Aymara (anc. Colla), a tribe of South American Indians, formerly inhabiting the country around Lake Titicaca and the neighbouring valleys of the Andes. They form now the chief ethnical element in Bolivia, but are of very mixed blood. In early days the home of the Aymaras by Lake Titicaca was a "holy land" for the Incas themselves, whose national legends attributed the origin of all Quichua (Inca) civilization to that region. The Aymaras, indeed, seem to have possessed a very considerable culture before their conquest by the Incas in the 13th and 14th centuries, evidence of which remains in the megalithic ruins of Tiahuanaco. When the Spaniards arrived the Aymaras had been long under the Inca domination, and were in a decadent state. They, however, retained certain privileges, such as the use of their own language; and their treatment by their conquerors generally suggested that the latter believed themselves of Aymara blood. Physically, the pure Aymara is short and thick-set, with a great chest development, and with the same reddish complexion, broad face, black eyes and rounded forehead which distinguish the Quichuas. Like the latter, too, the Aymaras are sullen and apathetic in disposition.
They number now, including half-breeds, about half a million in Bolivia. Some few are also found in southern Peru.
See Journal Ethnol. Society (1870), "The Aymara Indians of Bolivia and Peru."