The Yampara or Tarabuco people
Around 1540, when the Spanish conquerors arrived in the region of present-day Chuquisaca department, they found a number of Aymara ethnic chiefdoms. One of the most important at the time was the Yampara, which extended through the present-day Bolivian provinces of Oropeza, Yamparáez and Zudañez.
The Yampara chiefdom, as most of the Andean “kingdoms” and “federations” of Bolivia, were arranged in two halves whose administrative centres, as stated by the early colonial official documents, were established in the localities of Yotala and Quila Quila. Between the 11th and 15th century the Yampara developed a rich material culture and a strong tradition in both anthropomorphic pottery and textiles, which combined geometrical patterns with strange animal designs. They also built urban settlements such as Yoroma and Oroncota.
They were annexed by the Inca Empire and their territories became part of the Tawantinsuyu’s southernmost province (Qullasuyu) housing numerous groups of “mitimaes” (mitmaqkuna) or Incan settlers, who would have brought their Quechua language to the region.
Yampara warriors took part in the defence against the Avá (“chiriguanos”), who were settled to the east and made frequent raids on their communities, and were recruited to fight with the Inqa’s army.
After the Spanish conquest, the Quila Quila and the Yotala moieties split up and became independent groups. The Yotala gave birth to what nowadays is regarded as the Yampara identity (or “Tarabuqueña”), while the Quila Quila mixed with the Qaraqara and the two became the Jalq’a group. The former established in the town of Tarabuco and are well known for their attire, their handicrafts, their music and, most of all, the celebration of the pujllay festival.
At present, ASUR association is committed to promoting the beauty of the Yampara and the Jalq’a textiles as well as supporting sustainable tourism in their communities. In addition, the association has appealed to UNESCO to recognize and protect the Yampara culture as part of the Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Book. “Narrativas y políticas de la identidad en los valles de Cochabamba, Chuquisaca y Tarija”, by Walter Sánchez et al., Fundación UNIR Bolivia, in Saberes Bolivianos [es].
Article. “Promueven la cultura Yampara como Patrimonio de la Humanidad”, in Bolivia.com [es].
Picture 01. Yampara vessels (archaeological).
Picture 02. Yampara attire.
Picture 03. Yampara textil.
Picture 04. Yampara pottery (archaeological).
Picture 05. Yampara traditional houses.
Picture 06. Yampara girl dressed up in festive clothes.