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Written by an anonymous author, the following imaginary dialogue between the Spanish monarch Ferdinand VII and the Inka king Atawallpa, who was executed by the Spaniards in 1533, is not only an inventive literary expression, but one of the most striking political documents of the early independence period.1 It was circulated during the crisis of the Spanish monarchy brought on by the Napoleonic occupation of Spain and the abdication of King Fernando VII (1808). In the king’s absence, but in his name, various juntas or representative assemblies assumed local governance in both Spain and the Americas. The crisis gave...

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