American Indians * Languages * Tribes * Art

Aymara [archive]

This article has been archived from the now-defunct MSU E-Museum ( for educational purposes. Please visit our Article Archive Index for further information. If the author of this article would like to make changes to it, or if you are the author of another article you would like us to add to our archives, please contact us.


Location: The Aymara Indians are located on the Bolivian and Peruvian altiplano.

History: Prior to their conquest by the Inca, the Aymara are thought to have been organized into a series of independent states. By the time the Spanish conquered them, they had been acculturated by the Inca through years of captivity. After being ruled by the Inca, the Spanish and now Peruvian and Bolivian Republics, it is difficult to tell which cultural aspects of the Aymara are original and which have been borrowed after contact with neighboring societies. Within the last 25 years both the Bolivian and Peruvian governments have began programs of land reform and programs aimed at rural development and the incorporation of indigenous populations into the national mainstream.

Language: The Aymara are classified with Quechua as a separate group within the Andean subfamily of the Andean-Equatorial language family. The Aymara language may be divided into a number of local dialects.

Daily Life: Most Aymara are dependent on agriculture for at least part of their subsistence. Important crops include potatoes, quinoa and barley. Animals such as sheep, llamas, cattle and alpacas are also raised. Fishing is widespread but its economic significance is unknown. Aymara also participate in migratory labor, part-time craft specialization and selling items at markets. Aymara supernatural beliefs and practices are a blend of aboriginal traits and concepts learned from Christian missionaries. Elaborate fiestas dedicated to the devotion to particular saints and drinking, dancing, eating, visiting and shopping in markets are community events.

Additional Reading

 Aymara Indians
 Peruvian Indians
 Andean Tribes

Sponsored Links

Return to our list of Indian cultures
Read our article submission guidelines

Native Languages

Hoopa language * Atena * Hawaiian people * The Ancient One

Would you like to help support our organization's work with endangered American Indian languages?