Chichimecas religion/location/characteristics/economy/war


Set of nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples that lived in Mexico. Chichimecas religion

Date 1000 BC C. – 1800 d. C.
Location North of present-day Mexico.
Religion Polytheistic.
Economy Hunting and gathering.

The term Chichimecas alludes to a group of nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples, originally from northern Mexico, who occupied this territory between 1000 BC. C. and 1800 d. C.  Some of these people were the Caxcanes, Pames, Tecuexes, Zacatecos, Guamares and Guachichiles.

There are different hypotheses about the origin of the Chichimeca name. One of them indicates that the term was used by the Aztecs and that it meant, in the Nahua language, ” those of the dog lineage .” Others suggest that the word could come from other languages ​​and attribute different meanings to it. Chichimecas religion

During the period of Spanish occupation, the peoples of northern Mexico were called “Chichimeca” in a derogatory way , since they were considered “barbarian peoples” because they were nomads, did not practice agriculture, did not know writing and were very warlike .

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Archaeologists distinguish three moments in the development of the Chichimeca peoples:

  • Venadito Period (1000 BC to 200 BC): characterized by the predominance of small bands of hunters.
  • Huerta period (200 BC to 1200 AD): during this time, coexisting with the bands of hunters, some horticultural groups appeared that built villages on the banks of the rivers.
  • Tunal Grande Period (1200 to 1800): corresponds to the expansion of the hunting tribes and the struggles with the conquerors, after the arrival of the Spanish.

Location of the Chichimecas

The different towns grouped under the name of Chichimecas inhabited the northern region of Mexico . Around the year 900, some of them began to settle around the Eseta Central , especially in the current state of San Luis Potosi. Chichimecas religion

Characteristics of the Chichimecas Chichimecas religion

The main characteristics of the Chichimecas are the following:

  • They were semi – nomadic peoples  who lived in caves, rocky eaves, or straw huts.
  • In some groups, both men and women wore long hair. They did not wear clothes, but covered themselves with small loincloths.
  • They used the red color that they obtained from red blood for cave paintings and also for body painting. The use of this color is considered to be related to fertility.
  • They performed ritual practices in which they used hallucinogens and alcoholic beverages.
  • They were very skilled in the use of the bow and arrow . They began the practice from childhood and in the Spanish chronicles they were recognized for their extraordinary aim.
  • They had simple tribal organizations . The chief was an advantageous hunter who provided the group with food and protection. Chichimecas religion
  • They practiced the sexual division of labor : men hunted and fought while women gathered food.

Chichimec religion

Unlike other Mexican cultures of the same time, which had complex religions with elaborate mythological systems , the Chichimecas worshiped few gods, mainly the sun and the moon .

From contact with the Mesoamerican peoples of the Central Plateau, they incorporated some elements of worship, such as carved stone idols. Chichimecas religion

Chichimecas economy Chichimecas religion

The Chichimeca economy was based mainly on hunting and gathering . They consumed almost any animal that they could hunt: reptiles, birds, rodents, among others; which they ate raw or barely cooked.

From the arrival of the Spaniards, they began to prefer hunting horse or cattle . They also collected prickly pears and roots . When they did not get sources of water, they used agave or maguey juice as a drink. Chichimecas religion

Although they were not farmers, some groups practiced gardening on the riverbanks. In this way they obtained corn and squash, with which they supplemented their diet. Sometimes exchanges took place between hunting groups and horticulturists.

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Cultural manifestations of the Chichimecas

Because of its nomadic condition, few elements of the Chichimeca cultural manifestations have been preserved.

The most relevant consist of pictograms incised or painted in red on the rocks . They also made idols and ritual objects in carved stone, with which they accompanied burials.

The Chichimeca war Chichimecas religion

Between 1548 and 1589 the Spanish advance was made on the Chichimec peoples with the aim of subduing them and incorporating them into the Spanish Crown. This event is known as the Chichimeca war .

The strong resistance of these peoples influenced the chronicles that the witnesses of the time wrote, who described them as very warlike, bellicose and bloody people.

Despite the fact that the Chichimecas were practically exterminated, some groups managed to resist until the 19th century and today their descendants remain. Chichimecas religion

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