Throughout the world, when new lands were conquered, old customs would be lost. However, in Latin America, a great deal of their indigenous tribes not only survived being conquered, they are still around today. Different regions of Latin America are home to different peoples and many tribes are part of ancient full-fledged kingdoms. Some of these kingdoms are among the most well-known in the world. The Meso-American native peoples make Latin America famous. These peoples include the Aztecs and Mayans. The Aztecs are most famous for their mathematical prowess and their calendars are exceptionally accurate.
Meanwhile, the Mayans are known for creating a fully-written language and making amazing advancements in the fields or mathematics, astronomy, art and architecture. Their calendar is also well-known. The development of the Aztec language, or Nahuatl played an important role in their civilization. Pictographs were used to represent their written language. The language, both written and spoken, was important in completing business arrangements and in keeping track of family and cultural histories. The Aztec language was also used to create beautiful poetry used in rituals and ceremonies.
Many Aztec customs relied on the use of their language, as did the passing down of their legends and beliefs from one generation to the next. Maya culture developed in three regions in Mesoamerica. By far the most important and most complete urban development occurred in the lowlands in the central region of southern Guatemala. The southernmost Mayan city was Copan in northern Honduras. The other major region of Mayan development was the Yucatan peninsula making up the southern and eastern portions of modern-day Mexico. The principal food of the Mayas was maize and maize production was the central economic activity.
The people indigenous to the Caribbean include a few groups. These groups include the Taino people, who live in what is now known as Puerto Rico. The Taino were seafaring people whose largest towns contained around 3,000 people each which were considered immense in those times. The Arawak people of South America began migrating northward along the many scattered islands located between South and North America, an area we now refer to as the Caribbean. For a thousand years their population grew and the people lived in harmony.
The people covered all the islands of the Caribbean, the major ones as they are now known: Cuba, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola as well as all the smaller ones: the Bahamas, Bimini, Jamaica etc. Certain groups of island people identified themselves as Lokono, Lucayan, Carib, Ciboney, Arawak, but most islands were primarily inhabited by people who called themselves Taino, which stood for “the good people” in their language. The different groups intermarried extensively to strengthen ties amongst themselves. They were aware of a Divine presence that they called Yocahu, and to worship and give thanks was a major part of their lives. They had a social order that provided the leaders and guidelines by which they all lived.
They hunted, fished, cultivated crops and ate the abundant fruits provided by nature. They were clever and ingenious and had everything they needed to survive. They had beautiful ceremonies that were held at various times – birth, death, marriage, harvest, naming and coming of age, to name a few. They had special reverence for the Earth Mother and had respect for all living things knowing that all living things are connected. There was little need for clothing due to the tropic heat, but upon reaching puberty both males and females would wear a small woven loincloth.
Puberty was also the time at which they were considered old enough to be married. The population estimates for the Taino people at the height of their culture are as high as 8,000,000. That was in 1492. The Indigenous people of the Andes include many different ethnic groups and were among the first groups discovered by Christopher Columbus who called them “indios. ” However, the most famous tribe in the Andes is the Incan tribe. Their language, Quechua is still in use today. The Incas of Cusco originally represented one of these small and relatively minor ethnic groups, the Quechuas.
Gradually, as early as the thirteenth century, they began to expand and incorporate their neighbors. Inca expansion was slow until about the middle of the fifteenth century. The Inca were warriors with a strong and powerful army. Because of the fierceness of their army and their hierarchical organization, they became the largest Native American society. Quechua is the most widely spoken language and was the language of the Inca Empire. Tropical rainforests have long been home to indigenous peoples who have shaped civilizations and cultures based on the environment in which they live.
Great civilizations like the Mayas, Incas, and Aztecs developed complex societies and made great contributions to science. Living from nature and lacking the technology to dominate their environment, native peoples have learned to watch their surroundings and understand the intricacies of the rainforest. Over generations these people have learned the importance of living within their environment and have come to rely on the countless renewable benefits that forests can provide. In Peru, it is estimated that there are at least 15 uncontacted tribes living in remote areas of the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest.
These include the Tagaeri, Taromenane, uncontacted Matses, Cabellos Largos, Cashibo-Cacataibo, Isconahua, Murunahua, Mashco-Piro, Kugapakori, Nahua, Matsigenka, Mastanahua, Nanti and Yora tribes. Of an estimated 100 uncontacted tribes worldwide, about half of these people living in isolation from the rest of the world are thought to live in Peru and neighboring Brazil. After Brazil, Peru has the largest number of uncontacted tribes and people living in isolation in the world. There are nine principal areas in Peru where indigenous people are thought to be living in isolation.
Most of these uncontacted indigenous Amazonians are believed to live in the remote border region of Peru with Brazil. Recently, the Brazilian government released photographic evidence that uncontacted Amazonian natives still exist in the area of the Peruvian border with Brazil. These natives with long hair are called the Cabellos Largos. The Matses tribe has many hunting camps scattered in and around their lands in Peru and Brazil in the Javari River Valley. These hunting camps are only occupied for several months out of the year and usually have huts and cultivated gardens with indigenous crops such as plantains and cassava.
Recently, the Matses have reported several encounters of long-haired uncontacted natives who have been harvesting some of the Matses gardens at these isolated hunting camps in the southernmost range of their territory in Peru. None of the males of previously contacted tribes in the Javari Valley sport long hair. In fact, tribes such as the Matses, Matis, Korubos and Marubos are renowned for having very short hair. Hence, the Matses referring to this uncontacted tribe as the Cabellos Largos, or the “Long-Haired People.
” Uncontacted natives, related to the Cashibo-Cacataibo tribe, are thought to live in the area north of Tingo Maria in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. The Cashibo-Cacataibos speak a language in the Pano linguistic family and the word Cashibo means “bat”. A group of the Cashibo-Cacataibos has chosen to live apart from the outside world by voluntarily isolating themselves. They live in the headwaters of the Aguaytia, Pisqui and San Alejandro Rivers in and around the Cordillera Azul National Park. These indigenous Amazonians are sometimes referred to as the “Cacataibos in isolation” or the “Camanos.
” Cashibo-Cacataibo natives in isolation know about the outside world and have chosen to live apart from it voluntarily. Many indigenous tribes in South America have survived to this day, and most of their cultures are still intact. Their languages are still spoken and their customs are still practiced and passed down to their children and it’s even easy to find people from these tribes living very close to modern cities. They live without most modern conveniences and annoying hassles like criminal background checks and embrace their roots. ? References:
The Aztecs – Introduction to the Aztec Civilization and Cultures. Retrieved on October 3, 2010 from http://www. aztec-indians. com/ The Taino Indians – Native Americans of the Caribbean. Retrieved on October 2, 2010 from http://www. healing-arts. org/spider/tainoindians. htm Baniwa-Curripaco-Wakuenai – History and Cultural Relations. Retrieved on October 3, 2010 from http://www. everyculture. com/South-America/Baniwa-Curripaco-Wakuenai-History-and-Cultural-Relations. html Central and Southern Andes.
Retrieved on October 1, 2010 from http://www. metmuseum. org/toah/ht/?period=08®ion=sanc#/Overview Minnesota State University. Inca. Retrieved on October 3, 2010 from http://www. mnsu. edu/emuseum/prehistory/latinamerica/south/cultures/inca. html Pantone, Dan James. Welcome to Amazon-Indians. Retrieved on October 4, 2010 from http://www. amazon-indians. org Mariqueo, Reynaldo & Calbucura, Jorge. The Mapuche Nation. Retrieved October 2, 2010 http://www. mapuche-nation. org/english/main/feature/m_nation. htm USA People Search. Native Peoples of Latin America. Retrieved October 4, 2010 http://www. usa-people-search. com/content-native-peoples-of-latin-america. aspx.
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