The Aymara Language in Its Social and Cultural Context: A Collection Essays on Aspects of Aymara Language and Culture

By M. J. Hardman | Go to book overview

Dedication

High in Bolivia the rugged Andean cordillera resolves itself into two twisting mountain chains. Westward lie the ranges of the Cordillera Occidental, which separate Bolivia from Chile and outline in green the narrow river valleys running westward through Peru to the Pacific. Eastward the splendid snow-crested Andes, usually called the Cordillera Real, fall sharply into the fertile yungas of the departments of La Paz, Cochabamba, and Chuquisaca and disappear along the Amazon Basin, which stretches far and flat to the Atlantic.

Between the Cordillera Occidental and the Cordillera Real are the highlands, the mountains, and the intermontane valleys and plateaus variously known as the páramos, the mesetas, the punas, and the altiplanos, a plateau unequaled in height by any but the Himalayan Tableland of Tibet.

The altiplano is a high, hard land, scarred by mountain spurs from the western cordillera. It is a region of earthquakes, avalanches, droughts, and floods. Tropical sun blazes through frigid air, and dust-laden winds whistle across the vast, treeless plateaus, which are dry and parched despite the cold.

In the face of this awesome and often hostile expanse, one cannot but feel an admiration for the Aymara people, who have for centuries made it their home. It is to them that this volume is dedicated.

Pamela Sharpe

-v-

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