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Definition of CHIBCHA
: a member of an Indian people of central Colombia
: the extinct language of the Chibcha people
Origin of CHIBCHA
First Known Use: 1814
Group of South American Indians who at the time of the Spanish conquest occupied the high valleys surrounding what are now Bogotá and Tunja in Colombia. They had a population of more than 500,000 and were more centralized politically than any other South American people outside the Inca empire. Their economy was based on intensive agriculture, a variety of crafts, and extensive trade. Society was highly stratified. The Chibchan political structure was crushed by Spanish invaders in the 16th century, and by the 18th century they had been assimilated into the rest of the population. See alsoAndean civilization.