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The ruins of Tiwanaku (in Spanish, "Tiahuanaco") were found by Pedro Cieza de León in 1549. He was from a family of Jewish conversos in Estremaúra (Extremadura), an autonomous state in western Spain. ("Conversos" were Spanish Jews who had converted to Catholicism, mainly after the 1391 pogroms or the expulsion of the Jews in 1492; conversos who did not fully embrace Christianity were "marranos;" similarly, "moriscos" were Muslim converts. All three groups were subject to discriminatory laws for centuries.) Estremaúra was one of Spain's most impoverished regions and thus the home of many early conquistadores in the Americas, including Hernán Cortés, Francisco Pizarro, Hernando de Soto, Andres Tapia, Pedro de Alvarado, Pedro de Valdivia, Inés Suárez, Alonso de Sotomayor, Francisco de Orellana, Pedro Gómez Duran y Chaves, and Vasco Núñez de Balboa. Because Spain did not allow conversos to enter its colonies, Cieza de León had to attain special permission (his first cousin, however, was Pizarro's secretary Pedro López de Cazalla, also a converso). After a decade and a half of exploring, he returned to Spain. In 1553 he published the first part of his history of Peru but died the following year; future volumes were not published until 1871, 1909, and 1979. Tiwanaku may have been an agricultural village as early as 1500 BCE and became a cult center of a future empire between 300 BCE and 300 CE. In the 1860s, Ephraim George Squier visited the ruins and later published maps and sketches; Alphons Stübel spent nine days there in 1876 and made a detailed map; but no in-depth scientific account of the ruins appeared until 1892, with commentary by archaeologist Max Uhle and photos by engineer B. von Grumbkow.
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