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7 Communities, the State, and Peasant Solidarity
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Land, People, and Animals in the Communities

A first impression of the extraordinary complexity and shifting meaning of the altiplano peasant community can be gained from a discussion of the three terms employed to denote aspects of it during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: parcialidad, ayllu , and comunidad . By far the most frequent term in contemporary usage was parcialidad . Usually the term referred simply to all landholdings within a geographic area demar-


cated more or less clearly along customary lines. Even estates owned by hispanized large landholders were described as being situated within a parcialidad.[2]Parcialidad was also the preferred term for the institutional aspects of the community, the hierarchies of religious and civil offices that gave form to the organization of communal solidarity and articulated the relations with governors, justices of the peace, and parish priests in the districts.

The term ayllu , although less popular with hispanized officialdom, was used with essentially the same meanings as parcialidad . Usages such as "parcialidad Urinsaya, ayllu Cullco" (1869) might be thought to express the ancient moiety structure. However, the prehispanic notion of moieties seems to have largely disappeared; other references to the same communities reversed the two terms. Such encapsulation probably reflected the recent formation of subdivisions within peasant communities.[3]

As parcialidad and ayllu were increasingly used to denote the territorial and institutional aspects of communities, usage of the third term, comunidad , became restricted. Until the end of the colonial period the term usually signified three aspects viewed as widely overlapping: a crown-sanctioned corporate institution, its territorial base, and usufruct of the land controlled in common. This third semantic field set usage of the term comunidad apart from parcialidad and ayllu in the century after independence, leading to its diminished employment in notarial transactions and administrative documentation. Whenever the term was used in connection with land, it referred to common property or usufruct.[4] Whenever parcialidad or ayllu was employed in connection with land after 1850, it was a statement about the geographic location of the land, not its title or use.

After the agrarian reform legislation of the 1820s the community as an institution and whatever common property regimes survived within it had become divorced from each other. As communal property was alien to republican legislation, this notion was reflected in the semantics and the usage of the terms referring to the community. Comunidad , the term signifying common property or usufruct over land, ceased to be used when referring to the community as an institution.

When Peruvian intellectuals, especially in southern Peru but after the 1910s also in Lima, began to espouse the Indian heritage of the country, they were particularly fascinated by the indigenous peasant communities. Here many indigenistas hoped to find the social organization that, without disrupting Andean society, could best move Peru's serrano countryside toward "socialistic cooperativism," as Hildebrando Castro Pozo wrote in 1924. For the indigenistas the most important feature of the communities


consisted in the alleged continued predominance of communal property of land.[5] The growing political strength of the indigenista campaign was first codified in the constitution of 1920, elaborated as a consequence of Augusto Leguía's seizure of power. Article 58 brought the first official recognition of what was now called the comunidad de indígenas since independence. Underscoring the close link between comunidad and property, article 41 proclaimed that "the property belonging to the State, to public institutions and to the comunidades de indígenas is unalienable and can only be transferred by public title in the cases and in the form prescribed by law."[6]

In 1925 the government began to register parcialidades and ayllus that had been granted official recognition. This was the starting point for the emergence of a legally uniform category of communities in which geographical boundaries, internal institutions, and the communal property of the land again coincided as they had during the colonial period.[7] All of the lands within the boundaries of the community constituted communal property, and none could be alienated to outsiders, a legal concept strengthened by articles 208 and 209 of the constitution of 1933 and by the Peruvian Indigenous Community Statute of 1936.[8] But in contrast to the colonial era, only a minority of communities sought and achieved this official recognition. As late as 1958 only 24.6 percent of the 5,986 known communities in Peru had been registered. In the vast majority of communities without recognition the transfer of land remained unrestricted. By 1958 a considerably lower proportion of known communities—only thirty of 1,396, or 2.1 percent—had chosen and achieved recognition in Puno than had done so in any other department of Peru.[9] Their reluctance to seek official recognition suggests how far property regimes and institutional aspects of communities had drifted apart in the minds of the altiplano peasantry.

All this points to a tenuous survival of communal landholding in the altiplano up to the present century. Generally four types of property continued to be subject to some degree of common control by larger groups of community peasants: (1) agricultural land with a fixed crop rotation, the manda, lihua, suyo , or aynoca ; (2) lands set aside for the payment of fees to civil and religious authorities; (3) special appurtenances of communities, such as access to lakes, watering holes, springs, and mineral deposits, as well as customary rights of groups of peasant families (e.g., rights of passage through private plots); (4) communal pastures. Not every community comprised all four types of common property, and their extent varied from district to district. The frequency, extent, and location of the fourth type


of common property, communal pastures, is the critical issue for the pattern of land tenure of agrarian communities dedicated primarily to livestock raising.

The lihua landholding pattern strengthened communal institutions through its fixed obligatory rotation system, much like open field systems in ancien régime Europe. Every family received a strip within the field dedicated to one crop. In the relatively fertile soil of the lakeshore belt around Lakes Titicaca and Arapa, a rotation of three or four different annual crops was practiced. Nearly always begun with potatoes, it continued in years two to four with barley, oats, quinua, ocas, or lima beans in varying orders, after which the plots were left fallow for one or two years.[10] In more arid parts of the altiplano, such as San José's parcialidad Llaulli, lihua plots might be planted only once every seven years.[11] After the harvest the lihua was opened for the livestock of all co-owners to feed on the stubble or remaining foliage.[12]

Lihuas or mandas in which many, but not necessarily all, families of a parcialidad held parcels existed in communities of most districts in Azángaro around 1900. In some communities—for example, the newly formed comunidad San José—annual rituals of distributing the strips of land within the lihua continued until the mid-twentieth century, even if each family always received the same strips.[13] Title belonged to individual families.[14] Lihua plots seem to have been small and unevenly distributed. In a community in Salinas, south of Azángaro, twenty-eight peasants in 1932 owned 101 agricultural parcels of one masa (760 square meters) each, amounting to a total of 7.676 hectares, or 0.274 hectares per person. One comunario held ten masas (0.76 hectares), whereas some only held one masa (0.076 hectares).[15] Besides their parcels in the lihua, most peasants also planted crops on their own estancia lands, usually in the immediate vicinity of their residence.

Some communities set aside special parcels of land called yanasis , "which have to be cultivated exclusively and free of charge for the governor."[16] One of the duties of the highest community officials was to supervise the timely plowing, sowing, weeding, and harvesting of these plots and to see to the care of the sheep that the community maintained on its own pastures for the authorities.[17] Yanasis plots were limited to Huancané province and the adjacent districts in Azángaro, especially Chupa and Saman.[18] But even where no yanasis plots were set aside, local authorities received agricultural and livestock products from communities. Year after year the communal authorities selected some of the best plots of the lands of individual family estancias on a rotating basis for this purpose. One contemporary author estimated that each community in


Azángaro annually dedicated between 80 and 120 masas (6.08 to 9.12 hectares) of private croplands for the governor, which took sixty peasants four to six days to fallow with their digging sticks (tacllas ).[19]

Special resources were often held as common property. Springs, creeks, ponds, and shores of rivers and lakes could be used by many (although not necessarily all) of the peasant families of a community for irrigating garden plots, watering the animals, feeding them on semiaquatic plants, and fishing. Paths to such places, even if they traversed private land, were considered appurtenances of all adjoining lands. These resources, however, do not seem to have been considered common property of communities as institutions; rather, they went along with the ownership of specific plots or residence in their vicinity. When estancias or parcels of land were sold, leased, or transferred in any other way, rights to appurtenances were noted. Adjoining haciendas might share in them.[20]

When such specific resources held a preponderant weight for the peasants' economy, common rights tended to disappear. The outstanding example in Azángaro province was the exploitation of the Lake of Salinas, some twelve kilometers southeast of Azángaro town. Until the 1870s community peasants owned practically the whole lakeshore. It was divided into small, privately owned stretches of shoreline, between twenty and one hundred meters wide, called entradas de sal . Only title to such an entrada gave a family the right to scrape salt from the dried lakebed between June and December, when the water had receded. The amount of salt that a family could gather apparently depended on the width of the entrada.[21] In 1896 the Piérola administration established the state salt monopoly and instituted a tax on salt "for the rescue of Tacna and Arica," occupied by Chile since the War of the Pacific. At Lake Salinas, as at other sierra salines exploited by peasants, these measures led to a price increase of some 400 to 800 percent—from between five and ten centavos to between fifty-one and fifty-six centavos per quintal of salt—and to the peasants' loss of control over its commercialization. The ensuing cycle of militant peasant protests was repressed militarily.[22]

How frequent and extended were pasture commons in Azángaro's parcialidades between the 1850s and 1920? In 1921 Carlos Valdéz de la Torre evaluated land tenure patterns in altiplano communities: "In the department of Puno the evolution of indigenous agricultural property has reached a greater degree of specificity than in Cuzco; in Huancané, Chucuito, Azángaro, Lampa, and possibly in the other provinces every individual is proprietor of his plot and can sell it freely. There are no regularly redistributed plots and property remains undivided only concerning pastures and hills ."[23] This evaluation by Valdéz, a Cuzqueño with limited knowl-


edge of local circumstances in Puno, is paradoxical: while stressing that by the 1920s privatization had advanced further in Puno's communities than in those of Cuzco, he told his readers that "only" pastures and hills remained common property. But over 90 percent of all lands in the altiplano were pastures!

References to "common parcels" or "community properties" appear often in notarial contracts, but in only a few instances are common pastures mentioned. One case concerns the plots Incacancha, Cuncapampa, Patapampa, and Coparciopata in parcialidad Yanico of Arapa district. Around 1870 Melchor Quispe, a fifty-year-old peasant from Yanico, claimed these plots as private property, whereas a large group of other peasants from the same parcialidad considered them as common lands. To terminate the costly legal battle, in March 1871 both sides agreed to an out-of-court settlement. These lands were to be "common usufruct [disfrute comun ] of all persons referred to [Quispe and thirty-three other community peasants] so that they may benefit from its pastures as before without forming cabañas and other obstacles." If for any reasons cabañas needed to be built, construction was to be undertaken only with the approval of all families with rights to the land. Land could be rented out only to one of the contract parties and never to third persons. All agreed to sustain costs for litigation over this land against outsiders.[24]

These lands were undoubtedly an example of pasture commons, and the contract sought to block their internal division, privatization, and alienation. The requirement that permission be sought before constructing residences on the land foresaw the formation of new households from within the group of participating families; however, such permission was to be closely controlled by all interested parties. Each subscriber's rights in these plots hinged on his or her willingness to rally to their defense against potential outside claimants, particularly, if need be, by contributing to court costs. Failure to share in the costs of defending communal property was often considered as forfeiting one's title claims.[25]

The number of peasants who held rights in the pasture commons is crucial for interpreting this case. In 1876 parcialidad Yanico had a population of 764 persons, constituting at least some 150 nuclear families.[26] Even if we assume that each of the thirty-four male peasants holding rights to the pasture commons, subject of the 1871 agreement, represented a different nuclear family, fewer than one-fourth of all families in Yanico shared these rights. In other words, these were not pasture commons of parcialidad Yanico but of a certain group of peasants who, though they lived within that parcialidad, were defined by some other criterion.


A second example helps to identify such specific groups inside communities. In April 1863 twenty-three Indian peasants from parcialidades Choquechambi and Caroneque in Muñani district initiated litigation against the owners of Hacienda Muñani Chico, José Luis Quiñones and his half-brother José María Lizares Quiñones, for usurping various parcels of land belonging to the community. Among other items they instructed their judicial plenipotentiary to take legal steps against the following loss of land:

Equally he should reject the violent dispossession which the current Justice of the Peace of Muñani district, Don Juan Antonio Iruri, has perpetrated through the border demarcation . . . of the plots Accopata, property of the Ccoris, integral part of the commons where all of us Indians used to peacefully maintain our livestock , and today we suffer very grave damages . . .; the pretext [for the border demarcation was that] Pedro Quispe had sold the lands of Accopata although it was clear that all the other coheirs were owners and through the said demarcation a number of families also suffered dispossession .[27]

When Pedro Quispe married Francisca Ccori, his parents-in-law assigned them part of their family estancia, namely the lands called Accopata, "with perfectly marked borders . . . so that we might live independently." After most of their children had died, "and finding our wealth [fortuna ] in a decadent state after more than forty years of marriage," in February 1863 the couple signed a contract of promise of sale concerning Accopata and two other shares of the Ccori's family estancias now held by the families of Francisca Ccori's brother and sister, in favor of José Luis Quiñones and José María Lizares Quiñones. Pedro Quispe claimed to have received authorization for initiating the sale of those shares from his wife's family. But soon the Ccoris raised opposition to the proposed sale and demanded a legal division of the three parts of the Ccori estancia. In this situation the border demarcation must have occurred, by which Justice of the Peace Iruri, a half brother of the owners of Muñani Chico, adjudicated Accopata, Quispe's share in the Ccori family estancia, to the Lizares Quiñones as a consequence of the sales agreement. Although originally all shares of the estancia had been included, because of the resistance of the Ccoris and other community peasants only Accopata effectively became part of Muñani Chico. But the peasants fought even this loss of land. By 1872 the lawsuits, as well as the hatred between the Ccoris and their in-law Pedro Quispe, had not terminated.[28]

What, then, were the pasture commons among which the community peasants counted Accopata? This plot, along with the other parts of the


Ccori estancia, was used by all members of an extended family as pasture for their various livestock herds. The head of the Ccori family had assigned one sector of the estancia to his daughter and her husband Pedro Quispe, probably for establishing a residence and clarifying inheritance rights. Yet this assignment had not ended the practice of herding the livestock of various family members indiscriminately on the different parts of the family estancia. Accopata was thus both individual property and pasture commons for an extended family of community peasants.

Nothing in the documentation suggests that by the second half of the nineteenth century Azángaro peasant communities as corporate entities still held title to pasture commons. In fact, among all categories of property for which some type of common or group holding occurred, only the second category, the yanasis lands, clearly constituted corporate communal property. Rights to lihua plots, although shared by all members of a community in specific cases, were not derived from membership in the community as a corporation but rather through traditional title of families to the usufruct of certain plots. The same holds true for rights to appurtenances and to pastureland.

The Indian community as a clearly defined corporation existed only in relation to the civil and ecclesiastic authorities of the broader society. As long as the colonial state dealt with the Indian peasantry through communities on many levels, their function as corporate holders of property were strong in regard not only to the lands worked by individual peasant families in usufruct but also to the extensive holdings of community chests and cofradías (Catholic lay brotherhoods). In the later nineteenth century only local authorities dealt with communities as corporations, whereas demands of higher-level civil and ecclesiastic authorities largely ceased or were directed immediately at individual families. The corporate function of the communities vis-à-vis the local authorities still found its expression in the survival of specific plots maintained for the governor, priest, and justice of the peace, although even these burdens had been allocated to individual peasant family plots in most communities. Below the level of the weakened corporate community, groups of peasant families continued to use land jointly, even if individual family members were convinced of holding full property rights and were strengthened in this conviction by outside landholders applying pressure to purchase the land.[29]

In an effort to overcome the formalistic juxtaposition of community and hacienda, Benjamin Orlove and Glynn Custred have described one type of southern Peruvian social organization, which resembles conditions in Azángaro between the 1850s and 1920. The "localized descent groups," found among pastoralists of the high slopes of the western


cordillera in Arequipa's Castilla province, consist of three to ten households, which are

linked usually through agnatic ties; frequently the household heads are brothers and patrilateral cousins. The residences are located in named population nuclei separated from each other by distances of over a kilometer. These groups are sometimes three generations deep. . . . Each localized descent group owns some of the scarce permanent pasture land along with huts and corrals located on it; . . . individuals have grazing rights both on these permanent pastures and on the rainy season pastures by virtue of membership in a localized descent group. . . . Each household uses a portion of the land for its own maintenance, but ownership remains corporate with the senior household head acting as executor. In such cases only sons and unmarried daughters may lay claim to the land.[30]

With some modifications, this model can be applied to altiplano communities. The relation between property title and actual land use could vary. A descent group might use some or all of its pastures and agricultural plots jointly, either while holding joint title to the land (pro indiviso) or even after having undertaken a formal distribution of all shares among coheirs. Joint title to ancestral lands did not automatically ensure that usufruct was not by individual families. In the majority of cases where a legal division of the ancestral lands had been carried out, at least some land was used by individual families. In contrast to the pristine social organization of pastoralists of the cordillera, peasant descent groups in the altiplano tended to be more open; built-in mechanisms for self-perpetuation and defense against alteration from outside forces were usually weaker. There is little evidence to suggest that in Azángaro valuable dry-season pastures and arid hilltops were held in common by descent groups more frequently than other types of pasture were.[31]

As in the case of the Ccori family lands, common usufruct of land within Azángaro peasant descent groups was endangered and subverted by outside and inside pressures. In a clientalistic rural society with an accelerating demand for land, individual peasants within descent groups could find themselves forced to sell their rights in the ancestral estancia to a powerful outsider. This situation led to numerous instances of litigation in which a group of peasants fought the sale of one share of the family estancia by one of their coheirs. On one level, they reflect contradictory coexisting concepts of rights to peasant lands: even if nobody doubted that a peasant had inherited title to a specific share of a family landholding, it was by no means clear for the coheirs that this entitled him or her to sell that share to


outsiders. On another level, such legal conflicts demonstrated that the degree of economic well-being could vary strongly within descent groups. Some members became indebted to outsiders by mortgaging their share of the family estancia, whereas others within the group remained economically independent. There is little evidence to suggest that descent groups in Azángaro attempted to prevent the transfer of a share of the family land to outside peasants by marriage to a female heir.[32] Such transfers constituted another source of external pressure on the joint usufruct of land by peasant descent groups.

Many potential causes for tension within such groups existed. After the death of the head of an extended family who had controlled all family lands, relations between brothers, cousins, nephews, and uncles frequently showed as much competition as solidarity. The senior member of the following generation often lacked the authority of the deceased patriarch.[33] Litigation between altiplano peasants, frequent by the late nineteenth century, was fed not to a small degree by intrafamily conflicts. It was incompatible with the maintenance of joint usufruct of a landholding by a descent group.

Even where land was used jointly by all nuclear families of descent groups, they usually operated their own livestock herds. Inevitably this independence led to a differentiation of wealth. As one peasant increased his herds by marriage, purchased some livestock, and was able to keep down the mortality of his animals, his relative might have lost sheep during a harsh winter or might see himself forced to sell animals to defray the costs associated with a communal office. Differences in the size of herds did not threaten the descent group's joint use of the ancestral land as long as pasture was plentiful, but once the herds pressed hard on the family's pasture resources, tensions were bound to build. In such a situation the more affluent peasants within the group sought to augment usage rights to the land in any way they could. If one parcel of the land had been purchased, or if expenses for its defense had been incurred, the peasants who paid these outlays would claim increased rights to the family lands against those group members who had been too poor to contribute.[34]

But when did pastureland become scarce in Azángaro's peasant communities? Writing in the 1940s, the anthropologist Bernard Mishkin suggested for the southern Peruvian sierra in general that "a sharp increase in the number of livestock, with the resultant competition for pasturage, has removed any vestige of pasture commons."[35] The animal/land ratio in the communities was determined by three factors: the amount of pastureland available, the size of livestock populations, and—a secondary


TABLE 7.1. Development of Azángaro's Community Freeholder
                     Population, 1876–1940





increase, 1876–
1940,  total
population of
each district



















































San Antón





San José















a Excluding Villa de Betanzos, classified as a pueblo in this census.
b Including San Juan de Salinas, part of Azángaro until 1908.
c Excluding Huilacunca-Ayrampuni, classified as a pueblo in this census.
d Excluding mining and construction camps.

Sources: See table 1.1.

factor with a strong bearing on the two primary factors—the population of the communities.

The growth of the human population is the clearest factor. In most districts the overall population grew faster than did its smallholder population (table 7.1). This increase is accounted for by population growth in the "urban" centers, mining camps, and, most important, haciendas. These data nicely confirm findings on the growth of the province's hacienda sector. In districts with a minimal growth of estates, such as Saman and Caminaca, the population growth rates for the whole district and for their community freeholders show the smallest difference. In districts with rapid


hacienda expansion, for example, San José and Chupa, the growth rate for the total population was considerably larger than that for peasant freeholders. These figures, of course, suggest a transfer of population from the communities to haciendas or urban centers.

Some studies have claimed a correlation between hacienda expansion and the spatial distribution of population in the altiplano. A commercial guide to southern Peru for 1920 suggested that "the absorption of the communities and smallholdings of the Indians by the hacendados has much influenced the gradual depopulation of certain areas."[36] However, in most of Azángaro's districts hacienda expansion did not cause depopulation (table 7.1). According to a more specific notion, hacienda expansion would have caused a shift of the altiplano's population toward areas with a high concentration of peasant parcialidades and few estates, principally the belt around Lake Titicaca and the large pampas north and east of Juliaca, including some parts of Lampa province and Azángaro's districts of Achaya, Caminaca, and Saman.[37] But in Azángaro province such a pattern is also not discernible before 1940. Some districts—for example, Chupa—in which the estate sector swallowed much of the peasant lands experienced above-average overall population growth, whereas other districts with rapid hacienda expansion—for example, Potoni—saw their population increase only slowly. Saman and Caminaca, with minimal hacienda expansion, experienced below-average population growth. It appears likely that ecological conditions had a major impact on differential population growth between districts. In particular, the suitability of land for supplementary crop production may have influenced sustainable population levels in the communities.[38] This factor explains above-average population growth in Chupa, Arapa, Asillo, and Azángaro, the district with the most complex land-use pattern.

Community population increased by possibly 50 to 60 percent between 1876 and 1940,[39] but there were great variations from district to district. Lacking a measure for the extent of peasant lands sold to hacendados and intermediate landholders, we can present only a crude index of the increase of population pressure in each district's community sector by considering the combined effect of population growth and loss of land to outsiders. In the districts of Arapa, Asillo, Azángaro, and Chupa population density in the communities grew most since there peasants lost much land to haciendas while their population increased at a high rate. In Putina, San Antón, Caminaca, Saman, San José, and Santiago, communities experienced moderate increases of population density. In San José's communities, for example, a high rate of land sales had a diminished effect on density because of low population growth. Density increased least in the communities of


Achaya, Muñani, and Potoni districts because population growth or the rate of land sales to outsiders were low to intermediate. In Muñnai the rudimentary community sector, which had survived the earlier expansion of estates, saw little change in population density; there density had probably approached its ecological limits even by 1870 or 1880 because of the communities' scanty remaining land base.[40] This case remained exceptional; before 1920 most communities had not reached the limit of their capacity to sustain human populations under prevailing land-use patterns.

Population density in most districts' communities thus increased at widely varying rates during the census interval 1876–1940. But whatever the local differences, the amount of land available to many peasant families diminished, confirming the declining mean size of land parcels sold by indigenous peasants. In many cases, by 1900 ten, twenty, or more related peasants owned shares of a landholding that all recalled having been the property of one common ancestor a few generations back. Fundo Chafani Choquechambi, for example, located in Arapa's parcialidad Ilata, had been the exclusive property of Vicente Ayamamani during the first half of the nineteenth century. It was extensive enough to be sold in 1906 for the considerable sum of 2,000 soles m.n. The purchaser, Luis Felipe Luna, renamed the fundo Hacienda Luisa, even without the addition of further peasant lands. By the time of this transaction the landholding had been parceled into nine cabañas, shared by twenty-five descendants (not counting husbands and wives) of Vicente Ayamamani.[41] Still, even by 1910 or 1920 in some localities large older peasant estancias remained undivided; in addition, sizable landholdings had recently been agglomerated by newly affluent peasants.

What impact did the diminishing size of land available to many peasant households have on the animal/land ratio in the communities? In chapter 3 I estimated that during the early years after independence livestock density lay below the carrying capacity of pastures both in the estate and peasant sectors. Despite unreliable earlier sources, there is little doubt that Azángaro's livestock population underwent long-term growth, increasing by some 300 percent between the 1820s and the mid-twentieth century (table 7.2). Herds could be expected to recover naturally after the repeated decimations between 1780 and the mid-1850s; this recovery was favored by the interests of hacendados and peasants alike in increasing their herds, as demands for wool and live animals increased after the 1850s. In the long run, the most important cause for the growing numbers of sheep and cattle must be sought in the growth of Azángaro's human population. A burgeoning number of families whose subsistence was based primarily on livestock resources attempted to build up their herds to the limit allowed


TABLE 7.2. Azángaro's Livestock Population, 1825–1959


1825/29 a


































Total OMR g







Notes and Sources:
a Choquehuanca, Ensayo , 15–55.
  b Min. de Fomento, Dir. de Fomento, La industria , 15.
  c Mean of high and low estimates, from Jacobsen, "Land Tenure," 871–81, app. 6.
  d Dir. de Agricultura y Ganadería, Estadística . . . del año 1929 , 394–96.
  e Belón y Barrionuevo, La industria , 15–16. The author gives the livestock population for the department of Puno; I calculated the Azángaro figures by applying the proportion of the province's livestock in 1959 to the 1945 figures.
   f Min. de Hda. y Comercio, Plan regional , vol. 28, Informe PS/G/59, Manual de estadística regional , 239–41.
   g Based on conversion rates in Jiménez, Breves apuntes , 63–64
   h Without equines.

by the available pasture.[42] But when did this increasing livestock population begin to exceed the carrying capacity of pastures in communities?

Livestock density in Azángaro's peasant sector reached a level of between 2.76 and 5.04 units of sheep per hectare by 1920, a range appreciably higher than the mean carrying capacity of about two units of sheep per hectare for natural altiplano pastures.[43] To place those values in historical perspective, by 1960 livestock density in Azángaro's peasant communities had reached seventeen units of sheep per hectare. Pastures could maintain considerably more animals than their assumed carrying capacities, and herds did not suddenly stop growing once pastures reached their defined capacities. But it should not be thought that the customary calculations of pasture carrying capacity were fictitious: too many practical ranchers and livestock technicians concurred on the extremely low nutritive value of altiplano pastures.[44] When livestock densities exceeded the carrying capacity of pastures, animals tended to become rickety, mortality rates shot up, and production of wool and meat declined.[45]

Peasants possessed certain means for diminishing these effects of overgrazing. Through limited irrigation works they could increase the amount of pastures that grew year-round. By making careful use of the moist winter pastures (Moyas or ahijaderos ), they effectively increased the car-


rying capacity of their overall pastoral land resources.[46] Moreover, community peasants placed some of their animals with the herds of hacienda colonos grazing on estate pastures, in return for which they would pay the colono in goods or services. This practice shifted livestock pressure on pasture resources from the peasant to the estate sector.[47] Community peasants could also legally rent pastures from neighboring estates, although in Azángaro such rental appears to have been rare. According to Mishkin, "a wealthy herder [from the community] must ultimately seek pasturage in the haciendas," an example of what Juan Martínez Aliér has called the "external siege" on hacienda resources.[48]

My estimate for the animal/land ratio in Azángaro's peasant communities lends weight to the notion that by the early years of this century the use of common lands by localized descent groups was coming under increasing internal pressure through growing conflict over limited pasture resources, in addition to the external pressure exerted by neighboring landholders. As Julio Delgado noted in 1930, landholding in southern Peru's peasant sector was passing through "the transition from family property to individual [property]."[49]

Inheritance patterns among peasants reflect this weakening of the descent group, associated with the diminishing role of a paternal head of an extended family. In 1916 José Sebastian Urquiaga still saw the majority of Azángaro's Indian peasants passing a much smaller share of goods to daughters; the first-born son, viewed as "representative of the family," became universal heir.[50] Nevertheless, peasant wills in which a male heir received all of the family's land to the disadvantage of sisters are exceedingly rare.[51] Children at times were disinherited for "disloyalty" or "lack of respect" against the parents, but male heirs suffered such ostracism just as often as female heirs did.[52] In most wills sons and daughters received equal shares of property. Indian women routinely appear as owners of parental landholdings in all types of notarial contracts, from wills to bills of sale. By the early twentieth century, then, inheritance of land among Azángaro's Indian peasants, at least among those affluent few who left notarial wills, approximated the pattern of equal inheritance among the province's hispanized residents.

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