Yucay was a royal estate in the Inca heartland built by provincial laborers for Huayna Capac, the penultimate ruler. Permanent retainers staffed the estate, maintaining a palace and leisure facilities for the emperor and providing material support for his family following his death. After the Spanish invasion, Yucay and other royal estates changed hands frequently, and Inca patterns of labor tribute gradually gave way to the Spanish colonial tribute system. The tributary redefinition of permanent retainers (yanakuna) in the Yucay Valley led to the 1571 resettlement of over twenty-three hundred individuals into four colonial towns, an undertaking that involved recording the names, ages, and ethnic identities of these individuals, household by household. This essay considers how the management of the Yucay estate evolved in the early colonial period, then presents an ethnic and demographic overview of the retainer population identified in the documents.

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