||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Russian Wikipedia. (December 2009)|
|Region||Central highlands of Colombia|
Chibcha, also known as Muisca, is an extinct Chibchan language of Colombia, formerly spoken by the Muisca people, a complex indigenous civilization of South America and the present-day Colombian region. Scholars believe the Chibcha language arose in South America and then migrated with people to nearby areas.
As early as 1580 the authorities in Charcas, Quito, and Santa Fe de Bogotá mandated the establishment of schools in native languages and required that priests study these languages before ordination. In 1606 the entire clergy was ordered to provide religious instruction in Chibcha. The Chibcha language declined in the 18th century, however.
In 1770, King Charles III of Spain officially banned use of the language in the region  as part of a de-indigenization project. The ban remained in law until Colombia passed its constitution of 1991.
Words of Muysccubun origin are still used in the departments of Cundinamarca of which Bogotá is the capital, and Boyacá. These include curuba (a fruit), toche (a bird), guadua (a bamboo-like plant) and tatacoa (a snake). The Muisca descendants continue many traditional ways, such as the use of certain foods, use of coca for teas and healing rituals, and other aspects of natural ways, which are a deep part of culture here. Chibcha culture flourished in these areas since at least the 7th century BC.
The only public school in Colombia currently teaching Muisca (to about 150 children) is in the town of Cota, about 20 miles by road from Bogotá. The school is named Jizcamox (healing with the hands) in Muisca.
The Chibcha or Muisca called their language Muysccubun. The Spanish called it Chibcha, derived from Chib (staff) and Cha (man), meaning the "Chief of the Community". Chibchacum, the god of agriculture, was punished by the god Bochica and had to hold the earth on his shoulders.
- Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Chibcha". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
- Gloria Helena Rey, "The Chibcha Culture – Forgotten, But Still Alive", Colombia, Inter Press Service (IPS) News, 30 Nov 2007, accessed 9 Nov 2010
- "Chibcha Dictionary and Grammar". World Digital Library. Retrieved 2013-05-23.
Further reading (in Spanish)
- Teresa Arango, Precolombia: Introducción al estudio del indígena colombiano (PreColombia: Introduction to the Study of Colombian Indigenous People), Madrid: Sucesores de Rivadeneyra, 1954
- Álvaro Botiva Contreras, Leonor Herrera, Ana Maria Groot, Santiago Mora, Colombia prehispánica: regiones arqueológicas (Pre-Hispanic Colombia: Archeological Regions), Instituto colombiano de Antropología Colcultura, 1989
- Central Andean Region, Vol. IV, Geografía Humana de Colombia (Human Geography of Colombia), Bogotá: Instituto Colombiano de Cultura Hispánica, Digital publishing on the Virtual Library of the Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango Banco de la República.
- Rafael Martín and José Puentes, Culturas indígenas colombianas (Indigenous Cultures of Colombia)
- Javier Ocampo Lopez, "Mitos y leyendas populares de Boyacá" (Popular Myths and Legends of Boyacá), in El pueblo boyacenses e su folcior (The Boacense Village and Its Folklore), Digital publishing on the Virtual Library of the Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango Banco de la República (Luis Angel Arango Library of Bank of the Republic)
- Miguel Triana, La civilización chibcha (1921) (The Chibcha Civilisation)
- Luis Eduardo Wiesner Gracia, "Etnografía muisca" (Muisca Ethnography), in Central Andean Region, Vol. IV, Geografía Humana de Colombia (Human Geography of Colombia), Bogotá: Instituto Colombiano de Cultura Hispánica, Digital publishing on the Virtual Library of the Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango Banco de la República
- "Diccionario y gramática chibcha". World Digital Library. Retrieved 2013-05-23.
- Muyskkubun Project, in Spanish, with Muyskkubun–Spanish dictionary
- "Chibcha", Archives, sources in Spanish on the Chibcha language, Rosetta Project