"El Zipa" was the title given to one of the two leaders of the indigenous community -the Muiscas- who inhabited the Cundiboyacense plateau, named at that time "Zipazgo".
The Zipa had control over two fifths of the Chibcha territory, the main cities that made up their domains were: Zipaquirá, Simijaca, Guachetá, Ubaté, Chocontá, Nemocón, Guatavita, Chía, Suba, Ebaque, Tibacuy, Fusagasugá and Pasca. He was known as a leader of great power for administering these territories that were rich, therefore powerful in their agriculture, land, army and religious rites.
The Zipa was considered a descendant of Chía (the Moon), in the same way that the Zaque (the other great leader of the Muisca culture) was considered a descendant of Xuá (the Sun). The Zipa had absolute authority over the Zipazgo government. He was in charge of the administrative direction, the command of the army, the creation, reform and application of laws, in addition to a good part of religious affairs.
Here we tell you what were the most used titles of the time to designate certain sociopolitical ranks of the Muiscas:
- Zipa: Absolute ruler of the Zipazgo.
- Psihipqua: Prince of blood (heir to the throne).
- Uzaque: Nobleman of pure blood with feudatory power and enormous military power.
- Zibyntyba: Major Captain, ruler of an intermediate territorial faction known as Zybyn.
- Utatiba: Minor captain, ruler of a minor territorial faction known as Uta.
- Chyquy: Muisca priest.
- Pabahue: Master and Lord.
- Uaia: Mistress and lady.
- Paba: Literally: "father", but also designated someone with authority over other people.
- Hue: Lord, or chief.
- Güecha: Warrior.
- Cupqua: Vassal.
- Ubata: Servant commissioned for some special mission.
- Tyuquyne: Messenger.
- Chuta: Servant.
- Bospquaoa: Servant of domestic service.