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Quechua People

Anciano Quechua

This group lives in an enclave within the area of Caquena, by the north, Parinacota, by the southeast, and Putre by the West.

The Quechua habitat is located in the pre-cordillera and the highland plareau, a territory shared with the Aymara.

While the Aymara language here has a mainly communicative function, the Quechua, as far as it is known, is kept for ritual purposes in versified texts and dances in the rural sector of Putre and Socoroma.

The Quechua share with the Aymara the social, cultural and ethnic features, mostly because they have assimilated to the Aymara culture, using its language to fulfill their communicational needs.



There are 3,436 Quechua in Chile. This population mostly lives in the Second Region.

Their main economic activity are services, mainly in hotels and restaurants (48.72%), mining (48.46%). Only 1.74% of them work in agricultural related activities.

Women mainly work in services (commerce) and men in mining. Most of them are employed by one patron. Only 1,2% are independent workers.

Quechua Origins

Miinero quechua

The Quechua are Inca descendents and arrived in Chile by 1442 and 1470, during Tupac Yupanqui rule.

Inca troops and forced soldiers (Mitimaes) occupied the country up to the Maipo river, and they probably exploited the land further south, reaching the Itata and Bio-Bio rivers.

Contemporary Quechua came from Bolivia, mainly to work in the nitrate industry and in mining, by the early twentieth century. Later they moved to cities as Arica, Iquique, Ollagüe, Toconce, San Pedro, and others.