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Some Thoughts on Chibcha Culture in the High Plains of Colombia

  • Emil W. Haury (a1)

Extract

The Chibchas, whose habitat was in the high plains of the eastern Cordillera of the Andes in central Colombia, are usually classified with the Maya and Inca as representatives of the highest civilized peoples in native America. Unlike the Maya and Inca, who left abundant testimony of their greatness in the form of spectacular religious monuments, cities, public works, and an enormous array of material possessions, the reminders of the Chibcha are not only difficult to find, but once found, they are unimpressive. Chibcha greatness is attributed to their achievement of political states, each dominated by a ruler who controlled the destiny of those people within his domain.

Using cultures of high political and religious achievement as a basis for comparison, it may be inferred that the Chibcha should have had a respectable history as a requisite for advanced political organization and a complex material culture.

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1 Handbook of South American Indians, Smithsonian Institution, Bulletin 143, Vol. 2, pp. 897–98, 1946 .

2 A detailed report of this will appear in the near future.

3 Steward, , Handbook of South American Indians, Smithsonian Institution, Bulletin 143, Vol. 5, pp. 660, 663, 1949.

Some Thoughts on Chibcha Culture in the High Plains of Colombia

  • Emil W. Haury (a1)

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