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Guide to Patagonia's Monsters & Mysterious beings

I have written a book on this intriguing subject which has just been published.
In this blog I will post excerpts and other interesting texts on this fascinating subject.

Austin Whittall


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Peruvian Chachapoyas or "white indians"


The Spanish conquistador Pedro Cieza de León (1520 - 1554) wrote a chronicle in which he described Peru at the time of Spanish conquest. His "Crónicas del Perú" also recorded the history of the local native groups and, of course, the Incas and the tribes that they had subjected.


He mentions a certain group of Indians, The "Chachapoyan" natives [1], that lived in the Andes, in what is now Northern Peru, right next to Ecuador, in the Cachapoyas District of the Department of Amazonas. Theirs was an area with high mountain ranges: the Calla-Calla range in the south reaching 4,300 m (14,100 ft.) and the Cordillera Oriental to the east with 3,500 m. (11,500 ft.), with forests. The Marañon River flows through the area, draining towards the Amazon. (See map below).



The Chachapoyan region has been inhabited for over 8,000 years, but the group we know as Chachapoya, arrived much later: their most relevant cultural remains date back to 800 C.E. and their society peaked during the eleventh century C.E. (Their buildings at Olán, Yálape, Congó and especially Cuélap are monumental). They were subdued by the Inca around 1470 and incorporated as a province of their Empire after a though campaign. Many Chachapoyans were uprooted and sent to Cuzco and other parts of the Empire, where they were resettled and given new land to grow their crops on (This was a usual practice of the Incas, to dilute local resistence). [4]


After the Spanish conquistadors arrived, they too dominated the Chachapoyans (1535), it was during this period that Pedro Cieza de León visited the region and recorded his encounter with them. He described them as:


"These Indians that live at Chachapoyas are the most white and good looking of all those that I have seen in my travels through the Indies [America] , and their women were so beautiful that merely due to their good nature, many of them deserved to be women of the Incas and be taken to their temples of the sun; and so we see nowadays that the remaining Indian women of this lineage are extremely pretty, because they are white and very well built..." [1]


text describing Cachapoya
Text quoted above. From [1]

The "White" natives, true or false?


I have read some posts and articles that imply that these people have a Pre-Hispanic European origin, that is, that they somehow reached America long before Columbus did. And that is why they were "white skinned". I am skeptical about this, because trans-Atlantic communications probably did take place (I have posted about possible Phoenician, Greek, Micenian and Carthaginian navigators reaching the eastern coasts of America), but from there to the Andean foothills of Peru there is quite a distance and a long stretch of inhospitable Amazonian jungle. I doubt that the Chachapoyans were stray Phoenicians or similar sailors.


The official version is that they were a Native American group of people: The symbols that they used to decorate their buildings and the manner in which they mummified their dead suggests that the ancestral Chachapoyas may have reached their territory from the coastal areas of Peru or, from the northern mountain ranges [4].


Little is known regarding their pre-Inca or pre-Hispanic history. The oldest written reference about them dates back to January 14, 1538 in a letter from Alonso de Alvarado to the Spanish leader, Francisco Pizarro after his campaign to conquer the region.


The meaning of the word "Chachapoyas" is uncertain, and it is definitively not a Quechua or Aimará word, (which is what the Incas spoke). Little is known about the language spoken by the Chachapoyas before their conquest by the Inca, so we cannot shed any light on the matter from that angle.


There are of course many theories regarding its meaning: the local chronicler, Garcilaso de la Vega wrote in the 1600s that a Jesuit priest who accompanied the Spanish invaders in 1535 said it meant "Land of strong men", Lecuanda in 1792 suggested that it meant "Mountain of clouds", but these are only conjectures. [3]


They, like most of the American Natives suffered a dramatic population drop after the initial contact with the Spanish conquerors (they were decimated by the epidemics of measles, small pox, and plague that took place in 1546, 1558-59, 1585-91, 1614, 1618-19 and 1721). The population which in 1549 was nearly 88,000 strong, fell to 2,200 by 1793. Many Chachapoyans ran away into the junges to avoid being subjected to the forced-labor of the Spaniards. [3]


This must have bottlenecked the population considerably. Add to this the fact that many of them had been transplanted to other parts of the Inca empire after their defeat in 1470, and that other groups were placed in their homeland. The consequences of this dispersal and impantation plus massive population loss is that the original aboriginal Chachapoyan stock has been seriously diluted since 1470.


Below is a photograph from a book [5] which puts forward the theory that the Carthaginians escaped the destruction brought upon them by Rome after the Punic wars and reached America, and their descendants are... the Chachapoyans! The fair children among the Chachapoyans are known as "gringuitos", diminutive for "gringo" which is the way that Americans (from the U.S.A) are given in Latinamerica. But, wouldn't Carthaginians look like North Africans or Middle Eastern People (darker skinned, dark eyes, dark hair) instead of being blonde?


I posted about this in February 2011, so it does not surprise me. But, as I said above, it is hardly probable that they would have reached the western shores of South America.


gringuitos

To assume that contemporary fair haired children living in that region as "white" caucasoids with a pre-Columbian origin is an over simplification of complex facts. There may have been considerable European admixture during the Colonial period and later, as the population recovered during the nineteenth and twentyeth centuries. Only by studying the genes of their ancestors may we glean some useful information on their origins.


Fortunately the Chachapoyas mummified their dead, so we have plenty of material with a potential to yield useful genetic sequences.


The Mummies


Samples taken from seven Chachapoyan mummies were sequenced in a genetic study; only three yielded viable mtDNA which were assigned to haplogroups B2, M and D1, the others had insufficient coverage. [2]


The haplogroups B2 and D1 are a clear indication that the maternal lineage was American. Haplogroup M is quite strange because it is not one of the founding lineages of American Natives. It is found in Asia and only one other study mentions haplogroup M in the New World. Perhaps future studies will find more cases of it.


Anyway all three haplogroups are of a East Asian origin. This is ratified by a principal component analysis of SNPs overlapping between modern populations and the Chachapoyans which places them clearly in the "Amerindian" group together with the Aymara and Mayas, far from the Europeans and admixed hispanics (Colombian, Puerto Rico and Mexicans from Los Angeles) and closer to the East Asian groups. These people were definitively not "white" Europeans, they were Native Americans with ties to Eastern Asia. Below is an example of two of the samples that were sequenced:


Chacapoya gene analysis

Of course the alleged European origin is sustented by the fact that some of the mummies exhibit, as one blog states: "... Chachapoyas had curly brown or red Caucasoid hair, and not stiff black Mongoloid Amerindian hair.... the individual had red or reddish-brown Caucasoid hair". Below is a photo and some links to photographs of these mummies, so you can see them and decide for yourself:


Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4, Photo 5.


mummy of a Chachapoya

The hair is indeed wavy not straight. The color... well it seems to be brown, not the usual jet-black of the Amerindians. But, does this necessarily imply pre-Columbian European admixture?


The mummies are not dated. Are they older than 1535 or more recent? If older then we can assume that their brown hair is not due to post-discovery admixture. But even then it does not imply European ancestry.


I have posted extensively on Red Haired Native Americans during January 2014 and as I posted in my criticism to the Paracas cone heads, I believe that Neanderthal genes may be responsible for red or brown hair among pre-Hispanic Native Americans.


Red hair is a feature found in several Native mythical hominins (This post links to several posts on red haired hominins). and the reason for this, I believe is some ancient memory of their interaction with Neanderthals in America.


So maybe Europeans and Chachapoyans share a similar origin for their hair color: a common Neanderthal ancestry.


Sources


[1] Pedro Cieza de León, Obras Completas 1984, Cavileño, Madrid, pp. 104
[2] Meredith L. Carpenter, et al., (2013) Pulling out the 1%: Whole-Genome Capture for the Targeted Enrichment of Ancient DNA Sequencing Libraries. The American Journal of Human Genetics, Volume 93, Issue 5, 7 November 2013, Pages 852–864. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2013.10.002
[3] Inge Schjellerup, (2005). Incas y españoles en la conquista de los chachapoya. Fondo Editorial PUCP.

[4] Kauffmann Doig, Federico. (2000). Primera expedicion arqueologica a los mausoleos chachapoya (s) de la laguna de las momias (Dpto. de Amazonas, Perú). Chungará (Arica), 32(1), 49-54. Recuperado en 06 de agosto de 2014, de http://www.scielo.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0717-73562000000100009&lng=es&tlng=es. 10.4067/S0717-73562000000100009.
[5] Hans Giffhorn, Wurde Amerika in der Antike entdeckt?: Karthager, Kelten und das Rätsel der Chachapoya, C.H. Beck. 2013.
Further Reading on Chachapoyans: An Overview of Chachapoya Archaeology and History, by Adriana von Hagen.



Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia Copyright 2009-2014 by Austin Whittall © 

21 comments:

  1. Peruvian and Bolivian Amazonia are full of people that can be assigned to the australo-amazonian racial comples. Lighter complexion (skin, eyes and, yes, hair with reddish and yellowish hints), wavy hair, baldness and beards more common, high supraorbital ridges, and also straight and concave nose is common, deep set of eyes more common, taller in stature. This can be mistaken for more european traits easily, like the Ainu of Japan. According to orthodoxy, amerindians have a siberian origin where you dont find mongoloid morphology either, so according to the same orthodoxy we are not expected to find amerindians who are an exact coppy of the northeast asians specially the ones living in hotter climates. Hence why some consider them their own race. Retantion of archaic siberian traits are still more reasonable to explain Chachapoyas and even Fuegians, whose eyes are supposed to be hazel in early age according to some sources.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Of course White Indians were in the Americas! Blondes is a White European trait. White blonde indians were even seen by Lewis and Clark. Read about Solutreans who are the real native Americans. Look up Kennewick man. It may be hard for politically correct anti-Whites to swallow just like White slavery in America that is completely ignored! Just like Blonde Whites in China 1000 years before east Asians.

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    Replies
    1. I have not found any reference to white Indians in Lewis and Clark's papers, perhaps you can provide it.
      This reference talks about the Mandan people (
      http://lewisandclarkjournals.unl.edu/read/?_xmlsrc=lc.ronda.01.04.xml&_xslsrc=LC) found in 1738, when Pierre Gaultier de Varennes de La Vérendrye, who actually was looking for. But did not find any white Indians.
      Fair white skinned people in China can be explained by the Euroasiatic dispersal of Europeans.
      Kennewick, unfortunately will remain a mystery due to short-sighted bigoted Nativeamerican fear of the truth that science can provide regarding their origin and the peopling of America.
      Thanks for posting.

      Delete
    2. I wish to share with my readers an email that I received on August 16, 2015, and publish in full, because it gives another point of view on this matter. It says:

      Dear Mr. Whittall:

      In your article „The Peruvian Chachapoyas or ‘white indians’“, you mention Hans Giffhorn’s 2013 book “Wurde Amerika in der Antike entdeckt?”. When referring to the so-called gringuitos, you doubt Giffhorn’s conclusion. First, you ask why the offspring of Carthaginians does not „look like North Africans or Middle Eastern People?“ and consider the possibility of European ancestors of these people in colonial times.
      Firstly, Giffhorn assumes that a substantial part of the Carthaginian fleet and its crews that supposedly reached America consisted of Celtic mercenaries, who often served in the Carthaginian forces. Traditionally Celtic areas of Europe nowadays have the highest percentage of red-haired people worldwide.
      Secondly, Giffhorn claims to have asked the gringuito families whose children he photographed about the possibility of European ancestry, which was almost universally denied. If they had European ancestors in times beyond family memory, these people would most likely have been Spaniards, who are very rarely red-haired.
      As regards genetics, on page 267 of the abovementioned book, Giffhorn cites the genetics researcher Manfred Kayser claiming that the paternal DNA of the gringuitos ist most likely Western European, while the maternal DNA is predominantly Native American.

      Kindest regards
      Yours,

      Martin C. Ross
      Erlangen, Germany

      Delete
  3. Incas, other Peruvians, and the Spanish when they arrived, all talked about the "hair" color, AND "SKIN" color of these people, who were also VERY much taller than the Inca.

    Their culture also resembles Celtic & Nordic cultures, their style of buildings for example, as well as their practice of cremation, which was unknown to native Americans..

    White people with blond & red hair are also mentioned by numerous other Native American tribes. The Paiute tell of red haired "giants", that they considered evil, constantly murdering, and possibly cannibalizing the Paiutes' ancestors. Their oral history states that they banded together, cornered the white people in a cave, smoked them out and sent a volley of spears & arrows into them.
    This cave was discovered by Guano miners over a hundred years ago, "Lovelock Cave" in Nevada.

    It's not an agenda to say the Americas were discovered by Europeans, it's a simple matter of ancient history, and the fact that theres NO WAY we can say emphatically, that "no white person ever came to the Americas before Columbus", mainly cuz you nor I were there.

    They have also found many skulls that are shaped like Europeans' skulls, not Asians, or Amerasians, from thousands of years before Columbus, giving rise to the 'Solutrean theory'.

    There's even evidence of the Chinese having come to the Americas, not as Migrants to become future Native Americans, like their fellow Asians that did Migrate here to stay, but as skilled Seamen and explorers.

    SO don't dispute something you have no real way of saying you know for certain. Instead just find it thrilling that we HAVENT discovered everything yet, and that there's SO much more history just waiting out there for us to learn..

    ...and as for your neanderthal theory, I don't prescribe to Darwinism. The only explanation for the large skulls, and bones found, that I need, comes from the Bible, the Book of Enoch, and the oral history of basically EVERY ancient people from across the world - Giants. Real giants, not the crap Hollywood doles out. People that were from 8 ft tall, to a little taller.

    The blue-eyes gene, has also been found to be non-existent in mankinds' oldest DNA, it wasn't introduced into our DNA until much later.

    The descriptions of most of these "giants", by the ancient native americans, and other civilizations, were usually that they were "white skinned, with blond, and red hair, blue and green eyes".., and that as a rule, most were usually the epitome of evil, bad people.. That's not a feather in white peoples' cap, it doesn't prove supremacy, if anything it denotes that many come from lineages of evil people..

    Personally when I think about the word "gentile", that even Jesus used to distinguish between the gentiles, and Jewish people,..and that He commented on 'whether they were able to receive salvation, or not', makes me think the 'Gentiles' of the Bible, were the watered down descendants of the Giants(Nephilim). ..That after so many offspring with normal women, after so many generations, the ancient DNA that caused the deformations like gigantism, had been replaced with more normal Dna, hence their souls were purer and able to receive the "salvation" Christ talked about. Mind you obviously I'm a Christian, but also one with a speculative mind and interest in ancient, antedeluvian history.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do not agree with you in many points. But since you did take time to write this comment and as far as I can see it is not offensive or derisive, I am, as moderator of the comments section, allowing it to be published.

      I just want to make one point clear: this blog is not about religion. There is no place for religion here. It is a blog that deals with mankind, the native myths of Patagonia and sicence in general. The shortcomings of science, when it is taken as factual, when actually it is a mere model that tries to explain reality. Not reality itself.

      Regarding Darwinism, I want to be clear: I do believe that the theory of evolution is correct as do all scientists. It is a very good model that explains how species appear, who life evolved and, the theory itself has evolved over time. Darwin was a genius, and a very brave man (as was Wallace, who reached the same conclusion at the same time). It may be improved but there is no room for doubt. Evoultion is science, it can be tested. Creationism on the other hand cannot.

      Creationism is a religious belief not backed by science. Its place is not on this blog, it is a personal belief of individuals based on religious scriptures. That is not the realm of science.

      Austin

      Delete
    2. Kennewick Man has been DNA tested and the conclusion is that he is 100% Native American and has no European DNA. His caucasoid skull shape can easily be explained by the fact that not all Amerinds were Mongoloid. Indeed, some of them had more caucasoid features due to ancient Siberian ancestry -- an ancestry shared by many Europeans.

      Delete
  4. maybe the Vikings were there....hey they were excellent explorers too and in need of land.

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  5. Thank you Austin for your post. I would be interested in reading your book about caucasian DNA in Peruvian mummies. I am researching Chachapoyas ancient connection with Europe. The research lead me direct to the ruinas celtas on mount Santa Trega near Guarda, Galicia, Spain Please compare to Kuelap and the ancient round houses of Chachapoyas.
    Al

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading it. Actually my book deals with the mythical beings of Patagonia and outlines some theories about them, but it does not deal with the Chachapoyas.
      I have only written about them here in my blog.
      But

      Delete
  6. By the way; this is interesting
    http://core.tdar.org/document/395959/assessing-the-genetic-diversity-in-the-extant-chachapoya-population-from-northeastern-peru-using-uniparental-dna-markers-mtdna-and-y-chromosome
    quote:
    "However, even though the Chachapoya area shares a common history of European colonization with several other populations in the Americas, the levels and nature of genetic diversity suggest that the Chachapoya has had a distinctive demographic history, shaped by their geographical position between highlands and jungle. For instance, the Chachapoya population shows a pattern of population expansion seen only in few other South American populations. Another interesting feature is that the Chachapoya assumes a basal position in mtDNA phylogenetic trees within South American populations, which may suggest an early origin for this singular people."

    ReplyDelete
  7. May I ask, does your book of mythical Patagonian beings extend north into the high Andes of lake Titicac? Do they have traces of mtDNA.
    Thank you for the link and extract. My research comes to the same conclusion and places contact with mtDNA with certainty before 1300 BC. Regarding the distinct demographic distribution consider the influence of the Maranon and Urubamba Rivers.

    ReplyDelete
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    Visit: PERU TURISMO

    ReplyDelete
  9. In regards to your comment about Kenniwick man, how does ones reverence and respect for ones own ancestors make one bigoted and short sighted? Just because they would prefer for scientists to leave them and theirs alone, that means they're bigoted? How is white western science's need to know more
    important, than showing indigenous people, they and their ancestors are not meant to be museum specimens for the curiosity of white people? You do know that when you posted your comment in 2014 Kenniwick Man had been studied extensively with countless, Books, DNA, and casts and measurements of his bones? For one who seems to be interested in natives and their lifestyles why do you have to be so spiteful when you feel that certain tribes refuse white science? By the way, I really like your blog, especially the ones about the Chumash indians, Tomols, and haplogroup D4h3a because I am Chumash
    And D4h3a.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Anonymous,
      Lets set the record clear.
      0. "Ones own ancestors" is a rather sweeping claim. This man may not even be (actually he is not) the ancestor of current native groups living in the area.
      1, The first official paper on the genetics of Kennewick Man was Rasmussen et al. paper of June 18 2015. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v523/n7561/full/nature14625.html
      All the rest prior to that was non-informative, bungled tests and so forth.
      2. This man though ancestral to SOME Native Americans is not necessarily -and this is what the paper says- a direct ancestor of the groups now linving in the area. Which is quite logical.
      3. Who said anything about museum specimens for the curiosity of white people. That is a bigoted concept. The remains of a human being can be studied for the advancement of human (mankind) knowledge. Aboriginals in Australia have a similar viewpoint to yours. What is this about reverence? Respect yes, but reverence?
      Human remains of people murdered, abducted or simply NN remains found by chance are constantly studied to identify them by forensic means, And this does not cause disrespect or irreverence.
      It is science. Science is neutral. Science is color blind. Something Relgion or spritual viewpoints cannot say.
      And when I wrote bigoted I meant that: a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group (such as a racial or religious group).
      This seems to be a "white" vs. "Native American" issue, and hence a bigoted matter. Prejudice, ideas which stand in the way of enlightenment, knowledge and progress for all mankind.
      I couldn't care less when someone takes samples of bones and studies the DNA of a putative ancestor of mine i.e. Motala in Sweden or Loschbour Luxembourg or Stuttgart in Germany. They are dead, and long gone and their bones can shed some light on the history of mankind. Surely they would not object. I wouldn't if someone found my bones 5000 years or 8000 years from now. Only bones. People are more than bones.

      Delete
  10. Is it possible that their descendants of albinos?

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  11. My Wife is from Chachapoya. Here family has a pretty good record of family history going back many hundreds of years.It is possible that sometime in the past some european was involved but her entire family is White as can be. Brown/blond hair and grey eyes. DNA shows typical Amerindian DNA. She comes from a village down river from Chachapoyas about 50 or 60 miles. I went there after we got married to meet the family and many many people there looked European. But they werent.

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  12. Thanks for your comment. It is really interesting. Perhaps a deeper genetic analysis will reveal the true origin of the "white & fair" Chachapoyas.

    ReplyDelete
  13. they lived in the high country among wooded mntns and hills, so got lighter in color over centuries of time. now, some dna of peoples in SA goes directly back to Africa, And, also there is an admixture of European dna in north american indians. keep testing those Chachapoya!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Absent evidence, all these European connection theories are just Thor Heyerdahl cock and bull; good only for book sales and Discovery Channel ancient aliens crap. I saw a piece of a PBS World hour on a bullshit Carthaginian link book and found this blog looking for DNA data. I am terribly disappointed in PBS.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am still working on the theory that Punic wars ended about 146 bc by the Roman Empire. The Carthagians and Celts knew it was an end to their freedom and the only way was to find a new area to live in which is not been taken over by any other tribe. The Carthagians were great sea fairing people and had the confidence to head out into the Atlantic Ocean and head dew West. The Amazon River could have been the first place they had found and did not know that they were going up a river.
    The natives of the Amazon would probably fear the strange people and boats which they had never seen before.
    The jungle at the beginning was too thick to try and make a village and so they carried on until it thinned out at the foot of the Andes and the end of the river.
    The Celts would know what to look for regarding the possibility of farming and building a fortress like Kuelap but that would take many years to construct.
    The Kuelap Fortress has buildings that I am familiar with and made me think about Northern Spain fortifications like Castro de Barona and many others.
    isle of skye researcher

    ReplyDelete

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