The defense of community lands against European encroachment was one of the hallmarks of indigenous resistance to colonial domination. Communal lands were vital to indigenous peoples’ social and biological reproduction, and little, if anything, was more important to them. In fact, land was an important part of the equation that defined them as distinct peoples; it was a source of their ethnic identity. They knew their lands and the signs of changing weather and seasons just as well as they knew the backs of their hands. Their very lives depended upon this knowledge. Where possible, they even remade the natural world to fit their needs by altering the landscape with terraces that transformed steep hillsides into more gently sloped, productive agricultural fields equipped with irrigation canals and aqueducts that Europeans observers like Pedro de Cieza de Leon greatly admired.1

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