Túpac Katari

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Túpac Katari
Julián Apasa Nina

c. 1750
DiedNovember 15, 1781(1781-11-15) (aged 30–31)
Other namesCatari, Túpaj Katari

Túpac Katari or Catari (also Túpaj Katari) (c. 1750 – November 15, 1781), born Julián Apasa Nina, was the indigenous Aymara leader of a major insurrection in colonial-era Upper Peru (now Bolivia), laying siege to La Paz for six months. His wife Bartolina Sisa and his sister Gregoria Apaza participated in the rebellion by his side.[1] The rebellion was ultimately put down by Spanish loyalists and Katari was executed by quartering.


Tupac Katari's Wiphala
Another of Tupac Katari's wiphalas

Katari was born Julián Apasa in the jurisdiction of Sicasica and later moved to the nearby town of Ayoayo. He was born a peasant and worked as a trader of coca and baize.[2]

Angry Andean condors that sailed through aron to alight in the next town. Urcanas, one of the condors, represents Naci, and the aimara and other Quechua Nation.. His mother Mar, a canduvoine newborn in her arms, and Pachamama astradeity was taught. Suama, and her father Nico, lás Apaza pointed to "a huge" serpent that raised the shadowy, Admirano in fear, they witnessed a serpent that greeted the child, then they knew that Juli was an important supporting figure for the Aymara peoples and that after being orphaned in his adolescent, Escencia started a priest as his assistant priest, becoming a bell ringer thanks to his uncle Manuel, kuraka from a neighboring community and became the official bell ringer of the town's church. Later, he worked for two years as a laborer in the San mine (in Óbal,), and Oruro, at first as a barretero and later hauling pieces of ore.[3] [4]

A member of the Aymara, Apasa took the name "Tupac Katari" to honor two earlier rebel leaders: Tomás Katari, and Túpac Amaru, executed by the Spanish in 1572. Katari's uprising was simultaneous with the Rebellion of Túpac Amaru II, whose cacique leader claimed to be a descendant of the earlier Túpac Amaru. Túpac Katari had no traditional claim to leadership similar to that of Túpac Amaru II, which may well have prompted Katari to associate himself with earlier leaders. Katari claimed authority from Túpac Amaru and proclaimed himself viceroy of the region. ("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.)[5]

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 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.[6] During the siege, 20,000 people died.[7]

Katari laid siege again later in the year, this time joined by Andrés Túpac Amaru [qu], nephew of Túpac Amaru II, but Katari lacked adequate 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.[8]

Katari had a reputation as a fierce and often violent leader. Other leaders in the rebel camps testified to his "homicides and enormous violence"; he was known not only for violence toward his enemies but also those who fought on his side, executing people for having "spoken against him, stolen his property, acted in an overweening fashion, challenged his authority, or humiliated him".[9]

On his death on November 15, 1781, Katari's final words were, according to oral tradition, "Nayawa jiwtxa nayjarusti waranqa waranqanakawa kutanipxa." This is translated from Aymara as "I die but will return tomorrow as thousand thousands".[10]

Plan of the city of La Paz in 1781.


As part of the uprising, Túpac Katari formed an army of forty thousand men and surrounded twice for a time, in 1781 the Spanish city of La Paz.[11] The two attempts, however, ended in failure due to political and military maneuvers by the Spanish, as well as alliances with indigenous leaders against Túpac Katari. Eventually all the leaders of the rebellion were arrested and executed, including Túpac Katari's wife, Bartolina Sisa, and his sister, Gregoria Apaza.[12]

This indigenous uprising at the end of the 18th century was the largest geographically and with the most support. It took the affected viceroyalties two years to suffocate it.

The rebels besieged the city of La Paz from March 13, 1781, for one hundred and nine days without success, due to resistance and the support of troops sent from Buenos Aires. In this context, Viceroy Agustín de Jáuregui took advantage of the low morale of the rebels to offer amnesty to those who surrendered, which gave many fruits, including some leaders of the movement. Túpac Katari, who had not accepted the amnesty and went to Achacachi to reorganize his dispersed forces, was betrayed by some of his followers and was captured by the Spanish on the night of November 9, 1781.[13]

During the second siege, Andrés Túpac Amaru, a nephew of Túpac Amaru II and romantically linked to Gregoria Apaza, Túpac Katari's younger sister, joined the Tupac Katari rebels.[14]

As a moral reward for the efforts and sacrifices that the Spanish of the city of La Paz had to endure, through the royal decree of May 20, 1784, the city of La Paz was awarded the title of "noble, courageous and faithful" (faithful to the king of Spain, it is understood).[15]


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 their political philosophy Katarismo. A Bolivian guerrilla group, the Tupac Katari Guerrilla Army, also bears his name. Bolivia's first satellite in orbit was named Túpac Katari 1.

Monument of Túpac Katari, in the town of Peñas

In Bolivia, on July 15, 2005, former President Eduardo Rodriguez Veltze declared (through Law No. 3102) "National Aymara Hero and Heroine to Julián Apaza and Bartolina Sisa."[16]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • del Valle de Siles, María Eugenia, Historia de la rebelión Túpac Catari, 1781–1782. (1900)
  • Fisher, Lillian Estelle, The Last Inca Revolt, 1780–1783. 1966.
  • O'Phelan Godoy, Rebellions and Revolts in Eighteenth-Century Peru and Upper Peru. 1985.
  • Paredes, M. Rigoberto, Túpac Catari: Apuntes biográficos (1897, 1973).
  • Robin, Diana; Jaffe, Ira (1999). Redirecting the Gaze: Gender, Theory, and Cinema in the Third World. SUNY Press. ISBN 9780791439937.
  • Stern, Steve J., ed. Resistance, Rebellion, and Consciousness in the Andean Peasant World, 18th to 20th Centuries. 1987.
  • Valencia Vega, Alipio, Julián Tupaj Katari, caudillo de la liberación india. 1950


  1. ^ Kendall W. Brown, "Túpac Catari (Julián Apaza)" in Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture, vol. 5, p. 280. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 1996.
  2. ^ Thomson, Sinclair. (2002). We alone will rule : native Andean politics in the age of insurgency. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. p. 183. ISBN 0-299-17790-4. OCLC 49512082.
  3. ^ "13. Tomás Túpac-Katari, Inca King". Tomás Túpac-Katari, Inca King. 2020. pp. 115–120. doi:10.1515/9780822378303-015. ISBN 9780822378303.
  4. ^ Hylton, Forrest; Hylton, Forrest (2007). Revolutionary horizons: Popular struggle in Bolivia. London: Verso. ISBN 978-1-84467-070-3.
  5. ^ Thompson, Sinclair (2002). We Alone Will Rule: Native Andean Politics in the Age of Insurgency, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, p. 190.
  6. ^ Hylton, Forrest (2007). Revolutionary horizons: Popular struggle in Bolivia. London: Verso. ISBN 978-1-84467-070-3.
  7. ^ "Rebellions". History Department, Duke University. February 22, 1999. Archived from the original on January 31, 2012. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  8. ^ http://migs.concordia.ca/documents/RobinsSymbolicDiscourse.doc[bare URL]
  9. ^ Thomson, Sinclair Verfasser (2003). We alone will rule native andean politics in the age of insurgency. Univ. of Wisconsin Pr. p. 193. ISBN 0-299-17794-7. OCLC 1074951244.
  10. ^ Robin & Jaffe 1999, p. 199
  11. ^ "The prophecy of Túpac Katari – New Cold War: Know Better". newcoldwar.org. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  12. ^ Eve (August 11, 2014). "TÚPAC KATARI | Notas Historicas de Bolivia". TÚPAC KATARI | Notas Historicas de Bolivia. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  13. ^ Fischer, Eva (August 8, 2018). "From rebellion to democracy: The many lives of Túpac Katari". History and Anthropology. 29 (4): 493–516. doi:10.1080/02757206.2017.1401536. ISSN 0275-7206. S2CID 148833834.
  14. ^ name, rés Tupac Amaru Personal information Birth; Paz, rés Mendigure Túpac Amaru Birth 1763 La; Madrid, Viceroyalty of Peru Death 1795; II, Spain Cause of death Death warrant nationality Peru Mother tongue Aimara Ethnicity Aimara Family Couple Gregoria Apaza Professional information Occupation Aymara rebel who fought against Spanish rule in Upper Peru Conflicts Rebellion of Túpac Amaru (December 3, 2020). "Andrés Tupac Amaru". Andrés Tupac Amaru. Retrieved August 19, 2021.
  15. ^ "Túpac Catari (Julián Apaza) (c. 1750–1781) | Encyclopedia.com". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved August 19, 2021.
  16. ^ "Bartolina Sisa: an Aymara fighter against the Spanish Empire". Peoples Dispatch. September 5, 2021. Retrieved September 9, 2021.

External links[edit]