Diaguita is the denomination Runa simi ( Quechua ) with etimología Aymara, disclosed soon by the Spaniards, of a set of independent towns with a common language, Cacán ; they autodenominaban pazioca or paccioca and Eric Boman considered that those that lived to the west of the $andes were called chili .

In NOA and North Chilean Boy ; especially in the Argentineans Calchaquíes Valleys, from 850, the diaguitas developed a culture of great wealth, that, archaeologically corresponds with Culture Santa Maria . They lived in organized towns, they used metals and they were potters.

Initially Inca offered resistance to the conquest (1471 to 1533); then, in Argentina, the advance of the Spaniards managed to resist more than one hundred years: Calchaquíes Wars, in which the heads stood out Kipildor or Quipildor, Viltipoco ( 1561 ), Chelemín, Juan Calchaquí, Koronhuila (called by the Spaniards " Coronilla") and even the peculiar adventurer Andalusian " Bohórquez" or Pedro Chamijo .

At present 62,000 Spanish-speaking people in the provinces Argentine of Catamarca, Tucuman, La Rioja, Santiago of the Matting exist and Jumps that they consider themselves pertaining to this ethnic group.


They inhabited hills and valleys of the northwest of Argentina - ( NOA ), in the provinces of Salta, Tucuman, Catamarca, La Rioja, north of San Juan, end the northwest of Cordova (Argentina) and North Boy of Chile, in cross-sectional valleys of the regions of Atacama and Coquimbo having to the west of the $andes like approximate limit the river Choapa . Still rest of their ingenious constructions called by quechuas púkara (better than will pucará) like the Citadel of Quilmes are conserved, in Tucuman, Tolombón, Chicoana, Tilcara, Atapsi and Hard Burned in Jumps, etc.

The diaguitas arrived from the present Argentine Northwest at the Chilean Small North towards centuries V and I SAW replacing the agroalfarero complex of the Bores, distributing in an area located between the parallels 27º S (approximated northern limit) and 32º S (approximated southern limit), populating valleys with Copiapó, Huasco, Elqui, Limarí, Casapa and Choapa, limiting in this zone, to the north with Atacameños and to the south with Picunches, becoming the advanced pre-Hispanic town more of Chile. The relations between " diaguitas orientales" or Argentineans and " diaguitas occidentales" or Chileans were fluid so what demonstrates to the findings of rest of molluscs and seafood to it coming from the Chilean coasts in the Argentine deposits and the decoration of the ceramic with Argentine typical fauna ( Yaguar, ñandú, Quirquincho etc.) in the Chilean deposits.

Diaguitas of Chile

The Chilean diaguitas, were a pre-Hispanic culture of North Chilean Boy that existed between centuries X and XVI. Thus denominated by Ricardo E. Latcham that found cultural similarities with the Diaguitas Argentine., Huasco, Elqui, Limarí and Choapa inhabited valleys of the rivers Copiapó .

Its language totally is not known. Gerónimo de Bibar, that came with the Spanish conquerors, described in its chronicles that each valley had “a language of in case”. Rodolfo Schuller coined the hypothesis that this language would be Kakán, hypothesis very difficult to verify. Lamentably the toponymy of the diaguita territory at the moment is occupied mainly by originating names of other cultures, Mapuches, Spanish Quechuas or .


Successive contributions and commercial interchanges with populations of the north and the Eastern slope of Mountain range of The $andes went modifying to Complex the Bores (centuries VIII to X  century; d. ) to give rise to the diaguita ethnic group. Also and Huasco exist certain divergences with respect to the situation of valleys Copiapó, some authors emphasize differences between the inhabitants of these valleys with respect to diaguitas but nuclear valleys ( Elqui and Limarí ) until the point to establish a new culture in those valleys, Copiapó Culture .

To the south of the territory (colonies with social, economic or military aims) diaguitas destined to the commerce with the towns of the cultural complex exists tests of mitimaes Aconcagua .

The diaguita life stayed until the arrival of the troops of Inka stable. Túpac Yupanqui in 1470, under the command of the general Sinchiruca, that it had to disposition 10,000 according to commented by the Garcilaso Inca . The conquest probably was not realized of north to the south as he were the expectable thing, the ceramic Incas found in valleys of Elqui and Limarí, previous to found in Copiapó, makes suppose that the Inca crossed from Tucuman towards these valleys and from she expanded its conquests there towards bordering valleys.

The absence of defensive structures, pukaras and the fast stylistic change of the local ceramic towards own styles of Cuzco describe to an invasion inkas that did not have much resistance. The ceramic presence certain (containers Pakcha ) destined for exclusive rites Incas and other containers destined to the local heads of clear design cuzqueño make suppose a strong political alliance between both towns.

With the arrival of Spanish and the establishment of Encomienda, the population decreased of substantial way. One calculates that in the period of incaica domination the population reached the number of 30,000 inhabitants, in the foundation of the city of the Night love song (1544), Juan Bohón related “because from the Valley of Conconcagua to Copayapo there are not 3,000 Indians”, at the end of Century XVI could be counted only 1. Later to the indigenous rise that burned just founded city of the Night love song ( 1549 ) the last characteristics of the diaguita culture disappeared, leaving only to the ceramic and the cemeteries as tracks of their passage by North Boy .

At present the community Huascoaltina (cordilleranos sectors of the River Huasco ) has revitalized the recognition to this ethnic group, obtained the acceptance of such condition by the congress of Chile; although in the academic atmosphere there are doubts if this community presents/displays a real diaguita inheritance, since the majority of the ethnic group lived in valleys on Elqui and Limarí .

Diaguitas of Argentina


When the Spanish conquest began, 1561, formed a great army to the control of Juan Calchaquí obtaining to reject to the invaders until Santiago of the Matting . But in 1665 Conquering, that had founded several cities as a wall (the foundation of the city of Jujuy closed such wall by the North), managed to overcome them. In order to avoid rebellions, the Spaniards divided and uprooted to the diaguitas. For example most of the members of the bias of quilmes, were forced to walk from Tucuman to Buenos Aires, more indeed to the locality that today takes his nombre.

Thus, practically all the diaguitas that resisted to the Spanish invasion were uprooted or deportees when concluding Diaguita War (or Calchaquí War), some biases were dealt with a little more indulgence to not to have participated in such conflict, so is the case of Amaicha, which could thus remain in their ancestral territories (in sector Calchaquíes the Valley corresponding to the province of Tucuman ).

Some diaguitas coming from Calchaquíes Valleys, managed to find refuge in Austral Chaco making alliance with ethnic groups pampidochaqueñas as those of Abipones and emokovit or Mocovíes this explain two questions partly: the great chaqueños rises immediate to the aim of Calchaquíes Wars, one of such rises meant the destruction of the Spanish city of Conception of Good Hope - located to borders of old cuce of Bermejo River -, in territory of the present Argentine province of Chaco ; the other question that almost explains to the knowledge of such exodus from the Calchaquíes Valleys to the borders of Parana River Half, is the existence of place-names that remembers to them, for example the one of the locality of in center North Calchaquíes of Province of Santa Fe . In all these cases the group of diaguitas must remember that autodenominó " calchaquí" it made in tribute his main leader, the mentioned head Juan Calchaquí (Kalchakí).

Diaguita culture

Although their origins the diaguitas defer from the Andean towns (had lineages Huárpidos, Andean Pampidos and ; from the call Tiawanaku Horizon at least received important cultural influence (religious, styles of ceramic etc) from Andes Central - it is to say, from the Andean region located between 20ºS and the line of Ecuador-.

Although of very similar cultures, by some characteristics, especially linguistic, many etnógrafos make a separation of the diaguitas themselves with respect to Atacamas (or alpatamas of language cunza - become related to Lickan-antay ) inhabitants of Fist, omaguacas Humahuaca or, Lípe and Tomata - of language lickan-antay - (inhabitants of the mountain ranges of Tarija and the north of Jujuy ), Capayán north and inhabitants south-east of La Rioja of San Juan and Olongastas inhabitants of the Southeast of Province of La Rioja and the West of Province of Santiago of the Matting and end the northwest of Province of Cordova .


The language of the diaguita town was kakán, that according to the sources the flame also kaká, poop, kaka and chaka . It is a at the moment extinct language, of which place-names and other little words in the colloquial speech of the inhabitants of the zones of the north of Chile, Argentina and the south of Bolivia are conserved.

was spoken in Calchaquíes Valleys of Salta and Tucuman, everything Catamarca, great part of La Rioja, part the west of Santiago of the Matting (the mountain range and Dulce River ) and north of San Juan ( Bermejo river, Valley of Jáchal and Fertile Valley ) and, in much measured minor, the extreme northwest of Cordova .

The priests Alonso de Barzana and Pedro Añasco composed towards 1590 grammar rules and vocabularies; Barzana also wrote Christian doctrine, catechism, homilies, sermons, confesionario and plegarias in kakán, but never they arrived to be published. Other priests ( Hernando de White Torre and Diego de Sotelo ) also knew this language.

A unique document exists at the moment where somebody affirms to have had direct knowledge of the existence of the language kakán, that is the letter of Father Alonso de Barzana of Company of Jesus to its provincial one, dated in Asuncio'n of Paraguay in 1594 .

The same priest in a letter to the Father Juan Sebastián of the 8 of September of 1594 escibió:

The fact of the complete disappearance of the language kakán by the end of century XVII, without it has been no registry in spite of being considered a general language in the zone, makes think to historians like Rumi Ñawi, that in fact was a variant of quechua (for others of aymara) arrival to the previous region to the conquest Inca of the territory, due to the evident appearance quechua of many of the voices atribuídas to kakán.
Nevertheless, many other students like Ricardo L. Nardi, are not in agreement with this and they consider a language different.

From 1634 became ordained the obligatory nature of the Castilian and in 1770 one Real Certificate ordered that they were put in practice average to obtain that the different indigenous languages are extinguished and that is only spoken Castilian, which worried the extinction.


The communities were governed by a political and military head. But to inherit the position, it was not enough with being the son of the head: the heir had to demonstrate that he had conditions to command, to the arrival of the Spaniards in this way, the diaguita territory was divided in headquarters and señoríos. The head was polígamo, but the rest of the population was monogámica. There was no sacerdotal class, as if there was between Aztec Quechuas or But each town had a priest " chamánico" that one was in charge of the rites, the religious ceremonies and the health of the population


In century XVI they were divided in biases which often took the name of their main lineage, lineage that exerted señorío- like the one of kilme (" quilmes"), amaichas, abaucanes, tucumanaos (tucumanahos), capayanes, hualfines, Olongastas, ambargastas, pulares, aimogastas, guandacoles, wamatinaj (famatinas or famaifiles), tinogastas, Calchaquíes, tolombones, yocaviles, chilis, ingamanas (incamanas or encamanas), culampajaos, andalgalás, tucumangastas, aconquijas, huaschaschis, huasanes, pomanes, colpeños, belichas, palcipas (paccipas), mutquines, sijanes, sahuiles (saujiles), pituiles, huatungastas, mayupucas, fiambalaos, choyanos, motimogastas, polcos, autigastas, sitguagastas, collagastas, ovantas, etc.

To the east of the $andes, that is to say in present the Argentine northwest acquired fame the following biases paziocas (usually called " diaguitas" ):

  • Amaichás * Calchaquíes
  • Capayanes
  • Hualfines
  • Olongastas * Quilmes
  • Tolombones
  • Yacampis

In the region to the west of the $andes it is spoken of:

  • Chili (name perhaps given by aymara).
And oesteandino assumes the origin of kilme (quilmes).


Before the invasion Inca, diaguitas settled down itself in small villages, everyone was totally independent of the other, reason why each owned a head. Subsequent to the arrival of the Incas the valleys were divided in two señoríos, the interior and the slab, under the mandate of Kuraka designated by inkas.

Agriculture and cattle ranch

The head distributed earth and organized the construction and the care of the terraces of culture in slopes of mountains. The Earth worked common and part kept from the harvest in the communal deposits., Quinua, Kiwicha, Porotos cultivated Zapallo Red peppers Pope (" Potato ") and Maize and collected wild fruits, like those of carob tree, Chañar, and Copao, besides Cotton to make the suits. With " taco" or Creole carob tree, the diaguitas covered several with their basic needs. They used the wood like firewood or for the equipment manufacture; from the crust and the root they obtained red to dye wools and fabrics, and of their fruits Patay made flour to cook a called bread . Also Aloja prepared the drink, seemed to the beer or refreshing Añapa .

In order to assure the irrigation their cultures a series of irrigated land channels elaborated. Pope and Quinoa (another native plant) was seeded in the highest zones (in terraces and platform of culture)

Also flames raised and alpacas, mainly in cold the high zones and. Most of the year they were dedicated to the cattle ranch, pasturing of camelidaes, from which they obtained meat (which was dried to the sun to obtain charqui), wool and bones that used in the preparation of tools, also they were used for the load transport. The pasturing was realized almost all the year in the borders of the valley and in summer, when retiring the snows, used to occupy the cordilleranos pastures.

The sea provided with a good part of the habitual diet of the diaguita of Chile, seafood, fish and marine mammals comprised of the habitual feeding. They developed leather rafts of marine wolf to penetrate out to sea and to be able to even hunt fish majors and whales

At the moment the zone where they lived is almost desert . The studies of Ana Maria Lorandi, paziocase on them, ntre others reveal almost that at the moment the very barren ones when no, directly desert, territories that populated paziocas they were, until 1600, fertile zones to a large extent populated by forests with " carob tree " ( Prosopis nigra ), immediate desertification was consequence of the Spanish invasion: in the first place the Spaniards destroyed or set afire earth to defeat by means of the hunger to paziocas, once defeated these original Towns, the conquerors introduced massively goat and ovine who taken to a practice of sobrepasturing in the course of two centuries transformed the orchards into uncultivated.


The diaguitas were skilful potters. Each family made her pots, pitchers and containers. In addition, there were specialized craftsmen who realized, for example, the funeral ballot boxes, where the diaguitas buried to their deads. Some of these decorated ballot boxes, have been conserved and are exposed in museums, in at the moment Chilean zone its ceramics received cultural influences coming from cultures that inhabited the present coast to the north of the region, for this reason its ceramics usually has anthropomorphous and zoomorfas forms (" amphoras-pato" etc.

The franciscan museum " Inca; from the province of La Rioja (Argentine Republic), he keeps exceptional pieces of diaguita ceramics. Go'mez in 1926 was constructed by fray Bernardino, and is one of most important of Latin America in their specialty. -

Ceramic and Metallurgy of the diaguitas in Chile

The most excellent characteristic of this town is its ceramics, one of but varied and elaborated of Chile . The uses that occurred him were ceremonial and utilitarian. The development of the pottery has taken to the classification in stages:

Diaguita I or “Transition”
In its majority they are escudillas (flattened hemispheric plates) with geometric lines and figures by the sides, from simple red and black scales red-black to on white bottom, divided by an anthropomorphous or zoomorfa figure. Characteristics of are observed Complex the present Bores in this first stage of transition. In this phase and the II Jugs appear ducks and Jugs shoes . Asymmetric containers whose form remembers a duck. The metallurgy is simple and little.

“Classic” Diaguita II or
Plates with ascending cylindrical edge, which can be abrir as it increases the height. To the center of this cylinder usually it goes drawn a feline whose mouth is outstanding by means of a relief, the tail also is outstanding in the same way.

Diaguita III or “Diaguita-Inca”
This stage describes to the fusion between the Diaguita cultures and Inca . The figures usually are distributed in one or two axes, divided in two or four defined sectors good. In the designs they appear the triangles, cross-linkings and “chessboards”, the jugs of vertica handle, aríbalos and another design. The burials were accompanied by ceramic elaborádas with local designs and Inkas designs, but almost all elaborated in Valleys, only in emblematic cases were buried with originating ceramic of Cusco . The metallurgy becomes rich with Andean contributions like chisels, tumis (semilunar knives) and topus (pins) generally of copper or bronze, the gold is very little and associate to brought adornments of the Cusco.


The dual ceramic aim towards the belief of the existence of two worlds in which Chamanes is the nexus.

In diaguita Mythology, between the more important divinities and mythological beings, we found to Llastay or Coquena, Yacurmana, Pujllay or Pusllay, Huayrapuca ; besides Chiqui that is a deity of the territory of the Peru, that took root between diaguita- Calchaquíes ; and of Inti and Pachamama, whose cults were imposed from the incaico kingdom.

Espiritualidad and Cemeteries

carved menhires (placed monolithic monuments in vertical form) to render cultured to their ancestors, Menhires 'of the Argentine northwest, as other itifálicos similar constructions are and they were associated with seasonal cults of the fertility, these monuments already were erected by the precedent Tafí Culture .

The diaguitas, by the preoccupation shown in their burials, showed to a preoccupation by a life post-death in which the flame has a fundamental paper. With the arrival of the Inkas the tradition was engaged in to make altars in the highest hills of the valley, as the Tórtolas is the case of the hill (6,332 Msnm )

The diaguitas burials are the greater source of intelligence on this culture. The bodies were placed in rectangular spaces protected by 5 stones lajas in each flank and the part superior. or is habitual to find to the bodies accompanied by flames sacrificed guanacos, its properties, utensillios of ceramic, metal or bone, and in special cases they were buried with his spouses and part of the fingers of other people. The cranial deformation was a practice extended within the ethnic group, but it did not bring about so negative effects.

The bodies were placed flectados, laid down of lateral form and in East-West direction, the head was in the Eastern position of the tomb.

Other Data

As it has been indicated, the diaguita culture properly corresponds with the archaeological culture called Culture Santa Maria or santamariana * - close of 850 to 1480 - and even until 1570, although, preceding to this culture, corresponds to observe other cultures that existed in the area of the diaguitas:
  • Tafí Culture

  • Condorhuasi Culture
  • Culture the Alfarcito
  • Culture of the Bog
  • Culture of Watered down
  • Bethlehem Culture
  • Candlemas Culture
  • Calchaquíes

* : the periodización and even the classification of the Santamariana culture, like the one of the archaeological cultures, is put under in 2005, to a fort revision process, in spite of it, at the moment seems more the practitioner to rely on such denominations.

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