Argentinian – Salta | Puna | Cobres

Argentinian – Salta | Puna | Cobres

Andean ǀ South American


Photo: Artist in Salta, Argentina. Photo by Emilia Garazzino accessed on Wikimedia Commons.

Salta is an Argentinian province in the mountainous northwest of the country.  Before the Spanish conquest, numerous native peoples (now called Diaguitas and Calchaquíes) lived in the valleys of what is now Salta Province, and the Atacamas lived in the Puna. Today the Salta culture is a blend of Spanish and Mestizo traditions that is distinctly different than the cultures of the European-like metropolises of the Buenoes Aires Province.

The Argentine – Salta – Puna region population data represents DNA samples from 107 unrelated individuals living in the isolated Andean community of San Antonio de Cobres (pop. 3,000) and a tiny satellite settlement of Cobres (pop. 141), which are located in the Puna region of the province of Salta (Salta – Province), in northwest Argentina, at an altitude of nearly 13,000 feet above sea level. Seventeen sample donors were volunteers from Cobres, and the remaining 90 came mostly from the San Antonio de Cobres Hospital, which is located amid the Puna region’s largest population base. This second group represented a variety of residents scattered throughout the Salta province.

Researchers from the National University of Salta, Argentina were supported by a grant from Spain’s General Direction of Higher Education (Direcciòn General de Enseñanza Superior). One of the researchers also received an FPI Fellowship from Spain’s Ministry of Education and Culture (Ministerio de Eduaccion y Cultura, and another had a fellowship from the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation (Agencia Esapanola de Coopraciòn Internacional). Assistance in sampling cam from the San Antonio de Cobres Hospital staff, and the study ultimately was supported by the the Genetics Laboratory of the Biology Dept. at Spain’s University of the Balearic Islands (Laboratori de Genetica, Dept. de Biologia, Universitat de les Illes Balears)

From Salta, Argentina.

 “In ancient times different people lived in the area that makes up the province of Salta. Towards 1,000 B.C., primitive farmers and herdsmen became the first inhabitants of the region. A very important group came from the Andes: they were skilled farmers and settled in the high valleys and in Puna. Later on, these people were known as belonging to the Diaguita – Calchaqui culture. In the 15th century the area was conquered by the Incas and it became part of the Collasuyo, one of the four regions that made up the great Inca Empire of Tahuantisuyo. The Inca culture had a great influence on the people and the Quechua language prevailed. In the 16th century the Spaniards colonized the territory and a process of cultural exchange and mixing began. Salta kept strong economic, social and cultural links with the cities of Potosí, Sucre, La Paz and Lima, with which it shared architectural and artistic features as well as customs and traditions. This connection can still be seen today in the different celebrations, traditions, dishes, rhythms, museums and churches. The area of the Calchaqui Valleys and the Puna is crisscrossed by an impressive network of Inca trails. The winding paved paths through the mountains made up the vast communication system of the Inca Empire. Many of these trails lead to sanctuaries on the mountain tops and go through breathtaking landscapes.”

For more details on this population and the Puna region of Argentina, see: Northern Argentina’s.

Source publication: Genetic variability at 14 STR loci in the Puna population of north western Argentina, IJLM, 2002, p126-132.

[Population 141]