In recent years there has been renewed scholarly interest as to the causes and significance of the Thupa Amaro1 rebellion that exploded on the colonial landscape of rural Cuzco in 1780 and quickly spread through much of the southern Andes. This interest was spurred by the Peruvian military government’s use of Thupa Amaro as a symbol of its commitment to social change after it took power in 1968 and by the flurry of publications and events surrounding the bicentenary of the rebellion in 1980. While most of the writings have focused on the leadership of the movement and the colonial demands imposed on the native peoples, or naturales, recent research has begun to shift attention ever closer to the Indians themselves, as scholars try to understand the roots of change and social violence.2 However, due to its complexity and scope, no single analysis adequately explains the Thupa Amaro rebellion. An analysis that seems convincing at the level of the state loses much of its explanatory power when events are seen from the perspective of the Indian community, or ayllu. Strong emphasis on economic conditions has deepened historical understanding of the movement; however, the lives of the Indians in the region where the rebellion broke out were shaped by a complex set of factors. While material conditions were important, they alone did not determine Indian behavior. In order to better understand this behavior and get closer to the perceptions of the native people, I propose to discuss the interplay between material conditions, culture, and the structures that shaped Indians’ lives in rural Cuzco on the eve of the Thupa Amaro rebellion.

This study focuses on the native people in two provinces or partidos of rural Cuzco, Quispicanchis and Canas y Canchis (Tinta), in the decades preceding the 1780 rebellion. These two partidos were selected because their population remained heavily Indian in character, their forastero* population was not large, and they were at the center of the Thupa Amaro rebellion.3 By examining a region with strong Indian heritage, where originarios dominated and where the European and mixed population was small, I believe that we can better understand the actions of the Indians in colonial society, which were quite different in this case as compared to regions where European and mixed populations had more significant roles in daily life.

The article also looks at efforts of the native people to maintain the basic framework of the social, economic, and political order that governed their lives under the effects of increasing colonial demands, long-term structural changes, and population pressures. I give special attention to the small localized revolts that broke out in the years preceding the Thupa Amaro rebellion and to inter-Indian conflicts. The revolts, unlike the very different and larger-scale rebellions, can best be seen as efforts to restore or preserve the existing order. Yet, the tensions that threatened the Indians’ way of life also led to conflicts among Indians and weakened their internal cohesion. These inter-Indian conflicts, while reflecting immediate problems, often stemmed from more ancient divisions between Indian communities. Such ethnic divisions served sometimes to prevent, sometimes to delay, and sometimes to weaken conflict with the state.

Cultural factors affected the impact of material considerations on Indian society, at the same time that material factors altered culture. The concept of moral economy, developed about 20 years ago by E. P. Thompson—which places importance not just on material concerns, but on the relationship between culture and economy—is therefore helpful in understanding the efforts by Indians to preserve their way of life. Thompson suggested that rural folk in England in the eighteenth century had committed acts of violence against property or symbols of traditional authority not merely because they were hungry and desperate, but because they saw the social and economic fabric of their world unraveling.4 The Industrial Revolution was beginning to erode the customary rights and protections that had defined and guaranteed their way of life, and this erosion was fundamental to the protest. While the concept of moral economy was developed in order to understand the European transition from premodern to modern societies, it has important analytical value for the study of indigenous society in the Andes as well. Moral economy emphasizes the importance of custom and tradition (recognizing that they also change) in the relations between groups or individuals, such as those between the colonial state and Andean Indians in the premodern world. These relations, rooted in unwritten but understood norms of conduct and reciprocity, gave cultural meaning to the more formal agreements that required the native people to render service and tribute to the colonial state in exchange for access to rights and resources that allowed them to maintain their way of life.

This reciprocal view of rights and obligations, ultimately grounded in pre-Columbian Andean society, tended to function in a way that preserved the ties of the native peoples to the abstract image of the Spanish crown. The physical distance of the crown removed it from daily affairs and allowed challenges to colonial authorities that were not viewed by the Indians as challenges to the colonial state. While local governmental officials were treated with deference, they tended to be judged by Andean standards, by their face-to-face relations with the native people. Likewise, economic relations that have been seen as exploitative have to be reevaluated to determine if the “exploited” agreed with this categorization, in whole or in part. The difference is important, for it is the perception of an action, not just the action, that determines behavior and response. Why did Andean Indians accept some burdens, work through legal channels to change others, and rise in violent protest against yet others? And why did attitudes toward specific demands change? In other words, why were some demands seen as legitimate, while others were not, and why did this evaluation sometimes change? By placing economic issues in their cultural context, the concept of moral economy adds more complexity to our understanding of material life, and underscores the sense of justice and injustice that guided Indian relationships with the Spanish crown and colonial officials.

However, it was not Spanish-Indian relations alone that affected the moral economy. A functioning reciprocal relationship between the Indian community and the curaca, in keeping with Andean tradition, was a significant element of the internal and external moral economy. Erosion or abuse of this relationship weakened traditional bonds and caused intracommunity tension. Since the state sometimes became involved in mediating community-curaca disputes, or was a direct or indirect cause of such disputes in other instances, these conflicts had an impact on the native people’s reciprocal relationship with both their curacas and the state.

Factors as varied as crop failure, population growth or fluctuation, and long-term structural changes such as an increasingly restricted sense of ethnic identity also affected and helped determine the nature of the moral economy. For instance, demographic growth, by placing more pressure on community resources, had the potential to convert acceptable demands into intolerable burdens. And as the scope of ethnic identity and affiliation shrank, so did the arena in which a community’s moral economy functioned. Thus, while the most obvious aspects of the moral economy revolved around Indian-state relations, the system that maintained it was much more complex.

Moral Economy, Revolt, and Rebellion

In the Andean world of the eighteenth century, native society had been partially overlaid by and intermingled with European society. This was true for Quispicanchis and Canas y Canchis, even though these regions remained more Indian in character than did many other areas in Peru. In establishing the colonial system, the Spanish had encouraged this mixture by adapting certain colonial demands to indigenous culture patterns. By the late colonial period, the context and form of many aspects of Indian culture had been altered, but they still persisted. For instance, the interests and activities of the curaca (cacique) had been changed, but the curaca was still expected to function in a manner that provided guidance, organization, and protection to the community, and he represented the community to the outside world. In turn, the community was expected to defer to his power and judgment, and to provide him with labor and with a greater share of communal lands. Other elements of community life were often as important as economic ones in determining the behavior of the Indians. These included ethnicity, place, reciprocity, and religion. However, it is important to remember that cultural aspects had economic importance as well, for, as Karl Polanyi noted, in premodern societies “man’s economy, as a rule, is submerged in his social relationships.”5 This reality was most significant for the types of responses the naturales made to colonial demands.

After more than two centuries of Spanish domination, rural Cuzco was part of a mature colonial society in which the native people understood their rights and their obligations. The obligations, imposed by the colonial state, were part of the unequal pact that defined and guaranteed, sometimes loosely and sometimes rigidly, certain rights to the indigenous population in return for meeting those obligations. Thus, in the mideighteenth century, the native people of Quispicanchis and Canas y Canchis accepted or endured such obligations as tribute payment, the reparto or forced distribution and sale of goods by the corregidor, service in the Potosí mita, and a variety of lesser obligations in return for such fundamental rights as access to land and water, a traditional (reciprocal) relationship with their curaca, and a legal tradition and system that functioned, for the most part, to maintain these and other rights. That the exchange between Indian communities and the state or the exchange between individual Indians (or ayllus) and their curacas was uneven was not a key factor in determining the quality of the reciprocally binding set of obligations and rights, sometimes codified and sometimes just understood, that defined the moral economy. This uneven exchange was not new in the colonial period, although the degree of inequality generally increased after the Spanish replaced the Inca as the dominant power in the Andes. At the local level, long-term changes in the economy or population, a temporary crisis such as a drought, or the demands of individual corregidores or curacas could alter or severely strain the moral economy and even cause temporary ruptures such as riots, revolts, and (once in a great while) open rebellion, if events were perceived as serious transgressions of the specified or understood norms that guided relations. However, what to the modern objective observer seem clearly to have been exploitative relationships were not necessarily viewed as such in the subjective judgment of those involved. The Indians’ sense of justice or injustice was not tied to direct equality of exchange with authority figures. The nonelite indigenous population was expected to and was willing to render, most of the time, a heavier burden in exchange for the protection of fundamental and customary rights that guaranteed their social reproduction.6

The customary rights and obligations that defined the moral economy were subject to change and revision. Rights that the native people claimed to have held from “time immemorial” were not necessarily as ancient as the term might suggest. Brooke Larson noted that “what came to be called customary law, land rights, and reciprocities in the Andes were modified, even invented, by colonial authorities. Ayllu claims to lands, held from ‘time immemorial,’ often had their origins in the Toledan period, or later. Even when colonial law and practice did respect certain precolonial social patterns and norms, they had the effect of making Andean customs more rigid and precise through colonial codification.”7

An obligation that remained outwardly the same could well change radically in its practical considerations. For instance, the Potosí mita, imposed by Viceroy Francisco de Toledo in the late sixteenth century and in effect to the end of the colonial period, was designed with Inca mita service in mind. However, colonial demands for labor, and the unwillingness or lack of power of authorities to conduct frequent inspections to adjust mita service to population changes, helped make mita demands harsher than they were originally meant to be. Mita service threatened Indian communities by causing discontent and leading some Indians to permanently leave their communities to avoid forced labor at Potosí. Such actions, in turn, made it difficult for communities to meet state demands for tribute and labor. Faced with these problems, naturales developed various strategies to ameliorate their mita burden or ensure the compliance of community members with the demands of the colonial system. Many Indians increased their economic activity in order to take advantage of the informal practice that allowed them to purchase their way out of the mita (indios de faltriquera).8 Others, like those of ayllu Suio in Sicuani, Canas y Canchis evolved a system that used internal pressure to force compliance with the mita for those who wished to maintain their social standing in the community. To gain the higher and honored community positions, male members of Suio had to pass through a series of obligatory community services, some of which were state imposed. Before being eligible for higher office, the final obligations were to serve in the mita of Potosí and as enterador of the mitayos to Potosí. The Indians of Suio stated that “these obligations serve as steps for us,” entitling those who completed them to fill “honorific posts that distinguish the loyal and true subjects of your majesty,” and that this was an “ancient custom.”9 Thus, these Indians used the very same device that threatened community solidarity to enforce that solidarity, protecting their social reproduction by safeguarding their compact with the state through internal pressure.

The native peoples did not passively accept the obligations imposed on them, but instead worked to improve their terms of service, or at least to reestablish older and better terms, within the compact of reciprocity. Indians also tried to lower their obligations by deceiving the state when possible. They hid tributaries, for instance, to lessen their tax burden. The archives contain many complaints about tribute, the mita, and the reparto in which Indians strive to diminish or eliminate state-imposed obligations or end abuses of these obligations. At times, the state responded to such pleas, particularly after epidemics, droughts, and other natural disasters, and it made changes such as lowering or temporarily waiving tribute payments. At other times, though, the state ignored the requests of the indigenous population. The understandings that defined moral economy were not carved in stone. Sometimes conditions might improve, more often they deteriorated. To meet increased demands, the indigenous communities and individual Indian families had to respond with ever increasing self-exploitation, but until demands became so great that the social reproduction of the community was threatened, open rebellion on a large scale was unlikely.

In the quarter century preceding 1780, the crown and individual government officials exacerbated demands and imposed policies that economically squeezed Andean Indians. The native people of Quispicanchis and Canas y Canchis were affected by these general policies and by actions that were specific to one or another of the two provinces. In an effort to increase revenues, tax collection was made more “efficient.” In 1754, the reparto, which had been functioning informally, was fully legalized, and, instead of improving the Indians’ situation, this change made it worse. Even though the reparto of Quispicanchis and Canas y Canchis was lower than in many regions of the Andes, the corregidor of Canas y Canchis, Antonio de Arriaga, provoked tensions in the years just before the rebellion by distributing goods far in excess of the legal reparto.10 In 1776, the division of the Viceroyalty of Peru and the creation of the new Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata disrupted, to a certain degree, trading patterns and economic life in the southern Andes. Economic tensions increased further because taxes rose from 4 to 6 percent, and a number of items that Indians produced, which had previously been exempt, became subject to it. Products such as dried potatoes (chaño), coca, grain, dried meat (charqui,) and cloth produced in small textile mills (chorrillos) that were often owned by curacas were now to be taxed.11 None of these factors alone was significant enough to set off a rebellion, but together they formed the basis of a growing economic crisis that contributed in turn to a broader crisis in Indian society. Cultural factors, moreover, were very important in determining the nature and course of this crisis. Among other things, the authority of Corregidor Arriaga was also eroded by his conflict with the bishop of Cuzco, Juan Manuel Moscoso y Peralta (who happened to be a friend of Thupa Amaro) that led to the corregidor’s excommunication. This, in turn, further distanced him from the Indians of the region for whom Catholicism, in a syncretic form, had become an essential part of their way of life. But even though their society was in crisis by 1780, Indians were not necessarily disposed to reject the colonial state. When he launched his uprising, Thupa Amaro recognized the strength of the ties between Indians and the state by claiming royal authority for hanging Corregidor Antonio de Arriaga, a form of execution in keeping with European tradition. He hoped, in this way, to win support from individuals who would at least have hesitated had they seen their actions as part of an open rebellion against the crown.

Violent protests or revolts were not common in the communities of rural Cuzco, and when they did occur they were seldom overtly directed against the state itself or the king. Instead, they were usually directed at particular individuals who were seen by the Indians as being abusive or excessive in their treatment of the native people. Indeed, abusos y excesos was the term used in legal documents to describe the actions of individuals who exceeded the understood cultural and legal limits that guided acceptable behavior. When the degree of abusos y excesos was severe enough to transgress the Indians’ sense of justice, the authority that a representative of the state, such as a corregidor or cobrador (collector), may have enjoyed was stripped of its legitimacy, leaving the offending individual open to attack. It is possible, of course, that the claims of abusos y excesos that the Indians used to explain and sometimes excuse their violent actions were little more than transparent masks for protests against the state and its burdens.12 However, direct protests against the state were usually presented in formal written documents or were part of larger-scale, planned actions that fall into the category of rebellions rather than revolts.

Scarlett O’Phelan Godoy has linked the larger-scale rebellions in the eighteenth century to a series of changes in the colonial economy that, according to her, created the conjunctures in which those rebellions occurred. She also noted the high degree of mestizo involvement in rebellions, as well as the involvement of priests and curacas, commenting that “Indian peasants, as an isolated sector, were perhaps less likely to promote general rebellion. 13 However, Indians, like those of Quispicanchis and Canas y Canchis, were often the instigators of the smaller-scale, spontaneous violent reactions that fall into the category of revolts. These revolts, like the rebellions, have some relation to the conjunctures of demands and problems. As conditions made it more difficult for the native people to meet the colonial exactions placed on them, the state officials who enforced the demands were increasingly perceived as excessive and abusive. In fact, colonial officials may have resorted to more threats and force. In some cases, these interactions led to revolts, usually spontaneous, that had the individual—not the state—as their target. This helps explain, at least in part, why under the same combination of demands and problems in rural Cuzco some officials were attacked and others were not. The character and practice of individual cobradores and corregidores caused some of them to augment their demands (illegal on top of legal) to intolerable levels, or to be overly harsh in their imposition or collection of debts. But not all corregidores and cobradores reacted in similar fashions.

In a representative case from rural Cuzco, a mestizo cobrador was killed by Indians in Cusipata, Quispicanchis in 1774. Many would view this cobrador as a front-line victim in the Indians’ attack against the state, but a full reading of the case reveals that he was an especially abusive person. Even the local priest was afraid of him. The cobrador had gone to the house of the cacique, don Lucas Poma Inga, to collect money. The cacique paid the cobrador part of the money and tried to give him a note for the remainder. This was not good enough for the cobrador, even though the cacique had the reputation of being reliable about meeting his obligations. The cobrador proceeded to take Poma Inga from his home, tie him, beat him, and haul him off to his own house, where the cacique apparently was beaten again and then locked in a storage area of the cobradors home. Those who saw the cacique said he was badly beaten, and a doctor and a scribe later said that he was “muy maltratado en todo el cuerpo, la cabeza, estómago y vientre por los golpes, espolazos y palos.” Fellow caciques from nearby Quiquijana confirmed this. In desperation, Poma Inga’s wife, whom the cobrador had also beaten, asked the priest for aid, but the priest said that don Carlos Ochoa, the cobrador, was a fearsome man and he did not wish to get involved. After her second request, the priest did write the cobrador a note, but he seems to have ignored the message and verbally abused the person who delivered it. Without further hope, the Indians of Poma Inga’s ayllu, fearing for the life of their cacique, decided to rescue him from the cobrador “por lo mucho que lo querían su cacique.” They entered the cobrador’s house, removed their cacique, and killed the cobrador for having treated Poma Inga badly and with “ignominy.”14

After the incident the local priest cared for the cacique in the church and testified both to his good character and to the bad character of the cobrador. Other people of European descent also gave statements supporting the Indians, and no action seems to have been taken by the state against those involved. The incident was seen as justifiable in view of the excesses committed by the cobrador, or at least it was thought that it would be unwise to try to punish the Indians, given the nature of the case. While it is true that the cobrador’s position as a tax collector had allowed him to abuse the cacique, the people of Cusipata killed him not because he was a cobrador, but because he was an abusive cobrador. His abuses delegitimized his authority because they went beyond the bounds that governed colonial relations; hence, neither the naturales nor the Europeans saw the killing as a challenge to or protest against colonial authority as a system. The violence did not spread to other representatives of the state, or to Europeans, and it did not go beyond the borders of the community. After the incident, Cusipata settled into its former routine, its moral economy restored.

At the local level, Indians perceived the differences in the behavior of individual officials, and their face-to-face relations with the latter were important in determining the course of events. Juan Antonio Reparaz was a corregidor of Canas y Canchis who dealt fairly with the Indian people he governed in the day-to-day matters that came before him. He even donated 13,000 pesos out of his own funds to build bridges for certain communities, including Tinta, the provincial capital of Canas y Canchis and the community in which the 1780 rebellion began, after his term as corregidor ended. This was done “to facilitate safe transit,” according to Indian leaders in Tinta who urged the completion of the project after it had been disrupted by the rebellion, because people often drowned and goods were lost while fording the river.15 It does not follow that the system Reparaz was enforcing was just. He collected colonial exactions, including the reparto that most directly benefited him, like the other corregidores. Indeed, his contribution to bridge building most likely came from his profits in the reparto, but his treatment of the Indians was reasonably equitable within the context of an increasingly exploitative system. Thus, the moral economy was maintained, making a violent confrontation between Indians and authorities unlikely.

The majority of corregidores in Quispicanchis and Canas y Canchis were not as considerate as Reparaz in their behavior. Excessive or new demands, violations of traditional arrangements, or treatment not in keeping with normative behavior are examples of factors that could easily weaken Indian-corregidor relations. For instance, in 1767, Corregidor Pedro Muñoz de Arjona angered the Indians near Pichigua and Yauri (Canas y Canchis) when he issued orders forcing them to haul dried llama dung to the silver mining center of Condoroma. A number of these Indians had previously hauled llama dung, burnt in the refining process, to the mines and had also hauled metals from the mines in order to earn money, some of which undoubtedly was used to meet state demands. Under the new orders of Muñoz de Arjona, the state burden was increased, and the Indians were no longer free to decide if they wished to haul the dung up to the rocky, cold, and windswept mines of Condoroma. Moreover, the mine owners could now compensate them with coca, clothes, food, and silver, and not exclusively with the much-needed silver as had previously been the practice. This naturally made it more difficult for the Indians to meet other state-imposed exactions.16

The differences between corregidores and the responses they evoked in Indian society are represented in the attitudes and actions of Thupa Amaro himself toward the last four corregidores of Canas y Canchis before the 1780 rebellion. While he intensely disliked the system the corregidores enforced, he did perceive differences between individual corregidores. Of these last four, Thupa Amaro disliked two, had mixed feelings about one, and “got along well” with the other. Corregidor Gregorio de Viana “harassed him greatly with the repartimiento,” and, according to Thupa Amaro, treated him badly in business dealings. The next corregidor, Pedro Muñoz de Arjona, named him curaca of Tungasuca, Surimana, and Pampamarca, something that Viana had not done. Muñoz de Arjona and Thupa Amaro coexisted in harmony for a while, but when the corregidor had Thupa Amaro jailed over a dispute with a cobrador, the relationship soured. Thupa Amaro “got along well” with the next corregidor, Juan Antonio Reparaz. In commenting on how the actions of Reparaz influenced him, the rebel leader informed his captors that “the rebellion had been thought of for many years, but he had not determined to rebel because Corregidor Reparaz, the predecessor of Arriaga, had treated him very well and looked on the Indians with compassion.”17 Thupa Amaro had been swayed by the actions of an individual corregidor to set aside the idea of rebellion—interpersonal relations had made a difference. However, Thupa Amaro did not have the same opinion of the next corregidor, Antonio de Arriaga. He hanged Arriaga to begin the 1780 rebellion.

While explanations founded in moral economy help us understand many of the protests and revolts that dotted the social landscape of rural Peru in the eighteenth century, the causation of such events was complex, and those in power sometimes found themselves in danger for reasons not directly related to their own actions. Misinterpretations, quick tempers, and fears occasionally led to confrontations in situations unrelated to the moral economy or abuses and excesses. Violence often erupted during community fiestas, which officials habitually used to inform communities of demands placed on them, to distribute goods (reparto), or to collect debts, thus providing a source of provocation at a time when solidarity was strong among the Indians who were gathered to pay their festive respect to their patron saint or a celebrated event. But the proclivity to violence at these times was aided by the increased, often ritual, consumption of alcohol. In Quispicanchis and Canas y Canchis chicha and aguardiente were responsible for releasing tensions and provoking outbursts as alcohol removed inhibitions that otherwise kept the aggravations caused by colonial oppression from coming to the surface.

While such violence was usually spontaneous, the relationship of alcohol to violence was not always innocent. Knowing that when alcohol was consumed ritually it could create or strengthen a sense of community and that its physiological effect often released pent-up anger, certain Indians used alcohol to encourage and provoke extreme conduct that served their interests. In 1765, workers in the large obraje of Pichiehuro (partido of Abancay, Cuzco) testified that they had planned an uprising in the obraje. The extent of the plan seems to have been to “ask for their corn ration in advance, so they could sell it immediately, and with the profits, buy chicha to give them courage for the rebellion.”18 Likewise, in 1768 a disturbance erupted in Coporaque, Canas y Canchis when the government tried to replace one cacique, don Cristóbal Sinanyuca, with another, don Eugenio Sinanyuca, who was the son of the former cacique. Indians from ayllu Collana who had been under the guidance of don Cristóbal refused to allow the formal investiture and instead, shouting and using their slings, disrupted the ceremony and attacked those who were preparing to offer mass as part of the new cacique’s installation. The Indians who participated in these actions had been drinking chicha and aguardiente and chewing coca at the house of don Cristóbal for at least three days before the violence broke out. Don Cristóbal had provided them with many, if not all, of the items they were consuming, and had encouraged resisting the investiture of his successor. Under the influence of alcohol, consumed in what may well have been a ritual manner that promoted group solidarity, and encouraged by don Cristóbal himself notorious for his “public and continual drunkenness”—the naturales were willing to take action. Don Cristóbal had previously abandoned the community and only returned a few days before the new cacique was to take office: it was because of his absence, his frequent inebriation, and his neglect of duty that he had been removed from office. But the Indians of ayllu Collana feared that don Eugenio, who was described by an Indian of another ayllu as having a character admirable in its “formalidad, onra y juicio,” and who was also known never to get drunk and to get along well with Spaniards, would try to collect the back tribute (rezagos) owed from when his father was cacique. When community members had been unable to come up with their tribute, don Eugenio’s father had paid their tribute from his own pocket. Thus, these inebriated Indians, under the influence of their former cacique, fearful of being required to pay their tribute debts, and uncertain about the new cacique, tried to prevent don Eugenio from assuming office. The violence quickly subsided, though, and Coporaque accepted don Eugenio as cacique. While several Indians active in the uprising were identified, the government only brought charges against the former cacique and two others. Once the new cacique was installed, moreover, his presence does not seem to have been a source of problems in the community. In fact, don Eugenio was one of the more active curacas from the region in protesting the mita and its abuses, and he had some success in protecting his people. Perhaps it was partly because of this that when the Thupa Amaro rebellion broke out, and Eugenio Sinanyuca remained loyal to the crown, so did many of the Indians under his rule.19

As I have suggested, revolts differed from rebellions, even minor rebellions, in several ways; and, as a result, the revolts were usually treated differently by the colonial state. They tended to be local in character, spontaneous, of short duration, directed against individuals, and often seeking to maintain or restore an existing order. They were the form of violence Indians engaged in most typically, and these Indians were not usually punished harshly. A rebellion that illustrates some of the differences from revolts is the one that occurred not far from Quispicanchis and Canas y Canchis in Maras, partido of Urubamba, Cuzco, in 1777. Though Indians initiated the violence that became a rebellion, many non-Indians participated, especially in leadership roles. In fact, non-Indians composed a significantly higher percentage of the population in Urubamba than in either Quispicanchis or Canas y Canchis (see Table I). And Urubamba was more closely linked to the urban market of Cuzco than Canas y Canchis and most of Quispicanchis. The reparto was clearly one reason why Indians became involved. However, the violence also took forms that seemed to represent more the interests of people of European descent—and of some richer Indians—as when the grain the corregidor had collected was burnt in the plaza, possibly as a protest against grain taxes.

After three days, the rebellion which began among the Indians in Maras spread to the neighboring and larger community of Urubamba (in the province of the same name), where non-Indians assumed important roles in the movement. In the initial stages, the Indians had attacked their curacas, but in Urubamba the focus was the corregidor, the cobrador, and governmental offices. When the bishop of Cuzco, who happened to be in the region, tried to pacify the rebellion by holding up the Holy Sacrament before the Indians, this symbol of divine authority was pelted with stones. The rebels burnt not only the grain but 22 houses, and they “reduced to ashes” the royal jail and royal archive. Tensions lasted for many days and flared up again two and three months later. There was also “a degree of coordination and organization among the rebels [who] were in the position to advance from Maras to Urubamba, with the final intention of pushing as far as Cuzco.” After the rebellion, the government made a stronger show of force than it normally did in revolts and disturbances such as those we have seen in Cusipata and Coporaque. Some 26 people were taken prisoner, and of the 24 whose identity is known, 15 were Indians and 9 were creoles or Spaniards. The differences between this rebellion and the revolts are very clear: it encompassed not one but two communities, and threatened to extend to the regional capital; it had stronger internal organization; it lasted for many days; not only individuals were attacked but also symbols of the state and church; non-Indians participated at high levels; and a fairly large number of the rebellious were arrested. However, it is important to note that, at least in Maras where the rebellion started and where Indians dominated, there were signs that the moral economy had severely deteriorated even before the rebellion. Curacas were no longer perceived as helping the community but as joining the Spaniards in exploiting their fellow Indians, and as a result they were attacked. The community had also tried to redress its problems through legal channels by means of a written complaint about the corregidor, but it had received no response. Thus, neither the protective legal tradition nor the reciprocal relationship with the curacas was functioning properly when violence erupted.20

The number of violent incidents, both revolts and rebellions, grew rapidly in the eighteenth century as economic pressures, changes in the colonial system, and population growth created tensions among both Indians and people of European and mixed descent.21 One would think that the increasing levels of violent protest, like a firebell in the night, would have alerted colonial officials that policies were amiss and should be changed, but this was not the case. There were a few exceptions, such as Viceroy Manuel de Amat y Junient, who warned that if the harsh policies of debt collection continued it would not be “possible to maintain order in the pueblos. …”22 However, demands continued to escalate and were enforced with increasing efficiency. This does not mean that the government was unconcerned about the revolts and rebellions. Quite the contrary.23 Rebellions, such as that in Maras, tended to be punished harshly to make examples of the main instigators. At the local level, at least, officials also understood the danger of minor revolts. In one instance, at San Pablo de Cacha, Canas y Canchis, tensions between the priest and the corregidor led to a potentially violent incident when a black who worked for the former deliberately misinformed the Indians that the corregidor was sending troops to “pasarlos a cuchillo” in punishment for an incident that had taken place a month earlier. The corregidor, who had the black removed from the province as part of the effort to quickly calm Indians’ fears, commented that “cuando los incendios no se apagan en los principios, suelen sus llamas consumir lo más distante.24 These words were especially prophetic, for they were written by Antonio de Arriaga, the corregidor of Canas y Canchis whom Thupa Amaro would execute a few months later to begin the great rebellion.

It is surprising that the escalating violence did not trigger more concern among high-level state authorities. But did it amount to a growing “climate” of violence at the local level, as some have suggested? Jürgen Golte’s study of state demands and violence shows a high of 66 reported violent incidents in the decade 1770-79, the next highest level being 20 in the decade 1760-69. Most of this time, Peru (including Upper Peru) was divided into 74 provinces or partidos, and revolts were not distributed evenly throughout the realm; some provinces experienced a few incidents, while others had none. However, even at their peak there was an average of less than one violent incident per partido per decade. For the region of Quispicanchis and Canas y Canchis, O’Phelan Godoy and Golte have recorded less than 10 in the eighteenth century up until the 1780 rebellion, and these protests were widely scattered. Even though my research has uncovered minor revolts that scholars had previously not tabulated, violence was still not common when looked at from the local level, especially considering the number of events that might conceivably have provoked violent responses and failed to do so.25 Moreover, even though news of the violent protests that did occur undoubtedly spread fairly quickly to nearby communities, the relative isolation of many of the communities, and the highly specific nature of the causes that underlay many of the revolts, gave these events somewhat less local impact than might have been expected. Hence, it would be an overstatement to interpret the protests as constituting a climate of violence. It is more appropriate to speak of a climate in which violence was more likely to occur.

The state helped to defuse situations in which violence might have expanded, by not seeking harsh revenge or setting overly severe examples for minor outbreaks. It continued to pressure Indian communities through new and more efficient collection of its impositions. Yet the effort was made, much as Corregidor Arriaga had suggested, to put out the flames of revolt when they had just been ignited so that they did not grow and become more dangerous. High-level officials with a view of the entire viceroyalty thus did not strongly support corregidores, cobradores, curacas, and priests who, through their actions, threatened the existing order by bringing into question the protective justice of the crown. The relatively light punishment often meted out for acts against lower governmental officials was perhaps one way in which the viceregal authorities tried to preserve order, and indirectly warn its lower officials in the hope of curbing, to some degree, their excesses.

Even though the provincial revolts did not, in themselves, create a climate of violence, they were important as harbingers of the coming Thupa Amaro rebellion. These revolts reflected the increasingly severe stress that the Indians were experiencing by the mideighteenth century, when the combination of demands imposed by the state and such factors as population growth had begun to undermine the customary rights of protective justice and access to adequate amounts of land and other resources. At the very least, the threshold of violence was lowered, as the Indians became ever more desperate in their effort to preserve their way of life. Nevertheless, to the extent that the pre-1780 revolts remained Indian in character, they were more attempts to restore or maintain a rapidly disintegrating order than attempts to destroy the colonial system itself.

State Demands and Inter-Indian Conflict: The Internal Moral Economy in Crisis

Large-scale rebellion might not have broken out if it had not been for the conjuncture of several important economic factors and the leadership of Thupa Amaro. However, the climate in which the rebellion took place was also formed by cultural factors which are often overlooked, given the importance of material considerations. Furthermore, by the middle of the eighteenth century, many of the indigenous communities of rural Cuzco were experiencing severe internal divisions. These divisions were complex and often involved non-Indians such as the parish priest, landowners of European descent, mestizos, and even an occasional black, but I will focus here on internal problems that involved mainly Indians, especially the curacas.

The Spanish colonial system, while imposing its laws and obligations, had left the indigenous communities largely self-governing. They were allowed and expected to resolve most of their internal difficulties. Even responsibility for collecting tribute and enforcing other state demands was left, for the most part, in the hands of the curaca and other community officials, although by the mideighteenth century corregidores and their agents were involved increasingly in debt collection, and the local priest always had an important role in community life. In general, reliance on the traditional structures helped preserve the integrity and solidarity of internal community relations. At the same time, however, the practice put a great deal of pressure on those relations and could become a force for disintegration and disunity as well. If the Indians found resolutions to their problems using the community’s internal legal structure, the strength of these bonds and traditions would be enhanced, but, if not, outside forces might be drawn into community affairs undermining community authority. However, it is also true that in some instances by resorting to the outside legal structure the community could force compliance with the traditional order or get curacas removed who were not living within accepted Andean norms.

The relationship between the curacas and the communities and ayllus under their rule was a critical one in assuring that the glue that held colonial society together did not come unstuck. While most curacas performed their work with community interests in mind, by the mideighteenth century there were numerous cases in which the relationship between curacas and their communities had weakened. Curaca-community tensions were not new to the eighteenth century. Throughout the colonial period, as the economy and society changed, so did the role and actions of curacas, and in rural Cuzco as elsewhere, new situations tempted some curacas to abuse their relationships with their communities.26 However, as Karen Spalding noted, “[T]here were definite cultural limits to the kuraka’s ability to turn the labor and goods of his Indian subjects into his own personal wealth. The kuraka’s access to labor was defined in terms of Andean society as a reciprocal exchange. In order to be able to call upon the labor of his Indian subjects, the kuraka had to continue to observe, to some degree, the norms of Andean society by reciprocating in some way for those services.”27 While many curacas in the late colonial period depended on trade and other economic activities for their well-being, and not only on the land and labor supplied to them as part of the reciprocal exchange with community members, traditional ties to the community remained important for most indigenous leaders. Even curacas who were heavily involved in trade did not necessarily take their role as community leaders less seriously.28 In Canas y Canchis, Thupa Amaro is an example of a curaca who was both an important regional trader and a protector of the people for whom he served.

In a period in which corregidores sometimes tried to replace one curaca with another who was friendly to them, community support could be important in helping the indigenous leader maintain his office. However, there were some indigenous leaders who did exploit their communities, and if the reciprocal relations between them did not break, they were certainly weakened. Such weakened ties are most obvious after the Thupa Amaro rebellion. Curacas who had given strong support to the rebellion were no longer in place and the rebellion also caused the government to look warily at the appointment of curacas who claimed Inca or noble heritage, the very people who had previously commanded the most respect. Increasingly, non-Indians, as well as Indians from outside the community, were placed in the vacant positions. David Cahill, commenting on the change in the nature of caciques in the Cuzco region after the rebellion, noted that there was “discernible in the late eighteenth century [a new group of] … caciques, many of whom were forasteros installed by corregidores or subdelegados to do their bidding,” not the bidding of the community.29 But this process was well underway before the 1780 rebellion. By the mideighteenth century, one already begins to see many more caciques interinos and caciques who were not from the community or ayllu they governed; and a considerable number of them became involved in disputes with their communities.

At the same time, the increase in colonial exactions put more pressure on curacas, for they could be held personally responsible for community debts such as tribute. When vacancies occurred, some Indians who normally would have been chosen as curacas found the position less attractive than they previously might have found it, while others were attracted to the position for the wrong reasons. Likewise, as Cahill mentioned, many local governmental officials wanted people they could easily control in this key position. But the turnover of curacas also increased for reasons that were independent of politics or economics. During the eighteenth century, the Andean region, the communities of Quispicanchis and Canas y Canchis not excepted, was hit especially hard by epidemics. In some instances, the entire leadership structure of a community was destroyed. After the 1720 epidemic, a witness for the community of Quiquijana, Quispicanchis testified that almost all of the community’s officeholders had died,

Don Francisco Niño, don Martín Tiraquimbo, don Melchor Guamansauni, don Thomas Ramos, and don Alonso Orcoguarana who were caciques principales and governadores of this pueblo are dead, they died in la peste … and of the same fate have died all the segundos and mandones like Francisco de Estrada who died without one member of his family remaining, and in the same manner Matheo Pichu with all his family, don Gavriel Cusigualpa, Agustín de Rado, don Ygenio Ninamalco and others, and don Blas Chinche who was alcalde with the said don Melchor Guamansauni, and those that were placed after [them] by your mercy, Señor Corregidor, they also died, as did all the regidors and ministros de justicia, and the only mandones that remain alive are don Miguel Quera and don Fernando Vitorino.30

Thus, to the other reasons for change must be added the demographic impact of disease, which, by disrupting a community’s leadership, often made internal relations less cohesive than they otherwise would have been.

Though I have emphasized the role of new curacas, significant numbers of long-established indigenous leaders also saw the land and labor under their control as a source of personal gain—a discovery not new, of course, to the eighteenth century. Many curacas were heavily involved in economic activities that brought them reasonable and sometimes considerable riches, and they often used community labor in these activities.31 This additional economic relationship might function within norms and conditions acceptable to community members. Indeed, a wealthy curaca could often protect his community members better than one who was not so well-to-do. For instance, if a community member could not pay his tribute, a cacique with resources could advance him the tribute money. In some cases, a curaca might even absorb a debt, an act that undoubtedly enhanced his standing in the community.32 However, in their pursuit of riches, other curacas abused the labor of the people under their control and even usurped their lands. Adequate land was basic to guaranteeing the survival of a community, and the Indian communities of rural Cuzco, like those in most of the Andes, had enough difficulty trying to preserve their lands from the encroachment of outsiders without having to struggle against their own caciques.

Curacas sometimes rented community lands to people outside the community. This was usually done to earn tribute money or to support community religious festivals. For example, the Indians of Yanaoca, Canas y Canchis had their cacique rent an estancia to a Spaniard, and the rent was directly credited to the libro de comunidad, the community account book. But sometimes such actions were taken against community wishes or without prior community knowledge, and benefited only the curaca.33 Caciques also appropriated community land for their own use. Such usurpations forced the community to either endure this internal exploitation or go outside the community to the colonial legal system for redress. Indians in Acomayo, Quispicanchis, knowing the type of appeal that was most likely to bring favorable government action, complained that they had very little land on which to grow corn because a former cacique had appropriated the lands designated for tributaries (chacras de repartición). This usurpation was typical of a widespread problem, but, at least in this case, the government put the community back in possession of its lands.34

Tribute collection was another major cause of tension between community members and curacas. The problem obviously was not new, but it became more serious in the eighteenth century as the state augmented its demands and made collection more efficient. These developments, combined with changes in the population structure, contributed both to the deteriorating economic situation of the Indians and to curaca-community strife, since curacas were personally responsible for the delivery of tribute, and if they did not comply they could find themselves in jail or their goods could be embargoed and sold to meet the debt. (This also happened to curacas who did not fulfill their mita quotas for the mines of Potosí; as John Rowe pointed out, “Marcos Thupa Amaro, the uncle of the Inca rebel leader, who served as cacique of Surimana from 1750 to 1766, was bankrupted by the seizure of a train of mules and a hundred pesos’ worth of goods because his mita quota was one man short.”35) Thus, the cacique of ayllu Chumo in Sicuani found himself in debt because of tribute owed to him and had to sell his house to pay it; he ended up leaving the community, sinking from cacique to forastero.36 To avoid such personal losses, curacas and their cobradores often jailed people and used the courts to sentence tributaries to obrajes to work off their debt—which was just another of the many ways in which colonial demands led to internal community tensions. Undoubtedly, too, the families of ten tributaries who died when the jail in Sicuani burnt in 1778 were not happy with their curaca who had placed the men there for failing to make their tribute payments.37

Besides using strong-arm tactics to enforce compliance with state demands, curacas would often collect tribute from people who were supposed to be exempt from such exactions, or they would tax the tributaries more than the legal rate. Sometimes such actions were in the community interest. For example, richer Indians who had some claim to exemption might be charged tribute to help pay for those who were less fortunate, or a widow would be charged tribute rather than losing all or part of her lands. All too often, though, the money simply went into the pocket of the curaca. One of the most common illegal tribute practices of the caciques was to hide tributaries so that they would not be enumerated for the purpose of charging tribute. The curaca usually collected tribute from these people, and, as with other such practices, the money could be used to relieve the overall tribute burden or to pay the tribute of people who had died or fled the community but had not yet been removed from the tribute lists (something the government was frequently slow in doing, since Indian claims of population decline were considered suspect and more tributaries meant more revenues). But curacas also hid tributaries for their own interest. When community members saw this happening at their expense, they often appealed to the government to correct the situation or to give them a curaca who would live within accepted norms and better serve their interests.38

A case that clearly illustrates the rupturing of ties of reciprocity between the cacique and the people he governed comes from Sicuani, where the Indians of one ayllu complained that their cacique interino, who had been appointed by the state and was not from their ayllu, had committed so many wrongs that “there was not time nor paper” enough to list them all. However, they tried. “Without the least scruple of conscience nor fear of punishment of God,” the cacique had taken lands and animals from them and charged them tribute before it was due. He also made them work without pay and wanted to use their daughters as maids, and he mistreated them with tyranny and cruelty. Members of the community complained that their curaca, instead of aiding and guiding them, as curacas were supposed to do, had been abusing and exploiting them. What the community desired was a curaca it could trust, one of its “own ayllu … [and] own blood,” who, because of his closeness to the people, “knows how to guide us with the love, affection, and esteem we need.”39 When the curaca did not live up to this standard, the community successfully used the legal apparatus of the state to obtain his removal and restore harmony to its life. When the system functioned, as in this case, adherence to the colonial order was reestablished for a while. If the state had not rectified the situation, however, both the legal tradition and the reciprocal relationship with the curaca would have been removed from the equation that bound colonial society together.

As noted earlier and as exemplified by the preceding case, curacacommunity problems were often related to the growing practice of appointing outsiders, both Indians and non-Indians, to the position of curaca. But if a curaca was not racially an Indian or not originally from the community, it did not necessarily follow that he would fail to protect community interests, or that his interests and the community’s would not coincide. Among the rebellious curacas of Canas y Canchis in 1780 was Ramón Moscoso, a Spaniard from Arequipa and the curaca of Yanaoca. And the leader of the great 1780 rebellion, while gaining indigenous support based on his Inca heritage, was a rather well-to-do mestizo with extensive economic interests and a large network of non-Indian friends and associates.

To the divisions resulting from curaca-community tensions must be added still other internal causes of discord. Originarios were often at odds with the forasteros who lived in their communities, and, though there were fewer forasteros in Quispicanchis and Canas y Canchis than in many other regions of the Andes, they were still an important group.40 Forasteros were not admitted fully into community life, and then were sometimes discriminated against in rather harsh and overt ways. When in 1773 a forastero in Canas y Canchis died under mysterious circumstances, the leaders of the community where he lived confiscated some of his animals. The family of the forastero protested, but when one of the caciques was asked why the animals had been taken he felt obliged to give no more explanation than to say he was “well-to-do and a forastero.”41

Intracommunity conflicts involving different ayllus or moieties (hanansaya and [h]urinsaya) were likewise very much a part of Indian life. For instance, the moieties of Langui, Canas y Canchis engaged in ritual battles that led to deaths among both participants and observers.42 Moreover, a curaca from one ayllu or moiety might well favor his people over those of the other ayllus or the other moiety, and such favoritism, or at least the fear of it, was a serious issue in community life. When the cantor of the church in Pomacanchi, Quispicanchis quarreled with his curaca, the curaca raped the cantor’s wife. In giving his testimony, the cantor claimed that the oppression of the curaca had caused many people to flee the community “in particular those of [the cantor’s] ayllu.”43 The quantity of documents which show divisions within communities is in fact staggering, and often the differences do not represent just a few individuals but large factions, as one would expect when ayllus and moieties were involved.

Tensions such as those relating to curacas, forasteros, ayllus, and moieties did not exist everywhere, at least at an intense level, yet they were common enough. Reinforced through daily experience, they led to serious rifts within communities that caused at least part of the tension created by state demands to he focused inward, rather than against the state itself. And, when communities did look outward, they frequently focused their antagonisms not on the state, but on neighboring Indian communities.

Population, Structural Changes, and Inter-Indian Conflict: Erosion of a Way of Life

Examining documents in the Cuzco archives, one is struck by the number of disputes that concern not Indians against Spaniards, but Indians against Indians. However, tensions between Indians in Quispicanchis and Canas y Canchis, especially over land, were nothing new in the eighteenth century: earlier conflict left important imprints on the region and its peoples. Before the Spanish conquest, Canas y Canchis was a border area or buffer zone between the Colla people (Titicaca basin) and the Incas, both of whom tried to conquer the region, with the Incas eventually dominating. It is unclear how the peoples and armies of the Canchis and Canas were organized, but Catherine Julien, who has studied the Inca conquest of Hatunquolla, comments that “no lord politically the equal of the king of Hatunquolla was to be found in either Canas or Canchis at the time of the Inca conquest.”44 While the Canchis and Canas could mobilize for self-defense, they do not seem to have had a central authority that maintained this unity. The need to defend themselves made the Canchis and Canas good soldiers, but in this region of diverse ethnicity military talents were also honed on neighboring communities in ritual battles and in other conflicts that erupted into violence.45

By the late Inca period, whatever central authorities or great lords had earlier held power in the region were not in place, as Julien noted. Such an absence by the eighteenth century would not have been uncommon, although many regions, such as nearby Azángaro, had great ethnic lords even after the 1780 rebellion.46

Linguistically, the Canchis and Canas appear to have been Aymara speakers originally, but Inca influence and domination brought the use of Quechua. This process of linguistic change was uneven, some Canas people remaining Aymara speakers until the seventeenth century according to Bertonio, and what emerged were hybrid dialects of Quechua with Aymara influences. The Indian chronicler Guamán Poma lists Canche and Cana among the “muchas lenguaxes” of the realm. Many Canchis and Canas could communicate with both Quechua and Aymara speakers, and this linguistic ability aided them as long-distance transporters of goods during the colonial period, a trade for which the region was well known.47 It may also have been a factor in spreading the 1780 rebellion beyond the Cuzco region.

Because of their earlier history, the Canchis and Canas seem to have entered the colonial period precocious in their fragmentation, a process that continued throughout the colonial era. The reducciones established by Viceroy Toledo early in the 1570s heightened this fragmentation by tending to break down a larger sense of ethnic identity. The very process of creating the reducciones fostered tensions between communities. When Viceroy Toledo “reduced” the people of Colcatona, he divided them between the communities of Combapata and Checacupe (all in Canas y Canchis). Conflicts erupted around this division, and in 1643 the corregidor finally tried to resolve the problem by putting all the Colcotonas in Checacupe; but disputed lands remained with Combapata, and this led to an invasion of Combapata lands by the naturales of Checacupe in 1652.48 Thus, three-quarters of a century after their formation, the reducciones were still causing conflicts between communities. At the same time, the reducciones may have sharpened tensions between ayllus that had been kept under better control when greater physical distance existed between the members of various ayllus.

In the eighteenth century, the people of Canas y Canchis were divided into units that averaged two hundred persons or less per curaca.49 It was a pattern typical in this region of the Andes, certainly more so than in Quispicanchis where the average was over one thousand persons per curaca, and it has obvious implications for potential problems of disunity. Furthermore, animal raising was important in the region, and this activity—and the space it needed—helped foster a sense of separateness. There was competition for pasture, and such competition sometimes led to tensions. In addition to deliberate intrusions on other people’s pasture, careless or overworked herders lost track of their beasts which then entered the pasture or, worse yet, the cultivated fields of their neighbors. Such incidents created harsh feelings and could lead to violence, as did the theft of animals which was another fairly common activity in the region.

Throughout the colonial period there were a variety of conflicts among Indians that related to control of the land: over river valley land good for agriculture, mountain land good for potato cultivation or grazing, even lands too frigid and too barren for most uses, but desired for vicuña hunting. In the 1570s, when the colonial government asked Indian leaders of Canas y Canchis to inform them of their boundaries, conflicts emerged between the Indians of Coporaque and Yaure(i), Pichigua and Checasupa, Checasupa and Yanaoca, Sicuana(i) and San Pablo and Checa, and Combapata and Pitumarca with Checacupe.50 Under the economic pressures of the mid-to-late-eighteenth century, these disputes would become even more frequent. A good example of the continuing conflicts over land comes from the community of Layo, Canas y Canchis. In 1633, Don Diego Arqui of Pichigua complained that the Indians of Layo with “mano poderosa” entered land that he and his ancestors had possessed from “tiempo inmemorial” and where, according to Arqui, he pastured the animals with which he paid his tribute. Arqui won the case, but just 40 years later, his grandson was again asking for help in removing Indians of Layo from his land.51 By the late 1700s, Layo, like many other communities in the region, had become almost frenetic in its struggle to gain or maintain land. A few years after the rebellion, although it could just as easily have been before, Layo was engaged in a land dispute with two different communities that shared borders with it on pasture lands distant from the communities. At the same time, Layo was engaged in yet another land dispute with Pichigua. And Layo was also claiming that people in Langui, one more community on its border, had “introduced themselves [on lands of Layo] intrepidly preparing them for planting, violating the 170-year-long possession …, limiting the pasturing of our animals [and] threatening our women and children.”52 Such conflict over land stemmed, in part, from the Indians’ efforts to increase their resource base in order to meet state demands. However, not just state demands but also rapid population fluctuation and growth lay at the heart of land tensions in Quispicanchis and Canas y Canchis.

In 1720, a pandemic swept the Andes, taking with it a tremendous portion of the native population. Manuel Burga, writing of deaths in Ccatcca, a community in present-day Quispicanchis that during the colonial period was just inside the neighboring province of Paucartambo, noted that between 1682 and 1702 deaths had numbered about 20 to 25 per year. In 1720, between the months of June and August, 469 people died. After this, no one made note of the mortalities, the parish priest and those in charge of the major cofradías having died.53 Another Indian community of Quispicanchis, Quiquijana, suffered similar devastation. In the six or so months that the epidemic raged, one witness in this community reported that “there are very few people left in the pueblo, for which cause all the plantings of maize and wheat, potatoes, and other vegetables have been lost, not having people to harvest them. They have also lost the royal tributes because of the death of the Indians and … caciques. ”54

In the wake of such a sharp population decline, many communities sold off land or rented it out, because they lacked the human resources to work the land and were in need of money. Such sales and rentals seemed reasonable at the time. The government also sometimes sold a portion of a community’s lands when it recounted the population to update tribute rolls. Both Quispicanchis and Canas y Canchis had recounts conducted after the 1720 disaster, and Andahuaylillas was one of the communities that lost land as a result. Its population was counted and the tribute reduced. The government then reserved for the community enough land for the tributaries, the old, the children, the handicapped, the cofradías and other community needs, but it did not leave enough land to meet the demands of an unusually rapid population growth once recovery from the epidemic occurred. The birth records of nearby Ccatcca give an indication of the rapidity of population growth in the region, rising from 20 births in 1731 to over 100 births by 1740 (see Table II). By 1745, accordingly, the Indians of Andahuaylillas were in the courts, supported by their corregidor, demanding the return of their lands because they no longer had enough to meet community needs.55

Population figures reflect significant growth for the entire region in the period 1689 to 1786. According to Magnus Mörner, there was a 53.3-percent increase for Quispicanchis and a 103.4-percent increase for Canas y Canchis, but these figures do not convey the dramatic shifts that are evident when declines due to epidemics and the subsequent rapid growth are taken into account.56 In the first years after the epidemic, the Indians had more than sufficient land to meet their needs and those of the state, but within two decades many of the Indians of rural Cuzco—like those of Andahuaylillas—were experiencing a land shortage. State demands combined with rapid population growth thus put many communities in a double bind, and they sometimes usurped lands to meet their needs—including lands which belonged to other Indians.

In the late eighteenth century, Indian communities were increasingly fractured from within, and from one another. One result was that ethnic identity in Quispicanchis and Canas y Canchis broke down into smaller units that more resembled community or ayllu identity. Nor was rural Cuzco alone in this process, as other regions in the Andes experienced similar fracturing. For instance, in his dissertation on curaca leaders among the Yura of Bolivia, Roger Rasnake found that a shrinking concept of ethnicity, brought on by problems of taxation and the reducciones of Viceroy Toledo, was a source of factionalization among the Yura. In discussing the impact of the reducciones Rasnake notes that “a consciousness of wider ethnic identity was lost; ‘new’ loyalties based on the reducciones were evolved, demonstrating a more localized sense of ethnicity. Erosion of ethnic identity was a slow process, but “by the middle of the eighteenth century the wider sense of loyalty had disappeared.”57 The shrinking scope of ethnic identity meant that Indian organization on a broad scale was more difficult, and problems between groups more likely.

Contradictions and Conjunctures

In the late eighteenth century, the world view of the Indians of Quispicanchis and Canas y Canchis was both complex and contradictory. Population pressure eroded their resource base at the same time that state economic demands pressed them ever more. By 1780, Spanish colonial policy that for more than two centuries had functioned to reduce ethnic identity, and which in the process exacerbated local and internal divisions within Indian society, had been so effective that the native people began to question their ability to maintain their way of life, given the intrusion of outside forces and the erosion of internal community relations. When mideighteenth-century changes in political administration and economic policy were added to longer-term and structural changes, a conjuncture was produced in which the relations and assumptions that collectively formed the moral economy began to come under doubt, and compliance with its norms no longer seemed to assure the social reproduction of the Indian communities.

To be sure, the same circumstances could produce opposite tendencies. Demands of the colonial state created Indian solidarity at the same time that they caused internal tensions. As we have seen, some Indians turned the state’s labor demands for the Potosí mita into a force for maintaining community solidarity. The mita, disliked by virtually all Indians, produced an interclass united front of protest and antagonism; and in the long journey to and from Potosí, as well as during their stay in the mining center, naturales more fully comprehended the burden Andean Indians shared. In the same manner, population pressure in conjunction with state demands led to conflicts between communities, while also contributing to antistate antagonism. As native people found it harder to meet their obligations, friction with neighboring Indian groups became more common, but so did revolts and claims of official abuses and excesses. These protests were often directed against specific individuals, yet the cumulative impact was a growing questioning of the legitimacy of the colonial system.

Likewise, while some curacas became more “European,” and state representatives appointed caciques who would promote imperial interests, other curacas reacted to the changes and pressures of the period by harking back to the Inca heritage. This identification with the Inca past was not a new phenomenon, but it became stronger in the eighteenth century. Throughout the colonial period there had existed myths of Gran Paititi, an Inca society in the jungle where the survivors of Cuzco had fled after the Spanish conquest. Another myth, that of Inkarrí, developed around the idea of an Inca who would bring order to the world. These myths provided a basis for a limited degree of cultural identity, although Alberto Flores Galindo cautions that one should not see in them “a mechanical response to colonial domination,” and he notes that while by the eighteenth century such ideas were widespread they were not continuous, and are probably best thought of as “small islands and archipelagos.”58 These myths, in any case, accompanied by such changes as the adoption of Inca dress by curacas (at least when having their portraits painted) and an increased reading of the Royal Commentaries of Garcilaso de la Vega (El Inca) by the Indian elite, form part of what John Rowe referred to as Inca nationalism.59 For those who would see in Inca revivalism a growing class or caste consciousness, Rowe cautions that it is necessary “to maintain a clear distinction between the mass of the tributary population and the aristocracy of the caciques; both groups conserved part of the old tradition, but a different part.”60 However, even if this concern with Inca heritage was not “the unifying factor” for caste or class consciousness it clearly contributed to the larger awareness that evolved among the Indian population in the complex and contradictory years just before the 1780 rebellion.

This larger awareness or consciousness had limited implications for collective action as long as Indians responded to certain colonial pressures along lines of ethnic division, rather than against the state. Some inter-Indian conflicts were created by colonial demands; others, with roots in “time immemorial,” were enhanced by these demands. Either way, they made identification or concerted action with Indians of neighboring communities, let alone more distant Indian groups, difficult. Added to such contradictions was the strong desire of the native peoples to maintain their traditional way of life, based in part on reciprocal relations with the state, even as changes in the world around them threatened that life. These factors combined to raise the collective boiling point of Indian society appreciably.

Nevertheless, by 1780 long-term structural changes and conflicts, economic tensions, and population fluctuations that developed in the eighteenth century, as well as more immediate problems specific to Quispicanchis or Canas y Canchis, combined to create a conjuncture that made the existing order vulnerable. It was in these circumstances that the lid the Spanish had successfully kept over the simmering tensions of Indian society blew off. The desire of the Indians to maintain their way of life, together with the divisions (many of which stemmed from colonial demands) that fractured Indian society, had made rebellion unlikely until the moral economy that helped preserve this way of life was severely threatened and the legitimacy of the state questioned. Even then, the majority of the Indians in rural Cuzco did not rupture their relationship to the state and involve themselves in the rebellion.61 The only partidos in rural Cuzco that provided strong support to the rebellion were Quispicanchis and Canas y Canchis, the home territory of Thupa Amaro. There, Thupa Amaro organized the rebellion by claiming descent from the Inca and by relying, in typical Andean fashion, on his network of family and associates. Among these Indian and non-Indian associates were most of the local curacas, whose support was instrumental in mobilizing the Indian peoples, since the Indians of Canas y Canchis and Quispicanchis with only a couple of exceptions followed the lead of their curacas in joining or not joining the rebellion.62 The situation was ripe for rebellion, but it was the strength of the relationships between Thupa Amaro and other curacas and the Indian peoples over whom they ruled that won adherence to the movement. This support stemmed from their traditional authority and from the strength of their personal, face-to-face relations with the Indian peoples in the ayllus and communities. Even so, the rebellion, initially, was instigated in the name of the king.


For the correct spelling of the revolutionary’s name see John H. Rowe, “Thupa Amaro: Nombre y apellido,” Boletín de Lima, 4:24 (Nov. 1982), 6-9.


For a brief introduction to various aspects of the literature on the rebellion, see Leon G. Campbell, “Social Structure of the Túpac Amaru Army in Cuzco, 1780-81,” HAHR, 61:4 (Nov. 1981), 675-693, and “Recent Research on Andean Peasant Revolts, 1750-1820,” Latin American Research Review, 14:1 (1979), 3-49; Alberto Flores Galindo, ed., Túpac Amaru II-1780 (Lima, 1976); Jürgen Golte, Repartos y rebeliones (Lima, 1980); Scarlett T. O’Phelan Godoy, “La rebelión de Túpac Amaru: Organización interna, dirigencia y alianzas,” Histórica, 3:2 (Dec. 1979), 89-121 and Rebellions and Revolts in Eighteenth-Century Peru and Upper Peru (Cologne, 1985); Steve J. Stern, Resistance, Rebellion, and Consciousness in the Andean Peasant World, 18th to 20th Centuries (Madison, 1987); Jan Szeminski, La utopía tupamarista (Lima, 1983); Magnus Mörner and Efraín Trelles, “Un intento de calibrar las actitudes hacia la rebelión en el Cuzco durante la acción de Túpac Amaru,” Dos ensayos analíticos sobre la rebelión de Túpac Amaru en el Cuzco, Estudios Históricos sobre Estructuras Agrarias Andinas, no. 2 (Stockholm, Mar. 1985).


Indians who moved from their community of origin to another community were known as forasteros. Their descendants maintained this designation. Forasteros were exempted from certain obligations, such as service in the Potosí mita and part or all of the tribute payment. Exemption from obligations was a major reason for Indians becoming forasteros. They were not full legal members of the communities in which they lived and did not have a legal right to community lands. Indians who remained in their communities of origin and met the obligations imposed on them by the community and the state, and who received the rights that came with this compliance, were known as originarios.


The Department of Cuzco, not including the city and its immediate surroundings, was divided into ten partidos: Abancay, Aymaraes, Calca y Lares, Urubamba, Cotabambas, Paruro, Chumbivilcas, Canas y Canchis (Tinta), Quispicanchis, and Paucartambo. I use Canas y Canchis because the name reflects the ethnic heritage of the region and it avoids confusion with the community of Tinta located in Canas y Canchis (Tinta).

The percentage of the population that was Indian in 1689 was 98.2 in Canas y Canchis and 97.3 in Quispicanchis. In 1786, after the rebellion, the respective figures were 89.7 and 82.9. The forastero population “around 1780” was 7 percent in Canas y Canchis and 10.5 in Quispicanchis. Mörner, Perfil de la sociedad rural del Cuzco a fines de la colonia (Lima, 1978), 19, 118.


E. P. Thompson, “The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the Eighteenth Century,” Past and Present, 50 (Feb. 1971), 76-136. A conversation with Brooke Larson at the 1986 CLACSO conference in Lima and the paper she presented, “‘Exploitation’ and ‘Moral Economy’ in the Southern Andes: A Critical Reconsideration,” were helpful to me. Also on the Andes, see Tristan Platt, Estado boliviano y ayllu andino (Lima, 1982). For other examples, see James L. Scott, The Moral Economy of the Peasants: Rebellion and Subsistence in Southeast Asia (New Haven, 1976); John Scott Strickland, Traditional Culture and Moral Economy: Social and Economic Change in the South Carolina Low Country, 1865-1910,” in The Countryside in the Age of Capitalist Transformation: Essays in the Social History of Rural America, Steven Hahn and Jonathan Prude, eds. (Chapel Hill, 1985), 141-178. Thompson has been criticized for not differentiating between sectors of the “community,” a differentiation that is fundamental to my argument. For such a critique, see Suzanne Desan, “The Uses and Abuses of ‘Community’ in Natalie Zemon Davis and Edward P. Thompson,” paper delivered at Chartier Mini-Conference, Berkeley, Apr. 11, 1987.


Karl Polanyi. The Great Transformation (New York. 1944). 46.


On uneven exchange and class differences in indigenous communities, see Eric Wolf, “The Vicissitudes of the Closed Corporate Peasant Community,” American Ethnologist, 13:2 (May 1986), 327; Benjamin Orlove, “Inequality Among Peasants,” in Peasant Livelihood, Rhoda Halperin and James Down, eds. (New York, 1977), 201-214; and Karen Spalding, “Kurakas and Commerce: A Chapter in the Evolution of Andean Society,” HAHR, 53:4 (Nov. 1973), 592.


Larson, “Exploitation and Moral Economy, 27.


Even though illegal, the practice of faltriquera was widespread, especially when silver yields in Potosí were low. The state opposed the practice because, though miners were to hire substitutes, the money usually went into their pockets, hence the term faltriquera. For further discussion of faltriquera and Indian labor see Peter Bakewell, Miners of the Red Mountain: Indian Labor in Potosí, 1545-1650 (Albuquerque, 1984) and Jeffrey A. Cole, The Potosí Mita, 1573-1700: Compulsory Indian Labor in the Andes (Stanford, 1985).


“Expedte. inciado pr. Clemte Sulca solicitando no turnar en ir a la mita de Potosí, 1798 (Sicuani),” Archivo Departamental del Cuzco (hereafter ADC), Intendencia (hereafter Intend.), Ordinaria, leg. 43. The “ancient custom” obviously came from the colonial period. See n. 7.


Golte, Repartos y rebeliones, 95.


O’Phelan Godoy, Rebellions and Revolts, 256-273.


Golte, Repartos y rebeliones and personal conversation with Golte in Lima, 1986.


O’Phelan Godoy, Rebellions and Revolts. 118.


“Don Lucas Poma Inga, cacique … de Cusipata en Pueblo de Quiquijana contra don Carlos Ochoa, 1774,” ADC, Corregimientos (hereafter Corrg.), Provincias (hereafter Prov.), Criminales (hereafter Crim.), leg. 80, 1773-75.


“Expediente relativo a que se verifique la fabrica de puentes en Tinta poniendo una cantidad de pesos que dejo … el corregidor Reparaz, 1785,” ADC, Intend., Prov., 1786, with documents for 1786. There are several cases that give this picture of the daily decisions of Reparaz. One case that gives a different view is “El comun de Indios del avilo Lurucachi del Pueblo de Marangani,” ADC, Corrg., Prov., Crim., leg. 79, 1745-73. Interestingly, in this case it was Corregidor Arriaga who found a judicious solution to community complaints.


“[H]ucha a minas de Condorama, 1767,” ADC, Corrg., Prov., leg. 67, 1766-69.


John H. Rowe, “Genealogía y rebelión en el siglo XVIII,” Histórica, 6:1 (July 1982), 74-76; Descargos del Obispo del Cuzco Juan Manuel Moscoso y Peralta, tomo II of Colección documental del bicentenario de la Revolución Emancipadora de Túpac Amaru (Lima, 1980), 224.


O’Phelan Godoy, Rebellions and Revolts, 135; ADC, Segunda sala, top. 21, años 1765-77. For the impact of alcohol on Indians in colonial Mexico, see William B. Taylor, Drinking, Homicide, and Rebellion in Colonial Mexican Villages (Stanford, 1979).


“Don. Cristobal Sinanyuca cacique de Collana de Coporaque … se ha ausentado …, 1768,” ADC, Corrg., Prov., Crim., leg. 79, 1745-73. The outcome of the charges against the three accused is unknown. Sinanyuca, like Arriaga, had problems with church officials which may have influenced his role in the rebellion. For a questioning of the role of E. Sinanyuca and the Indians of Coporaque, see Iván Hinojosa, “Población y conflictos campesinos en Coporaque (Espinar) 1770-1784” in Comunidades campesinas: Cambios y permanencias, Alberto Flores Galindo, ed. (Lima, 1987).


Information on the Maras-Urubamba rebellion comes from two accounts written by O’Phelan Godoy, Rebellions and Revolts, 174-181 and “Cuzco 1777: El movimiento de Maras Urubamba,” Histórica, 1:1 (July 1977), 113-128.


Golte states that violent incidents rose from 10 in the decade of 1730-39 to 66 in the decade 1770-79. He does not distinguish between revolts and rebellions, listing a total of 112 “rebellions” between 1730 and 1779. O’Phelan Godoy had a total of 111 revolts and rebellions listed before the rebellion in Tinta on Nov. 9, 1780 (1708-Oct. 30, 1780), and with events to 1783, a total of 140 rebellions and revolts. These figures are certainly low, as minor revolts of which I am aware are not listed, but they do give a general sense of the levels of violence that were considered significant. For figures, see Golte, Repartos y rebeliones, 140-147 and O’Phelan Godoy, Rebellions and Revolts, 285-298.


Silvio Zavala, ed., El servicio personal de los indios en el Perú (Extractos del siglo XVIII), 3 vols. (Mexico City, 1978-80), III, 61. See also Larson and Robert Wasserstrom, “Coerced Consumption in Colonial Bolivia and Guatemala,” Radical History Review, 27 (1983), 58-59.


Spalding, Huarochirí: An Andean Society Under Inca and Spanish Rule (Stanford, 1984), 270.


“Criminal contra Francisco negro livertino doméstico del cura, 1780,” ADC, Corrg., Prov., leg. 81, 1776-84. For similar attitudes on violent protest in Mexico, see Taylor, Drinking, Homicide, and Rebellion, 113-151.


To understand the potential for such actions, one might consider that in Quispicanchis and Canas y Canchis there were 21 different doctrinas, not to mention anexos. Most doctrinas had several ayllus and a couple of curacas. Tribute alone was collected twice a year. Add to these figures other demands, such as the reparto, and chance encounters that could result in violence, and then multiply the figure by 10 for one decade or by 50 to represent the period of Golte’s study, and one can see that even though the frequency of violence was increasing it still was not commonplace. For figures, see Golte, Repartos y rebeliones, 140-147, 207 (Map 1) and n. 18.


For such abuse in the late seventeenth century, see Nicolás Sánchez-Albornoz, Indios y tributos en el Alto Perú (Lima, 1978), 91-110, 142-149.


Spalding, “Kurakas and Commerce,” 592.


Ibid., 594-599.


David Cahill, “Curas and Social Conflict in the Doctrinas of Cuzco, 1780-1814,” Journal of Latin American Studies, 16:2 (Nov. 1984), 256-257. See also O’Phelan Godoy, “El sur andino a fines del siglo XVIII: Cacique o corregidor.” Allpanchis, 11/12 (1978).


“Peste, Quiquijana, 1720,” ADC, Corrg., Prov., leg. 63, 1719-30. On the difficulty of filling the position of cacique due to obligations, see Diane Elizabeth Hopkins, The Colonial History of the Hacienda System in a Southern Peruvian Highland District” (Ph.D. diss., Cornell University, 1983), 234-235.


To understand this process, one might begin with two articles by Spalding in HAHR, “Social Climbers: Changing Patterns of Mobility Among Indians of Colonial Peru,” 50:4 (Nov. 1970), 645-664 and “Kurakas and Commerce.” Also helpful are Larson, “Caciques, Class Structure and the Colonial State in Bolivia,” Nova Americana, 2 (1979) and Stern, “The Struggle for Solidarity: Class, Culture and Community in Highland Indian America, Radical History Review, 27 (1983), 21-45.


“Don Cristobal Sinanyuca,” ADC, Corrg., Prov., Crim., leg. 79, 1745-73. A cacique had not collected back tribute owed him.


“Escritura de arrendamiento de la estancia de Pullapulla, propia del comun de yndios del pueblo de Yanaoca, 1776,” ADC, Corrg., Prov., leg. 70, 1776-79. For an apparent desire to rent out community lands against community wishes, see “Don Juan de Aymituma por si en nombre de su comun del aillo Queguar contra Mathias Fernandez Pallaca, 1766,” ADC, Corrg., Prov., leg. 67, 1766-69.


“Don Juan Ysidro de Fuentes en nombre de los indios comunes, Acomayo, 1711,” ADC, Corrg., Prov., leg. 62, 1706-18. This type of action was complicated by the fact that the corregidor, who was the immediate legal representative of the state, often had developed a working relationship with the curaca.


Rowe, “The Inca Under Spanish Colonial Institutions,” HAHR, 37:2 (May 1957), 176. (Quispicanchis and Canas y Canchis were the regions most distant from Potosí that were obliged to send mitayos.)


“Antonio Torres y Dionicio Choque, yndios del pueblo de Sicuani contra Mateo Zavala y Petrona Linares sobre el derecho a un solar, 1775,” ADC, Corrg., Prov., leg. 69, 1772-75.


“Criminal contra Ventura Tapia y su muger vesinos del Cuzco por yncendarios de la Real Carsel de este pueblo … 1778,” ADC, Corrg., Prov., Crim., leg. 81, 1776-84.


One of many such cases is “Criminal contra Antonio Aronaca cacique que fue del aillo Erca, 1787,” ADC, Intend., Crim., leg. 120, 1785-88. In this case, the cacique was building up his herds and helping his son.


“Criminal contra don Faustino Mexia cacique interino que fue del avilo Chumo, 1778,” ADC, Corrg., Prov., Crim., leg. 81, 1776-84.


See n. 3 for the figures on forasteros. At least in Quispicanchis and Canas y Canchis forasteros did not play the role in the 1780 rebellion that Oscar Cornblit once suggested they had in his article “Society and Mass Rebellion in Eighteenth-Century Peru and Bolivia,” in St. Antony’s Papers, Raymond Carr, ed., no. 22 (Oxford, 1970). See also Mörner, “La aplicación de un esquema analítico general en el caso de rebelión de Túpac Amaru,” in Dos ensayos analíticos, 9.


Criminal sobre la muerte de Diego Sunca (Marangani), 1773,” ADC, Corrg., Prov., Crim., leg. 80, 1773-75.


Ritual battles took place between communities as well as between moieties and ayllus and have a complexity that goes beyond territorial conflict. See “Criminal contra Faustino Guaguamamani, Langui, 1772,” ADC, Corrg., Prov., Crim., leg. 79, 1745-73; “Criminal contra Nicolas Sencia. … Langui, 1773,” Corrg., Prov., Crim., leg. 79, 1745-73; Diane Hopkins, “Juego de enemigos,” Allpanchis, 17:20 (1982), 167-171.


“Queja de Miguel Lloclla maestro cantor de la iglesia de Pomacanchi, contra el curaca Juan Esteban Pacheco, por atropellos, 1752,” Archivo Arzobispal del Cuzco (hereafter AAC), Quejas, 29.1, XII, 1, 16.


Catherine Jean Julien, Inca Administration in the Titicaca Basin as Reflected at the Provincial Capital of Hatunquolla (Ph.D. diss., University of California, Berkeley, 1978), 35.


Manuel Jesús Aparicio V., “Historia de la Provincia de Canchis,” in K’anchi, La provincia de Canchis a través de su historia, Vicente Guerra Carreño, ed. (Lima, 1982), 85-92. He cites José de la Riva Agüero, “La historia en el Perú” (tesis para el doctorado en letras, Madrid, 1952), 115 and Luis Eduardo Valcárcel, El estado imperial de los incas (Lima, 1963), 145. See n. 38.


Diego Chuquihanca, the ethnic lord of Azángaro, remained loyal to the crown during the rebellion in spite of Thupa Amaro’s efforts to recruit him.


Felipe Guamán Poma de Ayala, El primer nueva corónica y buen gobierno, 3 vols. (Mexico City, 1980), “Prólogo al lector cristiano,” I, 9; Aparicio V., “Historia de la Provincia de Canchis,” 85; Riva Agüero, “La historia en el Perú,” 84; Ludovico Bertonio, Vocabulario de la lengua aymara (Cochabamba, 1984). For the role of transportation, see Luis Miguel Glave, “La producción de los trajines: Coca y mercado interno colonial,” HISLA, 6 (1985) and Ward Stavig, “La comunidad indígena y la gran ciudad: Los naturales del Cusco y la ciudad minera de Potosí durante la colonia,” Comunidades campesinas, 191-194.


Luis Miguel Glave, “Comunidades campesinas en el sur andino, siglo XVII,” in Comunidades campesinas, 67-68.


Golte, Repartos y rebeliones, Map 25, “Población indígena por cacique.” Maps begin on p. 207.


Clave, “Comunidades campesinas,” 67.


“Don Diego Arqui, yndio viejo natural de Pichigua (hurinsaya) …, 1633,” ADC, Corrg., Prov., leg. 60, 1601-77.


“Clemente Zapata, alcalde mayor, cacique y gobernador de Layo, por sí y los principales y común, 1787,” AAC, Miserables-Población indígena, 22.1, LXVII, 2, 26.


Manuel Burga, “La crisis del siglo XVIII y las rebeliones indígenas,” Inkarrí, 2 (Apr. 1981).


“Peste, Quiquijana, 1720,” ADC, Corrg., Prov., leg. 63, 1719-30.


“Tierras de Guascarquijar, 1745,” ADC, Corrg., Prov., leg. 65, 1738-50; Burga, “La crisis del siglo XVIII,” 8.


Mörner, Perfil. … del Cuzco, 144-146. For relation of population growth to rebellion, see Morner and Trelles, “Un intento de calibrar,” 23. Some of the increase could be due to more efficient enumeration.


Roger Neil Rasnake, “Kurahkuna of Yura: Indigenous Authorities of Colonial Charcas and Contemporary Bolivia” (Ph.D. diss., Cornell University, 1982), 187-188. Rasnake sees this process as part of a consistent Spanish policy.


Alberto Flores Galindo, Europa y el país de los incas: La utopía andina (Lima, 1986), 50, 67. In his introduction to Resistance, Rebellion and Consciousness, Stern emphasizes Flores Galindo’s comments on the widespread or “universal” nature of such ideas. However, Flores Galindo makes it clear in Europa y el país de los incas that such ideas were not everywhere. This has different implications for the initiation and spread of rebellion. For a discussion of Inkarrí, see Juan M. Ossio A., ed., Ideología mesiánica del mundo andino (Lima, Peru, 1973).


Rowe, “El movimiento nacional inca del siglo XVII” in Tupac Amaru II-1780, Flores Galindo, ed. (Lima, 1976), 11-66 and Flores Galindo, Europa y el país de los incas, 67.


Rowe, “El movimiento nacional inca del siglo XVIII,” 21, 25.


According to the figures of Mörner and Trelles in “Un intento de calibrar,” out of a total Indian population in Cuzco of 174,623 some 28,495 were under rebellious curacas and some 36,775 under curacas loyal to the state (model “A” - liderazgo restringido). The study focuses on leaders (liderazgo) and communities (comunidades) for which there is evidence of participation, for or against the rebellion. The implication is that either other communities remained neutral or there is no evidence to support involvement on either side. In their other model (“C” - comunidades restringido), the figures are 31,649 supporting and 19,227 against (pp. 26-27). On noninvolvement and questionable support, see Mörner and Trelles (above paper), 11-15. It is probably equally true that, lor many, active participation against the rebellion was not wholehearted. Both sides were subject to influence by their caciques.


While many curacas of Canas y Canchis and Quispicanchis supported the rebellion, few were in leadership positions. For rebellious and loyal curacas and communities in Cuzco, see Mörner and Trelles, “Un intento de calibrar.” The claim of Inca heritage probably took on more importance as the rebellion spread beyond regions where Thupa Amaro was known personally.

Author notes


The author wishes to thank Arnold Bauer, Daniel Calhoun, Benjamin Orlove, and Rollie Poppino for comments and suggestions on earlier drafts of this article.