Life Of Peru's Indigenous People Essay

3249 words - 13 pages

Throughout the history of Latin American countries, like Peru there has been dramatic change in the overall way of life. These changes are largely due to external influences on the international level such as the Spanish conquest of Andean territories. However no matter whether the process of change was political, economic, social or cultural, they all have similarities and are interconnected. These different types of change are closely intertwined and influence one another while linking the local level of life with foreign (on an (inter)national level) events and forces. Also along with these changes, some aspects of indigenous life remain stable and continue throughout these external influences. In this essay I will discuss continuity and change with regard to some specific institutions or practice prominent in village life. Then I will explain how change and continuity are related to the widespread decline of quality of life and mestizaje in most indigenous communities.

The original occupants of the Latin American country Peru and surrounding areas were the Incas. These people were organized into local ethnic groups or communities of about four to ten people. The Incas were composed of corporate kinship groups and grouped into hierarchical dual organizations called moieties. Also these ethnic groups were endogamous and leadership amongst them was based on hereditary standards. Therefore political, religious and economic responsibilities were placed upon kuracas or native elites who inherited their status. The most important aspect of Andean life in the Andes amongst these people dealt with agriculture. Incan landscapes were very unique and can at best be described as very rugged terrain stretched out over the Andes mountains. In fact the different elevations and altitudes on these mountains were suitable for different types of production. As a result the Peruvian indigenous people set up multiple ecological zones along these mountain sides (slopes) to increase the efficiency of their production. This technique known as verticality let the people diversify their subsistence strategies and become more self-sufficing. This division of production zones were setup into four distinct production zones. Some of these zones were used for animal domestication and tuber production while others were used for the production of certain crops (maize, potatoes, tropical fruits, coca ) that grew best at their zones climatic conditions. These indigenous people would then travel to different zones throughout the day to manage and exploit these lands. However the distances between these four zones were extreme in some measures. Therefore in order to increase traveling efficiency, these people would settle in the middle of these ecological zones to give each production division adequate attention.

Another important feature of the Incan indigenous agricultural system was water. In order to conserve water and structure it's usage most efficiently, the people...

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