The History of Alpaca

Alpaca has been raised domestically for over 5000 years to provide the finest fiber in the world. It was first raised exclusively for the use of Incan royalty, but we have made it available to you. To understand why this is such an amazing animal, you have to understand the history behind it.

Alpacas are, essentially, a domesticated part of the camel family. This family has many South American members including vicuñas, llamas and guanacos. Outside of South America the traditional camel, what you may think of when the word camel is mentioned, is a member of this family, too. 

Originally, there were two members of the camel family living in South America, these were the vicuñas and the guanacos. However, the Incans desired to domesticate these animals, and crossbred the guanaco and the vicuña, resulting in what we call today, as an Alpaca. 

When the Spanish came to South America they almost wiped out the entire Alpaca population. They viewed them as competitors to their sheep and considered them inferior, not realising the value of their fiber. The alpaca survived because the Incans who escaped Spanish conquest brought their most valuable and prized Alpaca high into the Andes mountain ranges, where the Spanish would not venture. 

For many years the Alpaca of South America were raised and used exclusively as a domestic product in Peru. It was not until the middle of the 19th century when the fiber was once again consumed in the courts and fashion houses of Europe. The popularity of the fiber began to grow and has continued to be used until this day. They are viewed as sustainable and considered a very good alternative to other fibers such as cashmere, or wool. 

They were domesticated over time to provide fiber for Incan Royalty. They provided warmth, comfort, and an unparalleled level of softness for the harsh Andean climate. We now provide this incredible fabric to our customers with our handmade baby alpaca sweaters and accessories