Arachanes . They were an indigenous ethnic group (now extinct) that occupied the vast eastern region of Uruguay , in the departments of Maldonado , Lavalleja , Rocha , Cerro Largo Department (Uruguay) | Cerro Largo and Treinta y Tres ; as well as much of the southern zone of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil .


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  • 1 Location
  • 2 History
  • 3 Language
  • 4 Cerritos de los Indios
  • 5 Sources


East of Uruguay, extending north to the vicinity of what is now Porto Alegre (Brazil); its greatest concentration was on the shores of the Merín and Los Patos lagoons.


A certain legend, preserved by their descendants, speaks of a group of people who, having crossed the Pacific Ocean, 2,000 years before Christ , reached the shores of the Atlantic, after making a pilgrimage from the Chilean Andes. The end point of the trip is in the vicinity of the Santa Teresa Fortress, in the place known as Cerro Verde.


Cerrito de los Indios

They always differed from the other tribes in the region, due to their large appearance and tall stature. Being sedentary, they built circular stone houses with wooden and straw roofs, authentic quinchos on artificial burial mounds, known today as cerritos de indios. The community or public buildings had a double square or rectangular structure.

From the beginning they cultivated achiras brought from Ica, Peru , from whose roots they derived the main sustenance, very similar to the potato , they consumed it boiled, fried in vegetable oil, or roasted. The leaves were used as healing agents. They were so distinguished by the cultivation of this plant with beautiful flowers , that the name of this tribe derives from it.

According to Ruy Díaz de Guzmán “… the Rio Grande is a safe and wide port, … it stretches like a lake on the banks of which, on either side, more than twenty thousand Guarani Indians are populated, of those from that land. They are called Arechanes, “he explains that they differed by having their hair” wild, curled up “and added that they had continuous wars” … with the Charrúa Indians of the Río de la Plata and with others from inland … “.

They disappeared throughout the seventeenth century , dispersed by conquerors and slave hunters.


The language spoken by the Arachanes comes from the Guaraní, it is known as the Tupí Guaraní language .

Cerritos de los Indios

The construction of these mounds is attributed to them, in which human remains have been found repeatedly, deducing their funerary purposes; others indicate that they were carried out to protect themselves from floods.


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