Pipil people

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Map of El Salvador's Native American civilizations and their kingdoms:
Kingdom of the Lenca people
Kingdom of the Cacaopera people
Kingdom of the Xinca people
Kingdom Maya Poqomam people
Kingdom of Maya Ch'orti' people
Kingdom of the Alaguilac people
Kingdom of the Mixe people
Kingdom of the Mangue language
Kingdom of the Pipil people NATIVE AMERICAN INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF EL SALVADOR IN CENTRAL AMERICA ISTHMUS.png
Map of El Salvador's Native American civilizations and their kingdoms:
  Kingdom of the Lenca people
  Kingdom of the Cacaopera people
  Kingdom of the Xinca people
  Kingdom Maya Poqomam people
  Kingdom of Maya Ch'orti' people
  Kingdom of the Alaguilac people
  Kingdom of the Mixe people
  Kingdom of the Mangue language
  Kingdom of the Pipil people

The Pipils or Cuzcatlecs are an indigenous people who live in western El Salvador, which they call Cuzcatlan. Their language is called Nahuat or Pipil, related to the Toltec people of the Nahuatl Nation. The Pipil language is a Uto-Toltec or Uto-Nicarao dialect of the Nahuan languages branch, a dialect chain that stretches from Utah in the United States down through El Salvador to Nicaragua in Central America. The name of the language family was created to show that it includes the greatest extent perimeter from the Ute language of Utah, to the former Toltec predecessor and the expanse margin Pipil-Nicarao successors. Evidence from archeology and ethnohistory also supports the southward diffusion thesis, especially that speakers of early Nahuatl languages migrated from northern Mexican deserts into central Mexico in several waves.[ citation needed ] Their mythology, however, is more closely related to the mythology of the Maya peoples, who are their near neighbors, [1] and by oral tradition said to have been adopted by Ch'orti' and Poqomam Mayan people during the Pipil exodus in the 9th century CE, led by Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl.[ citation needed ]

Indigenous peoples Ethnic group descended from and identified with the original inhabitants of a given region

Indigenous peoples, also known as first peoples, aboriginal peoples or native peoples, are ethnic groups who are the original settlers of a given region, in contrast to groups that have settled, occupied or colonized the area more recently. Groups are usually described as indigenous when they maintain traditions or other aspects of an early culture that is associated with a given region. Not all indigenous peoples share this characteristic, as many have adopted substantial elements of a colonizing culture, such as dress, religion or language. Indigenous peoples may be settled in a given region (sedentary) or exhibit a nomadic lifestyle across a large territory, but they are generally historically associated with a specific territory on which they depend. Indigenous societies are found in every inhabited climate zone and continent of the world.

El Salvador country in Central America

El Salvador, officially the Republic of El Salvador, is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. It is bordered on the northeast by Honduras, on the northwest by Guatemala, and on the south by the Pacific Ocean. El Salvador's capital and largest city is San Salvador. As of 2016, the country had a population of approximately 6.34 million.

Cuzcatlan

Cuzcatlan was a pre-Columbian Nahua state of the postclassical period that extended from the Paz river to the Lempa river, this was the nation that Spanish chroniclers came to call the Pipils/Cuzcatlecs. No codices or written accounts survive that shed light on this señorío, although Spanish chroniclers such as Domingo Juarros, Palaces, Lozano, and others claim that some codices did exist but have since disappeared. Their language (Nawat), art and pyramids revealed that they had significant Mayan and Toltec influence. It is believed that the first settlers to arrive came from the Toltec people in central Mexico.

Contents

Synonymy and language

The name Pipil is the most commonly encountered term in the anthropological and linguistic literature. This exonym is from the closely related Nahuatl word -pil "son, boy". Archaeologist William Fowler notes that pipil can be translated as "noble" and surmises that the invading Spanish and their Indian auxiliaries used the name as a reference to the population's princely caste, which owned all land and directed and composed the standing army. In this reading, the name "Pipil" only later became associated with the people as a whole. Common Salvadoran belief, however, is that the term pipil translates properly as "childish" and was inspired by the simple form of Nahuatl spoken by the people living at a distance from the core civilization in Mexico.

Indian auxiliaries Indigenous peoples of the Americas who aligned with the Spanish conquest

Indian auxiliaries or indios auxiliares is the term used in old Spanish chronicles and historical texts for the indigenous peoples who were integrated into the armies of the Spanish conquistadors with the purpose of supporting their advance and combat operations during the Conquest of America. They acted as guides, translators, or porters and in this role were also called yanakuna, particularly within the old Inca Empire and Chile. The term was also used for formations composed of indigenous warriors or Indios amigos, which they used for reconnaissance, combat, and as reserve in battle. The auxiliary Indians remained in use after the conquest, during some revolts, in border zones and permanent military areas, as in Chile in the Arauco War.

The Pipil speak the endangered Uto-Aztecan language Nawat, also known as Pipil in English, and as náhuat in Spanish. (The older form nahuate is no longer current).

Endangered language language that is at risk of falling out of use as its speakers die out or shift to speaking another language

An endangered language, or moribund language, is a language that is at risk of falling out of use as its speakers die out or shift to speaking another language. Language loss occurs when the language has no more native speakers and becomes a "dead language". If no one can speak the language at all, it becomes an "extinct language". A dead language may still be studied through recordings or writings, but it is still dead or extinct unless there are fluent speakers. Although languages have always become extinct throughout human history, they are currently dying at an accelerated rate because of globalization, neocolonialism and linguicide.

Uto-Aztecan languages language family

Uto-Aztecan or Uto-Aztekan is a family of indigenous languages of the Americas, consisting of over 30 languages. Uto-Aztecan languages are found almost entirely in the Western United States and Mexico. The name of the language family was created to show that it includes both the Ute language of Utah and the Nahuan languages of Mexico.

Pipil language language

Pipil is a Uto-Toltec or Uto-Nahuan language native to Central America. It is the southernmost extant member of the Uto-Aztecan family. It was spoken in several parts of present-day Central America before the Spanish conquest, but now is mostly confined to western El Salvador. It has been on the verge of extinction in El Salvador and has already gone extinct elsewhere in Central America, but as of 2012 new second language speakers are starting to appear.

Nahuatl -pil is cognate with Nahuat pi:pil "boy". The autonym in the Nahuat language is simply Nahuat which is related to the Classical Nahuatl word nahuatl.

For most authors the term Pipil (Nahuat) is used to refer to the language in only Central America (i.e. excluding Mexico). However, the term (along with the synonymous Eastern Nahuatl) has also been used to refer to Nahuatl language varieties in the southern Veracruz, Tabasco, and Chiapas that like Pipil have reduced the earlier /tl/ sound to a /t/. The varieties in these three areas do share greater similarities with Nahuat than the other Nahuatl varieties do (suggesting a closer connection); however, Campbell (1985) considers Nahuat distinct enough to be considered a language separate from the Nahuatl complex, thus rejecting an Eastern Nahuatl subgrouping that includes Nahuat.

In sociolinguistics, a variety, also called a lect, is a specific form of a language or language cluster. This may include languages, dialects, registers, styles, or other forms of language, as well as a standard variety. The use of the word "variety" to refer to the different forms avoids the use of the term language, which many people associate only with the standard language, and the term dialect, which is often associated with non-standard varieties thought of as less prestigious or "correct" than the standard. Linguists speak of both standard and non-standard (vernacular) varieties. "Lect" avoids the problem in ambiguous cases of deciding whether two varieties are distinct languages or dialects of a single language.

Veracruz State of Mexico

Veracruz, formally Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave, is one of the 31 states that, along with the Mexico city, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided in 212 municipalities and its capital city is Xalapa-Enríquez.

Tabasco State of Mexico

Tabasco, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Tabasco, is one of the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 17 municipalities and its capital city is Villahermosa. It is located in the southeast of the country bordering the states of Campeche to the northeast, Veracruz to the west and Chiapas to the south, and the Petén department of Guatemala to the southeast. It has a coastline to the north with the Gulf of Mexico. Most of the state is covered in rainforest as, unlike most other areas of Mexico, it has plentiful rainfall year round. For this reason, it is also covered in small lakes, wetlands and rivers. The state is subject to major flooding events, with the last occurring in 2007, which affected eighty percent of the state. The state is also home to La Venta, the major site of the Olmec civilization, considered to be the origin of later Mesoamerican cultures. Even though it produces significant quantities of petroleum and natural gas, poverty is still a concern.

Finally, for other authors the term Aztec is used to refer to all closely languages in this region as a single language, not distinguishing Nahuat from Nahuatl (and sometimes not even separating out Pochutec). The classification of Nahuan that Campbell argues for (1985, 1997) has been superseded by newer and more detailed classifications. And currently the widely accepted classifications by Lastra de Suarez (1986) and Canger (1988), see Pipil as a Nahuan dialect of the eastern periphery.

Dialects of Pipil include the following [ citation needed ]:

Today Nahuat is seldom used except in some rural areas and mostly as phrases sustained in households in Sonsonate and Ahuachapán departments. Cuisnahuat and Santo Domingo de Guzmán have the highest concentration of speakers. Campbell's 1985 estimate (fieldwork 1970-1976) was 200 remaining speakers although as many as 2000 speakers have been recorded in official Mexican reports.[ citation needed ] Gordon (2005) reports only 20 speakers (from 1987). The exact number of speakers is difficult to determine because native speakers do not wish to be identified due to historic government repression of aboriginal Salvadoreños, such as La Matanza ("The Massacre") of 1932.

History

A cohesive group sharing a central Mexican culture migrated to the southern Guatemalan piedmont during the Late Classic. They settled around the town of Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa, erecting Monument 4 at around the division between the Late and Terminal Classic. The culture lasted until the Spanish conquest, at which time they still maintained their Nahuat language, despite being surrounded by Maya. [2]

The region was rich in natural resources, particularly cacao and fruit.

The Pipil introduced the cults of Xipe Totec, Tlaloc, Quetzalcoatl, Huehueteotl, Ehecatl, and Tlalchitonatiuh. Their architecture is death-obsessed; as in their central Mexican homeland, their religion demanded human sacrifice. The Pipil calendar was also expressed in central Mexican terms. [2]

A third group, designated as the Izalco Pipil, are believed to have migrated into the region late in the 10th century, occupying lands west of the Lempa River during the 11th century.[ citation needed ] Legend and archaeological research suggest these migrants were refugees from conflict within the Toltec empire to the north.[ citation needed ]

The Pipil organized a nation known as Cuzcatlan, with at least two centralized city/states that may have been subdivided into smaller principalities.[ citation needed ] The Pipil were also competent workers in cotton textiles, and developed a wide-ranging trade network for woven goods as well as agricultural products.[ citation needed ] Their cultivation of cacao, centred in the Izalcos area and involving a vast and sophisticated irrigation system, was especially lucrative and Pipil trade in cacao reached as far north as Teotihuacan.

By the time the Spanish arrived, Pipil and Poqomam Maya settlements were interspersed throughout western El Salvador, from the Lempa River to the border with Guatemala. There were four important branches of the Pipil:

Although they were primarily an agricultural people, some Pipil urban centers developed into present-day cities, such as Sonsonate and Ahuachapán. The dominant Pipil cities of Cuzcatlan and Tecpan Izalco in El Salvador were founded in approximately A.D. 1050.[ citation needed ] Ruins in Aguilares and those close to the Guazapa volcano are considered part of Pipil society. (The ruins of Cihuatán, sometimes attributed to the Pipiles, is actually a Mayan site.)

Migration and legend

Pipil may refer to a branch of the pre-Columbian Toltec civilization, which flourished in Central Mexico around the close of the 1st millennium AD. The Toltec capital, Tula, [3] also known as Tollan and located in the present-day state of Hidalgo is the most significant archaeological site associated with the Toltec. The apogee of Tula's reach post-dates that of the great city of Teotihuacán, which lies further to the southeast and quite close to the modern Mexico City.

Tradition, mythology and archaeology strongly suggest these people arrived in El Salvador around the year A.D. 1000 as a result of the collapse of the Tala. The Tala, apparently a Toltec subgroup or family line, gained power or influence in the Toltec civilization at the fall of Teotihuacan. This group was ultimately defeated in a bloody civil war over succession to the throne of the Toltec capital Tula. The defeated group had little choice but to leave Mexico and emigrate to Central America. Tula fell a short time later, circa A.D. 1170, while under the reign of Huemac-Quetzalcoatl.

The faction that lost the war was led by the celebrated hero Topiltzin, son of Mixcoatl. His followers thought he was a reincarnation of the god Quetzalcoatl, and used the name as a title. According to tradition, Topiltzin Ce Acatl Quetzalcoatl founded a sanctuary to the god Nuictlan in the region of 'Guija Lake'. Later, he arrived at the now ruined Maya site of Copán in Honduras and subsequently went to the environs of the present Nicaragua, where he established the people known as Nicarao .

Spanish conquest

In the early 16th century, the Spanish conquistadores ventured into Central America from Mexico, then known as the Spanish colony of New Spain. After subduing the highland Mayan city-states through battle and cooptation, the Spanish sought to extend their dominion to the lower Atlantic region of the Pipiles, then dominated by the powerful city-state of Cuscatlán. Pedro de Alvarado, a lieutenant of Hernán Cortés, led the first Spanish invasion in June 1524. He was accompanied by thousands of Mayan allies, who had long been rivals of Cuscatlán for control over their wealthy cacao-producing region. The Pipil armies met the Spanish forces in two major open battles, but were massacred by the Spaniards' superior weaponry and later by diseases. The surviving Cuscatlán forces retreated into the mountains, where they sustained a guerrilla war against the Spanish who had proceeded to occupy the city of Cuscatlán. Unable to defeat this resistance, and with Alvarado nursing a painful leg wound from a Pipil arrow in the first battle, the Spanish forces returned after a few months to the Mayan cities in the highlands of Guatemala. Two subsequent Spanish expeditions were required to achieve the complete defeat of Cuscatlán: one in 1525 and another in 1528.

Legend has it that a Pipil Cacique or King named Atlacatl and his son Prince Atonal led the Pipil forces against first contact with the Spanish, the most famous battle being the Battle of Acajutla. One variation holds that it was Atlacatl's arrow that injured Alvarado in the thigh. This legend has not been unsupported by scholars, however, who have found no historical confirmation of any king named Atlacatl. (The one Spanish reference appears to have been a misreading of a place name, Atacat.)

After the Spanish victory, the Pipils became vassals of the Spanish Crown and were no longer called Pipiles by the Spanish but simply indios or Indians. The term Pipil has therefore remained associated, in mestizo Salvadoran rhetoric, with the pre-conquest indigenous culture. Today it is used by scholars to distinguish the indigenous population in El Salvador from other Nahuat-speaking groups such as those in Nicaragua. However, neither the self-identified indigenous population nor its political movement, which has revived in recent decades, uses the term "pipil" to describe themselves, but instead uses the term "Nahuat" or simply "indigena".

Modern Pipil

Popular accounts of the Pipil have had a strong influence on the national mythology of El Salvador, with a large portion of the population claiming ancestry from this and other indigenous groups. Some 86% of today's Salvadorans are mestizos (people of mixed indigenous, black African and European descent), with less than ten percent of unmixed European ancestry. A small percentage (estimated by the government at 1%, by UNESCO at 2%, and by scholars at between 2 and 4%) is of pure or mostly pure indigenous ancestry, although numbers are disputed for political reasons. A few Pipil still speak Nahuat and follow traditional ways of life. The traditional groups live mainly in the northwestern highlands near the Guatemalan border, but numerous self-identified indigenous populations live in other areas, such as the Nonualcos south of the capital and the Lenca people in the east.

According to a special report in El Diario de Hoy, due to preservation and revitalization efforts of various non-profit organizations in conjunction with several universities, combined with a post-civil war resurgence of Pipil identity in the country of El Salvador, the number of Nahuat speakers rose from 200 in the 1980s to 3,000 speakers in 2009. The vast majority are young people, giving the language hope of being pulled from the brink of extinction. [4]

There is also a renewed interest in the preservation of the traditional beliefs and other cultural practices of the Pipil, as well as a greater willingness by the communities to perform their ceremonies in public and don traditional clothing [5]

See also

Related Research Articles

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References

  1. Boland, Roy (17 October 2017). "Culture and Customs of El Salvador". Greenwood Publishing Group. Retrieved 17 October 2017 via Google Books.
  2. 1 2 Michael Coe, The Maya (Thames and Hudson) 7th ed 2005 174-6 from 5th ed 1993 137-9
  3. "History Reference: Ancient History & World History". Jrank.org. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-09-28. Retrieved 2012-09-30.
  5. "La Palabra Universitaria – Periódico virtual de la Universidad Tecnológica de El Salvador - Periódico digital con noticias del campus universitario y del acontecer nacional". Lapalabra.utec.edu.sv. Retrieved 17 October 2017.

Bibliography

Further reading

Batres, Carlos A. (2009). "Tracing the "Enigmatic" Late Postclassic Nahua-Pipil (A.D. 1200-1500): Archaeological Study of Guatemalan South Pacific Coast". Carbondale, Illinois, USA: Southern Illinois University Carbondale . Retrieved 2011-10-02. 
Fowler, William R. Jr. (Winter 1985). "Ethnohistoric Sources on the Pipil-Nicarao of Central America: A Critical Analysis". Ethnohistory . Duke University Press. 32 (1): 3762. ISSN   0014-1801. JSTOR   482092. OCLC   478130795. 
Fox, John W. (August 1981). "The Late Postclassic Eastern Frontier of Mesoamerica: Cultural Innovation Along the Periphery". Current Anthropology. The University of Chicago Press on behalf of Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. 22 (4): 321346. doi:10.1086/202685. ISSN   0011-3204. JSTOR   2742225. OCLC   4644864425. 
Polo Sifontes, Francis (1981). Francis Polo Sifontes and Celso A. Lara Figueroa, ed. "Título de Alotenango, 1565: Clave para ubicar geograficamente la antigua Itzcuintepec pipil". Antropología e Historia de Guatemala (in Spanish). Guatemala City, Guatemala: Dirección General de Antropología e Historia de Guatemala, Ministerio de Educación. 3, II Epoca: 109–129. OCLC   605015816. 
Van Akkeren, Ruud (2005). "Conociendo a los Pipiles de la Costa del Pacífico de Guatemala: Un estudio etno-histórico de documentos indígenas y del Archivo General de Centroamérica" (PDF). XVIII Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueológicas en Guatemala, 2004 (edited by J.P. Laporte, B. Arroyo and H. Mejía) (in Spanish). Guatemala City, Guatemala: Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología: 1000–1014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-14. Retrieved 2012-02-18.