Moscas, Or Clibchas, a nation of South American Indians in what is now the United States of Colombia. They were highly advanced in civilization, founded an empire, and reduced all the tribes between Serinza, lat. 6° N., and Suma Paz, 4° S., including the table lands of Bogota and Tunja. At the time of the Spanish conquest the Muysca or Chibcha empire, including the less civilized conquered tribes, had a population estimated by Acosta and Uricoechea at 1,200,000, and by others at 2,000,000. They were divided into three independent nations, governed by the zipa residing at Funza, the zaqui at Tunja, and tihejeque, an ecclesiastical chief residing at Sogamoso. The greatest of the line of zipas was Sagnanma-chica. They honored Nemterequeteba as the great mythical civilizer of the race. They worshipped the sun and a number of inferior deities, but offered human sacrifices only to the sun. They had two great temples at Sua-moz and Leiva. Their priests were called jeques. They made offerings by throwing precious objects into the lakes. They had a kind of week of 3 days, 10 making a month; 20 months were a year, and 20 years an age. Succession was in the female line.
They cultivated maize, potatoes, and quinoa, and made a spirituous liquor of maize; used rafts and balsas in fishing; raised cotton, and spun and wove cloth, in which they were decently dressed. They wore square mantles, some of them dyed and painted. They were ingenious carvers of bone, wood, and stone, and worked in precious metals. They were a commercial people, had a rude kind of money, and carried on a trade in painted mantles, gold ornaments, salt, and emeralds. They taught parrots to talk, and sacrificed them instead of human beings. Their houses were of wood and clay, with conical roofs, surrounded by a palisade. The floor was covered with mats, and benches were ranged around as seats. They buried in caverns. Chibcha seems to have been their real name, Chibchacum being the national deity. Muysca means men. - The Chibcha language was cultivated by Gonzalo Bermudez, Jose Dadei, and Bernardo de Lugo (Gramdti-ca mosca, Madrid, 1619). There is a recent Gramdtica, xocabulario, catecismo i cowfesio-nario de la lengua Chibcha, by E. Uricoechea (Paris, 1871). There is no d, l, or r. There are two conjugations, and inseparable pronouns; there is no variation in tense for person or number, and no gender, case, or number in nouns.
The language is generally represented as having been lost about 1765, but it is still spoken by some bands on the Meta, etc, who represent this ancient civilized race.