What is Indigenous Americas-Bolivia & Peru DNA Ethnicity on Ancestry?

In this article we will be looking more closely at the Indigenous Americas Bolivia & Peru DNA region. We will look at where it is and who the indigenous people of that region were. So find out more about your DNA ancestors of this region read on.

History of Humans in the Americas

The Land Bridge:

Although there is no exact date for when humans first arrived in the Americas there are several prevailing theories. The most common one of course being the land bridge theory. During the last ice age between 19,000 – 8700 BC, sea levels were 100 feet below the modern-day. This was due to vast quantities of water being frozen in glacier form.

During that last ice age, the Bering sea as we know it today was actually a land bridge reaching all the way to Siberia. It is thought that around 14,000 years ago stone age hunters and gatherers followed game across this land bridge and became the first humans to settle within the Americas.

It is also believed that gradually these settlers then headed deeper into the Americas, traveling south in small groups. Due to the ongoing effects of the ice age these groups remained small because conditions were not conducive with large settlements or nomadic tribes.

Today's Indigenous peoples likely descend from a now-vanished ancient group known as the Paleo-Siberians. In DNA testing Indigenous Americas DNA has little in common with modern-day Siberians but in 2019 a 10,000 year old skeleton found in Siberia did show notable similarities to modern-day Native peoples in the Americas.

Traveling by Sea:

There exist several theories whereby early indigenous people of the Americas may have interacted and bred with oceanic explorers prior to the arrival of Columbus. In DNA tests taken of inhabitants of Rapa Nui (Easter Island), these people showed small sections of Native American DNA.

Easter Island is over 2000 miles away from the closest contact with the Americas which would be the coast of Chile. The DNA suggests that these Easter Islanders had a Native American Ancestor from around 1280 – 1495 A.D. It is therefore likely these seafaring Polynesians made the trip to the Americas and some may have stayed.

Recent archaeological evidence also indicates that Vikings were present in the United States around the 11th century A.D. It is reasonable to assume there would be a possibility that some may have settled and assimilated into local tribes.

Indigenous Americas Bolivia and Peru Region

The indigenous Americas Bolivia and Peru region is a sizable DNA region in South America which as the name suggests covers almost all of the countries of Bolivia and Peru. There are however a few isolated areas in Eastern Bolivia that do not exhibit this type of DNA in the same high densities.

You can also find this DNA in the border regions of neighboring nations including

  • Paraguay
  • Brazil
  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Ecuador
  • Columbia

This Bolivia and Peru DNA region is also broken down into smaller subregions which further refine the areas from which your ancestors may have originated. These sub-regions are:

  • Bolivia
  • Central Peru
  • Northern Peru
  • Northwest Peru
  • Southern Peru

Indigenous Bolivian History

Pre-Colonial Bolivia

Modern day Bolivians associate themselves with the ancient civilization of the Tiwanaku Empire whose capital city was located on Western Bolivia. They ruled in the region as early as 1500 BC starting out as a small agricultural-based village.

The current civilization in the country however, the Aymara ,may have arrived as recently as 800 years ago in western Bolivia but some estimates do suggest they may have been present for more than 5000 years. What is known is that the Aymara started to reach urban proportions between 600 AD to 800 AD developing into a major regional power.

A couple of centuries earlier it is known that in 400 AD the Tiwanaku evolved from being a local dominant force to being a predatory state. This expansion of their culture would bring their influence into other parts of Bolivia, Peru and Chile.

They were not a violent culture however as they brought about their expansion using political astuteness and colonization. Trade agreements with neighboring states made them invaluable and made other regions dependent on them.

It was a climate shift that would see less rain in the area that ultimately took away the Tiwanaku influence in the region. Whereas they once had plentiful food reserves to trade, the lack of rain depleted them and by 1000 AD the Tiwanaku essentially disappeared.

The vacuum left behind by the Tiwanaku left the region open for an expansion of the Incan Empire between 1438 – 1527, from Peru who took control over Andean Bolivia. This would extend their reach to the fringes of the Amazon basin.

The Spanish

The Incan influence in the region was relatively short lived however as with the arrival of the Spanish came a swift conquest. Their take over of the Inca began in 1524 and was essentially complete by 1533. This would mean that the territory now known as Bolivia became known as Charcas under Spanish rule.

Indigenous History of Peru

Indications of human habitation in Peru date to around 12,500 BC. The oldest known civilization in the country was the Caral/Norte Chico group who flourished along Peru’s coast between 3,000 – 1,800 BC.

The coastal and Andean regions of Peru saw the rise of several civilizations over the millennia culminating in one of the most famous, the Incas. It was around the 15th century that the Inca emerged as a powerful state in the region creating the largest Empire in the Pre-Columbian Americas.

From humble beginnings the Inca who were a minority group slowly expanded their influence and developed into a majority within a few centuries. They not use not only military conquest but also peaceful assimilation to create their mighty empire.

How Did You Inherit Indigenous American DNA?

It is important to note that due to the small number of original humans that likely crossed the land bridge and thousands of years of isolation, Indigenous DNA is very distinct.

As mentioned many individuals from South and Central America may have some Indigenous DNA based on intermarriage between early Spanish settlers and local native groups. Interactions between the tribes of North America and the incoming European settlers also led to intermarriage.

Depending on how high your percentage of Indigenous American DNA is, its origins can vary. If you have a high percentage you may have a recent ancestor who was 100% Indigenous. Often if this is the case you would likely have some idea of this.

In lower percentages of Native DNA, it might be an indication of a more distant unknown indigenous ancestor. In order to discover this connection you may have to do some deep research to try and pinpoint at what point that DNA entered your family tree.

Can DNA Tell You a Specific Tribe You Descend From?

Sadly the answer to this question is no, DNA cannot attribute your ancestry to a specific indigenous group. It may help you focus your research on a region but due to the sometimes nomadic lifestyle of indigenous peoples, there was often a lot of overlap in territories.

It would be hard to find out who your earliest indigenous ancestor from this region may have been mainly due to the large-scale annexation of the population in this region by the Spanish in the 16th century.

Final Thoughts

The Bolivia and Peru DNA region indicates for those finding it in their ethnicity reports that they have ancestors who may have been indigenous to that region. These may have included members of various high profile civilizations in the region.

Neil Edwards

Neil Edwards

Genealogist and family-tree research specialist

Neil was born in Shropshire, England surrounded by centuries of living history. His interest in the past has been a lifelong passion leading to undergraduate degrees in both Economic History & Geography and History & Politics.

This interest in history quickly translated to family history when he moved to the U.S. in 2010. It was here that he began working on his own family tree as well as that of his American wife. That research allowed him to gain a wealth of experience working with both U.S. and European genealogical documents and studying their best uses in researching family history.

Following 9 years of honing his genealogical research skills, Neil was proud to have earned a certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University in late 2019. Neil also took part in the research process for a Duke University study into the families of 19th Century UK Members of Parliament.

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