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The Charruas of Uruguay

Tacuabé, Guyunusa and daughter.

Tacuabé, Guyunusa and daughter.

This is a true story of a Charruan Indian family from Uruguay.

After Spain conquered Uruguay in the early 1800s, the Charruan's national hero José Gervasio Artigas, (General in charge of the army), took the country back in 1811 in the Batalla de Las Piedras. But it had a high cost, losing many Indians in the war, who fought bravely to win back a country that essentially belonged to them in the first place.

The few Indians that remained, lived the end of their days in peace, but never forgotten as brave soldiers. They were a tribe always and forever looked upon as heroes that gave Uruguay back to its people.

In Feb 1833, a French dramatist named Francois de Curel, decided it was in the best interest of science to "research" these Indians and taking them to France for "exhibition"

Although it's not explained how he got this family to France, 4 tribespeople (not all are pictured; Vaimacá Perú, Senaqué, Tacuabé, male on left and Guyunusa, women holding child), they were forced to live a life stripped of all dignity, like animals in cages, fed raw meat, sold to a circus and viewed by a paying public for entertainment.

On July 27th, 1833, Senaqué passed away from what they say was food consumption, boredom and sadness. By the end of that same year, Vaimacá, followed the same unfortunate fate, (not pictured)

On Sept, 1833, Guyunusa (woman) gave birth to a daughter of Tacuabé (male pictured next to her), but it did not change the way they were treated, with loss of will and vitality for a life they were accustomed to, born in a cage and living a life imposed upon them by nothing more than greed.

On July 22, 1834, Guyunusa passed away, ending a miserable life she never asked for or deserved, ignored by a nation that did not defend or protect her, nor recognized her as an equal.

Within a year this entire family was dead; dying in a country that was never theirs or asked to be a part of. This line of heroes, who fought so hard for the freedom of Uruguay, these valiant, dauntless troopers who bled for others to walk on land deemed worthy to fight for, were nothing more than a blotch in history, masked by a country who eagerly paid top dollar to watch their slow and agonizing decomposition and much to the embarrassment of a nation, who sent police too late to save anyone.

Today we remember the Charruas, their incredible sacrifice, their bravery, their quiet submission that placed them in our history forever. Hopefully we can all learn something from this and make sure it is not repeated.


Rosana Modugno (author) from USA on September 09, 2013:

Yes, I do have family there who are direct descendents and have similar physical attributes which I've always found so fascinating in our culture. We do have a rich and interesting culture.

mio cid from Uruguay on September 08, 2013:

And I must say contrary to what was taught for decades it is now known that many uruguayan people do have some charrua or other native blood running through our veins although the native uruguayan population was indeed a victim of genocide.

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