Muisca Confederation

Last updated
Muisca Confederation

~14501540
Mapa del Territorio Muisca.svg
Muisca Confederation
on the Altiplano Cundiboyacense
Zaque rule in yellow
Zipa rule in green
Independent territories in red
Capital Hunza and Bacatá
(~1450–1540)
Common languages Muysccubun
Religion
Muisca religion
Zaque and zipa  
 ~1450–1470
zaque Hunzahúa
zipa Meicuchuca
 1470–1490
zaque Saguamanchica
zipa Michuá
 1490–1537

1490–1514
zaque Quemuenchatocha
zipa Nemequene
 1514–1537
zipa Tisquesusa
 1537–1540
1537–1539
zaque Aquiminzaque
zipa Sagipa
Historical era Pre-Columbian
 Established
~1450
March 1537
 Conquest of Funza (Bacatá)
20 April 1537
 Conquest of Hunza
20 August 1537
 Destruction of the Sun Temple
September 1537
 Foundation of Bogotá
Battle of Tocarema
6 August 1538
20 August 1538
 Foundation of Tunja
Death of Tundama
6 August 1539
December 1539
1540
Area
25,000 km2 (9,700 sq mi)
Population
 
~2,000,000
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png Herrera Period
New Kingdom of Granada Blank.png
Today part of Colombia
-  Cundinamarca
-  Boyacá
-  Santander

The Muisca Confederation was a loose confederation of different Muisca rulers ( zaques , zipas , iraca and tundama ) in the central Andean highlands of present-day Colombia before the Spanish conquest of northern South America. The area, presently called Altiplano Cundiboyacense, comprised the current departments of Boyacá, Cundinamarca and minor parts of Santander with a total surface area of approximately 25,000 square kilometres (9,700 sq mi). [note 1]

Contents

According to some Muisca scholars the Muisca Confederation was one of the best-organized confederations of tribes on the South American continent. [2] Modern anthropologists, such as Jorge Gamboa Mendoza, attribute the present-day knowledge about the confederation and its organization more to a reflection by Spanish chroniclers who predominantly wrote about it a century or more after the Muisca were conquered and proposed the idea of a loose collection of different people with slightly different languages and backgrounds. [3]

Geography

Topography Boyaca Boyaca Topographic 2.png
Topography Boyacá

Climate

Climate charts for the extremes and four most important settlements of the Muisca Confederation
NW: Vélez – 2050 m
Climate chart (explanation)
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119
 
 
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60
 
 
19
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Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Climate-data.org – Bogotá
Lowest: Charalá – 1290 m
Climate chart (explanation)
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71
 
 
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103
 
 
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Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Climate-data.org – Charalá
Highest: Aquitania – 3030 m
Climate chart (explanation)
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M
J
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11
 
 
17
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22
 
 
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109
 
 
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75
 
 
16
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24
 
 
16
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Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Climate-data.org – Aquitania
NE: Soatá – 1950 m
Climate chart (explanation)
J
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M
A
M
J
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41
 
 
25
12
 
 
58
 
 
25
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88
 
 
25
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271
 
 
24
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241
 
 
23
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126
 
 
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101
 
 
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103
 
 
23
13
 
 
155
 
 
24
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260
 
 
23
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163
 
 
23
13
 
 
84
 
 
24
12
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Climate-data.org – Soatá
SW: Tibacuy – 1647 m
Climate chart (explanation)
J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D
 
 
72
 
 
24
15
 
 
90
 
 
24
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109
 
 
25
16
 
 
170
 
 
24
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155
 
 
24
16
 
 
88
 
 
23
15
 
 
57
 
 
24
16
 
 
52
 
 
24
16
 
 
80
 
 
24
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214
 
 
23
15
 
 
216
 
 
23
15
 
 
100
 
 
23
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Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Climate-data.org – Tibacuy
Mapa del Territorio Muisca.svg
Altiplano Cundiboyacense (subdivisions).png
SE: Ubalá – 1949 m
Climate chart (explanation)
J
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47
 
 
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11
 
 
93
 
 
24
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136
 
 
24
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216
 
 
23
14
 
 
290
 
 
22
14
 
 
360
 
 
21
13
 
 
332
 
 
21
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276
 
 
21
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205
 
 
22
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188
 
 
22
13
 
 
132
 
 
23
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72
 
 
23
12
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Climate-data.org – Ubalá
Bacatá – 2640 m
Climate chart (explanation)
J
F
M
A
M
J
J
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34
 
 
19
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46
 
 
19
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67
 
 
19
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113
 
 
19
9
 
 
102
 
 
18
9
 
 
63
 
 
18
9
 
 
47
 
 
18
9
 
 
47
 
 
18
9
 
 
56
 
 
18
8
 
 
119
 
 
18
9
 
 
112
 
 
18
9
 
 
60
 
 
19
8
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Climate-data.org – Bogotá
Hunza – 2820 m
Climate chart (explanation)
J
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M
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23
 
 
19
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19
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64
 
 
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116
 
 
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72
 
 
17
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122
 
 
17
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108
 
 
18
8
 
 
43
 
 
18
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Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Climate-data.org – Tunja
Suamox – 2569 m
Climate chart (explanation)
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A
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19
 
 
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22
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114
 
 
21
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107
 
 
20
10
 
 
65
 
 
19
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49
 
 
19
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51
 
 
20
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64
 
 
20
9
 
 
116
 
 
20
10
 
 
89
 
 
21
9
 
 
35
 
 
21
8
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Climate-data.org – Sogamoso
Tundama – 2590 m
Climate chart (explanation)
J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D
 
 
21
 
 
21
7
 
 
43
 
 
22
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65
 
 
22
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123
 
 
20
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126
 
 
20
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75
 
 
19
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54
 
 
19
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54
 
 
19
8
 
 
74
 
 
20
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143
 
 
19
9
 
 
92
 
 
20
9
 
 
42
 
 
21
7
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Climate-data.org – Duitama
The climates (Af-Cfb-Cwb) of the geographic (NW, NE, SW and SE) and topographic extremes and for the four main settlements of the Muisca Confederation situated on the Altiplano,
from SW to NE; Bacatá, Hunza, Suamox and Tundama are rather constant over the year with wetter periods in April–May and October–November

Muisca Confederation

Location of the Muisca Confederation on the map of the Republic of Colombia. Mapa Imperio Muisca.PNG
Location of the Muisca Confederation on the map of the Republic of Colombia.

In the times before the Spanish conquest of the Muisca, the central part of present-day Colombia; the Eastern Ranges of the Colombian Andes was inhabited by the Muisca people who were organised in a loose confederation of rulers. The central authorities of Bacatá in the south and Hunza in the north were called zipa and zaque respectively. Other rulers were the iraca priest in sacred City of the Sun Sugamuxi, the Tundama of Tundama and various other caciques (chiefs). The Muisca spoke Chibcha, in their own language called Muysccubun; "language of the people".

The Muisca people, different from the other three great civilisations of the Americas; the Maya, Aztec and Inca, did not build grand stone architecture. Their settlements were relatively small and consisted of bohíos; circular houses of wood and clay, organised around a central market square with the house of the cacique in the centre. Roads were present to connect the settlements with each other and with the surrounding indigenous groups, of which the Guane and Lache to the north, the Panche and Muzo to the west and Guayupe, Achagua and Tegua to the east were the most important.

History

Prehistory

Early Amerindian settlers led a hunter-gatherer life among still extant megafauna living in cool habitats around Pleistocene lakes, of which the humedales in Bogotá, Lake Suesca, Lake Fúquene and Lake Herrera are notable examples. Multiple evidences of late Pleistocene to middle Holocene population of the Bogotá savanna, the high plateau in the Colombian Andes, have been found to date. As is common with caves and rock shelters, Tequendama was inhabited from around 11,000 years BP, and continuing into the prehistorical, Herrera and Muisca periods, making it the oldest site of Colombia, together with El Abra (12,500 BP), located north of Zipaquirá and Tibitó, located within the boundaries of Tocancipá (11,740 BP). [4] [5] The oldest human remains and the oldest complete skeleton were discovered at Tequendama and has been named "Hombre del Tequendama" or Homo Tequendama. Other artefacts have been found in Gachalá (9100 BP), Sueva (Junín) and Zipacón. [6] Just west of the Altiplano, the oldest archaeological remains were found; in Pubenza, part of Tocaima and have been dated at 16,000 years Before Present. [7]

Pre-Columbian era

Timeline of inhabitation of the Altiplano Cundiboyacense, Colombia
TequendamaAguazuquePiedras del Tunjo Archaeological ParkGalindo, BojacáBD BacatáLake HerreraChía (Cundinamarca)ZipaquiráEl AbraChecuaTibitóSuevaEl InfiernitoHistory of ColombiaSpanish EmpireSpanish conquest of the MuiscaMuisca peopleHerrera PeriodMuisca Confederation#PrehistoryBochicaMuisca mummificationCeramicAndean preceramicMuisca agricultureHunter-gathererMuisca Confederation
Altiplano Cundiboyacense.png

Altiplano

Mapa del Territorio Muisca.svg

Muisca Confederation

Altiplano Cundiboyacense (subdivisions).png
Herrera Period
Period
name
Start
age
End
age
Herrera800 BCE800
Early Muisca8001200
Late Muisca12001537
Kruschek, 2003 [8]

The Herrera Period is a phase in the history of Colombia. It is part of the Andean preceramic and ceramic, time equivalent of the North American pre-Columbian formative and classic stages and age dated by various archaeologists. [9] The Herrera Period predates the age of the Muisca people, who inhabited the Altiplano Cundiboyacense before the Spanish conquest of the Muisca and postdates the lithic formative stage and prehistory of the eastern Andean region in Colombia. The Herrera Period is usually defined as ranging from 800 BCE to 800 AD, [10] although some scholars date it as early as 1500 BCE. [11]

Ample evidence of the Herrera Period has been uncovered on the Altiplano Cundiboyacense and main archaeologists contributing to the present knowledge about the Herrera Period are scholars Ana María Groot, Gonzalo Correal Urrego, Thomas van der Hammen, Carl Henrik Langebaek Rueda, Sylvia M. Broadbent, Marianne Cardale de Schrimpff and others.

Muisca

The Muisca were polytheistic and their religion and mythology was closely connected with the natural area they were inhabiting. They had a thorough understanding of astronomical parameters and developed a complex luni-solar calendar; the Muisca calendar. According to the calendar they had specific times for sowing, harvest and the organisation of festivals where they sang, danced and played music and drank their national drink chicha in great quantities.

The most respected members of the community were mummified and the mummies were not buried, yet displayed in their temples, in natural locations such as caves and even carried on their backs during warfare to impress their enemies.

Their art is the most famous remnant of their culture, as living spaces, temples and other existing structures have been destroyed by the Spanish who colonised the Muisca territories. A primary example of their fine goldworking is the Muisca raft, together with more objects made of gold, tumbaga, ceramics and cotton displayed in the Museo del Oro in Bogotá, the ancient capital of the southern Muisca.

The Muisca were a predominantly agricultural society with small-scale farmfields, part of more extensive terrains. To diversify their diet, they traded mantles, gold, emeralds and salt for fruits, vegetables, coca, yopo and cotton cultivated in lower altitude warmer terrains populated by their neighbours, the Muzo, Panche, Yarigui, Guane, Guayupe, Achagua, Tegua, Lache, Sutagao and U'wa. Trade of products grown farther away happened with the Calima, Pijao and Caribbean coastal communities around the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

The Muisca economy was self-sufficient regarding the basic supplies, thanks to the advanced technologies of the agriculture on raised terraces by the people. The system of trade was well established providing both the higher social classes and the general population abundances of gold, feathers, marine snails, coca, yopo and other luxury goods. Markets were held every four to eight days in various settlements throughout the Muisca Confederation and special markets were organised around festivities where merchants from far outside the Andes were trading their goods with the Muisca.

Apart from agriculture, the Muisca were well developed in the production of different crafts, using the raw materials traded with surrounding indigenous peoples. Famous are the golden and tumbaga objects made by the Muisca people. Cotton mantles, cloths and nets were made by the Muisca women and traded for valuable goods, tropical fruits and small cotton cloths were used as money. The Muisca were unique in South America for having real coins of gold, called tejuelos.

Mining was an important source of income for the Muisca, who were called "Salt People" because of their salt mines in Zipaquirá, Nemocón and Tausa. Like their western neighbours, the Muzo -who were called "The Emerald People"- they mined emeralds in their territories, mainly in Somondoco. Carbon was found throughout the region of the Muisca in Eocene sediments and used for the fires for cooking and the production of salt and golden ornaments.

The people used a decimal counting system and counted with their fingers. Their system went from 1 to 10 and for higher numerations they used the prefix quihicha or qhicha, which means "foot" in their Chibcha language Muysccubun. Eleven became thus "foot one", twelve "foot two", etc. As in the other pre-Columbian civilizations, the number 20 was special. It was the total number of all body extremities; fingers and toes. The Muisca used two forms to express twenty: "foot ten"; quihícha ubchihica or their exclusive word gueta, derived from gue, which means "house". Numbers between 20 and 30 were counted gueta asaqui ata ("twenty plus one"; 21), gueta asaqui ubchihica ("twenty plus ten"; 30). Larger numbers were counted as multiples of twenty; gue-bosa ("20 times 2"; 40), gue-hisca ("20 times 5"; 100). The Muisca script consisted of hieroglyphs, only used for numerals. [12]

Language

Comparison of important words in various Chibchan languages
MuysccubunNotes Uwa
Boyacá
N. de Santander
Arauca
Barí
N. de Santander
Chimila
Cesar
Magdalena
Kogui
S.N. de
Santa Marta
Kuna
Darien Gap
Guaymí
Panama
Costa Rica
Boruca
Costa Rica
Maléku
Costa Rica
Rama
Nicaragua
English
chie [13] [14] [15] [16] siʔchibaisakatebejtlijiitukanMoon
ata [17] [18] úbistiaintokti-tasu/nyékwatiéˇxidookaone
muysca [19] [20] darytsángäbeochápakánkiiknapeople/person/man

Territorial organization

History of the Muisca
Sutagao peopleGuayupe peopleTegua peoplePanche peopleMuisca peopleAchagua peopleMuzo peopleGuane peopleU'wa peopleLache peopleBattle of TocaremaBattle of ChocontáBattle of PascaSagipaTisquesusaNemequeneSaguamanchicaMeicuchucaHistory of Bogotá#Pre-Columbian eraNencatacoaHuitaca (goddess)ChaquénCuchaviraChibchacumBochicaChía (goddess)SuéChiminigaguaSpanish conquest of the MuiscaAquiminzaqueQuemuenchatochaMichuáHunzahúaTunja#HistoryThomagataThomagataPacanchiqueGoranchachaMonster of Lake TotaEl DoradoSugamuxiNompanimIdacansásiracaTundamaDuitama#HistorySpanish EmpireMuisca ConfederationMuisca Confederation
Altiplano Cundiboyacense (subdivisions).png

Altiplano
Mapa del Territorio Muisca.svg

Muisca
Muisca raft - detail - Museo del Oro, Bogota.jpg

Art
Templo del sol.jpg

Architecture
Chia Bogota May 2016.jpg

Astronomy
Corncobs.jpg

Cuisine
Guatavita desde el cielo.jpg

El Dorado
Salt - Nemocon 3.jpg

Subsistence
DiosaAguaBachue.jpg

Women
Conquest of Colombia.png

Conquest

Bacatá

The zipa ruled over the Bogota savanna Sabana de Bogota.png
The zipa ruled over the Bogotá savanna
Municipality Department
bold is capital
Ruler(s)
bold is seat
Altitude
urban centre (m)
Surface area
(km2)
RemarksMap
Bacatá Cundinamarca zipa 26401587 Muisca mummy found
Important market town
Petrographs found
Colombia Bogota location map.png
Bojacá Cundinamarca zipa 2598109 Lake Herrera
Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Bojaca.svg
Cajicá Cundinamarca zipa 255850.4
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Cajica.svg
La Calera Cundinamarcazipa2718317 Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - La Calera.svg
Cáqueza Cundinamarcazipa174638
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Caqueza.svg
Chía Cundinamarcazipa256480 Moon Temple
Herrera site
Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Chia.svg
Choachí Cundinamarcazipa1923223 Choachí Stone found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Choachi.svg
Chocontá Cundinamarcazipa2655301.1 Important market town
Battle of Chocontá (~1490)
Fortification between zipa & zaque
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Choconta.svg
Cogua Cundinamarcazipa2600113 Muisca ceramics production
Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Cogua.svg
Cota Cundinamarcazipa256655 Petrographs found
Still Muisca people living
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Cota.svg
Cucunubá Cundinamarcazipa2590112 Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Cucunuba.svg
Facatativá Cundinamarcazipa2586158 Piedras del Tunjo
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Facatativa.svg
Funza Cundinamarcazipa254870 Important market town
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Funza.svg
Gachancipá Cundinamarcazipa256844 Muisca mummy found
Muisca ceramics production
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Gachancipa.svg
Guasca Cundinamarcazipa2710346 Siecha Lakes
Muisca ceramics production
Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Guasca.svg
Madrid Cundinamarcazipa2554120.5 Lake Herrera
Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Madrid.svg
Mosquera Cundinamarcazipa2516107 Lake Herrera
Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Mosquera.svg
Nemocón Cundinamarcazipa258598.1 Muisca salt mines
Preceramic site Checua
Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Nemocon.svg
Pacho Cundinamarcazipa2136403.3 Important market town
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Pacho.svg
Pasca Cundinamarcazipa2180246.24 Battle of Pasca (~1470)
Muisca raft found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Pasca.svg
El Rosal Cundinamarcazipa268586.48
Colombia - Cundinamarca - El Rosal.svg
San Antonio
del Tequendama
Cundinamarcazipa154082 Tequendama Falls
Fortification against Panche
Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - San Antonio del Tequendama.svg
Sesquilé Cundinamarcazipa2595141 Lake Guatavita
Minor Muisca salt mines
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Sesquile.svg
Sibaté Cundinamarcazipa2700125.6 Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Sibate.svg
Soacha Cundinamarcazipa2565184.45 Preceramic site Tequendama
Herrera site
Muisca ceramics production
Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Soacha.svg
Sopó Cundinamarca zipa 2650111.5 Herrera site
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Sopo.svg
Subachoque Cundinamarcazipa2663211.53 Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Subachoque.svg
Suesca Cundinamarcazipa2584177150 Muisca mummies found
Lake Suesca
Muisca ceramics production
Important market town
Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Suesca.svg
Sutatausa Cundinamarcazipa255067 Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Sutatausa.svg
Tabio Cundinamarcazipa256974.5Hot springs used by the Muisca
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Tabio.svg
Tausa Cundinamarcazipa2931204 Muisca salt mines
Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Tausa.svg
Tena Cundinamarcazipa138455 Fortification against Panche
Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Tena.svg
Tenjo Cundinamarcazipa2587108 Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Tenjo.svg
Tibacuy Cundinamarcazipa & Panche 164784.4Border with Panche
Fortification against Panche & Sutagao
Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Tibacuy.svg
Tocancipá Cundinamarcazipa260573.51 Preceramic site Tibitó
Muisca ceramics production
Important market town
Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Tocancipa.svg
Zipaquirá Cundinamarcazipa2650197 El Abra
Muisca salt mines
Important market town
Petrographs and petroglyphs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Zipaquira.svg
Fúquene Cundinamarcazipa
zaque
275090 Lake Fúquene
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Fuquene.svg
Simijaca Cundinamarcazipa (1490–1537)2559107 Conquered by zipa Saguamanchica
upon zaque Michuá (~1490)
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Simijaca.svg
Susa Cundinamarcazipa (1490–1537)265586 Conquered by zipa Saguamanchica
upon zaque Michuá (~1490)
Lake Fúquene
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Susa.svg
Ubaté Cundinamarcazipa (1490–1537)2556102 Conquered by zipa Saguamanchica
upon zaque Michuá (~1490)
Muisca mummy found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Ubate.svg
Zipacón Cundinamarcazipa255070 Agriculture
Place of meditation for the zipa
Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Zipacon.svg

Chipazaque

Landscape of Chipazaque Junin desde el Parque Ararat o Parque Alemania.jpg
Landscape of Chipazaque
Municipality
Department Ruler(s) Altitude
(m)
Surface area
(km2)
RemarksMap
Junín Cundinamarca chipazaque2300337Shared between
zipa and zaque
Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Junin.svg

Hunza

The Muisca were bordered to the west by the Emerald People Beryl-122885.jpg
The Muisca were bordered to the west by the Emerald People
Municipality
Department
bold is capital
Ruler(s)
bold is seat
Altitude
(m)
Surface area
(km2)
RemarksMap
Hunza Boyacá zaque2820121.4 Hunzahúa Well
Cojines del Zaque
Goranchacha Temple
Muisca mummy found
Important market town
Petrographs found
Colombia - Boyaca - Tunja.svg
Boyacá Boyacá zaque242048
Colombia - Boyaca - Boyaca.svg
Buenavista Boyacá zaque2100125Border with Muzo
Nose piece and pectoral found,
dated at 620 and 990 AD respectively [21]
Colombia - Boyaca - Buenavista.svg
Chinavita Boyacá zaque1763148
Colombia - Boyaca - Chinavita.svg
Chíquiza Boyacá zaque2900119.52 Lake Iguaque
Colombia - Boyaca - Chiquiza.svg
Chitaraque Boyacá zaque1575157.65
Colombia - Boyaca - Chitaraque.svg
Chivatá Boyacá zaque290356
Colombia - Boyaca - Chivata.svg
Ciénega Boyacá zaque246073
Colombia - Boyaca - Cienega.svg
Cucaita Boyacá zaque265043.58
Colombia - Boyaca - Cucaita.svg
Gachantivá Boyacá zaque245066 Muisca mummy found
Muisca copper mines
Colombia - Boyaca - Gachantiva.svg
Garagoa Boyacá zaque1650191.75
Colombia - Boyaca - Garagoa.svg
Macanal Boyacá zaque1680199.5Border with Tegua
Colombia - Boyaca - Macanal.svg
Motavita Boyacá zaque269062 Coca market town
Petrographs found
Colombia - Boyaca - Motavita.svg
Oicatá Boyacá zaque281559
Colombia - Boyaca - Oicata.svg
Pachavita Boyacá zaque198568
Colombia - Boyaca - Pachavita.svg
Ramiriquí Boyacá zaque2325146.5Place of death of Quemuenchatocha
Important ceramics production
Petrographs found
Colombia - Boyaca - Ramiriqui.svg
Sáchica Boyacá zaque215062.4 Petrographs found
Colombia - Boyaca - Sachica.svg
Samacá Boyacá zaque2660172.9
Colombia - Boyaca - Samaca.svg
San Miguel de Sema Boyacá zaque261590 Lake Fúquene
Colombia - Boyaca - San Miguel de Sema.svg
Siachoque Boyacá zaque2760125
Colombia - Boyaca - Siachoque.svg
Somondoco Boyacá zaque167058.7 Muisca emerald mines
Important market town
Colombia - Boyaca - Somondoco.svg
Sutamarchán Boyacá zaque1800102 Muisca ceramics production
Colombia - Boyaca - Sutamarchan.svg
Tinjacá Boyacá zaque217579.3 Muisca ceramics production
Colombia - Boyaca - Tinjaca.svg
Tipacoque Boyacá zaque185072.1 Chicamocha Canyon
Colombia - Boyaca - Tipacoque.svg
Turmequé Boyacá zaque2389106 Important market town
Fortification between zipa & zaque
Colombia - Boyaca - Turmeque.svg
Villa de Leyva Boyacá zaque2149128 El Infiernito
Lake Iguaque
Muisca mummy found
Important market town
Colombia - Boyaca - Villa de Leyva.svg
Sora Boyacá zaque265042
Colombia - Boyaca - Sora.svg
Soracá Boyacá zaque294257
Colombia - Boyaca - Soraca.svg
Sotaquirá Boyacá zaque2860288.65
Colombia - Boyaca - Sotaquira.svg
Sutatenza Boyacá zaque189041.26
Colombia - Boyaca - Sutatenza.svg
Tibaná Boyacá zaque2115121.76 Petrographs found
Colombia - Boyaca - Tibana.svg
Togüí Boyacá zaque1650118
Colombia - Boyaca - Togui.svg
Tuta Boyacá zaque2600165
Colombia - Boyaca - Tuta.svg
Ventaquemada Boyacá zaque2630159.3
Colombia - Boyaca - Ventaquemada.svg
Viracachá Boyacá zaque252068
Colombia - Boyaca - Viracacha.svg
Zetaquirá Boyacá zaque1665262
Colombia - Boyaca - Zetaquira.svg
Almeida Boyacá zaque192557.98
Colombia - Boyaca - Almeida.svg
La Capilla Boyacá zaque175057.26
Colombia - Boyaca - La Capilla.svg
Jenesano Boyacá zaque207659
Colombia - Boyaca - Jenesano.svg
Nuevo Colón Boyacá zaque250051
Colombia - Boyaca - Nuevo Colon.svg
Rondón Boyacá zaque2075158
Colombia - Boyaca - Rondon.svg
Lenguazaque Cundinamarca zaque258915.36
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Lenguazaque.svg
Machetá Cundinamarca zaque2094229.35 Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Macheta.svg
Tibiritá Cundinamarca zaque198057.2 Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Tibirita.svg
Villapinzón Cundinamarca zaque2715249
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Villapinzon.svg

Iraca

The Sun Temple was the seat of the iraca Templo del sol.jpg
The Sun Temple was the seat of the iraca
Municipality Department Ruler(s)
bold is seat
Altitude
(m)
Surface area
(km2)
RemarksMap
Suamox Boyacá iraca
Nompanim
Sugamuxi
2569208.54 Sun Temple
Muisca mummy found
Muisca carbon mines
Colombia - Boyaca - Sogamoso.svg
Aquitania Boyacá iraca3030943 Lake Tota
Colombia - Boyaca - Aquitania.svg
Busbanzá Boyacá iraca247222.5Elector of new iraca
Colombia - Boyaca - Busbanza.svg
Cuítiva Boyacá iraca275043 Lake Tota
Statue of Bochica
Colombia - Boyaca - Cuitiva.svg
Firavitoba Boyacá iraca2500109.9Elector of new iraca
Colombia - Boyaca - Firavitoba.svg
Gámeza Boyacá iraca275088 Herrera site
Muisca mummy found
Minor Muisca salt mines
Muisca carbon mines
Petrographs found
Colombia - Boyaca - Gameza.svg
Iza Boyacá iraca256034 Herrera site
Lake Tota
Petrographs found
Colombia - Boyaca - Iza.svg
Mongua Boyacá iraca2975365.5 Petrographs found
Colombia - Boyaca - Mongua.svg
Monguí Boyacá iraca290081 Petroglyphs
Birth places (Tortolitas)
Colombia - Boyaca - Mongui.svg
Pesca Boyacá iraca2858282
Colombia - Boyaca - Pesca.svg
Tasco Boyacá iraca2530167 Muisca mummy found
Colombia - Boyaca - Tasco.svg
Toca Boyacá iraca2810165
Colombia - Boyaca - Toca.svg
Tota Boyacá iraca2870314 Lake Tota
Colombia - Boyaca - Tota.svg
Socotá Boyacá iraca
Tundama
2443600.11 Muisca mummy found
Colombia - Boyaca - Socota.svg
Tibasosa Boyacá Tundama
iraca
253894.3
Colombia - Boyaca - Tibasosa.svg

Tundama

The area around Tundama was filled with small lakes of which some bloody evidences remain Pantano de Vargas - panoramio.jpg
The area around Tundama was filled with small lakes of which some bloody evidences remain
Municipality Department Ruler(s)
bold is seat
Altitude
(m)
Surface area
(km2)
RemarksMap
Tundama Boyacá Tundama2590266.93Seat of Tundama
In ancient lake
Colombia - Boyaca - Duitama.svg
Onzaga Santander Tundama1960486.76Important for wool and cotton production
Colombia - Santander - Onzaga.svg
Cerinza Boyacá Tundama275061.63Monument to the Muisca
Colombia - Boyaca - Cerinza.svg
Paz de Río Boyacá Tundama2200116 Coca market town
Colombia - Boyaca - Paz del Rio.svg
Paipa Boyacá Tundama2525305.924Thermal springs
Colombia - Boyaca - Paipa.svg
Sativanorte Boyacá Tundama2600184 Herrera site
Colombia - Boyaca - Sativanorte.svg
Sativasur Boyacá Tundama260081 Muisca mummy SO10-IX found
Herrera site
Colombia - Boyaca - Sativasur.svg
Soatá Boyacá Tundama1950136 Herrera site
Coca market town
Colombia - Boyaca - Soata.svg
Belén Boyacá Tundama265083.6 Petrographs found
Colombia - Boyaca - Belen.svg
Corrales Boyacá Tundama247060.85
Colombia - Boyaca - Corrales.svg
Floresta Boyacá Tundama250686
Colombia - Boyaca - Floresta.svg
Nobsa Boyacá Tundama251055.39
Colombia - Boyaca - Nobsa.svg
Santa Rosa de Viterbo Boyacá Tundama2753107
Colombia - Boyaca - Santa Rosa de Viterbo.svg
Susacón Boyacá Tundama2480191
Colombia - Boyaca - Susacon.svg
Tibasosa Boyacá Tundama
iraca
253894.3
Colombia - Boyaca - Tibasosa.svg
Socotá Boyacá iraca
Tundama
2443600.11 Muisca mummy found
Colombia - Boyaca - Socota.svg

Independent caciques

Independent caciques headed small communities Malokas.jpg
Independent caciques headed small communities
Municipality
bold is major cacique
Department Ruler(s) Altitude
(m)
Surface area
(km2)
RemarksMap
Vélez Santandercacique2050271.34
Colombia - Santander - Velez.svg
Chipatá Santandercacique182094.17First town conquered by the Spanish
Colombia - Santander - Chipata.svg
Güepsa Santandercacique154033.08Border with Guane
Border with Yarigui
Colombia - Santander - Guepsa.svg
Charalá Santander cacique1290411Border with Guane
Colombia - Santander - Charala.svg
Arcabuco Boyacá cacique2739155Statue honouring the Muisca warriors
Colombia - Boyaca - Arcabuco.svg
Betéitiva Boyacácacique2575123
Colombia - Boyaca - Beteitiva.svg
Boavita Boyacácacique2114159 Muisca mummy found
Colombia - Boyaca - Boavita.svg
Chiquinquirá Boyacácacique2556133
Colombia - Boyaca - Chiquinquira.svg
Cómbita Boyacácacique2825149
Colombia - Boyaca - Combita.svg
Covarachía Boyacácacique2320103 Herrera site
Colombia - Boyaca - Covarachia.svg
Guateque Boyacácacique181536.04 Religious rituals at Guatoc hill
Colombia - Boyaca - Guateque.svg
Guayatá Boyacácacique1767112 Muisca money (tejuelo) found
Colombia - Boyaca - Guayata.svg
Moniquirá Boyacácacique1669220 Muisca mummy found
Muisca copper mines
Colombia - Boyaca - Moniquira.svg
Pisba Boyacácacique2400469.12 Muisca mummy found
Colombia - Boyaca - Pisba.svg
Ráquira Boyacácacique2150233 Muisca ceramics production
Colombia - Boyaca - Raquira.svg
Saboyá Boyacácacique2600246.9 Petrographs found
Colombia - Boyaca - Saboya.svg
Tópaga Boyacácacique290037 Muisca mummy found
Muisca carbon mines
Colombia - Boyaca - Topaga.svg
Tutazá Boyacácacique1890135 Muisca ceramics production
Colombia - Boyaca - Tutaza.svg
Tenza Boyacácacique160051 Tenza Valley
Colombia - Boyaca - Tenza.svg
Chivor Boyacácacique1800108.36 Muisca emerald mines
Colombia - Boyaca - Chivor.svg
Úmbita Boyacácacique2480148.17
Colombia - Boyaca - Umbita.svg
Carmen de Carupa Cundinamarca cacique2600228 Tunjo found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Carmen de Carupa.svg
Guatavita Cundinamarcacacique2680247.3 Muisca ceramics production
Main goldworking town
Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Guatavita.svg
Gachetá Cundinamarcacacique Guatavita 1745262.2
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Gacheta.svg
Guachetá Cundinamarcacacique2688177.45 Minor Muisca salt mines
Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Guacheta.svg
Manta Cundinamarcacacique1924105
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Manta.svg
Ubaque Cundinamarcacacique1867104.96Last public religious ritual (1563)
Lake Ubaque
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Ubaque.svg
Ubalá Cundinamarcacacique1949505 Muisca emerald mines
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Ubala.svg
Chipaque Cundinamarcacacique2400139.45 Petrographs found
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Chipaque.svg
Fómeque Cundinamarcacacique1895555.7
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Fomeque.svg
Quetame Cundinamarcacacique1496138.47
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Quetame.svg
Une Cundinamarcacacique2376221
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Une.svg
Fosca Cundinamarcacacique2080126.02 Fortification against Guayupe
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Fosca.svg

Neighbouring indigenous groups

Yarigui Guane Lache U'wa
Muzo
Mapa del Territorio Muisca.svg
Altiplano Cundiboyacense (subdivisions).png
Panche Achagua
Sutagao Guayupe Tegua
Cariban languages • Chibchan languages • Arawakan languages
Yarigui and Lache not shown on map • Tegua shown as Tecua • U'wa shown as Tunebo
[22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31]

Sacred sites

The sacred sites of the Muisca Confederation were based in the Muisca religion and mythology. The Muisca were a highly religious people with their own beliefs on the origin of the Earth and life and human sacrifices were no exception to please the gods for good harvests and prosperity.

Lake Guatavita , Guatavita, was the location where the new zipa would be inaugurated. It became known with the Spanish conquerors as the site of El Dorado where the new zipa was covered in gold dust and installed as the new ruler of the southern Muisca. [32]

In the legends of the Muisca, mankind originated in Lake Iguaque , Monquirá, when the goddess Bachué came out from the lake with a boy in her arms. When the boy grew, they populated the Earth. They are considered the ancestors of the human race. Finally, they disappeared unto the lake in the shape of snakes. [33]

According to Muisca myths, the Tequendama Falls , outside Soacha, was the site where the first zipa Meicuchuca lost his beautiful lover who turned in a snake and disappeared in the waters of the Bogotá River. [34] [35]

El Infiernito , close to the present town of Villa de Leyva was a sacred site where the Muisca erected structures based on astronomical parameters. [36] [37] [38]

Other sacred sites

Spanish conquests

Map of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.png
Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta
Cesar Topographic 2.png
Topography Cesar
Santander Topographic 2.png
Topography Santander
The harsh expedition through the jungles of Magdalena, La Guajira, Cesar and Santander cost the lives of more than 80% of the troops and they hadn't found El Dorado ...
TISQUESUSA1.jpg
Tisquesusa
(† 1537)
4 Zaquesazipa.jpg
Sagipa
(† 1540)
Sagipa, or Saquesazipa, was the last ruler of Bacatá, as successor of Tisquesusa, defeated near Funza, on April 20, 1537, and died, as the prophecy said, "bathing in his own blood", due to attacks by the Spanish. His body was not found a year after. His defeat meant a new reign over the savanna and the foundation of Bogotá on August 6, 1538

Conquest and early colonial period

QUEMUENCHATOCHA.jpg
Quemuenchatocha
(† 1537)
AQUIMINZAQUE.jpg
Aquiminzaque
(† 1539)
TupacamaruI.JPG
Túpac Amaru
(† 1572)
Aquiminzaque, as successor of Quemuenchatocha, defeated in his home in Hunza, on August 20, 1537, was the last souvereign ruler of the Muisca and was decapitated by the Spanish, as would happen to Túpac Amaru of the Inca, 34 years later

The conquest of the Muisca was the heaviest of all four Spanish expeditions to the great American civilisations. [39] More than 80 percent of the soldiers and horses that started the journey of a year to the northern Muisca Confederation didn't make it. [40] [41] [42] Various settlements were founded by the Spanish between 1537 and 1539. [43] [44] [45] [46] [47] [48] [49] [50] [51] [52]

A delegation of more than 900 men left the tropical city of Santa Marta and went on a harsh expedition through the heartlands of Colombia in search of El Dorado and the civilisation that produced all this precious gold. The leader of the first and main expedition under Spanish flag was Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada, with his brother Hernán second in command. [42] Several other soldiers were participating in the journey, who would later become encomenderos and taking part in the conquest of other parts of Colombia. Other contemporaneous expeditions into the unknown interior of the Andes, all searching for the mythical land of gold, were starting from later Venezuela, led by Bavarian and other German conquistadors and from the south, starting in the previously founded Kingdom of Quito in later Ecuador.

The first phase of the conquest was ended by the victory of the few conquistadors left over Tisquesusa, the last zipa of Bacatá, who fell and died "bathing in his own blood"after the battle at Funza, on the Bogotá savanna, April 20, 1537. The arrival of the Spanish conquerors was revealed to Tisquesusa by the mohan Popón, from the village of Ubaque. He told the Muisca ruler that foreigners were coming and Tisquesusa would die "bathing in his own blood". [53] When Tisquesusa was informed of the advancing invasion of the Spanish soldiers, he sent a spy to Suesca to find out more about their army strength, weapons and with how many warriors they could be beaten. The zipa left the capital Bacatá and took shelter in Nemocón which directed the Spanish troops to there, during this march attacked by more than 600 Muisca warriors. [54]

When Tisquesusa retreated in his fort in Cajicá he allegedly told his men he would not be able to combat against the strong Spanish army in possession of weapons that produced "thunder and lightning". He chose to return to Bacatá and ordered the capital to be evacuated, resulting in an abandoned site when the Spanish arrived. In search for the Muisca ruler the conquistadores went north to find Tisquesusa in the surroundings of Facatativá where they attacked him at night.

Tisquesusa was thrusted by the sword of one of De Quesada's soldiers but without knowing he was the zipa he let him go, after taking the expensive mantle of the ruler. Tisquesusa fled hurt into the mountains and died of his wounds there. His body was only discovered a year later because of the black vultures circling over it.

When Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada found out the caciques were conspiring against him, he sent out several expeditions of soldiers. His captain Juan de Céspedes went south to found Pasca on July 15, 1537. [55] Hernán was sent north and Gonzalo himself went northeast, to search for the mythical Land of Gold El Dorado . There he didn't find golden cities, but emeralds, the Muisca were extracting in Chivor and Somondoco. First foundation was Engativá, presently a locality of Bogotá, on May 22, 1537. [48] Passing through Suba, Chía, Cajicá, Tocancipá, Gachancipá, Guatavita and Sesquilé, he arrived in Chocontá, founding the modern town on June 9. [49] The journey went eastward into the Tenza Valley through Machetá, Tibiritá, Guateque, Sutatenza and Tenza, founded on San Juan; June 24. [50] On the same day, Hernán founded Sutatausa. [51] Gonzalo continued northwest through La Capilla and Úmbita. He arrived in Turmequé that he founded on July 20. [52]

In August 1537 Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada entered the territories of the zaque , who ruled from Hunza. When the Spanish conquerors entered the outskirts of Hunza and found a hill with poles were bodies were dangling, they named it Cerro de la Horca ("Gallow Hill"). [56] At the time of the conquest Quemuenchatocha was the zaque and he ordered his men to not submit to the European invaders or show them the way to his bohío. He sent messengers to the Spanish conquistadors with valuable peace offers. While this was happening, Quemuenchatocha had hidden his treasures from the Spanish. Hunza was located in a valley not as green as the Bogotá savanna. The advantage of the Spanish weaponry and the use of the horses quickly beat the Muisca warriors. [42]

When Gonzalo arrived at the main bohío of Quemuenchatocha, he found the Muisca ruler sitting in his throne and surrounded by his closest companions. All men were dressed in expensive mantles and adorned with golden crowns. On August 20, 1537, the Spanish beat the zaque and the big and strong Muisca ruler was taken captive to Suesca. There he was tortured and the Spanish soldiers hoped he would reveal where he hid his precious properties. The absence of Quemuenchatocha paved the route for his nephew Aquiminzaque to succeed him as ruler of the northern Muisca, a practice common in Muisca traditions. When Quemuenchatocha was finally released from captivity in Suesca, he fled to Ramiriquí, where he died shortly after. The Spanish soldiers found gold, emeralds, silver, mantles and other valuables in Tunja. They were not able to take all the precious pieces and many were secretly taken away by the Muisca, using folded deer skins. They hid the valuables in nearby hills. [42]

Altiplano Cundiboyacense.png
Feb 1537First contact @ Chipatá
Mar–Apr 1537Expedition into Muisca Confederation
20 Apr 1537Conquest of Funza upon zipa Tisquesusa
May–Aug 1537Expedition & conquest in Tenza Valley
20 Aug 1537Conquest Hunza , zaque Quemuenchatocha
Early Sep 1537Conquest Sugamuxi , iraca Sugamuxi
Mapa del Territorio Muisca.svg
Oct 1537 – Feb 1538Other foundations on Altiplano & valleys
6 Aug 1538Foundation Santafé de Bogotá , by Gonzalo
20 Aug 1538B. of Tocarema; Spanish & zipa beat Panche
6 Aug 1539Foundation Tunja, by Gonzalo Suárez
15 Dec 1539Conquest Tundama , by Baltasar Maldonado
Early 1540Decapitation last zaque Aquiminzaque , Hernán
I – Soldiers of the main expedition – Santa Marta-Funza and on – February – April 20, 1537
Name
leader in bold
NationalityYears
active
Encountered
bold is conquered
Year
of
death
ImageNotes
Gonzalo Jiménez
de Quesada
Granadian 1536–39
1569–72
zipa
zaque
1579
Jimenezdequesada.png
[39] [40] [42]
Juan Maldonado Castilian 1536–39
1569–72
Muisca [40] [note 2]
Gonzalo Macías Castilian 1536–39
1569–71
Muisca1571~ [40] [57]
Hernán Pérez
de Quesada
Granadian 1536–39
1540–42
Muisca1544 [40] [42]
Gonzalo Suárez Rendón Castilian 1536–39 zipa , zaque 1590 [40] [42] [58]
Martín Galeano Castilian 1536–39
1540–45
Muisca1554~ [40] [42] [59]
Lázaro Fonte Castilian 1536–39
1540–42
Muisca1542 [40] [42]
Juan de Céspedes Castilian 1525–43 Muisca 1573 or 1576 [40] [42] [60] [61]
Juan de San Martín Castilian 1536–39
1540–45
Muisca [40] [42]
Antonio de Lebrija Castilian 1536–39Muisca1540 [40]
Ortún Velázquez de Velasco Castilian 1536–39Muisca1584 [40] [62]
Bartolomé Camacho Zambrano Castilian 1536–39Muisca [40]
Antonio Díaz de Cardoso Castilian 1536–39Muisca [40]
Pedro Fernández de Valenzuela Castilian 1536–39Muisca [40]
640+ conquistadors
~80%
mostly CastilianApril 1536
-
April 1537
Diseases, jaguars, crocodiles, climate,
various indigenous warfare
1536
1537
Nativo do Novo Mundo lancando flecha com o propulsor ou estolica.pdf
[40] [42]
II & III – Soldiers of the expeditions De Belalcázar & Federmann (1535–1539)
Name
leader in bold
NationalityYears
active
Encountered
bold is conquered
Year
of
death
ImageNotes
Sebastián de Belalcázar Castilian 1514–39 Muisca 1551
Don Sebastian de Benalcazar Fundador de la Villa de San Fco. del Quito (1534) - AHG.jpg
[39] [42]
Baltasar Maldonado Castilian 1543–52 Muisca 1552 [63] [64] [65] [66]
Nikolaus Federmann Bavarian 1535–39 Muisca 1542 [39] [42]
Miguel Holguín y Figueroa Castilian 1535–39Muisca1576> [67]
I – 1 – Main expedition – inland and up from Chipatá to Funza – March – April 1537
Settlement
bold is founded
Department DateYearAltitude (m)
urban centre
NotesMap
Chipatá Santander 8 March15371820 [42] [43]
Colombia - Santander - Chipata.svg
Barbosa Santander March15371610
Colombia - Santander - Barbosa.svg
Moniquirá Boyacá March15371669 [68] [note 3]
Colombia - Boyaca - Moniquira.svg
Santa Sofía Boyacá March15372387
Colombia - Boyaca - Santa Sofia.svg
Sutamarchán Boyacá March15371800
Colombia - Boyaca - Sutamarchan.svg
Ráquira Boyacá March15372150 [69]
Colombia - Boyaca - Raquira.svg
Simijaca Cundinamarca March15372559
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Simijaca.svg
Susa Cundinamarca March15372655
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Susa.svg
Fúquene Cundinamarca March15372750
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Fuquene.svg
Guachetá Cundinamarca 12 March15372688 [44]
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Guacheta.svg
Lenguazaque Cundinamarca 13 March15372589 [45]
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Lenguazaque.svg
Cucunubá Cundinamarca 13–14 March15372590
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Cucunuba.svg
Suesca Cundinamarca 14 March15372584 [46]
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Suesca.svg
Nemocón Cundinamarca March15372585 [42]
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Nemocon.svg
Zipaquirá Cundinamarca March15372650
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Zipaquira.svg
Cajicá Cundinamarca 23 March15372558 [42] [70]
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Cajica.svg
Chía Cundinamarca 24 March15372564 [42] [71]
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Chia.svg
Cota Cundinamarca March–April15372566
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Cota.svg
Funza Cundinamarca 20 April15372548 [42] [47]
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Funza.svg
I – 2 – Gonzalo – Tenza Valley – Conquest of Hunza & Sugamuxi – May – August 20 & September, 1537
Settlement
bold is founded
Department DateYearNote(s)Map
Engativá Cundinamarca22 May1537 [48]
Bogota - Engativa.svg
Suba CundinamarcaMay1537
Bogota - Suba.svg
Chía CundinamarcaMay1537
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Chia.svg
Cajicá CundinamarcaMay1537
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Cajica.svg
Tocancipá CundinamarcaMay–June1537
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Tocancipa.svg
Gachancipá CundinamarcaMay–June1537
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Gachancipa.svg
Guatavita CundinamarcaMay–June1537
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Guatavita.svg
Sesquilé
Lake Guatavita
El Dorado
CundinamarcaMay–June1537
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Sesquile.svg
Chocontá Cundinamarca 9 June1537 [49]
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Choconta.svg
Machetá CundinamarcaJune1537
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Macheta.svg
Tibiritá CundinamarcaJune1537
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Tibirita.svg
Guateque Boyacá June1537
Colombia - Boyaca - Guateque.svg
Sutatenza BoyacáJune1537
Colombia - Boyaca - Sutatenza.svg
Tenza Boyacá24 June1537 [50]
Colombia - Boyaca - Tenza.svg
La Capilla BoyacáJune–July1537
Colombia - Boyaca - La Capilla.svg
Chivor BoyacáJuly1537 [72]
Colombia - Boyaca - Chivor.svg
Úmbita BoyacáJuly1537
Colombia - Boyaca - Umbita.svg
Turmequé Boyacá20 July1537 [52]
Colombia - Boyaca - Turmeque.svg
Boyacá Boyacá8 August1537 [73]
Colombia - Boyaca - Boyaca.svg
Ciénega BoyacáAugust1537
Colombia - Boyaca - Cienega.svg
Soracá Boyacá20 August ~15:001537 [74]
Colombia - Boyaca - Soraca.svg
Hunza Boyacá20 August1537 [74]
Colombia - Boyaca - Tunja.svg
3 – Hernán – Foundation of Sutatausa – June 24, 1537
Name Department DateYearNote(s)Map
Sutatausa Cundinamarca 24 June1537 [51]
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Sutatausa.svg
4 – Juan de Céspedes – Southern savanna – 1537
Name Department DateYearNote(s)Map
Pasca Cundinamarca 15 July1537 [55]
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Pasca.svg
San Antonio del Tequendama Cundinamarca 1539 [75]
Colombia - Cundinamarca - San Antonio del Tequendama.svg
5 – Juan de San Martín – 1537–1550
Name Department DateYearNote(s)Map
El Colegio Cundinamarca 1537 [76]
Colombia - Cundinamarca - El Colegio.svg
Cuítiva Boyacá 19 January1550 [77]
Colombia - Boyaca - Cuitiva.svg
6 – Gonzalo et al. – Foundations of Bogotá and savanna
Name Department DateYearNote(s)Map
Bojacá Cundinamarca 16 October1537 [78]
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Bojaca.svg
Somondoco Boyacá 1 November1537 [79]
Colombia - Boyaca - Somondoco.svg
Une Cundinamarca23 February1538 [80]
Colombia - Cundinamarca - Une.svg
7 – Gonzalo Suárez Rendón – Foundation of Tunja – August 6, 1539
Name Department DateYearNote(s)Map
Tunja Boyacá 6 August1539
Colombia - Boyaca - Tunja.svg
8 – Baltasar Maldonado – Conquest of Tundama – December 1539
Name Department DateYearNote(s)Map
Duitama Boyacá 15 December1539 [81]
Colombia - Boyaca - Duitama.svg
9 – Hernán & Lázaro Fonte a.o. – 1540
Name Department DateYearNote(s)Map
Motavita Boyacá 1540 [82]
Colombia - Boyaca - Motavita.svg
Nevado del Sumapaz Cundinamarca 1540
Distrito Capital de Bogota - Sumapaz.svg

Early colonial period

Year(s)Epidemic
1537Tunja Province: ~250,000 est. inh.
1558<no data
1558-60 smallpox, measles
1568-69 influenza
1587-90 influenza (or typhus)
1607smallpox
1617-18measles (after food shortages)
1621smallpox
1633typhus
1636Tunja Province: ~50,000 est. inh.
-80%

Not only the Spanish settlers had lost large percentages of their men due to warfare and diseases. The assessed corregimientos of the Province of Tunja between 1537 and 1636 shows a decline of the total Muisca population between 65 and 85%. [83] Epidemics were the main cause of the rapid reduction in population. Various have been reported and many undescribed in the first twenty years of contact. [84]

After the foundation of Bogotá and the installation of the new dependency of the Spanish Crown, several strategies were important to the Spanish conquerors. The rich mineral resources of the Altiplano had to be extracted, the agriculture was quickly reformed, a system of encomiendas was installed and a main concern of the Spanish was the evangelisation of the Muisca. On October 9, 1549, Carlos V sent a royal letter to the New Kingdom directed at the priests about the necessity of population reduction of the Muisca. [85] The indigenous people were working in the encomiendas which limited their religious conversion. [85] To speed up the process of submittance to the Spanish reign, the mobility of the indigenous people was prohibited and the people gathered in resguardos. [86] The formerly celebrated festivities in their religion disappeared. Specific times for the catechesis were controlled by laws, as executed in royal dictates in 1537, 1538 and 1551. [87] The first bishop of Santafé, Juan de los Barrios, ordered to destroy the temples of the Muisca and replace them with catholic churches. [88] The last public religious ceremony of the Muisca religion was held in Ubaque on December 27, 1563. [89] The second bishop of Santafé, Luis Zapata de Cárdenas, intensified the aggressive policies against the Muisca religion and the burnings of their sacred sites. This formed the final nail in the coffin of the former polytheistic society. [88]

The transition to a mixed agriculture with Old World crops was remarkably fast, mainly to do with the fertility of the lands of the Altiplano permitting European crops to grow there, while in the more tropical areas the soil was not so much suited for the foreign crops. In 1555, the Muisca of Toca were growing European crops as wheat and barley and sugarcane was grown in other areas. [90] The previously self-sustaining economy was quickly transformed into one based on intensive agriculture and mining that produced changes in the landscape and culture of the Muisca. [91]

See also

Notes

  1. While some sources state 47,000 km² as area, [1] that would be Cundinamarca and Boyacá combined and other indigenous groups were living in those areas
  2. Not the same as Juan Maldonado, who was only 11 in 1536
  3. Note: date of foundation says March 16, 1537, which cannot be correct, as the troops were already in Cundinamarca by that date

Related Research Articles

Tunja Municipality of Colombia in Boyacá

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Muisca rulers Tribal rulers in pre-Spanish Colombia

When the Spanish arrived in the central Colombian highlands, the region was organized into the Muisca Confederation, which had two rulers; the zipa was the ruler of the southern part and based in Bacatá, now known as Bogotá. The zaque was the ruler of the northern area and based in Hunza, known today as Tunja.

Altiplano Cundiboyacense Plateau in the Columbian Andes

The Altiplano Cundiboyacense[altiˈplano kundiβoʝaˈsense] is a high plateau located in the Eastern Cordillera of the Colombian Andes covering parts of the departments of Cundinamarca and Boyacá. The altiplano corresponds to the ancient territory of the Muisca. The Altiplano Cundiboyacense comprises three distinctive flat regions; the Bogotá savanna, the valleys of Ubaté and Chiquinquirá, and the valleys of Duitama and Sogamoso. The average altitude of the altiplano is about 2,600 metres (8,500 ft) above sea level but ranges from roughly 2,500 metres (8,200 ft) to 4,000 metres (13,000 ft).

Suesca Municipality and town in Cundinamarca, Colombia

Suesca is a town and municipality in the Almeidas Province, part of the department of Cundinamarca, Colombia. It is located on the Altiplano Cundiboyacense at 59 kilometres (37 mi) north from the capital Bogotá. Suesca forms the northern edge of the Bogotá savanna and is a scenic countryside town which is well known because its landscape attracts devotees of rock climbing, trekking, and rafting. It is surrounded by dairy farms and flower plantations. The municipality borders Cucunubá and Lenguazaque in the north, Sesquilé in the south, Chocontá in the east and Nemocón and Gachancipá in the west.

Piedras del Tunjo Archaeological Park Archaeological park

Piedras del Tunjo is an important archaeological park established on a natural rock shelter 40 kilometres (25 mi) west of Bogotá in the city of Facatativá.

Bacatá Main seat of the zipa in Cundinamarca, Colombia

Bacatá is the name given to the main settlement of the Muisca Confederation on the Bogotá savanna. It mostly refers to an area, rather than an individual village, although the name is also found in texts referring to the modern settlement of Funza, in the centre of the savanna. Bacatá, alternatively written as Muequetá or Muyquytá, was the main seat of the zipa, the ruler of the Bogotá savanna and adjacent areas. The name of the Colombian capital, Bogotá, is derived from Bacatá, but founded as Santafe de Bogotá in the western foothills of the Eastern Hills in a different location than the original settlement Bacatá, west of the Bogotá River, eventually named after Bacatá as well.

Sagipa Ruler in pre-Spanish Colombia

Sagipa or Zaquesazipa was the fifth and last ruler (zipa) of Bacatá, currently known as the Colombian capital Bogotá, as of 1537. He was the brother of his predecessor Tisquesusa but the traditional faction of the Muisca considered him an usurper as his nephew Chiayzaque, the cacique of Chía, was the legitimate successor of Tisquesusa. His zaque counterpart in the northern part of the Muisca territory was Aquiminzaque, the last surviving ruler of the Muisca. The daughter of Sagipa, named as Magdalena de Guatavita, married conquistador Hernán Venegas Carrillo, one of the first mestizo marriages in the New Kingdom of Granada.

Tisquesusa Tribal ruler in pre-Spanish Colombia

Tisquesusa, also spelled Thisquesuza, Thysquesuca or Thisquesusha was the fourth and last independent ruler (zipa) of Bacatá, main settlement of the southern Muisca between 1514 and his death in 1537. The name brought about the Colombian capital Bogotá. Tisquesusa was the ruler of the southern Muisca Confederation at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Muisca, when the troops led by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada and his brother entered the central Colombian highlands. His zaque counterpart in the northern area of the Muisca was Quemuenchatocha.

Quemuenchatocha Tribal ruler

Quemuenchatocha or Quimuinchateca was the second-last zaque of Hunza, currently known as Tunja, as of 1490. He was the ruler of the northern Muisca when the Spanish conquistadores arrived in the Colombian highlands. His contemporary enemy zipas of the southern Muisca were successively Nemequene and Tisquesusa.

Nemequene Tribal ruler

Nemequene or Nemeguene was the third ruler (zipa) of Bacatá, currently known as the Colombian capital Bogotá, as of 1490. His zaque counterpart ruling over the northern area of the Muisca territory was Quemuenchatocha.

Tundama Tribal leader

Tundama was a cacique of the Muisca Confederation, a loose confederation of different rulers of the Muisca who inhabited the central highlands of the Colombian Andes. The city of Tundama, currently known as Duitama and part of the Tundama Province, Boyacá, were named after the cacique. Tundama ruled over the northernmost territories of the Muisca, submitted last by the Spanish conquistadores.

Sugamuxi Tribal chief

Sugamuxi was the last iraca; cacique of the sacred City of the Sun Suamox. Sugamuxi, presently called Sogamoso, was an important city in the religion of the Muisca who inhabited the Altiplano Cundiboyacense in the times before the Spanish conquistadors reached the central highlands of the Colombian Andes. Fellow Muisca rulers of other territories within the Muisca Confederation were Tundama in Tundama, zaque Aquiminzaque in Hunza and zipa Sagipa in Bacatá.

Hunzahúa Well

The Hunzahúa Well is an archeological site of the Muisca located in the city of Tunja, Boyacá, which in the time of the Muisca Confederation was called Hunza. The well is named after the first zaque of Hunza; Hunzahúa. The Well was called Pozo de Donato for a while, after 17th century Jerónimo Donato de Rojas. The well is located on the terrain of the Pedagogical and Technological University of Colombia in Tunja. Scholar Javier Ocampo López has written about the Well and its mythology. Knowledge about the well has been provided by scholar Pedro Simón.

Nompanim Iraca

Nompanim or Nomparem was the second-last iraca; cacique of the sacred City of the Sun; Sugamuxi. Sugamuxi, presently called Sogamoso, was an important city in the religion of the Muisca who inhabited the Altiplano Cundiboyacense in the times before the Spanish conquest of the Muisca conquistadores reached the central highlands of the Colombian Andes. Fellow Muisca rulers of other territories within the Muisca Confederation were Tundama in Tundama, zaque Quemuenchatocha in Hunza and zipas Nemequene and Tisquesusa in Bacatá.

Spanish conquest of the Muisca Part of the Spanish conquest of Colombia

The Spanish conquest of the Muisca took place from 1537 to 1540. The Muisca were the inhabitants of the central Andean highlands of Colombia before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. They were organised in a loose confederation of different rulers; the zipa of Bacatá, with his headquarters in Funza, the zaque of Boyacá, with his headquarters in Hunza, the iraca of the sacred City of the Sun Sugamuxi, the Tundama of Tundama, and several independent caciques. The leaders of the Confederation at the time of conquest were zipa Tisquesusa, zaque Quemuenchatocha, iraca Sugamuxi and Tundama in the northernmost portion of their territories. The Muisca were organised in small communities of circular enclosures, with a central square where the bohío of the cacique was located. They were called "Salt People" because of their extraction of salt in various locations throughout their territories, mainly in Zipaquirá, Nemocón and Tausa. For the main part self-sufficient in their well-organised economy, the Muisca traded with the European conquistadors valuable products as gold, tumbaga and emeralds with their neighbouring indigenous groups. In the Tenza Valley, to the east of the Altiplano Cundiboyacense where the majority of the Muisca lived, they extracted emeralds in Chivor and Somondoco. The economy of the Muisca was rooted in their agriculture with main products maize, yuca, potatoes and various other cultivations elaborated on elevated fields. Agriculture had started around 3000 BCE on the Altiplano, following the preceramic Herrera Period and a long epoch of hunter-gatherers since the late Pleistocene. The earliest archaeological evidence of inhabitation in Colombia, and one of the oldest in South America, has been found in El Abra, dating to around 12,500 years BP.

Hernán Pérez de Quesada Spanish conquistador in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador

Hernán Pérez de Quesada, sometimes spelled as De Quezada, was a Spanish conquistador. Second in command of the army of his elder brother, Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada, Hernán was part of the first European expedition towards the inner highlands of the Colombian Andes. The harsh journey, taking almost a year and many deaths, led through the departments Magdalena, Cesar, Santander, Boyacá, Cundinamarca and Huila of present-day Colombia between 1536 and 1539 and, without him, Meta, Caquetá and Putumayo of Colombia and northern Peru and Ecuador between 1540 and 1542.

Casa del Fundador Gonzalo Suárez Rendón

The Casa del Fundador Gonzalo Suárez Rendón is a museum and monument in Tunja, the capital of Boyacá, Colombia. It is situated on the central square of Tunja, named Plaza Bolívar, but historically called Plaza Suárez Rendón, honouring the city founder Gonzalo Suárez Rendón, who established Tunja for the Spanish Crown on August 6, 1539. The colonial building, declared a monument in 1959 and designated as museum in 1965, is the only remaining house of a city founder in Latin America and started construction in 1540.

Baltasar Maldonado

Baltasar Maldonado, also written as Baltazar Maldonado, was a Spanish conquistador who first served under Sebastian de Belalcázar in the conquest of Quito and Peru, the foundations of Cali and Popayán, and later in the army of Hernán Pérez de Quesada in the Spanish conquest of the Muisca.

Battle of Tocarema 16th-century battle

The Battle of Tocarema was a battle fought between an alliance of the troops of Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada and zipa of the Muisca Sagipa of the southern Muisca Confederation and the indigenous Panche. The battle took place on the afternoon of August 19 and the morning of August 20, 1538 in the vereda Tocarema of Cachipay, Cundinamarca, Colombia and resulted in a victory for the Spanish and Muisca, when captains Juan de Céspedes and Juan de Sanct Martín commanded two flanks of the conquistadors.

The Cabildo Mayor del Pueblo Muisca is an organisation of indigenous people, in particular the Muisca. It was established in September 2002 in Bosa, Bogotá, Colombia. The organisation, member of National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), focuses on defending the rights of the descendants of the Muisca, and the development of cultural and historical heritage, territory and health and the linguistics of the indigenous language, Muysccubun.

References

  1. (in Spanish) Muisca Confederation area almost 47,000 km2, page 12
  2. (in Spanish) Muisca culture – Historia Universal – accessed 21-04-2016
  3. Gamboa Mendoza, 2016
  4. (in Spanish) Nivel Paleoindio. Abrigos rocosos del Tequendama Archived 2016-04-29 at Archive.today
  5. Gómez Mejía, 2012, p.153
  6. Ocampo López, 2007, p.27
  7. Ocampo López, 2007, p.26
  8. (in Spanish) Herrera PeriodUniversidad Nacional de Colombia
  9. (in Spanish) Chronology of pre-Columbian periods: Herrera and Muisca
  10. Kruschek, 2003
  11. Langebaek, 1995, Ch.4, p.70
  12. Izquierdo Peña, 2009
  13. (in Spanish) Muysccubun: chie
  14. Casimilas Rojas, 2005, p.250
  15. Reichel-Dolmatoff, 1947, p.30
  16. Quesada & Rojas, 1999, p.93
  17. (in Spanish) Muysccubun: ata
  18. Reichel-Dolmatoff, 1947, p.38
  19. (in Spanish) Muysccubun: muysca
  20. Reichel-Dolmatoff, 1947, p.25
  21. (in Spanish) Official website Buenavista
  22. (in Spanish) Reconstruction of the Guane peopleEl Espectador
  23. (in Spanish) Las Tribus Indígenas en Colombia
  24. Chibcha-speaking U'wa
  25. Achagua in Encyclopædia Britannica
  26. (in Spanish) Official website Miraflores
  27. (in Spanish) Description Guayupe
  28. (in Spanish) Indios Sutagaos
  29. The lost Panches
  30. (in Spanish) El vocabulario Muzo-Colima de la relación de Juan Suárez de Cepeda (1582)
  31. (in Spanish) Apuntes para el análisis de la situación de la lengua Carare
  32. (in Spanish) Legend of El Dorado on the shores of Lake Guatavita Archived 2016-04-04 at the Wayback Machine – Casa Cultural Colombiana – accessed 21-04-2016
  33. (in Spanish) Birth of mankind from Lake Iguaque – Cultura, Recreación y Deporte – accessed 21-04-2016
  34. (in Spanish) Legend of the lover of Meicuchuca turning into a snake in the Tequendama Fallas – Pueblos Originarios – accessed 21-04-2016
  35. Ocampo López, 2013, Ch.18, p.99
  36. (in Spanish) El Infiernito; astronomical site – Pueblos Originarios
  37. Langebaek, 2005b, p.282
  38. Izquierdo, 2014
  39. 1 2 3 4 (in Spanish) Personajes de la Conquista a AméricaBanco de la República
  40. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 (in Spanish) List of conquistadors led by Gonzalo Jiménez de QuesadaBanco de la República
  41. (in Spanish) Biography Hernán Pérez de QuesadaBanco de la República
  42. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 (in Spanish) Conquista rápida y saqueo cuantioso de Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada
  43. 1 2 (in Spanish) Official website Chipatá
  44. 1 2 (in Spanish) Official website Guachetá
  45. 1 2 (in Spanish) Official website Lenguazaque
  46. 1 2 (in Spanish) Official website Suesca
  47. 1 2 (in Spanish) Official website Funza Archived 2015-12-21 at the Wayback Machine
  48. 1 2 3 (in Spanish) Engativá celebra hoy sus 458 añosEl Tiempo
  49. 1 2 3 (in Spanish) Official website Chocontá
  50. 1 2 3 (in Spanish) Official website Tenza
  51. 1 2 3 (in Spanish) Official website Sutatausa Archived 2016-02-12 at the Wayback Machine
  52. 1 2 3 (in Spanish) Official website Turmequé Archived 2016-01-12 at the Wayback Machine
  53. (in Spanish) Tisquesusa would die bathing in his own blood – Pueblos Originarios
  54. (in Spanish) Zipa TisquesusaBanco de la República
  55. 1 2 (in Spanish) Official website Pasca
  56. (in Spanish) Biography Quemuenchatocha – Pueblos Originarios
  57. Rodríguez Freyle, 1979 (1638), p.173
  58. Rodríguez Freyle, 1979 (1638), p.84
  59. Rodríguez Freyle, 1979 (1638), p.144
  60. (in Spanish) Biography Juan de CéspedesBanco de la República
  61. Rodríguez Freyle, 1979 (1638), p.69
  62. Rodríguez Freyle, 1979 (1638), p.xii
  63. (in Spanish) Baltasar MaldonadoSoledad Acosta SamperBanco de la República
  64. Rodríguez Freyle, 1979 (1638), p.88
  65. Rodríguez Freyle, 1979 (1638), p.93
  66. Rodríguez Freyle, 1979 (1638), p.94
  67. Rodríguez Freyle, 1979 (1638), p.153
  68. (in Spanish) Official website Moniquirá
  69. (in Spanish) Official website Ráquira
  70. (in Spanish) History Cajicá [ permanent dead link ]
  71. (in Spanish) De Quesada celebrated the Holy Week in Chia
  72. (in Spanish) History Chivor
  73. (in Spanish) Official website Boyacá
  74. 1 2 (in Spanish) Official website Soracá
  75. (in Spanish) Official website San Antonio del Tequendama
  76. (in Spanish) Official website El Colegio
  77. (in Spanish) Official website Cuítiva
  78. (in Spanish) Official website Bojacá
  79. (in Spanish) Official website Somondoco
  80. (in Spanish) Official website Une
  81. (in Spanish) Biography Cacique Tundama – Pueblos Originarios
  82. (in Spanish) Official website Motavita
  83. Francis, 2002, p.59
  84. Francis, 2002, p.42
  85. 1 2 Suárez, 2015, p.128
  86. Segura Calderón, 2014, p.38
  87. Suárez, 2015, p.125
  88. 1 2 Suárez, 2015, p.129
  89. Londoño, 2001, p.4
  90. Francis, 1993, p.60
  91. Martínez & Manrique, 2014, p.102

Bibliography and further reading

Spanish chroniclers