BECK index

Incas, Peru & Chile to 1817

by Sanderson Beck

Incas to 1532
Pizarros & Peru 1532-80
Peru & Chile 1580-1744
Peru 1744-1817

This chapter has been published in the book Latin America & Canada to 1850. For ordering information please click here.

Incas to 1532

      Many cultures prospered in the Andes regions long before the Inca empire rose to power. The Mochica developed a thriving culture in the first six centuries CE along the northern coast, building aqueducts and canals in every valley and large pyramids at Moche to the sun and moon. Their artisans pioneered working gold, silver, copper, and their alloys in the new world. Great differences in their houses and clothes indicate a stratified society. Warriors were honored, and women were only depicted in domestic tasks. Along the southern coast the Nazca seemed to be more peaceful and egalitarian, living in smaller villages with similar accommodations. Their religion respected the ancestors but seemed to be more individual than collective worship. The Nazca produced the immense line drawings of a spider and hummingbird in the barren plains that can be seen in their entirety only from the sky. On the central coast Tiwanaku and Huari cultures developed. Artistic icons of puma heads with tears indicate that their religion somehow replaced the Nazca culture and spread throughout the Andes area (except to Cuzco), providing a transition from the Mochica to the Chimú. After 1000 CE the Chimú capital at Chanchan had 50,000 people, and every valley had an urban center with social classes.
      Inca origins in the 13th century are explained by the legend of Manco Capac leading a migration to Cuzco, getting rid of his three brothers, and marrying his sister. According to Garcilaso de la Vega, the second king Sinchi Roca drew tribes into the Inca empire by love rather than force and told his people to live in peace and that he would assist them when they were in need. Garcilaso and some chroniclers described the Inca empire expanding through the efforts of several kings; but if so, there must have been setbacks, because the eighth king Viracocha Inca was still fighting the nearby Chanca, Lupaca, and Colla with Cuzco besieged. Viracocha began the historical imperial expansion by garrisoning conquered peoples and placing Inca officials over them. Viracocha wanted his son Urcon to succeed him, but the oldest son Inca Roca wanted the capable third son Cusi Inca Yupanqui to be the next ruler. The Colla attacked the Lupaca but were defeated by them. The Chanca had taken over the Inca neighbor Quechua and invaded Cuzco. Viracocha and Urcon barricaded themselves in the fortress; but Cusi Yupanqui with Roca led a heroic defense against the attacking Chanca. The Incas overcame the Chanca in several battles. When Viracocha died, Urcon became king. However, Cusi Yupanqui, refusing to recognize him, took the throne and the name Pachacuti in 1438.
      Pachacuti leveled villages for six miles in every direction in order to build a large city at Cuzco. Pachacuti’s armies began their conquest by killing the men of their nearby enemies. The surrounding mountains were taken over next. After the Chanca were subdued at Ichupampa, their skulls and skins were turned into drums. Urcon was declared an outlaw and was hunted down and killed; Viracocha Inca submitted, and Pachacuti was crowned and probably wedded to Urcon’s sister and wife. The new Inca emperor set about expanding and integrating his empire. Pachacuti made his oldest son Amaru Inca co-regent, and after a drought he was worshiped for feeding the hungry with corn, potatoes, andquinoa. A Colla coalition was defeated, and its leader Chuchi Capac was sacrificed at Coricancha. However, Amaru Inca was not a strong military leader, and his father deposed him after about five years.
      A Chanca contingent led by Hancohuallu accompanied the Inca army under Pachacuti’s brother and general Capac Yupanqui. They conquered Aimara, Umasuyu, Cotapampa, and Chilque. Above Huanco, the Chancas deserted and fled into the forest. Pachacuti ordered Capac Yupanqui to kill them. Capac Yupanqui went beyond his orders by invading Cajamarca in the north; even though he was successful there, when he returned to Cuzco, Pachacuti had him and his brother executed for disobedience and for allowing the Chancas to escape. Chanca rebels led by Hastu Huaraca eventually capitulated and were sent to Collao. Rebellion broke out in lands to the north as far as Cajamarca. Incas at this time began moving conquered people to regions with similar climates, where they could adapt and be less rebellious, replacing them with obedient peasants. Next Pachacuti’s army quelled revolts near Lake Titicaca encouraged by the Lupaca, whom they also crushed.
      Once local enemies were eliminated and Inca power became known, diplomatic means often were successful. Knowing they would be slaughtered if they resisted, leaders could maintain their positions under Inca governors. Subjected towns provided not only supplies but also men for the Inca army, which thus grew as it moved. Pachacuti left behind several sayings criticizing envy, and he declared that judges who allowed a plaintiff to visit them in secret should be considered thieves and be punished with death. He organized the Inca empire so that loyalty to the tribe was combined with loyalty to the emperor, and he promoted a religion for the same purpose. Seeing the limitations of the sun god, Pachacuti proclaimed the Creator Ticci Viracocha Pachayachachi the supreme God. He rewarded the best leaders by giving them the best wives. At Cuzco, Pachacuti had the swamp filled and artificial banks constructed. Provincial Inca nobles were required to live in Cuzco for four months each year. Mining operations brought much gold and silver into the capital, but none was allowed to leave without imperial authorization to use it for temples or to reward governors. Those coming into Cuzco were also searched for weapons.
      Incas lived in clans called ayllu, were endogamous, patrilineal, and did not have totems. Each family had their own land, but the ayllu worked communally,farming the sacred and state lands first and taking care of the land of widows and families of men in public service. Local chiefs were retained, but complete loyalty was demanded by the Inca emperor, who was served directly by the most outstanding young men and women. The most beautiful girls were selected at age ten and educated for four years in spinning, weaving, and domestic tasks. Those not taken by the emperor or nobles as secondary wives were consecrated as “virgins of the sun.” The sons of the nobles spent four years learning the Quechua language, Inca religion and history, arithmetic, and record keeping using knotted cords. Discipline was by caning, up to ten blows per day on the soles of the feet. History was memorized by at least three historians for each emperor. Inca nobles related to the emperor governed each of the four quarters of the empire. Local leaders called curacas were hereditary chiefs over villages of a hundred men up to cities of ten thousand. Officers over smaller groups were appointed by their curaca, and their positions were not hereditary.
      The state, headed by the Inca emperor and nobles, dominated everyone; but they provided for all the needs of the people. The emperor was called the friend of the poor. Those in distress received food from state storehouses, even if they had just been defeated in war. The aged were given food from state warehouses if they drove birds away from the fields. The emperor’s word was law, and judges were expected to follow royal edicts. Crime was rare; if it was motivated by some need, the official responsible for not meeting the need might be punished. Disputes between provinces were settled by royal envoys or by the emperor himself. Treason and disobedience of the emperor were punished with death as were murder, arson, theft from the state, desertion from the army or public service, and breaking into a convent. Only a governor or the emperor could decree a capital punishment, and a curaca who did so was punished. Inca nobles were judged only by the court of twelve judges in Cuzco. Women and the lower class were not allowed to testify. Nobles guilty of adultery were executed, but commoners were only tortured. Another punishment was to be sent to work on the hot coca plantations.
      In addition to working the sacred and state lands, the common men also had to serve in the army or perform public works in mines or for bridges, roads, and buildings. The people also had to provide everything the army needed. These services replaced tax or tribute because they had no money. Roads were so good that relay runners could move a message 150 miles per day, and stations with warehouses provided all the needs of the imperial army in which men from all regions served under Inca officers. Incas excelled in making and decorating textiles.
      The educated considered God the omniscient creator, and worship of the sun and the emperor as his son was spread throughout the empire. As there is only one sun, there was one emperor; people taken into the empire were expected to worship the sun. A storm god was importuned for rain, and the moon goddess was important in periodic festivals. People in the highlands worshiped the earth goddess also, and those along the coast the sea goddess. Sins were confessed to priests, who took measures to make sure confessions were complete. Human sacrifice was rare among the Incas, and a girl so chosen was considered honored and blessed. Illness was thought a punishment for sin; healing was not only by magic but also by using various herbs.
      In 1463 Pachacuti made his 15-year-old son Topa Inca his co-regent. His older brothers Auqui Yupanqui, Tillca Yupanqui, and the illegitimate Topa Capac led the army against the rebelling Quechuas and the Chimor. Topa Inca was given credit for conquering Vilcas. After driving off the Chimor, Topa turned Cajamarca into a fortress. Topa was the tenth Inca emperor, and Minchançaman was ninth leader of the Chimor. Wherever they conquered, the Incas collected tribute and imposed their religion, banning cannibalism and sodomy. When their capital Tumibamba was taken, many thousands of the Cañars were transferred south. In 1466 Topa returned to Cuzco in triumph. Next the Inca army invaded as far as Ecuador to capture the great city of Quito, where Topa left Challco Mayta to govern. On the coast Incas captured the city of Tumbez, which was ruled by a polyandrous female curaca. Minchançaman had been captured and taken to Cuzco by 1470. Pachacuti was so envious that he had Tillca Yupanqui and other leaders executed. Gold and silver were used to make statues of the gods Viracocha, Inti, and Mama Ocllo. The elderly Pachacuti abdicated, and Topa Inca was crowned.
      In the south a hundred thousand Chinchas were prospering in farming, fishing, and commerce. Topa led his army and forced them to pay tribute while granting them autonomy. Others chose to resist, and the Incas gave up after eight months of trying to take Huarco. While campaigning, Topa let the capital be ruled by his brother Amaru Inca. When Topa took his army east toward the Amazon jungles, he learned Collao was revolting because of the forced labor imposed on them by Pachacuti. The rebellion spread in the south and took years for Topa to suppress and reorganize. Once while Topa was away, his older brother Topa Capac returned to Cuzco with his troops. The furious Topa Inca quickly came back and had his brother and many others put to death. Topa Inca popularized the chewing of coca leaves and made coca production a state monopoly. He disliked the provincial huacas (spiritual powers) and had many of their religious shrines burned. Acclaimed for defeating the Collas, Topa Inca went further south to Chile. According to Garcilaso he spent six years campaigning there and lost fifty thousand men. In his last four years Topa had to go back to fight rebellion in the north as far as Quito.
      When Topa Inca died in 1493, his heir apparent Huayna Capac was only five years old. His father’s cousin Hualpaya was proclaimed regent; but conspirators supporting him were caught smuggling arms into the capital and were killed. Huayna Capac was forced to grow up quickly and went on a pilgrimage as his illegitimate brother Sinchi Roja governed from Cuzco. Some doubted the paternity of his first son Ninan Cuyochi because the Emperor was still only ten years old. Huayna Capac’s second son was Atahualpa, and his third son was named Huascar. Viceroy Huaman Achachi led a campaign against an uprising in Quito but returned to govern Cuzco. Huayna Capac persuaded the Colla and Lupaca curacas to support the northern war. Huascar was named heir apparent, and princes Ninan Cuyochi and Atahualpa were sent north to learn military command.
      The war against the Carangui people of northern Ecuador began about 1511. Victories by the Carangui forced Huayna Capac to lead his army out of Quito. A mutiny in the Inca army was led by Michi, but Huayna Capac managed to mollify the soldiers with a religious display, sharing of treasure, and orgiastic celebrations. The brave Auqui Toma led the Inca army in battle but was killed. Huayna Capac commented that men are only food for war, but he took command again. The Carangui were finally devastated by 1522. Huayna Capac led his men further into Ecuador but soon encountered a spreading plague that had been brought by the Spanish. Huayna Capac and many others were infected, and the Inca emperor was dead by 1526. Also in the 1520s Huayna Capac sent his relative Guacane southeast of Cochabamba; but Guacane was defeated and killed by 8,000 Guarani warriors from Paraguay. Huayna Capac had to send Yasca to fortify this frontier against the threat of these Chiriguanos.
      Ninan Cuyochi was declared emperor, but news came that he had also died in the epidemic. Huascar had already seized power in Cuzco. The queen Rahua Ocllo reluctantly agreed to let Huascar marry his sister Chuqui Huipa, and Huascar was crowned the twelfth and last Inca emperor. His brother Atahualpa sent word, asking to remain as viceroy in Quito; but his embassy was insulted, and he feared going to Cuzco without his troops and stayed at Tumibamba. Huascar plotted and had Atahualpa captured, but a girl helped him escape. Atahualpa prepared for the civil war that killed a hundred thousand people. He ordered a massacre of Cañars at Tumibamba, and the city was razed. He won another bloody battle and took Cajamarca. By 1531 Huascar was trying to defend Cuzco, and he finally tried to negotiate but was mocked by his mother Mama Rocha. From Cajamarca, Atahualpa ordered Huascar, his family, and supporters killed, and about 1500 Incas were put to death. Then every fifth or third person within fifteen miles of Cuzco was also killed. This war was abruptly ended, as Atahualpa learned in 1532 that Spaniards led by Pizarro had arrived.

Pizarros & Peru 1532-80

      Captain Francisco Pizarro formed a partnership in Panama with Diego de Almagro and the priest Hernando de Luque in order to explore the Pacific coast, looking for a Biru tribe that became the name Peru. His first expedition began in November 1524 with eighty men and four horses; but they suffered starvation, and Almagro lost an eye fighting natives. In 1526 they took two ships and captured a balsa raft with rich ornaments of silver and gold. Pizarro kept three captured natives to learn Spanish and be interpreters. The next year only thirteen men stayed with Pizarro on the Isla del Gallo; but in 1528 Pizarro discovered the Inca city of Tumbez. He went to Spain and at Toledo persuaded the Queen to appoint him governor and captain-general of Peru; Almagro was named commandant of Tumbez and Luque protector of the Indians. In 1532 Pizarro explored the coast of Ecuador but found Tumbez in ruins because of the Inca civil war. He killed the local chief Amotape, left sixty Spaniards in a new town called San Miguel, and invaded the Inca empire with only 168 men and 62 horses.

      An envoy invited Pizarro to come to Cajamarca to meet the dominant Inca emperor Atahualpa. Hernando de Soto found five hundred women from a convent in a square and gave many of them to his men. Pizarro sent Soto and his brother Hernando Pizarro ahead with fifteen horseman and the interpreter Martin; Atahualpa complained that they had treated chiefs badly by chaining them but offered them houses on the square. When Francisco Pizarro arrived and planned a treacherous attack, Atahualpa asked the Spaniards to return what they had stolen and threw down a prayer book that Friar Vicente de Valverde gave him. The Dominican shouted it was an outrage, and Pizarro ordered the cannons fired. Horseman rode out and slaughtered the unarmed Incas, as Pizarro tried to grab Atahualpa, who was captured. In two hours about 7,000 natives were killed in Cajamarca. Pizarro had Atahualpa instruct the Incas to surrender, and Soto gathered men, women, llamas, gold, silver, and clothing. Governor Pizarro said they wanted only gold, and so Atahualpa promised to fill a room with gold in exchange for his freedom. Some caciques came and obeyed their captive Inca emperor. His rival brother Huascar was killed on the road, and Atahualpa also had two half-brothers murdered.
      In 1533 Hernando Pizarro led an expedition that searched for gold at Pachacamac. Atahualpa had the general Quisquis at Cuzco, Chalcuchima at Jauja, and Rumiñavi at Quito. Hernando Pizarro persuaded Chalcuchima to accompany him to Cajamarca. To learn of gold, Soto tortured Chalcuchima with fire in front of Atahualpa. In April 1533 Almagro arrived at Cajamarca with 153 Spaniards. Francisco Pizarro ordered gold and silver ornaments melted down, and his brother Hernando left with 100,000 castellanos for the king of Spain. The furnaces at Cajamarca turned out 13,420 pounds of “good gold” and 26,000 pounds of good silver. The Cajamarca chief told Governor Pizarro that Atahualpa had ordered his men from Quito to attack. Pizarro and royal officials condemned the Inca emperor to be burned; but because he agreed to be baptized, Atahualpa was strangled. Then Soto’s reconnaissance patrol learned that there was no threat after all. Many caciques accepted Huascar’s younger brother Tupac Huallpa as the next Inca emperor. Governor Pizarro proclaimed the Requirement of capitulation, and the Incas celebrated Tupac Huallpa’s coronation.
      In August 1533 Governor Francisco Pizarro, Almagro, and Soto marched out of Cajamarca with the captive Chalcuchima, who was blamed for the empty storehouses along the way. Spaniards entered Jauja, as it was burning, and slaughtered fleeing warriors. Inca Tupac Huallpa died of illness at Jauja in October. Leaving a garrison, Pizarro left for Cuzco with 130 men and a hundred horses. By killing Atahualpa, the Spaniards had taken the side of the late Huascar in the Inca civil war, and many natives attacked the Quitans, who moved south destroying villages, food stores, bridges, and aqueducts. Soto was sent ahead, and Quitans killed six of his men in an ambush. The young prince Manco, son of Huayna-Capac, arrived and denounced Chalcuchima, who refused to become a Christian and was burned to death. The Castilians entered a quiet Cuzco in November 1533. Governor Pizarro told Manco that he came to Cuzco to “liberate” them from the Quitan tyranny. Manco assembled an army of 20,000 and went with Soto, Almagro, and fifty horsemen to pursue Quisquis, whose men wanted to go home to Quito. Pizarro organized the looting of treasure and found more wealth at Cuzco, mostly in silver, than they had gathered at Cajamarca. Quisquis attacked Jauja, killing one Spaniard but wounding many. By June 1534 Soto had driven the Quitan army into the north.
      Governor Francisco Pizarro divided the city of Cuzco and gave it to 88 soldiers, and he distributed the natives at Jauja in encomiendas to 53 Spaniards. He put Soto in charge at Cuzco and instructed him not to let Spaniards demand gold from the natives. In 1535 Pizarro founded a city on the coast that came to be called Lima. Rumiñavi ruled as a warlord at Quito and had Atahualpa’s brother Quilliscacha murdered. Meanwhile early in 1534 conquistador Pedro de Alvarado invaded Ecuador with a strong force. Pizarro sent Sebastian de Benalcazar to capture Quito, which Rumiñavi abandoned. Benalcazar also invaded Chibcha territory. Alvarado lost 85 men in the Andean mountains and agreed to sell his ships to Almagro and return to Guatemala, letting his men stay in Peru. Quisquis arrived with his army, which killed fourteen Spaniards; but his officers wanted to go home, mutinied, and killed Quisquis. The Castilians captured and executed Rumiñavi at the square in Quito.
      In 1535 the colonists learned that Carlos (Charles) V had given northern Peru to Pizarro and the south to Almagro. After conflict over who was to rule Cuzco, Almagro left in July on an expedition to explore Chile. Manco sent along 12,000 men with his brother Paullu and high priest Villac Umu. Reluctant natives were chained and imprisoned every night. In October disgusted Villac Umu left, and soon all the natives from Cuzco had fled, leaving the Spaniards with no servants. At Cuzco conquistadors insulted, persecuted, and harassed Manco for gold. When he tried to escape, they captured and imprisoned him. Manco’s uncle Tiso and Collao chiefs began murdering encomenderos. When Hernando Pizarro returned from Spain, he was put in charge at Cuzco. Manco was released and offered to get a golden statue for Hernando. Instead, he organized a widespread rebellion that began in the spring of 1536. His army was estimated to be between 100,000 and 200,000. In Cuzco 190 Spaniards had only eighty horses. The natives set fire to the city and attacked for six days, killing Juan Pizarro, but the Castilians fought their way to take over the citadel at Sacsahuaman, slaughtering 1,500 in the fortress. Cañari auxiliaries brought them food and water. Hernando Pizarro ordered women natives killed, and by August the siege let up.
      Francisco Pizarro sent reinforcements; but Gonzalo de Tapia and his seventy horsemen were all killed or captured in a mountain ambush. In a dawn attack led by Quizo Yupanqui, the Incas massacred those left at Jauja except for two men. Quizo Yupanqui attacked the new capital at Lima but was killed with other leaders who bravely fought in the front. Hernando Pizarro went after Manco Inca at Ollantaytambo; but his horses could not fight after the Incas flooded the plain by diverting the Patacancha River. The Spaniards tried to demoralize the natives by cutting off the hands of prisoners in the square at Cuzco. The Pizarros got aid from Spaniards in Ecuador, Nicaragua, Panama, and Española; even Cortes sent weapons from Mexico. Alonso de Alvarado arrived with 350 men and mutilated captured natives.
      Almagro returned to Cuzco after an unsuccessful exploration of Chile; 150 Spaniards and 10,000 native allies froze to death. Like the Incas nearly a century before, Almagro could not conquer the Promaucas across the Rio Rapel. He wanted to attack the Pizarros and appealed to Manco, who demanded he execute four of Hernando Pizarro’s scouts. This attempted alliance dissolved after the native Paucar attacked Almagro’s soldiers at Calca. Nevertheless Almagro used force to take Cuzco from the Pizarrists in April 1537. Manco took refuge in the Vilcabamba valley. In July after Rodrigo Orgoñez defeated Alonso de Alvarado at Abancay, Almagro sent him in pursuit of Manco, who escaped; but Orgoñez brought back 50,000 llamas and alpacas with 20,000 natives, who were released to go home. Valverde became protector of the natives in 1538, but he had little power to enforce his responsibility.
      Gonzalo Pizarro escaped, and his brother Hernando was released in negotiations with Almagro. In April 1538 Hernando Pizarro led the attack on Cuzco that defeated and captured Almagro. Orgoñez was beheaded right away, and Almagro was executed ten weeks later. Manco’s Incas at Oncoy ambushed and killed 24 men led by Captain Villadiego. Tiso attacked the Colla for collaborating with the Spaniards, and with 40,000 Chibchas he besieged Gonzalo Pizarro at Cochabamba. In 1539 Francisco Pizarro sent out more troops, and the native chiefs began surrendering. Gonzalo Pizarro fought in the north and became governor of Quito. An attack on Vilcabamba still did not capture Manco, but Spaniards mistreated and executed his sister-queen Cura Ocllo. They captured high priest Villac Umu in October and executed him with Tiso and fifteen commanders the following month. Manco warned the natives of Chile to hide their valuables from the Spaniards, and in 1541 ten thousand natives burned the Spanish settlement at Santiago, which Pedro de Valdivia had founded for 132 encomenderos.
      In March 1541 Gonzalo Pizarro led an expedition from Quito across the Andes Mountains with 250 soldiers and 4,000 native servants. He tortured local natives to try to get information. They built a boat to carry his sick men and heavy gear on the Coca River. After Christmas he let Francisco Orellana take the boat with sixty men so that they could bring back food. They soon realized that the strong current would not allow them to make it back. Orellana sailed down the Napo and rested in January at the village by the mouth of the Aguarico River. Seeing women warriors, they named the larger river they reached after the Amazons. Meanwhile Gonzalo Pizarro and his men struggled to survive on their return by eating their last eighty horses. Orellana’s men repaired the boat and built others, sailing all the way to the mouth of the Amazon and up the northern coast around Trinidad to Cubagua by September 1542. Orellana was appointed governor of the Amazon; but he died on his second expedition that was disastrous. A similar river venture was taken over by Lope de Aguirre in 1559; but he was executed when he reached Venezuela in 1561.
      Hernando Pizarro took more treasure to King Carlos V, but in 1540 he was imprisoned in luxury at Madrid for having executed Almagro. On 26 June 1541 Almagrists assassinated Francisco Pizarro in his palace at Lima and proclaimed young Diego de Almagro governor. Bishop Vicente de Valverde escaped on a ship to Panama but was killed and eaten by cannibals. King Carlos sent Vaca de Castro to govern Peru, and the army led by Alonso de Alvarado defeated the Almagrists at Chupas in September 1542 as Manco’s warriors watched.
      Peru now had 480 encomenderos, living in large houses with African slaves and women servants apart from their allotted natives. The New Laws of 1542 abolished slavery of Indians and tried to reform the encomienda system, but the new viceroy Blasco Nuñez Vela became unpopular trying to enforce these laws. Manco was negotiating a reconciliation when he was treacherously murdered by Almagrist fugitives, who were then killed by the Incas. Gonzalo Pizarro had used the threat of Manco to raise an army in Cuzco but marched to Lima, enabling the audiencia to depose and deport the viceroy in 1544. Vela went to Quito, but Gonzalo Pizarro led an army from Lima that defeated and killed him in January 1546. King Carlos revoked the new laws, enabling his newly appointed governor, Pedro de la Gasca, to get enough support to overthrow the Gonzalo Pizarro regime, which had executed 340 Spaniards. Gasca defeated and executed Gonzalo on 10 April 1548, and he took encomiendas away from rebels and gave them to his supporters. Natives had to take large quantities of gold, silver, wheat, barley, corn, potatoes, llamas, pigs, birds, eggs, logs, and crafts to the homes of the encomenderos.
      Discrimination against mestizos became official in 1549 when Carlos V decreed they could not hold office nor have Indian servants. He also forbade coercing natives to work but allowed it if they were paid. In 1551 the University of San Marcos was founded in Lima, and the first ecclesiastical council of Lima condemned the use of coca. That year Carlos decreed that Indians could be employed in the mines that were providing the Crown with 1,500,000 pesos a year. Rich silver deposits had been discovered at Potosi in 1545, and its mining became a grueling industry in miserable conditions. In 1552 Prince Felipe pardoned Manco’s young son Sayri-Tupac. After the Audiencia of Lima announced its method for assessing native wages in 1553, Francisco Hernandez Giron led a revolt in Cuzco; but they were defeated at Pucara, and Giron was beheaded in 1554. Andrés Hurtado de Mendoza Cañete became viceroy in 1555 and let Sayri-Tupac leave Vilcabamba two years later. He allowed Cuzco corregidor Juan Polo de Ondegardo to nominate eight natives for alcalde. Polo chose one, but three were elected by natives to administer justice. Cañete removed several corregidors, because they were thieves. A royal decree in 1560 prohibited using forced labor on coca plantations. Hernando de Santillas was sent to establish an audiencia at Quito in 1564, but his tyrannical government subjected him to a heavy fine, which was later reduced by the court.
      When Sayri-Tupac died in 1561, his brother Titu Cusi Yupanqui took charge at Vilcabamba. After long negotiations he signed a peace treaty in 1566, allowing Christian missionaries to convert him and others at Vilcabamba. Titu Cusi objected to the puritanical austerity of Marcos Garcia but had a good relationship with Diego Ortiz and Martin Pando. He was so wary of the Spaniards’ greed that when the prospector Romero found gold in Vilcabamba, Titu Cusi had him beheaded. He forbade settlers in Vilcabamba but ordered his people not to raid Spaniards or damage their churches. Some mestizos plotted with Paullu’s son Carlos Inca to kill Spaniards; but in 1567 Augustinian prior Juan de Vivero heard of it in a confession and warned the authorities at Lima. Audiencia president Garcia de Castro exiled eight mestizos, confiscated their estates, and kept a close watch on Carlos Inca. As governor, Castro appointed a corregidor de Indios, but Church authorities and curacas (chiefs) aroused opposition and petitioned the Audiencia of Lima in 1565 to allow more native self-government. The second ecclesiastical council in 1567 concentrated on suppressing native practices such as drinking, incest, and what they called witchcraft. The Inquisition came to Lima in 1570.
      European diseases and ruthless exploitation by the Spaniards diminished the native population from about seven million to an estimated 1,800,000 by the end of the 16th century. Conquistadors killed thousands of llamas to eat the marrowfat, throwing away the meat. By 1560 about 8,000 Spaniards lived in Peru, and women came from Spain and married the wealthy colonists. A royal commission studied whether to make encomiendas perpetual; but their secret papers were found and showed how corrupt they were. Many local curacas took advantage of the Spanish conquest to take their power back from the Inca empire, often collaborating with the encomenderos in exploiting their people. During the wars many natives died working as porters.
      King Felipe II (Philip) appointed Francisco de Toledo viceroy of Peru, and he was welcomed at Lima with great ceremonies in November 1569. Toledo tried to organize the somewhat Christianized Indians into native hamlets. The next year a commission headed by Archbishop Jeronimo de Loayza decided unanimously that because mining was in the public interest, natives could be compelled to do that work. In 1571 Fernandez de Velasco developed a process using Huancavelica mercury to mine silver at Potosi, which grew to a city of 150,000 people. The mines at Huancavelica were especially toxic with mercury and arsenic. Loayza and the others soon retracted their proclamation and later denied they had even used the words “compel and force.”
      Viceroy Toledo interrogated witnesses and sent the resulting Informaciones to Felipe II in 1571, arguing that the Inca kings had only ruled more than a small part of Peru for a few generations and had been tyrannical, and he commissioned Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa to write a history. When Inca Titu Cusi died of illness at Vilcabamba in 1571 after drinking a concoction given him by Martin Pando, his brother Tupac Amaru was chosen to succeed him. Militant Incas killed Pando and Diego Ortiz for failing to revive the Inca. Tupac Amaru revitalized the traditional religion and had the churches destroyed. Dominican prior Gabriel de Oviedo tried to arrange a marriage for Titu Cusi’s son but was turned away from Vilcabamba, and papal envoy Atilano de Anaya was murdered to prevent the succession from becoming known.
      Toledo sent Hurtado de Arbieta to invade Vilcabamba and hunt down the recalcitrant Incas. Tupac Amaru was captured, catechized, and baptized. The Spaniards hanged Curi Paucar and other rebels, and a questionable trial sentenced Tupac Amaru to death. Bishop Coruña begged the Viceroy to spare the Inca king, who on the scaffold confessed that the Inca religion was false as he admitted he spoke for himself, not for God. The death of Tupac Amaru marked the end of the line of Inca kings. A trial found Carlos Inca and other nobles guilty, confiscated their property, and sent them into exile, though in 1574 King Felipe reversed these sentences.
      Viceroy Toledo appointed inspectors in 1571, and he ordered about 1,500,000 natives moved from small villages into larger towns in a very wrenching and unpopular resettlement that took two years. Toledo set minimum wages and insisted that workers be paid in silver every week. In 1574 Toledo organized forced labor (mita) from sixteen provinces in the southern mountains from which 95,000 men had to serve four months every seven years in the mines; 4,500 at a time worked 72-hour weeks, but their pay did not cover their expenses. Four-fifths of the natives in Peru were forced to work, most of them in agriculture. As encomiendas lapsed, the corregidors became the primary oppressors. Toledo divided Peru into 71 provinces, and in 1575 he decreed that the local judges should be of good character and sympathetic to the natives; but by 1578 he realized that most of their “protectors” were robbing the natives and burdening them by means of lawsuits. Native alcaldes heard minor cases and could not punish with death, mutilation or bloodshed; they could fine up to one peso or inflict up to twenty strokes. In 1532 the Andean population had been about nine million, but by 1590 only about one and a half million survived. In the first half century the Spaniards had already taken 185,000 kilograms of gold and 16,000,000 kilograms of silver from Peru.

Peru & Chile 1580-1744

      Viceroy Toledo left Peru in 1582, and King Felipe II approved his ordinances two years later. In 1589 the King claimed the sole right to grant lands and annulled previous grants made by local authorities. Royal officials in Peru were ordered to put vacant lands up for sale by a land commissioner. In the late 1580s epidemics of smallpox, plague, and influenza spreading from Quito, Cuzco, and Potosi devastated the entire Andean region. Yet by 1600 the silver-mining town of Potosi had 150,000 people. The Spaniards in Peru used the same term for the labor draft, mita, as the Incas. The state worked about one-sixth of the adult males for six months at a time. The annual income from the Potosi silver mines gradually decreased from seven million pesos in 1600 to less than two million pesos in 1700. News was published regularly in Lima starting in 1621.
      A plot to overthrow the Spaniards and set fire to Lima was discovered in 1666, and eight years later some native artisans planned to incite the people and seek aid from the English. Lima was devastated by an earthquake in 1687. That year Viceroy Duque de la Palata established the tariff that determined the wages the natives were legally owed for their labor, and this lasted throughout the 18th century.
      The fleet system of commerce ended with the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13) as cheaper goods could be brought around Cape Horn or inland from Buenos Aires. Viceroy Conde de Superunda complained in 1756 that goods from Buenos Aires made prices lower in Cuzco than they were in Lima. The population of Lima increased from 25,450 in 1614 to about 60,000 by 1746.

      Jesuits first came to Chile in 1593. Martin Garcia de Loyola became governor in 1592, but he and fifty Spaniards were defeated and killed by three hundred Araucanian horsemen in 1598. This disaster caused Church treasurer Melchor Calderon to write a Treatise on the Importance and Usefulness of Enslaving the Rebel Indians of Chile, which persuaded Jesuit rector Luis de Valdivia. He notified Viceroy Luis de Velasco, and in 1599 Archbishop Reginaldo de Lizarraga recommended this treatment of the Chiriguanos in Paraguay. That year the Cordes brothers in Dutch ships came to the Bay of Castro in Chiloé, incited natives to rebel against Spaniards, and killed many Spaniards themselves before they were driven away.
      In 1603 Peru established a standing army of 2,000 to control the Chile frontier. In 1608 King Felipe (Philip) III decreed that all Indians over the age of ten captured in rebellion could be enslaved. A royal audiencia was installed at Santiago in 1609. The royal fifth was taken from the gold that was stamped at Santiago, and the circulation of gold dust was prohibited. An ecclesiastical tithe of ten percent was taken from agricultural produce, and the customs duty on imports and exports was five percent. Public offices were also purchased. Chile had to pay high prices for imports which came through Puerto Bello in Panama.
      Luis de Valdivia was among the first Jesuits that came to Chile in 1593. He tried to defend the natives and preached to them in their own language. He went to Lima and Spain to promote the “defensive warfare” of having the army defend only the land acquired. The court agreed to limit the labor services of Indians, abolished the encomiendas, and made Biobio the boundary of Spanish territory, allowing the Araucanians to live south of there. In 1612 Valdivia was accompanied by missionaries to implement the plan in Arauco. He held a conference with the natives and exchanged prisoners. However, after three missionary priests were killed in Araucania, a rebellion broke out. In 1626 King Felipe IV ordered Luis Fernandez de Cordova in Santiago to end the defensive warfare policy. When the Spaniards went back to offensive warfare, they lost hundreds of men; but they captured many prisoners that they sold as slaves. In 1641 Francisco Lopez de Zuñiga, the Marques de Baides, became governor. He liked the Jesuits and admired Valdivia, and he brought gifts to make a new agreement with the natives. They made a pact in the Quillin River valley, but a year later the Spaniards began using the military to put down uprisings.
      Francisco Nuñez de Pineda was captured by the Araucanians in 1629 and lived with them for seven months. Later he described their ways in his popular book, Happy Captivity, in which he also condemned the encomienda system and the greed of the traders. Gaspar de Villarroel (1587-1665) was born in Quito, educated in Lima, and wrote theological works in Spain for ten years. He was appointed bishop of Santiago in 1637. He was injured in the earthquake on 13 May 1647, but he still ministered to those suffering and financed the rebuilding of the cathedral. His most famous work was Peaceful Ecclesiastical Government.
      Governor Antonio de Acuña was corrupt and tried to enrich his two brothers-in-law named Salazar. They tried to punish the natives for having killed shipwrecked sailors, and in 1655 the Salazars lost their lives in two massacres that cost 350 Spanish lives. In reaction the people deposed Acuña at Concepcion. The arrogant and corrupt Governor Francisco de Meneses quarreled with Bishop Diego de Humanzoro and used every public service to acquire personal wealth, but colonists went to the Spanish court and got him dismissed in 1668. The more honorable Juan Henriquez arrived two years later and oversaw many public works projects; but he came into conflict with the audiencia for having taken and sold 800 Indians that gained him 800,000 pesos. In 1692 Governor Tomas Marin de Poveda introduced priests into the territory to convert the natives. Many were baptized, but this had little effect on their behavior. Spanish soldiers venturing into their territory were often killed, and this experiment was also abandoned in 1700.
      As the Spaniards became less abusive, relations with the natives gradually improved. In this era Chile began trading with registered Spanish ships, made contraband deals with the French, and crossed the cordillera to Buenos Aires. The sailor Alexander Selkirk was abandoned on the island of Juan Fernandez for five years until he was rescued in 1709; his experience eventually became the basis for Defoe’s novel Robinson Crusoe. Cano de Aponte arrived in 1717 with his nephew Manuel de Salamanca to govern Chile. He drafted Araucanians into service despite the royal prohibition, and Salamanca forced them to sell their ponchos to him at fixed prices. They revolted in 1723, and the Spaniards abandoned their forts south of the Biobio River. Warfare also disrupted the colonists, who resented having to pay taxes for the troops. The pay of soldiers was often years behind, and many deserted despite the penalty of hanging. In 1730 Chile suffered a major earthquake and then a smallpox epidemic. In 1732 the Santiago cabildo petitioned the crown to establish a mint.
      In 1738 José Antonio Manso de Velasco met with the leading caciques in Chile to ratify a peace treaty, and he founded seven cities. He was known as Conde de Superunda and was viceroy of Peru 1745-61. In 1740 Admiral George Anson rounded Cape Horn and used Juan Fernandez as a base for attacking merchant vessels sailing between Peru and Chile. The cities of Santiago and Chillan were badly damaged by earthquakes in 1730 and 1751.

      The government monopolized tobacco commerce in 1753. They began building the University of San Felipe at Santiago in 1738, but teaching (mostly law) did not begin until 1758. Crime was a major problem, and Manuel de Amat severely punished a rebellion by prisoners in Santiago. He then established a police force for the city that was extended to all of Chile in 1758.

Peru 1744-1817

      Franciscans established missions among the Campa natives in 1742; but Juan Santos, who could speak Latin, Spanish, Quechua, and Campa, proclaimed himself Atahualpa II in 1743 and led a rebellion that lasted until the 1760s. Viceroy José Antonio Manso de Velasco (Conde de Superunda) in 1749 protested corregidors using the repartimientos system to force Indians to buy items they did not want. After a rumor circulated that Juan Santos had been assassinated in 1749, two thousand people conspired to revolt in the Lima area; but the mestizo Jorge Gobea informed Viceroy Manso de Velasco. Many were arrested and tortured, and six leaders were hanged. Yet on 29 September 1749 in Huarochiri 20,000 revolted. They were defeated by the forces under Sebastian Francisco de Melo, and the leaders Francisco Jimenez Inca and Juan Pedro were hanged on 6 July 1750.

      Manuel de Amat was viceroy of Peru from 1761 to 1776 and had a flamboyant romance with the actress Villegas Micaela, whom he called la Perricholi. He had militias formed in most of the provinces. A decree prohibiting the distillation of alcohol provoked a rebellion at Quito in 1765 as the government took over the monopoly. A mob broke into the offices of the agent, broke the containers of alcohol in the street, and burned the building. The Jesuits promised to abolish the monopoly and other duties while granting a general pardon. The insurgents held the city from May to September when the viceroys of Peru and New Granada established a garrison. When the Jesuits were expelled from Peru in 1767, the property confiscated included 5,200 slaves and credits for 500,000 pesos in gold and 800,000 pesos in silver. In 1771 people in Lima began to converse at cafés, and two years later The Journey of a Blind Traveler from Buenos Aires to Lima was successfully published under the pseudonym of Concolorcorvo, describing the manners of the time.
      In June 1777 José Antonio de Areche arrived in Lima as the royally appointed visitador. He increased the sales tax from four to six percent while Viceroy Manuel de Guirior imposed a 12.5% tax on liquor. Areche made charges against that Viceroy who was replaced by José de Galvez in July 1780. By then revolts in Cuzco, Arequipa, and Huancavelica were being dwarfed by a widespread Inca uprising. The corregidor Antonio Aliaga in Tinta had abused the natives so badly that the Church excommunicated him. José Gabriel Condorcanqui proclaimed himself Tupac Amaru II and led a rebellion. On November 4 he captured Aliaga and forced him to sign a large money order that also included muskets, horses, and mules. Then he executed Aliaga by making him drink molten gold. Tupac Amaru led his rebels to Quiquijana; the corregidor had fled to Cuzco, but they plundered large quantities of cotton and woolen cloth and more firearms, giving 300 to his 6,000 men. Rebels took 700,000 pesos from Endeiza and other merchants at Oruro, and their numbers swelled to 20,000 men. Areche mustered 17,000 soldiers at Cuzco, and Viceroy Vertiz of Buenos Aires sent three detachments. In November a thousand men under Governor Tiburcio de Landa of Paucartambo took refuge in a church; but a negotiation with Tupac Amaru failed, and all but 28 wounded men were slaughtered. Tupac Amaru had three thousand armed men by the end of November. During the revolt at least twenty caciques remained loyal to the crown.
      The authorities announced they were abolishing the repartimientos and the sales tax. In January 1781 Tupac Amaru sent letters to the Cuzco Cabildo and the bishop asking for moderate reforms and an end to corregidor abuses. He promised to respect priests, Church property, women, and unarmed men. Another attack on Paucartambo failed in February, but the Inca chief gathered 60,000 men at Tinta. Tupac Amaru wrote to Areche, again asking for reforms, but Areche refused to negotiate. General del Valle left Cuzco with an army of 17,116 men. Tupac Amaru was betrayed and captured. General del Valle immediately hanged 67 Indian prisoners at Tinta, and on May 15 Areche sentenced Tupac Amaru to watch the execution of his family before being drawn and quartered. All aspects of Quechua culture were prohibited including dramas, musical instruments, art, costumes, and even the language. Many Indians were still armed, and a war of extermination ensued that took an estimated 80,000 lives. At Sorata only the clergy remained alive as 20,000 were killed. La Paz was besieged for six months, and the war would last two years. In 1783 Felipe Velasco, calling himself Tupac Inca Yupanqui, tried to incite rebellion in Huarochiri but failed. Viceroy Agustin de Jauregui put Huarochiri under military occupation by replacing the civilian official with a military officer. The Indians did not forget the abuses of the Spaniards, and thirty years later they sided with the Creoles in the independence struggle.
      Corregidors sold merchandise to the Indians because they were able to compel them to pay their debts. This repartimiento system was legalized from 1752 to 1782. When it was abolished, Alonso Carrio de la Bandera argued that the corregidors could make about 10,000 pesos a year without injuring the Indians. Viceroy Teodoro de Croix (1784-90) decreed that all books by Montesquieu, Raynal, Machiavelli, and the Encyclopédie be burned. During this era bullion was 88% of Peru’s exports. Reaction to the French Revolution created a secret police in Lima, and after 1790 they investigated everyone entering the kingdom. In 1792 the viceroyalty of Peru had 483 parish priests for 608,894 Indians. The number of mestizos was about half that. Less than 13% were Europeans, and about 4% were African slaves and 4% free Africans. Mulattos suffered more discrimination than mestizos who could often pass for white. In the second half of the 18th century the province of Cajamarca had thirteen Indian rebellions.
      Ambrosio O’Higgins  was viceroy of Peru 1796-1801. After war began between Spain and England in 1797, he strengthened defenses at Callao and built a fort in Pisco. O’Higgins promised a highroad from Lima to the port of Callao, and it was completed in 1799. His son Bernardo was illegitimate. When Ambrosio learned that his son was conspiring with Miranda for independence from Spain, he removed him from his will; but he changed his mind four days before he died on 14 March 1801. Viceroy Gabriel de Avilés arrived in November and served until August 1806. That year the free Indians of Lacamarca resisted attempts by landowners to require them to perform labor and personal service.
      José Fernando de Abascal y Sousa was viceroy of Peru 1806-16, and he raised taxes. On 23 May 1806 an expedition to disseminate the smallpox vaccine led by Dr. Francisco Javier de Balmis arrived in Lima. Viceroy Abascal ordered mass vaccinations, but those making money selling the vaccine prevented it from being more widely used. On December 1 a major earthquake in Lima caused damage to the city walls that cost 150,000 pesos to repair.
      The Mercurio Peruano expressed the views of the 18th-century enlightenment, advocating liberty and equality. However, most liberals accepted the uniform religion and language. When the imperial government of Spain was overthrown by Napoleon’s French army in 1808, the cabildos became more important. In 1809 the cabildos of Peru chose José de Silva y Olave, the rector of the University of San Marcos, to go to Spain with instructions from the Lima Cabildo and the current demands of the creoles. They criticized the intendants for abusing their power and oppressing the cabildos. Conservatives favored restoring the corregidores and repartimientos that forced the Indians to buy their goods. They wanted free trade, lower taxes, and the abolition of monopolies because they raised prices. Peru had been dominating South America because they monopolized the trans-Atlantic trade and exported bars of gold and silver.
      During the Peninsular War (1807-14) in Europe regional juntas were established while Viceroy Abascal supported the Cadiz Cortes against Napoleon. Abascal relied on creoles in his militia which was supposed to have 40,000 men. In 1809 the cabildos in Peru were allowed to elect seven deputies to Spain, and they demanded greater representation but did not want Indians, mestizos, and Africans voting. That year Abascal sent troops led by Captain-general José Manuel de Goyeneche to defeat a revolt in La Paz of Alto Peru (now Bolivia) even though it was under the Viceroy of Rio de la Plata. After the revolution in Buenos Aires on 25 May 1810 Abascal sent Goyeneche there again to reincorporate the province in his viceroyalty, and on July 13 he decreed that Upper Peru was part of Peru. However, the revolutionaries defeated the royalists at Suipacha on November 7. He used the chief Mateo Pumacahua of Chincheros to help defeat the rebellion in La Paz in 1811, and they attacked and plundered the Indians of Sicasica, Cochabamba, and Oruro. Pumacahua was promoted and even was president of the Audiencia. On 2 August 1810 Abascal’s imperial troops defeated an uprising in Quito to bring that province back under Peru.
      In 1811 Viceroy Abascal sent 300,000 pesos to the royalists in Montevideo. He tried to resist the liberal reforms in Spain’s Constitution of 1812, but this provoked revolts in Cusco, Tacna, Cajamarca, and Arequipa that he suppressed. That year an Indian uprising in Huanuco was also put down. In the second half of 1812 he was obligated to dismiss unpopular officials, to appoint more creoles, not to sell offices nor allow hereditary cabildos, to abolish the Indian tribute and required public service (mita), and to allow a free press. Abascal also sent military expeditions to Chile in February 1813 and January 1814 to reincorporate it, and the Queen’s Talavera Regiment went there in August in the Reconquista that lasted until 1817.
      Reformers established a new cabildo in Cuzco and challenged the Audiencia, which imprisoned the creole leaders. On 2 August 1814 the prisoners escaped, rallied support, and arrested most in the Spanish faction. To gain military support they recalled Pumacahua from retirement and made him part of the triumvirate. The creole José Angulo recruited thousands of Indians loyal to Pumacahua for three expeditions south to Puno and La Paz, north to Huamanga and Huanacavelica, and southeast to Arequipa. On the way to La Paz they gained more Indians and mestizos and slaughtered the Spanish garrison there. Spaniards led by General Juan Ramirez came from Alto Peru and recaptured La Paz and Puno. Pumacahua with 12,000 Indians captured Arequipa on November 10. He heard about Ramirez, retreated, and shot many prisoners. Pumacahua was betrayed by informers (cholos), and Ramirez defeated him in March 1815 and executed him in May. By then many rebel leaders had been executed. Fernando VII had been restored as King of Spain in May 1814, and he annulled the Constitution of 1812. Royalists dominated Peru for the next five years. Joaquin de la Pezuela had organized the counter-revolution in Upper Peru, and he succeeded Abascal as viceroy on 7 July 1816.

Peru’s Revolution 1819-22
Bolívar in Peru & Bolivia 1823-25

Copyright © 2005-2006, 2021 by Sanderson Beck

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AMERICAN REVOLUTION to 1800

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Mexico & Wars 1832-50
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