The colonial history of Latin America usually begins with the drama of conquest, and this is, by and large, appropriate. Yet anyone who has read Bernal Díaz del Castillo knows that beneath the broad outline of conquest exploits lies a more subtle history of Indian-white alliances. The assistance of powerful regional kingdoms like Tlaxcala in Mexico, or that of the Huanca people in Peru, proved critical to the Spanish conquest of the Aztec and Inca empires. Such alliances expressed the internal contradictions and discontents that plagued Aztec and Inca rule, and the failure of these empires to eradicate the independent military potential of resentful ethnic kingdoms. Yet we also know that mutually beneficial alliances between Spaniards and restive Indian peoples could prove short-lived. Spanish-Tlaxcalan relations soured after a “positive” early phase, and in 1564 the Huancas joined their former Inca enemies in a plot to throw off Spanish rule.1

This article explores the early history of Indian-Spanish relations in Huamanga, a highland region in the heartland of the former Inca empire.2 The story focuses not on a major ethnic kingdom that emerged as a strategic power in its own right, but on the diverse region of Huamanga, which comprised numerous rival ethnic or tribal groups, whose desires to secure political autonomy and economic resources frequently pitted them against one another and against the Incas. To understand better how the societies of Huamanga responded to the presence of the Spaniards, who founded the city of the same name in 1539-40, we turn briefly to pre-Columbian history and social structure.3

Among Huamanga’s local peoples, relations of kinship and reciprocity defined boundaries of social identity and economic cooperation. An ethnic group viewed itself as a “family” of ayllu lineages, related to one another by descent from a common ancestor-god. Within such “families,” exchanges of labor created bonds of mutual obligation by which households and ayllus gained access to resources and labor assistance. Such cooperation enabled kin units, as coproprietors of the ethnic domain, to work ecologically diverse lands and resources scattered “vertically” in the Andean highland environment. As an economic institution, therefore, reciprocal labor exchange among “relatives” was a fundamental social relationship, governing production and distribution of goods. As an ideology, moreover, reciprocity defined relations between ayllu or ethnic kurakas (“chiefs”) and commoners. For the ethnic “family” as a whole, and for each of its many internal subdivisions, a kuraka symbolized the collective identity and interest of “his” people. In exchange for service as a guardian of local norms and interests, kurakas at the higher levels of social organization acquired special rights to labor services. A kuraka was expected, among other duties, to protect the group’s domain against rivals, redistribute and enforce rights to land and other resources, organize work and ritual, and “generously” redistribute accumulated goods in the form of “gifts” from personal and community stores. In exchange, “his” people worked his fields, herded his animals, wove his cloth, and tended to household needs such as water and fuel. The exchange had to appear “balanced” to enjoy legitimacy.

Two consequences of this social and economic organization had important implications for the early colonial period. First, traditions of kinship and reciprocity imposed constraints on native leadership. Only by building and maintaining a long-term exchange of mutual obligations, expectations, and loyalties did a kuraka acquire the prestige or “influence” that made ayllus or households responsive to his formal “requests” for labor services. Kurakas who failed to fulfill the expectations of kin, or who consistently violated local norms, risked an erosion of prestige that undermined their authority. Second, the local mode of production tended to divide producers into competing, self-sufficient groups. The division of provincial society into autarkic, ethnically distinct networks of producer-relatives whose scattered properties often overlapped or were interspersed among the claims of other such networks, fostered fierce conflicts over lands and “strategic” ecological zones (coca fields, for example). Even within the bounds of an ethnic family, decentralized networks of kinship and reciprocity bred competition between distinct kin groupings for self-sufficiency, prestige, and wealth. The very nature of local social and economic structure, therefore, tended to generate endemic rivalries between kindreds and ethnic groups.

The Incas conquered Huamanga around 1460. Their empire converted communities and ethnic groups into a peasantry whose surplus labors sustained an expansive state, but left intact traditional relations of production that assured local self-sufficiency. Despite the sophistication of Inca statecraft, loyalties remained fragile; local peoples proudly retained oral traditions of resistance to the invading Incas. To consolidate control over the region, the Incas implemented their standard policy of settling ethnic “outsiders” (mitmaq) in strategic zones of Huamanga. Inca domination thus left Huamanga a legacy of intensified ethnic fragmentation, together with anti-Inca politics and attitudes, and usurpations of local peoples’ resources and labor, but without undermining the internal organization of local production and social identification. The disintegration of the Inca empire after 1532 brought a resurgence of small-scale community and ethnic societies whose economic vitality drew on centuries of local tradition and experience.

The confrontation of these peoples and the Spanish conquistadores gave rise to a complex pattern of alliances—negotiated primarily between encomenderos and Indian kurakas—in the new, post-Incaic era. As we shall see, both sides had good reasons to develop mutually acceptable relationships, but fundamental contradictions limited such relations to a transitory adaptation, and doomed the post-Incaic alliances to failure.

The Rise of Uneasy Alliances

The Europeans wanted riches and lordship. After the distribution of precious metals brought to Cajamarca to ransom the Inca Atahualpa, Francisco Pizarro and his fellow conquistadores set out southward to subjugate, plunder, and rule over an Andean colony. The European thirst for precious metals and the looting of religious shrines created the folk legend that Spaniards ate gold and silver for food.4 Pizarro distributed encomiendas of Indian peoples to his conquistador allies. The encomendero was charged with serving the crown’s military and political needs in the colony, and attending to the material and spiritual well-being of the Indians “entrusted” to his care. In exchange, he was free to command tribute and labor from them. As the personal representative of the crown in the field, the encomendero could use his authority over his people to enrich himself, but he also carried the burden of forging colonial relationships with the new Indian subjects.5

Military security quickly became a top priority, particularly after the puppet Inca emperor, Manco Inca, soured on his European friends and escaped to the montaña northwest of Cuzco in 1536. From his hidden jungle fortress, Manco organized raids that disrupted European commercial routes and harrassed Indian societies allied to the Europeans. The resistance of Manco’s “neo-Inca state” became so troublesome that Pizarro resolved to consolidate European control and expansion along the highland route between Jauja and Cuzco. The few Europeans who had set up a frontier town in Quinua (Huanta) held out precariously against Manco and the local groups who supported the Inca’s cause. Pizarro sent Vasco de Guevara, a veteran of Nicaragua and Chile, and twenty-five Spaniards to the area in 1539, hoping to establish the Europeans more firmly in the region of Huamanga.6

In the interests of security, the more than twenty encomenderos centered in Huamanga decided in 1540 to move south from Quinua to a more defensible site.7 The move was carried out under the leadership of Vasco de Guevara. Huamanga overlooked a strategic area west of the neo-Incas, and the conquistadores repeatedly sought to stabilize a European population in the new city to counter the threat of neo-Inca raids and local rebellions.8 Those who settled in Huamanga saw the local Indian communities as a source of labor and plunder. Spanish settlers required Indian labor and tribute for the most basic necessities—food; transport of water, wood, and merchandise; construction of houses and public works such as churches, roads, and bridges.9 Furthermore, the loyalty of the local Indians was essential to the Europeans if they were to resist Inca encroachments. The cabildo, a municipal council controlled by the European encomendero elite, sought to curb abuse of the natives in 1541 because it “would give the Indians reason to turn against us, killing Spaniards as they used to do.”10

Fortunately for the conquistadores, local Andean societies had good reason to ally themselves with Europeans. The military prowess of the Spaniards, skilled masters of horse and sword, impressed the kurakas who accompanied Atahualpa in Cajamarca in 1532. As is well known, peasant societies are remarkably sensitive to changes in power balances important to their survival, and the Lucanas peoples of Andamarcas and Laramati quickly recognized the Spaniards as new masters. The kurakas of the Lucanas Laramati peoples proclaimed themselves “friends of the Spaniards” when the victorious entourage passed through Vilcashuamán en route to its historic entry into Cuzco. Once the Spaniards broke the Inca siege of Cuzco in 1537, such proclamations acquired additional credibility.11

Besides having a healthy respect for Spanish military skills, local societies of Huamanga saw positive benefits in an alliance with the Europeans. These local societies could finally break the yoke of Inca rule, and advance ethnic interests in a new, post-Incaic era. Some of the mitmaq populations settled in northern Huamanga by the Incas returned to their home communities. The Europeans were not the only people who plundered the Andean sierra in the early years. Local communities sacked warehouses once dedicated to the discredited Incas and major huacas (“deities”) associated with the state, and a mushrooming population of yanaconas—individuals who left ayllu society to become dependent retainers of the Europeans—joined their masters in the hunt for precious metals.12

Given these circumstances, the conquistadores got the help they needed, despite tenuous loyalties and occasional conflicts between Europeans and their native allies. Early in 1541, Indians from northeast Huanta, who bore the brunt of Manco Inca’s assaults, came to Huamanga to warn of the Inca’s plans to overrun the Spanish city. The cabildo sent Francisco de Cárdenas to lead an expedition of twenty Spaniards and “two thousand Indian friends” to forestall the attack and “to protect the natives.”13 Through the early 1550s, the continual turbulence of civil war among the Spaniards14 and fights with the neo-Incas put local societies and their kurakas in a difficult position. Given the claims all sides made for logistic and military support, native peoples could not choose neutrality. They had to decide what kind of alliance would most benefit ethnic or communal interests. Robbed of the option of neutrality, local societies participated heavily in the early wars, which “[left] the Indians destroyed.” While some Indians of Huamanga joined forces with the neo-Incas, most groups—including Incas settled in Huamanga—fought on the side of the Spanish crown. The strategic highway connecting Lima (founded in 1535), Huamanga, and Cuzco threw the burden of fighting upon the societies of the northern districts through which it passed—Huanta, Vilcashuamán, and Andahuaylas. In addition, Huanta and Andahuaylas bordered on the area controlled by the neo-Incas. A kuraka “guarding a pass out of fear of the Inca” sent urgent notice in 1544 that Manco Inca, with the help of dissident Spaniards, was planning an attack that threatened the encomienda Indians of Pedro Díaz de Rojas. But even the societies far to the south did not escape involvement. When Francisco Hernández Girón rebelled against the crown in the early 1550s, he raided the rich herds of the Soras and Lucanas peoples for supplies. The raids provoked Indian elites into supporting the royal campaign.15

The encomenderos knew that they needed favorable working relationships with “their” kurakas; the shrewdest sought to cement alliances with favors and gifts. Encomenderos and other Spaniards frequently came before the cabildo in Huamanga’s first decade to ask for land grants (mercedes) for estancias or farms. Percipient encomenderos encouraged the cabildo to grant mercedes to their kurakas as well. The kurakas of Juan de Berrio received ten fanegadas (nearly thirty hectares) in the fertile valley of Viñaca west of the city of Huamanga; one kuraka sponsored by Berrio received title to twenty fanegadas. Francisco de Balboa asked the cabildo to grant sixteen fanegadas in the rich Chupas plains south of Huamanga to his chief kuraka (kuraka principal).16 Diego Gavilán claimed twenty fanegadas for himself in the Chigua Valley, and then had the cabildo grant the rest of the valley to his kuraka.17 One of the most successful encomenderos, Diego Maldonado, showered gifts upon the kurakas of his Andahuaylas encomienda. The native elite received a Black slave, mules, horses, livestock, and fine Inca and Spanish cloths. In a later dispute, a kuraka pointed out that such gifts were given “because [Maldonado] owed it to them for the sei-vices they would render him.”18

Communities and ethnic groups hoped that alliances with Europeans would help them gain the upper hand in their own native rivalries. In 1557, for example, the Lucanas Laramati peoples complained that neighboring groups were intruding upon valuable hunting lands. With the help of their encomendero, Pedro de Avendaño, secretary of the viceroy and a resident of Lima, they obtained a viceregal ban on hunting directed against the Lucanas Andamarcas, Yauyos, Huancas, Parinacochas, and coastal peoples who surrounded the core settlement area of the Lucanas Laramati.19 The Chancas of Andahuaylas, traditionally bitter rivals of the Incas, used European power against their enemies. When the neo-Incas kidnapped the Chanca guardians of coca fields in Mayomarca (between Huanta and Andahuaylas), ethnic groups from Huamanga threatened to take over the treasured fields. The Chancas solved their difficulty by persuading their encomendero to lead a military expedition to Mayomarca, which secured their control.20 Collaboration with Europeans, despite the tolls of war, tribute, and labor, brought its advantages.

A closer look at the Chancas of Andahuaylas shows how astute encomenderos cultivated working relationships with native elites and societies. Diego Maldonado, one of the richest and most successful encomenderos, preferred negotiating agreements with the kurakas to resorting to brute force. Through one such agreement, Maldonado persuaded some natives who had lived in distant valleys and punas to resettle in a valley nearer the royal highway to Cuzco. Maldonado also avoided usurping treasured Chanca resources. Instead, he carved out lands and herds for his hacienda from the vast holdings once dedicated to the support of the Inca state. Initially, at least, Maldonado settled personal yanaconas on his lands rather than demand encomienda labor. When Indians complained that his expansive herds damaged their crops, he (or his administrator) inspected the claims and distributed corn, potatoes, ají (“hot peppers”), and other products as compensation for damages incurred. Maldonado also negotiated agreements with the kurakas, specifying the tribute obligations of his encomienda. Maldonado customarily set aside a third of the tribute in foodstuffs for redistribution, and in lean agricultural years donated food and relieved his encomienda of various tribute obligations. He contributed the labor of African slaves and yanaconas to the construction of an obraje jointly owned by his Indians and a Spanish entrepreneur, and distributed European novelties such as scissors and glass cups. He preferred agreements to unsystematized plunder, and thus in a sense integrated himself into native society as a generous, “redistributive” patron, though Maldonado’s son later exaggerated when he stated that his father’s gifts were responsible for the kurakas’ impressive wealth. Indian workers on his fields received, besides the customary payments, “gifts” of corn, coca, salt, ají, meat, sheep, and wool. During the twenty-two-day harvest of coca leaves, Maldonado would regale workers with eight baskets of coca.21 In his will, he donated thousands of cattle to his Indians. During his lifetime, Maldonado sometimes acted as if he were a shrewd ethnographer applying Andean rules of “generosity” to create dependencies and “reciprocal” exchange obligations.

Alliance did not, of course, imply that life was free of conflict or abuse. Behind the negotiations often lay violence and the respective power and needs of both sides. At one point, Indians killed an African slave of Maldonado, and the encomendero sometimes jailed the Chanca elites. A record of fines collected by Huamanga officials from 1559 on documents the rough, violent episodes that marred many relationships. Among the encomenderos themselves, gambling and fighting seemed to be a way of life. The Indians were subject to whippings, looting, and rape by Spaniards, Blacks, mestizos, and mulattoes. Labor conditions were crude and harsh. Construction of Huamanga in its original site cost the lives of many workers.22

As conquerors and aspiring commanders of the labor of their Indians, encomenderos saw themselves as agents personally responsible for basic public tasks. To construct a church, they assessed themselves a labor draft of 510 Indian workers. Later, they assumed responsibility for supplying Indians to carry water to urban Huamanga’s households. In general, encomenderos and masters of yanaconas tended to treat their wards as personal property. For the native workers, such a relationship imposed harsh demands. For example, a lively business flourished around the rental of Indian workers and sale of Indian subjects.23 Rental of Indian labor encouraged its exploiters, like some conquistadores bent on returning to Spain after a few years of plunder, to ignore the long-run survival of workers. The buyer of Indians who sought to squeeze out the most work in a short time period, as one observer put it, “enters like a hungry wolf.”24

These abuses should not blind us, however, to facts that were so obvious to the native peoples themselves. Cooperation or alliance with the conquerors of the Incas offered at least the possibility of protection against extreme violence. Significantly, the majority of fines collected for personal abuse of Indians was not imposed on members of Huamanga’s small circle of elite families, but on lesser Spanish, mixed-blood, and native residents. If alliance did not create an idyllic era, it nevertheless offered the advantages sketched above—continued freedom from Inca (or neo-Inca) rule, special privileges for the kuraka friends of the conquistadores, and valuable help in the endemic rivalries among local communities and ethnic groups.

Early relations, then, displayed an uneasy mixture of force, negotiation, and alliance. The parties to the post-Incaic alliances probed one another for weaknesses, testing the limits of the new relationships. In the early years, each encomendero—accompanied by soldiers if necessary—“asked his cacique [kuraka] for what he thought necessary, and [the chief] bargained about what he could give.” Ill treatment and extortion varied “according to the care and greed of each [encomendero], and the skill that he had with his Indians.”25

Sheer ignorance of the true resources available to local societies handicapped the conquistadores. The first inspection of the Huamanga region, in 1549, turned up only 12,179 native males between the ages of fifteen and fifty; several years later, when population should have declined, Damián de la Bandera counted 21,771 tributaries. Despite his considerable skills and knowledge, Bandera had little choice but to rely on kurakas for much of his information.26 Felipe Guarnan Poma de Ayala wrote a scathing indictment of the European colonials around 1600. Significantly, this bitter Indian critic from Huamanga praised the first generation of encomenderos. The conquistadores “used to sit down to eat and gave all the clothes and textiles the [Indian] notables wanted, and if the crops froze or were lost, they pardoned the poor Indians [their tribute].” Francisco de Cárdenas, who had led 2,000 Indians against the neo-Incas in 1541, left his Indians thousands of sheep on their punas in Chocorvos and Vilcashuamán. Don Pedro de Córdova, said Poma de Ayala, helped protect his Lucanas Laramati peoples from abusive priests and officials.27 The Lucanas Laramati, who had always sought to be “friends of the Spaniards,” granted Córdova a huge ranching estate “for the many releases of taxes and tributes which, as encomendero, he made and pardoned them.”28 The parties of the post-Incaic alliances understood very well that they needed one another.

The Early Commercial Economy

By securing cooperative relations with native elites and societies, an aspiring ruling class of encomenderos laid a foundation for the colonial economy and society in Huamanga. By the 1550s, Spanish-Indian relations entered a second phase as a corregidor and other appointed officials began to assume responsibility for many judicial and administrative tasks. The colonial state, centered in Lima, thereby began to intervene in a restricted way to limit the regional autonomy of Huamanga’s leading families. Colonial officials, however, tended to enter into alliances with powerful local Spaniards, and, in the early years, the cabildo, dominated by encomenderos, had moved quickly to establish rules and guidelines for a colonial society.29 The cabildo, almost immediately, had taken on the task of assigning solares (“town lots”) for homes, shops, gardens, and small farms, 30 and of granting mercedes for farm and pasture lands. During the years 1540-43, the cabildo granted forty-two mercedes for estancias (“grazing sites”) and farm lands to twenty residents.31 In 1546, the city appropriated common lands “that are around this town that are neither worked nor populated by Indians.” It appears that eighteen notables of Huamanga received an average of eighty hectares each.32 Twelve years later, the cabildo distributed thousands of hectares in the irrigated Chaquibamba plains to more than sixty vecinos and other residents.33

Leading citizens acquired lands and pastures for their own personal gain. Encomienda tributes already supplied Huamanga with food, cloth, artisan products, and precious metals.34 An encomendero who owned a fine home in the city and a productive encomienda had little reason to yearn for a huge estate to satisfy status pretensions. Commercial agriculture, however, offered lucrative possibilities. Lima, Cuzco, and the booming silver town of Potosí created markets for foodstuffs, cloth, wine, sugar, coca, tallow, hides, and artisanal items. Huamanga itself served as an economic pole attracting rural products. Corn and potatoes, for example, sold for twice the price in Huamanga that they fetched in faraway rural Lucanas.35 Through cabildo mercedes, sales by kurakas, negotiations, or force, encomenderos and lesser European residents began to claim lands. Rather than consolidate holdings in a single large estate, the Europeans commonly carved out multiple holdings—often small- or middle-sized—on lands whose fertility, suitability for marketable products such as coca or wine, or location near the city or major commercial routes (i.e., the main highway in Huanta and Vilcashuamán) promised material reward. Herds of cattle, sheep, and goats; irrigated patches of wheat, corn, vegetables, and alfalfa; groves of fruit trees and carefully kept vineyards and water-powered flour mills began to dot the valleys of Huatata, Yucay, and Viñaca near the city of Huamanga. Along the eastern edges of Huanta, aggressive entrepreneurs set up coca plantations.36

Commercial capital, understood as buying or producing cheaply to sell dearly,37 thus structured early patterns of investment and initiative. The Europeans cast their entrepreneurial eyes not only toward agriculture, but also mining, manufactures, and trade itself. Already in 1541, Pedro Díaz de Rojas had uncovered rich gold mines in the coca montaña of Mayomarca (eastern Huanta). The gold mines attracted fortune-seekers fired with passion and dreams of glory; in 1545, the cabildo sent a leading citizen to restore order and authority to the violent, rough-and-tumhle life of the mines.38 The discovery of major gold and silver deposits in Atunsulla (Angaraes) in 1560, and of mercury in Huancavelica in 1563, made Huamanga a major mining region in its own right. The royal accountant in Huamanga joined encomenderos rushing to Atunsulla to extract minerals worth tens of thousands of pesos. On January 1, 1564, the encomendero Amador de Cabrera registered the fabulous mercury deposits of Huancavelica. Mercury soon circulated as a regional medium of exchange, along with gold and silver.39 With the discovery of major mines, Huamanga’s entrepreneurs began to build textile workshops and obrajes. Within fifteen years of Cabrera’s discovery, encomenderos had established at least three major rural obrajes to supply the growing mining and commercial centers of Huamanga. In neighboring Andahuaylas, another obraje had been supplying the Cuzco market since the 1550s.40 Huamanga’s encomenderos had established trading networks with Lima very early, and the Vilcashuamán tambo (“inn”) on the Inca highway from Huamanga to Cuzco rapidly emerged as a major trading center.41

The Indians, rather than isolate themselves from these economic developments, usually sought to take advantage of new trends and opportunities. Individually and collectively, Indians searched for money and commercial advantage. To be sure, native societies had to find ways to acquire money if they were to pay tributes owed to the encomenderos. The early documentation, however, offers evidence that belies the conclusion that native societies participated reluctantly in the commercial economy just to gather money needed for tribute. On the contrary, communities displayed an open, aggressive—even enthusiastic—attitude that rivaled the boldness of Diego Maldonado’s amateur ethnography in Andahuaylas. Long before the Spaniards gained control of Atunsulla around 1560, communities well over a hundred kilometers away had sent mitmaq representatives to mine “the hill of gold” abandoned by the Incas. The Lucanas Indians worked local gold and silver mines for their own benefit, but complained bitterly about demands that they work Spanish mines in faraway sites. Kurakas in Andahuaylas sent natives to set up ethnic outposts in the distant silver mines of Potosí.42 Unhampered by Inca claims on coca fields, local societies expanded coca production and sales. One group used coca to pay “the tribute [they owed], and with what remained after paying tribute, they sustained themselves.” Another group used the coca left after tribute to buy sheep and swine.43 By the 1550s, the Chancas and Adrián de Vargas, a Spanish entrepreneur, agreed to build an obraje half-owned by the Indians, who sold some of the finished textiles to their encomendero in Cuzco.44

Individually, too, natives reacted innovatively to the new colonial economy. By 1547, Indian workers and traders captured an impressive share of the Mayomarca gold dust in exchange for their services and products.45 Native merchants flocked to supply the dynamic mines and commercial centers of Huamanga,46 and artisans left ayllus to find opportunities elsewhere. Silversmiths joined encomenderos in Huamanga, where their skills yielded handsome rewards. Stone masons earned money in colonial construction, and skilled native artisans became indispensable specialists in the Huancavelica mines.47 The brisk commerce in coca led Indian entrepreneurs, especially the kurakas, to join Spaniards in setting up private coca farms or plantations.48 Andean ethnic “families” had always been plagued by internal tension and stratification; now, colonial society offered new possibilities to dissatisfied individuals willing to abandon or loosen ties with ayllu society. Some looked for alternatives in the city of Huamanga. In the mines, the loyalties of ayllu Indians sent to work distant ore deposits on behalf of their ethnic groups sometimes abated.49

The kurakas, in fact, were in some ways better equipped than the Spaniards to take advantage of new opportunities. The Europeans needed their cooperation to stabilize the early colony and to exact tribute and labor from ayllu society. The native elite, moreover, enjoyed special privileges precisely because their “kinfolk” recognized them as guardians of the collective welfare of their ayllus and communities. The long-run “reciprocal” exchange between peasant households and kurakas gave elites, as privileged leaders, the means to initiate rewarding activities in the colonial economy. One knowledgeable observer called the privately owned coca farms “their particular trade.” The kurakas power, complained the corregidor of Huamanga, allowed them “to rent [the natives] like beasts and to pocket the money themselves.”50 It was true that a kuraka who consistently violated his kinfolk’s sense of a fair reciprocal exchange ran the risk of encouraging emigration or disloyalty. In extreme cases, Indians even turned to colonial authorities or patrons to denounce a kuraka or to challenge his authority. In 1559, Huamanga’s officials fined one such chief 250 pesos for “certain torments and deaths of Indians.”51 In less extreme cases, however, or when native societies found alliance with European colonials beneficial to their interests, the kurakas’ economic initiatives did not necessarily erode their traditional prestige or “influence” among ethnic “relatives.”

Thus the Indians, impelled by the hunt for money and commercial profit, joined in the creation of a colonial economy. The native-white alliances did not only enhance the ability of Huamanga’s colonials to create an impressive array of commercial production and relationships; they reinforced the natives’ “open” attitude toward the newcomers, which focused on taking advantage of new opportunities rather than withdrawing sullenly from contact.52 The goals of Indians and Spaniards were different and ultimately in contradiction, but joint participation in the commercial economy was, nevertheless, quite real. The Indians embraced the entry of commercial capital on the Andean stage; only later would they discover that the embrace was deadly. The encomenderos saw that alliance with local elites and societies could lay a foundation for colonial extraction; only later would they discover that the foundation was unstable, and that it could crumble under pressure.

Labor and Tribute Under the Alliances

The problem was that, under the terms of the early alliances, the colonial economy continued to depend for goods and labor almost wholly upon an Andean social system, managed and controlled by Andean social actors, relationships, and traditions. A colonial state apparatus had only partially rooted itself in Huamanga. Despite the presence of outside colonial officials and formal tribute lists by the 1550s, the colonials could not rely on the state to organize a new economic system that would funnel them native goods and labor. On the contrary, the natives went “over the heads” of local colonials to appeal for favorable rulings from metropolitan-oriented officials in Lima and Spain. The “state” in Huamanga in actuality remained the personal responsibility of about twenty- five encomenderos53 and a handful of cooperating officials who, as the king’s representatives, sought to rule over the area. Under such conditions, it was difficult to reorder the native economy.

Instead, it seemed more feasible to base colonial extraction upon longstanding Andean traditions. The more formal lists by officials in the 1550s and 1560s specified a large variety of items far more impressive than the short lists after 1570. Aside from the gold and silver, food, animals, and cloth of the post-1570 lists, the early tributes included items such as wooden plates and vases, washtubs, chairs, footwear, horse and saddle gear, large sacks and ropes, cushions and rugs, whips, and so forth.54 The diversity not only attests to the capacity of native societies to incorporate new products and skills into their economic life, but it also dramatizes the dependence of Europeans upon indigenous communities, governed by Andean-style labor relations, for items that would later be supplied by a more hispanized artisan and handicrafts economy. The documents also hint that early encomenderos—to obtain their tributes—had to respect at least some of the traditional rules governing Andean labor and “taxes.” Households continued to retain exclusive rights to crops produced on ayllu lands for local use; to pay tribute, households and ayllus contributed labor time on other lands specifically designated to satisfy outside claimants.55 Traditionally, such practices protected ayllus and households from having to pay a tribute in goods from subsistence crops or from reserves in years when crops fared poorly. A shrewd observer of Andean life commented that Indians would rather go as a community to work fifteen days on other fields than give up for tribute a few potatoes grown by the family for its own use.56 Poma de Ayala’s praise of Huamanga’s early encomenderos for lightening the Indians’ tribute burdens in bad years perhaps reflected the encomenderos’ inability or unwillingness to overturn such cherished rules. In Andahuaylas, Diego Maldonado supplied the wool needed to make textiles the Indians “owed” him.57 Such practices respected the rule that peasants supplied labor to claimants rather than raw materials or local subsistence products. Ethnic groups and communities distributed tribute obligations—including money tributes—by ayllu, in accordance with traditional practices.58

To obtain labor for public works, transport, and agriculture, the colonials had to pursue a similar policy. To replace worn fibrous cable bridges, the cabildo of Huamanga ordered “that all the caciques [kurakas] and Indians of this province come together [to say] who are obligated to make bridges . . . from old times, and their [European] masters are ordered to donate the Indians [thereby designated].”59 To “rent” Indians to transport wares or to work lands, a European often had to make the arrangement with kurakas rather than hire the laborers directly. A contract as late as 1577 shows that the prominent Cárdenas family could not independently hire the workers they needed on their estancia in Chocorvos. Instead, a kuraka loaned twenty-seven kinsmen to the family and received the 162 pesos owed them after six months of labor. (Presumably the chief then distributed six pesos to each worker.)60

We should not exaggerate, of course, the dependence of the Europeans. They had alternatives and used them when they felt it necessary. Aside from an impressive population of yanaconas, they could draw on the services of slaves, mestizos and other mixed-blood dependents, or exploit individual natives directly by extortion or agreement. For ambitious enterprises, however, these alternatives could only supplement rather than replace the labor of ayllu-based encomienda Indians. In the case of the Cárdenas estancia, the twenty-seven encomienda herders far outnumbered the “five yanaconas and four Indian cowboys” on the spread.61 Furthermore, even if an encomendero wished to deal directly with individual natives to work various farms and estates, his ability to do so stemmed from a general spirit of cooperation with native societies as a whole, led by their chiefs. The Maldonados of Andahuaylas secured workers to tend to various herds, grow wheat and barley, harvest coca leaf, and so forth. Such relations sometimes carried the flavor of a direct interchange with native individuals, who earned food and money for their labors. Often, however, the Indians worked not to receive money, but to discharge collective tribute accounts settled upon with the kurakas. Even in the cases where encomienda Indians received individual payments in coin or in kind, Maldonado’s access to their labors was facilitated by the kurakas’ early approval, as spokesman for communities and ethnic groups, of such relations. In the first year, kurakas had given Diego Maldonado llamas and Indian workers to transport items to Potosí and Lima. A tribute list in 1552 probably systematized earlier rules on the numbers of workers kurakas could spare to help out on Maldonado’s farms, orchards, ranches, and in domestic service.62 As we saw earlier, Maldonado’s success was related directly to a shrewd amateur ethnography. He rewarded cooperation with “gifts” and favors, negotiated agreements with the kurakas, and tended to respect traditional Andean prerogatives.

It is perhaps not surprising that the majority of the agricultural and artisanal surplus, and a considerable amount of the precious metal tributes, funneled to the Europeans rested heavily on the kurakas’ ability to mobilize the labor of kinfolk in accordance with traditional Andean norms and expectations. More dramatic, however, is that even in the most dynamic sectors of the colonial economy—mining and textile manufactures—the Europeans could not transcend their reliance upon the kurakas. The mines and obrajes were strategic nerve centers crucial to the growth of a thriving commercial economy. Yet the voluntary flow of individuals or families to work the mines was not enough to assure an adequate and regular labor force. In 1562 a special commission struggled unsuccessfully to reform Huamanga’s mines and stabilize a labor force. Still, as late as 1569, Amador de Cabrera negotiated with the kurakas of his encomienda to contract Indians he needed to work the mines of Huancavelica. The corregidor complained that Huamanga’s rich mine deposits were languishing “because of a lack of Indian workers.”63

Well into the 1570s—a transitional decade—European entrepreneurs depended upon the kurakas to supply workers for obrajes. In 1567, Hernán Guillen de Mendoza reached an agreement with the Tanquihuas Indians of his encomienda to rotate a force of sixty Indians for his obraje “Cacamarca” in Vilcashuamán. Ten years later, in Castrovirreyna, the kurakas of the Cárdenas family agreed to provide forty adults and fifty children to run a new obraje. Only an agreement among the chiefs of the various lineages—tied to one another and to their people by the longstanding expectations and interchanges of local kinship and reciprocity— could commit ayllu Indians to labor in the obraje. One Huamanga contract recorded the formal approval of seven different chiefs; a similar contract from another region recorded the unanimous agreement of sixteen kurakas and “notables” (principales). Significantly, the kurakas of Cárdenas sent a minor chief to oversee production in the new obraje. In the 1570s, though not in later years, Antonio de Oré appointed prominent encomienda Indians instead of Europeans or mestizos to manage his obraje in Canaria (Vilcashuamán). The native elites oversaw labor relations within the obraje and adapted traditional Andean techniques to the manufacture of textiles.64

Excluded from the traditional web of reciprocities among “kinfolk,” which mobilized labor and circulated goods in Andean ethnic “families,” and unable to reorganize the native economy or control directly the basic elements of production, the colonials had little choice but to rely upon their alliance with the kurakas. Even if Europeans aspired to take on the precarious task of reordering internally the native economy, the limits of their position would force them to rely upon the kurakas’ ability to persuade their kin to participate in this change. By cultivating working relationships with the managers of autonomous native economies, Huamanga’s colonials could, at least, receive a portion of the wealth and labor available in dynamic local economies without having to try to organize a powerful state apparatus or reorder local society. Whether the alliance was more voluntary or forced in character, the chiefs would use their traditional prestige to mobilize a flow of labor and tribute to the colonial economy. Combined with an impressive show of Spanish military skill in Cajamarca and elsewhere, and some willingness to help local societies promote ethnic interests, such a strategy seemed sensible at first. It is no accident that the early decades produced figures like Juan Polo de Ondegardo and Domingo de Santo Tomás. Experienced and shrewd colonials, they urged the crown to base its exploitation of native economies upon a respect for the traditional relationships and prerogatives of Andean society. To the greatest extent consistent with crown interests, royal policy should siphon off surplus goods and labor from ongoing native economies rather than reorganize or control them directly.65

Extracting a surplus by allying with the chiefs of autonomous and rather wealthy economic systems was for the conquistadores a realistic path of least resistance, but it soon led to a dead end. The kurakas controlled the basic processes of production and reproduction that sustained the colonials’ economic, social, and political positions. If the kurakas were not at all “inferior” to the Europeans, but in fact directed the social relations and dynamic economies crucial to the survival of colonial enterprise, why should they accept a subordinate position in colonial society? On the contrary, their indispensable position tended to reinforce their posture as collaborating allies rather than dependent inferiors. The colonials remained foreign, extraneous elements superimposed upon an autonomous economy in which they served little purpose. Such a limitation did not augur well for an aspiring ruling class’s hegemony, or for its long-run capacity to dominate a society and capture the wealth it produced. As soon as the specific advantages of the kurakas’ alliance with the Spaniards began to run out—because the Europeans demanded too much or because Andean kinfolk reacted against the alliance—the early colonial system would enter a crisis. The dependence of Europeans upon native elites for access to exploitable labor in agriculture, transport, public works, manufactures, and mining exposed the artificial character of foreign hegemony. The economy erected by the post-Incaic alliances was deeply vulnerable to changes in the natives’ cooperative policies. Disillusion with the Europeans could spell disaster.

Contradiction and Breakdown

To understand why disillusion set in, we should remember that the native-white alliances had always been uneasy and contradictory. The encomenderos cultivated working relations with local chiefs and societies in order to rule over the Andes and to extract as much wealth as possible. The natives accepted an alliance with the victorious foreigners as a way to advance local interests and to limit colonial demands and abuses. The contradictions of the post-Incaic alliances thus bore within them the seeds of severe disillusion. The violence and arrogance endemic in early relations warned of the limitations of such alliances for both sides.

In many ways, Huamanga’s native societies had fared relatively well by allying with the Europeans. Their adaptations freed them of onerous bonds with the Incas, found them allies in ever-present struggles with rival native groups, and offered them the opportunity to accumulate wealth in the form of precious metals. The combined effects of epidemic disease, war, and emigration of yanaconas took their toll upon the several hundred thousand natives of Huamanga, but the decline was not as irrevocably devastating as that in other Andean areas. The Lucanas peoples, who in 1572 numbered about 25,000, claimed in the 1580s that their population had even increased since the turbulent reign of the Inca Huayna Capac (1493–1525).66 For Huamanga as a whole, a high birth rate, the relative immunity of people in high-altitude areas to disease, shrewd politics, and good luck helped cut net population decline to an average rate of perhaps 0.5 percent a year, or some 20 percent over the 1532–70 period.67 Such a loss posed hardships for a labor-intensive system of agriculture, but was not by itself disastrous. Indeed, the rich herding economies of the high punas of Lucanas, Chocorvos, and Vilca-shuamán served as a kind of “insurance” against a decline of labor available for agriculture.68 Successful adaptation to colonial conditions had enabled Huamanga’s Indians to maintain traditional relationships and economic productivity. Inspections of southern Huamanga in the 1560s turned up many local huacas, presumably supported by retaining rights to lands, animals, and ayllu labor.69 Several years later, Viceroy Francisco de Toledo was so impressed with the wealth of the Lucanas Laramati peoples that he nearly tripled their tribute assessment.70 Huamanga’s kurakas joined other Andean chiefs in offering King Philip II a dazzling bribe to end the encomienda system—100,000 ducats more than any offer by the Spanish encomenderos, who wished the system continued.71

Nevertheless, the alliance with the Europeans had created ominous trends. First, even though Huamanga’s rural societies weathered the effects of epidemic, war, emigration, and population decline relatively well, these were disturbing events. Economically, unpredictable drops in the population available for local tasks augured poorly for the long-run dynamism of ayllu-based society. A certain expected level of available human energy was a prerequisite for the maintenance of the traditional economic prerogatives, relationships, and exchanges that tied producers together. Ideologically, Andean societies tended to interpret misfortune—especially disease or early death—as the result of poorly functioning, “imbalanced” social relationships within the community of kin groups and gods (many of them ancestor-gods). Disease was often considered the work of neglected or angry deities. War and epidemic disease raised the specter of fundamentally awry relationships, which could bring about a major catastrophe far more devastating than earlier trends.72

Second, colonial relationships created humiliations and dependencies that undercut the ethnic freedom gained by liberation from Inca hegemony. Aside from the individual abuses and extortions that natives confronted everywhere, local societies found themselves relying upon colonial authority to defend their interests. Using an alliance with Europeans to protect against encroachments by outside ethnic groups was one matter, but dependence upon Europeans to settle internal disputes or to correct colonial abuses was quite another. Unfortunately, such a dependence grew increasingly frequent. Given the internal strife that plagued decentralized ethnic “families,” it was difficult to avoid turning to Europeans as a source of power in local disputes over land rights, tribute- labor obligations, and chieftainships. By the 1550s, Huamanga’s Indians commonly traveled as far away as Lima to redress local grievances.73

Finally, the new relationships generated demands for labor that might go beyond what local societies were willing to offer in exchange for the benefit of alliance with the colonials. The number of Spaniards, of course, increased over the years. Moreover, the demands of any particular set of colonials did not necessarily remain static. Consider, for example, relations with Catholic priests. The rural priests (doctrineros) theoretically lived among ayllu Indians to indoctrinate them on behalf of the encomenderos; in practice, many were “priest-entrepreneurs”74 who sought to use their positions to promote commercial interests. At first, many communities probably accepted the necessity of an alliance with the priests. To ally with the Europeans without cooperating with their gods was senseless from the Indians’ point of view. The powerful Christian deities had defeated the major Andean gods at Cajamarca, and, like the native gods, could improve or damage the material well-being of the living. Since the Catholic priests mediated relations with the pantheon of Christian divinities (including saints) who affected everyday welfare, Indians did not rebuff the priests or their demands lightly. By the 1550s, churches and crosses—however modest—dotted rural areas, and their priests demanded considerable labor services, including those for transport, construction, ranching, and household service. By 1564, the rural priests ability to extract unpaid native labor inspired jealousy among the urban encomenderos.75 But as the priests’ demands escalated, would native societies judge them far too excessive for the supposed advantages that favorable relations with Christian gods offered them?

The kurakas, as guardians and representatives of the community, could not ignore such evaluations of the relative advantages and disadvantages of cooperation with colonials. The kurakas who mobilized labor for European enterprise did not, in the long run, enjoy complete freedom to will the activities of their peoples. The chiefs bolstered their privileges and influence by fulfilling obligations to guard the communitarian unity and welfare. The traditional interchanges of reciprocities that enabled chiefs to mobilize the labors of kinfolk created expectations that might be difficult to reconcile with a unilateral flow of goods, labor, and advantages to European society. Traditional reciprocities also placed limitations upon the kinds of requests a kuraka could make of his ayllus and households. Production of textiles for the Europeans through a “putting-out” system similar to accepted Andean practices was one matter. As we shall see, sending workers to distant mines was quite another. Natives would be reluctant to comply, and once at the mines might never return to the domain of local society.

Evidence shows that labor demands became a matter provoking resentment among Indians, even when the labor was sought for activities superficially similar to traditional Andean practices. If labor demands were originally the price for the relative advantages of working relationships with the encomendero elite, the advantages could dwindle over time, and the price could rise unacceptably high. In local society, for example, canal cleaning had normally been an occasion for celebration on the agricultural and ceremonial calendars. In ritual led by the native elite, a community of “relatives” reaffirmed the importance of such tasks for the collective welfare of the group. But the same activity carried an onerous flavor if viewed as uncompensated labor to the exclusive benefit of others. The Huachos and Chocorvos Indians complained in 1557 that they were forced to sweep clean the great canal “with which the citizens [of Huamanga] irrigate their [farms].” The Indians did not benefit from or need the water.76 Under such conditions, kurakas could not transfer the celebratory aspect of Andean work to colonial canal cleaning even if they had so wished. A kuraka who felt compelled to satisfy colonial labor demands could not assume that his call for labor would be accepted as justified.

In the 1560s, the contradictions inherent in the post-Incaic alliances sharpened. The growing dependency of Indians upon Europeans to settle disputes;77 economic shortages or hardships imposed by colonial extraction, emigration, or population decline;78 the tendency of encomenderos, local priests, and officials to demand increasing shares of ayllu goods and labor—all these eventually would have provoked a reassessment of native policies toward the colonials. What made the need for a reevaluation urgent, however, was the above mentioned discovery in the 1560s of gold and silver at Atunsulla and mercury at Huancavelica. The discoveries fired Spanish dreams of a thriving regional economy whose mines would stimulate a boom in trade, textile manufactures, artisanal crafts, construction, agriculture, and ranching. The only obstacle or bottleneck would be labor. If European demands escalated far beyond the supply of individual laborers, or of contingents sent by kurakas, how would the colonials stabilize an adequate labor force?

By 1562, the labor problem merited an official inquiry by the distinguished jurist Juan Polo de Ondegardo. Polo investigated Indian complaints, set out to reform and regulate labor practices, and ordered native societies to turn over a rotating force of 700 weekly laborers for the Atunsulla mines. The labor regime imposed by the miners had been harsh. Miners sought to maximize their exploitation of native laborers. Natives personally hauled loads of fuel, salt, and other supplies from distant areas; in the mines themselves, laborers had to meet brutally taxing production quotas; after fulfilling their labor obligations, they faced a struggle to obtain their wages.79 Small wonder that the Indians asked a noted defender, Fray Domingo de Santo Tomás, to inspect the mines. Santo Tomás found that “until now the Indians have been paid so poorly, and treated worse . . . that even if they went voluntarily, [these abuses] would wipe out [their willingness].” Hopeful that Polo’s reforms—boosted by higher salaries—could attract enough voluntary labor, Santo Tomás warned that the Indians and kurakas would resist attempts to force natives to work under the abusive conditions of the past, “even if they knew they would have to spend all their lives in jail.” Santo Tomás found the Indians restless about demands for mine labor. The Soras and Lucanas peoples, farther away than other groups from Atunsulla, were particularly vexed about working under abusive conditions current in distant mines.80

Polo’s reforms changed little. The supply of native laborers forced or coaxed individually or through the kurakas remained irregular and insufficient. The corregidor of Huamanga complained in 1569 that work on the region’s fabulous deposits faltered because of the labor shortage.81

The mines made obvious the limitations of previous relationships to both sides. For the Europeans driven by the international expansion of commercial capital, alliances with native societies meant little if they could not supply a dependable labor force for a growing mining economy. For the Indians—kurakas as well as their kinfolk—collaboration with the colonials offered few benefits if the Europeans insisted upon draining ayllu resources in a drive to develop a massive mining economy beyond the control of local society. The Europeans wanted favors that the kurakas could not or would not give them. Yet the colonials still lacked the organized state institutions and force that could compel the chiefs to turn over large contingents to the mines.

At this very moment, contradictions between metropolis and colony encouraged the Indians to rethink the necessity of cooperation with encomenderos. In Spain, the rulers had long debated whether to abolish the encomienda system and convert the Indians into direct vassals. By 1560, the crown had received impressive bribe offers from both encomenderos and the native kurakas, but had not reached a decision. A commission sent to report on the merits of the encomienda issue dispatched Polo de Ondegardo (proencomienda) and Santo Tomás (antiencomienda) to conduct an inquiry. The pair toured the Andean highlands in 1562. In Huamanga as elsewhere, they organized meetings of natives to participate in a public debate of the encomienda issue. The Indians sided with Santo Tomás.82 Royal interests and moral sensibilities, honed by frictions between encomenderos and the Church, created a spectacular debate. In the very years when mine discoveries made the basic antagonisms between natives and whites ever more weighty and orninous, the crown’s distinguished representatives advertised political instability, divisions among the elite, and a receptivity to the idea that the encomenderos were dispensable to crown and native alike.

If growing disillusion with labor demands prompted sabotaging or discarding colonial relationships, the apparent vulnerability of such relationships to reform imposed by the metropolis could only give further impetus to such urges. Soon after 1560, native discontent expressed itself in the number of broken alliances. In 1563, kurakas in seven different Huamanga encomiendas refused to send Indians to the city plaza for corvée duty. The mines continued to suffer from an irregular labor supply. Many of Huamanga’s peoples, especially the Soras and Lucanas, confirmed Santo Tomas’s warnings by openly rejecting calls for laborers to work the mines. Indian shepherds cost their encomendero, Diego Maldonado, a claimed 7,000 sheep through robbery or neglect. Encomenderos blamed priests for the natives’ growing tendency to ignore previously accepted obligations; one observer placed the blame on popular rumors that the Spaniards would kill natives for medicinal ointments in their bodies.83 In an economy where the Europeans depended greatly upon alliances with native elites to gain access to exploitable labor, the spread of such disillusion and resistance poisoned enterprise. In a society where the neo-Incas maintained a military force in the montaña between Cuzco and Huamanga, and the colonials had not yet organized an impressive state apparatus, growing hostility posed strategic dangers as well. The corregidor of Huamanga warned the acting viceroy, Governor- General Lope García de Castro, that a rebellion might break out. In neighboring Jauja and in Andahuaylas, alarming discoveries of stored arms confirmed that Indian-white relations were in jeopardy.84

Demands for mine labor on a new scale, the encomenderos’ political vulnerability, and the neo-Incas’ probable willingness to lead a revolt created a conjuncture that compelled second thoughts about the post- Incaic alliances. From the beginning, the inherent contradictions of the early alliances had created the likelihood of disenchantment. Despite the relative success of their adaptation to colonial conditions, Huamanga’s native peoples confronted trends that threatened to undermine local autonomy, relationships, and production. Demographic decline and instability, humiliation and dependence, growing demands for labor—all tended to expose the erosive consequences of an alliance among partners whose fundamental interests clashed. The discovery of major gold, silver, and mercury mines brought such contradictions to a head. The Indians’ severe disaffection expressed itself in a radical millenarian upheaval, “Taki Onqoy,” which inflamed Huamanga. The sect preached pan-Andean unity, proclaimed an end to all contact with Hispanic society, and pressured kurakas to cut off cooperation with colonials. The movement had exceptional appeal to peoples ethnically divided against themselves, and deeply disillusioned by the consequences of cooperation with the Hispanic world. By the end of the decade, kurakas stubbornly refused to send Indians to the mines, and colonial relationships entered a crisis stage.85


The rise and fall of Indian-white alliances in Huamanga yield broad implications for the study of early colonial history. First, the activities of local Andean peoples had a decisive impact upon the particular texture of early relations and institutions “imposed” by Hispanic society (encomienda, tribute, labor drafts, Christianization, and the like). Yet a deeper understanding of the interests and motives behind native activity is elusive unless informed by an awareness of preconquest history and social structure. In this perspective, the line between pre-Columbian and colonial history becomes, in many respects, artificial and misleading. Second, the kurakas’ importance as strategic mediators singled out for special favors by Spanish allies, and the impact of Andean ethnic rivalries upon native-white relations, indicate that divisions and tensions internal to local Andean societies played key roles in European success and failure, and the colonial process in general. We would be well advised, therefore, not to homogenize the “Indians” into a seamless social category, thereby ignoring internal contradictions that shaped events. Third, the crisis of the 1560s and its link to the mining economy illuminate the fundamental contradictions of purpose and interest that marred early native-white alliances, and doomed them to failure. Indeed, the demise of the alliances meant that only a more effective, direct control of local native life and institutions, backed by a revitalized state, would truly serve Hispanic interests, and develop the mining economy. It is in this sense that massive reorganization of the Andean colony, like that led by Viceroy Francisco de Toledo (1569–81), was a historic necessity. Early alliances and cooperation represented not a “golden era” of native-white relations, but a transitory phase whose contradictions would eventually assert themselves with increasing force.

Finally, the Indian-white alliances might lead us to reassess the old distinction between sedentary native societies ruled by the Aztecs and Incas, and more independent or mobile peoples who had escaped subjugation by pre-Columbian empires. We normally observe that Europeans experienced little trouble dominating a sedentary peasantry already accustomed to rule from above, but encountered much more difficulty conquering stateless peoples undefeated by the Aztecs and Incas.86 There is merit in the distinction, and we may certainly contrast the options and “moral economy” of peasants and those of free and independent “savages.”87 But the contrast misleads us in certain respects. It underestimates the degree to which stateless Indian peoples forged early alliances with Europeans, and the dynamics that drove such relations to disaster.88 It overestimates the power of “habits of obedience” among peasantries exploited by the Aztecs and Incas. We presume that such habits generated a passive posture toward the Europeans, who simply filled the void left by Aztecs and Incas. By this line of reasoning, colonizers commanded surplus labor and products of peasants not because the latter (and their chiefs) had reason to comply, but because tradition dictated obedience. If the birth, evolution, and final demise of Huamanga’s post-Incaic alliances tell us anything, however, it is that sedentary peasantries actively assessed their alternatives and made choices within the confines of their interests and power, and that, like many human beings, they could even change their minds.


For the history of these peoples’ relations with Spanish conquistadores, see Charles Gibson, Tlaxcala in the Sixteenth Century, 2d ed., (Stanford, 1967); Waldemar Espinoza Soriano, La destrucción del imperio de los Incas: La rivalidad política y señorial de los curacazgos andinos (Lima, 1973); Manuel de Odriozola, ed., Documentos históricos del Perú en las épocas del coloniaje después de la conquista y de la independencia hasta la presente, 10 vols. (Lima, 1863-77), III, 3-9.


The Huamanga region corresponded roughly to the contemporary Peruvian Departments of Ayacucho and Huancavelica. Huamanga’s “core” districts included the corregimientos of Angaraes (Huancavelica), Huanta, Vilcashuamán, Chocorvos (Castrovirreyna), and Lucanas. Parinacochas and Andahuaylas were “swing” districts in many respects, oriented both to Huamanga and to Cuzco, and I cite data or patterns from these corregimientos when they accord with evidence from the “core” districts. For a convenient map of corregimiento districts, see Guillermo Lohmann Villena, El corregidor de indios en el Perú bajo los Austrias (Madrid, 1957), p. 200.


My understanding of pre-Columbian social and economic structure relies heavily on the pioneering studies of John V. Murra, Formaciones económicas y políticas del mundo andino (Lima, 1975). The following three paragraphs draw upon the much more extended discussion of Huamanga before Spanish conquest in this author’s “The Challenge of Conquest: The Indian Peoples of Huamanga, Peru, and the Foundation of a Colonial Society, 1532-1640” (Ph.D. Diss., Yale University, 1979), pp. 5-53. The largest ethnic groups of Huamanga probably numbered no more than 30,000 individuals, or 5,000-6,000 domestic units. Even within these groups, social identification, economic claims, and political authority were significantly varied along lines of kinship and ethnicity.


Felipe Guarnan Poma de Ayala, Neuva coránica y buen gobierno (codex péruvien illustré) (Paris, 1936), pp. 369-370.


For early encomienda grants by Pizarro, see U.S. Library of Congress, Harkness Collection (hereinafter HC), Stella R. Clemence, ed., Documents from Early Peru. The Pizarros and the Almagros, 1531–1578 (Washington, D.C., 1936), pp. 154, 170. On the Peruvian encomienda, see Enrique Torres Saldamando, Apuntes históricos sobre las encomiendas en el Perú (Lima, 1967); Manuel Belaúnde Guinassi, La encomienda en el Perú (Lima, 1945); Manuel Vicente Villarán, Apuntes sobre la realidad social de los indígenas ante las leyes de Indias (Lima, 1964), pp. 25-100; James Lockhart, Spanish Peru, 1532-1560: A Colonial Society (Madison, 1968), pp. 11–33, and passim.


See Vasco de Guevara, as quoted by Marcos Jiménez de la Espada, ed., Relaciones geográficas de Indias—Perú (hereinafter cited as RGI), reprinted in Biblioteca de autores españoles, tomo 183 (Madrid, 1965), pp. 181-182 n.2; James Lockhart, The Men of Cajamarca: A Social and Biographical Study of the First Conquerors of Peru (Austin, 1972), p. 424. For Inca mitmaq who fought against the Spanish, see “Autos criminales que siguieron Juan Tucabamba y Pedro Cachi, indios . . . 1567,” Archivo General de la Nación, Lima (hereinafter cited as AGN), Derecho Indígena (hereinafter cited as DI), leg. 1, cuad. 9, fol. 5.


Raúl Rivera Serna, transcriber, Libro del cabildo de la Ciudad de San Juan de la Frontera de Huamanga, 1539-1547 (Lima, 1966), pp. 28-33.


See ibid., pp. 47, 64-65, 68, 71, 91, 95, 100, 121, 128-129, 137, 165, 194.


See ibid., pp. 21–22, 30, 31, 46-47, 54, 62, 64, 112, 189; Viceroy Francisco de Toledo to Corregidor of Huamanga, Valley of Yucay, May 26, 1571, HC, doc. 985; Don Pedro de la Gasca to ?, Jauja, Dec. 27, 1547, Biblioteca Nacional del Perú (hereinafter BNP), ms. A127.


Serna, Libro del cabildo, p. 64.


Luis de Monzón et al., Descripción . . . de los Rucanas Antamarcas,” RGI, p. 238; Monzón et al., “Descripción . . . de Atunrucana y Laramati,” RGI, pp. 226-227; Roberto Levillier, ed., Gobernantes del Perú, 14 vols. (Madrid, 1921-26), II, 103-104, 153, 183, 192. On the sensitivity of peasants to power balances, see, for example, Frances Fitzgerald, Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam (New York 1973), pp. 28-32, 397-398.


Serna, Libro del cabildo, pp. 47, 69, 100; Juan Polo de Ondegardo, “Informe . . . al Licenciado Briviesca de Muñatones,” Revista Histórica, 13 (1940), 156. Some of the yanacona retainers of Europeans may have been yana retainers alienated from ayllu society before the Spanish conquest. On the preconquest yana, see Murra, Formaciones, pp. 225-242; on yanaconas as an auxiliary arm of conquest, see Nathan Wachtel, Sociedad e ideología: Ensayos de historia y antropología andinas (Lima, 1973), pp. 149-158; John Hemming, The Conquest of the Incas (New York, 1970), pp. 136, 171, 180, 184, 186, 305-306, 362.


Serna, Libro del cabildo, p. 63.


For a concise history of the Peruvian civil wars, see Lockhart, Spanish Peru, pp. 3-5; for the role of Huamanga in colonial politics, see Serna, Libro del cabildo, pp. 71-72, 73-79, 85-88, 93-96, 98-99, 141, 142-145, 146-150, 152, 159-164, 168-174, 199; Domingo de Santo Tomás to King, Lima, May 20, 1555, in Emilio Lissón Chaves, ed., La iglesia de España en el Perú, 4 vols. (Seville, 1943-46), II, 57.


Report by La Gasca, Lima, Sept. 25, 1548, BNP, ms. A127; Archivo Departamental de Ayacucho, Ayacucho, (hereinafter cited as ADA), Protocolos Notariales (hereinafter cited as PN), Navarrette 1627, fols. 473-474; “Autos que siguieron don Melchor y don Salvador Ataurimachi . . . 1643,” AGN, DI, leg. 6, cuad. 109, fols. 2r, 5v; Damián de la Bandera, “Relación general . . . de Guamanga,” RGI, p. 178; “Provisión de los indios Canaris de Vilcas . . . 1612,” BNP, ms. B44, fol. 8r; Serna, Libro del cabildo, pp. 121, 142 for quotations; Poma de Avala, Nueva coránica, pp. 431–433.


Serna, Libro del cabildo, pp. 45, 50-51, 130. For other cases, see idem., pp. 38, 45, 48, 61, 120, 124, 132. One fanegada is approximately 2.9 hectares.


Ibid., pp. 61, 97, 100, 120; “Autos que sigue el Común de Indios . . . de Chiara . . . 1806,’ AGN, Tierras de Comunidades, leg. 3, cuad. 19, fols. 40v, 42r; “Libro de Cabildo . . . 1557,” BNP, ms. A203, fol. 65v.


“Autos . . . contra Juan Arias Maldonado . . . 1573,” AGN, DI, leg. 2, cuad. 17, fols. 195, 226.


Viceroy Marqués de Cañete to Indians of several repartimientos, Lima, Sept. 27, 1557, HC, doc. 1013. The Yauyos and Huancas mentioned in this document refer to those who lived in southern Huamanga (Chocorvos and Vilcashuamán) rather than the societies of the central sierra north of Huamanga.


“Autos . . . contra Juan Arias Maldonado . . . 1573,” AGN, DI, leg. 2, cuad. 17, fols. 178r, 197r, 219v-220r.


Ibid., esp. fols. 179, 191-195 (son’s exaggeration: 195v), 208-209, 226.


Ibid., fols. 195r, 208v, 215v; “Libros de penas de cámara . . . de Huamanga . . . 1559,” BNP, ms. A336, passim; cf. Serna, Libro del cabildo, pp. 122, 30.


Serna, Libro del cabildo, pp. 21-22, 112, 31, 64; cf. Marie Helmer, “Notas sobre la encomienda peruana en el siglo XVI,” Revista del Instituto de Historia del Derecho, 10 (1959), 124-143.


José María Vargas, Fray Domingo de Santo Tomás, defensor y apóstol de los indios del Perú; su vida y escritos (Quito, 1937), “Escritos” section, p. 10.


Polo, “Informe . . . al Licenciado Briviesca de Muñatones,” p. 157. Polo’s observations were probably based upon patterns in the greater Cuzco region. For similar data from Huamanga, see Monzón et al., “Descripción . . . de los Rucanas Antamarcas,” p. 238.


See Bandera, “Relación general,” p. 176; “Autos criminales que siguieron Juan Tucabamba y Pedro Cachi, indios . . . 1567,” AGN, DI, leg. 1, cuad. 9, fols. 20–22.


Poma de Avala, Nueva coránica, p. 559.


Monzón et al., "Descripción . . . de Atunrucana y Laramati,” p. 227; "Testimonio . . . y confirmación de la Hacienda de LOCCHAS . . . 1625,” AGN, Títulos de propiedad, cuad. 747, fols. 4v (quotation), 16.


For juridical, economic, public works, and other cabildo policies and regulations, see Serna Libro del cabildo, pp. 21-22, 42-43, 46-47, 54, 62, 112, 126, 132, 145, 184, 185, 196.


Ibid., pp. 35, 36, 38, 39-41, 43-46, 48, 51, 53, 54-59, 65, 72, 97, 121, 154.


Ibid., pp. 40, 43, 46, 48, 52, 54, 56-61, 63, 73, 93, 120-122, 126-127, 130, 133, 153-155.


Ibid., p. 179 for quotation, pp. 180-181, 182-183 for distribution.


"Libro de Cabildo . . . 1557,” BNP, ms. A203, fols. 24-25.


For the incredible variety of items in pre-1570 tribute lists, see “Autos . . . contra Juan Arias Maldonado . . . 1573,” AGN, DI, leg. 2, cuad. 17, fols. 179-180, 184-186; “Testimonio . . . que siguió doña María Carrillo . . . sobre . . . la mitad del repartimiento de ANDAMARCA . . . 1576,” AGN, DI, leg. 1, cuad. 8, fols. 109-112.


“Testimonio . . . que siguió doña María Carrillo . . . sobre . . . la mitad del repartimiento de ANDAMARCA . . . 1576,” AGN, DI, leg. 1, cuad. 8, fol. 110v for prices in 1563.


In addition to notes 31–33 and 28, see Serna, Libro del cabildo, p. 62; Pedro de Cieza de León, Parte primera de la crónica del Perú, in Biblioteca de autores españoles, tomo 26 (Madrid, 1853), chap. 87; Juan López de Velasco, Geografia y descripción universal de las Indias, edited by Marcos Jiménez de la Espada (Madrid, 1971), p. 241; Sobre la medición . . . de unas tierras en Yucay . . . 1578,” BNP, ms. Z305; “Testimonio de los títulos . . . de Guatata, Churucana y Pacuaro . . . 1626,” BNP, ms. B75, fols. 23v, 46r; “Copia de los títulos de las tierras de CHINCHE-PAMPA . . . 1568,” AGN, Títulos de propiedad, cuad. 8; untitled expediente concerning Huanta lands disputed among various Europeans and Indians, 1678, ADA, Corregimiento, Causas Ordinarias, leg. 2 (provisional classification in 1977), esp. fol. 935; land registration of Monastery of Santa Clara, 1642, Registro de Propiedad Inmueble de Ayacucho, tomo 21, partida XXXIII, p. 330; Libro de Cabildo . . . 1557,” BNP, ms. A203, fol. 33v.


This definition of commercial capital refers to a profit mechanism based on: (1) “underpaying” producers by acquiring labor-power or commodity goods for free (tribute) or at less than their market value, and (2) exploiting a position as intermediary between high-priced and low-priced markets. On the distinction between industrial capital or capitalist production, and commercial capital in precapitalist settings, see Karl Marx, Capital, edited by Frederick Engels, 3 vols. (New York, 1967), esp. III, chaps. 20, 36, 47. As Marx pointed out, it is important to distinguish between the dynamics of commercial capital within a capitalist economy, and the commercial capital that predates the dominance of capitalist production. In the text, I refer to the latter form of commercial capital.


Serna, Libro del cabildo, pp. 50, 123, 142, 166; see Levillier, ed., Gobernantes, I, 190. On the social atmostphere of mining centers, see the fines collected in Atunsulla in the 1560s, as recorded in “Libro de penas de cámara . . . 1559,” BNP, ms. A336.


See “Don Diego de Salazar pide que se le ampare . . . 1622,” AON, Minería, leg. 2, Ayacucho 1622, fols. 55, 169–172, 192; Fernando Montesinos, Anales del Perú, edited by Víctor M. Maúrtua, 2 vols. (Madrid, 1906), I, 278; expediente concerning mines of Amador de Cabrera, AGN, Minería, leg. 13, Huancavelica 1585–91, exp. 1, fol. 49; expediente regarding property and debts of Amador de Cabrera, AGN, Minería, leg. 11, Huancavelica 1562–72, fols. 254–255.


“Causa de cuentas dada por Dn. Diego Guillén de Mendoza . . . 1616,” BNP, ms. Z313, fols. 164–165; ADA, PN, Romo 1577, fols. 202–204; “Para que el corregidor de Vilcashuamán . . . bara [haga] averiguaciones . . . 1600,” BNP, ms. B1485, fols. 62r, 247r; “Autos . . . contra Juan Arias Maldonado . . . 1573,” AGN, DI, leg. 2, cuad. 17, fols. 193v–194r.


See Lockhart, Spanish Peru, p. 23; Lockhart, The Men of Cajamarca, p. 297; López de Velasco, Geografía, p. 241.


“Don Diego de Salazar pide que se le ampare . . . 1622,” AGN, Minería, leg. 2, Ayacucho 1622, fol. 79r; Santo Tomás to Royal Council of the Exchequer in Lima, Andahuaylas, Apr. 6, 1562, Archivo General de las Indias, Seville (hereinafter cited as AGI), V, Lima 313; “Autos . . . contra Juan Arias Maldonado . . . 1573,” AGN, DI, leg. 2, cuad. 17, fols. 192v–193r.


Bandera, “Relación general,” p. 177; “Autos criminales que siguieron Juan Tucabamba y Pedro Cachi, indios . . . 1567,” AGN, DI, leg. 1, cuad. 9, fols. Ir (quotation), 3v.


“Autos . . . contra Juan Arias Maldonado . . . 1573,” AGN, DI, leg. 2, cuad. 17, fols. 192–194.


Serna, Libro del cabildo, pp. 193, 112; “Autos . . . contra Juan Arias Maldonado . . . 1573,” AGN, DI, leg. 2, cuad. 17, fol. 192v; Polo, “Informe . . . al Licenciado Briviesca de Muñatones,” p. 189.


See Viceroy Toledo to Regimiento of Huamanga, Yucay Valley, June 10, 1571, HC, doc. 983; Juan Polo de Ondegardo, “Ordenanzas de las minas de Guamanga,” in Colección de libros y documentos referentes a la historia del Perú, 4 vols. (Lima, 1916), IV, 142; López de Velasco, Geografìa, p. 241.


Bandera, “Relación general,” p. 177; “Registro de escrituras públicas . . . 1592,” BNP, ms. Z306, fols. 490, 491; ADA, PN, Padilla 1602/1613, fol. 339v; Marqués de Cañete to Garci Díez de San Miguel, Lima, Aug. 21, 1559, HC, doc. 1014; expediente regarding property and debts of Amador de Cabrera, AGN, Minería, leg. 11, Huancavelica 1562–72, fol. 258.


Polo, “Informe . . . al Licenciado Briviesca de Muñatones,” p. 189.


ADA, PN, Peña 1596, fol. 311r; “Autos . . . contra Juan Arias Maldonado . . . 1573,” AGN, DI, leg. 2, cuad. 17, fol. 193r.


Ibid.; Bandera, “Relación general,” p. 180 for quotations.


“Libro de penas de cámara . . . 1559,” BNP, ms. A336, entry for Oct. 13, 1559.


The “open” strategy of native society had religious and cultural dimensions as well, but space constraints limit my discussion to socioeconomic patterns. For the religious and cultural sides of the Indian-Spanish alliances, see Stem, “The Challenge of Conquest,” pp. 77–79.


The encomendero population was not completely stable in the first years after Huamanga’s founding in 1539, but usually hovered around twenty-five.


For tribute lists in the 1550s and 1560s, see “Testimonio . . . que siguió doña María Carrillo . . . sobre . . . la mitad del repartimiento de ANDAMARCA . . . 1576,” AGN, DI, leg. 1, cuad. 8, fols. 109–112; “Autos . . . contra Juan Arias Maldonado . . . 1573,” AGN, DI, leg. 2, cuad. 17, fols. 184–188.


Bandera, “Relación general,” p. 179.


Polo, “Informe . . . al Licenciado Briviesca de Muñatones,” p. 169.


“Autos . . . contra Juan Arias Maldonado . . . 1573,” AGN, DI, leg. 2, cuad. 17, fot 185r. For similar practices elsewhere, see Karen Spalding, “Kurakas and Commerce: A Chapter in the Evolution of Andean Society,” HAHR, 53 (Nov. 1973), 586–588.


For clear examples from 1570 to 1572 in Andahuaylas and Parinacochas, see “Autos . . . contra Juan Arias Maldonado . . . 1573,” AGN, DI, leg. 2, cuad. 17, fols. 181–183; “Libro común de sumas . . . por el tesorero Miguel Sánchez. Cuzco, 1572–1573,” Yalc University, Sterling Library, Department of Manuscripts, Latin America Collection, Vol. 5, fol. 62v. Cf. “En la residencia secreta . . . a Dn. Francisco de Cepeda, Corregidor de Parinacochas . . . 1597,” BNP, ms. A236, fols. 20r, 22r.


Serna, Libro del cabildo, p. 40.


Bandera, “Relación general,” p. 180; ADA, PN, Romo 1577, fols. 331–332. Cf. three contracts recorded in Cuzco in 1560, in Revista del Archivo Histórico (Cuzco), 4 (1953), 25, 31, 32.


ADA, PN, Romo 1577, fol. 332v.


For the data above, see “Autos . . . contra Juan Arias Maldonado . . . 1573,” AGN, DI, leg. 2, cuad. 17, fols. 179, 186–187, 191–192, 207, 213r, 216–217.


Guillermo Lohmann Villena, Las minas de Huancavelica en los siglos XVI y XVII (Seville, 1949), pp. 28, 91–92; Polo, “Ordenanzas de las minas de Guamanga,” pp. 139–151; Vargas, Fray Domingo, Escritos section, pp. 57–62; expediente regarding property and debts of Amador de Cabrera, AGN, Minería, leg. 11, Huancavelica 1562–72, fol. 62r; Libro 5° del Cabildo . . . 1568,” BNP, ms. A603, fol. 23v (quotation). See Levillier, ed., Gobernantes, II, 573, 578.


“Causa de cuentas dada por Dn. Diego Guillén de Mendoza . . . 1616,” BNP, ms. Z313, fols. 164–165; ADA, PN, Romo 1577, fols. 202–204, esp. 203; “Concierto en el asiento de Colcabamba . . . 1571,” BNP, ms. A455; “Para que el corregidor de Vilcashuamán . . . bara [haga] averiguaciones . . . 1600,” BNP, ms. B1485, fol. 61r; Miriám Salas Olivari, “El obraje de Chincheros. Del obraje a las comunidades indígenas, siglo XVI” (Bachelor’s Thesis, Pontífica Universidad Católica del Perú, 1976), pp. 109–110 (courtesy of Scarlett O’Phelan).


Santo Tomás, an opponent of the encomienda, was the more extreme proponent of this view. On these two personalities, see Murra, Formaciones, pp. 285–286, 306–311; Patricia J. Bard, “Domingo de Santo Tomás, a Spanish Friar in 16th Century Peru” (M.A. Thesis, Columbia University, 1967).


Monzón et al., “Descripción . . . de los Rucanas Antamarcas,” p. 238; Monzón et al., “Descripción . . . de Atunrucana y Laramati,” p. 227.


See Noble David Cook, “The Indian Population of Peru, 1570–1620” (Ph.D. Diss., University of Texas at Austin, 1973), p. 238; see John H. Rowe, “Inca Culture at the Time of the Spanish Conquest” in Julian H. Steward, ed., Handbook of South American Indians, 7 vols. (Washington, D C., 1946–59), II, 184. It should be noted that the first major sixteenth-century epidemic in the Andean zone struck in the 1520s, before the European conquest in 1532.


On the importance of livestock herds as a kind of insurance resource in Huamanga and elsewhere, see Bandera, “Relación general,” p. 177; Murra, Formaciones, pp. 202–203.


See the “Relación de Amancebados, Hechiceros y Huacas” included in Luis Millones, ed., Las informaciones de Cristóbal de Albornoz: Documentos para el estudio del Taki Onqoy (Cuernavaca, 1971).


Noble David Cook, ed., Tasa de la visita general de Francisco de Toledo (1570–1575) (Lima, 1975), p. 261.


Hemming, Conquest, pp. 386–387.


On the importance, in Andean culture, of “balanced” relationships with the gods for the material welfare and health of the living, see Stern, “The Challenge of Conquest,” pp. 30–35. For the tendency to interpret disease and misfortune as the work of offended deities, see Poma de Ayala, Nueva corónica, pp. 109, 137, 158, 286; Francisco de Avila, Dioses y hombres de Huarochirí, translated by José María Argüedas (Lima, 1966), pp. 47, 49, 149, 151.


Marqués de Cañete to various Corregidors, Lima, Nov. 9, 1556, HC, doc. 1012.


See Lockhart, Spanish Peru, pp. 52–55.


Marqués de Cañete to various Corregidors, Lima, May 25, 1557, HC, doc. 1009; Bandera, “Relación general,” p. 176; García de Castrato Priests of Huamanga, Lima, Dec. 16, 1564, HC, doc. 1008.


Marqués de Cañete to Corregidor of Huamanga, Lima, Feb. 21, 1557, HC, doc. 1017.


For examples from the 1560s, see Vargas, Fray Domingo, “Escritos” section, p. 59; “Autos . . . contra Juan Arias Maldonado . . . 1573,” AGN, DI, leg. 2, cuad. 17, fol. 208r.


“Autos . . . contra Juan Arias Maldonado . . . 1573,” AGN, DI, leg. 2, cuad. 17, fols. 194v, 209r; Montesinos, Anales del Perú, I, 243, II, 18.


See Polo, “Ordenanzas de las minas de Guamanga,” pp. 139–151.


Santo Tomás to Don Alonso Manuel de Anaya, Huamanga, Mar. 23, 1562, Santo Tomás to Council of Indies, Andahuavlas, Apr. 5, 1562, Santo Tomás to Royal Council of the Exchequer in Lima, Andahuaylas, Apr. 6, 1562, AGI, V, Lima 313 (also available in Vargas, Fray Domingo, “Escritos” section, pp. 55–62).


“Libro 5° del Cabildo . . . 1568,” BNP, ms. A603, fol. 23v.


Archbishop Gerónimo de Loayza to King, Lima, Nov. 30, 1562, AGI, V, Lima 300; Santo Tomás to Anaya, Huamanga, Mar. 23, 1562, AGI, V, Lima 313. See Hemming, Conquest, pp. 385–390 for an overview of the encomienda perpetuity issue.


All the evidence cited above is from the period 1563–71. “Libro de penas de cámara . . . 1559,” BNP, ms. A336, entry for May 3, 1563; Viceroy Toledo to Judge of Huamanga’s mines, Yucay Valley, June 10, 1571, HC, doc. 984; Lohmann, Las minas, p. 93 n.3; “Autos . . . contra Juan Arias Maldonado . . . 1573,” AGN, DI, leg. 2, cuad. 17, fol. 196r; Lohmann, El corregidor, p. 28; Cristóbal de Molina, Relación de las fábulas y ritos de los incas in Francisco A. Loavza, ed., Las crónicas de los Molinas [sic] (Lima, 1943), p. 79.


Molina, Relación de las fábulas, p. 82; Cristóbal de Albornoz, “Instrucción para descubrir todas las guacas del Pinú y sus camayos y haciendas,” edited by Pierre Duviols, Journal de la Société des Américanistes, 56–1 (1967), 36.


A detailed presentation of this movement’s history in Huamanga lies beyond the scope of this article. For an extended discussion, see Stern, “The Challenge of Conquest,” pp. 101–143; see Juan M. Ossio, ed., Ideología mesiánica del mundo andino (Lima, 1973), especially the essays by Luis Millones and Nathan Wachtel on pp. 85–142.

It should be noted that the crisis of the Indian-Spanish alliances did not lead to a total breakdown of native-white cooperation or alliance. The rupture was most severe on the issue of mine labor, and some evidence suggests ambivalent attitudes of kurakas in the 1560s. Nonetheless, events of the 1560s plunged earlier relations and expectations into crisis. See Guillermo Lohmann Villena, “Juan de Matienzo, autor del ‘Gobierno del Perú (su personalidad y su obra),” Anuario de Estudios Americanos, 22 (1965), 767–886; Stern, “The Challenge of Conquest,” pp. 124–130, 140–145.


See, for example, Eric R. Wolf and Edward C. Hansen, The Human Condition in Latin America (New York, 1972), pp. 29–30, 57–59. For a sixteenth-century version of this observation, Cieza de León, Parte primera, chap. 13.


See, for example, James C. Scott, The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Rebellion and Subsistence in Southeast Asia (New Haven, 1976); Philip Wayne Powell, Soldiers, Indians & Silver: North America’s First Frontier War (Tempe, 1975; orig. pub. 1952), pp. 32–54; R. C. Padden, “Cultural Change and Military Resistance in Araucanian Chile, 1550– 1730,” Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, 13 (Spring 1957), 103–121.


For examples in Brazil, Paraguay, and North America, see Alexander Marchant, From Barter to Slavery: The Economic Relations of Portuguese and Indians in the Settlement of Brazil, 1500–1580 (Baltimore, 1942); Stuart B. Schwartz, “Indian Labor and New World Plantations: European Demands and Indian Responses in Northeastern Brazil,” American Historical Review, 83 (Feb. 1978), 43–79; Elman R. Service, Spanish-Guaraní Relations in Early Colonial Paraguay (Ann Arbor, 1954), esp. pp. 18–22, 33; Gary B. Nash, Red, White, and Black: The Peoples of Early America (Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1974), passim.

Author notes


The author is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.