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From then until 1500 CE, social organization of the region fragmented into much smaller units and social structure became much less complex.
Soon after, the encomienda system was introduced, which reduced most of the indigenous population to serfs and many even as slaves, paid as a form of tribute.
The conquistadors brought previously unknown diseases. This, as well as overwork on plantations, dramatically decreased the indigenous population.
The first coat of arms of the region dates from 1535 as that of the Ciudad Real (San Cristóbal de las Casas).
Chiapas painter Javier Vargas Ballinas designed the modern coat of arms.
Much of the state’s history is centered on the subjugation of these peoples with occasional rebellions.
The last of these rebellions was the 1994 Zapatista uprising, which succeeded in obtaining new rights for indigenous Españoles (1528), with the name of Provincia de Chiapas for the area around the cities.
Other important population centers in Chiapas include Ocosingo, Tapachula, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Comitán and Arriaga.
It is the southernmost state, bordered by the states of Oaxaca to the west, Veracruz to the northwest and Tabasco to the north, and by the Petén, Quiché, Huehuetenango and San Marcos departments of Guatemala to the east and southeast.
Among these cities are Palenque, Bonampak, Yaxchilan, Chinkultic, Toniná and Tenón.
The Mayan civilization had extensive trade networks and large markets trading in goods such as animal skins, indigo, amber, vanilla and quetzal feathers.
Chiapas is home to the ancient Mayan ruins of Palenque, Yaxchilán, Bonampak, Chinkultic and Toniná.