Peruvian social critic Manuel González Prada once posed the following question: “Does the Indian suffer less under the Republic than under Spanish rule?” His rhetorical reply strongly suggested that the Indian’s condition deteriorated after Independence. Though the oppressive colonial institutions of corregimientos and encomiendas were gone, the Indian was still the victim of inhumane systems of forced labor and conscription. “We keep him in ignorance and serfdom,” wrote González Prada. “We debase him in our barracks; we brutalize him with alcohol; we hurl him to his destruction in our civil wars.”1

In the neighboring Andean republic of Ecuador the same question has been posed and answered similarly many times. Pío Jaramillo Alvarado, Ecuadorian humanitarian and publicist, once declared that Independence from Spain was harmful to the native peoples of his nation.2 Though Jaramillo relied chiefly on vigorous assertion to support his indictment, he could easily have cited the testimony of early nineteenthcentury witnesses. In 1835, for example, Liberal President Vicente Rocafuerte declared that the tribute-paying Indian “groans under a shameful feudalism more unfortunate than that of Russia.”3 Eleven years later, the members of a constituent congress of Ecuador justified a reduction in tribute rate with the assertion that the living standard of “the miserable class of indígenas has declined visibly since Independence.”4 Foreign travelers who visited Ecuador between 1830 and 1856 almost invariably described the Indian as oppressed, and his condition as abject and worse than that of slaves.5

There is little doubt that the legal and social status of the Ecuadorian Indians was wretched during the four decades following Independence from Spain in 1822. The Indian was exploited by petty government officials, by a host of landowners, and by the parish clergy, many of whom held official appointments as “Protectors of the Indian.” But to say that the natives were ill-treated and poverty-stricken is not necessarily to say that their position had deteriorated since the days of Spanish rule. Moreover, most of those witnesses who declared that the Indian’s situation had worsened since Independence knew little or nothing of his condition under the Spanish regime. In addition, many of the negative assessments were not carefully reasoned judgments, but rhetorical comments uttered in justification of some humanitarian measure in behalf of the Indians.

The general question of the positive and negative effects of Spanish American Independence on the Indian people is highly complex and difficult because of the diverse factors that affected them socially, economically, and legally in the first half of the nineteenth century. To understand the changes that came about, it is necessary to have some notion of the status of the Indian under Spanish rule and to examine the changes wrought by a great variety of republican practices and policies, most particularly those relating to land ownership, peonage, forced labor, education, clerical exactions, and tribute collection. Full consideration of these subjects for Ecuador alone would require book-length treatment.6 As a beginning, it is proposed to undertake here an examination of the tribute, or head-tax, question in Ecuador from 1821 to 1857, for the purpose of providing a partial understanding of the larger problem of the fate of the Indians of Spanish America after Independence.

The evidence indicates that Indians experienced some relief in their tax burden in the early years of the republic, thanks to a reduction in the tribute rate. Tribute was finally abolished, but only after long delays; and in some respects abolition proved a mixed blessing and less beneficial than social reformers anticipated.

Tribute in the Spanish empire was once defined as “a just token of the vassalage owed by Natives to the Sovereign.”7 Far from being “just, tribute was part of an inequitable system that compelled a conquered people to shoulder a heavy tax burden so that wealthy landowners and merchants might pay little for the maintenance of government. Together with other forms of exploitation, such as mita, peonage, and involuntary personal services, the head tax helped to keep the Indian in an impoverished and servile condition, which observers described as comparable to that of African slaves, or even worse.8

Tribute served two essential functions that made it indispensable to the dominant Hispanic class. First, it provided a large portion of treasury revenues, more than one-third of all tax collections in the district of the Audiencia of Quito on the eve of Independence. Given the inflexibility of the Spanish fiscal system, which permitted few transfers of funds among subtreasury districts, regions of dense Indian population such as the Ecuadorian sierra became highly dependent on revenues from capitation. Second, the obligation to pay tribute forced Indians who wished to live apart from Hispanic society to enter the monetized economy on disadvantageous terms as wage earners, chiefly on haciendas and in obrajes.

Though tribute was a discriminatory and oppressive tax, its negative impact was lessened somewhat in the colonial period by Spanish laws and regulations that excused Indians from almost all other taxes. The laws of Gran Colombia and Ecuador continued these exemptions and freed those who paid tribute from military service. Indians were not only aware of these significant benefits of tribute-paying status, but eager to maintain them.9 When tribute was finally abolished, the question of exemptions from other taxes and from military recruitment would pose serious difficulties for the Ecuadorian government.

The obligation to pay tribute to encomenderos and to the crown was placed upon the Indians of the Quito region soon after the Spanish conquest. Royal laws and regulations pertaining to the Indies applied with full vigor to the Quito region, except that in 1563 the audiencia was authorized to establish the amount of the head tax to be paid. The judges of the audiencia soon set the annual tribute rate in the districts of Quito and Loja at three gold pesos, two tomines (apparently about three pesos, five reales) and at five pesos for the southern district of Cuenca. In some regions the tax at first was paid either in kind or in labor. Tribute rates varied considerably in later years, reaching the very high figures of seven, nine, and even ten pesos, depending on the region and the presumed ability of the Indians to pay.10 In 1735, an oidor criticized these rates as the highest in Spanish America and alleged that large tribute payments forced Indians to live in extreme poverty.11 The average payment in the late eighteenth century declined to about four pesos.12 The rate subsequently rose to four pesos, two reales in 1803, and to four pesos, seven reales in 1807, just two years before the commencement of the Independence movement in this region.13 All adult male Indians between the ages of eighteen and forty-nine (inclusive) were subject to the head tax, but exemptions were granted to the sick, disabled, village officeholders, caciques, and the eldest sons of caciques. It is believed that of the adult males, about one-sixth were exempt.14

During the last century of Spanish rule, most adult Indian males who worked for wages earned between fourteen and eighteen pesos per year.15 Tribute alone amounted to about 25 percent, on the average, of an Indian’s meager income, and at times reached more than 50 percent. In addition to head-tax obligations, Indians had to endure the extortions of the corregidors and numerous fees and demands of the parish priest, to say nothing of other obligations they might owe hacendados. As a consequence, most of the adult males had great difficulty meeting the capitation tax.16 Those who could not pay were subjected to several kinds of punishment, ranging from whippings and torture to imprisonment in filthy jails under inhumane conditions.17

The burden of the tribute system on the natives during the colonial period was actually much heavier than the law seemed to indicate, for rapacious collectors (usually corregidors or their agents) often gathered the tax from young men before they reached the age of eighteen and forced men of fifty years and over to continue paying even though they were legally free from the tax. The result was that large sums of money were embezzled at the expense of the Indian. To pocket extra money and conceal their illicit exactions from higher authorities, some dishonest corregidors kept two sets of books.18

The amount of fraud involved in tribute collections cannot be ascertained, or even estimated, for either the colonial or the early national periods. Under Spain, corruption related to the sale of public offices and a lax administration fostered extortionate collections by corregidors, while under the republican regime a continuation of fraudulent collections was permitted by the political patronage system. Abundant evidence shows that ministers of finance of the republic tightened the reins of administration in the 1830s and 1840s and frequently chastized tribute gatherers. Improved efficiency and greater regularity in collections produced slightly higher tribute revenues in this period (in spite of the 20 percent reduction in the capitation rate), but the effect on the Indians of the treasury’s discipline is impossible to assess with certainty. The rise in reported receipts may have been the result either of collecting more money from the tribute-payers, or more honest reporting. In any event, any reductions in illicit exactions probably had little effect on most Indians, either for better or worse.19

Physical punishments for nonpayment of tribute in both colonial and national times were harsh and arbitrary. Shaving of heads was especially feared by Indians because of the social humiliation it produced. One of the worst punishments in colonial times consisted of tying culprits to the tail of a horse.20

In the early national era these customs appear to have died out, for these extreme punishments were no longer reported in the many complaints of abuses of Indians. But, aside from this modest humanitarian gain, the laws of the republic remained about as ineffective in protecting the Indians as had those of Spain. Whippings, though banned, were standard practice as late as the 1860s. Imprisonment, legally permitted, was extremely harsh because of very primitive conditions prevalent in jails. According to government reports, imprisoned Indians were forced to endure “horror and misery.” Not only was elemental sanitation lacking in most jails, but the jailers habitually stripped the inmates naked, deprived them of food, and treated them brutally in other ways.21 A reported decline in the number of jails because of treasury shortages may have saved some delinquent tribute-payers from imprisonment, but substitute punishments, such as whipping and forced labor, may have taken its place. On at least one occasion, Indians were incarcerated in a hospital for contagious diseases (lazaretto).22

It is clear that the Indian continued to be brutalized under the republic by a system of legal, illegal, and informal punishments that were harsh in the extreme. The irregular nature of the system, which left few records for the historian, makes it difficult or impossible to compare colonial and republican practices. On the basis of available reports from the early national period, it would appear that the republic brought scant amelioration in punishments for nonpayment of tribute until tribute itself was abolished.

Though the Ecuadorian Indian was usually stereotyped as humble, submissive, and abject, whites knew that there were limits to the Indian’s passivity. Those who governed Ecuador after 1830 probably knew little or nothing of the scattered uprisings of natives that occurred in the early colonial period, but they almost certainly knew about the numerous rebellions of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, because several of those bloody incidents made a deep impression on the upper classes. Most social disorders were connected with attempts to impose new taxes, collect tribute in advance, or force Indians to work in the textile mills of the highlands. One of the most memorable uprisings occurred in 1803 when ten thousand Indians in the vicinity of the rural towns of Guamote and Cólumbe, enraged by new taxes and the loss of lands, rebelled against the authorities and were subdued only after bloody fighting. The memory of this insurrection lived on among the white families of the highlands.23

Time and again in the republican era the upper classes of the sierra were reminded that the native people, when pushed to the limits of their endurance, would forcefully resist new extortions. In the late 1820s and the 1830s, official correspondence showed much governmental concern over reports of Indian resistance to innovations in taxes and tribute collection.24 An illustrative incident took place early in 1834 when local officials attempted to collect a newly imposed sales tax (derecho de consumo) from Indians as well as from whites and mestizos. Indians, cognizant of their traditional exemption from most taxes other than tribute, immediately protested, and the panicky governors of Chimborazo and Ibarra mobilized their militias to deal with expected native uprisings. The national government, however, moved quickly to forbid attempts to collect the new tax in the villages. Thus, in at least one case, the mere threat of forceful Indian resistance proved effective.25

Native opposition to innovations in the tax system did not always lead to the threat or use of force. As in colonial times, oppressed and desperate Indians sometimes fled in large numbers from their homes and villages. One such instance occurred in 1832 in the vicinity of Ambato when a large number of indígenas contribuyentes simply vanished.26 In another case, at the urging of a parish priest, the Indian alcaldes and the teniente pedáneo of Isimbilí stopped tribute collections by refusing to take part.27

If abuses and exactions were not so oppressive as to warrant resistance or flight, the Ecuadorian natives frequently addressed petitions and complaints to provincial governors, to the national congress, to ministers of government, and even to the president of the republic. Though their requests for protection were not always heeded, they were generally received with sympathy, and authorities frequently took corrective action—this in marked contrast to the vicious treatment of Indian complainants reported by Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa in the eighteenth century.28 The responsiveness of Ecuadorian officialdom to complaints of highland peasants was clearly and directly manifested in various pieces of protective legislation of the years 1835 and 1847, which outlawed involuntary personal services, forbade conscription of Indians into the army, prohibited violent punishments, and laid strict penalties on corregidors and priests for imposing illegal exactions on the Indians.29 It is no secret, of course, that officials at the local level, continuing in the footsteps of their colonial predecessors, often ignored the protective legislation. Such was the case when in 1849 an Indian woman was put in the stocks (cepo) because her husband was behind in tribute payments.30

As long as the head tax remained in force there were abuses associated with tribute collection. The only solution was to remove the head tax completely. The movement to abolish tribute may possibly be traced, in its most remote origins, to the efforts of Bartolomé de Las Casas and other reformers who helped to shape the humanitarian legislation to protect the Indian in the early colonial period. A somewhat more direct influence might be found in the ideas of the Enlightenment and the administrative reforms of the eighteenth-century Spanish Bourbon monarchs. Influences of the Enlightenment can be seen in the views of nineteenth-century Ecuadorian reformers imbued with the spirit of optimism and innovation and with the belief that the state should reshape and perfect society, attitudes typical of the siglo de las luces.31 Reform-minded President Vicente Rocafuerte (1835-39), who wished to put an end to tribute, in some respects appeared to be a sort of latter-day, Ecuadorian Charles III.

It would be risky, however, to carry this reasoning too far, for a major purpose of the Bourbon reforms was to raise more revenue for the Spanish crown through more rigorous collection of taxes—an aim not calculated to benefit the overtaxed Indian. The establishment of the intendancy system for fiscal administration in the Indies between 1764 and 1790 provides an example of the miscarriage of reformist zeal in relation to the Indian. Though one of the avowed aims of the intendancy system was to protect the Indian from exploitation, in practice the intendants put more energy into the unrelenting collection of taxes than into the protection of the Indian. An unintended result of the fiscal reforms was the eruption late in the eighteenth century of social protests and revolts throughout the Andean sierra. One of these uprisings, that of Túpac Amaru in the Peruvian highlands, was provoked in part by harsh policies in tribute collections.32 Perhaps the best that can be said of the administrative and fiscal reforms is that Spanish authorities learned that there was a point beyond which the Indian could not be driven. They did not conclude, however, that the head tax should be abolished. No steps were taken in that direction until after the Spanish American struggle for Independence had commenced.

The first unsuccessful attempts at repeal of the special tax were evidently motivated by a desire of both the Spanish and the patriot governments to win the support of Indians in the liberation struggle and to move society toward the goals of equality and justice. On March 13, 1811, the liberal Spanish Cortes proclaimed the abolition of tribute, only to have the tax reinstated in 1815 by the reactionary government of Ferdinand VII.33 At about the same time, a short-lived patriot government in Caracas also abolished the head tax, but the prompt collapse of the rebel regime erased the decree.34

The first effective step toward the termination of the head tax was taken in Peru on August 27, 1821, by General José de San Martín. The decree of that date not only suppressed the “shameful tax,” but also proclaimed that “henceforth the aborigines will not be called Indians or Natives; they are sons and citizens of Peru and will be known as Peruvians.’”35 Though this measure was to be rescinded a few years later, at the time it was a decisive action, which reflected the liberal spirit of patriot leadership. Less than two months later, on October 4, 1821, the General Congress of Gran Colombia approved a detailed law that not only abolished tribute, but exempted Indians from all “parish fees and any other civil contribution” for a period of five years and provided for distribution of the Indians’ resguardo (common) lands on a basis of small, privately owned plots.36 The objective of both laws was to integrate the Indian into the dominant society.

It must be emphasized that the impulse for repealing the head tax did not come from the native people. Though they surely did not like the heavy burden of exactions like tribute and tithes, they accepted such taxes as part of the unpleasantness of life confirmed by tradition and custom. The benefits of legal exemptions from most other taxes and from military conscription for tribute-payers gave the Indian added incentives to accept capitation. Indian resistance to paying the head tax might be aroused only by innovations that threatened the status quo.

The impulse for reform came from the creole leaders of the Independence movement and the presidents, ministers, and legislators of the national government of Ecuador. Men like Juan José Flores, Vicente Rocafuerte, and José María Urbina, all presidents of the republic before 1860, proclaimed themselves to be “liberal” and committed themselves in their official messages and public actions to the creation of a new republican society. Though these creole leaders differed with each other concerning specific programs to be undertaken, they agreed in general on the need for representative government, some guarantees of personal freedom, an improved system of justice, a public education system, restrictions on the Catholic clergy, and economic expansion and modernization.37 Of course, their political rhetoric was not always consistent with their actions, but these leaders shared the hope of creating a new and better society. Flores, Rocafuerte, and Urbina all believed that the government owed certain minimal protections to the lower classes, and one of those protections was the guarantee that Indians should not be exploited by an unjust tax system. Abolition of tribute, argued the Ecuadorian chief executives, would not only be an act of social and economic justice, but would promote the gradual integration of the Indian into Hispanic society.38

The republican leaders’ goal of social integration conflicted with the desire of most Indians to maintain their own communal life apart from Hispanic society. Worse still, the Ecuadorian reformers, like those of Peru and Colombia, placed too much faith in the efficacy of humanitarian pronouncements and lacked understanding of the tenacity of the exploitative social system inherited from the colonial regime. As a consequence, the suppression of the head tax did not yield the expected social benefits.39

The errors and misconceptions of the social reformers were soon visited upon the region to be known as Ecuador after 1830. In 1821, when tribute was abolished in Peru and Gran Colombia, much of the Presidency of Quito, as the equatorial region was then called, remained under the tenuous rule of Spain. In the following year, Bolvar’s troops liberated Quito, incorporated the southern territory into Gran Colombia, and canceled tribute in the newly annexed region.

Authorities soon found that the suppression of the head tax in the Quito district posed a serious fiscal problem because the Indians of this area constituted a large majority of the inhabitants, perhaps as much as two-thirds of the total population.40 And, as noted above, revenues from tribute were by far the largest single source of income for the Quito treasury, amounting to about one-third of the total fiscal collections in the early nineteenth century.41 The Indians of New Granada and Venezuela, by contrast, constituted somewhat less than one-quarter of the population, and tribute collections amounted to less than 2 percent of total revenues.42 Since regional treasuries and subtreasuries were responsible for meeting most or all of the expenses of their respective districts, the department of Quito could hardly withstand the loss of more than one-third of its annual revenues, especially in wartime. New demands on the Ecuadorian treasury for the maintenance of Bolívar’s army of occupation and later for the support of the campaigns for Independence in Peru made impossible the enforcement of the law of 1821 abolishing tribute.43

Because of fiscal realities in the Quito highlands, Bolívar and Francisco Paula de Santander, Vice-president of Gran Colombia, issued a decree reinstating tribute in Ecuador.44 Thus began a period of unstable policies in the 1820s when the head tax was alternately revoked and reestablished. In 1825, shortly after the final defeat of Spanish forces in Peru, the government of Gran Colombia abolished tribute in Ecuador once more. But in 1826 Bolívar bowed to the financial needs of Peru by reinstating the head tax there, and two years later did the same in the Department of the Equator, or Ecuador, as well as in the rest of Gran Colombia.45

There is much more to the story of tribute collection in the 1820s, however, than the contradictory shifts that took place. The decision in 1825 to end capitation, true to the goal of ethnic integration of society, was accompanied by a decree that legally eliminated all the major communal offices of the Indian villages, including the posts of caciques, governors, and alcaldes mayores. Colombian officials reasoned, first, that these offices were no longer needed for tribute collection, and second, that Indian communities should conform to the Hispanic pattern of town government under a council.46 The abolition of traditional offices reflected the logic of liberalism, but not the needs of the Indians, whose culture was dependent on the social stratification and prestige associated with the village offices.47 Threatened with the possible destruction of their communal life, Indians rebelled in many parts of Ecuador. The government managed to quell the uprisings, but a high Colombian official expressed dismay that the natives were resisting “a measure that should be so beneficial to them.”48 Of course, the Indians were not resisting the abolition of tribute at all, but were opposing an attempt at ethnic integration through the elimination of their village offices.

The tax crisis in the Quito region caused by native uprisings coincided with a general political crisis in Gran Colombia that challenged the leadership of Simón Bolívar. The Liberator responded to the situation by assuming dictatorial powers and by adopting a more conservative political stance.49 A significant indication of Bolivar’s shift toward conservative policies came in late July 1828, when he directed his secretary of the interior to inquire about the advisability of reestablishing Indian tribute, perhaps with a “little lighter charge” than under the government of Spain.50 Apparently, responses to the official inquiry were favorable, for on October 15, 1828, Bolívar issued a decree reinstating capitation in Ecuador and the rest of Gran Colombia under the new name of contribución personal de indígenas. In taking this action, the Liberator alleged that he was motivated by the wishes of the Indians to have the former tax reimposed (perhaps a reference to peasant protests against the loss of village offices), but many years later an Ecuadorian congressman charged that Bolívar had responded to the wealthy white landowners who wished to shift the burden of taxation back to the lowly Indian and thereby to force the natives into debt peonage.51 Whatever the Liberator’s motives, it is clear that his decision subjected a large part of the Indian population of Ecuador to capitation for nearly three decades more.

The forces of tradition and continuity in Ecuador thus proved to be tenacious, and one might be tempted to speculate that Bolívar’s decree of 1828 wiped out all progress in the matter of tribute. Such a conclusion is unwarranted for several reasons. To begin with, tribute soon disappeared in New Granada and Venezuela, large areas where approximately 57 percent of the Indians of Gran Colombia lived.52 In addition, the new tribute rate was set at only 3 pesos, 4 reales, a reduction of more than 28 percent from the rate of 1807. Subsequently, in 1835, during a civil war, all Indians of the coastal region (about 10 percent of Ecuadorian natives) were freed from the head tax by the provisional government, and six years later the sick and disabled were permitted to pay tribute at half the normal rate. 53 In 1846, the tribute rate was lowered from 3½ to 3 pesos (a reduction of 14.3 percent), and in 1854 the government forgave all tribute arrears dating from 1851.54 The various exemptions and reductions in rates reduced the burden of capitation by a total of approximately 40 percent between 1828 and 1854.

Both of Ecuador’s first two presidents sought either to repeal the contribución personal or to shift a large part of the tax burden to the non-Indian population. President Juan José Flores (1830-35, 1839-45) secured a graduated income tax law in 1831, which briefly suppressed tribute and exempted all persons earning less than 100 pesos per year from paying the new tax, thus effectively freeing Indians from it. Unfortunately, the new levy proved unpopular and unworkable, and the government reinstated tribute after a few months.55 President Rocafuerte (1835-39) also proposed the repeal of the personal contribution and the establishment of a new “annual contribution” of three pesos, collectible from all male Ecuadorians of whatever age and from women between the ages of eighteen and fifty years. Fortunately for the Indians, the Congress rejected this reform measure, for under its provisions a married Indian with two male children would have paid twelve pesos annually instead of three and a half—hardly an improvement, even though the proposed tax law would have equalized the capitation burden for all races.56

With strong arguments against the “monstrous inequality” of Ecuador’s tax system, President Flores in 1841-44 renewed efforts to end tribute. The legislature, mindful of fiscal needs and of the unsuccessful tax reform of 1831, refused to repeal the traditional levy on Indians, but agreed reluctantly to extend the head tax “to that part of the adult male population currently exempt.” Though the government called the new tax a “general contribution,” whites and mestizos angrily denounced it as “tribute.” With the cry of “Down with the three pesos,” rebels against tax reform staged violent protests and forced the government late in 1843 to cancel the “general contribution.” The fall of the Flores administration in mid-1845 was in part attributable to the unpopularity among whites and mestizos of its policies on tribute and tax reform.57

The abortive efforts in the 1830s and 1840s to overhaul the inequitable tax system revealed a number of interesting aspects of the political picture of Ecuador. The impulse for reform, unchanged from the Bolivarian period, came entirely from the most highly placed leaders of the white population, especially presidents and their ministers. Legislators, however, fearing unpopular innovations and loss of much needed revenues, enacted reforms with great hesitation. Overwhelming opposition to any significant shift in the tax burden came from whites and mestizos of the general population. Indians as a group did not play any role in the struggle to equalize the tax burden. Not only did the native people fail to press for an end to tribute during the early national period, but, for reasons not fully understood, they even accepted without protest collection of the capitation in advance—a practice that had provoked strong resistance under Spanish rule.58

The presidents who succeeded General Flores after 1845 called themselves “liberals,” but for more than a decade after the disastrous tax reform of 1843, no president dared propose either the abolition of tribute or any other major tax reform. Except for the previously mentioned reduction in tribute rate (1846) and an exemption granted to a small number of mission dwellers, the tax load of the Ecuadorian Indians remained essentially unchanged until the late 1850s. Corregidors continued their age-old practices of extortion and fraud, while ministers of finance strove to improve the efficiency of collections and to secure payment of the steadily mounting “arrears” reported by the corregidors.59

Though liberal and philanthropic sentiment motivated the unsuccessful attempts to lighten the tax burden of Indians in the 1830s and 1840s, it was not so much humanitarian sentiment as it was economic facts that eventually made possible the abolition of tribute. The major obstacle to ending the head tax was the penury of the public treasury, whose chronic deficits were the constant worry of most men in government. Fraud and fiscal mismanagement were partially responsible for the financial difficulties, but a narrow tax base and a stagnant economy probably had more to do with the perennial flow of red ink than did the dishonesty and inefficiency of public officials.60

Treasury receipts fluctuated from year to year, but increased by two and a half times between 1830 and 1857, rising from about 700,000 pesos to more than 1,750,000 (Figure 1). This rise in revenues was partially accounted for by the imposition of higher rates on existing levies and the addition of a number of new taxes by the Congress during the 1840s and 1850s. In 1830 the treasury reported only eight sources of revenues (ramos), several of which produced very little money. By 1857 the number of ramos had increased to thirty-three, most of which produced substantial sums. In the latter year receipts from the sale of salt surpassed tribute collections, while customs receipts amounted to more than four times the income from capitation (Figure 2). Even though the expansion in government income was not enough to meet all financial obligations, the improvement in the fiscal condition was obvious.61

In addition to the broadened tax base, an expansion in the coastal economy of Ecuador, spurred mainly by a rise in the price and increased trade of cacao, also contributed to the healthy rise in treasury receipts in the 1850s. Cultivation of the cacao bean had been important in the Guayaquil region in the colonial period, but after Independence the commodity became the dominant export, providing the nation with most of its foreign exchange and yielding substantial customs receipts both directly and indirectly. A dramatic leap in the price of cacao, from an average of about five pesos per carga (81 pounds) in the 1840s and early 1850s to fifteen pesos in 1857, sharply increased the value of exports and brought unprecedented prosperity to Guayaquil.62

The expansion of foreign trade also greatly increased customs receipts, which fluctuated, upward, from 311,500 pesos in 1830 to 622,997 pesos in 1857 (an increase of 100 percent). Tribute collections during the same period gradually declined from a high point of 201,403 pesos in 1832 to about 150,000 in the mid-1850s, a drop of 26 percent. But more important than the fall of tribute collections was the decline in these receipts as a proportion of total treasury income. In the 1830s the contribución personal amounted to about 35 percent of national revenues. In the highlands, where Indian populations were concentrated, tribute collections sometimes constituted between 50 and 75 percent of the revenues of district treasuries on a monthly (but not annual) basis. By the 1850s the situation had changed markedly. Tribute collections had dipped to only 8.5 percent of total revenues, compared to 35.6 percent for customs receipts (Figure 3).63

The regional nature of the coastal economic surge was emphasized by the fact that highland agriculture apparently did not participate in the boom. If revenues from the tithe can be taken as a rough measure of agricultural production, the value of agricultural output in the sierra fluctuated widely, but, in the main, declined by about 44 percent between 1831 and the mid-1850s. Coastal production, in contrast to that of the sierra, almost quintupled between 1831 and 1857, with most of the rise occurring after 1853 (Table I and Figure 4).64 Thus, it appears that the region of densest Indian population did not share, or at best shared very little, in the cacao prosperity. Any significant benefit to the highland peasants from the coastal boom would have to come from a decision by the government to increase their per capita income by reducing or repealing tribute.

The late 1850s administration of President José María Urbina did not ignore the opportunity for humanitarian reform made possible by the surge in cacao export values and the broadened tax base. Earlier, in 1852, Urbina had proclaimed the gradual emancipation of Ecuador’s slaves, with compensation to the former owners to be paid out of increasing revenues.65 Two years later, the neighboring Republic of Peru, in the midst of an economic boom spurred by guano exports, ended both slavery and Indian tribute.66 The Peruvian example did not go unnoticed in Quito, but action was slower because the Ecuadorian economy lagged behind that of its southern neighbor. After a tentative effort in 1856 to eliminate the personal contribution little by little, the Urbina administration in 1857 called upon Congress to enact a prompt and total abolition of tribute.67

Urbina’s Minister of Finance, Francisco Pablo Icaza, set forth in typically liberal terms the government’s rationale for ending capitation. He saw the traditional impost as a “barbarous” legacy of colonial times, inconsistent with the concept of justice. Not only was the tax not “proportional,” as required by the Ecuadorian Constitution, but it was so burdensome, said the minister, that it “enslaved” the impoverished Indian. Capitation deprived the Indian of all incentive to work and produce and encouraged him to turn to alcohol for solace, alleged the administration’s spokesman, with obvious exaggeration. Repeal of the personal contribution, said Icaza, would set the Indian free, provide him with economic incentive, and turn him into a useful and productive “citizen” (the liberal reformer’s fervent hope). It is apparent from the minister’s arguments that the goal of tribute repeal in 1857 was the social integration of the Indian into the dominant Hispanic society—the same goal envisioned earlier by General San Martín and by the Congress of Gran Colombia.68

Members of the Ecuadorian Congress were ostensibly in agreement that capitation was odious, but a few senators argued for gradual rather than immediate elimination of tribute in order to avert treasury deficits. Quite possibly, some of the opponents of repeal wanted to continue tribute as a traditional means of keeping the peasants dependent on landlords to earn cash needed for capitation payments, but no legislator mentioned the question of the rural labor force as an excuse for delay.69

On October 20, 1857, the Senate, with only one dissenting vote, approved a bill passed earlier by the lower chamber that not only abolished tribute, but also forgave all payments in arrears. When President Urbina signed the bill into law, the men who governed Ecuador had good reason to congratulate themselves on their decisive action, which legally lifted the unfair burden of tribute from the Indian.70 But the repeal of an unjust tax did not confer freedom, equality, and justice upon the native peoples of Ecuador any more than the efforts of the Spanish crown to protect the Indian in earlier times had eliminated the abuses of encomienda, mita, and the corregimiento. The longstanding customs and attitudes of the upper classes, which subjected the Indians to exploitation and mistreatment, could not be erased by a single, philanthropic action of the legislature. Without enough good land, without schools, and without knowledge of improved agricultural techniques, the former tributary lacked the means to lift himself to freedom. Long accustomed to abuses and degradation, the Ecuadorian Indian continued to suffer the indignities of the past.

What is more, while members of Congress and of the Urbina administration were congratulating themselves on their humanitarianism toward the Indian, the intended beneficiaries of the repeal of capitation learned that the new law was a mixed blessing. Congress, in declaring an end to tribute, had also stated that the Indians were “made equal with the rest of Ecuadorians with regard to duties and rights granted and imposed by the Constitution.”71 The statement appeared to be beneficial, or at least innocuous, but the Indians suspected, quite correctly as it proved, that the declaration of equal rights and duties could be interpreted by local authorities and military recruiters as the legal termination of all special protections and exemptions granted in earlier laws of the republic and of the Spanish Indies. Suspicions quickly became reality as local officials and military officers began to draft Indians into the armed forces and to compel them to pay the sales tax and other imposts from which they had traditionally been exempt. Indignant at the loss of their customary immunities, large numbers of highland natives began to take up arms and to talk of mobilizing to resist the government.72

On receipt of reports of an incipient Indian rebellion, the Urbina administration acted quickly to head off revolt by ordering governors of all provinces to respect the traditional exemptions of the native people. Antonio Mata, Urbina’s minister of the interior, explained to the Ecuadorian Congress of 1858 that the purpose of the conciliatory policy was to demonstrate that the “abolition of tribute was not a perfidious snare with hidden designs, but a true act of philantropy and justice.”73 The executive guarantee of continued exemptions for the Indian apparently remained in effect until the collapse of the government in 1859 and the rise of the García Moreno dictatorship in 1860.

Meanwhile, in the late 1850s, a new levy, ostensibly on all citizens, but imposed primarily on peasants, began to negate some of the benefits of tribute repeal. This new tax, at first called contribución subsidiaria and later trabajo subsidiario, was adopted by Congress in 1854 to promote construction of roads. The amount of the tax levied on Indians, only two reales per year, was so small that it seemed insignificant at the time of adoption. The law provided, however, that those persons who could not pay the tax in cash could work off the debt on road construction projects. By the late 1850s, soon after tribute abolition, tax collectors and local officials began to interpret the law in such a contrary manner that whites and mestizos rarely paid the road tax at all while Indians were conscripted for work gangs on the roads.74

In the 1860s President García Moreno, who had voted for the repeal of tribute in 1857, elevated the perverse practices of petty officials to the status of national policy. In 1862 he boasted that he had put 1,700 Indians to work under the law of trabajo subsidiario on the famous cart road from Quito to Guayaquil, and he hoped to recruit at least 1,300 more for the same task.75 As if this were not enough, the government resumed the collection of tribute arrears (violating the law of 1857) and reversed the Urbina policy of guaranteeing continuation of Indian exemptions.76

The potential benefits of the repeal of tribute may also have been diminished somewhat by the increase in government revenues from the salt monopoly and from the excise on alcoholic beverages (aguardientes), both of which fell quite heavily upon the Indian population. Receipts from the salt trade averaged only about 35,000 pesos per year in the 1830s, but rose steeply to 158,209 pesos in 1857, amounting to more than tribute collections in that year. Revenues from aguardientes, estimated at about 10,000 pesos per year in the mid-1830s, climbed to 56,000 in 1857, and went to 80,000 per year in 1858-59. Thus, one of the unintended effects of the repeal of tribute was not to transform the Indian into a more productive and thriving citizen, but to enable him to pay the government more for salt and, according to reports of the finance ministers, to consume more alcohol, thereby paying more in excise taxes.77

It is apparent that the prolonged efforts to improve the condition of the Indian by abolishing tribute and ending abuses connected with tribute collection did not yield all the humanitarian and social benefits hoped for by liberal reformers. Removal of the head tax did not set the Indian free or grant him equality under the law. At worst, the end of capitation and the grant of legal equality subjected Ecuadorian Indians to military drafts and to new taxes and labor levies from which they previously had been legally exempt. If one were to look only at these adverse developments as the consequences of the repeal of tribute, one would have to agree with the social critics who have declared that the Indian suffered worse oppression under the early republican regime than under Spanish rule.

A broad and comprehensive view of the movement to end tribute, however, reveals a complex, varied, and somewhat favorable picture of the Indian’s evolving social condition with regard to taxation. The preponderance of evidence available indicates that the condition of the Indian, as related to taxation, did not deteriorate, but went through a process of slow improvement as a result of the movement to reduce and repeal tribute. Though the head tax was collected until 1857, its rate was twice reduced, so that the burden of the tax declined by almost 40 percent over the fifty years after 1807. A substantial shrinkage in tribute collections after 183378 indicates that large numbers of Indians were escaping the payment of the levy, though fraud by the collectors may have accounted for some of the drop in revenues. In 1854 it was reported that 40 percent of adult male peasants failed to pay the head tax.79 It is evident that the burden of tribute declined markedly from 1822 to 1857, probably by 50 percent or more, and that the Indians benefited materially from this decline even though some of them were subjected to arbitrary recruitment on public works projects. The removal of capitation in 1857 relieved the adult male Indian of a monetary obligation that at the time amounted, on the average, to about 15 percent of his scant income.80

An important side effect of the repeal of tribute was that it deprived corregidors and other local officials of their major justification for whipping and jailing Indians.81 Maltreatment of the Indian, of course, continued after 1857. There is no evidence to suggest that the prejudiced and discriminatory social attitudes of most dominant whites of Ecuador, who regarded the Indian as an inferior being, were changed by the protective legislation of the early republican period. Petty officials at the local level continued to regard the Indian as an object of exploitation and abuse, but they no longer had tribute as an excuse for their actions.

It is quite possible that further research on other aspects of the Indian’s condition during this period will show that he suffered serious setbacks in such matters as land tenure or forced labor. But, with regard to tribute and its attendant evils, the basic theme in the evolution of Ecuador’s Indian population was social continuity. Social improvement came very slowly and by small degrees.

The final repeal of tribute marked the culmination of liberal reform in fiscal matters during the early period of the republic. As a social reform this measure was limited in scope and results. It is clear that in the years following 1857 Ecuadorian Indians continued to suffer under a social system that kept them in an abject and a degraded condition. Under the conservative dictatorship of García Moreno in the 1860s, the condition of the Indians appears to have worsened in various respects.82 But this unfortunate development does not negate the fact that the repeal of tribute in 1857 brought specific, though limited, benefits.

To the credit of Ecuadorian reformers, it should be remarked that they were motivated by generous principles and good intentions. Those congressmen who opposed cancellation of the head tax, unlike their counterparts in Peru, did not stoop to racist denunciations of the Indian, nor did they reimpose tribute later, as the Peruvians did. Moreover, advocates of tribute repeal were not impelled to seek reform as a result of pressures from the native people.

The shortcomings of the tax reforms had two main causes. First, the reformers lacked a clear understanding of the desires of the Indians and of how to provide them with the means to make a transition to freedom. And, second, the hierarchical social system based upon exploitation of Indian labor was very resistant to change.

The disappointing results of tribute repeal in Ecuador were similar in some respects to the aftermath of abolition of African slavery in such nations as Brazil and Cuba, where almost nothing was done to help the unprepared freedmen achieve economic independence and full citizenship. Even in the United States the feeble efforts of the national government to aid the former bondsmen after the Civil War failed to overcome the determined resistance of southern whites to the granting of legal and social equality to Negroes.83 If the abolition of slavery, a legal concession of much greater magnitude than the repeal of tribute, did not yield greater social improvement, it is not surprising that cancellation of the head tax did not benefit the Indian more.

In Ecuador the obstacles to effective social reform were perhaps best understood by Antonio Mata, the minister of the interior in the late 1850s. In an official report to the Congress of 1858, Mata told the legislators that it was not practical at that time to place the Indian in complete social and legal equality with other citizens.84 Rather, it was necessary to preserve the protective features and exemptions granted by Ecuadorian law, because “the worst of it is that the tyranny that weighs upon the Indian resides not in the laws but in the barbarous customs which the citizens of the republic have inherited from the colonists.” “Three centuries of oppression,” continued Mata, have persuaded the Indian “that his mission is to serve as a docile instrument of exploitation at the hands of people he regards as superior to himself.” Though the Indian is protected by laws, he is “frequently obligated to render involuntary services, condemned to forced labor, deprived of his wages, and despoiled of his property.” As a consequence, concluded the minister, “the regeneration of the native people is one of the most arduous enterprises, for nothing is more difficult than the modification of customs that are deeply rooted and strongly maintained” by the dominant social groups. The difficulties associated with the repeal of tribute in Ecuador were convincing testimony to the truth of Mata’s assertions.


Manuel González Prada, Horas de lucha (Callao, 1924), p. 326. The present article is based largely on materials consulted in the following Ecuadorian archives in Quito: Archivo Nacional de Historia, Archivo del Poder Legislativo, and the Archivo del Ministerio de Finanzas (abbreviated hereinafter as ANH, APL, and AMF, respectively).


Pío Jaramillo Alvarado, El indio ecuatoriano (Quito, 1954), p. 146.


“Mensaje a la Convención Nacional,” 1835, Actas de la Convención Nacional de 1835 (Quito, 1891), pp. ccxxv, 159 (hereinafter cited as Actas, date).


“Resolución de la Convención Nacional,” Jan. 13, 1846, APL, 1846, leg. 4, doc. 28.


See, for example, Adrian R. Terry, Travels in Equatorial Regions of South America in 1832 (Hartford, Conn., 1834), pp. 183-184, 280-282; Aleksander J. J. Holynski, L’Equateur: scènes de la vie sud-américaine (Paris, 1861), pp. 187-188; Ida (Reyer) Pfeiffer, A Lady’s Second Journey Round the World, 2 vols. (London, 1855), II, 183-184, 222-224; and Friedrich Hassaurek, Four Tears among Spanish Americans (New York, 1868), pp. 89-90, 132-135, 185, 299-303.


For some coverage of the subject, see Alfredo Costales Samaniego, Historia social del Ecuador, 3 vols. (Quito, 1961), I, 3-116; and Jaramillo Alvarado, Indio, pp. 112-117, 151-161, 311-313, and passim.


“Libro mayor de la Contaduría General de Tributos del Cargo de su Contador Don Juan José de Leuro: y comprehende la cuenta del año de 1801," cited in George Kubler, The Indian Caste of Peru, 1795-1940: A Population Study Based Upon Tax Records and Census Reports (Washington, D.C., 1952), p. 3 n.3.


Jorge Juan y Santacilia and Antonio de Ulloa, Noticias secretas de América (London, 1823), p. 230; Terry, Travels, pp. 280-282; and Hassaurek, Four Tears, pp. 185-189, 299-303.


Exemption from most other taxes and military service was universally recognized by Ecuadorian authorities and Indians as a colonial practice continued into republican times. A small sampling of documents that make this clear is Simón Bolívar, decree of Oct. 15, 1828, Registro oficial (Bogotá), no. 20, pp. 159-160; Pedro de Arteta, Contador General, to Administrador del Departamento de la Alcabala, Quito, Mar. 4, 1830, ANH, Corte Suprema de Justicia (hereinafter cited as [CSJ]), Diversos 14; F. Checa, Prefecto de Quito, to Gobernador de Chimborazo, Quito, Feb. 15, 1833, ANH (CSJ), Diversos (1823–30), doc. 316, fol. 327; and José Iturralde, Administrador de Rentas, Latacunga, to Luis Antonio de Brizón, Administrador de Rentas, Latacunga, Apr. 1834, ANH (CSJ), Oficios II/27, doc. 192, fol. 240. The tribute law of 1854, published in El Seis de Marzo (Quito), Dec. 5, 1854, specified these traditional exemptions of tribute-payers in article 42. The exemption of Indians from military conscription was continued in the military conscription law of Apr. 3, 1837, Gaceta (Quito), May 12, 1838. Exempt from conscription were “los esclavos, i los indígenas sujetos a la contribución de su clase [i.e., tribute].” See also David Bushnell, The Santander Regime in Gran Colombia (Newark, Del., 1954; reprint ed., Westport, Conn., 1970), pp. 77–78; and Angel Rosenblat, La población indígena y el mestizaje en América, 2 vols. in 1 (Buenos Aires, [1954]), II, 147-148.


Robson Tyrer, “The Demographic and Economic History of the Audiencia of Quito: Indian Population and the Textile Industry, 1600-1800,” (Ph.D. Diss., University of California, Berkeley, 1976), pp. 75, 128-134; José María Ots Capdequí, “El tributo en la época colonial,” El Trimestre Económico (Mexico City), 7 (Jan.-Mar. 1941), 586-615; John L. Phelan, The Kingdom of Quito in the Seventeenth Century (Madison, 1967), pp. 59, 61; Pedro Fermín Ceballos, Resumen de la historia del Ecuador desde su orijen hasta 1845, 5 vols. in 3 (Lima, 1870), II, 20–27, 29–30, 42–43; Nicanor Jácome, “El tributo indígena en la colonia," Cuadernos (Quito), núm. 36, ser. 3 (Oct. 1975), published by the Pontifìcia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (mimeographed); and Recopilación de las leyes de los reinos de las Indias, 3 vols. (Madrid, 1841), II, 239-18, and III, 56-59. The gold content of the Spanish peso remained constant from the early sixteenth century to the eighteenth, while the silver real declined in metallic content by only 3 percent; Luis Alberto Carbo, Historia monetaria y cambiaria del Ecuador (Quito, 1953), pp. 12-15.


Autos sobre la rebaja de tributos en el pueblo de Licto, 1735, ANH, Indígenas, cited by Tyrer, “Demographic,” p. 92 n.6.


José María Ots Capdequí, Nuevos aspectos del siglo XVIII español en América. Régimen municipal. Organización judicial. Régimen fiscal. Régimen económico. (Bogotá, 1946), p. 173; and Franklin Rothman, “Abolition of the Tribute in New Granada: Noble Intention or Creole Deception?” (unpublished paper).


Average calculated from tribute accounts for the Audiencia of Quito for 1803, furnished by Juan Freile Granizo, from the Archivo Nacional, Bogotá, Real Hacienda, fol. 454; and Estado del Ramo de Contribución personal de Yndíjenas, 1807 . . . y 1830, AMF, doc. 2,356.


Phelan, Kingdom, p. 59; Luis Martínez Delgado, director and coordinator, Historia extensa de Colombia, 17 vols. in 30 to date (Bogota, 1965-), XV, pt. 1, 129-130. Tribute-paying age was usually stated as eighteen to fifty years, but Indians were legally exempt on their fiftieth birthday. The status of mestizos regarding tribute is not entirely clear. The general rule in Ecuador appears to have been that all mestizo sons of an Indian mother and legitimate sons of an Indian male and a white woman paid tribute. See correspondence of April 9 to June 1, 1836, ANH, Oficios, solicitudes y nombramientos (hereinafter Oficios), vol. IV, t. 43 (IV/43), fol. 21, V/44, fol. 142, VI/45, fol. 1; Recopilación, II, 225-242, lib. VI, tit. 5; and José María Ots Capdequí, Las instituciones del Nuevo Reino de Granada al tiempo de la independencia (Madrid, 1958), p. 269, and Tyrer, Demographic,” pp. 49-50.


Tyrer, “Demographic,” p. 134; Juan and Ulloa, Noticias, p. 268; Jácome, Tributo,” p. 11; Ceballos, Resumen, II, 69; and Terry, Travels, p. 280.


Tyrer, “Demographic,” pp. 132–134; and Ceballos, Resumen, II, 69–76.


Juan and Ulloa, Noticias, pp. 236, 276-278, 289-294; Ceballos, Resumen, II, 77-83; Tyrer, “Demographic,” pp. 105, 123; and Federico González Suárez, Historia general de la República del Ecuador, 9 vols. (Quito, 1890-1903), V, 448-449.


Tyrer, "Demographic,” pp. 121-122; Juan and Ulloa, Noticias, pp. 232-234; and Ceballos, Resumen, II, 20-21.


For examples, see Juan García del Río, Ministro de Hacienda, Circular to Prefectos, Quito, Mar. 23, 1833, El Nacional (Quito), Dec. 11, 1846 [sic]; José Félix Valdivieso, Ministro de Hacienda Interino, to the Prefecto del Departamento de Quito, Quito, May 26, 1833, ANH, Oficios, II/17, doc. 137, fol. 138; Y. Holguín, Corregidor de Latacunga, to the Gobernador de la Provincia, Latacunga, May 8, 1836, ANH, Oficios, V/18, fol. 41; Decreto del Congreso, Mar. 18, 1839, APL, leg. 8, doc. 41; José Villaroel to Gobernador de la Provincia, Latacunga, Jan. 29, 1844, ANH, Oficios, I/122, fol. 285; Francisco de Aguirre, Ministro de Hacienda, to Gobernador de Imbabura, Quito, July 5, 1844, Gaceta, July 14, 1844; and Informe de la Comisión Especial de Cuentas to the Ministro de Hacienda, Quito, Jan. 2, 1847, El Nacional, Feb. 8, 1847. Failure to issue receipts may occasionally have been attributable to sloth, but corregidors understood the financial advantage of not recording tribute payments. On this matter, see García del Río, Ministro de Hacienda, Circular to Prefectos, Quito, Mar. 23, 1833, El Nacional, Dec. 11, 1846; Manuel López y Escovar, Ministro de Hacienda, to Gobernador de Quito, Quito, July 28, 1836, ANH, Oficios, VII/46, fols. 283-284; Jacinto Villagomez, Corregidor de Ambato, to Gobernador de Ambato, Ambato, Mar. 12, 1843, ANH, Oficios, III/112, fol. 88. On irregularities in the colonial period, see the excellent study by Tyrer, "Demographic,” pp. 23-16; and Juan and Ulloa, Noticias, pp. 232-239. On the subject of disciplining tax collectors, see the many informes and memorias published in Quito by the finance ministers for the years 1831 to 1856. On colonial practices of padding tribute rolls, see Tyrer, “Demographic,” pp. 27-28.


González Suárez, Historia, V, 447-448; Juan and Ulloa, Noticias, pp. 237-239; Tyrer, “Demographic,” p. 125; and Ceballos, Resumen, II, 72-73.


On regulations of tribute collections, see Informe de la Comisión de Hacienda del Congreso Nacional, Oct. 2, 1833, and attached proyecto de ley, APL, 1833, leg. 5, doc. 15; and Víctor F. de San Miguel, Ministro del Interior, to Prefecto del Departamento de Quito, Quito, Oct. 11, 1833, ANH, Oficios, VI/21, doc. 76, fol. 78. On abolition of harsh punishments, see Lei adicional al decreto de 15 de octubre de 1828, Oct. 30, 1833, Primer rejistro auténtico nacional de la República del Ecuador (Quito, 1830-), no. 56, pp. 443-445. On imprisonment of Indians, see Gaceta, Dec. 19, 1841; Juan Hipólito Soulín, Ministro de Hacienda, to Gobernador de Chimborazo, Quito, Mar. 14, 1843, Gaceta, Mar. 26, 1843; and Tyrer, “Demographic,” p. 131. On continued mistreatment, see M. Tobar, Jefe Politico, to Gobernador de Quito, Quito, Jan. 23, 1857, and M. Alboja to Ministro de Hacienda, Quito, Feb. 7, 1857, ANH, Oficios, 1/281, fol. 167 and II/282, fol. 49; and Hassaurek, Four Years, p. 133. On jails, see especially the reports of the various provincial governors published in Ministerio del Interior, Informe . . . 1857 (Quito, 1857).


Carlos Chiriboga, Secretario de Hacienda, to Gobernador de Quito, Quito, Aug. 14, 1851, ANH, Oficios, VIII/214, fol. 75. For another instance of official efforts to end abuses in jails, see Benigno Malo, Ministro de Gobierno, to Gobernador de Quito, Quito, Dec. 15, 1843, ANH, Oficios, XII/121, fol. 105.


Segundo Moreno Yáñez, Sublevaciones indígenas en la Audiencia de Quito: Desde comienzos del siglo XVIII hasta finales de la colonia (Bonn, 1976); Ceballos, Resumen, II, 85-110; and John L. Phelan, The People and the King: The Comunero Revolution in Colombia, 1781 (Madison, 1978), pp. 92-93, 99-100.


A sampling of abundant examples includes Restrepo to Intendente de Quito, núm. 190, Bogotá, Dec. 6, 1825, and same to same, Bogotá, Mar. 22, 1827, ANH, Correspondencia de don J. Manuel Restrepo, 1825 a 1827, vol. II, docs. 150, 199; F. Checa, Prefecto de Quito to Gobernador de Chimborazo, Quito, Feb. 15, 1833, ANH, D.S./CfCh (1823-30), doc. 316, fol. 327; Ygnacio Sánchez y Carrión, Jefe Político de Quito, to Gobernador de Quito, Quito, Jan. 15, 1847, ANH, Oficios, I/159, fol. 193; and José Fernández Salvador, Ministro del Interior, Circular, Quito, Oct. 22, 1846, El Nacional, Dec. 22, 1846.


Carlos Chiriboga, Gobernador de Chimborazo, to Prefecto del Departamento, Riobamba, Feb. 7, 1834, ANH, Oficios, I/26, doc. 133, fol. 182; same to same, Riobamba, Feb. 15, 1834, ANH, Oficios, I/26, doc. 155, fol. 206; Camilo Orejuela, Gobernador Interino de Ibarra, to Prefecto del Departamento, Ibarra, Feb. 8, 1834, ANH, Oficios, I/26, doc. 136, fol. 185; José Orozco, Administrador de Alcabalas, to Administrador del Departamento, Riobamba, Feb. 15, 1834, ANH, Oficios, I/26, doc. 157, fol. 209; and José Iturralde, Administrador de Rentas, Latacunga, to Luis Antonio Brizón, Administrador de Rentas, Latacunga, Apr. 12, 1834, ANH, Oficios, II/27, doc. 192, fol. 240.


Alejandro Machuca, Corregidor de Ambato, to Prefecto del Departamento, Ambato, Nov. 11, 1832, ANH, Oficios, VII/14, doc. 134, fol. 139. On colonial times, see Tyrer, “Demographic,” pp. 27, 65-67.


José María Tapia to Corregidor de Isimbilí, Isimbilí, Apr. 29, 1835, ANH, Oficios, II/33, doc. 374, fol. 414. The motives of the priest in blocking tribute collection are not made clear in this report, but Tapia alleges that the priest whipped one of the alcaldes and forced him to flee.


Juan and Ulloa, Noticias, p. 247. Documentation on Indian complaints is abundant. A few examples are Gobernador de Chimborazo to Prefecto del Departamento, Rio-bamba, May 18, 1831, ANH, Oficios, II/191, fol. 197; Luis Fernández Gómez, Protector de Indios, to the Convención Nacional, Cañar, June 10, 1835, APL, 1835, leg. 7, doc. 1; Actas (1835), July 9, 14, 18, and Aug. 7, 1835, pp. 35, 46–47, 61, 108-109; Indios de Guápulo to the Jefe Político, Guápulo, [Apr. 1850, but undated], ANH, Oficios, IV/198, fol. 107; Común de Indios de Yaruquíez, Licto, and Punin to the Presidente de la Cámara de Representantes, Riobamba, Mar. 13, 1837, APL (1837), leg. 12, doc. 27.


Común de Indios de Yaruquíez, Licto, and Punín to Presidente de la Cámara de Representantes, Riobamba, Mar. 13, 1837, and documents relating to congressional reports and reactions enclosed with this Indian petition. Official concern about protection of the Indians, caused in part by Indian complaints and petitions, is also seen in two addresses to Congress by President Vicente Rocafuerte. Actas (1835), June [22?], 1835, pp. ccxxxiii, ccxxxv-ccxxxvi; and Actas (1835), Aug. 22, 1835, pp. 159-160. See also, decree of Sept. 2, 1835, Gaceta, Aug. 16, 1840; law of Apr. 7, 1837 (on conscription), Gaceta, Aug. 16, 1840; and decrees of April 13 and 14, 1837, Primer rejistro (1837), pp. 319, 367-368. The decree of Apr. 13, 1837, clearly states that it was prompted by Indian complaints.


Camilo Barrera, Agente Fiscal, to Gobernador de Quito, Quito, Aug. 7, 1849, ANH, Oficios, VIII/190, fol. 48. No corrective action by the government against this obvious violation of the law of 1835 is indicated in the document or in the file.


Richard Herr, The Eighteenth-Century Revolution in Spain (Princeton, 1958); Phelan, People, pp. 3–49; Lillian Estelle Fisher, The Intendant System in Spanish America (Berkeley, 1929).


Tyrer, “Demographic,” pp. 336-344; Ceballos, Resumen, II, 107; Lillian Estelle Fisher, The Last Inca Revolt, 1780–1783 (Norman, 1966), pp. 112, 332, 345; Leon G. Campbell, “Recent Research on Andean Peasant Revolts, 1750-1820,” Latin American Research Review (hereinafter cited as LARR), 14 (Spring 1979), 3–9; Gonzalez Suarez, Historia, V, 303-304; Alfredo Pareja Diezcanseco, Historia del Ecuador, 4 vols. (Quito, 1954), II, 146-149; José Manuel Restrepo, Historia de la revolución de la República de Colombia, 3d ed., 8 vols. (Bogotá, 1942-50), I, 15-16; and Pedro Grases, La conspiración de Guai y España y el ideario de la independencia (Caracas, 1949).


Ots Capdequí, Nuevos aspectos, p. 615; and Ots Capdequí, Instituciones, pp. 269-280, 364-365, 383. The Cortes may have been acting in response to recommendations from America such as the suggestions of Viceroy of New Granada Antonio de Villavicencio; see Vicente Rodríguez Casado and José Antonio Calderón Quijano, eds., Memoria de gobierno: José Fernando de Abascal y Sousa, 2 vols. (Seville, 1944), I, 321.


Caracciolo Parra-Pérez, Historia de la primera república de Venezuela, 2d ed., 2 vols. (Caracas, 1959), I, 280-281, II, 57-87.


José de San Martin, decreto, Aug. 27, 1821, in José Félix Blanco and Ramón Azpurúa, comps., Documentos para la historia de la vida pública del Libertador de Colombia, Perú y Bolivia, 14 vols. (Caracas, 1875–78), Vili, 28; Felipe de la Barra, El indio peruano en las etapas de la conquista y frente a la República: Ensayo histórico-militar-sociológico y con proposiciones para la solución del problema indio peruano (Lima, 1948), pp. 150-152; and Thomas M. Davies, Jr., Indian Integration in Peru: A Half Century of Experience, 1900-1948 (Lincoln, 1970, 1974), pp. 19–20.


Law of Oct. 11, 1821, Blanco and Azpurúa, comps., Documentos, VII, 131-133; Bushnell, Santander, pp. 77-78, 175-176; Martínez Delgado, Historia extensa, XV, pt. 1, 284-286.


The Ecuadorian leaders insisted on calling themselves and their programs “liberal.” Their public addresses and debates in Congress were rife with references to “liberal” institutions and “liberal” programs. This point hardly needs documentation, but see Jaime Rodriguez O., The Emergence of Spanish America : Vicente Rocafuerte and Spanish Americanism, 1808-1832 (Berkeley, 1975), pp. xi–xiii, 67–68, 210, 217, and passim; and Jaime Rodríguez O., ed., Estudios sobre Vicente Rocafuerte (Guayaquil, 1975), pp. 3-5, 251, 320-322, and passim. See also the addresses of Flores to Congress of Aug. 14, 1830, and Jan. 15, 1841, Actas (1830), pp. xxii-xxv, and Gaceta, Jan. 24, 1841; and Rocafuerte’s address to Congress, Jan. 15, 1839, Actas (1839), pp. xxxviii-ci, in which he denounces the “antiguo sistema colonial” and urges “los progresos de las luces,” “la marcha de la civilización,” and “la libertad civil y comercial.” For cautionary remarks about “liberal” ideology, see Glen Dealy, “Prolegomena on the Spanish American Political Tradition,” HAHR, 48 (Feb. 1968), 37-58; and Charles A. Hale, “The Reconstruction of Nineteenth- Century Politics in Spanish America: A Case for the History of Ideas,” LARR, 7 (Summer 1973), 53-73.


One of the clearest statements of the liberal reformers is to be found in Francisco Pablo Icaza, Ministro de Hacienda, Esposición . . . 1857 (Quito, 1857), pp. 8-18. See also Actas del Senado, Oct. 17, 1857, APL, fols. 73-84; introduction to the new tax law of Nov. 8, 1831, Primer rejistro (1831), pp. 179-181; Juan José Flores, decreto, Nov. 9, 1831, Primer rejistro (1831), pp. 135-136; Rocafuerte’s addresses to Congress of June [22], and Aug. 22, 1835, Actas . . . 1835, pp. ccxxxiii-ccxxxv, 159-160; Flores’s address to Congress, Jan. 15, 1841, Gaceta, Jan. 24, 1841; and Urbina’s address to the Senate, Nov. 28, 1854, APL, Actas del Senado, fol. 182.


My views in this matter are similar to those of Davies, Integration, pp. 20-23.


Restrepo, Historia, I, xiv n.2.


Ibid., I, xxii n.1, which reproduces the details of the revenues of the treasuries of Venezuela, New Granada, and the Presidency of Quito for “the years before the revolution"; “Estado de corte y tanteo de la tesorería principal en el Departamento del Ecuador, por el mes de mayo de 1825–15°,” ANH, Secretaría de Cámara y Gobierno (SCG), Hojas Sueltas (/HS) 9° (shows tribute as 37.7 percent of total revenues); and treasury accounts for the Department of El Ecuador, July 1, 1829, to June 30, 1830, APL, Documentos del Congreso Constituyente del año 1830, leg. 3, doc. 16 (shows tribute to be 33.4 percent of total revenues). See also Bushnell, Santander, p. 176 n.38.


Restrepo, Historia, I, xiv n.2.


Luis Robalino Dávila, Nacimiento y primeros años de la República (Puebla, 1967), pp. 97-98; Bushnell, Santander, pp. 76-96, 107-108, 175-176. On the nature of the Spanish fiscal system, see the excellent article by Herbert S. Klein, “Structure and Profitability of Royal Finance in the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in 1790,” HAHR, 53 (Aug. 1973), 440-169.


Bushnell, Santander, pp. 175-176. Evidently there was some confusion over the status of the tax in the south, for the corregidor of Alausí had to be reminded that the law of 1821 had been suspended for his district. Subsequently the governor of Loja was scolded by the intendant of Quito for failure to submit adequate accounts on tribute collections. See Joaquín Covo, Corregidor de Alausí, to the Intendente-General del Departamento, Alatisí, Sept. 16, 1822, ANH, (CSJ), HS/HS9°; Intendente de Quito to Gobernador de Loja, Quito, Oct. 22, 1823, ANH, Libro 2° de la correspondencia oficial que Ileba la Yntendencia de Quito con los gobernadores . . . desde 23 de Jun.° del año de 1823–13°, fols. 26-27. See also the Correspondencia de Feliciano Checa, 1823-30, docs. 1, 14, 19, 24, fols. 14-17, July 11, 1823-March 18, 1824, ANH.


Bushnell, Santander, pp. 107-110; J. Manuel Restrepo, Secretario del Interior, to Intendente del Departamento del Ecuador, no. 190, Bogotá, Dec. 6, 1825, ANH, Correspondencia de don J. Manuel Restrepo, 1825 a 1827, II, doc. 150; decreto, Oct. 15, 1828, Rejistro oficial, no. 20, pp. 156-163; and Eul-Soo Pang, “Indian Tribute: Fiscal Bulwark of Late Colonial and Early Republican Peru, 1784-1854,” unpublished paper, pp. 16-17.


Restrepo to Intendente del Ecuador, no. 190, Bogotá, Dec. 6, 1825, ANH.


Ceballos, Resumen, II, 29-30. Ceballos concludes: “Los pobres indios, en su candor, creían i creen hasta ahora que la alcaldía mayor i gobernación eran títulos de altísima importancia; tanto que quienes han cargado una vez la vara, i aun sus descendientes, gozan de influencia entre los suyos, blasonando de ser Alcaldes pasados, esto es, que fueron alcaldes o governadores, o que están emparentados con los que llevaron tal distinción.” On the importance of village offices, see also John Collier, Jr., and Aníbal Buitrón, The Awakening Valley (Chicago, 1949), pp. 90–106, 124-128; Elsie C. Parsons, Peguche, Canton of Otavalo, Province of Imbabura, Ecuador: A Study of Andean Indians (Chicago, 1945), pp. 82-85; Moisés Sáenz, Sobre el indio ecuatoriano y su incorporación al medio nacional (Mexico City, 1933), pp. 130–133; and Eric R. Wolf and Edward C. Hansen, The Human Condition in Latin America (New York, 1972), pp. 78-80.


Restrepo to Intendente del Ecuador, no. 178, Bogotá, Nov. 21, 1825, ANH.


Salvador de Madariaga, Bolívar (New York, 1952), pp. 554-567; and Bushnell, Santander, pp. 94-111, 175-176, 318-336.


Restrepo to Intendente del Ecuador, no. 117, Bogotá, July 29, 1828, ANH, Correspondencia de . . . Restrepo (1838-39), III, doc. 109, fol. 109.


Decreto, Oct. 15, 1828, Rejistro oficial, no. 20, pp. 156-163; Actas de la Cámara de Representantes (ms.), Oct. 15, 1857, fols. 87-96, APL. It is interesting to note that the word “tribute” was in such bad repute even in Spain that Ferdinand VII decided to call the tax “contribución” when he reinstated it in 1815; decreto real, Mar. 1, 1815, Archivo General de las Indias, Seville, Indiferente General, leg. 1770.


Restrepo, Historia, I, xiv n.2. According to the census figures of 1810, the Indian population of Gran Colombia was distributed as follows: Venezuela, 207,000 (22.7 percent); New Granada, 313,000 (34.3 percent); and the Presidency of Quito, 393,000 (43 percent); for a total of 913,000. Apparently tribute collection in Venezuela and New Granada was much less efficient than in Quito. See Restrepo, Historia, I, xxii n.1.


Manuel Pareja, Secretario del Jefe Supremo, to Prefecto de Guavas, Guayaquil, Mar. 1, 1835, ANH, Oficios, II/33, fol. 13; Luis Robalino Dávila, Rocafuerte (Quito, 1964), p. 31; "Estado de ingresos de la contribución personal de indíjenas, cantón de Gualaceo, 1841-43,” ANH, Oficios, IV/113, fols. 116-139.


That the reduction to 3 pesos in 1846 actually went into effect and was enforced is evident from an abundance of documents relating to tribute collections, a few of which are cited: Alejandro Oraco (an Indian) to Gobernador de la Provincia de Concepción, July 23, 1846, ANH, Oficios, VIII/153, fols. 320–332 (complains of abuses against Indians, but not of overcharging tribute); J[osé] Fern[ández] Salvador, Ministro del Interior, to Gobernador de Pichincha, Quito, Oct. 22, 1846, ANH, Oficios, X/156, fols. 210-211 (general comments on condition of Indians and abuses without mention of problem of tribute rate or collections); editorial in El Nacional, Nov. 13, 1846, criticizing the reduction in tribute rates for having reduced revenues; and correspondence of the Ministro de Hacienda, Sept. 25-Oct. 5, 1847, El Nacional, Nov. 13, 1847. See also “Resolución de la Convención Nacional,” Jan. 13, 1846, APL (1846), leg. 4, doc. 28; Actas del Senado (ms.), Nov. 7, 1854, fol. 135, APL; and law on tribute, Nov. 25, 1854, El Seis de Marzo (Quito), Dec. 5, 1854.


Actas (1831), Oct. 19, 20, 21, and Nov. 7, 1831, pp. 115-126, 206-207; and ley estableciendo una contribución ordinaria, Nov. 9, 1831, Gaceta, Jan. 1, 1832; executive decree of Feb. 1, 1832, Primer rejistro (1832), pp. 235-236. On the attempt by priests to have Indians vote, see Gaceta, Feb. 21, 1841; and García del Río, Ministro de Hacienda, to Gobernador eclesiástico, Quito, Jan. 15, 1833, Gaceta, Feb. 16, 1833. The brief abolition of tribute resulted in a sharp dip in collections in 1832; see García del Río, Ministro de Hacienda, Memoria . . . 1833 (Quito, 1833), p. 8.


Actas (1835), June [22?], 1835, pp. ccxxxiii-ccxxxvi; José Miguel González, Ministro de Estado, Lijera esposición . . . 1835 (Quito, 1835), p. 17; Ministro de Hacienda to Convención Nacional, Ambato, June 29, 1835, and enclosed draft of decrees on taxes, APL, 1835, leg. 2, doc. 3; and Actas (1835), July 23, 1835, p. 58.


Flores, “Mensaje al Congreso Nacional,” Jan. 15, 1841, Gaceta, Jan. 24, 1841; idem., “Mensaje a la Convención Nacional,” Jan. 15, 1843, Gaceta, Jan. 15, 1843; tax law of June 5, 1843, and Flores’s implementing decree of June 24, 1843, Gaceta, Aug. 20, 1843; Robalino Dávila, Rocafuerte, pp. 177–179, 257-277; Gaceta, Sept. 2, 1843; Flores, decreto, Aug. 23, 1843, Gaceta, Sept. 3, 1843; Francisco de Aguirre, Ministrode Hacienda, circular, Quito, Aug. 23, 1843, Gaceta, Sept. 24, and Dec. 22, 1843; and pronunciamiento popular de Guayaquil, Mar. 7, 1845, in Luis Martínez Delgado, ed., Traiciones a la independencia hispanoamericana, 3 vols. (Bogotá, 1974-75), I, 184-191.


Slightly improved economic conditions may have accounted for Indian tolerance of advanced collections. Ceballos, Resumen, II, 85-110; F. E. Tamariz, Ministro de Hacienda, circular, Quito, May 16, 1836, ANH, Oficios, V/44, fol. 107; Actas (1839), Jan. 24, 25, and Feb. 6, 27, and 29, 1839, I, 20, 27, 51, 115, 119; “Resolución del Congreso Nacional,” Mar. 5, 1839, Primer rejistro (1839), pp. 493-494.


José Fernández Salvador, Ministro Interino de Hacienda, circular, Quito, Feb. 24, 1846, El Nacional, Mar. 16, 1846; El Nacional, May 25, 1846; and decreto, Nov. 16, 1846, El Nacional, Mar. 5, 1847.


There is no systematic study of Ecuador’s economy in the early national period, but see Robalino Davila, Nacimiento, pp. 164-185, 201-202, 231, 258, and passim; Ceballos, Resumen, V, 91-107; and the various annual memorias of the Ecuadorian finance ministers during the 1830s and 1840s, published in Quito.


José Félix Valdivieso, Ministro de Hacienda, Esposición . . . 1831 (Quito, 1831), p. 23, cuadro 3; Antonio Yerovi, Ministro de Hacienda, Esposición . . . 1858; and other annual reports of the finance ministers published in Quito during the intervening years. The value of the gold peso appears to have declined very little during this time; Carbo, Historia monetaria, pp. 19-30.


Michael T. Hamerly, “Quantifying in the Nineteenth Century: The Ministry Reports and Gazettes of Ecuador,” LARR, 13 (Summer 1978), 138-156, Table 2; Michael Conniff, “Guayaquil Through Independence: Urban Development in a Colonial System,” The Americas, 33 (Jan. 1977), 391-101; Yerovi, Esposición . . . 1858; Terry, Travels, pp. 66-68, 85-87; and Walter Cope, British Consul at Guayaquil, “Report on the Trade of Guayaquil for the Year ending December 31, 1843,” enclosed with Cope to Lord Aberdeen, no. 8, Guayaquil, Feb. 19, 1844, microfilm, Public Records Office, Foreign Office, 25/10 (an excellent report on cacao and Ecuador’s foreign trade). The value of cacao exports in 1857 amounted to 69 percent of all exports.


Valdivieso, Esposición . . . 1831, p. 23, cuadro 3; and Yerovi, Esposición . . . 1858, cuadro 1.


Alexander von Humboldt used tithes as a measure of agricultural output in late colonial Mexico; see his Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain, 4 vols. (London, 1811-22), III, 95-101 (last pages of fourth book, chap. 10).


Luis Robalino Davila, La reacción anti-floreana (Puebla, 1967), pp. 218-219, 270- 271.


Pang, “Indian Tribute”; Felipe de la Barra, La abolición del tributo por Castilla y su repercusión en el problema del indio peruano (Lima, 1956); and Davies, Integration, pp. 29-30. Peru reimposed tribute in 1866.


Francisco Pablo Icaza, Ministrode Hacienda, Esposición . . . 1856 (Quito, 1856), pp. 17-19; idem., Memoria . . . 1857 (Quito, 1857), pp. 9-18; and Actas del Senado y de la Cámara de Representantes, Oct. 15, 17, 18, and 20, 1857 (ms.), APL.


Icaza, Memoria . . . 1857, pp. 9-18.


I intend to discuss the rural labor force and the work contract system (concertaje) in a future article. On the connection between tribute and concertaje, see correspondence between Luis de Sáa, Ministro de Hacienda, and Javier Eguiguren, Gobernador de Loja, Gaceta, Aug. 16, 1840.


Actas del Senado y de la Cámara de Representantes, Oct. 15, 20, and 21, 1857 (ms.), APL; decreto, Oct. 30, 1857, in Costales Samaniego, Historia social, III, 697; and Robalino Davila, La reacción, p. 379.


Decreto, Oct. 30, 1857, in Costales Samaniego, Historia social, III, 697.


Antonio Mata, Ministro del Interior y de Relaciones Exteriores, Esposición . . . 1858 (Quito, 1858), pp. 6-8.


Ibid., p. 7.


Proyecto de ley del Senado, Oct. 27, 1854, APL, 1854, leg. 3, doc. 7; Actas de la Cámara de Representantes, Nov. 8, 1854 (ms.), APL; Mata, Esposición . . . 1858, p. 18. Indians had been forced to work on roads before 1854, of course, but apparently not on a large scale or on a systematic basis, chiefly because the government paid so little attention to roads, bridges, and other transportation problems until the 1850s and 1860s. On the neglect of roads, see Terry, Travels, pp. 112-128, 140; and Hassaurek, Four Tears, pp. 17, 53-54, and 193.


García Moreno to Antonio Flores, Quito, May 21, 1862, Epistolario diplomático del Presidente Gabriel García Moreno, 1859-1869 (Quito, 1976), p. xx.


Roberto Ascásubi, Secretario General del Gobierno Provisorio, Informe . . . 1861 (Quito, 1861), pp. 6-12, and cuadro 1; Camilo Ponce, Ministro de Hacienda, circular, Quito, May 2, 1863, in Costales Samaniego, Historia, III, 705; and report of the Tribunal de Cuentas, Oct. 22, 1862, El Nacional, Dec. 2, 1862.


On the salt and aguardiente receipts, see the various memorias of the finance ministers, which were published in Quito during the period of this study. From time to time the ministers commented on the heavy burden placed on Indians by the salt and liquor imposts; for example, see Marcos Espinel, Ministro de Hacienda, Esposición . . . 1855 (Quito, 1855), pp. 4-5. The ministers appear to have exaggerated the magnitude of the burden on Indians, however, for the revenues from the coastal region, where there were few Indians, showed much larger increases than those from the highlands.


In 1833, total tribute revenues amounted to 197,000 pesos. They shrank to 110,137 in 1838, and then more or less stabilized at a rate of about 150,000 pesos in the late 1840s and 1850s. While tribute collections declined by about 25 percent, the Indian population increased substantially between 1830 and 1860, probably by 30 to 50 percent. For a general review of population statistics in nineteenth-century Ecuador, see Hamerly, “Quantifying, pp. 143-145. For more census data and estimates, see Tyrer, “Demographic,” pp. 68, 78; Valdivieso, Esposición . . . 1831, p. 18; Francisco Marcos, Ministro del Interior, Esposición . . . 1843 (Quito, 1843), cuadro A; and Fernández Salvador, Esposición . . . 1846, cuadro entitled “Censo jeneral de su población,” dated Sept. 1846 (the last Ecuadorian census that identified Indians). I estimate that the annual growth rate of the Indian population, 1825- 40, was about 1.05 percent, and in the period 1840-6 about 1.59 percent. Assuming a low annual growth rate of only 1 percent after 1846, the Indian population would have reached about 435,000 in 1860, an increase of more than 42 percent over the estimated population of 307,000 for 1830. Assuming the higher growth rate of 1.59 percent (probably too high) after 1846 yields an increase in the Indian population of about 53 percent over the year 1830.


Informe del Contador Mayor de Cuenca, Francisco Dávila, Aug. 2, 1854, in Espinel, Esposición . . . 1854, not paginated, but near the end of the document. See also Francisco de Aguirre, Ministro de Hacienda, Carta a los Gobernadores, Quito, Apr. 10, 1844, Gaceta, Apr. 21, 1844. Documentation on tribute arrears is abundant.


Terry estimated the Indian’s annual earnings at about 18 pesos in 1832; Hassaurek placed the figure at 23 pesos in the early 1860s; and Robalino Dávila estimated it to be about 19 pesos in the 1840s; Terry, Travels, p. 280; Hassaurek, Four Years, pp. 299-300; Robalino Dávila, Nacimiento, p. 172. For a higher estimate of Indian earnings, see Camilo Barrera, Agente Fiscal, to Gobernador de Pichincha, Quito, Jan. 29, 1852, ANH, Oficios, 1/219, fols. 191-193.


On protective legislation and its effects, see Lei estableciendo medios equitativos para hacer ecsequible [sic] la contribución de indíjenas . . ., Oct. 5, 1833, Primer rejistro, 1833, pp. 407-409; “Informe de la Comisión de Hacienda, Congreso Nacional, Oct. 2, 1833," APL, 1833, leg. 5, doc. 15; decreto, Apr. 14, 1837, Primer rejistro, 1837, pp. 367-368; Gaceta, Dec. 19, 1841; Benigno Malo, Ministro de Gobierno, to Gobernador de Pichincha, Quito, Dec. 15, 1843, ANH, Oficios, XII/121, fol. 105; and Mata, Esposición . . . 1858, pp. 22-23.


Hassaurek, Four Tears, pp. 133-135, 185-189, 193, 219.


Magnus Mörner, Race Mixture in the History of Latin America (Boston, 1967), pp. 129-133; Robert B. Toplin, The Abolition of Slavery in Brazil (New York, 1972), pp. 256-266; Florestan Fernandes, The Negro in Brazilian Society (New York, 1971), pp. 2-7; Franklin W. Knight, Slave Society in Cuba during the Nineteenth Century (Madison, 1970), pp. 169-194; Robert Cruden, The Negro in Reconstruction (Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1969); and Kenneth Stampp, The Era of Reconstruction, 1865–1877 (New York, 1965), pp. 119-215. Race relations in Cuba, in spite of the government’s failure to prepare the freedmen for freedom, were much better than in the United States, according to Herbert S. Klein, Slavery in the Americas: A Comparative Study of Virginia and Cuba (Chicago, 1967), pp. 254-264.


Mata, Esposición . . . 1858, pp. 8-9.

Author notes


The author is Professor of History at California State University, Hayward.