Yahuarcocha Lake Car Races | Start Living Ecuador
Laguna Yahuarcocha, meaning blood lake in the Kichwa language, is a sacred lake of Ecuador. The Car Races in Yaguarcocha.
Looking across the still waters in the picturesque region of Ibarra, it is hard to imagine that it was once the scene of a bloody massacre, a consequence of indigenous resistance against Inca domination.
Laguna Yahuarcocha, also spelled Yawarkucha, is located about 3 kilometers (1.86 miles) from the northern city of Ibarra. Sitting at a height of 2190 meters (7185ft) above sea level, it is one of the region’s main attractions today. It is estimated to be around 12,000 years old and is a vestige of the post-glacier age. Historically, it is important because studies by some researchers claim this area holds wide, unexplored archaeological evidence.
The name Yahuarcocha (‘Yahuar’ – blood, ‘Cocha’ – Lake) has its origins in Kichwa, which is part of the Quechuan language spoken primarily in the Andes region of South America.
The bloody Battle of Yahuarcocha took place over in 1487. The Cayambe people had realized that their forces were not sufficient to face the Inca on an open battlefield, and according to the Spanish missionary Bernabe Cobo, they withdrew to make strongholds in a very large fortress. Huayna Capac ordered his men to lay siege on the fortress and to bombard it continuously. The Cayambe put up a fierce resistance and forced the Inca to retreat due to a high number of fatalities. Huayna Capac gathered a huge army to definitively subdue definitely the ‘rebels’. The Inca eventually succeeded in driving the Cayambe out of their strongholds and onto the shores of the lake.
When Huayna-Capac finally conquered the tribes, historical documents record that he massacred all of the Caranqui males who were 12 years or older and had their bodies dumped into Yahuarcocha, which turned red with blood.
Current archaeological studies in the area have found ceramic fragments and parts of bones belonging to teenagers and adults. These bones show overwhelming impacts that suggest body to body fights, however, the total number of deaths here remains largely undetermined. Estimates range anywhere between 20,000 to 50,000 indigenous people having been murdered by the Incas.
Today, besides the majestic Lake, the Autodromo Jose Tobar Tobar (Jose Tobar Tobar Speedway) receives locals and foreign racing drivers in several categories.
Opened in 1970 and reopened after extensive modifications in 1984 it has hosted several important competitions over the years. Most notably in 1971 hosted a 12-hour endurance race won by an American team driving a Ferrari.
The circuit, however, has failed to keep up with modern safety standards and thus has not been able to attract higher categories of the motorsport.
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