A Chronology of Llamas and Llama History 

The intention here is to make a listing of known facts to help establish a chronology of llamas. To date there is no detailed history of llamas in the UK although rumours abound regarding the past. This is the start of building an evidence base from which a history can be written. These were part of the evidence I collected from numerous sources to write my history chapter in my book Llamas and Society: Past, Present and Future.  Individuals are encouraged to contribute to this listing stating their source using the submission form below. Their contributions will be acknowledged.

Pre History

40-45 million years ago Camelids originated in North America during Eocene similar to modern guanaco but rabbit-sized 

25 million years ago, four tribes of Camelid emerge, only two types Camelini and Lamini survive worldwide climactic changes at end of Miocene. 

11 - 25 million years ago Camelini and Lamini diverged

5 - 8 Million years ago Camelini migrated across Bering land bridge into Asia, Lamini migrated to mountains of South America.

Ancient History

4,000-6,000 Bactrian camel emerges in eastern central Asia. Spreads to Asia Minor ca. 4000 BC, Middle East ca. 2000 BC, China ca. 400 BC

4,000-5,000 years ago Dromedary Camel identified

4,000-5,000 years ago  Lamini - Guanaco type domesticated in South America producing the llama.

1558 - 1st llama exhibited in Europe.

1758 Lama Glama identified as recognizable species (Linnaeus, 1758).

1776 Lama Guanaco (Müller) – wild guanaco

1827 Lama (Lesson)

1872 Llama (Gray)

1924 Genus Vicugna (Miller)

UK History

(a separate listing for the US is under development below 12.1.2021)


21 March - Llama exhibited at Brooke's Menagerie in London. Morning Chronicle.


30 April - Llamas shown at Norwich and Yarmouth Fairs Ipswich Journal.


Poster for Wombwell’s Touring Menagarie, undated but thought, by virtue of a written note on it, to be 22 August 1825. Description of Elepho Camelus ( lama?)

Poster for Wombwell’s Touring Menagarie,  20 August 1828



The Llama Hut at London Zoowas one of the earliest buildings on-site, it was designed by Decimus Burton. It was the first animal house to be built from brick and was completed by 16 May 1828. A clocktower was added in 1829. The building still exists today as a First Aid centre.


A white and a brown llama described at London Zoo (opened in 1828) in their Guide to the Gardens of the Zoological Society pp. 8-9. One described as morose.


Camelids. Equus Quaccha, Dromedary and Lama.
by Latreille from Cuvier; Animal Kingdom

In 1835, a publication called the “List of the animals in the Liverpool Zoological Gardens” shows us that Charles Tayleur donated a Llama that he kept at Parkfield to the Zoo, 


27 November - Mention of llama from Liverpool Zoological gardens performing in the pantomime Bluebeard Liverpool Mercury

1836 - Goldsmith in his famous History of Man and Quadriceps (1838, p. 326) claims that George III had several llamas at Windsor Park but not were long lived.  Perhaps the answer lies in what he writes:

1836 Sir Titus Salt invents method for processing alpaca fibre


from The History of Progress in Great Britain, Volume 1


Lithograph of llamas at Knowsley Hall drawn from life December 1844 by B. Waterhouse Hawkins

Royal Agricultural Society held a meeting at Liverpool where alpacas and llamas? were exhibited at Lord Derby's estate in Knowsley.


6 June - Much dissatisfaction having arisen among the artizens engaged in the production of the Llama Cloth in the West of England, by reason of a rumour that it was the intention of the Messrs. Nicoll, of Regent-street, to remove such manufacture nearer to the metropolis, those gentlemen have issued a circular denying such to be their purpose, and which has allayed the fears of a….
John Bull (London, England), Saturday, June 06, 1846; pg. 350; Issue 1,330.

25 July - Some notion of the exquisite texture obtained by the aid of the Llama wool may be gained from the fact that, without destroying the waterproof character of the cloth, the Messrs. Nicoll, of Regent-street, have succeeded in making their registered Paletot, for the present hot weather, of a lightness almost astonishing.  John Bull (London, England), Saturday, July 25, 1846


27 September - Mention of 21 alpacas/llamas sold on death of the Earl of Derby from his estate at Knowsley. Illustrated London News. Said to fetch a fair price between 33 and 65 £.  Morning Post  13 October, 1851. Said to be unrivalled collection in Europe. Morning Post 26/12/1851

  • 1 Llama Sold for £28, Mr Atkins, proprietor of Liverpool Zoo.

    1 Llama (old), past its best days Sold for £26, Jamrach, a German from Hamburg

    1 Llama, female Sold for £33, Herring, of London, for Sir W. Fielding, Fenniscaule, Lancashire

    1 Llama, female Sold for £30, Atkins, for out of the country

    1 Llama, female (fawn) Sold for £28, Vekeman, Antwerp Zoological Society 

Various mentions of llamas appearing at travelling shows up and down the country


19th June - Sir Henry William Fielding, Fenniscoul, near Blackburn, has 4 Llamas, a young one, a few days old, from the one bought at Knowsley. 


26 May - Mention of llamas at Belle Vue Gardens Manchester. Manchester Courier


Camelids. Llama History of the Earth and Animated Nature. Oliver Goldsmith 1857 


Prices for wool as follows:

  • Vicuna, 7s to 7s 7d
  • Alpaca, 3s
  • Guanaco, 2s to 2s 6d
  • Aviru, 2s 6d to 3s
  • Llama 1s to 1s 4d
  • Goat – Cashmere, 2s to 2s 6d
  • Camel, 10d to 12d
  • Bear, 6d to 7d
  • (Alpaca, The Original Peruvian Sheep, Before the Spaniards Invaded South America, for Naturalisation in other Countries. Recommended through the Natural History Society of Liverpool in 1839. By William Danson of 6, Shaw street, Liverpool. Printed by M. Rourke, 3, South John Street, Liverpool, 1852  supplied by Helen Cowie)

  • 1858 

20 March - Auction of llamas transported over 4,000 miles overland from Peru to New York where purchased by British citizen Mr Benjamin Whitehead Gee of Acton, London.  Ledger's The Alpaca: Its Introduction Into Australia

29 May - 39 llamas arrive in Glasgow? from New York imported by Mr B. W. Gee Illustrated London News

From London Illustrated News 10 July 1858


10 June - Imported llamas exhibited at Glasgow Cattle Market Inverness Courier/Durham County Advertiser  9/7/1858

19 June - Imported llamas exhibited at  Birmingham on occasion of Queen Victoria's visit. Birmingham Journal




11 December - Stuffed female llama advertised for sale in The Scotsman


28 May - Llamas exported from England to Ireland County of Wexford Advertiser

Camelids. Alpaca & the Llama, Cassell s Popular Natural History,  1865


20 May -Evidence of llamas in Dublin Freeman's Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser (Dublin, Ireland),


8 April - Llamas described by the Illustrated London News as very unpleasant animals.

20 April - Mention of llamas at London Zoo. The Daily Mail


27 June - Mention of Crystal Palace menagerie being sold the sale of which included a llama. The Daily Mail


Naval's Pet's Peculiarities Western Times , Friday, October 3, 1902, Issue 16385, p.3.


30 January - Birth of llama at Belle Vue Amusement Park, Manchester. Manchester Guardian


7 August - Mention of llamas being ridden at Mr Wingfield's Menagerie at Ampthill, Bedfordshire The Bystander

For video footage also see: http://www.eafa.org.uk/catalogue/1746 and https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-tame-animals-at-work-1909-online


7 April - Punch proposes using llamas for hunting


12 March - article described llamas as having all the bad traits of camels - bad tempers, stupidity, obstinate refusal to work and having an objectionable habit of spitting.  Manchester Guardian.

1 April, Mention of llama pulling cart containing children at London Zoo. The Times


17 May film of llama rides at Folkestone


9 April, Mention of Bobbing the llama. Manchester Guardian

13 September - Birth of a llama at London Zoo reported in The Times newspaper.


30 January - Mention of llama farm in Bedfordshire selling llamas to private estates. Manchester Guardian. 11 according to Liverpool Echo 21 Jan


6 July - Argentine llamas arrive at Edinburgh Zoo The Scotsman


1920s Llamas being used for playing Polo at the Hurlingham Club Windsor


3 May -  12 llamas reported to have landed at the Port of Liverpool from Buenos Aires, the property of Mr H. E. Rogers of Mossley Hill, Liverpool. Manchester Guardian. Travelled on steam ship Bronte, served 28 days quarantine before being distributed to various zoos in the UK The Scotsman 25.5.1930

8 November - Baby llama born at Edinburgh Zoo The Scotsman


3 January - 2 llamas at private zoo at Ampthill, Beds described in Western Mail

9 February mention of llamas private zoo near Cobham, Surrey  British Movietone News


21 April - Film of llama at Chessington Zoo

30 July - Birth of llama at London Zoo announced by the Illustrated London News


Evidence of llamas at Liverpool Zoo, imported by Mr Herbert Rogers The Scotsman

16 September - Gentleman found guilty of being drunk in charge of a llama in Brixton high street reported in The Times newspaper


17 October - Birth of llama at London Zoo announced in the Daily Telegraph


2 March - Baby llama born at Edinburgh Zoo The Scotsman


18 April - llama in film of animals at Whipsnade Zoo, British Movietone News 


Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret ride llama cart at London Zoo. Photo - Getty collection

17 July - Sudden death of llama at London Zoo - suspicion of posining Edinburgh Evening News


Reco’s Circus 1940s (courtesy of: http://www.mountlehmanllamas.com/trivia78.html)


30 May - Llama born at Dudley Zoo Evening Despatch


llama mentioned at Chessington Circus (Picture Post)


20 August - Llama born at Wellingborough Zoo Northampton Mercury


26 November - Llamas said to be performing in the Ray Mammoth Circus


Billy the llama mentioned at circus performing in Oxford (Picture Post)


14 July, Picture Post



10 June - llamas at Battersea Children's Zoo - Film reel

17 July - Birth of llama at Whipsnade Zoo announced in Daily Telegraph.


19 December - Birth of llama at Bristol Zoo announced in the Daily Telegraph.


1 April - Llama and trap at Whipsnade Zoo Coventry Evening News

29 April - Birth of llama at London Zoo to parents Kay and Kim, announced in the Daily Telegraph.

Mr Derek Wallis (Cheshire) buys his first lamas from Haigh Hall (Wigan) (Personal communication)


3 October - Llama born at Stanway Hall Zoo, Colchester Coventry Evening Telegraph


18 August - Llama born at Dudley Zoo, 3 more expected Birmingham Daily Post


30 July -Lama born at Twycross Zoo Coventry Evening Standard


19 July - Llama born at Aberdeen Zoo Aberdeen Press and Journal


Ruth Ruck's Along Came a Llama published (London: Faber and Faber).

13 July - Llamas advertised for hire The Stage

16 August - Elite Llamas Ltd. incorporated  (Paul Rose) (Companies House)


A solicitor who bought one of the 7 surplus to requirement being auctioned by Mary Chipperfields Circus in Over Wallop, near Andover in 1980 to train to spit at disliked neighbours over the garden fence. (The Guardian 20 Nov 1980: 6)


Formation of British Camelid Association.


British Camelids Ltd.  founded (incorporated 20th May),  Representing the llama fraternity were Pamela Walker, Derek Williams and Ann and Peter Knowles-Brown alongside Adele Bentley and Jenny Cobb from the alpaca community (Companies House)

Llama exhibited at the Royal Highland Show (Camelids Chronicle No 3 1988)

12 October - 1st European auctionsale of llamas - Stoneleigh

The Times ( October 13,  p.7) mentions the auction of Pamela Walker’s Maplehurst Llamas at Stoneleigh 27 lots grossing £87,885.

Peter Bourne (Bremia Llamas) acquires 1st llamas (Personal communication)


12th June - 1st Llama Khama, Bildeston, Suffolk reported in The Times newspaper. Aimed to promote awareness and interest in the animal but turned out a bit of a disaster in that the llamas were uncooperative. Interview with Norma Chandler.

14 November - Mention of Llama Khama and suggests llamas can hit you with spit at about 4 feet with a foul smelling spray. The Sunday Observer


June 12 The Times Monday, June 12, 1989, Issue 63418, p.3 .



28 November -Cumbrian farmer was paid £5K compensation when one of his animals was killed by a low flying RAF jet! (The Daily Telegraph,  November 29, 1989, Issue 41814, p.1).


Evidence of llamas at Windsor Safari Park.

12-13 May - 1st British Camelids first Conference held at the Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen and hosted by the collaborative MLURI (Macaulay
Land Use Research Unit)

23 June - Mention of llama breeder Paul Rose and of their presence at the Royal Show, Stoneleigh. The Times Newspaper.


22 August - Kilverstone Wildlife Park closed including sale of llamas. Eastern Daily Press

15 September - 1st time llamas entered in Henley and District Agricultural show (described as bad tempered and capable of killing human beings)  the Daily Telegraph.


13 April - Report on Paul Rose's llama farm in Gloucestershire. Said to have 60 llamas, 30 from zoos of Eastern Europe, Daily Telegraph. 

12 November - Mention of llamas in Northumberland. The Times Newspaper.

19 August Experiments started at Aberystwyth and Aberdeen to test suitability of gunacos to revitalise ailing British wool industry. The Times


25 October - Mention of Bruce Wright running llama treks in Thetford Forest, Norfolk, £36 a time. The Times Newspaper

Camelid Vets Association formed


27 January - Mention of llamas living at Alexandra Palace. Daily Telegraph.


29 June - Mention of llamas as the new face of British Farming. Daily Telegraph.

2001 The first of several llama treks in Great Windsor Park organised by Henry and Ordell Saffron


Llamas Constanza and Wolfgang appear in the radio soap -The Archers


The British Llama Society incorporated  1 June. Founding directors were Donald Butler, Linda Johnson, Yvonne Parfitt, David Pryse and Paul Rose. (Companies House) Derived from the British Alpaca Herd Book and Register (incorporated 12 September 2003)

2009 Hillview Llamas started see here

2014  The Tuberculosis (Deer and Camelid) Slaughter and Compensation (England) Order 2014 (Statutory Instruments)

2018 Animal Welfare Act - licence required for trekking etc.

2018 BLS Code of Conduct for trekking produced

2019 Defra agree that for contiguous testing only ,  the tuberculin injection (skin test ) used for the purpose of priming the llamas immune system prior to blood testing no longer has to be injected in his armpit .


1932? William Randolph Hearst imports approx. 12 llamas from ? for his estate at San Simeon, California.

193? Roland Lindemann imports llamas from ?. (1956 acquires Hearst's llamas)

193? Ban on importation of live animals from Chile by US Agriculture Dept. due to outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease.

19?? Llamas imported from Europe, including the UK (mainly surplus zoo stock)

1972 Patterson's (living in Ohio) acquire first llamas from Roland Lidemann's Catskill Game Farm New York State.

1974 Jerry Berman imports llamas from ?

1974 Breeders Richard and Kay Patterson (Sisters, Oregon) start to sell llamas, first advertised as 'Llamas are Fun' in Sunset magazine.

1975 Patterson's Dr Doolittle who came to be one of the most prolific and influential  llama studs in the US born (14 Feb.) 

1976 Sports Illustrated includes article on llama trekking (Nov. 22).

1977 Lama Association of North America (LANA) founded.

1978 1st Llama Newsletter produced (Andy Tillman)

?1978 1st National Llama Owners meeting, Sisters, Oregon (by Andy Tillman).

1979 US International Development Agency support Andy Tillman visit Peru to advise on Llama production

1979 1st. issue of Llamas magazine


1981 International Llama Association (LA) founded by Andy Tillman

19?? 1st. 3L Llama,  produced by Fracie Greth.

198? Andy Tillman makes 2nd. trip to Peru, inc. visit to La Raya High Altitude Camelid Research Centre

1982 Andy Tillman's Speechless Brothers published, (5K copies produced)

1982 1st Annual Pack Llama Race and Round-up.

1983 1st Hartman Sale

1983 Early Winters Catalogue features llamas

1984 US Dept. of Agriculture ban on import of live animals from Chile lifted.

1984 1st Chilean importation (Hunt and Schultz Camelids of Delaware or Irving and Bea Kesling?).

1984 2nd Hartman Sale

1985 1st West Coast llama auction (Grants Pass, Oregon, 13th. Oct.).

1985 3rd Hartman Sale

1985 Greater Appalachian Llama and Alpaca Association Conference.

1985 1st. ILA conference (5-8 Jun., Yakima, Washington State).

1985 International Llama Registry (ILR) created as independent body to register llamas.

1986 ALSA founded (by Andy Tillman, Bob Milde and John Malton).

198? ALSA Halter guidelines produced by Andy Tillman.

1986 2nd. ILA Conference (Kalispell, Montana).

1986 1st edition of Llama World magazine (replaces Llama Newsletter).

1986 New York Times produces guide to llama trekking (20 Apr.).

1986 4th Hartman Sale (??) Don Rick's Herd dispersal sale.

1986 US lifts embargo on importation of animals from Chile

1987 1st Chilean importation (by Hunt and Schultz, Camelids of Delaware).

1987 Bonita Manion Llama Sale (Burbank, CA) The Professor sells for $85K.

1987 3rd Annual East Coast Llama Conference.

1987 Any Tillman sells herd apart from Lopez.

1987 Women's Sport and fitness  advocates trekking with llamas (8. Aug.).

1987 1st edition of  Llamas magazine.

1987 5th Hartman sale ( )  1st sale of Bolivian imported llamas (Dec. 19) 

19?? 1st edition of Herd Sire

1988 LANA Camelid Research Foundation established

1988 ILA sponsor Andy Tillman to tour country to promote The Responsible Breeder'.

1988 Andy Tillman re stocks with llamas.

1988 1st. Llama Jamboree (Nov. 5-6th, , San Diego).

1988 Joint Conference of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians and American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians, November 6-10, 1988, Toronto, Ontario. (includes papers presented on llamas)

1988 6th Hartman Sale (Apr. 21/22, Omaha, Nebraska) Sets many price records, 434 llamas sold,

1988 Don Rick's herd dispersal sale (21-4 April, Omaha, Nebraska)

1988 1st Gold Rush sale (Nov. 11/12, Amarillo, Texas).

1988 Chilean import (by Hunt and Schultz)

1988 1st edition of Llama Life

1989 2nd Llama Jamboree (7-8th Oct., Ohio)

1989 Sale of Chilean imports (Camelids of Delaware).

1989 7th Annual Hartman sale (Omaha, Nebraska, 22-26th Apr.)

1989 1st Celebrity Sale (Heritage Place, Oklahoma City) (Andy Tillman's Lopez Star 1st female to sell for $100K; Mirabelle sells for record $170K, Catman sells for record $175K)

1989 ILA Conference (Salt Lake City)

1989 1st edition of  Murray Fowler's Medicine and Surgery of South America Camelids published

1989 2nd Gold Rush sale (Sept. 23/24, Denver, CO)

1989 Disastrous importation of llamas from Chile by Ms. Stull, end up stranded in Antigua.

1990 1st edition of Llama Banner magazine.

1990 Symposium on diseases of small ruminants. Corvallis, Oregon, June 7-9, 1990.

1990 8th Hartman Sale (28 April, Omaha, Nebraska) Kesling Dispersal sale

1991 9th Hartman Sale (Omaha, Nebraska) Bolivian imports

1991 Greater Appalachian Llama and Alpaca Association Conference

1991 10th Annual Conference of the International Llama Association, Estes Park, Colorado

1991 1st Peruvian importation.

199? 1st successful llama Embryo Transfer in US (Paul and Sally Taylor)

199? US Agricultural department relaxes regulations on Chilean imports.

1992 10th Annual Hartman sale (22-26 April)

1992 US Federal Tax laws changed to favour llama owners.

199? 2nd Chilean Import (Camelids of Delaware).

1993 11th Annual Hartman sale (Lincoln, Nebraska).

1993 1st Peruvian importation and sale.

1994 Publication of Camelid Health Care.

1st ?

1996 2nd Peruvian importation.

2000 Bow Hunter magazine advocates use of llamas in hunting (30th Dec.).

2001 1st edition of Marty McGee Bennett's Camelid Companion published

2002 1st West Coast Firecracker sale (previously known as Llamaquest)

2003 Newevo sells for £220K.

2018 1st edition of new digital magazine American Llama


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