Long before the arrival of Europeans and others, Native people of Latin America had mastered many metallurgical techniques, including mining, hammering, and casting gold to produce jewelry, ornaments, masks, and other items. In ancient Latin America, gold symbolized power and spiritual wealth but it was never used for money. Hummingbirds-also called "feather gems"- are the smallest of all birds, and many species are common in Columbia. Today, native people in Columbia use the behavior of hummingbirds and other birds to predict the weather and identify the proper times for sowing and harvests, thus a golden hummingbird may signify the fertility, life, and prosperity that the sun promotes.
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