Túpac Katari

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Túpac Katari
Corta de Retrato de Tupac Katari.png
Born Julián Apasa Nina
c. 1750
Died November 15, 1781(1781-11-15) (aged 30–31)
Nationality Aymara
Other names Catari, Túpaj Katari

Túpac Katari or Catari (also Túpaj Katari) (c. 1750–November 15, 1781), born Julián Apasa Nina, was an early leader of the independence activists in Bolivia and a leader of an indigenous rebellion against the Spanish Empire in the early 1780s. His spouse Bartolina Sisa and his sister Gregoria Apaza participated in the rebellion by his side.


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

A member of the Aymara, Apasa took the name "Tupac Katari" to honor two earlier rebel 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.)[1] 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.[2] During the siege, 20,000 people died.[3]

Katari laid siege again later in the year, this time joined by Andrés Túpac Amaru, nephew of Túpac Amaru II, but Katari lacked adequate forces to be successful.

On his death on 15 November 1781, Katari's final words were: "I die but will return tomorrow as thousand thousands."[5]


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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thompson, Sinclair (2002). We Alone Will Rule: Native Andean Politics in the Age of Insurgency, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, p. 190.
  2. ^ Hylton, Forrest (2007). Revolutionary horizons: Popular struggle in Bolivia. London: Verso. ISBN 978-1-84467-070-3. 
  3. ^ "Rebellions". History Department, Duke University. 22 February 1999. Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  4. ^ http://migs.concordia.ca/documents/RobinsSymbolicDiscourse.doc
  5. ^ Robin & Jaffe 1999, p. 199


  • Robin, Diana; Jaffe, Ira (1999). Redirecting the Gaze: Gender, Theory, and Cinema in the Third World. SUNY Press. ISBN 9780791439937. 

External links[edit]