Túpac Katari or Catari (also Túpaj Katari) (c. 1750 – 15 November 1781), born Julián Apasa Nina, was an early leader of the independence activists in Bolivia and a leader or the indigenous people in their fight against the colonialism of the Spanish Empire in the early 1780s.
A member of the Aymara, Apasa took the name "Tupac Katari" to honor two earlier resistance leaders: Tomás Katari, and Túpac Amaru II. ("Katari" means "serpent, large snake" in Aymara; "Amaru" means the same in Quechua, the language of Tupac Amaru. "Tupac" means "brilliant, resplendent" in both languages.) He raised an army of some 40,000 and laid siege to the city of La Paz in 1781. Katari and his wife, Bartolina Sisa set up court in El Alto and maintained the siege for 184 days, from March to June and from August to October. Sisa was a commander of the siege, and played the crucial role following Katari's capture in April. The siege was broken by the Spanish colonial troops who advanced from Lima and Buenos Aires.
Katari laid siege again later in the year, this time joined by Andrés Túpac Amaru, nephew of Túpac Amaru II. But Katari lacked adeaquate forces to be successful.
|“||By August 5th, Túpac Katari and his forces had besieged the city, and a few weeks later they were joined by forces led by Andrés Túpac Amaru. In mid-September, another cousin of the Inca rebel leader, Miguel Bastidas Túpac Amaru, arrived to help prosecute the siege before it was finally broken by Spanish loyalists led by Josef Reseguín on October 17, 1781. As the royalist noose tightened, Túpac Katari was captured and was executed on November 13. Diego Cristóbal Túpac Amaru was captured at Marcapata, in Quispicanchis, on March 15, 1782. Having no alternatives to survive, Miguel Bastidas Túpac Amaru obtained a pardon by assisting the Spanish in suppressing what was left of the rebellion. ||”|
For his effort, his betrayal, defeat, torture and brutal execution (torn by his extremities into four pieces, or Quartering), Túpac Katari is remembered as a hero by modern indigenous movements in Bolivia, who call themselves Katarismo. A Bolivian guerrilla group, the Tupac Katari Guerrilla Army, also bears his name.
- Thompson, Sinclair (2002). We Alone Will Rule: Native Andean Politics in the Age of Insurgency, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, p. 190.
- Hylton, Forrest (2007). Revolutionary horizons: Popular struggle in Bolivia. London: Verso. ISBN 978-1-84467-070-3.
- tupackatari.org: Bolivian indigenous activist page (in Spanish) (link broken)
- Boston Globe article on Bolivian politics, mentioning Tupac Katari.
- Great Rebellion of Peru and Upper Peru by Nicholas A. Robins