Synopses & Reviews
The largest rebellion in the history of Spain's American empire--a conflict greater in territory and costlier in lives than the contemporaneous American Revolution--began as a local revolt against colonial authorities in 1780. As an official collector of tribute for the imperial crown, José Gabriel Condorcanqui had seen firsthand what oppressive Spanish rule meant for Peru's Indian population. Adopting the Inca royal name Tupac Amaru, he set events in motion that would transform him into Latin America's most iconic revolutionary figure.
Tupac Amaru's political aims were modest at first. He claimed to act on the Spanish king's behalf, expelling corrupt Spaniards and abolishing onerous taxes. But the rebellion became increasingly bloody as it spread throughout Peru and into parts of modern-day Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. By late 1780, Tupac Amaru, his wife Micaela Bastidas, and their followers had defeated the Spanish in numerous battles and gained control over a vast territory. As the rebellion swept through Indian villages to gain recruits and overthrow the Spanish corregidors, rumors spread that the Incas had returned to reclaim their kingdom.
Charles Walker immerses readers in the rebellion's guerrilla campaigns, propaganda war, and brutal acts of retribution. He highlights the importance of Bastidas--the key strategist--and reassesses the role of the Catholic Church in the uprising's demise. The Tupac Amaru Rebellion examines why a revolt that began as a multiclass alliance against European-born usurpers degenerated into a vicious caste war--and left a legacy that continues to influence South American politics today.
"Drawing on two historical collections, University of California-Davis history professor Walker explores the 1780 indigenous Peruvian uprising against Bourbon Spanish colonialism launched by Tupac Amaru II. Dismayed by the Bourbon reforms on the indigenous poor who suffered from tax increases, forced purchase of goods at inflated prices, and forced labor conscription into silver mines, the uprising's leader took the name of his alleged ancestor and the last Inca king. An absolute victory against the royalists in Sangarara in November 1780 was soon followed by a number of military defeats; atrocities committed by rebel and royalist troops; Amaru's demoralizing excommunication from the Catholic Church; and his 1781 capture, torture, and gruesome execution along with his wife, eldest son, and members of the revolt's inner circle. The rebellion continued after Tupac's death under various leaders until it was repressed in 1783 with more executions, deportations to Spain, and a campaign against Andean culture. Walker argues convincingly that Tupac Amaru's wife, Micaela Bastidas, was his fierce, full partner and confidante, running the rebel camp, overseeing provisions, keeping discipline, and rooting out spies. Although the writing lacks focus and sharpness, it's an interesting and accessible treatment of Peru's infamously vicious conflict and of its leader, who became a potent symbol for indigenous rights throughout Latin America. Illus. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Charles Walker examines the largest rebellion in the history of Spain's American empire, led by Latin America's most iconic revolutionary, Tupac Amaru, and his wife. It began in 1780 as a multiclass alliance against European-born usurpers but degenerated into a vicious caste war, leaving a legacy that still influences South American politics today.
About the Author
Charles F. Walker is the MacArthur Foundation Endowed Chair in International Human Rights and Director of the Hemispheric Institute on the Americas at the University of California, Davis.
University of California, Davis