Los Primeros Pobladores en Chile. Parte 2.

papa_chilota.jpgHace ya tres (3) años, comenzamos con este capítulo de "Los primeros pobladores en Chile", y muchos nos reclamaron que lo ahí expuesto era muy precario, con poca información y otros adjetivos que dejaban en evidencia, que el primer capítulo de esta serie, era "sin gusto a ná"...

Ya hurgeteando por libros, ensayos, papeles varios y una enorme cantidad de bibliografía, vamos con el segundo capítulo de nuestros primeros pobladores.

Comenzamos haciendo mención al capítulo del inicio, para retomar la idea de este tema...vamos muchachos y tengan paciencia.

Los Mapuches y la papa.

papa_nativa_de_chilo_.jpgLos mapuche eran esencialmente agricultores. Sus conocimientos los habían adquirido de los indígenas peruanos que los convertían, según Vicuña Mackenna, en "colonos de primera utilidad".

Poseían en ese entonces sementeras que denominaban cajis, y cultivaban maíz, porotos y papas, "tres producciones indígenas de América —agrega Vicuña Mackenna— y la última con especialidad de Chile, donde todavía crece salvaje."

Sin embargo esta paternidad chilena nunca ha sido reconocida por los naturalistas europeos, quienes siguen atribuyendo su origen al Perú.

Existe una razón circunstancial para que así lo consideren, porque en 1524 Pedro Ciessa, compañero de Francisco Pizarro, llevó desde el Perú varios ejemplares de papa a España que, aunque no gustaron a los peninsulares, Felipe II las utilizó como "vigoroso alimento" para sus tropas acantonadas en Flandes. Los monjes de un hospicio en Sevilla adquirieron un cargamento para saciar el hambre de sus famélicos protegidos.

La curiosidad que despertó el exótico tubérculo motivó el envío de varias muestras al Papa, quien encargó que las analizara al botánico vienes Charles de L'Ecluse. Este calificó en 1588 el producto como "pequeña trufa" (tartufoli), que etiquetó Pappa peruviana, con lo cual adquiere a perpetuidad la equivocada nacionalidad peruana.

El abate Molina, sabio jesuita chileno, fue el primero, en el siglo XVIII, en proclamar la papa como auténticamente chilena.

A mediados del siglo pasado el naturalista francés Claudio Gay, con abundantes pruebas científicas, se encargó de confirmarlo.

plantaci_n_de_papas_en_Chilo_.jpgGay asevera, en un artículo publicado en El Araucano el 25 de junio de 1831, que los investigadores que afirmaron que la papa era peruana "se contentaron con hacer sus investigaciones solamente en los alrededores de las ciudades y dedujeron consecuencias generales de algunos hechos que no eran debidos más que a circunstancias locales y accidentales.

Una planta cultivada en abundancia, continúa Gay, puede fácilmente escaparse de los jardines como lo manifiestan ejemplos numerosos y para admitir esta suposición sería preciso probar su existencia no solamente en los alrededores de las campiñas, sino en esos lugares solitarios distantes de toda habitación y que sólo visitan aquellos a quienes un gusto decidido conduce al estudio y a la contemplación de la naturaleza."

Siguiendo esa huella propia de investigadores "extremadamente escrupulosos", el intrépido Gay se dio el trabajo tesonero y perseverante, que él califica de "placer", de buscar la papa en estado salvaje, y logra localizarla "en muchos lugares incultos de las cercanías de Santiago y hasta al pie de la cordillera en la Dehesa".

cultivo_de_papas_en_Chilo_.jpgPero no contento con ello, continuó sin descanso su labor investigadora, y "tuvo la dicha de encontrarla en el centro de las cordilleras de Colchagua, en la cumbre de esas rocas que sólo habitan las águilas y los buitres", en el cajón de los Cipreses, el cual está rodeado de cerros tan inaccesibles que "es preciso ser botánico o geólogo para poderlos escalar."

"¿Cómo han podido estas papas llegar a estas alturas, que mortal alguno habían visitado antes?", se pregunta Gay. Y, aunque reconoce que la naturaleza "tiene medios propios para dispersar sus producciones", afirma que la papa ha sido favorecida "permaneciendo siempre en el lugar que la ve nacer, sin alas ni instrumentos capaces de hacerlas salir de él".

Termina afirmando que no sólo en el cajón de los Cipreses hay papas, sino "casi todas las cordilleras chilenas que he podido visitar me la han presentado en más o menos cantidad."

Historia de la prehistoria de América.

cultura_precolombina_2439.jpg

Los pueblos aborígenes de América alcanzaron cierto grado de civilización mediante el desarrollo cultural de aztecas, mayas e incas. Otras culturas, sin embargo, no lograron superar el estado de barbarie cuando sobrevino la invasión de las huestes europeas.

Las culturas primitivas, que los textos tradicionales denominan Prehistoria, son una importante etapa en la formación de la humanidad. No en vano, el hombre ocupó más de 1.750 mil años de trabajo para producir el fuego, la cerámica, el hilado, la domesticación de los animales, los instrumentos para el cultivo y también elaboración de los metales. El término "prehistoria" parece sugerir que ese periodo constituyó una etapa de preparación para la entrada a la "historia".

Se la presenta como una época escindida del proceso de desarrollo de la humanidad, como si la historia fuese solo una constante sucesión de reyes, gobiernos y héroes a contar de la invención de la escritura. Se analiza la "prehistoria" como un acontecimiento distante, desvinculado de la evolución de la humanidad.

cultura_precolombina438.jpgPareciera que la historia de América comienza sólo después de la llegada de Colón, pero la verdad es que muchos siglos antes de la conquista española América tenia su propia historia. Una historia que explica además gran parte de la rápida y "productiva" colonización ordenada por los reyes católicos. En resumen, la historia de la "prehistoria" es, por llamarla de algún modo, el primer capítulo de la novela que vivimos día a día.

Las investigaciones del antropólogo Lewis Morgan - el primero en preocuparse seriamente de las culturas primitivas - enriquecidas más tarde por Federico Engels, constituyeron un trascendental avance para el conocimiento de estas sociedades y, entre ellas, Ia americana antes de la llegada de los conquistadores españoles.

Se trata de un serio análisis de la ciencia antropológica, utilizando para ello una metodología científica. De este modo, Morgan, con profundo conocitniento de causa, trató de introducir un orden preciso en esta etapa conocida como la "prehistoria" de la Humanidad. Y su clasificación —como lo afirmara Engels en 1884— permanecerá sin duda en vigor hasta que una riqueza de datos mucho más considerable obligue a modificarla.

cultura_precolombina_3440.jpg

Varios intentos se han hecho posteriormente, pero todos, aun cuando discrepan de algunos conceptos, no han hecho otra cosa que ratificar la validez de los trabajos de Morgan y Engels. Otros que han intentado destruir sus tesis, condenando el método materialista y riguroso de interpretación, fracasaron estrepitosamente. Tal es el caso de Franz Boas y también el del padre Schmidt con su escuela de los ciclos culturales, entre otros.

La división clásica de la Edad de Piedra y la Edad de los Metales, establecida por Christian Thomsen en 1836, fue superada porque no logró establecer, con toda su complejidad, las distintas formas del desarrollo de las sociedades primitivas. Las tres épocas principales establecidas por Morgan: Salvajismo, Barbarie y civilización y, en particular, las dos primeras —con sus respectivas subdivisiones o estadios culturales: superior, medio e inferior-, permiten, en cambio, el mejor estudio de la "prehistoria'' americana, las culturas precolombinas o, más claro, la historia de América antes de Colón.

Fotografías: 1) Papa chilena de Chiloé. 2) Campesina chilota, sosteniendo una papa. 3)y 4) Cultivo y cosecha de papas en Chiloé. 5), 6) y 7) Dibujos precolombinos, de la revista Hechos Mundiales, "Grandes reportajes a la Historia Universal. N° 56 Culturas Precolombinas del 5 de Julio de 1972. Editorial Quimantú.

Los textos de "Historia de la prehistoria de América", corresponden a la Revista Hechos Mundiales, citada más arriba. Los textos de la Papa, citados en capítulo inicial en FyCCh., corresponde su bibliografía: "Sabor y saber de la cocina chilena", capítulo 1, autor Hernán Eyzaguirre Lyon. Editorial Andrés Bello.

(Ir a Primeros Pobladores de Chile. Parte 3.)

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