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Land of winds > The land > History | Issue 01. Jul.-Aug.2010
By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza

The beginnings

History Tiahuanaco Tiwanaku
“History”, for western scholars, is the account of what has happened to any culture or civilization since they have had (or have left) written documents. From this perspective, Andean America “History” can be traced back to the arrival of the first Hispanic conquerors and the scribes and chroniclers that accompanied them. However, centuries of history –passed down from mouth to mouth and from generation to generation– watched them arriving in the Andes.
One of those Spanish chroniclers, Juan de Betanzos, brought himself to write down a small piece of that spoken history in his “Summa y narración de los Incas” (ca. 1551). A small piece that tells how the Andean world originated as it was told by elders with good memories in the land of the Tawantinsuyu, the “Inca Empire”.
    It is said that, in the ancient times, the land of Peru was in darkness. And it is said that there was neither fire nor day on it.
    At those times when that land was all night, it is said that a Lord that was called Contiti Viracocha [Kon Tiqsi Illa Wiraqucha] emerged from the lake [Titicaca] that lies within the limits of the land of Peru, in the province that is called Collasuyo [Kollasuyu, located in present day Bolivia].
    It is said that, once such Lord had come out of that lake, he went to a place that is nearby, where the village that is called Tiwanaku rises nowadays, in the already mentioned province of Collao.
    And there, it is said that he unexpectedly made the sun and the day, and told the sun to tread the path he walks. And it is said that soon afterwards he made the stars and the moon.
    Once he had finished making all this at the seat of Tiwanaku, he made from stone a certain number of people, and a headman who was in charge of leading and ruling those people, and many pregnant women and other ones who had already given birth to babies, and those babies lying in cradles. Everything was made of stone.
    And this way he made all those people native of Peru and its provinces: standing on the site of Tiwanaku, making them out of stones.
Many current Andean legends (and more than a theory elaborated by some archeo-astrophysicist prone to fantasizing) state that the heads embedded in the walls of Tiwanaku’s Semi-subterranean Temple and the stelas in the sunken courtyard of the Tiwanaku’s Kalasasaya Temple, are the remains of Viracocha’s first creation.
Subsequent chroniclers collected and wrote down other accounts of the creation of the world. All of them prove that the history of the Andes had started long before the arrival of the letters, even long before those same letters had themselves appeared on the face of the Earth.

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