Rebellion of Túpac Amaru II

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Túpac Amaru II

The Rebellion of Túpac Amaru II (1780–c. 1782) was an uprising of native and mestizo peasants against the Bourbon reforms in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru.[1] While Túpac Amaru II, an early leader of the rebellion, was captured and executed in 1781, the rebellion continued for at least another year under other leaders.

Background[edit]

The government of Spain, in an effort to streamline the operation of its colonial empire, began introducing what became known as the Bourbon Reforms throughout South America.[1] In 1776, as part of these reforms, it created the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata by separating Upper Peru (modern Bolivia) and the territory that is now Argentina from the Viceroyalty of Peru. These territories included the economically important silver mines at Potosí, whose economic benefits began to flow to Buenos Aires in the east, instead of Cuzco and Lima to the west. The economic hardship this introduced to parts of the Altiplano combined with systemic oppression of Indian and mestizo underclasses (a recurring source of localized uprisings throughout Spanish colonial South America) to create an environment in which a large-scale uprising could occur.[2]

In 1778 Spain raised sales taxes (known as the alcabala) on goods produced and sold in the colonies,[1][3] in part to fund its participation in the American Revolutionary War. José Gabriel Condorcanqui, an upper-class Indian with claims to the Inca royal lineage, adopted the name Túpac Amaru II (alluding to Túpac Amaru, the last Inca emperor), and in 1780 called for rebellion. He claimed to be acting on behalf of the King of Spain, enforcing royal authority on the corrupt and treacherous colonial administration.[2][4] He was motivated in part by reading of a prophecy that the Inca would rule again with British support, and he may have been aware of the British colonial rebellion in North America and Spanish involvement in the war.[3]

Rebellion near Cuzco[edit]

On November 4, 1780, after a party in Tungasuca, where Túpac was cacique, Túpac and supporters seized Antonio Arriaga, the corregidor of his hometown of Tinta. They forced him to write letters to his treasurer in Tinta requesting money and arms and to other powerful individuals and kurakas ordering them to congregate in Tungasuca. On November 10, six days after his capture, Arriaga was executed in front of thousands of gathered Indians, mestizos, and Criollos (locals of mostly Spanish descent).[4] Túpac began moving through the countryside, where he gained supporters, primarily from the Indian and mestizo classes, but also with some creoles. On November 17 he arrived at the town of Sangarará, where Spanish authorities from Cuzco and the surrounding area had assembled a force of about 604 Spaniards and 700 Indians. Túpac's ad hoc army, which had grown to several thousand, routed this force the next day, destroying the local church where a number of people had taken refuge.[1][5] Túpac then turned south, against the advice of his wife and lieutenant Micaela Bastidas, who urged him to attack Cuzco before the government could mobilize. Indigenous communities often sided with the rebels, and local militias put up little resistance. It was not long before Túpac's forces had taken control of almost the entire southern Peruvian plateau.[2]

Spanish colonial administrator José Antonio de Areche acted in response to Túpac's uprising, moving troops from Lima and as far off as Cartagena toward the region. Troops from Lima were instrumental in helping repel Túpac's siege of Cuzco from December 28, 1780 to January 10, 1781.[2] Following these failures, his coalition of disparate malcontents began to fall apart, with the upper-caste Criollos abandoning him first to rejoin the loyalist forces. Further defeats and Spanish offers of amnesty for rebel defectors hastened the collapse of Túpac's forces.[2] By the end of February 1781, Spanish authorities began to gain the upper hand. A mostly indigenous loyalist army of up to between 15,000 and 17,000 troops led by Jose del Valle had the smaller rebel army surrounded by March 23. A breakout attempt on April 5 was repulsed, and Túpac and his family were betrayed and captured the next day.[1][2] After being tortured, on May 15 Túpac was sentenced to death, and on May 18 forced to witness the execution of his wife and children before he was himself quartered. The four horses running in opposite directions failed to tear his limbs apart and so Túpac was beheaded.[2][5]

Areche's decrees following the execution of Túpac Amaru II included the banning of the Quechua language, the wearing of indigenous clothing, and virtually any mention or commemoration of Inca culture and history.[4]

The Rebellion continues[edit]

Túpac Amaru's capture and execution did not end the rebellion. In his place, his surviving relatives, namely his cousin Diego Cristóbal Túpac Amaru, continued the war, albeit using guerilla tactics, and transferred the rebellion's focal point to the Collao highlands around Lake Titicaca. Government efforts to destroy the rebellion were frustrated by, among other things, a high desertion rate, hostile locals, scorched-earth tactics, the onset of winter, and the region's altitude (most of the troops were from the lowlands and had trouble adjusting).[2] An army led by Diego Cristóbal occupied the strategically important city of Puno on May 7, 1781 and proceeded to use it as a base from which they launched attacks all across Upper Peru.[1] Cristóbal would hold the town and much of the surrounding territory until mounting losses and diminishing support convinced him to accept a general amnesty from Viceroy Agustín de Jáuregui. A preliminary treaty and prisoner exchange were conducted on December 12, and Cristóbal's forces formally surrendered on January 26, 1782. Though some rebels continued to resist, the worst was over.[5] The last organized remnants of the rebellion would be vanquished by May 1782, though sporadic violence continued for many months.[4]

Diego, his mother, and several of his allies would be arrested and executed anyway by paranoid Spanish authorities in Cuzco on July 19, 1783 on the pretext he had broken the peace accords.[4]

During the rebellion, especially after the death of Túpac Amaru II, non-Indians were systematically killed by the rebels.[1][6][7]

Rebellion in the south[edit]

Word of Túpac Amaru's activities spread to the south, where in the region near Lake Titicaca in Upper Peru, another rebellion sprang up in December 1780, this one led by Túpac Katari. He was aided by Túpac Amaru's cousin and successor Diego, and benefited from the remnants of Túpac Amaru's forces following the latter's capture. He laid siege to La Paz twice in 1781, March 13 to July 1 and August 7 to October 17, with poorly organized forces numbering as much as 40,000.[2] Approximately 10,000 people or one third of the city's population died during the siege.[8] He was betrayed and captured on November 9, 1781 and quartered six days later in La Paz.[4]

Aftermath[edit]

The ultimate death toll is estimated at 100,000 Indians and 10,000-40,000 non-Indians.[1][2]

Viceroy Jáuregui lessened mita obligations in an attempt to ameliorate some of the Indians' complaints. In 1784, his successor, Teodoro de Croix, abolished the corregidors and reorganized the colonial administration around seven intendants. In 1787, an audiencia was established in Cuzco.[1][5]

Areche's attempts to destroy Inca culture after the execution of Túpac Amaru II were confirmed by royal decree in April 1782, however colonial authorities lacked the resources to enforce these laws and they were soon largely forgotten.[4]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Fisher, Lillian Estelle, The last Inca revolt, 1780-1783. Norman, University of Oklahoma Press [1966]
  • O'Phelan, Scarlett. La gran rebelión en los Andes: de Túpac Amaru a Túpac Catari. Cuzco, Perú : Centro de Estudios Regionales Andinos "Bartolomé de las Casas", [1995]
  • Robins, Nicholas A., Genocide and millennialism in Upper Peru: the Great Rebellion of 1780-1782. Westport, Conn. : Praeger, 2002.
  • Serulnikov, Sergio. Revolution in the Andes: the age of Túpac Amaru. Durham : Duke University Press, 2013.
  • Walker, Charles F., The Tupac Amaru rebellion. Cambridge, Massachusetts : The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Genocide and millennialism in Upper Peru: the Great Rebellion of 1780-1782 By Nicholas A. Robins
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Serulnikov, Sergio (2013). Revolution in the Andes: The Age of Túpac Amaru. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. ISBN 9780822354833. 
  3. ^ a b Fisher, Lillian (1966). The Last Inca Revolt, 1780-1783. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Walker, Charles (2014). The Tupac Amaru rebellion. Cambridge, Massachussetts: Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674416376. OCLC 871257824. 
  5. ^ a b c d Campbell, Leon (1978). The military and society in colonial Peru, 1750-1810. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society. ISBN 087169123X. OCLC 3598969. 
  6. ^ Nicholas A. Robins, Adam Jones (2009). "Genocides by the Oppressed: Subaltern Genocide in Theory and Practice". Indiana University Press. p.1. ISBN 0253220777
  7. ^ Resistance, rebellion, and consciousness in the Andean peasant world, 18th to 20th centuries. Edited by Steve J. Stern. Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press. 1987. ISBN 0299113507. OCLC 16227401. 
  8. ^ Nicholas A. Robins, Adam Jones (2009). "Genocides by the Oppressed: Subaltern Genocide in Theory and Practice". Indiana University Press. p.1. ISBN 0253220777

External links[edit]