||This article possibly contains original research. (April 2009)|
A Paisa is someone from a region in the northwest of Colombia including the part of the Andes in Colombia. The Paisa region is formed by the departments of Antioquia, Caldas, Risaralda and Quindío. Some regions of Valle del Cauca Department (north) and Tolima Department (west) belong to the cultural identity of paisas. The main cities are Medellín, Pereira, Manizales and Armenia.
The name of Paisa derives from the Spanish apocope of Paisano (one from the same country), although they are also known as "Antioqueños" (those from the old Antioquia that included the other Paisa provinces and that was a single administrative body until the creation of the Caldas State in 1905.) Although many refer to Paisas as an ethnic group (raza antioqueña or raza paisa), they are a part of the Colombians and Latin American peoples.
Paisas can be found in other regions of Colombia and the Americas where they have migrated. They have a particular way of speaking Spanish to the point that some writers refer to it as "español antioqueño".
- 1 Genetics
- 2 Etymology
- 3 History
- 4 Geography
- 5 Paisa diaspora
- 6 Economy
- 7 Culture
- 8 Notables
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The Paisas have been considered a genetically isolated population according to scientific studies. As evidenced by the analysis of mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosomal markers, the initial founding of the Paisa population occurred primarily through the admixture of Spanish males and Native females. Subsequently, within the emerging colonial society, marriage with individuals of Spanish ancestry was encouraged over marriage with individuals of Native ancestry, leading to the predominantly European ancestry of today's Paisa population. The mountains played a role in isolating the population until the end of the nineteenth century and the area's industrial revolution. The nineteenth and early twentieth century also brought European and Middle Eastern immigrants to the region, notably from Spain, Italy, Germany, Lebanon, France and Eastern Europe. Most of these immigrants ended up intermixing with the Paisa population.
The ancestors of the Paisa are primarily Spanish immigrants from Extremadura, Spain (16th century). The first colonizers were Extremaduran like Gaspar de Rodas of Trujillo, who was the first colonial governor of the region. Several towns, cities and places in the Paisa Region are also Extremaduran: Medellín for Medellín of Badajoz; Cáceres for the Province of Cáceres; Valdivia for conqueror Pedro de Valdivia.
Some conquerors from Andalusia like Marshall Jorge Robledo of Jaén, came also with the Extremadurans during the sixteenth century. However, during the seventeenth century a group of Andalusian migrants is said to have settled the region.
The presence of Basque ancestry in the Paisa Region is exhibited by the proliferation of Basque surnames. Some scholars point out that this may be one of the regions of Hispanic America with the greatest concentration of ancestry from the Iberian region. The Basques arrived in Antioquia during the seventeenth century.
During the seventeenth and eighteenth century Basque families from Northern Spain settled in the Aburrá Valley where Medellín and Envigado are located, as well as small towns in eastern Antioquia, such as Marinilla, El Retiro and El Santuario. This part of Antioquia reminded these families of northern Spain.
There is debate about Jewish ancestry in the Paisa people. It has been possible that Spanish Jews (known as marranos) fleeing the Cartagena de Indias Inquisition took refuge in the Antioquian mountains during the sixteenth and seventeenth century. Some Colombian authors like Jorge Isaacs and Miguel Ángel Osorio claimed that Paisas have Jewish ancestry. Several Paisa surnames are of Jewish origin, for example Espinosa, Pérez, Mejía, and many others. Some scholars state that the presence of Sephardic Jews in the ancestry of Paisas is a fact, but it does not mean that all Paisas come from them, as proven by origins in other groups like Basques, Extremaduran, Andalusian and Catalonian.
Although the facts of the presence of Catalan people in the origins of all Colombians have been a matter of studies, the Catalan genetic and influence in the Paisa Region has been also of particular analysis, especially in the way Paisas use their Spanish language and elements of the traditional customs and surnames.
Although the expression "Paisa" is of popular use as apocope of "Paisano" (one from the same country; countryman), the origin of the expression goes back to a separatist movement that brewed through the region in the mid nineteenth Century. Those politicians that secretly supported secession would refer to the new country as "Pais A", short for Pais Antioquia. The moniker eventually was fused to create the word "paisa". [verification needed] Consequently, "Paisa Region" is the region where the Paisa people live. A more ancient expression is Antioqueño (Antioquean; one from Antioquia). This one is more official, especially during the Colony (16th - eighteenth centuries) and the nineteenth century after the Independence of Colombia. All the region made a single body as "Province of Antioquia" first and "State of Antioquia" after. In 1905 was created the Caldas Department from the southern part of Antioquia, making that the world "Antioqueño" remains only for those of Antioquia, while "Paisa" became a more cultural one.
Although some sources argue that the American Indians that populated most of the Paisa Region were extinguished through European diseases and fights against the Spaniard conquerors, this has not been fully demonstrated.
Francisco César made an expedition in 1537 from Urabá[disambiguation needed] to the Cauca River to the lands of Dabeiba, but his troops were rejected by the Nutibaras. In 1540 Marshall Jorge Robledo founded Cartago. In 1541 he founded Arma in what is today the south of Antioquia, near today Aguadas and Santa Fe de Antioquia, at the banks of the Cauca River. This last town would become the provincial capital in 1813.
The first colonial governor was Don Gaspar de Rodas (1518–1607). The mountains of Antioquia attracted the Spaniards for its gold and lands for cattle, and the first towns were located near gold mines and rivers. Despite that, the region did not attract a population interested in creating important centers for the Spanish civilization like Cartagena de Indias, Popayán or Bogotá and it remained almost entirely isolated from the rest of the colony. This is the main reason for the cultural identity of the Paisas within the Colombian national context.
Since the seventeenth century and until the end of the nineteenth centuries, Paisa families moved to the southern regions of Antioquia, in what is today the Colombian Coffee-Growers Axis or the "Viejo Caldas" (Old Caldas). This constant internal migration is known in history as the "Colonización Antioqueña" (Antioquean Colonization). Most of the cities and towns founded in the Old Caldas (Caldas, Risaralda, Quindío and some towns of the north of Valle del Cauca and the west of Tolima) are from that time.
During the wars for the independence of Colombia, the most important Paisa figure was General José María Córdova. He was from Rionegro and fought important battles to free the region from the Spanish regime under the orders of Simón Bolívar, who never went to the region. During the Bolívar's campaign to liberate New Granada, Córdoba participated in the Battle of Boyacá and was entitled "Lieutenant Colonel" by the Libertador, despite his young age (he was only 20). Then he was charged by Bolívar to defend the Province of Antioquia and in fact he defeated the Spaniards during the Campaign of Nechí between the end of 1819 and the beginning of 1820.
In 1826 Medellín was declared the capital of the Province of Antioquia. In 1856 a Federalist Political Constitution created the State of Antioquia and it faced some civil wars among Liberal and Conservatives. In 1877 the president of the federal state was Pedro Justo Berrío, who was one of the most prominent political leaders of the region at the end of the century and developed an active politic in education, transportation (including connecting the region with the rest of the country by train in 1874) and economic development.
In 1886, with a centralized Political Constitution, the "Department of Antioquia" was created. Although the region was not affected directly by the Thousand Days War (1899–1902), one of the main characters of the fighting, General Rafael Uribe Uribe at the side of the Liberal Party rebels, came from the area.
The progressive government of General Rafael Reyes (1904–1909) was of benefit in the development for the region. One of his projects was the creation of new departments, including the Caldas Department to be taken from the southern part of Antioquia in 1905. During the twentieth century both Paisa departments (Antioquia and Caldas), would continue their development in industry, mining and agriculture. In 1966 the Caldas Department was divided in three parts: Caldas itself, Quindío and Risaralda.
At the end of the century the region faced the crisis of growing drug traffic mafias, paramilitary groups and guerrillas, especially in Antioquia with the Medellín Cartel and the north of Valle del Cauca. However, development has proved to be a Colombian model in regions like the Metropolitan Area of Medellín according to the Inter-American Development Bank.
Don Gaspar de Rodas, the first colonial governor of the Province of Antioquia that compressed what is today the Paisa Region.
General José María Córdova, the "Bolívar" of the Paisa Region.
Although what is known as "Paisa Region" is a cultural entity and it is not defined by administrative divisions, it is possible to locate some areas as the natural space of the Paisa people.
- Antioquia Department: The biggest department (63,612 km²) with a population of 6,299,886. However, some areas of the department are not considered culturally Paisa like the Antioquean Urabá and the north of Antioquia, more integrated to the Caribbean Region of Colombia. The Paisas are located especially in the mountainous part of the province, at the center and south, in what is called the "Montaña Antioqueña" (Antioquean Mountain). The capital is Medellín, the second urban and industrial center of Colombia. Other big cities are located in the Metropolitan Area of Medellín, Rionegro, La Ceja, Santa Fe de Antioquia, Puerto Berrío, Yarumal and others. The southwest of the Department (Sureste Antioqueño) is a part of the Colombian Coffee-Growers Axis.
- Caldas Department: It was established in 1905 and has an area of 7,888 km² with a population of 908,841. The capital is Manizales, founded by Antioquean colonizers in 1849.
- Risaralda Department: It was established in 1966 from the territory of Caldas. It has an area of 4,140 km² and a population of 863,663. The capital is Pereira (founded in 1863).
- Quindío Department: It was established in 1966 also from Caldas with Armenia as capital. It is one of the smallest departments of Colombia (1,845 km²) with a population of 518,691 persons.
- Tolima Department: Some towns of the west of Tolima are of Paisa origin: Roncesvalles (founded by Antioqueans in 1905); Líbano (f. 1849); Casabianca (f. 1886); Murillo (f. 1871); Armero (f. 1895); Villahermosa (f. 1887).
- Valle del Cauca Department: The towns and cities of the north of the Valle del Cauca Department are also of Paisa origin: Sevilla (founded by Antioqueans in 1903); Alcalá (f. 1819); Argelia (f. 1904, known also as "Medellincito, Little Medellín); Bolívar (f. 1884); Caicedonia (f. 1910) Cartago (f. 1540), El Aguila (f. 1905); La Unión (f. 1890); Versalles (f. 1894), Trujillo (f.1922).
Although they are very attached to their country land, Paisas have been always prompt to migrate in search of better opportunities. This fact has been of great benefit for the development of some regions in Colombia, first during the "Antioquean Colonization" of the Colombian Coffee Axis between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, and currently to other regions of the nation like the Llanos Orientales (East of Colombia). They keep their traditions and love for commerce, agriculture and mines wherever they go. In the Llanos Orientales, for example, several haciendas of cattle are owned by Paisa families. They are one of the main Colombian groups to migrate to foreign countries, especially to United States, Spain and some Latin American countries like Panama, Mexico, Argentina and Costa Rica.
Paisas are distinguished in Colombia for their natural love and abilities for business and commerce. The Paisa Region coincided with the important economic centers of Colombia like the Metropolitan Area of Medellín (textile, industries like appliances, automobiles and chemicals, services like health care and fashion); the Colombian Coffee-Growers Axis in agriculture and other economic activities like flower growing, cattle, gold and coal mines, tourism and others.
The way Paisas speak Spanish, also known as Antioquean Spanish, is distinctive within Colombia. Paisas are said to speak Spanish fast and soft. They have many local and regional expressions that are opaque even for other Colombians. From the rural Paisa dialect, a popular urban version called Parlache developed.
- Voseo (using vos instead of tú): In colloquial speech, Paisas use vos as the second person singular informal pronoun (instead of tú) and usted for formal address, although it is common to use usted even with relatives and friends. However, vos is restricted to colloquial use and, unlike exclusively voseo regions that use it for official purposes like the press and government, vos in the Paisa Region is rarely used in official documents. Several Paisa writers (such as Tomás Carrasquilla, Fernando González Ochoa, Manuel Mejía Vallejo, Fernando Vallejo, and Gonzalo Arango) use vos in their works as a distinct marker of the Paisa identity. However, the use of tú is well known due to the immigration of Colombian groups like the Costeños.
- Seseo (merger of /θ/ into /s/): As with most American dialects of Spanish, Paisas do not distinguish ‹s› from ‹z› or soft ‹c›. The Paisa /s/ is articulated as an apicoalveolar [s̺], a sound is transitional between [s] and [ʃ], as in central and northern Spain and southern Central America.
- Yeísmo (merger of /ʎ/ into /ʝ/): Paisas pronounce ‹ll› as ‹y›, so that there is no distinction between cayó (it fell) and calló (became silent).
Land and inheritance
Paisas are very attached to their families and land. As their natural cultural space is on the mountains, it is also a symbol of their land. They give a great importance to surnames and ancestors. They even associate surnames to towns ("los Pérez son de San Pedro de los Milagros", the Pérez [family] are from San Pedro de los Milagros). Though the patrilinear character is very important for families, Paisas keep a strong matriarchal culture.
Paisas are well known in Colombia for their kindness and welcoming aptitude to persons from other regions and visitors. They are promptly to jokes and exaggerations that create enjoyable conversations, though can confuse those who are not used to their talking. They speak proudly of their land, towns, cities, history, traditions and abilities in commerce. It is common that Paisas do not use their local demonym (for example, "medellinenses, manizalitas, etc), but they refer to themselves as "Paisas".
The Paisa cuisine is very influenced by their traditional rural background of the mountains. It belongs to the Colombian Andes cuisine with abundance of beans, rice, maize, pork and cattle meat, tropical fruits, potato and several types of vegetables.
- Bandeja paisa: This is a more traditional dish and is generally composed by carne asada (grilled steak) or carne molida (finely ground grilled steak), chicharrón (fried pork rind), rice, red beans, a slice of avocado, sweet fried plantains, a fried egg, a small white corn arepa, and sometimes chorizo (sausage). Bandeja paisa is also a very popular dish served in Colombian restaurants in Europe and the United States.
- Songs of Heartbreak: In Spanish Música de despecho. In Colombia this genre became identity of the Paisa region. The composer and musician Darío Gómez of San Jerónimo has been nominated "The King of the Songs of Heartbreak" (El Rey del Despecho). His song "Nadie es eterno" ("Nobody is Eternal") became one of the most popular song in Colombia. Other artists of this genre are El Charrito Negro, Luis Alberto Posada, Jhonny Rivera, Lady Yuliana, Pipe Bueno, Giovany Ayala, Grupo Tornado, Fernando Burbano, Bera, El Andariego and many others. The Paisa - American Lucía Pulido is the main artist of this genre in United States.
- Tango: This Argentinian and Uruguayan music became popular in Antioquia during the first part of the twentieth century, maybe due to Argentinian migrations to Medellín. In 1934 the King of Tango, Carlos Gardel, died in a plain crash in the Paisa capital. The Paisa writer Manuel Mejía Vallejo wrote "Aire de Tango" (Air of Tango), a work that shows the big influence of Tango in the modern Paisa folklore. The Tango Festival takes place in Barrio Manrique of Medellín where is the "Tangovía" and a monument to Gardel.
Roman Catholicism in Colombia arrived in the region with the Spaniard colonizers at the beginning of the sixteenth century. Franciscans settled along with colonizers and built churches and monasteries in the towns founded by the Spaniards. Perhaps Spanish and Portuguese marranos arrived in the region as well. Roman Catholicism became the predominant religion and Paisas remained devout and churchgoing. The 1991 Colombian Political Constitution that decreed freedom of religion opened the gates to other religious denominations, though Paisas are considered Catholics by culture. The theory of Jewish origins has benefited the Jewish communities in the region as well. The two first Colombian persons recognized by the Catholic Church as blessed or saints are from the Paisa Region: Laura Montoya (from Jericó) and Mariano de Jesús Euse (from Yarumal). A Paisa prelate from Tolima, Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, was close to the John Paul II.
Several Paisa personalities have been famous in regional, national and international contexts in every field of science, sport, music, technology, economy, politics and even crime. Some of the most notable in an international context:
- Artists: Sculptor Rodrigo Arenas Betancur, musician Juanes, painter and sculptor Fernando Botero, Prima Ballerina Freya Monroy,painter Débora Arango, philosopher Fernando González, writers Tomás Carrasquilla, Fernando Vallejo, Porfirio Barba-Jacob, Gonzalo Arango, painter Omar Rayo.
- Sport: Football players Víctor Aristizábal, René Higuita, Juan Pablo Ángel, Iván Córdoba, Juan Fernando Quintero and Andrés Escobar, golfer Camilo Villegas.
- Journalists: Baldomero Sanín Cano.
- Politicians: Álvaro Uribe, Belisario Betancur Cuartas, César Gaviria, Sergio Fajardo, Marco Fidel Suárez.
- Heroes: General José María Córdova.
- Infamous: Pablo Escobar, Manuel Marulanda Vélez, Fabio Vásquez Castaño, Luis Alfredo Garavito Cubillos, Carlos Castaño Gil, Vicente Castaño, Fidel Castaño, Jorge Luis Ochoa, Fabio Ochoa Vásquez, Juan David Ochoa, Carlos Lehder, Daniel Rendón Herrera, Jhon Jairo Velásquez, Gustavo Gaviria Rivero, Dandeny Muñoz Mosquera, Miguel Arroyave, Ernesto Báez, Carlos Mario Jiménez
- "Región paisa": Paisas.biz (Spanish), link retrieved on 4 April 2009.
- José J. Zapata: "Gregoria Gutierrez González" (Spanish), link retrieved on 4 April 2009. Cite: "y como solo para Antioquia escribo, yo no escribo español sino antioqueño" (tr.en.: "Because I write only for Antioquia, I do not write in Spanish but in Antioquean."
- Bedoya G, Montoya P, Garcia J, Soto I, Bourgeois S, Carvajal L, Labuda D, Alvarez V, Ospina J, Hedrick PW, Ruiz-Linares A (2006) Admixture dynamics in Hispanics: A shift in the nuclear genetic ancestry of a South American population isolate. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 103:7234-7239; Service S, Deyoung J, Karayiorgou M, Roos JL, Pretorious H, Bedoya G, Ospina J, Ruiz-Linares A, Macedo A, Palha JA, Heutink P, Aulchenko Y, Oostra B, van Duijn C, Jarvelin MR, Varilo T, Peddle L, Rahman P, Piras G, Monne M, Murray S, Galver L, Peltonen L, Sabatti C, Collins A, Freimer N (2006) Magnitude and distribution of linkage disequilibrium in population isolates and implications for genome-wide association studies. Nat Genet 38:556-560.
- Carvajal-Carmona LG, Soto ID, Pineda N, Ortiz-Barrientos D, Duque C, Ospina-Duque J, McCarthy M, Montoya P, Alvarez VM, Bedoya G, Ruiz-Linares A (2000) Strong Amerind/white sex bias and a possible Sephardic contribution among the founders of a population in northwest Colombia. Am J Hum Genet 67(5):1287-95; Carvajal-Carmona LG, Ophoff R, Service S, Hartiala J, Molina J, Leon P, Ospina J, Bedoya G, Freimer N, Ruiz-Linares A (2003) Genetic demography of Antioquia (Colombia) and the Central Valley of Costa Rica. Am J Hum Genet 112(5-6):534-41
- Bedoya G, Montoya P, Garcia J, Soto I, Bourgeois S, Carvajal L, Labuda D, Alvarez V, Ospina J, Hedrick PW, Ruiz-Linares A (2006) Admixture dynamics in Hispanics: A shift in the nuclear genetic ancestry of a South American population isolate. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 103:7234-7239
- Basque Families of Antioquia, Buber's Basque, link retrieved on 4 April 2009.
- Etnias de Colombia: "Los vascos", (Spanish). Link retrieved on 4 April 2009. Cite: "la profusión en Antioquia está por encima del promedio estadístico atribuible a la simple distribución casual de apellidos asimilados" (tr.en. "The profusion in Antioquia is above the media of a simple and casual surname assimilation.")
- Etnias de Colombia: "Los vascos", (Spanish). Link retrieved on 4 April 2009. Cite: "a partir del siglo XVII aumentó el acceso vascuence a América y a la Nueva Granada." (tr.en. "since the seventeenth century grew the migration of Basque people to the Americas and the Nueva Granada.")
- Azriel Bibliowicz, «Intermitencia, ambivalencia y discrepancia: historia de la presencia judía en Colombia», Amérique Latine Histoire et Mémoire, Numéro 3-2001 - Migrations en Colombie (original in French, this link in Spanish.) Link retrieved on 6 April 2009. Note: "Este autor también analiza la hipótesis del origen judío de los antioqueños, sosteniendo que hay un fundamento para dicha aseveración." (tr.en. "This author also analyzes the hypothesis of the Jewish origin of the antioqueans, holding that there is a foundation for such statement")
- Horacio Calles: "How I discover my Jews background", Saudades. Link retrieved on 4 April 2009.
- Jorge Guillermo Angel R.: "Los sefardíes, pequeña historia de un minoría" (Spanish). Conference for the Antioquean Academy of History, on "HaBait". Link retrieved on 6 April 2009. Cite: " Claro está que el hecho de que muchos sefardíes hayan venido a Antioquia no quiere decir que de ellos desciendan todos los antioqueños, como a veces se exagera. Es indiscutible que aquí llegaron castellanos con raíces vascas, andaluces y extremeñas, así como también alemanes e ingleses, franceses y portugueses, rusos (son rusos el apellido Sanín y el nombre Adelaida), turcos y griegos, de quienes desciende una buena cantidad de personas y de formas culturales que prevalecen en lo cotidiano." (tr.en. "It is obvious that the fact that several Sephardic persons have come to Antioquia, does not mean that all the Antioqueans descend from them, as people often exaggerate it. It is indisputable that others who arrived here were Castillians with Basque roots, Andalusian people and Extremadurans, as well as Germans and Britons, Frenchmen and Portuguese, Russians (the surname Sanín is Russian and the first name Adelaida,), Turks and Greeks, from which there are a many large number of descendants and their cultural backgrounds prevail in our daily lives")
- Xavier Colomer-Ribot: "Catalunya i Colòmbia: Català i Colombià" (in Catalan), link retrieved on 6 April 2009. Cite: Different references inside the document, especially related to Antioquia, for example in the way of speaking Spanish "paraules com cramañola, és a dir, carmanyola, en el mateix sentit, per guardar la carn; el nostre pernil; fuete –"hay que darle fuete" –, fuet, assot, xurriaques; un arriao en el sentit d'arriat;curiosos com a curiós, net; una persona embalada" (tr.en. "words as "caramañolas", it is to say, "carmanyola", in the same sense, to keep the meat; our leg; "fuete" (slash) - "hay que darle fuete" -, "fuet, assot, xurriaques" (slash, whip); "un arriao" in the meaning of hurry; "curiosos" as "curiós, net" (clean), "una persona embalada", a person in troubles")
- Doña Soledad Acosta de Samper: Biografía de hombres ilustres, Don Gaspar de Rodas (Spanish), Imprenta de la Luz, Bogotá, 1883. In Luis Ángel Arango Online Library of Colombia. Link retrieved on 7 April 2009.
- Constancio Franco V: "Rasgos biográficos de los próceres i mártires de la Independencia: José María Córdoba", (Spanish), Bogotá, 1880. In Luis Ángel Arango Online Library of Colombia. Link retrieved on 7 April 2009. Note: "Pacificado el territorio de Cundinamarca, el |libertador, conociendo las aptitudes del jóven guerrero, le confió la mision de libertar la provincia de Antioquia, para lo cual le dió un cuadro de oficiales i cien hombres de tropa." (tr.en. "When the territory of Cundinamarca was pacified, the Libertador, knowing the aptitudes of the young warrior, trusted to him the mission to free the Province of Antioquia, and then he gave him a patrol of hundred men")
- Business News America: Medellín: Flying high, 6 February 2009. Link retrieved on 15 April 2009.
- Colombia Law and Business Post: Inter-American Development Bank Meets in Medellín, 29 March 2009. Link retrieved on 15 April 2009.
- DANE: Antioquia statistics 2005. Link retrieved on 7 April 2009.
- DANE: Coffee Axes statistics 2005, link retrieved on 7 April 2009.
- SkyscraperCity: "Serie Municipios Paisas de Tolima", Ibagué, octubre 2005. Link retrieved on 7 April 2009.
- CASTAÑEDA NARANJO, Luz Stella y HENAO SALAZAR, José Ignacio. El parlache, Medellín, Universidad de Antioquia, 2001.
- LoPaisa.com: "Las recetas de la abuela" (Spanish). Link retrieved on 8 April 2009.
- (1993) "La Colonización Antioqueña" Santa, Eduardo. [Tercer Mundo S.A. Bogotá], ISBN 958-601-444-4