Gateway Alpacas arrow Alpacas arrow History of Alpacas
John & Susan Merrell
41390 Hwy 226
Scio, OR 97374
503-394-3790
503-551-7219 (cell)
Home
Alpaca
Alpaca Farming
Alpacas
Alpaca Industry
Alpacas for Sale
Our Alpaca Farm
Alpaca Pictures
Supporting Links

The History of Alpacas

The history of alpacas begins in the mists of South American prehistory. There is evidence that alpacas were domesticated as much as 6000 years ago. The fact that the we do not have a record of any written language developed by the South American civilizations complicates the effort to document the early history of the alpaca.



Prehistoric Camelids

Alpacas and llamas are members of the camelid family of mammals.  The paleontogical record indicates that camelids first appeared on the North American continent during the Eocene epoch, which ended approximately 33 million years ago.

Click to continue...
 

Andean Camelids

Alpacas and the other South American camelids began to be domesticated some 6000 years ago in the Central Andes, a process that culminated with shepherding and the appearance of diverse breeds towards 3500 BC. All, or almost all the pre-Inca Cultures, used camelids for their nourishment and clothing.
Click to continue...
 

The Ancient History of Alpacas

The history of alpacas begins in the mists of South American prehistory. There is evidence that alpacas were domesticated as much as 6000 years ago. The fact that the we do not have a record of any written language developed by the South American civilizations complicates the effort to document the early history of the alpaca.

Click to continue...
 

Conopas

Alpacas and llamas held a special place in ancient Andean societies.  The alpaca in particular was seen as a gift from Pachamama.  These peoples made clothing from the fiber, fiber from the dung, meals from the meat and leather from the hides.  Further, textiles were a central part of their social system.  It should come as no surprise that alpacas assumed a religious significance, or that their form appears in amulets and other religious objects.  Conopas are an example of this.

Click to continue...
 

Inca Writing

Alpacas and the Andean culture were (and are) inextricably linked.  Textiles were a central part of society.  Khipus - intricately knotted strings -  are acknowledged as being used for mathematical records.  In recent decades theories have emerged that they and other forms of textiles actually formed the basis a written language for the Inca peoples.

Click to continue...
 

The Rediscovery of Alpacas

After the Spanish conquest, alpacas were nearly wiped out. By some accounts, 90% of the alpaca herds were destroyed in an effort to subjugate the native peoples.  In the 19th Century alpacas were rediscovered by Europeans and played a role in the Industrial Revolution.
Click to continue...
 

Darwin on Alpacas

Charles Darwin came across alpacas on his famous voyage aboard the Beagle - an experience that contributed to him writing The Origin of Species.  Interestingly, he documented the practices of the indigenous people and used it in support of his theory of Natural Selection.  Also of note is the fact that he mentions Charles Ledger, who was involved in an early, albeit aborted attempt to export alpacas to Australia.
Click to continue...
 
Alpaca Sales

"He was a big man; his features and even his ample moustache gave a disconcerting impression of rugged integrity,and I remember him chiefly in an alpaca or seersucker coat. Though much less formal, more democratic -- in a word -- than my father, I stood in awe of him for a different reason, and this I know now was because he possessed the penetration to discern the flaws in my youthful character..."

Winston Churchill
A FAR COUNTRY
About the Quotations