Last updated
Zipa of Bacatá
3 Tisquesusa.jpg
Tisquesusa depicted in 1688 on the cover of Historia general de las conquistas del Nuevo Reyno de Granada by Juan de Castellanos
Zipa of Bacatá
Reign1514 – 1537
Predecessor Nemequene
Successor Sagipa
Bacatá, Muisca Confederation
Facatativá, Bacatá, Muisca Confederation
Sister Usaca
IssueHama (son)
Machinza (daughter)
Tisquesusa, Thisquesuza, Thysquesuca, Thisquesusha, Bogotá
House Bacatá
Religion Muisca religion

Tisquesusa, also spelled Thisquesuza, Thysquesuca or Thisquesusha (referred to in the earliest sources as Bogotá, the Elder) (died Facatativá, 1537) was the fourth and last independent ruler ( psihipqua ) of Muyquytá, main settlement of the southern Muisca between 1514 and his death in 1537. The Spanish pronunciation of his 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 Andean highlands.



Depiction of Tisquesusa TISQUESUSA1.jpg
Depiction of Tisquesusa

Bogotá was cacique of Chía and following the Muisca heritage rules, he as nephew of the previous ruler Nemequene succeeded his uncle in 1514. At the start of his reign, Bogotá fought against the Panche in the west of the Muisca Confederation. The brother of Tisquesusa and later -according to Muisca heritage rule illegal- successor Sagipa was the general in the southern Muisca army. Early on in his reign Tisquesusa went to war with the northern Muisca ruled by Quemuenchatocha. Forty thousands guecha warriors of the southern Muisca fought against fifty thousand northern Muisca. Earlier, support of the iraca Sugamuxi of the Iraca Valley helped the northern troops in their battles, but this time the third party helped settling a truce between both parties which lasted until the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores in 1537. [1]

The Spanish conquest

The arrival of the Spanish conquerors was revealed to Bogotá 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". [2] 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 psihipqua left the capital Muyquytá and took shelter in Nemocón which directed the Spanish troops to there, during this march attacked by more than 600 Muisca warriors. [3]

When Tisquesusa retreated in his fortified place 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.

Alonso Domínguez, one of De Quesada's soldiers, thrust his sword at Tisquesusa, 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.

At the death of Tisquesusa, his son Hama and daughter Machinza hid the sister of the psihipqua, Usaca, in one of the settlements on the Bogotá savanna. When one of the conquistadors, Juan María Cortés, found out about this, he prepared a battle to gain control over the area. At that moment, Usaca appeared and resisted against the Spanish conqueror. Legend tells that he dropped his weapons and fell in love with her, eventually marrying the sister of Tisquesusa and they were baptised in Usaquén, meaning "Land of the Sun" in Muysccubun. This formed the start of the construction of a colonial village, today part of the capital and known for its colonial architecture and parks. [4]

Succession to the throne

Contrary to Muisca tradition, where the eldest son of the oldest sister of the previous ruler would become the next zipa, the reign was taken over by Tisquesusa's brother; his army general Sagipa. This would be the last ruler of the southern Muisca, defeated in 1538 and died of Spanish torture in early 1539.

Tisquesusa in Muisca history

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 ConfederationTisquesusa
Altiplano Cundiboyacense (subdivisions).png

Mapa del Territorio Muisca.svg

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

Templo del sol.jpg

Chia Bogota May 2016.jpg


Guatavita desde el cielo.jpg

El Dorado
Salt - Nemocon 3.jpg


Conquest of Colombia.png


Modern historical revisionism

In investigations in the 21st century about the existence of Tisquesusa, doubt has been cast on his name. The name Tisquesusa originates from the work Elegías de varones ilustres de Indias written by poet Juan de Castellanos decades after the events of the conquest. In his work he names Tisquesusa as the zipa, while other researchers, such as Jorge Gamboa Mendoza, maintain the name was "Bogotá". [note 1] Later scholars, such as Pedro Simón simply took the names from earlier sources without verifying them. [5]

See also


  1. According to most sources the name "Bogotá" didn't exist in Muisca times, yet was a modification of Muyquytá, the name of the area where the psihipqua resided; on the Bogotá savanna

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Muisca</span> Ethnic group, Colombia

The Muisca are an indigenous people and culture of the Altiplano Cundiboyacense, Colombia, that formed the Muisca Confederation before the Spanish conquest. The people spoke Muysccubun, a language of the Chibchan language family, also called Muysca and Mosca. They were encountered by conquistadors dispatched by the Spanish Empire in 1537 at the time of the conquest. Subgroupings of the Muisca were mostly identified by their allegiances to three great rulers: the hoa, centered in Hunza, ruling a territory roughly covering modern southern and northeastern Boyacá and southern Santander; the psihipqua, centered in Muyquytá and encompassing most of modern Cundinamarca, the western Llanos; and the iraca, religious ruler of Suamox and modern northeastern Boyacá and southwestern Santander.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bogotá savanna</span> Motane savanna in Altiplano Cundiboyacense

The Bogotá savanna is a montane savanna, located in the southwestern part of the Altiplano Cundiboyacense in the center of Colombia. The Bogotá savanna has an extent of 4,251.6 square kilometres (1,641.6 sq mi) and an average altitude of 2,650 metres (8,690 ft). The savanna is situated in the Eastern Ranges of the Colombian Andes.

El Carnero is the colloquial name of a Spanish language colonial chronicle whose title was Conquista i descubrimiento del nuevo reino de Granada de las Indias Occidentales del mar oceano, i fundacion de la ciudad de Santa Fe de Bogotá, ... [also known as El Carnero de Bogotá]. It is a chronicle of history and customs written in 1636-1638 by Bogota-born Juan Rodríguez Freyle.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bacatá</span> Area on the Bogotá Savannah

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sagipa</span> Ruler in pre-Spanish Colombia

Sagipa or Zaquesazipa was the fifth and last ruler (psihipqua) of Muyquytá, currently known as Funza, as of 1537. He was the brother of his predecessor Bogotá 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 hoa counterpart in the northern part of the Muisca territory was Quiminza, 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Quemuenchatocha</span> Tribal ruler

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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Muisca Confederation</span> Former Andean highlands confederation

The Muisca Confederation was a loose confederation of different Muisca rulers 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Spanish conquest of the Muisca</span> 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 psihipqua of Muyquytá, with his headquarters in Funza, the hoa of Hunza, the iraca of the sacred City of the Sun Sugamuxi, the Tundama of Tundama, and several other independent caciques. The most important rulers at the time of the conquest were psihipqua Tisquesusa, hoa Eucaneme, 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hernán Pérez de Quesada</span> Spanish conquistador

Hernán Pérez de Quesada, sometimes spelled as 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 moderndepartments 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.

Juan de Sanct Martín, also known as Juan de San Martín, was a Spanish conquistador. Little is known about De Sanct Martín, apart from a passage in El Carnero (1638) by Juan Rodríguez Freyle and Epítome de la conquista del Nuevo Reino de Granada, a work of uncertain authorship. He took part in the expedition from Santa Marta into the Eastern Ranges of the Colombian Andes led by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada and founded Cuítiva, Boyacá in 1550. Juan de Sanct Martín headed the left flank of the Spanish troops in the Battle of Tocarema against the Panche on August 20, 1538, while his fellow conquistador Juan de Céspedes commanded the right flank. In this battle, Juan de Sanct Martín killed the cacique of the Panche and was hurt himself. Juan de Sanct Martín had confronted the Panche the year before, when he was sent to the west while De Céspedes went south. Due to the resistance of the bellicose Panche, De Sanct Martín returned to the Spanish camp.

Juan (Francisco) de Céspedes Ruiz was a Spanish conquistador who is known as the founder of the town of Pasca, Cundinamarca, in the south of the Bogotá savanna, Colombia. De Céspedes arrived in the Americas in 1521 and participated in the conquest of the Tairona and the foundation of Santa Marta under Rodrigo de Bastidas. From 1542 to 1543 and in 1546 he served as mayor of Bogotá and after that until 1570 as lieutenant general of the first president of Colombia. Juan de Céspedes married Isabel Romero, one of the first Spanish women who arrived at Colombian territories and had two legitimate sons and one daughter. His date of death is uncertain; in late 1573 or 1576.

Baltasar Maldonado, also written as Baltazar Maldonado, was a Spanish conquistador who first served under Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada, and later in the army of Hernán Pérez de Quesada in the Spanish conquest of the Muisca.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Battle of Tocarema</span>

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Juan Friede</span> Ukrainian-Colombian historian

Juan Friede Alter was a Ukrainian-Colombian historian of Jewish descent who is recognised as one of the most important writers about Colombian history, the Spanish conquests and a proponent of indigenism; the defense of the rights and descriptions of the oppression of indigenous people.

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.

Gonzalo García Zorro was a Spanish conquistador who participated in the Spanish conquest of the Muisca people. García Zorro was encomendero (mayor) of Santa Fe de Bogotá for seven terms, and received the encomiendas of Fusagasugá and Fosca.

Antonio Díaz de Cardoso was a Portuguese conquistador who participated in the Spanish conquest of the Muisca people.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Juan de Albarracín</span> Spanish conquistador

Juan de Albarracín was a Spanish conquistador who participated in the Spanish conquest of the Muisca and Panche people. He was captain of the brigs which sailed up the Magdalena River from the Caribbean coast in 1536 and later discovered the high quality salt that lead the Spanish conquistadors along the Camino de la Sal up the slopes of the eastern ranges of the Colombian Andes towards the Muisca Confederation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Antonio de Lebrija (conquistador)</span> Spanish conquistador

Antonio de Lebrija was born in 1507, in Alcántara, Extremadura, Spain; and died in 1540, in Brozas, also in Extremadura. He was a Spanish conquistador who participated in the Spanish conquest of the Muisca and the Chimila peoples. He was the treasurer of the conquest expedition which left Santa Marta in April 1536 following the high quality salt trail, the Camino de la Sal, along the Suárez River up the slopes of the Eastern Ranges of the Colombian Andes towards the Muisca Confederation.


  1. (in Spanish) Biography Tisquesusa Archived 2016-06-11 at the Wayback Machine - Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas
  2. (in Spanish) Tisquesusa would die bathing in his own blood - Pueblos Originarios
  3. (in Spanish) Zipa Tisquesusa - Banco de la República
  4. (in Spanish) Las tierras de la princesa Usaca - El Tiempo
  5. Jiménez Herrera, Juan Sebastián. 2014. ¿Existió o no el cacique Tisquesusa? . El Espectador. Accessed 2016-09-29..

Further reading