Tuesday, September 10, 2019

An Unknown People and Land: Results of Lamanite Civil War

Following the annihilation of the Nephite Nation at Cumorah in 385 BC (Mormon 8:7), Moroni tells us that the victorious Lamanites began fighting among themselves in a civil war. As Moroni stated: “the Lamanites are at war one with another; and the whole face of this land is one continual round of murder and bloodshed; and no one knoweth the end of the war” (Mormon 8:8). The conditions of continual warfare was so deprived that not a single Lamanite was spared. As Moroni stated: “And there are none that do know the true God save it be the disciples of Jesus, who did tarry in the land until the wickedness of the people was so great that the Lord would not suffer them to remain with the people; and whether they be upon the face of the land no man knoweth” (Mormon 8:10).
    In fact, 36 years later, Moroni who is himself running for his life from the Lamanites (Moroni 1:1) tells us the Lamanite wars among themselves are still going on, which “wars are exceedingly fierce among themselves” (Moroni 1:2).
    One can only wonder the effect upon the civilization of Lamanites of such wars over such an extended period of time. That there was a regression of living conditions seems obvious looking back on the long period of little advancement for nearly a thousand years before life began to build in a few distinct locations. However, in many cases throughout the Land of Promise the Lamanites sunk into a savagery unknown in the area before and lasted into the near present in some areas.
    As an example, about 160 miles south of Pachacamac, or the location of the city of Zarahemla, lies an area mostly unknown to those who visit Peru today. Home to 6,000 inhabitants when the Spanish arrived, tombs of ancient Peruvians date back to about 300-200 BC., though Paracas itself is claimed to have begun about 800 BC. Paracas was a large settlement on the mainland side of Bahía de Paracas, or Paracas Bay, which separates it from the outer peninsula also named Paracas.
The elongated skulls of the Paracas people, especially the elite and royalty

Of these people, whose origin dates to such an early BC time, there is a long history of debauchery, with the most obvious physical and social characteristic the cranial deformation, mainly of the royal classes—a practice no one today can determine its reason. However, in a time when tribe was against tribe and everyone outside your Clan was an enemy, it might seem reasonable to assume that such elongation was for the Paracas to separate themselves from other tribes—perhaps in a sign of superiority even after the wars eventually came to an end.
    After all, the Paracas were claimed to be so deprived that when for centuries, and even within memory of the Paracas living today, there were among the houses of the chiefs stout canes planted in a circle so as to form a cage, from which those who were put in could not possibly escape. The captives of other tribes taken in war were put into these cages and very well fed, and when they were fat, they were taken out on days of festivity, and killed with great cruelty and then eaten. There are still several of these cages in evidence in the province of Arma.
A ceramic bottle with feline face dating to 300 BC

Located in what today is the Ica Region of Peru, Paracas, at the time the Spanish invaded had 6,000 residents, and was at one time even larger. The Paracas culture followed another, earlier people, who had an extensive knowledge of irrigation and water management and that made significant contributions in the textile arts, including many complex weave structures as well as elaborate plaiting and knotting techniques.
    The imagery found on these textiles included ceremonial practices and spiritual journeys. Some depicted a fallen figure, or possibly flying. Each figure appears to have face paint, possibly indicating different peoples, and each character holds some symbol of prizes of war, and in other ways represented a ruler priest on a spiritual journey or undergoing a type of spiritual transformation from the celestial world back to the terrestrial (Rebecca Stone, Art of the Andes: From Chavin to Inca, Thames & Hudson, 2012),
    Not only did these textiles show important symbols of the Paracas cosmology, it is thought that they were worn to establish social standing, authority, and even indicate the Paracas clan in which one resided. These garments were brightly colored, with a palette of pinks, greens, yellows, red, purples, and whites, all of which would have been striking against the beige desert sands of the surrounding environment.
    The Paraca province itself is very fertile for the growth of maize and other products. The earlier people were not so rich in gold as those elsewhere in Peru nor were their houses so large, nor is the country so rough.
    A river flows through the province, but it has few tributary streams. Close to the house of the principal chief, whose name was Pimana, there was a wooden idol, the size of a tall man. Its face was turned towards the rising sun, and its arms were spread out. Every Tuesday the Paracans sacrificed to their deity in this province of Paucura, and the same was done in that of Arma, according to what the present Indians in their tales of heritage have told to modern day researchers.  
Map of the area from Paucura northward to Pozo, including Paracas and other settlement areas

The early Spanish described these people of Pozo, who speak the same language, and have the same customs as those of Arma, very likely had a commonality in centuries past. At the time of the invasion, these people were intimidating to their neighbors and dreaded by those of other tribes.
    These Indians of Pozo were not on friendly terms with any of their neighbors. Their origin was derived, according to their own account, from certain Indians who in ancient times came from the province of Arma, and, seeing how fertile the soil of this country of Pozo was, settled there. Their language and customs was the same as those of Arma. The chiefs had very large and lofty circular houses, and ten or fifteen persons lived in them, according to the number of the family.
    At the doors of the houses there were great palisades and other defensed, made of stout canes, between which there were large boards covered with reeds, so that none of the mounted Spaniards could pass them. From the summit of the table land these Indians watched all the roads to see who was coming. These early Spanish described the Paracas men are better disposed than those of Arma, and the women are large and ugly, although there ertr some who are pretty. Within the houses of the chiefs, near the entrances, there were a rows of idols, about fifteen or twenty in number, and each the size of a man. Their faces were made of wax, and moulded into the form and shape of that of the devil. They say that sometimes, when they called him, the devil entered into the bodies of these wooden idols, and answered them from within.
    The heads were like the skulls of corpses, and when the chiefs died they buried them within the houses, in great sepulchers, and placed by the bodies great vases of wine made from maize, with their arms and gold, and the ornaments they valued most. They also buried many women alive with them. In the Province of Arma, the Spanish found hundreds of pieces of gold, which in that country they called chagnaletas.
    About 125 miles east of Pachacamac is the City of Xauxa (Jauja), which was a great and large place during earlier historical times.
Xauxa Valley

According to De Leon, a river flowed through the valley of Xauxa, which was the source of the river of La Plata. The lake of Bombon or Chinchay-cocha [today Lake Junin] is drained by the river of Xauxa, which flows into the Mantaro, one of the sources of the Ucayali, a principal affluent of the Amazon. The other rivers, the Vilcas, Abancay, Apurimac, and Yucay, are also tributaries of the Ucayali.” However, the erroneous surmise of Cieza de Leon and his informants, who would erroneously carry off all these streams into the Paraguay, is by no means surprising when we remember that maps were published in England not twenty years ago, which conveyed the waters of the Beni right across the line of drainage of the great river Purus, and poured them into the Ucuyali!
    The mistake of Cieza de Leon possibly arose from his having observed that the Xauxa flows south while in the mountains, and that all other tributaries of the Amazon flow north. The Xauxa does not change its direction until it enters the tropical forests, far beyond the ken of the early conquerors.
    The valley of Xuaxa is about 50 miles long, and about 15 miles wide, in some places more, in others less. The valley was so populous, that, at the time the Spaniards first entered it, they say for certain that it contained more than thirty thousand Indians; however, within a hundred years, there were less than ten thousand.
    Even though they had the same language throughout the surrounding area, the ancient people there were divided between tribes, each living apart from one another. In fact, they were divided into several tribes, but only three remained when the Spanish arrived—but archaeologists call them all huancas. One of these tribes was called the Xauxa, whence the valley took its name, and the chief Cucixaca.
    It wasn’t until the Inca finally subdued the Paracas after lengthy wars with them—a most savage and barbaric set of battles with a Peruvian tribe whose savagery dates back to ancient times when people were divided into tribes and fought one another.

1 comment:

  1. For some reason the people with elongated heads always gave me the creeps.Now I know why.