, priests, politics and warriors. Can heal, take relics (in age III), shoot with a bow and fight with an axe in melee. Every age the Cazonci stats have an upgrade.
  • Quangariecha (The brave ones): Similar to the Streltsy is a hybrid unit, in range use a short bow with short range and in melee use a mace and shield. In this time the unit count as a heavy infantry.

This aren´t unique units, but only are shared with other civs like mexicas and other possibilities like Mayans and Incas.

  • Slinger: Fast shoot and move unit, but don´t deals much damage.
  • Javelin Thrower: Replaces the crossbowmen and have bonus damage against ranged units.
  • Axeman: Replaces the Man-At-Arms, have less armor but more speed.
  • Canoe: Cheap, fast and weak archer ship.


  • *Theocratical Leaders: * Priests give a +3 of attack to the units they are healing.
  • Zacatecans Refuges: Archers can enter in stealth mode and shoot one arrow before abandon it.
  • Otomi Refuges: -15% cost for the Axeman and javelin thrower.
  • Ceremonial Bow: Archers and Quangariecha in the Cazonci aura shoots 20% faster.
  • People Of The Bow: Archers +2 of damage.
  • Matlatzincas Refuges: Javelin Throwers -15% cost.
  • Matlatnzinca / Mazahua Refuges: Slinges gains a macahuitl for a better melee combat and trains 15% faster.


Although the majority of the Mesoamerican peoples shared the use of stone, each case was different, the Purepechas, for example, seem to have used carved bricks (something that not all of them did) and that most of the houses were shacks, however these also they used to be painted, red being a common color. The cities, being built on hills, used to have some staggered platform areas to facilitate transit through them.

Next Civ: Mayas


Absolutely top tier content here.

I love how different native-american architecture is. It’s a very interesting way of construction design they are go for. And even more fascinating consider the tools they had available for construction.

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