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Maloca, a Portuguese word of Araucan origin, malocan was transformed by the Spanish into maloca. It was used originally to mean hostile or aggressive actions. The conquest of the pampas added a new meaning to the word, which also came to designate "Indian village." Today, the term refers to "Indian home," "shelter," or "hiding place," giving rise to the Brazilian Portuguese verb malocar (to hide or fool). The indigenous maloca is a large building of strong beams with large diameters, which support smaller, flexible pieces of wood, over which is woven a roof of straw made from palm or banana leaves or grass. Brazilian and Amazonian Amerindian cultures produced many forms of malocas to shelter extended families.

See alsoArchitecture: Architecture to 1900; Pampa.


Additional Bibliography

Marussi, Ferruccio. Arquitectura vernacular amazónica: La maloca, vivienda colectiva de los Boras. Lima: Editorial Universitaria, Universidad Ricardo Palma, 2004.

                            Hamilton Botelho Malhano

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