1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Chiquitos

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CHIQUITOS (Span. “very small”), a group of tribes in the province of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, and between the head waters of the rivers Mamoré and Itenez. When their country was first invaded they fled into the forests, and the Spaniards, coming upon their huts, the doorways of which are built excessively low, supposed them to be dwarfs: hence the name. They are in fact well formed and powerful, of middle height and of an olive complexion. They are an agricultural people, but made a gallant resistance to the Spaniards for nearly two centuries. In 1691, however, they made the Jesuit missionaries welcome, and rapidly became civilized. The Chiquito language was adopted as the means of communication among the converts, who soon numbered 50,000, representing nearly fifty tribes. Upon the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767 the Chiquitos became decadent, and now number short of 20,000. Their houses, regularly ranged in streets, are built of adobes thatched with coarse grass. They manufacture copper boilers for making sugar and understand several trades, weave ponchos and hammocks and make straw hats. They are fond of singing and dancing, and are a gentle-mannered and hospitable folk. The group is now divided into forty tribes.