What is pygmy?

What Does pygmy Mean

The Greek term that derived from the Latin pygmaeus and that came to our language as a pygmy can be used in different ways. The origin of the concept is associated with a fantasy population whose members, according to the poets of Ancient Greece , had a reduced height and were warriors.

Today members of certain ethnic groups in Africa and Asia are known as pygmies that are characterized by their short height , since men do not usually exceed one and a half meters in height.
Pygmies reside in jungle regions and obtain their food from hunting and gathering. Most of these peoples are found in central Africa , although there are also pygmy peoples in Southeast Asia . It is believed that, because they share certain traits in common, all Pygmy ethnic groups have the same ancestors.

Among the best known groups of pygmies are the following:

-Mbuti. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo is where this population is found, which is made up of what are ethnic groups of hunters and gatherers. Its origin seems to be that it is already in the year 2,500 BC and they stand out for having their religion: animism. It should also be emphasized that their language is Bambuti and that in this group each member has an assigned role. In this sense, they speak of the "ema" that are mothers; the "eba", who are the parents, and the "ekimi", who are the children.

-Binga. Under this denomination are the pygmy peoples who live in what is the eastern part of Central Africa, that is, in areas such as Gabon, Cameroon or the Republic of the Congo. They are also called bambenga and are identified because, for the most part, they maintain a nomadic life dedicated to gathering and hunting. In this last aspect it should be noted that most of its prey are elephants, gorillas, antelopes or wild pigs.
However, we cannot ignore that there are many other groups of pygmies spread all over the planet. Thus, it is worth highlighting these others:

-Maraká, which are located in the Colombian mountain range of Perijá.

-Barrineans, who come to be pygmies from the north of Australia.

-T'rung, which is a group that resides in Tibet, more precisely in the eastern zone.

-Rampasasa, who live on the island of Flores, located in Indonesia.
It is important to note that, throughout history , Pygmies have been discriminated against, persecuted and enslaved due to their particular condition. At present, estimates indicate that some 500,000 pygmies remain in the African jungles.
The adjective pygmy can also be used to describe all people of short stature and animals or things of small size. In this sense, we can name the pygmy hippo , a species much smaller than the best-known hippo (which can weigh up to three tons, compared to just over two hundred kilograms that pygmy hippos weigh).

When pygmy is applied as an adjective to a person who does not belong to the aforementioned ethnic group, the term has a derogatory connotation . For example: "How dare you talk to me like that, pygmy?" .

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