The degree of fear and terror has reached inexplicable proportions,” reported the president of the Audiencia of Quito in July 1781 1 This outbreak of anxiety was caused not only by the recent Comunero Revolution to the north in New Granada and the continuing revolt of Túpac Katari to the south, but also by the news that on June 22, in the city of Pasto, a few days’ travel to the north, the local Indians had killed the lieutenant governor of Popayán, along with most of his bodyguards. The incident was provoked by the lieutenant governor’s attempt to set up a branch of the state aguardiente monopoly, and was one of the most violent riots to take place in New Granada in the late eighteenth century.

Although at the time the riot generated a great deal of concern, and although it was only one of a number of riots taking place in the province of Pasto in the late eighteenth century, relatively little attention has been paid either to it or, indeed, to the provincial history of Pasto.2 This article will examine the 1781 riot and another riot that took place in 1800, both of which shed light on the functioning of provincial government at the end of the colonial period. To begin with, the correspondence generated by the riots reveals the (generally poor) relationship between a provincial cabildo and the authorities in Popayán and Santa Fe, who invariably regarded the Pasto elite as the intellectual authors of any unrest.

The two riots further illustrate Santa Fe’s tenuous grip on the region. As was the case elsewhere, in Pasto the crown’s ability to intervene in local affairs was slight, and measures imposed without consultation met with strong opposition.3 Attempts in 1800 by an official from outside the province to alter the laws on tithe collection contributed to the riot in the village of Túquerres, southwest of the city of Pasto; and the Bourbon fiscal reforms were introduced only after much alteration and long delay. The 1780 reform of the aguardiente estanco was not enforced in Pasto until the end of 1784. Indeed, the cabildo of Pasto on occasion took it upon itself to annul certain unpopular measures. Finally, attitudes displayed during the riots illuminate the region’s subsequent history. Pasto played an important role in the War of Independence, during which the majority of the population supported the crown. Although this behavior has usually been ascribed to the religious “fanaticism” supposedly characteristic of the Pastosos, the region’s strong sense of autonomy, evident in the late colonial period, contributed much more to its support of the king than did the influence of conservative priests. Respect for the clergy was not one of the Pasto Indians’ most notable characteristics.

The Province of Pasto in the Late Eighteenth Century

[The city of Pasto] has a cold but healthy climate, and is rich in fruits, grains, and sugar cane, from which much sugar is made. It has an excellent parish church, four monasteries, one convent, and a hospital. Its citizens number eight thousand souls.4

The former provinces of Pasto and Los Pastos comprised roughly the same area as the present department of Nariño in southern Colombia. The region encompasses a great variety of terrain, ranging from hot valleys to páramo, and is crisscrossed by deep gorges, fast-flowing rivers, and high mountains. This article will focus on the Andean sierra around Pasto and the village of Túquerres. This region had, before the Spanish conquest, constituted the uppermost edge of the Inca empire, and it was densely populated. Cieza de León noted in 1540 that the area around the newly established Spanish city of Pasto had “more Indian subjects in it than any other city in all the Gobernación de Popayán, and more than Quito and the other cities of Peru.”5 The population, however, declined sharply after the arrival of the Spanish, reaching its nadir in the late seventeenth century, when the total number of tribute-paying Indians was reduced to some seven thousand.6

The Indians of Pasto slowly recovered from this near-extinction, and by the end of the eighteenth century the region again had one of the largest Indian populations in New Granada, with perhaps as many as 60 percent of its inhabitants classified as indigenous. The total population of the province during the late eighteenth century was roughly 23,000, while the provincial capital and its surrounding villages contained between 8,000 and 9,000 inhabitants.7 The Indians, having been granted a legal exemption from working in the coastal gold and silver mines, applied themselves principally to agriculture, although the province was also a significant producer of textiles. The wealthier members of the population traded with Popayán and Quito and raised large quantities of cattle, wheat, and sugar cane. Pasto was not, however, a wealthy province; indeed, in 1770, a provincial government official was moved to comment on “how miserable and poor a city Pasto is.” The region suffered from a chronic shortage of cash, which limited commercial undertakings and hampered trade, as did the province’s appalling network of roads.8

Provincial government during the colonial period functioned haltingly and inefficiently. Tribute collectors complained of the difficulty of making their collection and asserted that certain Indian villages were as much as four years behind in tribute payments.9 State monopoly goods were always in short supply, and their administrators were frequently in debt to the crown: in 1776 the administrator of the tobacco monopoly owed the crown more than four thousand pesos.10 Bridges over the two principal rivers collapsed regularly and were left unrepaired for years, further hindering commerce.11

The province was, in short, both strikingly indigenous in population and relatively isolated from the colonial governments in Bogotá and Quito. This isolation permitted the provincial elite a certain amount of autonomy, an autonomy it was very loath to relinquish on the few occasions when the viceregal government intruded into provincial affairs.

One such intrusion was brought about by the crown’s attempts in the last half of the eighteenth century to increase the flow of cash into state hands. The general nature of the Bourbon fiscal reforms has been discussed elsewhere. This essay will focus on the measure that would cause the most discontent in Pasto: the creation of a centralized monopoly on cane brandy, the estanco de aguardiente.12

The aguardiente monopoly had first been established in 1700 under a system that allowed production to be franchised to individual distillers, who then paid a tax to the crown.13 In 1736 this method was revised and individual production was outlawed. All manufacture of aguardiente in a given area was to be carried out by the one person who had purchased the privilege at auction. Production was not, however, managed directly by the state. This system evidently did not function as desired; Anthony McFarlane comments that “the small returns to the exchequer suggest that enforcement of the regulations was lax.”14 Some attempts were made at introducing direct state control over the monopoly in the following decades, but these efforts generally met with great resistance. The city of Quito, in particular, responded to attempts by Viceroy Pedro Messia de la Zerda to reform the estanco with a rebellion that lasted for some six months.15 Similar attempts to introduce stricter governmental control over aguardiente production in Popayán and Cali resulted in popular demonstrations, and neither city saw the new regulations enforced.16 Further efforts to impose direct state administration of production and distribution were made in 1776, with plans for the total elimination of private production. This reform thus involved the creation of a large number of royal distilleries and the equipping of numerous crown outlets to sell the monopoly-produced liquor. Finally, on May 27, 1780, on the advice of the fiscal-general, Juan Francisco Gutiérrez de Piñeres, the complete centralization of all crown monopolies was announced and the price of the drink was doubled.

No attempt was made to enforce this decree in the province of Pasto until the following year. Indeed, before 1781, the only governmental control over the production of aguardiente in Pasto consisted of a fixed tax of approximately five hundred pesos, which the cabildo of Pasto divided among all the distillers.17 Thus, in 1781, Pasto’s entire system of manufacture and sale of aguardiente faced a thorough reform. The province’s principal aguardiente factory was to be established in the village of Túquerres. The liquor produced there would be sold in a series of estanquillos in various parts of the province.18

Both the establishment of distilleries and the stocking of monopoly stores were delicate matters. Crown officials’ frequent failure to maintain sufficient inventory in monopoly stores was a cause for complaint, contributing, for example, to a revolt in Tumaco in 1781, during which it was alleged that “the monopoly store had for over a month been completely empty of aguardiente, a liquor that was indispensable for the people of this extremely humid climate as a medicine and for use on journeys during both the day and the night, by boat and over the mountains.”19 Particularly given the officials’ failure to provide a reliable source of aguardiente, there was frequent agitation for permission for small-scale production of the beverage in the regions where this was feasible. Private distilling had been widespread in many parts of the viceroyalty for decades. Observers in Quito in 1764, for example, commented that illegal manufacture of the drink was practiced by all Quiteños “without exception of person, class, or estate, including even the monasteries and leading families.”20 Similar conditions held sway in Pasto. Everyone, including the nuns of the Monasterio de la Concepción, reportedly made, sold, and consumed aguardiente.21

The new aguardiente monopoly thus inconvenienced many sectors of the population. Former distillers were clearly affected, as were consumers, who were obliged to buy their drink from state stores with often insufficient stocks at fixed prices. The officials who had collected the taxes on private production under the previous systems were deprived of a lucrative source of income when tax farming was abolished. In Pasto, sugar producers also seem to have uniformly opposed the introduction of the estanco, and when the monopoly was finally established in Pasto in 1784, they boycotted the royal trapiche, effectively crippling production.22

Conflict resulting from attempts to control the production and consumption of alcohol was not confined to New Granada, although this issue sparked many revolts in the viceroyalty. The phenomenon extended throughout Spanish America. In 1774, to choose but one example, several revolts occurred in the jurisdiction of Teozacualco, Mexico, when local officials attempted “ to collect tax on liquor produced for local consumption.” The entire issue of state control of individual (or community) drinking patterns is evidently highly delicate, and governments outside Latin America as well have run into resistance when they have encroached on this area. The United States, for example, experienced a Whiskey Rebellion in 1794.23

Comuneros in Pasto: The Riot of 1781

As soon as officials attempted to enforce the 1780 aguardiente reform in Pasto, the city’s cabildo announced that it expected a riot.24 On June 18, 1781, the cabildo wrote to the lieutenant governor of Popayán, a peninsular Spaniard named Josef Ignacio Peredo, who was overseeing the establishment of the monopoly. They suggested that he suspend the new order and informed (or threatened) him that if he did not, he risked exposing the entire region to irreparable destruction. The previous night, they warned, a crowd had gathered in Pasto, intent on overturning every barrel of monopoly-produced aguardiente it could find, and the cabildo feared that the town would soon see “a disastrous uprising.”25 The cabildo blamed the crown for this situation. On May 14 the Junta Superior de Tribunales in Santa Fe had suspended some of the taxes contested by the comuneros of Socorro. Reports of this had evidently reached Pasto, where, according to the cabildo, they had given the city’s lower classes the idea “that no new taxes or monopolies could ever be established.”26 Peredo responded by dismissing the cabildo’s worries and informing it of his intention to go in person to Pasto to oversee the establishment of the monopoly.27

On June 22, Peredo, who had already accomplished the same task in Cali, Popayán, and Túquerres, arrived in Pasto to find the Indian population in a state of agitation. This was the feast day of Corpus Christi, and large numbers of Indians from the nearby villages of Obonuco and Catambuco had gathered in Pasto to celebrate and to pay the semiannual installment of the Indian tribute due on St. John’s Day, two days later. Around three o’clock in the afternoon, groups of discontented Indians began complaining that the cabildo was oppressing them and that they should not be obliged to pay taxes. Then the news arrived that Dr. Peredo was sending several kegs of monopoly aguardiente to Pasto and that he himself would arrive shortly. Groups of Indians left the city with the intention of intercepting and emptying the barrels. The cabildo dispatched a final letter to Peredo, again suggesting that he suspend the monopoly until the situation quieted down. Peredo, however, was determined to oversee personally the establishment of the monopoly in Pasto, and he entered the city accompanied by an armed escort of seven men. The members of the Pasto cabildo thereupon traversed the city, calling on the priests, the nobility, and others of known loyalty to help in averting a catastrophe. This group of worthies then set off to find Peredo. The cabildo reported that, while they were still some blocks away,

we heard gunshots, and we saw that armed individuals were rushing down the streets, continually shooting, injuring the people who were trying to capture them, and killing everyone they could. Thus, some wounding and killing and others pursuing, they managed to encircle Dr. Peredo and his men in the abandoned Jesuit college. There the tumult grew second by second; the crowd, pushing its way through the throng of nobles, judges, priests, and loyal citizens, tried to smash doors and windows and climb walls, all accompanied by a barrage of stones. Promises, pleas, exhortations, all proved useless in calming them; blind and precipitate, they wished only to destroy [Peredo], exerting themselves without the slightest fear of the bullets.28

The crowd proposed that if the monopoly were suppressed and Peredo and his soldiers left the city, they would disperse. Peredo refused to leave, which he felt would be dishonorable, and the unrest continued to grow. Having broken the doors and windows of the Jesuit college, the crowd starting setting fire to the college and its church. Peredo persuaded the crowd to allow him to leave the building, but he had scarcely emerged when groups of Indians began to pursue him.29 They followed him along the road for some distance before abandoning the chase. Peredo arrived alone in the village of Catambuco, approximately three miles from Pasto, where the Indians of that village beat him to death.

Reports of Peredo’s death began to filter back to Pasto that evening, along with news of other bodies found at various points along the road to Catambuco, all of whom had died, according to the cabildo, “at the hands of the brutal Indians.”30 The cabildo dispatched the curate of Catambuco to bury the corpses, and thereby learned that four of Peredo’s guards had been killed in addition to the two guards and the various civilians killed in the city during the riot itself31 The high death toll makes the riot one of the most violent to occur in New Granada during this period.

After the riot, the cabildo dutifully wrote to the governor of Popayán, Pedro de Becaría, to inform him of what had transpired. The governor, far from sympathizing, expressed coneern over the eabildo’s handling of the event. He regarded the cabildo’s behavior as extremely lax and voiced doubts about the accuracy of its report, writing to the viceroy:

The officials showed themselves to be afraid and told me that they were in danger. The accounts that they made in various reports on the event and its context leave much room for suspicion. They describe the Indians as the principal authors of the uprising, but these people’s desertion of the lieutenant, some shutting the doors of their houses, the troops that accompanied him abandoning him, and no one helping him to escape, are all clear proof that the Indians did not play the central role; many other reasons contribute to cast doubt on what is commonly said [about the riot].32

Provincial officials exchanged letters on this subject, and numbers of soldiers were sent to strategic points between Pasto and Quito to contain any further outbreaks.33

The governor’s view reflects several notable attitudes shared by crown officials. First, these administrators were strikingly willing to believe that groups of creoles, often unidentified, were behind many colonial uprisings. Such a belief was often based on little more than the observation that nothing had been done to quell the given disturbance, along with a preexisting suspicion of many town governments. Following the 1765 rebellion in Quito, for example, the viceroy of Peru, Manuel de Amat, “was in no doubt that there was a ‘hidden hand’ behind the riots, revealed by the failure of the Quiteño nobility to contain or repress the ‘disorderly common people.’”34 Similarly, Fiscal-General Gutiérrez de Piñeres had accused the cabildo of Socorro of malicious intent following the first demonstrations there at the start of the Comunero Revolution.35 Governor Becaría, in blaming the Pasto cabildo for the riot of June 22, was therefore following a precedent.

His response is noteworthy secondly because memories of the recent rebellion in Socorro and the ongoing revolt of Tupac Katari in the south combined to make crown officials extremely nervous about internal security, and may have led them to overreact to the appearance of disorder, both in their assessments of the danger it posed and in their response to it.36 Third, Becaría was undoubtedly inclined to distrust cabildos, since as governor he had considerable personal experience with obdurate town councils.

Becaría, who became governor of the province in 1777, “was an elderly cavalry captain, who apparently had been assigned to Popayán as a form of semiretirement.”37 Also a peninsular, he soon ran into trouble with the wealthy creoles of Popayán over his attempt to introduce a disciplined militia. The principal families of that city began a concerted campaign to discredit the governor, who grew increasingly miserable. He complained of continual harassment, and referred to his tenure in Popayán “as the unhappiest period in his 48 years of royal service.”38 The Popayán cabildo played an active role in the opposition to the militia, and by 1780 Becaría was completely without support, either personal or institutional. His ventures into creating a militia in Pasto were similarly fraught with difficulties. In addition to the various personal problems that plagued him, his efforts won no support from some of the city’s vecinos, who thus impeded his work. Although he was eventually successful in establishing a militia in Pasto, his experiences both there and in Popayán left him little inclined to trust the loyalty of the elites in either city.

Such prejudices aside, it does seem that the Pasto cabildo was not entirely honest in its account of the riot. First, it is notable, as Becaría observed, that none of Pasto’s vecinos assisted Peredo in any way. The disciplined militia, created only two years earlier, was nowhere in evidence.39 Indeed, Joaquín Vélez, the militia captain, wrote to Becaría that some of his troops had arranged with Peredo’s guard for the latter to “surrender their weapons to the tumultuados’’ on arriving in Pasto.40He further suggested that the loyalty of certain prominent Pastusos was suspect. The fact that six of Peredo’s guard, out of a total of seven, were killed in the riot casts an element of doubt on Vélez’ assertion of a plot involving the guards.

Vélez’ second point, that some vecinos were “far from offering true vassalage to our monarch, ” is considerably more credible. The Pastuso elite had no reason to welcome Peredo. He had planned to introduce a completely alien invention, the aguardiente monopoly, which would interfere with the established patterns of alcohol production and consumption and would probably lower the price of sugar cane. He was, furthermore, an intruder in their domain, an unwelcome representative of the government in Santa Fe, and he had completely failed to involve the Pasto elite in the decision to introduce the estanco.

The cabildo of Pasto, used to running the province itself, had long resisted attempts by the crown to interfere, and was already conducting a campaign against the Bourbon reforms.41 Moreover, the cabildo regularly used Indian revolt, real or threatened, to strengthen its requests not to enforce the fiscal reforms in Pasto. In 1777, following a reported Indian “commotion ” in the city, the cabildo wrote to the viceroy requesting that, as a consequence, the new extension of the alcabala not be enforced.42 In 1781 it warned of the resulting riot if Peredo insisted on establishing the aguardiente monopoly, and after the riot it took the opportunity to return tobacco prices to their prereform level of two reales per pound, citing the riot as justification. In 1783 the cabildo again warned that the renewed attempt at establishing the aguardiente monopoly would result in an Indian riot.43 It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the cabildo of Pasto used the threat of Indian riot as a negotiating tool when dealing with Santa Fe. The group appears to have watched the progress of the uprising without making any effort to intervene, and although its members subsequently claimed to be themselves at risk from “the Indians and. . . the plebeians, ” they do not actually appear ever to have been in danger, nor to have had any difficulty obtaining from the Indians oaths of loyalty to the crown immediately after Peredo’s death.44

The governor’s suspicions were thus partially justified, but his belief that the riot was orchestrated by the elite reveals that his poor relationship with the cabildo of Pasto blinded him to the reality of Indian discontent. The Indians who participated in the riot had perfectly legitimate reasons for opposing the creation of the estanco de aguardiente, both as smallscale producers and as consumers. They were, in any event, regarded as all too independent: a crown official commented in 1789 on the “petulance, pride, and insubordination” of the Pasto Indians,45 The Pasto Indians’ capacity both to resist unwelcome intrusions by outsiders and to act independently of (although sometimes in harmony with) the white community is again revealed not only in the riot of 1800, but also during the War of Independence. During the first years of the war, Indians and whites alike resisted the violent attack by republican troops from Quito and participated in the 1814 defeat of Antonio Nariño, who led an invading army of republicans from the north. Then, during the 1820s, when the vast majority of Pasto’s gente decente embraced republicanism, the Indians of Pasto continued to fight against republican invaders under the leadership of various Indian guerrillas, the most famous of whom was Agustín Agualongo.46The Pasto Indians’ behavior in 1781 was thus simply one example of their general opposition to the forcible imposition of unwanted ideas and institutions.

Royal Monopolies and Public Officials

The ghost of the 1781 riot haunted Pasto for some time. The city declined to celebrate St. John’s Day the following year, as the holiday evidently evoked bad memories.47 The authorities instituted a series of sermons and public lectures on obedience, in addition to the loyalty oaths.48 The apparent ease with which the cabildo administered such oaths suggests that the Indians involved in the riot did not regard their actions as revolutionary. Indeed, the riot in Pasto betrays no trace of protorevolutionary agitation beyond mere opposition to particular colonial policies.

A slight attempt was made to prosecute the principal actors in the riot. An Indian from Catambuco named Naspirín was singled out as the actual killer of Peredo, whom he had allegedly chased to the spot known as the Cruz de Catambuco and then murdered. Naspirín apparently went into hiding following the accusation, and the court case was thereupon abandoned. Court proceedings were also initiated against Sergeant Gabriel Valdés, a member of Peredo’s escort, who had survived the uprising by hiding in the convent of La Merced, an act of cowardice for which he was tried. He was, however, later reinstated in the army and posted to Buga.49

As for the aguardiente monopoly, in New Granada as a whole it remained in force throughout the colonial period, and in financial terms its reorganization by Gutiérrez de Piñeres was a success. From 1761 to 1772 the aguardiente monopoly had earned the crown some 200,000 pesos per annum, while in 1781, following the suppression of the Comunero revolution, annual income from the monopoly rose to 295,048 pesos, an increase of nearly 50 percent. In Pasto, however, following the 1781 riot the state of the royal monopolies, and indeed of government institutions in general, went from bad to worse. Income from the estanco de aguardiente declined precipitously during the 1780s, while contraband flourished. The problem of contraband afflicted other royal monopolies as well, and throughout the 1780s and 1790s the authorities repeatedly ordered that no one should sell illegal tobacco or aguardiente, but to little effect. The collection of tributes was similarly plagued with upsets: Indians refused to pay, and unofficial collectors swept into villages, collected the tribute, and made off with it before the official collector could arrive.50

The authorities in Popayán and Santa Fe tended to believe that the cabildo of Pasto was both unwilling and unable to prevent these abuses of royal orders. Accordingly, the governor of Popayán was receptive to a private offer made by Francisco Rodríguez Clavijo, a creole from Cartago, who proffered a comprehensive plan for enforcing the monopoly laws.51

The governor, impressed with Clavijo’s enterprise, in 1789 appointed him corregidor of Pasto and administrator of the rentas of aguardiente, tobacco, gunpowder, stamped paper, and playing cards. Clavijo thereby became the local representative of all royal monopolies except salt. He was further appointed the official collector of the alcabala; his brother Atanasio was named collector of the tithe; and his wife’s nephew, Francisco Sarasti, became the collector of the Indian tribute. His remaining brother, Martín Rafael, served as the administrator of the aguardiente monopoly in Popayán.52 Their positions afforded the Clavijo clan considerable authority in the province, an authority that Francisco Clavijo, in particular, immediately set about abusing. Complaints about his abrasive manner and misuse of power arose regularly throughout the 1790s.53 It was generally agreed that he refused to reimburse Indians for their labor and was known to imprison, or even kill, those forceful enough to insist on being paid. He also became involved in long-running legal battles with various Pasto notables, who accused him of engaging in personal vendettas against them. Moreover, he ran an illegal game of boliche in his house, overcharged on the alcabala, abused Indian women, and engaged in extortion. As one observer was later to comment, “the iniquity of Clavijo [was] constant and he disturb[ed] the entire province with his bad behavior.”54

His brother Atanasio, the tithe collector, was equally unscrupulous and equally loathed. Stories of the enthusiasm with which he extracted tithes from poverty-stricken Indians circulated widely; it was said he collected tithes on the Indians’ dreams, and that he had informed one pregnant Indian that she would owe a tithe of “one peso for the fruit of her womb if it were a boy, and four reales should it be female.55

Hostility between the Clavijos and the locals was exacerbated as Francisco, himself from outside the province, imported a number of friends and hangers-on and assigned them positions in the local hierarchy.56 This refusal to link himself to the preexisting local power structure further alienated Pasto’s elite; Clavijo’s band of outsiders, moreover, lorded it over the Pastusos and interfered with their control of the province. Thus in 1800, as in 1781, the population was broadly united in opposition to an intrusive foreigner whose power and behavior had alienated virtually everyone.

Discontent with public officials was a common source of conflict in New Granada. Margarita Garrido has recorded a number of cases in which small towns rejected a mayoral candidate because he was living in a manner unsuitable for an elected official or lacked the necessary qualifications for the job.57 One such case, from Vélez, involved protracted attempts by the town’s vecinos to reject a mayoral candidate on the grounds that he

had not lived in the parish for many years, had misappropriated funds from. . . the Jesuits, and had, moreover, deserted from military service. His private life was soiled to the extent of [his] having been imprisoned for living in sin with one of his wife’s nieces. Even worse than that, he hadn’t been to confession for ten years.58

Nor were all such protests led by vecinos. On other occasions the populace turned out en masse to reject new appointments. This occurred in the town of Monguí in 1724, when a large crowd of men gathered, following the appointment of a new juez ordinario, to shout, “We will not receive Don Juan de Vargas!. . . Any other alcalde is better! ” and to harass the new appointee.59 Such conflicts over political appointments indicate that the citizens of New Granada expected political officeholders both to be acceptable to their constituents and to conform to certain standards of behavior. Flagrant disregard for social norms was felt to disqualify individuals from political office.

Many Pastusos, it is clear, believed that the Clavijos, and in particular Francisco, had violated most such norms. The wildly exaggerated stories about Atanasio’s methods of tithe collection indicate the mythic proportions the brothers acquired in the province. Francisco Clavijo was so unpopular, indeed, that he was obliged to employ several bodyguards.60 Various attempts had been made in the 1790s to restrain the family, and individuals ranging from the commander of the Pasto militia to an Indian from Túquerres initiated court proceedings against Francisco on charges of assault and persecution. The Indian, for example, complained that Francisco had beaten him with his bastón “until it was reduced to tiny pieces. ”61 Attempts at legal redress were largely unsuccessful, and by 1800 the Indians of the province in particular claimed to have come to the conclusion that, “in light of the indifference and scorn with which their just complaints had heen viewed,. . . they would be able to free themselves from tyranny only by their own hands.”62

The Anti-Clavijo Riot of 1800

Atanasio Clavijo’s position as collector of tithes proved to be a liability, and indeed resulted in his death. The collection of tithes had not been a matter of controversy for many years, and certain informal patterns of collection had become fixed. The Pasto Indians appear to have paid a flat rate of three reales each year, which covered all items subject to the tithe.63 In 1800, however, this time-honored custom was officially overturned when, with the help of his influential brother, Atanasio Clavijo obtained from the Audiencia in Quito a decree, referred to as the recudimiento (sic) de diezmas, that permitted him to collect tithes on a number of common products that had previously been exempt. The promulgation of this decree was to ignite a riot in Túquerres.

This riot has been discussed elsewhere, particularly in an article by Javier Laviña, who considers it an example of a “rural antireform movement” and thus fundamentally antifiscal in nature.64 The riot is more adequately explained, however, by the intense hostility of the Pastusos for the Clavijos. As we have seen, protests against individuals (as opposed to institutions) were not uncommon in New Granada, and to the south in the Audiencia of Quito, Indians on occasion massacred not only unpopular officials but their entire families as well.65 The Túquerres riot is an example of this sort of unrest, and is not a particularly good example of an “antifiscal” revolt. The changes in the tithe laws simply acted as a catalyst.

Francisco Clavijo had already experienced trouble with the decree. An earlier attempt to inform the inhabitants of Barbacoas of the change in tithing laws had resulted in a “commotion” and had left the corregidor “the object of the hate and conspiracy of the Indians.”66 The attempt to do so in Túquerres was even more disastrous. To the Indians of Túquerres and its surrounding villages, the decree constituted a new tax, and they were certain that new taxes were illegal. Furthermore, as they pointed out in a petition to the president of Quito, “the canons and laws of the kingdom do not permit customary patterns of tithe collection to be altered.”67 Matters came to a head on May 18, 1800.

On that day, a Sunday, the inhabitants of the small village of Guaitarilla, a few miles north of Túquerres, gathered in the church for mass.68 After the service the parish priest, Bernardo Erazo, prepared to read the so-called recudimiento de diezmos. Upon learning of the imminent reading of the decree, groups of Indians milling around in the central plaza outside the church voiced the suggestion that “perhaps some of the women would resolve to take the recudimiento from the priest, who was about to read it, and in this way its effect could be suspended.”69 Thus encouraged, Manuela Cumbal, accompanied by Francisca Aucig, strode to the front of the church and relieved the priest of the document, an action that, she later explained, was intended “to prevent disorder.”70 The congregation immediately shredded the offending decree and then marched triumphantly from the church. Having failed to inform the village of the contents of the recudimiento, the priest summoned the villagers to his house, where he told them that if they had a complaint they should express it in a more civilized way. The Indian protector excused the incident as an obra de mujeres, and there the matter might have ended. At this juncture, however, according to the priest, a crowd of more than one hundred Indians from Túquerres arrived in Guaitarilla. One of the new arrivals threatened Erazo, and then everyone (except the priest) set off in the direction of Túquerres, the women in one group and the men in another.

The crowd, which by then consisted of some three hundred Indians and a few mestizos, arrived in Túquerres the next day. Although news of the previous day’s events in Guaitarilla had preceded them, no precautions had been taken to prevent a disturbance, primarily because the village’s principal officials were all absent; the mayor, for example, was on a business trip connected with the construction of a bridge over the Juanambú River.71 Once in Túquerres the crowd sought out Atanasio Clavijo, the author of the recudimiento, announced that they objected to the new decree concerning tithes, and requested a signed document guaranteeing that no new tithes would be collected. Evidently unsatisfied with Atanasio’s answer, the crowd began throwing stones at him.

The provincial collector of the Indian tribute, Francisco Sarasti, who had joined his uncle Atanasio, then addressed the crowd, offering to suspend the decree. His offer was greeted with shouts of “That’s what we want! ” But the good effect of this concession was undermined when another group of two hundred Indians, along with some whites and mestizos “of the inferior class, ” joined the crowd.72 The newcomers, led by an Indian named Lorenzo Piscal, were in no mood to disperse quietly. Fiscal, accompanying himself on a drum, allegedly incited the crowd with seditious cries against the authorities and encouraged a direct attack on the Clavijos. Atanasio and his brothers, Martin Rafael and Francisco, then fled to the church under the protection of the priest, Ramón Ordóñez de Lara.

Meanwhile, groups of Indians, reportedly led by Rosa Taquez, set about demolishing the fábrica de aguardiente, which had also served as Francisco Clavijo’s home and office. The building was reduced to rubble and its contents looted. The cabildo of Fasto later reported that “with respect to the aguardiente factory, we know that it was completely destroyed and not a single piece remains, and that all the official papers, as well as the private archive of the corregidor, were burned without the most minimal precaution.”73 As a final gesture the crowd threw a large quantity of gunpowder into a tub of water, thereby rendering it unusable. Ordóñez de Lara, in an attempt to stop further damage, sallied forth from the church bearing the Sacrament and accompanied by a procession carrying the image of Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, but the procession did not have the desired effect. An Indian woman tried repeatedly to knock the Host from the priest’s hands, and José Muñoz, who carried the image of the Virgin, was set upon by members of the crowd. The procession retired to the church. The priest continued to harangue the crowd from the safety of its porch but, as before, he achieved little.

This incident is worth dwelling on, for it provides a concrete example of the low level of clerical influence in Pasto. Father Ordóñez de Lara enjoyed a fairly typical hold over his parishioners. Although the myth of Pasto’s religious fanaticism during the War of Independence had some notable adherents, little evidence exists to support the claim that “for Pasto, the voice of the priest was the voice of God.”74 Judicial investigations from the 1780s reveal a series of complaints by Pasto Indians against parish priests, orders of nuns, and a local monastery. The last of these, a long-running conflict between the Indians of the villages of Pandiaco and Anganoy and the Franciscan monks in Pasto, illustrates well the bad feeling that reigned between many locals and the church. The Indians accused the monks of a long list of crimes, including the sexual abuse of Indian women required to serve as housekeepers in the monastery. The local Indians evidently felt little respect for either the church or its representatives.

This was clearly demonstrated during the anti-Clavijo riot, for although the Clavijo brothers took sanctuary in the church, doing so did not avert Indian wrath. A crowd of Indians, armed with stones, clubs, lances, and other weapons, entered the church and found Francisco and Atanasio cowering under the altar of the Virgin. They killed Francisco immediately with a lance blow, but Atanasio survived the initial attack and was dragged, along with his brother’s corpse, to the church doorway, where he died. Martin Rafael Clavijo escaped by disguising himself in a large cloak and claiming to be a “poor forastero.” The murderers relieved their victims of all items of value before leaving the church.

In the course of the riot the Indians destroyed the houses of a number of Clavijo’s associates, including Julián Caizedo, who administered the estanquillo in Túquerres.75 The rioting did not, however, extend beyond this attack on those directly connected with Clavijo; the white population at large apparently was not threatened. No one, white or Indian, was killed, except for Atanasio and Francisco Clavijo.

The unrest spread to the neighboring villages of Sapuyes, Carlosama, Colimba, Mallamues, Guachucal, Guabo, Cumbal, and Guaitarilla, as well as to the more distant town of Ipiales. A number of estanquillos de aguardiente were burned, the houses of several officials were destroyed, and a large quantity of aguardiente was spilled. In some places, such as Carlosama, the estanquillo de tabaco was also attacked.76 A number of Indians from the villages of Sapuyes and Imués also traveled to Túquerres to participate in the final destruction of the fábrica de aguardiente.

With the death of the Clavijos, however, the focus of the revolt in Túquerres itself was lost. By eight o’clock the next morning, the bodies of the two Clavijos had been removed from the church. Graves were dug by the Indians themselves, and the two corpses were buried that day by the parish priest. Not surprisingly, many of the amotinados appear to have been concerned about the possible consequences of their actions. On June 9, some 19 days after the riot, Miguel González del Palacios, a vecino of Túquerres, wrote to the cabildo of Pasto: “It appears that at present the Indians are repentant, and fear only that someone will come to punish them. I have reassured them that no one will do this.”77 Moreover, the Indians were reported to have remained uncharacteristically sober since tbe riot.78

The inhabitants of Pasto must have found this news reassuring, as previous reports from Túquerres had been considerably more alarmist. News of the revolt arrived in Pasto on May 21, followed the next day by several eyewitnesses. Their descriptions unleashed great anxiety, and rumors circulated that a general Indian revolt was under way. Leopoldo López Alvarez writes:

Proposals of insurrection and threats against the city’s most distinguished citizens began to be heard, and the unease grew when it was discovered that Don Francisco Javier de la Cajigas had written to his wife, Doña María Luz López, that [he had heard that] an uprising similar to the one that had taken place in Túquerres would occur in Pasto on Corpus Christi.. . . The authorities being convinced that terrible evils were approaching, and that the cause was the publication of the recudimiento de diezmos, which had also been made in Pasto, the alcaldes ordinarios met on May 23. . . [and] ordered that the decree in question would not be enforced and that the collection of tithes would be done in the customary manner.79

The Túquerres riot was thus, in the short run, successful. The rumor of a planned uprising in Pasto proved to be groundless. The clergy, who had been ordered to lecture the Indians on the virtues of submission, once again reported no difficulty in extracting oaths of loyalty from them. The curate of Ipiales even reported that the Indians in his parish had surrendered their weapons to the whites as a sign of good faith.80

After a decent interval, the governor, Diego Antonio Nieto, reopened the aguardiente monopoly, which caused no protest.81 Indeed, opposition to the aguardiente monopoly itself appears to have played no substantive role in the riot. Quite unlike the riot of 1781, the riot of 1800 was directed primarily against a person rather than an institution. The Pasto Indians who in 1781 attacked and killed Josef Ignacio Peredo harbored no particular ill feeling for Peredo himself; few involved in that riot were likely to have met him. He was the victim of his office, a martyr to the renta de aguardiente. The violence in 1800, however, was of an almost entirely personal nature, directed against the unpopular corregidor and his followers. Even the rioting in the surrounding villages, which destroyed a number of estanquillos, was directed primarily against the Clavijos. As one Indian from Sapuyes put it, the villagers had joined the rioting solely in order to “participate in the death of the corregidor.”82

The riot of 1800 was also an occasion for the settling of more general personal grievances. The destruction of the estanquillo in Carlosama, for example, appears to have resulted from a private quarrel between its administrator and an Indian from the village.83 The burning of the fábrica in Túquerres, and with it nearly all of Clavijo’s personal and official papers, was, according to one witness, accomplished precisely to destroy these documents, which perhaps contained compromising information about certain locals.84

Typically, the colonial authorities suspected that the riot involved more than met the eye, and the cabildo of Pasto once again fell under suspicion. López Alvarez writes that the absence from Pasto of the mayor and alcalde ordinario at the time of the revolt was later “a cause for accusations against the authorities of Pasto... for not having come promptly to the rescue of the corregidor Clavijo and punishing the revoltosos.”85 Perhaps in an effort to ward off suspicion, the Pasto cabildo issued a report on the uprising in which it stated that, in its view, the “scandalous and atrocious deed did not originate in any sort of conspiracy.”86 It evidently did not convince the viceroy, who wrote to the governor of Popayán that he hoped the “real origin” of the revolt would soon be learned, and further asserted that he “ could not trust even those white vecinos, who, according to the reports I have seen, viewed [Francisco] Clavijo with the greatest hostility.”87 As a final comment, he suggested that the governor persuade

the white and distinguished vecinos. . . that it would be in their own interest [to form a military company] to oppose and contain this insurrection, not only in order to conserve their own lives and fortunes, but also to have an opportunity to give a demonstration of their loyalty, something that could be cast in doubt if they viewed with indifference deeds so contrary to good order and government.88

It is doubtful that the vecinos of Pasto and Túquerres viewed the death of the Clavijos with indifference; they almost certainly viewed it with joy. As the evidence demonstrates, the provincial elite had no more reason to be fond of the Clavijo brothers than the Indians had, and, as in 1781, they made no effort to prevent the riot from running its course. Also as in 1781, however, they do not appear to have played any organizing role. Pasto’s anxiety over the possible spread of the rioting further suggests that the province’s whites were not guiding events. They had made no attempt to stop a riot directed against unpopular crown officials; but as spectators (albeit enthusiastic ones), they could not be sure that, once roused, the rioters would not turn on them.

The viceroy’s initial concern after the riot, aside from preventing further unrest, was to recover the crown goods that had survived the destruction of the royal monopoly houses. Indeed, the attack on the aguardiente, tobacco, and gunpowder monopolies appears to have upset the viceroy far more than the murder of the two Clavijos. It appears that very little remained after the fire, and what did remain was stolen.89 The tasks of determining what the buildings had contained before the fire and separating the former corregidor’s goods from those of the crown were complicated by the fact that all the records had heen burned. Efforts were made to acquire copies of past censuses, which, it was hoped, would enumerate Franciso Clavijo’s material possessions. There was considerable speculation about his probable wealth, hut apparently little success in recovering the stolen goods. This was evidently the matter of greatest interest to the cabildo of Pasto as well, as Father Ordonez de Fara complained from Túquerres.90

The next step in the official investigation of the riot was the opening of judicial hearings into the deaths of Francisco and Atanasio Clavijo and the destruction of the estancos. An initial inquiry was held in November 1800, and the trial itself began the following October.91 A large number of witnesses were called, many Indians from Guaitarilla and Túquerres were named as participants in the riot, and eventually a total of 17 Indians were sentenced for crimes committed during the uprising.

The villages directly involved in the riot, Guaitarilla, Túquerres, Sapuyes, and Imués, were required to pay for the damage to the royal monopoly buildings and private houses, although it was admitted that no one was entirely sure what these buildings had actually contained. The production of monopoly aguardiente resumed without protest. The inhabitants of the province, however, gained no affection for the institution. In 1816, the Pasto cabildo was still petitioning the crown for its removal, and in 1825, continued hostility prompted a monopoly official in Túquerres to inquire whether he might go about his work accompanied by a bodyguard.92

The colonial government responded notably more harshly to the riot of 1800 than it had to the death of Peredo in 1781. The punishments it meted out to participants were severe: three men were hanged and dismembered, and many Indians were exiled. In contrast, no one was convicted of the murder of Peredo, and the one suspect, Naspirín, was allowed to flee. The increased severity in 1800 had several motivations. First, officials generally felt that the Indians of Pasto had gotten off very lightly following the 1781 riot. In 1801, Viceroy Pedro Mendinueta referred disapprovingly to the “impunity with which in the year 1781 [the Indians] killed the Licenciado Don Josef Ignacio Peredo, ” implying that this laxity had led in part to the riot of 1800.93 Furthermore, the riot of 1800 involved not only the death of government officials but also vandalism against crown property. During the investigation, witnesses were questioned closely about the destruction of the Túquerres fábrica and the outlying estanquillos. They were asked directly whether the riot was caused by “hatred of Clavijo” or “hatred of the rentas estancadas,” whether the fábrica de aguardiente bore any marks distinguishing it as crown property, and whether the Indians knew they were attacking a government building.94 While the witnesses generally agreed that the riot had been directed against the Clavijos, the investigators were more concerned about its possibly treasonous nature. This dimension was not present in the riot of 1781. Last, perhaps it is also possible that the failure to investigate Peredo’s death was due simply to an apposite bribe placed by friends of the suspected murderer.95


The two riots considered here illustrate a number of points about the functioning of government in the late Bourbon period. First, the authorities in Santa Fe had only a tenuous grip on the course of events in the provinces. The reforms of the aguardiente monopoly arrived late in Pasto, provoked a major riot involving the death of the lieutenant governor, and consequently were not implemented until 1784. Similarly, the crown, unable to administer the various royal rentas, simply franchised their operation to a highly dubious individual, Francisco Clavijo, whose misdeeds led to another riot.

The riots also illustrate the effect of regionalism and the desire for autonomy within the colony. Both Indians and whites believed that government initiatives should be altered to suit local conditions. This desire for autonomy continued to influence events locally during the following decades, and the province of Pasto remained a center of unrest. It was one of the first regions to be drawn into the War of Independence, when hostile republican troops from Quito invaded and tried to annex the province.96

Pasto and Quito had long been at odds, partly because both were exporters of woolen cloth, and, as might be expected from its behavior in 1781 and 1800, the Pasto elite was unwilling to surrender its de facto control of the province to its economic and political rival. The attack from Quito was repelled, and Pasto entered the war determined to maintain its independence through support for the crown. Various historians have observed that during the early years of the war, cities and provinces were often drawn into the conflict in the hope of obtaining or preserving regional autonomy rather than political independence from Spain.97 The desire for regional autonomy was well rooted in Pasto, and it accounts for the region’s early opposition to republicanism.98 When, in the 1820s, it became clear that royalism was a lost cause, the Pasto elite reconciled itself to Bolívar, and by 1825 a visiting British diplomat could report that in Pasto he had found “ no person of respectability compromised with the present [royalist] revolts.”99 The province’s Indians, on the other hand, having borne the brunt of the republican attack on the region (revolutionary troops had reduced the province to “almost a desert waste,” and the Indians suffered most from the destruction of agricultural lands), continued to oppose the republicans until nearly the end of the decade, despite the white elite’s efforts to disarm them.100

The Pasto Indians’ ability to organize themselves independently of the elite to resist unwelcome developments, as observed in this essay, thereby also shaped their response to the War of Independence. This, far more than the influence of royalist priests, accounts for the Indians’ opposition to the revolution.

Even after the War of Independence ended, the province remained unsettled, prompting José Manuel Restrepo to comment in 1839, “everyone knows from experience how fanatical and warlike those people are.”101 Several civil wars were launched from Pasto, including the so-called Guerra de los Conventos, which engulfed all of New Granada for several years and resulted in the birth of the Liberal and Conservative parties in the 1840s. Indeed, the region’s history in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries belies the current view of it as a tranquil backwater, untouched by violence.

The author would like to thank Anthony McFarlane for his advice and encouragement, and the three HAHR reviewers for their extremely helpful comments.

Research for this article made use of the following archives: Archivo Central del Cauca, Popayán (ACC); Archivo General de Indias, Seville (AGI); Archivo General de Simancas (AGS); Archivo Histórico de Colombia, Bogotá (AHNC); Archivo Municipal de Pasto (AMP); Archivo Nacional del Ecuador, Quito (ANE); British Museum, London (BM); and Public Record Office, London (PRO).


José García de León y Pizarro to José de Galvez, Quito, July 18, 1781, AGS, Secretaría de Guerra (Nueva Granada), leg. 7070, fol. 38. This document may also be found in BM, Egerton 1808, fols. 570–72.


Perhaps we should say that relatively little attention has been paid to Pasto’s history outside the region itself The remarkable Boletín de Estudios Históricos was published in Pasto starting in 1928, and various local historians, including Edgar Bastidas Urresty, Lidia Inés Muñez Cordero, Victor Sánchez Montenegro, and Sergio Elías Ortiz, have written on events in the province.

Riots were reported in Pasto in 1777, in Cuchila in 1778, in Sibundoy in 1782, in Males in 1784, and in Barbacoas in 1800. Riots were also rumored to be pending in Pasto in 1783 and 1786, although none actually occurred. See, respectively, Report of Pedro de Becaría, Popayán, Dec. 21, 1777, AMP, Libro Capitular (hereafter LC) of 1778, fols. 15–16; Lidia Inés Muñez Cordero, La última insurrección indígena anticolonial (Pasto: Imprenta Departamental, 1982), 28; Report of Becaría, Popayán, Dec. 18, 1782, AMP, LC of 1782–1783, fol. 31; Report on a conspiracy in Males, Males, Apr. 1784, ANE, Popayán, caja 178; Javier Laviña, “ La sublevación de Túquerres de 1800; una revuelta antifiscal,” Boletín Americanista 20:28 (1978), 193; Report by the cabildo of Pasto, Pasto, July 9, 1783, AMP, LC of 1784, fob 41; and Report on an Indian conspiracy, Pasto, July 3, 1786, ANE, Popayán, caja 188.


See, for example, Peter Marzahl, Town in the Empire: Government, Politics, and Society in Seventeenth-Century Popayán (Austin: Univ. of Texas Press, 1978).


Manuel Sobrevida, “Descripción histórico-geográfica, política, eclesiástica, y militar de la América meridional (1796),” BM, Gayangos 15740, fob 13.


Eduardo Martínez, “Pasto y Quillacingas,” América Indígena 34:3 (1974), 656. See also Frank Salamon, The Native Lords of Quito in the Age of the Incas (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1986); and Alexander von Humboldt, Reise auf dem Río Magdalena durch die Anden und Mexico, vol. 1 (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1986), 166.


Jaime Jaramillo Uríbe, Ensayos sobre historia social colombiana (Bogotá: Biblioteca Universitaria de Cultura, 1968), 158–61. Also see Luís Fernando Calero, “Pasto, 1535–1700: The Social and Economic Decline of Indian Communities in the Southern Colombian Andes” (Ph.D. diss., Univ. of California, Berkeley, 1987), 283.


Estimates of population are always difficult. These figures are from the census material in AHNC, Censos, tomo 6, fol. 375; and also Sobrevida, “Descripción histórico-geográfica.”


For remarks on Pasto’s wool industry see Sobrevida, “Descripción histórico-geográfica”; and Luís Ospina Vásquez, Industria y protección en Colombia, 1810–1939 (Medellín: Editorial Santafe, 1955), 173, 321. See repeated references to wheat production in AMP, LC of 1776, LC of 1782–1783, and LC of 1785; and also Humboldt, Reise auf dem Río Magdalena, 157, 167. The quotation comes from Germán Colmenares, Haciendas de los jesuítas en el Nuevo Reino de Granada, siglo XVIII (Bogotá: Antares Tercer Mundo, 1969), 135–36. See Colmenares’ account of the attempted sale of ex-Jesuit lands in ibid., 136. For travelers complaints about the province’s poor roads, see Pedro de Becaría to Viceroy, July 2, 1784, AHNC, Visitas del Cauca, tomo 4, fol. 733; and Humboldt, Reise auf dem Río Magdalena, 159–60.


Various complaints about tribute collection, 1788–1796, ACC, Colonia CIII-17t, sig. 6866, 7183, 7541.


AMP, LC of 1776, fol 57. Much information on the state of the rentas estancadas may be found in AMP, LC of 1781 and LC of 1798; and ACC, Colonia CII-24g, sig. 5815, Colonia CIII-17t, sig. 6866, 7183.


Various reports on the bridges and roads around the city of Pasto, AMP, LC of 1778, fol 25, LC of 1779, fol 159, and LC of 1791, fols. 82–84. Also see Report on the collapse of the bridge over the Guaítara, Pasto, May 1786, ANE, Popayán, caja 188.


The Bourbon reforms are discussed in John Leddy Phelan, The People and the King: The Comunero Revolution in Colombia, 1781 (Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1978), 18–35.


This description of the aguardiente monopoly comes from Gilma Lucía Mora de Tovar, Aguardiente y conflictos sociales en el Nuevo Granada durante el siglo XVIII (Bogotá: Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 1988), 20–45.


Anthony McFarlane, “Civil Disorders and Popular Protests in Late Colonial New Granada,” HAHR 64:1 (Feb. 1984), 22.


See Anthony McFarlane, “The Rebellion of the Barrios’: Urban Insurrection in Bourbon Quito, ” HAHR 69:2 (May 1989), 283–330.


McFarlane, “Civil Disorders and Popular Protests,” 25–26; and also Mora de Tovar, Aguardiente y conflictos sociales, 180, for information on an antimonopoly riot in Honda.


I am indebted to Jean Pierre Minaudier, a doctoral candidate at the Sorbonne working on Pasto, for this information.


Twelve estanquillos were established in the towns of Ancuya, Carlosama, Cumbal, Guabo, Guachucal, Guaitarilla, Ipiales, Pastas, Puerchag, Pupiales, Sapuyes, and Túquerres. List of Estanquillos, Oct. 3, 1800, AHNC, Aguardientes del Cauca, tomo 5, fols. 460–62.


Ildefonso Díaz de Castillo, “Comuneros de Tumaco—1781,” Boletín de Estudios Históricos 1:6(1928), 163.


McFarlane, “Rebellion of the Barrios,” 292–93.


Report on the tobacco and aguardiente monopolies, Popayán, Dec. 1782, AMP, LC of 1782–1783, fol. 21. See also Edgar Bastidas Urresty, Las guerras de Pasto (Pasto: Ediciones Testimonio, 1979), 26–27.


Sebastián Burbano de Lara to the Cabildo of Pasto, n.d., AMP, LC of 1784, fol. 79; and also Report on the state of the aguardiente monopoly, Cartagena, Dec. 17, 1784, AMP, LC of 1785, fol. 21.


For the Mexican example, see William B. Taylor, Drinking, Homicide, and Rebellion in Colonial Mexican Villages (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1979), 125. For the U.S. episode, see Jacob E. Cooke, “The Whiskey Insurrection: A Re-evaluation,” Pennsylvania History 30 (1963), 316–46.


All the information on the riot comes from the following manuscripts, unless otherwise noted: BM, Egerton 1807, fols. 570-600, Egerton 1808, fols. 570–78; and AGS, Secretaría de Guerra (Nueva Granada), leg. 7070, fols. 37–45. All consist of letters exchanged between various officials about the riot. Published accounts may be found in Sergio Elías Ortiz, Agustín Agualongo y su tiempo (Bogotá: Editorial ABC, 1958); Pablo E. Cárdenas Acosta, El movimiento communal de 1781 en el Nuevo Reino de Granada (reivindicaciones históricas) (Bogotá: Editorial Kelly, 1960), vo1. 2; and Alan J. Kuethe, Military Reform and Society in New Granada, 1773–1808 (Gainesville: Univ. of Florida Press, 1978).


Cabildo of Pasto to Josef Ignacio Peredo, Pasto, June 18, 1781, BM, Egerton 1807, fol. 572.




Peredo to Cabildo of Pasto, Túquerres, June 22, 1781, BM, Egerton 1807, fol. 571.


Cabildo of Pasto to Becaría, Pasto, June 22, 1781, BM, Egerton 1807, fol. 575.


Cárdenas Acosta, El movimiento communal, 2:98.


Cabildo of Pasto to Becaría, Pasto, June 25, 1781, BM, Egerton 1807, fol. 580.


Lucas Alonso Carriazo to the Junta General de Quito, Túquerres, June 23, 1781, AGS, Secretaría de Guerra (Nueva Granada), leg. 7070, fol. 39. This document is also contained in BM, Egerton 1808, fols. 573–74.


Report by Pedro de Becaría, Popayán, July 17, 1781, AHNC, Miscelánea, tomo 56, fol. 448.


More than 250 soldiers apparently were mobilized. See the letters between the Junta General de Quito and various officials, 1786, AGS, Secretaría de Guerra (Nueva Granada), leg. 7070, fols. 37–42. These may also be found in BM. Egerton 1808, fols. 573–78.


McFarlane, “Civil Disorders and Popular Protests,” 25.


Phelan, People and the King, 47.


García de León to Galvez, Quito, July 18, 1781, BM, Egerton 1808, fols. 570–72. Also note there Becaría's repeated insistence that the Cabildo of Pasto refrain from entering into capitulaciones with the rioters. The word capitulación, rare in eighteenth-century usage, was undoubtedly drawn from the Capitulaciones de Zipaquirá and reflects the governor’s anxiety about the spread of the Comunero Revolution. For a discussion of the word, see Becaría to the Cabildo of Pasto, Popayán, June 29, 1781, and June 30, 1781, BM, Egerton 1807, fols. 579–80; and also Phelan, People and the King, 155.


Kuethe, Military Reform and Society, 67.


Ibid., 70. For a summary of events see ibid., 69–76; and also Becaría to Viceroy, Popayán, July 12, 1784, AHNC, Visitas del Cauca, tomo 4, fol. 733.


Lists of members of the Pasto militia, 1779–1781, Pasto, ACC, Colonia MI-5p, sig. 5808. Also, List of Disciplined Militias in the Gobierno de Popayán, June 16, 1780, AGI, Quito 574.


Joaquín Vélez to Becaría, Pasto, July 10, 1781, AHNC, Miscelánea, tomo 56, fols. 449–50.


The cabildos opposition to the central government reached back centuries. See Calero, “Pasto, 1535–1700,” 152–53, 215.


Cabildo of Pasto to Viceroy, Pasto, Dec. 1777, AMP. LC of 1778, fol 17.


The cabildo of Pasto informed Becaría on July 10, 1781, that the tobacco monopoly “had been one of the causes of the commotion,” an assertion backed by no other evidence whatsoever. Cabildo of Pasto to Becaría. Pasto, July 10, 1781, AHNC, Miscelánea, tomo 56, fol. 449. See also Cabildo of Pasto to Becaría, Pasto, July 9, 1783, AMP, LC of 1784, fol 41.


Cabildo of Pasto to Becaría, Pasto, June 22, 1781, and June 25, 1781, BM, Egerton 1807, fols. 575, 580.


Francisco Gregorio Angulo to Junta de Real Hacienda, 1789, AHNC, Tributos, tomo 8, fol. 1016.


The literature on the War of Independence is vast. For details on the Quiteño invasion of 1809, see H. M. Wood to George Canning, Popayán, June 30, 1825, PRO, FO 18/21; and Ortiz, Agustín Agualongo. Nariño’s campaign of 1814 is described in Antonio Nariño, Escritos políticos (Bogotá: El Ancora, 1982); Representation to the King by the Cabildo of Pasto, Pasto, June 13, 1814, BM, Egerton 1809, fols. 439–42; and Leopoldo López Alvarez, “Campaña del sur y destrucción del ejército patriota,” Boletín de Estudios Históricos 1 (1928), 60–63, 82–83, 127–28; 2 (1929), 149–60, 185–90, 215–24, 236–43, 283–87, 308–16, 324–31, For the events of the 1820s, see, for example, Ortiz, Agustín Agualongo; Brian Hamnett, “Popular Insurrection and Royalist Reaction: Colombian Regions, 1810–1823,” in Reform and Insurrection in Bourbon New Granada and Peru, ed. John Fisher, Allan J. Kuethe, and Anthony McFarlane (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1991); and J. P. Hamilton, Travels Through the Interior Provinces of Colombia, vol. 2 (London: John Murray, 1827).


Ortiz, Agustín Agualongo, 40.


Cabildo of Pasto to Becaría, Pasto, July 10, 1781, AHNC, Miscelánea, tomo 56, fols. 449–50.


Report on Pasto, Santa Fe, Sept. 25, 1790, AMP, LC of 1791, fol. 17, where it is asserted that no real effort was made to apprehend Peredo’s murderer. See also Ortiz, Agustín Agualongo, 40–42; and Kuethe, Military Reform and Society, 89–90.


Income statistics come from Phelan, People and the King, 230. On contraband in Pasto, see various letters, 1789, AHNC, Tributos, tomo 8, fols. 1007–21; Burbano de Lara to Cabildo of Pasto, n.d., AMP, LC of 1784, fol. 79; Report of Becaría, Popayán, Sept. 25, 1778, ACC, Colonia CII-24g, sig. 5815; and various letters, AMP, LC of 1782–1783, fols. 21, 30, 43, 95. On tribute collection, see various complaints, 1778–1796, ACC, Colonia CIII-17t, sig. 6866.


Report on Pasto, Sept. 25, 1790; and Nicolás Prieto Dávila to Viceroy, Popayán, Nov. 17, 1789, AHNC, Tributos, tomo 8, fol. 1011.


ACC Colonia CII-20ea, sig. 6693; and AHNC, Aguardientes del Cauca, tomo 1, fol. 334. Further information on Francisco and Atanasio Clavijo may be found in Leopoldo López Alvarez, “Los Clavijos,” Boletín de Estudios Históricos 2 (1929), 346–49, 369–74; 3 (1930), 22–24, 41–42, 92–95, 120–22, 149–51 176–80, 215–20; 5 (1932), 166–75.


Investigation into the death of the Clavijos, 1801, AHNC, Empleados Públicos del Cauca, tomo 4, fols. 914–79; Investigation into the riot in Túquerres, “Pasto, 1800–ix–26,” ANE, Rebeliones (1784–1803), caja 5; and various complaints against Francisco Clavijo, ANE, Popayán, caja 224.


Investigation into the death of the Clavijos, fol. 954.


Tuquerreño Indians to President of Quito, Túquerres, Sept. 26, 1800, AHNC, Justicias, tomo 6, fol. 366.


Personal communication, Jean Pierre Minaudier.


Margarita Garrido, “La política en la Nueva Granada, 1750–1810,” Anuario Colombiano de Historia y de la Cultura 5 (1987), 37–56.


Ibid., 41.


McFarlane, “Civil Disorders and Popular Protests,” 39.


Report of Josef Antonio González, Oct. 3, 1800, AHNC, Aguardientes del Cauca, tomo 5, fol. 460.


Deposition of Juan Antonio Toro, Túquerres, 1795, ANE, Popayán, caja 224. See also the other complaints in the same box.


Indians to President of Quito, Túquerres, Sept. 26, 1800.


For a discussion of the tithe laws see Segundo Moreno Yánez, Sublevaciones indígenas en la Audiencia de Quito, desde comienzos del siglo XVIII hasta finales de la Colonia (Quito: Ediciones de la Universidad Católica, 1985), 297–98; and López Alvarez, “Los Clavijos,” 372, 22. See also Adriaan van Oss’ interesting book on Indian doctrinas. Catholic Colonialism: A Parish History of Guatemala, 1524–1821 (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1986). The information on the situation in Pasto is drawn from Muñoz Cordero, La última insurrección, 42; and Report on the riot in Túquerres, Aug. 19, 1800, AHNC, Miscelánea, tomo 100, fols. 84–85.


See Laviña, “La sublevación de Túquerres,” esp. 195.


See, for example, Moreno Yánez, Sublevaciones indígenas, 302–5.


Laviña, “La sublevación de Túquerres,” 193.


Ramón Ordóñez de Lara to President of Quito, Túquerres, May 29, 1800, AHNC, Justicias, tomo 6, fol. 293; and Indians to President of Quito, Túquerres, Sept. 26, 1800.


This account of the riot is drawn, unless otherwise indicated, from the following sources, all of which concern the investigation surrounding the riot: “Pasto, 1800–ix–26,” ANE, Rebeliones, caja 5; AHNC, Miscelánea, tomo 100, fols. 84–85; AHNC, Justicias, tomo 6, fols. 287–375; AHNC, Aguardientes del Cauca, tomo 5, fols. 111–42, 458–71; and AHNC, Empleados Públicos del Cauca, tomo 4, fols. 914–79.

A number of works on the riot have been published locally in the department of Nariño, Colombia, such as Muñoz Cordero, La última insurrección, and Victor Sánchez Montenegro, Los comuneros del sur (Pasto: Imprenta del Departamento, 1980), Several articles also deal with it, including Laviña, “La sublevación de Túquerres,” and Armando Gómez Latorre, “ La revolución de los comuneros en Pasto y en la antigua provincia de Los Pastos, ” Boletín de Historia y Antiguedades 68 (Oct–Dec. 1981), 950–65. Ortiz, Agustín Agualongo, also covers this and the riot of 1781.


Confession of Manuela Cumbal, “Pasto, 1800–ix–26.”


Sentencia del Gobernador de Popayán, July 4, 1801, reprinted in López Alvarez, “Los Clavijos,” 170.


López Alvarez, “Los Clavijos,” 41.


Ibid., 94.


Cabildo of Pasto to Becaría, Pasto, June 13, 1800, reprinted in López Alvarez, “Los Clavijos,” 218. All observers agreed that the fábrica had been completely destroyed.


See, for example, Joaquín Caycedo y Cuero, quoted in Ortiz, Agustín Agualongo, 183; José Manuel Restrepo, quoted in Eduardo Pérez, Guerra irregular en la independencia de la Nueva Granada y Venezuela, 1810–1830 (Tunja: Ediciones “La Rana y el Aguila,” 1982), 270; Hamilton, Travels Through the Interior, 40, 44; Gerhard Masur, Simón Bolívar (Albuquerque: Univ. of New Mexico Press, 1948), 454–55; and Jesús María Henao and Gerardo Arrubla, History of Colombia, trans, and ed. J. Fred Rippy (New York: Greenwood Press, 1938), 359, The quote is from Ortiz, Agustín Agualongo, 11.


Declaration of Julián Caizedo, Túquerres, Nov. 28, 1800, AHNC, Aguardientes del Cauca, tomo 1, fols. 296–98; and José Espinosa de los Monteros to President of Quito, Tulcan, May 29, 1800, AHNC, Justicias, tomo 6, fol. 297, in which he states that during the riot, various Indians attempted to burn “the houses of some vecinos, because they were allies of the deceased corregidor.”


Representations of Rafaél de Narváez and José García Putay, “Pasto, 1800–ix–26”; also the reports on the riot in AHNC, Justicias, tomo 6, fol. 375; AHNC, Aguardientes del Cauca, tomo 1, fols. 296–98; and AHNC, Miscelánea, tomo 100, fols. 84–85.


López Alvarez, “Los Clavijos,” 149–50.


Report of Francisco Martínez de Segovia, “Pasto, 1800–ix–26.”


López Alvarez, “Los Clavijos,” 150. See also Ordóñez de Lara to President of Quito, Túquerres, May 29, 1800, AHNC, Justicias, tomo 6, fol. 295, for another mention of the feared riot.


López Alvarez, “Los Clavijos,” 176–77; and also Espinosa de los Monteros to President of Quito, May 29, 1800.


Report of Martínez de Segovia, “Pasto, 1800–ix–26.”


Representation of Sabastián Sapuyes, ibid.


Representation of José García, ibid.


See the report in AHNC, Aguardientes del Cauca, tomo 1, fols. 303-7.


López Alvarez, “Los Clavijos,” 41.


Report of Cabildo of Pasto, Pasto, Sept. 3, 1800, AHNC, Justicias, tomo 6, fol. 303.


López Alvarez, “Los Clavijos,” 178.


Ibid., 179.


See ibid., 179, 216–20; and Statement by Rafaél de Narváez, “Pasto, 1800–ix–26.”


Ordóñez de Lara to President of Quito, Túquerres, May 29, 1800, AHNC, Justicias, tomo 6, fol. 295.


All the information on the trial comes from the Sentencia del Gobernador de Popayán, July 4, 1801; Auto del Superior Tribunal, Oct. 6, 1802; and Certificación sobre la ejecución de la sentencia, Nov. 22, 1802, all reprinted in López Alvarez, “Los Clavijos, ’ 166–75. A report on the initial hearing may be found in Diego Antonio Nieto’s report, Aug–Nov. 1800, AHNC, Justicias, tomo 6, fols. 299–300, 374–75.


See the request from Bernardo de Paz, Pasto, Jan. 23, 1825, ACC, Independencia CI-3ea, sig. 7254; and also Cabildo of Pasto to General Pablo Morillo, Pasto, Oct. 13, 1816, reprinted in Gustavo Guerrero, Documentos históricos de los hechos ocurridos en Pasto en la Guerra de la Independencia (Pasto, 1912).


Laviña, “La sublevación de Túquerres, ” 195.


Interviews with witnesses, 1800, AHNC, Aguardientes del Cauca, tomo 1, fols. 280–317; and AHNC, Empleados Públicos del Cauca, tomo 4, fols. 914–79.


This view is advanced by Jean Pierre Minaudier. A strange sequel to the riot occurred in 1803, when an Indian named Antonio Tandazo arrived in the corregimiento of Pasto. The foreigner presented a lordly figure, claiming to be a “ cacique libertador” and distributing bread and drink to the villagers of Pasto and Túquerres. He proclaimed the need for an independent Indian nation and the subjugation of all whites, who were to be either killed or confined to the cities. Their land, he announced, could then be returned to the Indians. Tandazo apparently made a favorable impression on the locals and became romantically involved with Margarita Iboag, the widow of Julián Carlosama, who had been executed for his participation in the 1800 anti-Clavijo riot. Tandazo had been in residence in the province for several months when news of his subversive preaching reached the ears of the Audiencia in Quito, and the self-proclaimed “governor of the universe” was apprehended. He was sentenced to eight years in a government presidio, and at this point disappears from history. See Moreno Yánez, Sublevaciones indígenas, 328–32.


Wood to Canning, Popayán, June 30, 1825, PRO, FO 18/21.


See, for example, Hermes Tovar, “Guerras de opinióny represión en Colombia durante la Independencia (1810–1820).” Anuario Colombiano de Historia Social y de la Cultura 11 (1983), 187–232.


See also Brian Hamnett’s comment, “The resistance of Pasto to the new republican order should be seen within this context of opposition to central government innovations.” Quoted in Fisher, Kuethe, and McFarlane, Reform and Insurrection, 311.


Wood to Canning, Popayán, June 30, 1825, PRO, FO 18/21.




José Manuel Restrepo, Diario político y militar, vol. 3, 1835—1848 (Bogotá: Imprenta Nacional, 1954), 135. See also Moreno Yánez, Sublevaciones indígenas, 328-32.