Friday, January 31, 2020

Qulla Kingdom: Another pre-Historic Culture of Peru

We have spent much time illustrating the areas, territories and cultures that have existed in western South America, i.e., Peru, Ecuador, western Bolivia and northern Chile, for the purpose of pointing out the extensive population that have inhabited there. In the Book of Mormon, in describing Lehi’s Isle of Promise, or Land of Promise, we find large numbers of people, both Lamanites and Nephites, that filled the entire land “from the Sea South to the Sea North, from the Sea West to the Sea East” (Helaman 3:8). Other descriptions call for millions of people living in the land.
    While most theories and Land of Promise models show more-or-less only the major lands of Nephi, Zarahemla, and Bountiful, with little else covered, the actual scriptural record talks about numerous other areas. Even so, those areas and cities mentioned would not have been all that existed in the land. This is why we cover so many ancient Peruvian and Ecuadorian cultures and development areas to show the connection to the large populace areas and that people of antiquity lived there.
Map of the Qulla domain

As an example, the Qulla, Colla, or Qolla Kingdom (which means “south” in Quechuan) are an indigenous people of western Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina living in the Jujuy and Salta Provinces, an area of natural wonderful, exciting and exotic landscapes, colors and history to the south are Lake Poopó and the Coipasa and Uyuni salt flats and basins, which are separated by spurs reaching eastward from the Cordillera Occidental of the Andes. On the eastern side of the Altiplano, however, there is a continuous passageway of gentle gradient extending southward across Bolivia.
    The Cordillera Oriental of the Andes forms the eastern boundary of the Altiplano. Filled with copper and nitrate, the tableland there is joined to the frontiers of Peru and Bolivia. The Qulla had lived for centuries in the yungas, or high altitude tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest on the eastern slopes and valleys of the Andes, at the end of the Amazon rainforest—these eastern slopes and valleys form a transition zone between the southwest Amazon moist forests and Ucayali moist forests at lower elevations to the east and the central Andean puna at higher elevations to the west.
    The Qulla began the Aymarization—speaking Aymara language—around the western shores of Lake Titicaca on the high altitude altiplano or puna of central South America, in a series of intermontane basins lying at about 12,000 feet above sea level.
The Qulla dominated Altiplano is sandwiched between the western and eastern chains of the Andes Mountains—the eastern chain is called the Cordillera Real (Left): Mountains of the Altiplano; (Right): A high mountain valley of the Altiplano 

The Qulla existed along this Altiplano from at least the last century BC until the 15th century, when they were finally defeated by the Inca after a prolonged and stubborn resistance.
    The Inca even took the name of Qulla to name the entire area in the southeast of Peru, one of their “four quarters,” calling it Qullasuyu (Kholla Suyu)—an area covering the area north, west and south of Lake Titicaca, all of the northern area of Chile, the southwest area of Bolivia, and northwestern part of Argentina, which the Inca called the “Lower Quarter” (Terence N. D’Altroy, The Incas, Blackwell Publishing, Malden Massachusetts, 2005, pp42-43, 86-89; Julian H. Steward and Louis C. Faron, Native Peoples of South America, McGraw-Hill: New York, 1959, pp185-192). 
    A major Qulla cemetery with elaborate stone chullpas has been uncovered at the prehistoric site of Sillustani, located on a peninsula jutting out into Lake Umayo, west of Lake Titicaca beyond Lake Cupecocha.
    The Qulla capital was Hatunqulla ("Colla, the Great") located 21-miles north of Puno in the Urcusuyu and was ruled by the dynasty of the Zapanas, whose capital was Azangaro, north of Hatunquilla, to whom they relied on for duality of government, which was common in the central Andean societies. While both were complementary but one still ruled over the other.
Burial chullpas, created by the Qulla people, dotted the landscape around Sillustani 

The Qulla practiced above-ground burial in man-made chullpas, an ancient funerary tower built of cut and dressed stone found all across the Altiplano in Peru and western Bolivia. The bodies were mummified before inserting into the tomb or chullpa, which was a burial chamber for an entire family.
    During the Qulla period there is evidence that warfare in the Andes was carried out only during the dry season after fields were harvested (Terence N. D'Altroy and Christine A. Hastorf, “Empire and Domestic Economy,” Springer, New York, 2002, p207; Rostworowski de Diez Canseco, Historia de los Inca, Group Editorial Bruño, Lima, 1999, p75).
    With low labor needs on the home front between planting cycles, farmers transformed themselves into warriors, and these sinchis temporarily garnered their power to carry out a season of battles. With the onset of the rains, warriors may have then returned their attentions to tending their fields and power was redistributed among community members.
The cities around Lake Titicaca within the Qulla Kingdom 

Tiwanaku, in the south of Lake Titicaca, within the Qulla Empire persisted for more than a millennium before the Inca, which ceased all together by 1150 AD (John Janusek, “Tiwanaku and its Precursors, Journal of Archaeological Research, Springer, New York, 2004, p207). Padre Bernabé Cobo was a Spanish Jesuit missionary and writer, who landed in Lima in 1599, played a part in the early history of quinine by his description of the bark of cinchona trees, which he brought some to Europe on a visit in 1632. He stated that “Titikaka Island...was formerly populated with Indian Qullas, the same nation of Copacabana natives" (Cobo, This Collection of Historians of Peru, vol.2 , [written in 1600s], first publication 1882, Liberal street printing of the union num. 317, Lima Peru).
    Fray Alonso Ramos Gavilán y Díaz said that “the Qullas of Titikaka had that famous altar and shrine, was a waka, or huaca (spiritual shrine) from the Puquina Qullas and Uroqollas” (Alonso Ramos Gavilán, History of the Shrine of Our Lade of Copacabana, Ignacio Prado Pastor, 1988, p58). The Uroqollas, of course, are the Uros that are now seen building and living on islands on Lake Titicaca.
Some of the houses built on hand-made reed islands on Lake Titicaca 

In addition, it was the Qullas who, after being attacked at Ayaviri (Ayawiri), at the end of their long thousand year or more reign in the region by the Inca, eventually retreated to the Pucará fortification (mentoned in our earlier articles) where the Inca finally defeated them.
    Within the realm of the Qulla were three ethnic groups: Aymara, Puquina, and Uro (some Uros spoke Puquina and the others Uruquilla). Felipe Huaman Poma de Ayala, also known as Guamán Poma or Wamán Poma, who served in the 1560s-1570s AD as translator for Fray Cristóbal de Alborno, was a 16th Century Quechua nobleman born in Huamanga, Ayacucho, a little southeast of Pachacamac, halfway between that ancient city and Cuzco, in 1535. 
    He was known for chronicling and denouncing the ill treatment of the natives of the Andes by the Spanish after their conquest—he clearly distinguished Qulla ethnic groups and identified them as Qulla to the Aymaras, as Puquina Qulla to the Puquinas and as Uro Qulla to the Uros (Poma, The First New Chronicle and Good Government, written in 1615 as a handwritten manuscript to King Philip III of Spain, with the first part of the 1200-page document covering Andean life of both Inca and pre-Inca cultures prior to the invasion of the Spaniards.
    While it cannot be clearly determined that the Qulla were a group of, descendants of, te Nepihte/Lamanite people of the Land of Promise, much about them rings true to the descriptions found in the Book of Mormon.

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