Trinitario

Introduction

The Trinitario, who are often referred to as “Mojeños” and occasionally “Moxeños” live throughout the lowlands of south-central Beni, a department in Bolivia. There are approximately 17,000 Trinitarios today, 5,000 of whom continue to speak the traditional Mojo language, which belongs to the Arawakan Language Family.

Traditionally, the Trinitario were successful hunters, fishermen, and agriculturists who developed a sophisticated system of cultivation and irrigation that used up to 20,000 artificial hills up to 60 feet high. Considered an architectural masterpeice, the Trinitario used the high ground for farming and dug canals to connect ponds and rivers that caught water in the flood-prone region.

Though the Trinitario submitted to Inca domination, in 1564 they successfully opposed the Spaniards who were searching for the infamous El Dorado fountain of youth. However, the succeess was far from a victory. According to some estimates, the Trinitario’s population may have been as high as 8 million. In the first decade of the 20th century, They numbered about 30,000.

Despite the massive loss in population, and the eventual arrival of Jesuits, the Trinitario are still known as Bolivia’s “water” culture.

 
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