The guecha warriors (Spanish: "güechas" or "gueches"), were warriors of the Muisca Confederation who were used to defend the territory of the Muisca. Neighbouring tribes such as the Panche and Pijao: those who qualified the Indies Writers angry warriors and warlike cannibals. From descriptions, the "güechas" seem to have been a separate race, in the sense that it was a group of people who formed a special class and used to breed with each other for their physical characteristics and personality, also for the work they performed as guardians of the Muisca territory, and stimuli/rewards they received.
As to the meaning of guecha, friar Pedro Simón, Spanish Franciscan chronicler, tells us that in the Chibcha language of the Muisca güecha means "brave", the translation of the first element of the word presents some difficulties because the umlaut was a sign not written consistently; güe-(umlaut) is 'people' and then güecha is 'man of the people', meaning that would fit perfectly with the status or rank of the warrior. An alternative etymology stems from the Chibcha words cha, "male" and gue, "I killed"; literally "a man who causes death".
Gue in Chibcha had many different meanings, a common meaning is "house" or "place". chá is "man" or "male", so guecha would mean "man of the house". Guecha also stands for "the brother of my mother", so "uncle".
The guecha warriors were an elite troop of the Muisca soldiers. They were selected among the strongest and bravest men of the domains of the zipa, the ruler of the southern Muisca Confederation. The selection considerations did not enter nobility of lineage, so any Chibcha would be enrolled and excel to become a guecha, If one stood out for its value they could become appointed cacicas and therefore enter the local nobility. Thus guecha stands for valor, courage and overcoming a rigidly organized society. style absolutist monarchical systems of the east.
The guecha warriors were a privileged caste. They were chosen from more healthy men: tough, courageous and brave. Their military exploits were richly rewarded and prizes reaching to the granting of vacancies in cacicazgos (chiefdoms). Those who fell in battle received posthumous honors which meant that their bodies were adorned with certain balsams and taken on the shoulders of other fighters, so that their presence cheer stiff and infuse life into the soldiers in the war. As undefeated Cid Ruy Diaz de Vivar, the Muisca guechas were rescued from death to go out and win battles against their enemies. The guecha status was not hereditary; dignity was not being reached by birth. It was only available to men of courage and great arm strength. It can be said, in other words, that the warriors were the only "democratic" group among the Muisca.
The chroniclers give interesting details: "Men of great bodies, bold, loose, determined and vigilant" (Simon Peter), "brave and determined men, with big beautiful arrangement, lightness and skill" (Lucas Fernández de Piedrahita). Muisca men of the above qualities were sought among the vassals of the entire zipazgo of Bogotá instructing and sending them to the strengths of its borders.
They did not use hair but had very short hair, in the words of the Chronicler "walked shorn" (Fernandez de Piedrahita) for safety and disengage in combat. Muisca ordinary men, by contrast, used the shoulder-length hair and party "as Nazarene 'as seen in some of the chief indigenous losparientes Pedro Snuff, oil painting by Gaspar de Figueroa in 1656 and owned by the Cómbita temple in Boyacá, entitled "San Nicolas de Tolentino". According to Fernandez de Piedrahita was considered great shame that they cut off the hair cacique, punishment also used by the Spanish. Meanwhile, the highest-ranking muiscas as the chief of Tunja is known Quemuenchatocha wearing long hair so they could roll it over your head within a wreath of feathers, as noted Piedrahita, who adds that a rose feathers were falling on the eyebrows. Other major lords and chieftains wore bonnets or caps cotton network.
Common men were not allowed to use paints, galas, jewelry, also no woman would use them either. The jewels were only for men and sheikhs gala or priests, chiefs or captains who were brave with "hierarchies among vassals" (Fernandez de Piedrahita) and on the rich wore blankets and embijados bodies during processions, ceremonies and contests. Crowns were similar to mitres and tiaras, forehead crescents of gold or silver with toes up, masks, gold medallions in the chest, bracelets strings of green stone beads, red, white or bone beads strung at intervals in the fine gold in gold chagualas noses and ears, bracelets, etc.. License to use jewelry extended to Uzaques that were "as grandees" who had the privilege to pierce ears and noses to hang there and neck jewelry in use. The "guechas" certainly important for the trade that developed in the defense of the territory, according to Pedro Simon, were licensed to use gold objects, is told that they had the edge pierced ears as well as nose and lips and hung there "fine gold beads, and how many had died panches everyone in the war" (Fernández de Piedrahita).
Armament and war
Weapons of the Muisca, which would you would use 'guechas "mentioned clubs, darts, spears, arrows, slingshots, tiraderas; Bows manipulated them slaves panches and Colimas they had and they were taken to the wars. The Indians went to major combat "with beautiful curled feather plumes parrots and parrots, many of them founded in wide ribbons of fine gold, encrusted with emeralds lucid intervals, bracelets and fine coral beads, with gold beads at intervals ... "(Peter Simon). Fernández de Piedrahita mentioned in the fighting "... Vija inks and jagua for adornment and nuance of bodies ... ".
- Los güechas o guechas en Cundinamarca
- Henderson & Ostler, 2005, p.154
- Fiebre de Bicentenario Parte I
- Los guerreros Muiscas y sus armas
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