Diaguita people are a group of South American indigenous people
native to the Chilean Norte Chico and the Argentine Northwest. Western
or Chilean Diaguitas lived mainly in the
Transverse Valleys incised in
a semi-arid environment. Eastern or Argentine Diaguitas lived in
the provinces of La Rioja and Catamarca and part of the provinces of
Salta, San Juan and Tucumán. The term
Diaguita was first applied
to peoples and archaeological cultures by
Ricardo E. Latcham in early
Ancient Diaguitas were not a unified people; the language or dialects
used by them seems to have varied from valley to other valleys and
they were politically fragmented into several chiefdoms. Coastal
and inland Chilean Diaguitas traded as evidenced by the archaeological
findings of mollusc shells in the upper course of Andean valleys.
According to the 2010 census there are 67,410 self-identified Diaguita
descendants in Argentina.
3 Archaeological chronology in Chile
4 See also
Early Spanish accounts, including Jerónimo de Vivar's Crónica y
relación copiosa y verdadera de los reinos de Chile, claim the
Diaguitas inhabiting the different
Transverse Valleys spoke different
languages. Jesuits active in western
Argentina also report a large
number of languages for the region. Nevertheless, the Chilean
Diaguitas scholar Herman Carvajal claims that they could very well
have spoken different dialects instead, which would have differed
among each other mainly regarding their lexicon.
Kakán was proposed by Rodolfo Schuller and
Ricardo E. Latcham to be
the single language of the Diaguitas. This proposal has been
questioned by some scholars but is accepted by others, like Sergio
See also: Incas in Central Chile
The origin of the
Diaguita culture is traced back to an archaeological
culture known as El Molle complex which existed from 300 to 700 CE.
Later this culture was replaced in
Chile by las Las Ánimas complex
that developed between 800 and 1000 CE. It is from this last
culture that the Archaeological
Diaguita culture emerged around 1000
CE. The classical
Diaguita period was characterized by advanced
irrigation systems and by pottery painted in black, white and red.
Replica of a
Diaguita ceramic bowl from northern Chile.
It has been claimed that the Inca Empire expanded into
because of its mineral wealth. This hypothesis is currently under
dispute. Another possibility is that the Incas invaded the
relatively well-populated Eastern
Diaguita valleys to obtain labor to
send to Chilean mining districts. It is generally accepted that
Diaguita incorporation into the Inca Empire was through warfare which
caused a severe depopulation in the
Transverse Valleys of Norte
Chico. According to scholar Ana María Lorandi the Diaguitas, and
Calchaquí Diaguitas, would not have been conquered
easily by the Inca Empire. Once conquered the eastern Diaguitas did
not unanimously accepted Inca rule. The Incas appointed kurakas and
established mitmas in the Chilean
Diaguita lands. The Incas did
also influence the Diaguitas who adopted pottery designs from Cuzco
and Inca techniques in agriculture and metalworking.
Ruins of Quilmes
Ruins of Quilmes were built by the Quilmes, a
The Chilean Diaguitas were conquered by Spaniards coming from Peru.
The eastern Diaguitas lands were explored by Spaniards coming from
Paraná River and Peru. The Spanish initially failed to
conquer the fertile valleys inhabited by the Eastern Diaguitas and
could only control the eastern valley ends. By founding the cities
Santiago del Estero
Santiago del Estero (1550s), Tucumán (1565),
Salta (1582), La
Rioja (1591) and Jujuy (1593) the Spanish established an effective
fence around the rebellious Eastern
Diaguita valleys. To further
dominate the Diaguitas the city of Londres was founded in 1607 in the
middle of the Eastern
During the government of García Hurtado de Mendoza in Chile
(1557–1561) Chilean Diaguitas that had rebelled were decimated by
the Spanish. The
Calchaquí Diaguitas of the eastern side of the
Andes rose against Spanish rule in 1630 and the last rebels fought
until 1642–1643. In this rebellion the Spanish city of La Rioja
was close to be destroyed. The
Calchaquí Diaguitas only entered
Spanish rule after 1665.
Archaeological chronology in Chile
(1000 CE–1550 CE)
Diaguita, Inca and Colonial
Diaguita III and Inca
(700 CE–1000 CE)
Las Ánimas culture
Las Ánimas ceramics (I, II and III)
(300 BCE–700 CE)
El Molle culture
El Molle ceramics
^ a b c d e f g "Pueblos diaguitas", Memoria chilena (in Spanish),
Biblioteca Nacional de Chile, retrieved January 30, 2014
^ a b c d Carva (1989), "Algunas referencias sobre la lengua de los
diaguitas chilenos", Logos (in Spanish), 1: 1–11
^ a b Ampuero Brito, Gonzalo (1991), Ancient Cultures of the Norte
Chico (PDF), Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino
^ Cornely, F.L. (1952), "Cultura diaguita–chilena" (PDF), Revista
Chilena de Historia Natural (in Spanish), años LI-LIII:
^ Censo Nacional de Población, Hogares y Viviendas 2010 Archived
April 9, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
^ a b Téllez 2008, p. 58.
^ a b c d e f g h Lorandi, A.M. (1988). "Los diaguitas y el
tawantinsuyu: Una hipótesis de conflicto". In Dillehay, Tom;
Netherly, Patricia. La frontera del estado Inca (in Spanish).
^ a b Ampuero 1978, p. 45.
^ Montes 1961, p. 86.
^ Montes 1961, p. 107.
^ Montes 1961, p. 102.
^ Montes 1961, pp. 84–85.
^ a b c Ampuero 1978, p. 31.
Ampuero Brito, Gonzalo (1978). Cultura diaguita (PDF) (in Spanish).
Departamento de Extensión Cultural del Ministerio de Educación.
Retrieved January 30, 2014.
Montes, Aníbal (1961). El gran alzamiento diaguita (in Spanish).
Rosario, Argentina. access-date= requires url= (help)
Téllez, Eduardo (2008). Los Diaguitas: Estudios (in Spanish).
Santiago, Chile: Ediciones Akhilleus.
Ancestry and ethnicity in Argentina
or religious beliefs
European immigration to Argentina
Ancestry and ethnicity in Chile
Americans & Canadians
Category:Ethnic groups in Chile