History of Choquequirao
The pre-hispanic history of Choquequirao is still unknown, as indicated by the young French historian E. Duffait in his recent doctorate thesis. We know that the conquistador Francisco Pizarro gave the whole region to his brother Hernando, which became known from that point on as Choquicarango or Chuquierrango, demonstrating that the Spanish knew of this site after their arrival in Peru in the 16th century.
The same author indicates that both Choquequirao and Machupicchu were personal royal residences of the Inca Tupac Yupanqui, which represented his power and acquired all their symbolic significance and importance after the death of the sovereign. Their main function was to perpetuate his memory and take care of the different needs of his lineage using the various products that were made there. Both sites have, then, a highly ritualized role.
During centuries The History of Choquequirao was enveloped in a veil of darkness, well-protected by its remoteness, but unlike Machupicchu, was known to exist and was mentioned for the first time in a Spanish document of the 19th century. Finally, in 1909, the tireless American explorer Hiram Bingham explored it and created maps of the place.
Origin of the name Choquequirao
According to studies, despite Choquequirao not being a place involved in the extraction of gold or silver, its name has sacred connotations. In the Aymara language, that was spoken in a great part of the southern Andes before the Inca, the term Choque designated gold and everything related to it.
It refers to all things that shine, like the sun, the lightening, the mica stone that twinkles beneath the sun, and everything precious and of great value. Its synonym in Quechua is Cori, gold. The term Quirao means “cradle of gold”, a possible allusion to the numerous gold mines that existed in this area and that were exploited by the Inca and considered sacred. One mustn’t forget that the Inca was the son of the Sun, the Sun on Earth and that his wife was a representation of the Moon, Quilla.