Aymara people

Last updated
Aymara
Aymara jujuy (sephia) 1870.jpg
Aymara people in Jujuy Province, c. 1870.
Total population
2,324,675 [1] [2] [3] [4]
Regions with significant populations
Flag of Bolivia.svg  Bolivia 1,598,807 [1]
Flag of Peru.svg  Peru 548,292 [2]
Flag of Chile.svg  Chile 156,754 [3]
Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 20,822 [4]
Languages
AymaraSpanish
Religion
Roman CatholicismPachamamaProtestantism • Other Indigenous Religions
Related ethnic groups
Quechuas, Urus

The Aymara or Aimara (Aymara : aymara Loudspeaker.svg listen  ) people are an indigenous nation in the Andes and Altiplano regions of South America; about 2.3 million live in Bolivia, Peru and Chile. Their ancestors lived in the region for many centuries before becoming a subject people of the Inca in the late 15th or early 16th century, and later of the Spanish in the 16th century. With the Spanish American Wars of Independence (1810–25), the Aymaras became subjects of the new nations of Bolivia and Peru. After the War of the Pacific (1879–83), Chile annexed territory with Aymara population. [5]

Contents

History

Aymara poncho, 17th or 18th century Aymara poncho 17th or 18th century.jpg
Aymara poncho, 17th or 18th century

Archeologists have found evidence that the Aymaras have occupied the Andes, in what is now western Bolivia for at least 800 years (or more than 5,000 years, according to some estimates, but it is more likely that they are descended from preceding cultures). Their origin is a matter of scientific dispute. [ citation needed ] The region where Tiwanaku and the modern Aymaras are located, the Altiplano, was conquered by the Incas under Huayna Capac (reign 1483–1523), although the exact date of this takeover is unknown. It is most likely that the Inca had a strong influence over the Aymara region for some time. Though conquered by the Inca, the Aymaras retained some degree of autonomy under the empire.

The Spanish arrived to the western portions of South America in 1535. Soon after, by 1538, they subdued the Aymara. Initially, the Aymara exercised their own distinct culture now free of Incan influence (earlier conquered by the Spanish) but acculturation and assimilation by the Spanish was rapid. Many Aymara at this turbulent time became laborers at mines and agricultural fields. In the subsequent colonial era, the Aymara were organized into eleven tribes which were the Canchi, Caranga, Charca, Colla, Collagua, Collahuaya, Omasuyo, Lupaca, Quillaca, Ubina, and Pacasa. Aymara used many of the agricultural and technological techniques from the Spanish like the use of plows, draft animals, wheat, barley, sheep, cattle, and plank boats for fishing, However, the Aymara still engaged in traditional occupations like raising Alpacas, growing native crops, and net fishing. [6]

In response to colonial exploitation by the Spanish and elite in the fields of agriculture, mining, coca harvesting, domestic work and more the Aymara (along with others) staged a rebellion in 1629. This was followed by a more significant uprising mostly by Aymaras in 1780 in which the Aymara almost captured the city of La Paz and many Spaniards were killed. This rebellion would be put down by the Spanish two years later. However uprisings would continue to occur against Spanish rule intermittently until Peruvian independence in 1821. [6]

The major reforms caused by the Bolivian Revolution of 1952 resulted in the Aymara being more integrated into mainstream Bolivian society. This also caused many Aymara to become severed or not affiliated with their native communities any longer. Most Bolivian Aymara today engage in farming, construction, mining, and working in factories though a growing number are now in professional work. The Aymara language (along with Quechua) are now official languages in Bolivia and there has been a rise of programs to assist the Aymara and their native lands. [6]

Puerta del Sol, Tiwanaku, Bolivia Tiwanaku6.jpg
Puerta del Sol, Tiwanaku, Bolivia

Linguists have learned that Aymara was once spoken much further north, at least as far north as central parts of Peru. Most Andean linguists believe that it is likely that the Aymara originated or coalesced as a people in this area (see 'Geography' below).

The Aymaras overran and displaced the Uru, an older population from the Lake Titicaca and Lake Poopó regions. The Uru lived in this area as recently as the 1930s. [7]

Geography

Distribution of Aymaras through Bolivia's municipios Distribucion de los aymaras por municipios (censo nacional 2001).png
Distribution of Aymaras through Bolivia's municipios

Most present-day Aymara-speakers live in the Lake Titicaca basin, a territory from Lake Titicaca through the Desaguadero River and into Lake Poopo (Oruro, Bolivia) also known as the Altiplano. They are concentrated south of the lake. The capital of the ancient Aymara civilization is unknown. According to research by Cornell University anthropologist John Murra, there were at least seven different kingdoms. The capital of the Lupaqa Kingdom may be the city of Chucuito, located on the shore of Lake Titicaca.

The present urban center of the Aymara region may be El Alto, a 750,000-person city near the Bolivian capital, La Paz. For most of the 20th century, the center of cosmopolitan Aymara culture might've been Chuquiago Marka (La Paz). Bolivia's capital might have had moved from Sucre to La Paz during the government of General Pando (died in 1917) and during the Bolivian Civil War.

Distribution of pre-Hispanic peoples in Chile. North is to the right of the map. Pueblos indigenas de Chile.svg
Distribution of pre-Hispanic peoples in Chile. North is to the right of the map.

Culture

The Wiphala, flag of the Aymara
Traditional Aymara ceremony in Copacabana, on the border of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia Aymara ceremony copacabana 4.jpg
Traditional Aymara ceremony in Copacabana, on the border of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia

The Aymara flag is known as the Wiphala; it consists of seven colors quilted together with diagonal stripes.

The native language of the Aymaras is Aymara. Many of Aymaras speak Spanish as a second or first language, when it is the predominant language in the areas where they live. The Aymara language has one surviving relative, spoken by a small, isolated group of about 1,000 people far to the north in the mountains inland from Lima in Central Peru (in and around the village of Tupe, Yauyos province, Lima department). This language, whose two varieties are known as Jaqaru and Kawki, [8] is of the same family as Aymara. Some linguists refer to this language as 'Central Aymara.' 'Southern Aymara' is the language spoken most widely and is spoken by people of the Titicaca region.

Most of contemporary Aymaran urban culture was developed in the working-class Aymara neighborhoods of La Paz, such as Chijini and others. Both Quechua and Aymara women in Peru and Bolivia took up the style of wearing bowler hats since the 1920s. According to legend, a shipment of bowler hats was sent from Europe to Bolivia via Peru for use by Europeans working on railroad construction. When the hats were found to be too small, they were given to the indigenous peoples. [9] The luxurious, elegant and cosmopolitan Aymara Chola dress, which is an icon of Bolivia (bowler hat, aguayo, heavy pollera, skirts, boots, jewellery, etc.) began and evolved in La Paz. It is an urban tradition of dress. This style of dress has become part of ethnic identification by Aymara women. Many Aymara live and work as campesinos in the surrounding Altiplano.

The Aymaras have grown and chewed coca plants for centuries, using its leaves in traditional medicine as well as in ritual offerings to the father god Inti (Sun) and the mother goddess Pachamama (Earth). During the last century, there has been conflict with state authorities over this plant during drug wars; the officials have carried out coca eradication to prevent the extraction and isolation of the drug cocaine. But, the ritual use of coca has a central role in the indigenous religions of both the Aymaras and the Quechuas. Coca is used in the ritual curing ceremonies of the yatiri. Since the late 20th century, its ritual use has become a symbol of cultural identity.

Chairo is a traditional stew of the Aymaras. It is made of chuño (potato starch), onions, carrots, potatoes, white corn, beef and wheat kernels. It also contains herbs such as coriander and spices. It is native to the region of La Paz.

Religion and mythology

Most modern Aymara practice a syncretic form of Catholicism infused with natives practices and beliefs. Soon after the Spanish conquest, Jesuits and Dominican priests began to convert and proselytize among the Aymara. However, the Aymara continued to practice their native faith and only nominally accepted Christianity. Modern Aymara spirituality includes many syncretic beliefs like folk healing, divination, magic, and more. However, when it comes to the beliefs about the afterlife, the Aymara subscribe to a more standard view as found in traditional Christianity. [6]

In Aymara mythology llamas are important beings. The Heavenly Llama is said to drink water from the ocean and urinate it as rain. [10] According to Aymara eschatology llamas will return to the water springs and lagoons where they come from at the end of time. [10]

Politics

Literacy class in El Alto Bolivia la paz literacy LOC.jpg
Literacy class in El Alto

The Aymaras and other indigenous groups have formed numerous movements for greater independence or political power. These include the Tupac Katari Guerrilla Army, led by Felipe Quispe, and the Movement Towards Socialism, a political party organized by the Cocalero Movement and Evo Morales. These and other Aymara organizations have led political activism in Bolivia, including the 2003 Bolivian Gas War and the 2005 Bolivia protests.

Quispe has said that one of his group's goals is to establish an independent indigenous state. They have proposed the name Qullasuyu, after the eastern (and largely Aymara) region of the Inca empire, which covered the southeastern corner of present-day Peru and western Bolivia.

Evo Morales is an Aymara coca grower from the Chaparé region. His Movement Toward Socialism party has forged alliances with both rural indigenous groups and urban working classes to form a broad leftist coalition in Bolivia. Morales has run for president in several elections since the late 20th century, gaining increasing support. In 2005 he won a surprise victory, winning the largest majority vote since Bolivia returned to democracy. He is the first indigenous president of Bolivia. He is credited with the ousting of Bolivia's previous two presidents.

Aymaras themselves make significant distinctions between Bolivian and Chilean Aymaras with the aim of establishing by nationality whom to have say on local issues and who not. [5]

See also

Related Research Articles

Bolivia Landlocked country in South America

Bolivia, officially the Plurinational State of Bolivia, is a landlocked country located in western-central South America. The constitutional capital is Sucre, while the seat of government and executive capital is La Paz. The largest city and principal industrial center is Santa Cruz de la Sierra, located on the Llanos Orientales, a mostly flat region in the east of the country.

Geography of Bolivia

The geography of Bolivia includes the Eastern Andes Mountain Range which bisects Bolivia roughly from north to south. To the east of that mountain chain are lowland plains of the Amazon Basin, and to the west is the Altiplano which is a highland plateau where Lake Titicaca is located. Bolivia's geography has features similar to those of Peru which abuts Bolivia's northwest border; like Bolivia, Peru is bisected from north to south by the Eastern Andes Mountains, and these two countries share Lake Titicaca which is the highest navigable lake on Earth. Unlike Peru, however, Bolivia is one of the two landlocked countries in South America, the other being Paraguay which is located along Bolivia's southeast border.

Lake Titicaca Alpine lake in Peru and Bolivia

Lake Titicaca is a large, deep, freshwater lake in the Andes on the border of Bolivia and Peru, often called the "highest navigable lake" in the world. By volume of water and by surface area, it is the largest lake in South America.

Oruro, Bolivia City in Oruro Department, Bolivia

Oruro or Uru Uru is a city in Bolivia with a population of 264,683, about halfway between La Paz and Sucre in the Altiplano, approximately 3,709 meters (12,169 ft) above sea level.

Aymara language native language in South America

Aymara is an Aymaran language spoken by the Aymara people of the Andes. It is one of only a handful of Native American languages with over one million speakers. Aymara, along with Spanish, is an official language in Bolivia and Peru. It is also spoken, to a much lesser extent, by some communities in southern Peru and in northern Chile, where it is a recognized minority language.

Puno Place in Peru

Puno is a city in southeastern Peru, located on the shore of Lake Titicaca. It is the capital city of the Puno Region and the Puno Province with a population of approximately 140,839. The city was established in 1668 by viceroy Pedro Antonio Fernández de Castro as capital of the province of Paucarcolla with the name San Juan Bautista de Puno. The name was later changed to San Carlos de Puno, in honor of king Charles II of Spain. Puno has several churches dating back from the colonial period; they were built to service the Spanish population and evangelize the natives.

Department of Puno Departments of Peru

Puno is a department in southeastern Peru. It is bordered by Bolivia on the east, the departments of Madre de Dios on the north, Cusco and Arequipa on the west, Moquegua on the southwest, and Tacna on the south. Its capital is the city of Puno, which is located on Lake Titicaca in the geographical region known as the Altiplano or high sierra.

Altiplano Plateau in west-central South America

The Altiplano, Collao or Andean Plateau, in west-central South America, is the area where the Andes are the widest. It is the most extensive area of high plateau on Earth outside Tibet. The bulk of the Altiplano lies in Bolivia, but its northern parts lie in Peru, and its southern parts lie in Chile and Argentina.

Lake Poopó salt lake

Lake Poopó is a large saline lake located in a shallow depression in the Altiplano Mountains in Oruro Department, Bolivia, at an altitude of approximately 3,700 m (12,100 ft). Because the lake was long and wide, it made up the eastern half of the department, known as a mining region in southwest Bolivia. The permanent part of the lake body covered approximately 1,000 square kilometres (390 sq mi) and it was the second-largest lake in the country. The lake received most of its water from the Desaguadero River, which flows from Lake Titicaca at the north end of the Altiplano. Since the lake lacked any major outlet and had a mean depth of less than 3 m (10 ft), the surface area differed greatly on a seasonal basis.

Quechua people ethnic group indigenous to South America

Quechua people or Quecha people, may refer to any of the indigenous people of South America who speak the Quechua languages, which originated among the indigenous people of Peru. Although most Quechua speakers are native to the country of origin, there are some significant populations living in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Argentina.

The Uru language, more specifically known as Iru-Itu, and Uchumataqu, is an extinct language formerly spoken by the Uru people. In 2004, it had 2 remaining native speakers out of an ethnic group of 140 people in the La Paz Department, Bolivia near Lake Titicaca, the rest having shifted to Aymara and Spanish. The language is close enough to the Chipaya language to sometimes be considered a dialect of that language.

After the fall of Tiwanaku Empire, the many Aymara Lake Titicaca were conquered by the Inca Empire. Prior to the Spanish conquest, the Andean province of Qullasuyu was a part of the Inca empire, while the northern and eastern lowlands were inhabited by independent nomadic tribes. Spanish conquistadors, arriving from Cuzco and Asunción took control of the region in the 16th century. During most of the Spanish colonial rule, Bolivia was known as Upper Peru and administered by the Royal Audiencia of Charcas. After the 1st call for independence in 1809, 16 years of war followed before the establishment of the Bolivian Republic, named for the Liberator Simón Bolívar, on 6 August 1825. Since then Bolivia has endured regular periods of political and economic instability, including the loss of various provinces to its neighbors, such as Acre, parts of the Gran Chaco and its Pacific coast, making it a land-locked country.

The Diablada or Danza de los Diablos, is an original and typical Andean dance characterized by the mask and devil suit worn by the performers. The dance is a mixture of religious theatrical presentations brought from Spain and Andean religious ceremonies such as the Llama llama dance in honour of the Uru god Tiw, and the Aymaran miners' ritual to Anchanchu.

Lupaca

The Lupaca, Lupaka, or Lupaqa people were one of the divisions of the ancestral Aymaras. The Lupaca lived for many centuries near Lake Titicaca in Peru and their lands possibly extended into Bolivia. The Lupacas and other Aymara peoples formed powerful kingdoms after the collapse of the Tiwanaku Empire in the 11th century. In the mid 15th century they were conquered by the Inca Empire and in the 1530s came under the control of the Spanish Empire.

Pachamama Andean fertility goddess

Pachamama is a goddess revered by the indigenous peoples of the Andes. She is also known as the earth/time mother. In Inca mythology, Pachamama is a fertility goddess who presides over planting and harvesting, embodies the mountains, and causes earthquakes. She is also an ever-present and independent deity who has her own creative power to sustain life on this earth. Her shrines are hallowed rocks, or the boles of legendary trees, and artists envision her as an adult female bearing harvests of potatoes and coca leaves. The four cosmological Quechua principles – Water, Earth, Sun, and Moon – claim Pachamama as their prime origin. Priests sacrifice offerings of llamas, cuy, and elaborate, miniature, burned garments to her. Pachamama is the mother of Inti the sun god and Mama Killa the moon goddess. Pachamama is said also be the wife of Inti, her son.

The Andean civilizations were complex societies of many cultures and peoples mainly developed in the river valleys of the coastal deserts of Peru. They stretched from the Andes of Ecuador southward down the Andes to northern Argentina and Chile. Archaeologists believe that Andean civilizations first developed on the narrow coastal plain of the Pacific Ocean. The Caral or Norte Chico civilization of Peru is the oldest civilization in the Americas, dating back to 3200 BCE.

The Diablada or Danza de Diablos is a dance created characterized by the mask and devil suit worn by the dancers.

Bolivians citizens or residents of Bolivia

Bolivians are people identified with the country of Bolivia. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Bolivians, several of these connections exist and are collectively the source of their being Bolivian.

Andean Baroque

Andean Baroque is an artistic movement that appeared in colonial Peru between 1680 and 1780. It is located geographically between Arequipa and Lake Titicaca in what is now Peru and Bolivia, where rules over the highlands and spreads over the entire altiplano. From the Portuguese word barrueco meaning impure, mottled, flamboyant, daring, the most striking example of Andean Baroque art is in religious architecture, where criollo and indigenous craftsmen together gave it a unique character, as happened in the New Spanish Baroque.

Pre-Columbian Bolivia

Pre-Columbian Bolivia covers the historical period between 10,000 BCE, when the Upper Andes region was first populated and 1532, when Spanish conquistadors invaded Inca empire. The Andes region of Pre-Columbian South America was dominated by the Tiwanaku civilization until about 1200, when the regional kingdoms of the Aymara emerged as the most powerful of the ethnic groups living in the densely populated region surrounding Lake Titicaca. Power struggles continued until 1450, when the Incas incorporated upper Bolivia into their growing empire. Based in present-day Peru, the Incas instituted agricultural and mining practices that rivaled those put in place many years later by European conquerors. They also established a strong military force, and centralized political power. Despite their best efforts however, the Incas never completely controlled the nomadic tribes of the Bolivian lowlands, nor did they fully assimilate the Aymara kingdoms into their society. These internal divisions doomed the Inca Empire when European conquerors arrived.

References

  1. 1 2 "Censo de Población y Vivienda 2012 Bolivia Características de la Población". Instituto Nacional de Estadística, República de Bolivia. p. 29.
  2. 1 2 "Perú: Perfil Sociodemográfico" (PDF). Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática. p. 214.
  3. 1 2 "Síntesis de Resultados Censo 2017" (PDF). Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas, Santiago de Chile. p. 16.
  4. 1 2 "Censo Nacional de Población, Hogares y Viviendas 2010: Resultados definitivos: Serie B No. 2: Tomo 1" (PDF) (in Spanish). INDEC. p. 281. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  5. 1 2 Vergara, Jorge Iván; Gundermann, Hans (2012). "Constitution and internal dynamics of the regional identitary in Tarapacá and Los Lagos, Chile". Chungara (in Spanish). University of Tarapacá. 44 (1): 115–134. doi: 10.4067/s0717-73562012000100009 .
  6. 1 2 3 4 Skutsch, Carl, ed. (2005). Encyclopedia of the World's Minorities. New York: Routledge. p. 160. ISBN   1-57958-468-3.
  7. Aaron I. Naar, Los Hombres del Lago". Note: This documentary film tells about the smallest community of Uru-Muratos, Puñaca Tintamaria. Narrated by ex-leader Daniel Moricio Choque, the movie recounts the history of their community, customs, and current problems: their continuous poverty, lack of land and representation, the contamination of Lake Poopó, and the effects of global warming. See a 12-minute piece from the film on YouTube.
  8. Martha Hardman has long argued that Jaqaru and Kawki are two separate languages, but most other linguists consider them to be two closely related dialects.
  9. Pateman, Robert (2006). Bolivia (Cultures of the World, Second). p. 70. ISBN   9780761420668.
  10. 1 2 Montecino Aguirre, Sonia (2015). "Llamas". Mitos de Chile: Enciclopedia de seres, apariciones y encantos (in Spanish). Catalonia. p. 415. ISBN   978-956-324-375-8.

Further reading