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Aymara

Aymara

Overview
The Aymara or Aimara are an indigenous
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 ethnic group in the Andes
Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

 and Altiplano
Altiplano
The Altiplano , in west-central South America, where the Andes are at their widest, is the most extensive area of high plateau on Earth outside of Tibet...

 regions of South America; about 2 million live in Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

, Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

 and Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

. They lived in the region for many centuries before becoming a subject people of the Inca, and later of the Spanish in the 16th century.

The Aymara have existed in the Andes in what is now Western Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

, Southern Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

 and Northern Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

 for over 2,000 years, according to some estimates.
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Encyclopedia
The Aymara or Aimara are an indigenous
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 ethnic group in the Andes
Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

 and Altiplano
Altiplano
The Altiplano , in west-central South America, where the Andes are at their widest, is the most extensive area of high plateau on Earth outside of Tibet...

 regions of South America; about 2 million live in Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

, Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

 and Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

. They lived in the region for many centuries before becoming a subject people of the Inca, and later of the Spanish in the 16th century.

History


The Aymara have existed in the Andes in what is now Western Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

, Southern Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

 and Northern Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

 for over 2,000 years, according to some estimates. The region where Tiwanaku and the modern Aymara are located, the Altiplano
Altiplano
The Altiplano , in west-central South America, where the Andes are at their widest, is the most extensive area of high plateau on Earth outside of Tibet...

, was conquered by the Incas under Huayna Capac
Huayna Capac
Huayna Capac was the eleventh Sapa Inca of the Inca Empire and sixth of the Hanan dynasty. He was the successor to Tupac Inca Yupanqui.-Name:In Quechua, his name is spelled Wayna Qhapaq, and in Southern Quechua, it is Vaina Ghapakh...

 (reign 1483–1523), although the exact date of this takeover is unknown. It is most likely that the Inca had a strong influence over the Aymara region for some time. The architecture for which the Inca are now known is clearly modeled after the Tiwanaku
Tiwanaku
Tiwanaku, is an important Pre-Columbian archaeological site in western Bolivia, South America. Tiwanaku is recognized by Andean scholars as one of the most important precursors to the Inca Empire, flourishing as the ritual and administrative capital of a major state power for approximately five...

 style. Though conquered by the Inca, the Aymara retained some degree of autonomy under the empire. There were a number of ethnic groups which were later to be called Aymara by the Spanish. These were divided upon different chieftainties. These included the Charqa, Qharaqhara, Quillaca, Asanaqui, Carangas, SivTaroyos, Haracapi, Pacajes, Lupacas, Soras, among others. Upon arrival of the Spanish, all these groups were spread in what today is Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

.
Looking at the history of the languages, however, rather than their current distribution, it is clear that Aymara was once spoken much further north, at least as far north as central Peru, where most Andean linguists feel it is most likely that Aymara originated (see 'Geography' below). In fact, the Inca nobility may themselves originally have been Aymara-speakers, who switched to Quechua only shortly before the Inca expansion. For example, the Cuzco area has many Aymara placenames, and the so-called 'secret language of the Incas' actually appears to be a form of Aymaran.

The Aymara, in their turn, overran and displaced some "more indigenous" Uru
Uros
The Uros are a pre-Incan people who live on forty-two self-fashioned floating islands in Lake Titicaca Puno, Peru and Bolivia. They form three main groups: Uru-Chipayas, Uru-Muratos and the Uru-Iruitos...

 population from the Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca is a lake located on the border of Peru and Bolivia. It sits 3,811 m above sea level, making it the highest commercially navigable lake in the world...

 and Lake Poopó regions, even as recently as the 1930s.

Geography


Most present day Aymara-speakers live in the Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca is a lake located on the border of Peru and Bolivia. It sits 3,811 m above sea level, making it the highest commercially navigable lake in the world...

 basin beginning in Lake Titicaca through Desaguadero River
Desaguadero River (Bolivia)
The Desaguadero River in Peru and Bolivia is the river that drains Lake Titicaca. It exits the lake at the southern part of the river basin, it flows south and drains approximately five percent of the lake's flood waters into Lake Uru Uru and Lake Poopó....

 and into Lake Poopo (Oruro, Bolivia) also known as the Altiplano
Altiplano
The Altiplano , in west-central South America, where the Andes are at their widest, is the most extensive area of high plateau on Earth outside of Tibet...

, and are concentrated south of the lake. The capital of the ancient Aymara civilization is unknown, as there were at least seven different kingdoms (according to research by Cornell University Anthropologist John Murra). The capital of the largely populated Lupaqa Kingdom was the city of Chucuito (See also John Murra study of this Aymara Kingdom), located on the shore of Lake Titicaca. The present urban center of the Aymara region is El Alto
El Alto
At one time merely a suburb of adjacent La Paz, Bolivia, on the Altiplano highlands, the city of El Alto is today one of Bolivia's largest and fastest-growing urban centers. As of the 2001 census, the population was 649,958. In 2010, the population may be nearly 900,000, or more. The city contains...

, a 750,000-person city near the Bolivian capital La Paz
La Paz
Nuestra Señora de La Paz is the administrative capital of Bolivia, as well as the departmental capital of the La Paz Department, and the second largest city in the country after Santa Cruz de la Sierra...

. For most of the 20th century the center of Cosmopolitan Aymara Culture has been Chuquiago Marka
Chuquiago
Chuquiago, , is the Aymara name for the area that later became the city of La Paz, Bolivia. This aymara name comes from two aymara words "chuqui", 'gold' and "yapu", 'farm'. Residents of Chuquiago are called "Chukuta"....

 (La Paz). During the government of General Pando (died in 1917) and during the Bolivian Civil War, Bolivia's capital was moved from Sucre to La Paz.

Culture



The native language of the Aymara is Aymara
Aymara language
Aymara is an Aymaran language spoken by the Aymara people of the Andes. It is one of only a handful of Native American languages with over three million speakers. Aymara, along with Quechua and Spanish, is an official language of Peru and Bolivia...

; additionally, many Aymara also speak Spanish as a second language, whereas it is the predominant language in the countries in which they live. The Aymara flag is known as the Wiphala
Wiphala
The Wiphala is a square emblem, commonly used as a flag, representing the native peoples of all the Andes that include today's Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and parts of Argentina, Chile and Colombia...

; it consists of seven colors quilted together with diagonal stripes. Aymara have grown and chewed coca
Coca
Coca, Erythroxylum coca, is a plant in the family Erythroxylaceae, native to western South America. The plant plays a significant role in many traditional Andean cultures...

 plants for centuries, using its leaves in traditional medicine as well as in ritual offerings to the sun god Inti
Inti
According to the Inca mythology, Inti is the sun god, as well a patron deity of the Inca Empire. His exact origin is not known. The most common story says he is the son of Viracocha, the god of civilization.- Worship :...

 and the earth goddess Pachamama
Pachamama
Pachamama is a goddess revered by the indigenous people of the Andes. Pachamama is usually translated as Mother Earth, but a more literal translation would be "Mother world"...

. During the last century, coca has brought them into conflict with state authorities who have carried out coca eradication
Coca eradication
Coca eradication is a controversial strategy strongly promoted by the United States government starting in 1961 as part of its "War on Drugs" to eliminate the cultivation of coca, a plant whose leaves are not only traditionally used by indigenous cultures but also, in modern society, in the...

 in order to prevent the extraction and isolation of the drug cocaine
Cocaine
Cocaine is a crystalline tropane alkaloid that is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant. The name comes from "coca" in addition to the alkaloid suffix -ine, forming cocaine. It is a stimulant of the central nervous system, an appetite suppressant, and a topical anesthetic...

. Coca also plays a central role in the indigenous religions of both the Aymara and the Quechua. Coca is used in the ritual curing ceremonies of the yatiri
Yatiri
Yatiri are medical practitioners and community healers among the Aymara of Bolivia, Chile and Peru, who use in their practice both symbols and materials such as coca leaves...

, and, in more recent times, has become a symbol of cultural identity.

Most of contemporary Aymaran Urban culture was developed in the working-class Aymara neighborhoods of La Paz, such as Chijini and others. Bowler hat
Bowler hat
The bowler hat, also known as a coke hat, derby , billycock or bombin, is a hard felt hat with a rounded crown originally created in 1849 for the English soldier and politician Edward Coke, the younger brother of the 2nd Earl of Leicester...

s have been worn by Quechua and Aymara women in Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

 and Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

 since the 1920s when a shipment of bowler hats was reportedly sent from Europe to Bolivia via Peru for use by Europeans working on the construction of the railroads. The hats were found to be too small and were distributed to locals. The luxurious, elegant and cosmopolitan Aymara Chola dress which is an icon to Bolivia (bowler hat, aguayo
Aguayo (cloth)
An aguayo is a rectangular piece of cloth used in traditional communities in the Andes of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. The aguayo is most associated with Quechua and Aymara culture but is not exclusive to them. Aguayos typically feature coloful stripes intercalated with rhombuses...

, heavy pollera, skirts, boots, jewelry, etc.) began and evolved in La Paz. It is, accordingly, an urban and not a rural tradition. The dress has become an ethnic symbol for Aymara women. Also, many Aymara live and work as campesinos
Peasant
A peasant is an agricultural worker who generally tend to be poor and homeless-Etymology:The word is derived from 15th century French païsant meaning one from the pays, or countryside, ultimately from the Latin pagus, or outlying administrative district.- Position in society :Peasants typically...

 in the surrounding Altiplano
Altiplano
The Altiplano , in west-central South America, where the Andes are at their widest, is the most extensive area of high plateau on Earth outside of Tibet...

.

The Aymara language does have one surviving relative, spoken by a small, isolated group of about a thousand people far to the north in the mountains inland from Lima in Central Peru (in and around the village of Tupe, Yauyos province, Lima department). This language, whose two dialects are known as Jaqaru and Kawki, is of the same family as Aymara. In fact, some linguists refer to it as 'Central Aymara', as opposed to the 'Southern Aymara', which is the predominant part of the family spoken in the Titicaca region.

Politics



There are numerous movements for greater independence or political power for the Aymara and other indigenous groups. These include the Tupac Katari Guerrilla Army
Tupac Katari Guerrilla Army
The Tupac Katari Guerrilla Army is an indigenous guerrilla movement in Bolivia. The organization descends directly from the original revolutionaries trained by Che Guevara in the 1960s. Their objective is to fight for social equality in Bolivia and amongst its indigenous population...

, led by Felipe Quispe
Felipe Quispe
Felipe Quispe Huanca "El Mallku" is an ethnic Aymara Bolivian political leader. He heads the Pachakuti Indigenous Movement and has also been general secretary of the United Union Confederation of Working Peasants of Bolivia...

, and the Movement Towards Socialism, a political party organized by the Cocalero Movement
Cocalero
Cocaleros are the coca leaf growers of Peru and Bolivia. Evo Morales, who became president of Bolivia in 2006, is a leader of the cocalero movement in that country.-Cocalero movement:...

 and Evo Morales
Evo Morales
Juan Evo Morales Ayma , popularly known as Evo , is a Bolivian politician and activist, currently serving as the 80th President of Bolivia, a position that he has held since 2006. He is also the leader of both the Movement for Socialism party and the cocalero trade union...

. These and many other Aymara organizations have been involved in activism in Bolivia, including the 2003 Bolivian Gas War
Bolivian Gas War
The Bolivian gas conflict was a social confrontation in Bolivia centering on the exploitation of the country's vast natural gas reserves. The expression can be extended to refer to the general conflict in Bolivia over the exploitation of gas resources, thus including the 2005 protests and the...

 and the 2005 Bolivia protests. One of the goals of the movement, as put forth by Quispe, is the establishment of an independent indigenous state, Qullasuyu, named for the eastern (and largely Aymara) region of the Inca empire which covered the southeastern corner of Peru and much of what is today Bolivia. Evo Morales is an Aymara coca grower from the Chaparé region whose Movement Toward Socialism party has forged alliances with both rural indigenous groups and urban working classes to form a broad leftist coalition in Bolivia. Morales has run for president in several recent elections with several close calls, and in 2005 he finally won a surprise victory, winning the largest majority vote since Bolivia returned to democracy and declaring himself to be the first indigenous president of Bolivia. He is also credited with the ousting of Bolivia's previous two presidents.

See also

  • Bartolina Sisa
    Bartolina Sisa
    Bartolina Sisa was an Aymara woman, an indigenous heroine and the wife of Tupac Katari. Her date of birth is uncertain, some sources give it as August 24, 1753, while others give it as August 12, 1750...

  • Gregoria Apaza
    Gregoria Apaza
    Gregoria Apaza was an indigenous leader in 18th century Bolivia. In 1781, she participated with her brother, Julian Apaza , in a major indigenous revolt against Spanish colonial rule in Bolivia. These Aymara leaders laid siege to the cities of La Paz and Sorata before being defeated and...

  • Roberto Mamani Mamani
    Roberto Mamani Mamani
    Roberto Mamani Mamani is an Aymaran artist from Bolivia. His work is significant in its use of Aymaran indigenous tradition and symbols. His art has been exhibited around the world, including shows in Washington, D.C., Tokyo, Munich, and London....

    , contemporary Aymara artist
  • Socialist Aymara Group
    Socialist Aymara Group
    Socialist Aymara Group is a political grouping based amongst the Aymara people that contested the December 2004 municipal elections in Yaco, La Paz Department, Bolivia. Rogelio Cuéllar Borras was elected mayor of Yaco....

  • Wiphala
    Wiphala
    The Wiphala is a square emblem, commonly used as a flag, representing the native peoples of all the Andes that include today's Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and parts of Argentina, Chile and Colombia...


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