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Reblog: Incallajta – Bread Basket of the Inca

One of the world’s greatest and most well-known ancient civilizations is the Inca of Peru (and Bolivia and parts of Ecuador and Chile).  It is a part of Latin American culture that brings great pride to those from the region, and awe from visitors.  Many may know of the ruins at Machu Picchu, Peru and it is indeed a favourite tourist destination.  Perhaps, a not so oft talked about Incan ruin site is that of Incallajta.  Located in Cochabamba, it is one of the most well-preserved ruins in Bolivia.  Over at Living The Q Life, Peter and Dona have posted a lovely recap (with photos) of their tour of the ruins.  They’ve even included little historical tidbits gleaned from their guide.

I hope you’ll head over to their site to see more stunning photos of Incallajta (featured image is taken from Living the Q Life) and read about the time they spent there.


via Incallajta – Bread Basket of the Inca



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Reblog: Mexican- American War: Part 1

I love finding sites curated by fellow history loving bloggers and was quite pleased to discover History Present.  But even more interesting, was to find that the blogger is embarking upon a study of the Mexican-American War of the 1840s.  This war resulted in the mostates.  This is a war that occurred almost 200 years ago but finds its way into very current debates.  The causes of that war and the ‘blame factors’ are still hotly contested.  It’s a fascinating war to study.  I loved it as a student significant land loss for Mexico and a most lucrative land acquisition for the United Stand find that it inspires tremendous interest in my own students.

Mexican-American War


Over at History Present we can join in on one blogger’s journey through that war and discover what conclusions can be drawn. Please hop on over to the site.


via Mexican- American War: Part 1

Reblog: Mexican Conservatism

I think I have found a kindred spirit in La Historiadora.  As a former Latin American history scholar and life long learner, she’s putting her knowledge to use by sharing some interesting stories about Mexico’s past.  I suggest you head over to her site and follow if you’re interested in finding out more about Mexican History.

She published this post on Mexican Conservatism last month. It comprehensively captures the philosophy of the Latin American Conservatives of the 19th century.  In her post, she mentions key figures such as Antonio López de Santa Anna and Benito Juarez, both incredibly powerful leaders whose legacies live on today.  It’s good to know more about the ideologies behind both the Conservatives and Liberals as their different approaches to the political and social structure of Latin American countries ultimately paved the way for countless violent and disruptive wars.

Santa Anna


Please head over to This Week in Mexican History to find out more.

via March 24 – 30, 2019 – Conservatism

Reblog: Horses, Me and the Andes

I introduced you to Laurie, a while ago when she told us all about the Ecuadorian guitar making village of San Bartolome.  I have to say, I’m loving visiting Ecuador vicariously through Laurie but she’s making my South American bucket longer and longer every stop I make at her site, Life On This Side.

Today I’m sharing another one of her detailed posts, replete with gorgeous photos, about her adventures horseback riding in the Andes.   She showcases Rancho Patachocha, located near to the city of Cuenca. It’s a family run ranch that offers rides.  Head over to Laurie’s site and find out so much more.

Here’s a taste of her photos to entice you…

Rancho Patachocha in Ecuador
Photo: Laurie Paternoster, Life on this Side



via Horses, Me and the Andes

Reblog: A Week in Panama

The only time, so far, that I’ve been to Panama it was en route to Costa Rica.  I remember pressing my face almost flat against the plane’s window as I struggled to get a good view of the famed Panama Canal.  As I sat peering down at the isthmus that joins Central And South America I promised myself I’d return soon and give this place a fair share of my attention.  I haven’t been back as yet, but soon, I’m sure!

I did, however, come across this post from Living the Q Life that talks about the week they spent there.  I think it provides a very comprehensive overview of all the things you can do in the small central American nation, other than just visit the Canal! Please hop on over for interesting commentary and enticing photos!


We returned last night from our trip to Panama and it was definitely a wonderful experience. We will be providing specific details about the tours that we took and the sights that we saw. It is an interesting country in many different ways and we look forward to seeing how eco-tourism grows within the country […]

via A Week in Panama — Living The Q Life

UNESCO celebrates indigenous languages


International Mother Language Day
Photo courtesy: UNESCO


Did you think that the Mayan language is just one language?  Think again!  Mayan is the collective name given to a linguistic family.  Today, over 35 unique Mayan languages have been recorded.  It is estimated, however, that at the beginning of colonisation there were in fact hundreds of these languages in use.  Think of the rich linguistic and cultural diversity entrenched in those languages.  Sadly, much of it is lost forever.  However, there have been attempts to reclaim and validate indigenous heritage through language.  Researchers, linguists and historians (among many others) have been working to identify and record these languages.  There are even efforts being made to facilitate ‘mother tongue-based multilingual education’ to ensure that education can be accessed in indigenous languages.  The United Nations has proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages and had also declared February 21 as International Mother Language Day.  It is hoped that preservation efforts will save many existing languages before they too are lost.

Year of Indig Lang



At View From Casita Colibrí, Shannon talks about how International Mother Language Day was celebrated in Oaxaca, Mexico.  Take a trip over to her blog for some intriguing photos and more information.


via Celebrating indigenous languages

Reblog: Mexico’s (Almost) Forgotten Holiday

Today is Feb. 4 and a holiday in Mexico.  Today’s holiday celebrates the declaration of the country’s Magna Carta.  The constitution was declared in 1917, seven years after the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution.  The Revolution itself would continue for a couple more decades but the declaration of this constitution marked a turning point in political and social attitudes.

The proclaimed Constitution of 1917 was rather progressive and reformative for its time:

  • It addressed the needs of the poor and the working class.
  • It provided the right to strike and the right to organise.
  • It set limits on working hours.
  • Article 27 guaranteed that only Mexico and its citizens could own the natural resources above and below Mexican land.
  • It promised land reform.

Unfortunately, the 1917 Constitution was mainly ignored by then President Carranza and not properly implemented.  However, the constitution was a starting point and it was eventually implemented and remains in force today (amendments have been included over the years).


Please head over to Pulse Mexico to read Thérèse Margolis’ article on the significance of this little known Mexican holiday.


via Mexico’s (Almost) Forgotten Holiday

Dí­a de las Velitas and other Christmas Traditions in Colombia

dia de velitos

On the night of December 7, every year in Colombia, across towns, cities and country-sides, people go into the streets filling them with light millions of candles, in fact. This is how they celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the virgin Mary.

It is a very colourful affair. Multicoloured candles and lanterns decorate the night, making December 7 a magical beginning to the Christmas season. This tradition also celebrates the appearance of the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, when he announced that she was to be the mother of Jesus.

Some say that from the first night in 1854, when it was proclaimed by Pope Pius IX that Catholics should celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception, believers from around the world lit candles to celebrate. The tradition of lighting up has been maintained.

It is also another example of religious syncretism. The indigenous of the Quindí­o Department of Colombia believed in the Quimbayan Panther. When the Spanish colonialists arrived in the region during the late 1850s, they brought their tradition of using candlelight to celebrate the Immaculate Conception. This was combined with the Quimbaya belief that fire could protect against panther attacks as pumas and other native animals were believed to fear fire. Thus, the belief in the Quimbayan Christmas Panther evolved and this developed into the Quimbayan holiday known as the Alumbrado de Navidad (which is essentially the feast of the Immaculate Conception).

In Colombia, which has a large Catholic population, the feast is celebrated in grand style. Families celebrate well into the night with food, fun and lights. It is also a great tourist attraction. Thankfully, December 8th is a holiday in Colombia.

More Christmas in Colombia

Over at “One Dream” Wendy has been posting about various Christmas traditions from around the world.  I’m sharing with you today her post on Christmas in Colombia.  I told you about the buñuelos that are a favoured foodie tradition there, and now you can read more about other Colombian Christmas favourites such as the Dí­a de las Velitas, Novena de Aguinaldos and the Cena de Navidad.

Head over to One Dream now to find out more.

via Christmas in Colombia

Or if you’d like to read more about the day in Spanish, here is an article by GuiaInfantil.

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Reblog: Birthing Music by Laurie Paternoster

We’re well and properly into the last month of the year.  For many, the Christmas preparations have already begun.  I’ve made a few tentative strides in that area myself, my boys would allow no less.  The tree is up, the crèche is out, the Advent calendar is on countdown and, of course, the excitement is growing.  I’ve got to work my way through some end of semester responsibilities like marking final papers and signing off on courses before I can fully relax into the season, but I’ve still been making some plans!

On the blog, I am hoping to do a couple of posts on Christmas traditions across Latin America and the Caribbean.  One of the musical traditions associated with Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago is parang music.  A key component of this música navideña (Christmas music) is the cuatro guitar… a guitar made of 4 (cuatro) instead of 5 strings.  I started looking up the history of the cuatro and came across a really interesting article written by Laurie Paternoster over at Life On This Side.

In her article she speaks about a small Andean community called San Bartolome in Ecuador, where for more than 100 years locals have been the centre of a guitar-making industry.  Please do read her article to find out more about the beautiful, hand-crafted guitars produced in San Bartolome (including cuatros).  You’ll also be able to enjoy her photos, such as this one:

guitar industry ecuador
Photo by Laurie Paternoster

via Birthing Music

Reblog: Lake Titikaka and the Uros on their floating Islands

I saw a documentary once about a group of indigenous peoples who literally built their islands, their homes, out of reeds.  The Uru or Uros are indigenous to the area of Peru and Bolivia and live on islands in the shared Lake Titicaca.  Currently, they live on approximately 120 man-made floating islands in the lake, and are continuously growing.  The Uru use bundles of dried totora reeds to make reed boats (balsas), and to make the islands themselves.  Smaller islands hold two or three family units while some of the larger islands hold up to ten families.

Over at Rolandomio Travel you can find a post about visiting these innovative people and seeing the floating islands for yourself!  Go check it out!

Uros harvesting totora on Lake Titicaca
Wikipedia: Uros harvesting totora on Lake Titicaca nearby the city of Puno. Image: Christophe Meneboeuf - Personal work:


via Lake Titikaka and the Uros on their floating Islands