You are on page 1of 2



Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui (d. 1471)

l

struction of various royal estates in the Urubamba Valley,


the most famous of which is Machu Picchu.

Inca emperor

Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui acceded to rulership after


his victory over the Chanca in 1438 and remained in
power until 1471. The most notable project Pachacuti
undertook as Sapa Inca was the rebuilding of the city
of Cuzco. The Spanish writer Juan de Betanzos offers
a vivid account of this, depicting Pachacuti as a farsighted urban planner and effective organizer of labor.
Pachacuti first outlined the city and made a clay model to
show how he wanted it built. He then mobilized a crew of
50,000 workers, who labored for 20 years, from the first
improvements of channeling the Tullumayo and Saphy
Rivers that flow through Cuzco until the completion
of the building program. When the city was finished,
Pachacuti held a town meeting and assigned houses and
lots to members of Cuzcos nobility and to all other residents. He had people of lower social rank settle between
the Temple of the Sun (Coricancha) and the point where
the two rivers joined. Pachacuti named this section of his
city Hurin Cuzco (lower Cuzco); the far end was called
Pumachupa, which means lions tail. The area from the
Temple of the Sun on up, between the two rivers to the
hill of Sacsayhuamn, he distributed among the prominent lords of his lineage and his own direct descendants.
This section became Hanan Cuzco (upper Cuzco). Based
on this description, Cuzcos new layout is understood as
visualizing the body of a puma, with its tail at Pumachupa
and its head at Sacsayhuamn.
Pachacutis other significant accomplishments were
early territorial expansions to the southeast and northwest, as well as the formulation of a political landscape
and sacred geography. Pachacuti commissioned the con-

Jessica Christie

paj The shamans of the indigenous peoples of

Amazonia and neighboring regions were known as pajs


(from the Tup-Guaran word for spiritual leader).
Pajs were the repositories of special knowledge about
the world and were intermediaries between the human
and supernatural worlds. The peoples of the tropical
forest, despite their different cultures, languages, and
ethnicity, generally considered the natural environment to be inhabited by spirits that interacted not only
with humans but also with plants, animals, rivers, and
other elements of the landscape (see Amazon). Pajs
were highly regarded by their societies and respected
for their ability to heal; as a result, they were often
rewarded with political authority and material wealth.
Since in many cultures it was believed that sickness was
caused by enemy sorcerers or witches, pajs also led
military expeditions against the groups they claimed
were responsible (see witchcraft).
Pajs underwent years of apprenticeship with established shamans, often secluded from the rest of the community. This training likely included the mastery of a
large volume of information, from memorizing creation
myths to the elaboration of herbal remedies.
Renowned for their knowledge of medicinal plants,
including hallucinogenic plants such as the ayahuasca
vine that was used both for healing and to communicate
with the spirit world, pajs are still an important element
244

(c) 2011 Facts on File. All Rights Reserved.

Panama l 245

of folk medicine among both indigenous and non-Indian


communities in modern Latin America.
Francisco J. Gonzlez

Further reading:
Anna Roosevelt, ed. Amazonian Indians: From Prehistory to the
Present (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1994).

Panama For centuries, Panama has served as a land

bridge, allowing the exchange of plants, animals, people,


goods, and technologies between North and South
America (see migration). Archaeological, linguistic, and
genetic data demonstrate that Panama has been occupied continuously since the initial colonization of the
Americas. Although animal bones found at La Trinadita
date to 45,000 b.c.e., no associated Paleoindian tools
have been found. The earliest evidence for human occupation comes from pollen and Joboid tools collected at
La Yeguada and Lake Alajuela and dates to around 9500
b.c.e. Two lithic bifacial stone tool traditions and pollen
remains are the only evidence of later human occupation. These are associated with the North American
Clovis and South American fishtail projectile heads used
by hunter-gather populations who inhabited the region
around 9000 b.c.e. (see Clovis culture). The tools have
been found in open sites and rock shelters on the central
Pacific coast, at locations such as La Mula-West, Nieto,
and Vampiros.
During the Preceramic period, around 7000 to 5000
b.c.e., humans inhabited coastal sites and rock shelters
along the central Pacific coast. They used bifacial stone
tools and milling stones called edge-ground cobbles to
prepare a variety of foodstuffs, including rodents, shellfish, freshwater turtles, estuarine fish, and plants. There
is evidence of early agriculture during this time. Slashand-burn cultivation was practiced to grow crops such as
arrowroot, maize, and squash, all of which were originally
domesticated outside Panama.
After 5000 b.c.e., the use of unifacial stone tools
became more common. Early inhabitants continued to
use animal and plant resources. Manioc, sweet potatoes,
and yams were added to the diet, and agriculture continued to expand (see potato). In western Panama, between
4000 and 2500 b.c.e., human groups living in small camps
and rock shelters used stone tools that differed from
those used in central Panama. Bifacial wedges and axlike
tools of basalt and andesite were used for woodworking. These people collected palm nuts and tree fruits;
cultivated maize, manioc, and arrowroot; and probably
hunted peccary, deer, and small game.
Pottery was developed in central Panama around
3000 b.c.e. at coastal and inland sites such as Monagrillo
(where it was first identified), Zapotal, Corona, Ro
Cobre, Calavera, and Ladrones (see ceramics). In central
Pacific Panama, there was an intensification of agricul-

ture, particularly in the drier foothills, but otherwise,


most cultural patterns continued from the preceding
Preceramic period. Throughout Panama, material culture became more diverse during this period, and three
distinct cultural regions emerged in western, central, and
eastern Panama.
By the first millennium b.c.e. until 300 c.e., Panama
experienced relatively rapid cultural development and
agricultural intensification. Regional pottery styles developed in western Panama (Concepcin complex style),
central Panama (La Mula style), and eastern Panama
(zoned linear incised). The growing population began settling in nucleated agricultural villages. In central Panama,
people settled along the alluvial plains of the main rivers
in the lowlands, at sites such La MulaSarigua, Sitio
Sierra, Nat, Cerro Juan Daz, Bcaro, La India, Caazas,
El Indio, and El Cafetal; similar processes occurred at
La Pitahaya and Cerro Brujo in western Panama. New
technologies were introduced. In central Panama, sites
from this period indicate the broad usage of legless slab
METATES (grinding stones), manos, and polished axes, all
typically associated with maize cultivation, a staple food
in the region. In addition to maize, people consumed
white-tail deer, fish, crabs, and shellfish.
The period between 400 and 800 c.e. saw the establishment of stratified societies and settlement hierarchies.
Elite individuals controlled and displayed luxury goods
made of stone, shell, ivory, and gold and mobilized
labor for the construction of cemeteries, mounds, stone
sculptures, stone pavements, and buildings. Evidence of
this can be found at sites such as Sitio Conte, Barriles,
La Pitahaya, Sitio Pitti-Gonzalez, Miraflores, Rancho
Sancho, Cerro Juan Daz, and El Cao.
After 800, the production of maize, hunting of game,
and exploitation of marine resources intensified. Polities
consolidated in regional centers such as Cerro Cerrezuela
and El Hatillo, and populations increased along the river
valleys. Tools, pottery, and other commodities were
produced mainly by craft specialists, and burials reflect
increased social stratification.
When the Spanish arrived in 1501, Panama had a
variety of settlement types of different sizes. Communities
were stratified and spoke diverse Chibcha languages in
central and western Panama and the Cueva language in
eastern Panama. There is also evidence of long-distance
trade between polities, as well as warfare. In eastern
Panama, Cueva speakers were organized in dispersed
villages ruled by a local chief. Their economy was based
on hunting, gathering, and agricultural activities. Spanish
chroniclers described stratified communities ruled by
paramount chiefs in central Panama. These nucleated
villages were located in major river valleys, surrounded
by a wide variety of habitats from which the inhabitants
obtained abundant game and fish; they also cultivated
maize, manioc, sweet potatoes, and squash. In western
Panama at the time of the conquest, groups such as the

(c) 2011 Facts on File. All Rights Reserved.