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Archaeology and Language in the Andes$
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Paul Heggarty and David Beresford-Jones

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265031

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265031.001.0001

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Quechua’s Southern Boundary: The Case of Santiago del Estero, Argentina

Quechua’s Southern Boundary: The Case of Santiago del Estero, Argentina

(p.372) (p.373) 15 Quechua’s Southern Boundary: The Case of Santiago del Estero, Argentina
Archaeology and Language in the Andes


British Academy

This chapter examines the far southern boundary of Quechua's spread throughout the Andes. It argues that Quechua reached north-west Argentina in Inka times and that it was widely used during the colonial period as well. The rationale for this argument is based primarily on evidence for (1) the extent of Inka resettlements in Argentina; (2) the nature of Inka relations with local peoples in the far south; and (3) continued use of Quechua under the Spaniards, as described in the documentary sources. Less clear are the precise population movements that brought Quechua speakers initially to Santiago del Estero, as the archaeological record suggests that the Inka frontier lay higher up the slopes in the provinces of Salta, Jujuy, Tucumán, and Catamarca, where the majority of Inka installations are found. The documents reveal that activities of the Spaniards had further, far-reaching consequences for Quechua's presence in the south Andes, and that ultimately Quechua was replaced in most of north-west Argentina by Spanish.

Keywords:   Andes, Inka resettlements, Spanish, population movements, Quechua

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