The Aymara or Aimara (Aymara: aymara listen (help·info))
people are an indigenous nation in the
Altiplano regions of
South America; about 1 million live in Bolivia,
Peru and Chile. Their
ancestors lived in the region for many centuries before becoming a
subject people of the Inca in the late 15th or early 16th century, and
later of the Spanish in the 16th century. With the Spanish American
Wars of Independence (1810–25), the Aymaras became subjects of the
new nations of
Bolivia and Peru. After the War of the Pacific
Chile acquired territory occupied by the Aymaras.
5 See also
7 Further reading
8 External links
See also: Chilenization of Tacna, Arica and Tarapacá
Aymara poncho, 17th or 18th century
Archeologists have found evidence that the Aymaras have occupied the
Andes, in what is now western Bolivia, southern
Peru and northern
Chile, for at least 800 years (or more than 5,000 years, according to
some estimates, but it is more likely that they are descended from
preceding cultures). Their origin is a matter of scientific
dispute. The region where
Tiwanaku and the modern
Aymaras are located, the Altiplano, was conquered by the
Huayna Capac (reign 1483–1523), although the exact date of this
takeover is unknown. It is most likely that the Inca had a strong
influence over the Aymara region for some time. Though conquered by
the Inca, the Aymaras retained some degree of autonomy under the
Puerta del Sol
The Spanish later classified a number of ethnic groups as Aymara in
their effort to identify the native peoples. These were identified by
chieftainties and included the following: the Charca, Qharaqhara,
Quillaca, Asanaqui, Carangas, SivTaroyos, Haracapi, Pacajes, Lupacas,
Soras, among others. At the time of Spanish encounter, these groups
were living throughout the territory now included in Bolivia.
Linguists have learned that Aymara was once spoken much further north,
at least as far north as central parts of Peru. Most Andean linguists
believe that it is likely that the Aymara originated or coalesced as a
people in this area (see 'Geography' below).
The Aymaras overran and displaced the Uru, an older population from
Lake Titicaca and
Lake Poopó regions. The Uru lived in this area
as recently as the 1930s.
Distribution of Aymaras through Bolivia's municipios.
Most present-day Aymara-speakers live in the
Lake Titicaca basin, a
Lake Titicaca through the Desaguadero River and into
Lake Poopo (Oruro, Bolivia) also known as the Altiplano. They are
concentrated south of the lake. The capital of the ancient Aymara
civilization is unknown. According to research by Cornell University
anthropologist John Murra, there were at least seven different
kingdoms. The capital of the Lupaqa Kingdom may be the city of
Chucuito, located on the shore of Lake Titicaca.
The present urban center of the Aymara region may be El Alto, a
750,000-person city near the Bolivian capital, La Paz. For most of the
20th century, the center of cosmopolitan Aymara culture might've been
Chuquiago Marka (La Paz). Bolivia's capital might've had moved from
La Paz during the government of General Pando (died in 1917)
and during the Bolivian Civil War.
Distribution of pre-Hispanic peoples in Chile.
The Wiphala, flag of the Aymara
Traditional Aymara ceremony in Copacabana, on the border of Lake
Titicaca in Bolivia.
The Aymara flag is known as the Wiphala; it consists of seven colors
quilted together with diagonal stripes.
The native language of the Aymaras is Aymara. Many of Aymaras speak
Spanish as a second language, when it is the predominant language in
the areas where they live. The
Aymara language has one surviving
relative, spoken by a small, isolated group of about 1,000 people far
to the north in the mountains inland from Lima in Central
Peru (in and
around the village of Tupe, Yauyos province, Lima department). This
language, whose two varieties are known as Jaqaru and Kawki, is of
the same family as Aymara. Some linguists refer to this language as
'Central Aymara.' 'Southern Aymara' is the language spoken most widely
and is spoken by people of the Titicaca region.
Most of contemporary Aymaran urban culture was developed in the
working-class Aymara neighborhoods of La Paz, such as Chijini and
others. Both Quechua and Aymara women in
Bolivia took up the
style of wearing bowler hats since the 1920s. According to legend, a
shipment of bowler hats was sent from Europe to
use by Europeans working on railroad construction. When the hats were
found to be too small, they were given to the indigenous peoples.
The luxurious, elegant and cosmopolitan Aymara Chola dress, which is
an icon of
Bolivia (bowler hat, aguayo, heavy pollera, skirts, boots,
jewellery, etc.) began and evolved in La Paz. It is an urban tradition
of dress. This style of dress has become part of ethnic identification
by Aymara women. Many Aymara live and work as campesinos in the
The Aymaras have grown and chewed coca plants for centuries, using its
leaves in traditional medicine as well as in ritual offerings to the
Inti (Sun) and the mother goddess
Pachamama (Earth). During
the last century, there has been conflict with state authorities over
this plant during drug wars; the officials have carried out coca
eradication to prevent the extraction and isolation of the drug
cocaine. But, the ritual use of coca has a central role in the
indigenous religions of both the Aymaras and the Quechuas.
used in the ritual curing ceremonies of the yatiri. Since the late
20th century, its ritual use has become a symbol of cultural identity.
Chairo is a traditional stew of the Aymaras. It is made of chuño
(potato starch), onions, carrots, potatoes, white corn, beef and wheat
kernels. It also contains herbs such as coriander and spices. It is
native to the region of La Paz.
Literacy class in El Alto
The Aymaras and other indigenous groups have formed numerous movements
for greater independence or political power. These include the Tupac
Katari Guerrilla Army, led by Felipe Quispe, and the Movement Towards
Socialism, a political party organized by the
Cocalero Movement and
Evo Morales. These and other Aymara organizations have led political
activism in Bolivia, including the 2003
Bolivian Gas War
Bolivian Gas War and the 2005
Quispe has said that one of their goals is to establish an independent
indigenous state. They have proposed the name Qullasuyu, after the
eastern (and largely Aymara) region of the Inca empire, which covered
the southeastern corner of present-day
Peru and western Bolivia.
Evo Morales is an Aymara coca grower from the Chaparé region. His
Movement Toward Socialism party has forged alliances with both rural
indigenous groups and urban working classes to form a broad leftist
coalition in Bolivia. Morales has run for president in several
elections since the late 20th century, gaining increasing support. In
2005 he won a surprise victory, winning the largest majority vote
Bolivia returned to democracy. He is the first indigenous
president of Bolivia. He is credited with the ousting of Bolivia's
previous two presidents.
Aymaras themselves make significant distinctions between Bolivian and
Chilean Aymaras with the aim of establishing by nationality whom to
have say on local issues and who not.
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
Indigenous peoples of the Americas portal
Roberto Mamani Mamani, contemporary Aymara artist
Socialist Aymara Group
Bolivia National Census 2001, figures listed in Ramiro Molina B. and
Javier Albó C., Gama étnica y lingüística de la población
boliviana, La Paz, Bolivia, 2006, p 111.
Peru National Census 1993, figures listed in Andrés Chirinos
Rivera, Atlas Lingüístico del Perú, Cuzco: CBC, 2001.
Chile National Census 2012.
^ a b "Censo Nacional de Población, Hogares y Viviendas 2010:
Resultados definitivos: Serie B No 2: Tomo 1" (PDF) (in Spanish).
INDEC. p. 281. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 December
2015. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
^ a b Vergara, Jorge Iván; Gundermann, Hans (2012). "Constitution and
internal dynamics of the regional identitary in Tarapacá and Los
Lagos, Chile". Chungara (in Spanish). University of Tarapacá. 44 (1):
^ Aaron I. Naar, Los Hombres del Lago". Note: This documentary film
tells about the smallest community of Uru-Muratos, Puñaca Tintamaria.
Narrated by ex-leader Daniel Moricio Choque, the movie recounts the
history of their community, customs, and current problems: their
continuous poverty, lack of land and representation, the contamination
of Lake Poopó, and the effects of global warming. See a 12-minute
piece from the film on YouTube.
^ Martha Hardman has long argued that Jaqaru and Kawki are two
separate languages, but most other linguists consider them to be two
closely related dialects.
^ Pateman, Robert.
Bolivia (Cultures of the World, Second).
p. 70. ISBN 9780761420668.
Adelson, Laurie, and Arthur Tracht. Aymara Weavings: Ceremonial
Textiles of Colonial and 19th Century Bolivia. [Washington, D.C.]:
Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, 1983.
Buechler, Hans C. The Masked Media: Aymara Fiestas and Social
Interaction in the Bolivian Highlands. Approaches to Semiotics, 59.
The Hague: Mouton, 1980. ISBN 90-279-7777-1
Buechler, Hans C., and Judith-Maria Buechler. The Bolivian Aymara.
Case studies in cultural anthropology. New York: Holt, Rinehart and
Winston, 1971. ISBN 0-03-081380-8
Carter, William E. Aymara Communities and the Bolivian Agrarian
Reform. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1964.
Eagen, James. The Aymara of South America, First peoples. Minneapolis:
Lerner Publications Co, 2002. ISBN 0-8225-4174-2
Forbes, David. "On the Aymara Indians of
Bolivia and Peru," The
Journal of the Ethnological Society of London. Vol 2 (1870): 193-305.
Kolata, Alan L. Valley of the Spirits: A Journey into the Lost Realm
of the Aymara. New York: Wiley, 1996. ISBN 0-471-57507-0
Hardman, Martha James. The Aymara Language in Its Social and Cultural
Context: A Collection Essays on Aspects of Aymara Language and
Culture. Gainesville: University Presses of Florida, 1981.
Lewellen, Ted C. Peasants in Transition: The Changing Economy of the
Peruvian Aymara : a General Systems Approach. Boulder, Colo:
Westview Press, 1978. ISBN 0-89158-076-X
Murra, John. "An Aymara Kingdom in 1567," Ethnohistory 15, no. 2
Orta, Andrew. Catechizing Culture: Missionaries, Aymara, and the "New
Evangelism". New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.
Rivera Cusicanqui, Silvia. Oppressed but Not Defeated: Peasant
Struggles Among the Aymara and Qhechwa in Bolivia, 1900-1980. Geneva:
United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, 1987.
Tschopik, Harry. The Aymara of Chucuito, Peru. 1951.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Aymara.
Aymara site in English
Society: an essay
Aymara worldview reflected in concept of time
Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Aymara". Encyclopædia Britannica
(11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Aaron I. Naar, Los Hombres del Lago", a documentary film. It tells
about Puñaca Tintamaria, the smallest community of Uru-Muratos.
Narrated by the community's ex-leader, Daniel Moricio Choque, the
movie recounts the history of the community, customs, and current
problems: their poverty, lack of land and representation, the
contamination of Lake Poopó, and the impact of global warming. See a
12-minute piece from the film on YouTube.
Ancestry and ethnicity in Bolivia
German, Ethnic Mennonite
Category:Ethnic groups in Bolivia
Ancestry and ethnicity in Chile
Americans & Canadians
Category:Ethnic groups in Chile
Ancestry and ethnicity in Peru
Category:Ethnic groups in Peru