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A cacique (Spanish: [kaˈθike]; Portuguese: [kɐˈsikɨ, kaˈsiki]; feminine form: cacica) is a leader of an indigenous group, derived from the Taíno word kasikɛ for the pre-Columbian tribal chiefs in the Bahamas, the Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. In the colonial era, Spaniards extended the word as a title for the leaders of practically all indigenous groups that they encountered in the Western Hemisphere. In Spanish America, Brazil, Spain, and Portugal, the term also has come to mean a political boss or leader who exercises significant power in the political system known as caciquismo.
In Taíno culture, the cacique rank was apparently established through democratic means. His importance in the tribe was determined by the size of his tribe rather than his warlord skills since the Taínos were mostly a pacifist culture. They also enjoyed several privileges for their standing: they lived in a larger rectangular hut in the centre of the village, rather than the circular huts of other villagers, and they had a special sitting place for the areytos (ceremonial dances) and the ceremonial ball game.
Spaniards extended the usage of cacique to refer to leaders at the town or village level in virtually all indigenous groups in Spanish America. Caribbean caciques who did not initially oppose the Spanish were co-opted into being intermediaries between the Spanish and their communities, but their cooperation was transitional and most revolted, resulting in their deaths in battle or by execution. Two famous early colonial-era caciques are Hatuey (Cuba) and Enriquillo (Hispaniola) who are now national heroes in Cuba and the Dominican Republic. At the base of the monument to Hatuey the historical plaque reads: "To the memory of Chief Hatuey, unforgettable native, precursor of the Cuban fight for freedom, he offered his life, glorifying his ideals while tormented by the flames on 2/2/1512. Monuments Delegation of Yara, 1999". Hatuey was a historical character in the 2010 film Even the Rain.
In central Mexico in the colonial era, the Spanish more successfully utilized the leaders of the much more hierarchically-organized indigenous peoples to function as intermediaries in the system of colonial rule. The hierarchy and nomenclature of indigenous leadership there might survive internally within communities, but the Spaniards' designation of caciques did not necessarily correspond to the hereditary indigenous system of leadership. Those men willing to cooperate with the colonial rule replaced those with hereditary and traditional claims to leadership. The Spanish recognized the indigenous nobility as nobles within newly established colonial system, and caciques' status along with their families was reinforced by their being allowed to hold the Spanish noble honorific don and doña. Some caciques had entailed estates called cacicazgos. The records of many of these Mexican estates are held in the Mexican national archives in a section Vínculos ("entails"). The establishment of Spanish-style town government [cabildos] was used as a mechanism to replace traditional rule. Spanish manipulation of cabildo elections. In some areas the traditional, members hereditary lineages became office holders on the town councils.
In the Andean region the term kuraka was also used as an alternative to cacique. In Peru, the Spaniards had allowed the caciques to maintain their titles of nobility and perquisites of local rule so long as they were loyal to the Spanish monarch. In the late eighteenth century, a massive uprising, the Tupac Amaru rebellion (1781), often called the "Great Rebellion," was led by Tupac Amaru II, a cacique who claimed to be a descendant of the Inca royal line. At independence in 1825, Simón Bolívar abolished noble titles, but the power and prestige of the caciques was already in decline following the Great Rebellion. Unlike the early Caribbean caciques who rebelled shortly after the imposition of Spanish rule, the Tupac Amaru rebellion came after 250 years of colonial rule.
Caciquismo and Caudillismo
An extension of the term cacique is Caciquismo ("boss rule") can refer to a political system dominated by the power of localpolitical bosses, the caciques. In the post-independence period in Mexico, the term retained its meaning to refer to indigenous leaders, but took on the more general usage of a local or regional leader. Some scholars make a distinction between caudillos (political strongmen) and their rule, caudillismo, and caciques and caciquismo. One Argentine intellectual, Carlos Octavio Bunge viewed caciquismo as emerging from anarchy and political disruption and then evolving into a "pacific" form of "civilized caciquismo," such as Mexico's Porfirio Díaz (r. 1876-1911). Argentine writer Fernando N.A. Cuevillas views caciquismo as being "nothing more than a special brand of tyrant."
In Spain, caciquismo appeared in late 19th-century Spain and early 20th-century. Writer Ramón Akal González views Galicia in northwest of Spain, as having remained in a continual state of strangulated growth over centuries as a result of caciquismo and nepotism. "Galicia still suffers from this anachronistic caste of caciques." Spanish strongman El Caudillo Francisco Franco (1892-1975) was born in Ferrol in Galicia.
In the Philippines, the term cacique democracy was coined by Benedict Anderson. It has been used to describe the political system where in many parts of the country local leaders remain very strong, with almost warlord-type powers. The Philippines was a colony of Spain from the late sixteenth century until the Spanish-American War of 1898, when the United States assumed control. The U.S. administration subsequently introduced many commercial, political and administrative reforms. They were sometimes quite progressive and directed towards the modernization of government and commerce in the Philippines. However, the local traditional Filipino elites, being better educated and better connected than much of the local population, were often able to take advantage of the changes to bolster their positions.
There is no consensus in the scholarly literature about the origins of caciquismo. Murdo J. MacLeod suggests that the terms cacique and caudillo "either require further scrutiny or, perhaps, they have become so stretched by the diversity of explanations and processes packed into them that they have become somewhat empty generalizations."
Notable native caciques of the Americas
- Cunhambebe of the Tupinambás of São Paulo
- Araribóia of the Temininós of Espirito Santo
- Tibiriçá of the Tupiniquims of São Paulo
- Sepé Tiaraju of the Guarani Missions
- Felipe Camarão of the Potiguara
- Guaicaipuro of the Teques and Caracas
- Tamanaco of the Mariches and Quiriquires
- Saguamanchica of the Muísca of Bogotá
- Aquiminzaque of the Muísca of Bogotá
- Inacayal of the Tehuelche
- Saturiwa of the Timucua (People Named after him)
- Acuera of the Timucua (People Named after him)
- Ais of the Ais (People Named after him)
- Carlos of the Calusa (People Named after him)
- Catacora of Acora and Puno
- Gregorio de San Juan
- Machi (shaman)
- Gregor MacGregor, he claimed to be cacique of Poyais, a fictional Central American country.
- Political boss
- Abercrombie, Thomas A. "Tributes to Bad Conscience: Charity, Restitution, and Inheritance in Cacique and Encomendero Testaments of Sixteenth-Century Charcas" in Dead Giveaways: Indigenous Testaments of Colonial Mesoamerica and the Andes, Susan Kellogg and Matthew Restall, eds. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press 1998,pp. 249-289.
- Anderson, Benedict. "Cacique Democracy in the Philippines: Origins and Dreams", New Left Review, I (169), May–June 1988
- Bartra, Roger et al.,Caciquismo y poder político en el México rural. 8th ed. Mexico: Siglo Veintiuno Editores, 1986.
- Caciquismo in twenieth[sic]-century Mexico. London: Institute for the Study of the Americas, 2005.
- Costa y Martínez, Joaquín, Oligarquía y caciquismo: como la forma actual de gobierno en España, urgencia y modo de cambiarla. Zaragoza: Guara Editorial, 1982.
- Costa y Martínez, Joaquín, Oligarquía y caciquismo: colectivismo agrario y otros escritos (antología). Madrid : Alianza Editorial, c1967.
- de la Peña, Guillermo. "Poder local, poder regional: perspectivas socio-antropológica." In Poder local: poder region, Eds. Jorge Padua and Alain Vanneph. Mexico City: Colegio de México-CEMCA 1986..
- Díaz Rementería, Carlos J. El cacique en el virreinato del Perú: estudio histórico-jurídico. Sevilla: Universidad de Sevilla, 1977.
- Falcón, Romana. Revolución y caciquismo: San Luis Potosí, 1910-1938. México, D.F.: Centro de Estudios Históricos, Colegio de México, 1984.
- Forced marches soldiers and military caciques in modern Mexico. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2012
- Friedrich, Paul. "The Legitimacy of a Cacique". In Local-Level Politics: Social and Cultural Perspectives, ed. by Marc J. Swartz. Chicago: Aldine 1968.
- Girón, Nicole. Heraclio Bernal, bandolero, cacique o precursor de la Revolución?. México : Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, SEP, Departamento de Investigaciones Históricas, 1976.
- Heine, Jorge. The last cacique: leadership and politics in a Puerto Rican city. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1993.
- Joseph, Gilbert M. "Caciquismo and the Revolution: Carrillo Puerto in Yucatán" in Caudillo and Peasant in the Mexican Revolution, 1980
- Kern, Robert, The caciques: oligarchical politics and the system of caciquismo in the Luso-Hispanic world. Albuquerque, University of New Mexico Press 
- MacLeod, Murdo J., "Cacique, Caciquismo" in Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture, vol. 1, pp. 505-06. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 1996.
- Martínez Assad, Carlos, ed. Estadistas, caciques, y caudillos. Mexico City: UNAM-IIS 1998.
- Ramírez, Susan, "The 'Dueños de Indios': Thoughts on the Consequences of the Shifting Bases of Power of the 'Curaca de los Viejos' Under the Spanish in Sixteenth-Century Peru," Hispanic American Historical Review 67, no. 4 (1987):575-610.
- Roniger, Luis, "Caciquismo and Coronelismo: Contextual Dimensions of Patron Brokerage in Mexico and Brazil." Latin American Research Review Vol. 22, No. 2 (1987), pp. 71-99
- Saignes, Thierry. Caciques, tribute, and migration in the southern Andes: Indian society and the seventeenth-century colonial order. Trans. Paul Garner. London: University of London 1985.
- Salmerón Castro, Fernando. "Caciquismo" in Encyclopedia of Mexico, vol. 1, pp. 177-179. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn 1997.
- Spores, Ronald. "Mixteca cacicas: Status, wealth, and the political accommodations of the native elite women in early colonial Oaxaca" in Indian Women of Early Mexico, ed. Susan Schroeder et al. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press 1997.
- Tusell, Javier, Oligarquía y caciquismo en Andalucía (1890-1923). Barcelona : Editorial Planeta, 1976.
- Wasserman, Mark, Capitalists, caciques, and revolution: the native elite and foreign enterprise in Chihuahua, Mexico, 1854-1911. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1984.
- Wilson, Samuel M. Hispaniola: Caribbean Chiefdoms in the Age of Columbus. 1990.
- Wood, Stephanie. "Testaments and Títulos: Conflict and Coincidence of Cacique and Community Interests in Central Mexico" in Dead Giveaways: Indigenous Testaments of Colonial Mesoamerica and the Andes, Susan Kellogg and Matthew Restall, eds. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press 1998, pp. 85-111.
- Robert Kern, The caciques: oligarchical politics and the system of caciquismo in the Luso-Hispanic world. Albuquerque, University of New Mexico Press 
- The Catastrophe of Modernity: Tragedy and the Nation in Latin American Literature. Bucknell University Press. 2004. pp. 136–. ISBN 978-0-8387-5561-7. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
- "Taíno Indians Culture". Topuertorico.org. Retrieved 2012-06-19.
- Murdo J. MacLeod, "Cacique, Caciquismo" in Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. Vol. 1, p. 505. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 1996.
- MacLeod, "Caciques, Caciquismo", p. 505.
- Ida Altman, "The Revolt of Enriquillo and the Historiography of Early Spanish America," The Americas vol. 63(4)2007, 587-614.
- Charles Gibson, The Aztecs Under Spanish Rule: A History of the Indians of the Valley of Mexico, 1519-1810, Stanford: Stanford University Press 1964, p. 36.
- Guillermo S. Fernández de Recas, Cacicazgos y Nobiliario Indígena de la Nueva España, Mexico: Biblioteca Nacional de México, 1961.
- S.L. Cline, "A Cacicazgo in the seventeenth century: The case of Xochimilco" in Land and Politics in the Valley of Mexico: A two-thousand-year perspective. Ed. H.R. Harvey. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press 1991.
- Guido Münch, El cacicazgo de San Juan Teotihuacan durante la colonia, 1521-1821. Mexico City: SEP, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Centro de Investigaciones Superiores 1976.
- Robert Haskett, Indigenous Rulers: An Ethnohistory of Town Government in Colonial Cuernavaca. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press 1991.
- MacLeod, "Cacique, Caciquismo", p. 505.
- Cecilia Méndez, The Plebeian Republic: The Huanta Rebellion and the Making of the Peruvian State. Durham: Duke University Press 2005, pp. 102-05.
- John Lynch, Caudillos in Spanish America: 1800-1850. Oxford: Clarendon Press 1992, p.6.
- Mark Wasserman, Capitalists, caciques, and revolution: the native elite and foreign enterprise in Chihuahua, Mexico, 1854-1911. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1984.
- Fernando Díaz Díaz, Caudillos y caciques: Antonio López de Santa Anna y Juan Álvarez. Mexico, 1972, 3-5.
- Carlos Octavio Bunge, "Caciquismo in Our America" (1918), in Hugh M. Hamill, ed. Caudillos: Dictators in Spanish America. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press 1992, p. 172.
- Fernando N.A. Cuevillas, "A Case for Caudillaje and Juan Perón" in Hugh M. Hamill, ed. Caudillos, p. 287.
- Varela Ortega, José (2001). El poder de la influencia: Geografía del caciquismo en España: (1875-1923). Centro de Estudios Políticos y Constitucionales. ISBN 84-259-1152-4.
- Ramón Akal González, Obra Completa II, 1977, p. 111.
- Benedict Anderson, 'Cacique Democracy in the Philippines: Origins and Dreams', New Left Review, I (169), May–June 1988
- Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, Cacique Democracy'
- MacLeod, "Cacique, Caciquismo", p. 506