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From the "Andean Space" to the Export Funnel

"The province of Azángaro is extremely abundant in livestock, which constitutes the principal base for its commerce, as well as wool, tallow, and hogs."[1] This description of the province's economy, written by the geographer Cosme Bueno around 1770, hardly differs from those given by travelers a hundred years later. Azángaro's wealth has rested primarily on the products of its livestock herds since pre-Incaic times. But the way in which these livestock resources were exploited changed in important ways between the mid-eighteenth and the second half of the nineteenth centuries. Azángaro's economy had to adapt to changing commercial circuits, which redefined the relations of peasants, estate owners, and traders with the outside world and simultaneously brought shifts in the distribution of income and modes of exploitation between the various social groups in the region.

On the highest level of integration this change was marked by the gradual demise of the colonial mining supply economy and the subsequent integration of southern Peru's livestock-growing areas into an expanding world market for wools, a transition that spanned the decades between the 1770s and the 1850s. The three developments that contributed most to this transition were the crisis of silver mining in the southern Andes; the political and social upheavals between the 1780s and 1840s that led to the creation of the independent states of Peru and Bolivia and to the fracturing of the "commercial space" that had its core in the altiplano; and European industrialization, which fostered a new quality of commodity, capital, and labor flows on a world scale.

Yet as strong as the impact of these macroregional and even global forces of change were on the northern altiplano, much in the agrarian economy and society of the altiplano remained untouched by them. Despite the


disruption of the colonial market since the last decades of the eighteenth century, the northern altiplano maintained an active commercial interchange with neighboring, ecologically distinct regions of southern Peru. The low-level local trade in foodstuffs and household goods, characteristic of entrenched peasant societies, continued unabated.

In this chapter I trace the variegated development of markets for the northern altiplano livestock economy from the mature colonial period through the era of crisis. I pursue the following kinds of questions: How did upswings or downturns in demand for livestock products affect the various social groups in Azángaro? To what degree did peasants participate in the market? What was the nature of this market, and can it be viewed in isolation from the distribution of power and the sociocultural structure of altiplano society?

Azángaro's Integration into the Commercial Circuits of Colonial Peru

During most of the colonial period Azángaro's primary economic function lay in the supply of the viceroyalty's mining centers.[2] In their role as "indispensable but secondary annex" to the mining economy Azángaro and the neighboring altiplano partidos (provinces) of Lampa and Paucarcolla contributed sheep and alpaca wool, furs and leather, dried mutton, alpaca and llama meat, tallow, and chuño to the mining camps and towns between Cuzco and Potosí.[3]

Although the most important mining centers—Potosí, Porco, and Oruru—were located at the southern end of the central Andean altiplano, some five hundred to eight hundred kilometers from Azángaro, the present-day departments of Puno and Arequipa were mining centers of some significance in their own right, in need of supplies from the livestock-producing regions in the northern altiplano. For a brief period in the mid-seventeenth century the Laikakota mines outside of Puno town produced one and a half million pesos per year in royal taxes alone. The silver mines of San Antonio de Esquilache were located in the western cordillera some thirty or forty kilometers west of Puno. And according to Emilio Romero, the Carabaya gold-mining district, which stretched from the high plateau of the eastern cordillera around Ananea and Poto to the ceja de la selva valleys of the Tambopata and Inambari rivers, produced 139 million pesos of gold during the whole colonial period, more than one-third of the viceroyalty's total production.[4]

Around 1770 lead mines were being worked in the vicinity of Asillo within the province of Azángaro. At that time a variety of mines, although


of low-grade ores, continued to be operated in the province of Lampa.[5] On the western slopes of the Andes, in the bishopric of Arequipa, the mines of the partido of Cailloma during the mid-eighteenth century were increasing their production.[6] By contrast, by the late eighteenth century most of Puno's mining districts had been abandoned altogether or had declined to shadows of their former selves. Nevertheless, the area of the department of Puno still produced 1,765,632 marks of silver at seven to nine pesos the mark between 1775 and 1824.[7]

Azángaro's trade during the colonial period was not limited to the supply of mining centers. Because of the peculiar ecology of the central Andean range, neighboring regions of differing elevations complemented each other by producing agricultural and livestock goods ranging from those of a tropical climate to those of cold-weather zones. Since pre-Incaic times the altiplano had maintained a lively interchange of goods with the coastal areas to the west, the inter-Andean valleys to the north, and the ceja de la selva to the east. Up to the time of the Spanish conquest this interchange had taken place within the framework of the altiplano ethnic kingdoms, among them the Lupakas and the Kollas (whose domain included the modern area of Azángaro), which had founded colonies on both the western and eastern slopes of the Andes to have access to a maximum of ecological levels and their agricultural products.[8] This vertical interchange of goods continued throughout the colonial period and, indeed, continues today. However, the penetration of indigenous Andean societies by Spanish colonial structures altered the organization and rationale of this interchange. The Spanish colonial policy of stabilizing the Indian population in one location began to cut off access of kinship groups to land on other ecological levels. In the prehispanic era this access had permitted the self-sufficiency of extended kinship groups, but during the colonial period vertical interchange became monetary trade or barter between individuals living in spatially separated indigenous communities or Spanish towns that had no kinship ties.

This is the framework for Azángaro's late colonial trade with Arequipa and its surrounding agricultural valleys, with Cuzco and the towns of the Vilcanota and Urubamba valleys, and with the ceja de la selva regions of Carabaya and Larecaja. In 1791 the Viceroyalty of Buenos Aires, to which the northern altiplano belonged between 1776 and 1796, exported 214,000 pesos worth of dried meats and livestock on the hoof to the Intendency of Arequipa in the Viceroyalty of Peru.[9] Most of these goods came from the partidos of Azángaro, Lampa, Paucarcolla, and possibly Chucuito.[10] The city of Arequipa alone annually purchased 54,800 sheep on the hoof, 1,500 cows on the hoof, and 100,000 chalonas (dried and salted mutton carcasses)


from the altiplano, valued at 99,000 pesos. Arequipa further imported from Azángaro and its neighboring provinces 11,000 pesos worth of tallow, 1,000 pesos worth of raw wool, and considerable quantities of chuño, butter, and cheese. In exchange, Azángaro received alcohol, constituting nearly 75 percent of Arequipa's exports to High Peru, as well as wine, corn, oil, cotton, wheat flour, chili peppers, and sugar.[11]

Although smaller in quantity, the range of goods exported from Azángaro and the neighboring altiplano provinces to Cuzco in 1791 was much the same as the goods exported to Arequipa. Besides 30,000 pesos worth of wool and 25,000 pesos worth of cheap woolen fabrics, the region sold 120,000 head of sheep on the hoof for 60,000 pesos to the Intendency of Cuzco.[12] Furthermore, Cuzco received from the northern altiplano 18,000 pesos of tallow, 500 pesos of cheese, and 8,750 pesos of dried mutton. In return, the northern altiplano bought from the valleys of Cuzco sugar and other sweets, chili peppers, a small amount of coca leaves, flour, and, most important of all, corn. A small part of Cuzco's voluminous cloth exports to the Viceroyalty of Buenos Aires may also have been sold in Azángaro and the neighboring provinces. Azángaro supplied the ceja de la selva valleys of Carabaya and Larecaja provinces with much the same products that it sent to Cuzco and Arequipa. In return, the valleys supplied Azángaro with coca in great amounts, some corn, and a variety of tropical fruits in small quantities.

This trade of the northern altiplano with the neighboring, ecologically distinct regions cannot be explained primarily as a function of Peru's mining economy. Azángaro and the adjacent provinces balanced ecologically imposed nutritional deficits with imports of cereals, sugar, chili peppers, and a variety of fruits, herbs, and other foods from Cuzco, Carabaya, and Arequipa. In return, their exports furnished these regions with scarce livestock products for food, clothing, lighting, and other industrial uses. Many items of this complementary exchange responded to rather inelastic demands, and the long-term trend in the volume of the trade depended primarily on the rise of the population and the degree of competition from alternative sources of supply (e.g., imports). Because much of this trade could take the form of barter, it was only indirectly dependent on the conjuncture of the mining sector and its supply of specie to the monetary economy. But for some commodities this mining nexus was important, as was the case with aguardiente (a raw liquor distilled from wine) from Arequipa. Matheo Cossio, Arequipa's deputy of trade, explained slumping alcohol sales in 1804: "Because of the lack in the workings of the mines in the provinces of the sierra . . ., there was no monetary


circulation in them, and consequently they have had no consumption of aguardiente."[13]

Some of the altiplano products were not sent to centers of consumption in their raw form but were processed by artisans or in manufactories either in the province itself or in neighboring regions. In particular, wool was made into blankets, rough cloth, saddle bags, and other textiles before being transported to Potosí, Oruro, and other mining centers. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries this processing took place in part in the notorious obrajes , technologically backward textile manufactories owned by Spaniards, creoles, wealthy mestizos and caciques, and even religious communities. Until 1781 one such obraje was located in Muñani in the province of Azángaro, and there were a few others in neighboring altiplano partidos.[14] During the eighteenth century the most important concentration of obrajes was in some of the southern partidos of the bishopric of Cuzco, most prominently Canas, Canchis, Quispicanchis, and Chumbivilcas.[15] Much of Azángaro's wool was transported to these obrajes, where it was processed into rough woolen cloths for the markets in High Peru. Even in 1791, a period of crisis for southern Peru's textile manufactories, the Viceroyalty of La Plata was still exporting to Cuzco thirty thousand arrobas (750,000 pounds) of wool, most of which came from Azángaro and the neighboring provinces of Lampa and Paucarcolla.[16] Wool shipments from the northeastern altiplano to Cuzco had been larger before 1776.

Curiously, in 1791 the Viceroyalty of Buenos Aires was also exporting 200,000 yards of woolen cloth to the Viceroyalty of Lima via the Cuzco route.[17] This cloth (jerga ) was cheaper than that exported from Cuzco to High Peru and was probably produced by rural, indigenous weavers in the northern altiplano provinces in home production. That it could be marketed at all in an area in which a great deal of wool was processed into cloth sheds some light on the structure of the market in the southern Andes at that time. Instead of one integrated marketing system in which all social classes were consuming goods produced through essentially similar processing techniques, several fairly segregated markets existed for the same type of goods (such as woolen textiles) separated by the socioeconomic condition and local custom of consumers and divergent production processes. Although affluent sectors of colonial society in the larger cities were accustomed to buying cloth manufactured in European factories, the poorer classes in the cities and the large mining populations, who had no immediate access to the cloth woven by rural peasant artisans, had to rely on products turned out by obrajes.[18] The cloth produced on the looms in peasant households still found a market among peasants who did not


produce sufficient wool to cover their own clothing needs and also among the poor in towns, who could afford only the very cheapest material.

The great majority of Indian peasant households in Azángaro spun and wove sheep and alpaca wools. Numerous other rural crafts were practiced by smaller groups of peasants. An industrial census of the partido of Lampa from 1808 enumerates twenty different artisanal goods, besides the great variety of textiles, that were elaborated in the partido, such as hats, shoes, spoons, ceramics, reed mats, soap, and even a few wheels for the mineral mills.[19] Several Indian communities of Azángaro's parish of Santiago de Pupuja produced—and still do so today—ceramic cooking utensils "of good quality and very special glaze, . . . which if brought to Lima would be esteemed, because they are better than those produced there."[20] Although most artisanal goods were produced in small quantities, they nevertheless sufficed to constitute a marketable surplus.

Rural crafts were an integral part of Azángaro peasants' household economy, complementing income from scanty crops and livestock. In contrast to European protoindustrial complexes during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, for most altiplano peasant households income from craft production was subsidiary to their income from agriculture. In the province of Lampa, for example, during the early years of the nineteenth century the value of all textiles and crafts goods amounted to less than half the value of crops, livestock products, and the corresponding herds. If all craft goods had been sold, each peasant household would have taken in an average of six to eight pesos annually. The three peasant communities in the parish of Santiago de Pupuja sold some two thousand pesos of pottery annually in the first years of the nineteenth century, on average just over five pesos per household.[21]

European protoindustrial complexes such as the Flemish and Westphalian linen regions produced for vast export markets. In a complex interaction between population pressure, socioeconomic differentiation within peasant societies, and merchant adaptation to changing market structures, spinning and weaving for external markets allowed a burgeoning sub-peasant strata to remain on the land despite insufficient land resources. This rural industry thus sustained population growth and led to a notable widening of the internal market for locally produced foodstuffs, as a growing number of cottagers needed to buy cereals and industrial raw materials from the more affluent peasant strata.[22]

In the eighteenth-century altiplano the production of woolen textiles and other craft goods in peasant households did not have its origins in similar demographic and socioeconomic processes, nor did they lead to an appreciable intensification of the region's internal market. The impressive


population increase in the northern altiplano during the last century of the colonial regime, caused by the diminishing effect of epidemic diseases on the Indian population, was sustained by rising agricultural and livestock production, which could grow at par with population because of underutilization of land in an era of low population densities. In contrast to the experience of Western European protoindustrial regions, rural craft production in the altiplano was thus not the decisive element or necessary precondition for population growth.[23] An expression of what O. Hufton has called the peasants' "economy of survival," characterized by an aggregation of labor in households rather than any tendency toward further division of labor, rural crafts supplied needed goods for home consumption as well as for defraying the costs of modest purchases in local and regional markets and for the payment of civil and religious fees and taxes.[24] On the local markets, these goods could be exchanged for staple foods in years when the producers' own crops fell short or, for those with too little land, on a more permanent basis. These goods—like livestock products—were also exchanged in the interregional markets of Arequipa and Cuzco for supplementary foodstuffs and intoxicants such as maize, coca leaves, and alcohol. Although these exchanges were important for the peasants' livelihood, they necessarily remained on a low level of intensity and could not form the basis for a dynamic internal market.

This condition was exacerbated by the asymmetrical nature of many commercial exchanges involving peasants. Blankets, baize cloth, saddle bags, other textiles, and livestock products were extracted from the peasant economy by a small number of provincial power holders through a variety of coercive mechanisms at the very heart of the colonial regime. Especially the corregidores , the highest royal officers in the provinces, their lieutenants, and some of the powerful kurakas and priests combined their positions of authority with commercial activities in which the peasants of their jurisdiction constituted both a captive market and the inevitable source for some of the commodities of their trading circuit.

In Azángaro some communities in the eighteenth century were still forced to pay tributes in cloth, a kuraka kept for himself the annual increase of livestock belonging to a communal fund, and a corregidor in the 1690s had live sheep—probably acquired from peasants—marketed as far as Lima and Potosí. As official inquests, petitions by communities to the Protector de Indios in La Plata, court cases before the audiencia of that city, and brief but violent local revolts attest, corregidores, kurakas, and priests in Azángaro used a great variety of ruses to get at the most marketable products of the Indian peasants.[25] In this pattern of asymmetrical trade, prices were set not by the market but by the power holders. While these profited


doubly from selling dearly to, and buying cheaply from, the peasants, the purchasing power of the latter was severely reduced. In brief, the local markets of the northern altiplano remained feeble during the eighteenth century both because of the intrinsic nature of exchanges between undifferentiated peasant households and because of asymmetrical surplus extraction schemes facilitated by the colonial regime. To speak of a strong internal market for this region during the last century of colonial rule is unwarranted.

The northern altiplano occupied a central location in the circuits of long-distance trade that had tied together the vast "Andean space" since the late sixteenth century.[26] Much of the goods transported between Lower and Upper Peru had to through the transit corridor along the shores of Lake Titicaca. The great road that connected Lima, administrative and commercial hub of the viceroyalty, with the crucial mining center of Potosí straddled the western border of Azángaro province for some twenty or thirty kilometers. The spinal cord of the Peruvian viceroyalty at least until the 1770s, the road functioned southbound as a funnel for all supplies needed in Potosí and the other mining centers of High Peru, while northbound it carried precious metals to Lima and the large mule herds from Tucuman and Salta to be sold in all parts of Lower Peru.[27] Another road that fed into the major transverse road at Lampa connected the altiplano with Arequipa and its coastal valleys. Although not as important for the long-distance trade as the Lima—Cuzco—La Paz—Potosí route, it was of great importance for the vertical interchange between the northern altiplano and the agricultural production zones around Arequipa.[28]

This strategic location brought an uncommonly high level of trade and transport business through the northern altiplano. However, merchants and muleteers from the Spanish towns of Cuzco, Arequipa, La Paz, Potosí, and La Plata and their surrounding valleys controlled most of this trade and reaped most benefits from it. In a way, the northern altiplano had become an internal space since the late sixteenth century, dominated by the primary Spanish centers of the colonial economy. For the mercantile interests in these cities, the importance of Azángaro and its neighboring provinces lay as much in their strategic location as in the livestock products contributed by the region itself. Nevertheless, by the eighteenth century kurakas, corregidores, and small-scale, independent muleteers had increased their activities as traders and transport entrepreneurs throughout the southern Peruvian Andes. Some mules driven northward from Tucuman and Salta were retained in the northern altiplano both for the muleteers' own use and in order to resell them after some weeks or months of putting them out to pasture.[29]


The strategic location of the northern Titicaca basin for the colonial trading circuits created both additional burdens and opportunities for the peasantry. As mitayos working for the corregidor, as yanaconas of estate owners, or merely as more or less forced "free" laborers in the employ of anyone with power or influence in the province, peasants regularly had to leave their communities and accompany mule or llama strings to Potosí, Arequipa, or even Lima. Viceregal regulations regarding work conditions for the Indians employed on such journeys were routinely disregarded. Corregidores and kurakas routinely required the peasants to use their own pack animals and refused to compensate them for loss of the animals. Pay was insufficient, and the peasants were responsible for loss or damage of goods entrusted to them. The rrajín , as these treks with transport animals were called, thus became a serious form of exploitation of the northern altiplano's peasants.

At the same time, this geo-economic centrality made it easier for quite a few Indian peasants from Azángaro, Lampa, Paucarcolla, and Chucuito provinces to enter the trade and transport business on a small scale. They could supplement their subsistence economy not just by selling their own livestock products and artisanal goods but also by hiring out their services as muleteers with their own llamas or mules or even by purchasing goods for later resale. This type of Indian trader was a frequent figure on the roads of the eighteenth-century altiplano.[30]

By the mid-eighteenth century, then, Azángaro and the neighboring provinces occupied a relatively favorable position in the complex colonial economy of the southern Andes. True, the region's own mining production had declined since the late seventeenth century, yet the population of neighboring urban centers had increased, and mining in Upper Peru had recovered. As prices for textiles declined since the early eighteenth century because of growing European imports, the competing obraje complex of Quito ceded market shares in Upper Peru to the Cuzco obrajes, which profited from lower transport costs. Textile production briefly flourished there during the first three quarters of the eighteenth century, and demand for altiplano wools grew as a consequence.[31] These, then, were the factors that fostered demand for altiplano's livestock goods in long-distance trade until the 1770s.

Beyond the trade circuits articulated through the mining economy, there existed other, less cyclical bases for marketing livestock products and artisanal goods from the northern altiplano. Both the interchange of commodities with neighboring ecologically distinct regions, especially the Cuzco valley system and Arequipa and its agricultural hinterland, and the local market, which was based on recurring scarcities in relatively undif-


ferentiated peasant households, would be affected only indirectly by the ups and downs of the silver-mining circuits.

Most of the trade in the altiplano relied on the products, labor, and resources of the Indian peasantry. Only the extraction of surplus from the peasants' economy, in the spheres of both production and circulation, allowed merchants and muleteers to trade throughout the Andean space with its extremely difficult transport conditions and still take in a good profit. But the scant pay that Indian peasants received for their labor, wool, or hides and the requisitioning of their pack animals free of charge reinforced their "economy of scarcity," the attempt to provide most of a family's subsistence needs through household production. The potential of the internal market was thus limited by the essential features of Peru's colonial economy. By the mid-eighteenth century prosperous trade for the northern altiplano's elite depended not only on the fortunes of the mining economy and the competitiveness of southern Peru's obrajes but also on political stability in the broadest sense.

The Late Colonial Crises of Southern Peru's Commercial Circuits

Between the last quarter of the eighteenth century and the turbulent three decades following Peru's independence in 1821 a seemingly unending series of events rent asunder the commercial circuits that had brought Azángaro modest prosperity during the mid-eighteenth century, events that inflicted heavy blows on the productive base of the province's livestock economy itself. These events ranged from political acts and administrative decrees, to destruction and dislocation by war and rebellion, to more gradual changes in commercial and economic structures. All contributed to the slow paralysis of the mining economy in the south of the old Peruvian viceroyalty.

The first visible step in this process was the separation of a new Viceroyalty of Buenos Aires from the Viceroyalty of Peru in 1776. It included the Audiencia of Charcas and with it the northern altiplano. For the economic and fiscal interests of Lima, the loss of control over Potosí and the other mining centers of High Peru was a heavy blow. Although the new viceroyalty ostensibly was intended to strengthen Spanish defenses against Portuguese and English military and commercial expansion in the Banda Oriental (modern Uruguay) and on the Patagonian coast, it also corresponded to a shift in the center of gravity of the Spanish Empire in South America from the Pacific to the Atlantic coast.[32] Since early in the eighteenth century a lively contraband trade had diverted part of High Peru's


silver production from the monopolistic export route via Callao and Portobelo to Buenos Aires, and the latter port imported goods for the interior. This trend strengthened after the 1740s with the authorization of the registro suelto (single, licensed ships sailing outside the fleet system) and the route around Cape Horn, which increased contraband between Buenos Aires and High Peru. Miners and merchants in the southern altiplano favored the imperial reorganization of the 1770s because they could receive European goods more cheaply via the Río de la Plata.[33]

The economic consequences of this reorganization for the truncated Viceroyalty of Peru and, indirectly, for the immediately bordering area of the northern altiplano became obvious only too soon. In 1777 Viceroy Cevallos of Buenos Aires decreed that the silver and gold production of High Peru could henceforth be minted only in Potosí, not in Lima, and that no unminted silver and gold could be exported to Lower Peru. He thus sought to channel all of High Peru's production of precious metals through Buenos Aires instead of Lima. The decree forced much of Lower Peru's trade with the mining center of High Peru into illegality. Up to 1777 the textiles, cereals, sugar, alcohol, and other supplies that were brought in great quantities from Cuzco, Arequipa, and other parts of Lower Peru to Potosí and Oruro had been paid for largely in unminted silver (plata piña ). Because High Peru's range of exportable products other than precious metals was insufficient to pay for such imports, prohibiting the export of unminted silver and gold contributed to the growing difficulties that now hindered trade between both viceroyalties.[34]

Azángaro and the whole of the northern altiplano saw its important trade with the regions of Arequipa and Cuzco, now separated from the Titicaca basin by the border between two viceroyalties, seriously affected. Traders and producers on both ends of the commercial circuit between the altiplano and the coastal and inter-Andean valleys of Arequipa and Cuzco were increasingly short of coined money. Although altiplano residents had access to unminted silver from Potosí and mines closer by, they could not use it for purchasing goods from Arequipa or Cuzco, insofar as their trade was controlled by royal authorities. We may assume that during this period of cash shortages, barter again became more important.

On October 12, 1778, King Charles III issued the Ordinance of Free Trade that topped off the trade reforms in the Spanish Empire undertaken at an accelerating pace since the calamitous capture of the ports of Havana and Manila in 1762 by the British. The ordinance allowed direct trade between thirteen peninsular ports and most major Spanish colonial areas, including four ports on the west coast of South America. The ambitious goals of the ordinance were, in the words of John Fisher, "to provide the


combination of freedom and protection which would promote the settlement of empty territory, eliminate contraband trade, generate increased customs revenues, . . . and, above all, develop the empire as a market for Spanish products and a source of raw materials for Spanish industry."[35] The full effect of the measure was felt only after 1783, when the Peace of Paris terminated hostilities between England and Spain. In the following years European goods flooded Spanish American markets and exerted strong downward pressures on retail prices for manufactured goods. In 1785 imports from Spain into Spanish America had increased more than sixfold over 1778 levels. Against the older notion of a general economic crisis in late colonial Peru, Fisher has conclusively demonstrated that the truncated viceroyalty fully participated in this enormous upswing of transatlantic trade.[36]

Peru's capacity to import European goods remained tied to its production of precious metals throughout the waning decades of the colonial regime and through the first quarter century after independence. It is not surprising, then, that the vast upsurge of transatlantic trade was accompanied by an impressive growth in silver output. Based on the exploitation of newly discovered lodes at Cerro de Pasco in the central Peruvian sierra and at Hualgayoc in the northern intendency of Trujillo, the silver output of the truncated viceroyalty more than doubled between the mid-1770s and the end of the century, continued on a high level until 1810, and then began a precipitous decline over the next fifteen years. In Upper Peru silver production, after its long depression between the 1630s and 1740s, also recovered until 1802, albeit much less vigorously, and gradually declined to depression levels during the following three decades (fig. 2.1).

Although Lower Peru had accounted for less than a quarter of total silver output in the old viceroyalty during the first two centuries of colonial rule, by the early nineteenth century it had surpassed Upper Peru's production (fig. 2.1). But this second Andean mining boom, comparable in quantity to the first bonanza of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, did not have the same integrative and vitalizing effect on the whole of the "Andean space." Rather, it served as motor for the growth and entrenchment of distinct and separate commercial spaces in central and northern Peru on the one hand and in the southern Andes on the other. In Lower Peru more than two-thirds of the silver was produced in the central and northern sierra. Livestock producers from Puno and textile manufacturers from Cuzco could not compete with ranchers and obrajeros in the intendencies of Tarma, Lima, and Trujillo for supplying the newly expanded mining camps and the buoyant market of the growing city of Lima. In Upper Peru, particularly in Potosí, the recovery of silver output was


Figure 2.1.
Silver Production in Lower and Upper Peru, 1701–1820
Source: TePaske, "Silver Production."


achieved through more intensive exploitation of mitayo labor while Potosí's population continued its long-term decline.[37]

Thus, demand for supplies did not grow proportionately with silver output in Upper Peru. More important for the economies of the northern altiplano and Cuzco, the southern altiplano increasingly oriented its trade patterns toward the Río de la Plata, to where the bulk of the silver now flowed and from where the region received European imports, especially textiles, as well as a wide range of locally produced supplies. Although trade with Upper Peru continued to be important for the merchants and producers in Puno, Cuzco, and Arequipa through the last decades of the colonial period and even during the first century after independence, by the mid-1780s the fabric of the erstwhile "Andean space" was wearing thin, and trade flows decreasingly reflected positive mining conjunctures in Potosí or Oruro.

As a consequence of the Free Trade Ordinance, European goods were now sold at lower prices than before 1778, and some of them seriously competed with Peruvian goods. European woolen and cotton textiles turned out by steam-powered factories began to undersell similar Peruvian obraje products. They not only entered Peru through Callao but increasingly were imported into Lower Peru through Buenos Aires. Transport costs lay at the root of the problem. According to Cespedes del Castillo, after 1778 a tercio of Bretaña linen sold in Arequipa cost 337 pesos if shipped from Cádiz via Buenos Aires but 361 pesos if shipped via Callao.[38] Merchants and textile producers of Lower Peru were not only losing market shares in Upper Peru but increasingly ceding ground to European imports in home markets such as Arequipa and Cuzco.

The fiscal aspects of the Bourbon reforms, carried out by Charles III's enlightened or protoliberal corps of bureaucrats, hit the southern Andes in full force during the late 1770s and exacerbated the disruptions of trade circuits brought about by the establishment of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. Concerned with increasing colonial revenue for the benefit of the metropolis, Madrid raised the alcabala , a sales tax on most commodities traded by Spaniards and mestizos, from 2 to 4 percent in 1772 and to 6 percent in 1776. In 1778 Viceroy Manuel de Guirior imposed a tax of 12.5 percent on the production of alcohol, Arequipa's major item of trade.

These new revenue measures were seriously implemented only in 1777, after Visitor General Antonio de Areche arrived in Lima, but then the scheme was undertaken with a vengeance. Circulars to the corregidores charged them with collecting the alcabala and enforcing measures against contraband of unregistered silver and gold. The alcabala now had to be paid by persons previously exempted, especially Indians, and was levied on a


broader range of goods, including coca. First in Upper Peru (Cochabamba in 1774, La Paz in 1776) and then in the southern cities of Lower Peru (Arequipa and Cuzco in 1780), customs houses were established to ensure compliance with taxes and fees on trade. Thus, not only were levies on regional trade increased enormously, but enforcement became much tougher in the southern Andes, making it difficult for merchants to elude payment.[39]

These stringent fiscal measures contributed much to forging the fragile but broad coalition of interests that in 1780 erupted in the complex cycle of social movements commonly referred to as the Túpac Amaru Rebellion, the most serious challenge to Spanish authority anywhere in its American possessions since the conquest. Different social groups in the southern Andes had various causes for dissatisfaction with the political economy of the Bourbon regime, but the drastic increase of the alcabala and the novel, rigorous scheme to collect it through internal customs hurt Indians, mestizos, and creoles alike.[40]

Originating in the corregimiento of Tinta, close to the southeastern rim of the Cuzco valley system in the very center of obraje textile production, the rebellion soon spilled over into the Lake Titicaca basin, where the struggle reached its greatest intensity, brutality, and duration. José Gabriel Condorcanqui, cacique of Tungasuca, who adopted the name Túpac Amaru II and claimed descent from the last Inca, initiated the rebellion as a means of forcing the viceregal administration to root out abuses against creoles, mestizos, and Indians. Soon after his initial military successes in the Vilcanota valley, Túpac Amaru crossed over into the altiplano with a rebel army measuring in the thousands. Meeting ineffective resistance from the corregidores of Azángaro, Carabaya, and Lampa, he took control of the whole altiplano north of the city of Puno. On December 13, 1780, Túpac Amaru entered Azángaro town, installing his own administrators and taking particular care to destroy the extensive urban and rural properties of the family of Kuraka Diego Choquehuanca, who had staunchly supported the royalist cause throughout.[41]

José Gabriel Túpac Amaru was captured in April 1781, a scarce five months after the beginning of the rebellion. After a trial he and many relatives were executed in Cuzco with exemplary cruelty on May 18, 1781. But this was not the end of the rebellion. Its focus now shifted to the altiplano, both north and south of Lake Titicaca, where major towns were besieged and several of them, Puno and Oruro, taken by the rebels. The northern altiplano was effectively under rebel control between December 1780 and early 1782, and in some isolated parts peasant warlords continued fighting until the following year.


Diego Cristóbal Túpac Amaru, supreme commander of the northern movement after his cousin José Gabriel's capture, established his headquarters at Azángaro. From there troops were sent and instructions dispatched throughout the altiplano. After April 1781 the movement became more radical, and Indians assumed a growing leadership role as creoles and mestizos withdrew their support, apprehensive about losing social privileges and the possibility of a "race war" unleashed by the mobilized Indian peasantry. Diego Cristóbal never achieved in the northern altiplano the disciplined, hierarchical command structure that his cousin had in his family's base in the Vilcanota valley. In Azángaro and adjacent provinces more or less independent leaders, often minor or disgruntled kurakas with a strong base in peasant communities, increasingly pursued their own local agendas. The Indian peasants ceased to pay tribute, did not perform their mita obligations in Potosí, and abducted livestock from the estates of the church, creoles, and kurakas. With the flight of the corregidores, the forced repartos (distributions of goods to peasants) obviously collapsed.

The clashes between royalist and rebel armies as well as the random killing, destruction, and theft by both armies devastated Azángaro's population, its livestock capital, and productive infrastructure. A Peruvian priest, describing the rebellion two years after its suppression, estimated deaths at around 100,000 Indians and 10,000 peninsular and American Spaniards.[42] Azángaro was one of the areas where the death toll had been so terrible that "one could not count the dead Indians." The number of peasants just from this province killed either in battle or in punitive actions committed by royalists and rebels alike may well have numbered in the thousands.[43]

Although small compared to Indian losses, the deaths and permanent emigration among the white and mestizo population were of great consequence for the economy of the northern altiplano. Spanish or mestizo traders, landholders, and crown officials fled with their families, leaving all their belongings behind. From the parish of Arapa alone twenty-three "Españoles," creoles from a largely mestizo ethnic background, emigrated during the rebellion to La Paz, Buenos Aires, and even Spain.[44]

Destruction of property accompanied the depopulation of the altiplano. The longest-lasting damage to Azángaro's economic base was done by the decimation of the livestock herds. Sheep, cows, and transport animals were requisitioned by both armies from any estate that lay close to their path, with Túpac Amaru's troops purportedly consuming up to four thousand sheep daily.[45] Many animals were taken by soldiers or peasants from abandoned or inadequately protected estates to enrich themselves. Peasants stocked their own estancias with the stolen animals, while the royalist


troops sent from Arequipa and Moquegua to retake the altiplano sold stolen sheep at a discount in those cities.[46] When the rebellion was defeated after two long years of bloodshed and destruction, the damage to Azángaro's livestock economy could not be repaired in a few months or even a year or two. In a dramatic plea to Viceroy Jauregui, the corregidores of Azángaro and Carabaya, Lorenzo Sata y Zubiría and Miguel de Urviola, predicted that the impoverished northern altiplano would "exhaust the royal treasury for its sustenance" for a long time to come.[47] In 1784, more than a year after tranquility had been reestablished, the parish priest in Juliaca, only a few kilometers from Azángaro, described the consequences of the rebellion as follows: "The estates of the churches, convents, monasteries, and private persons are seen today in the utmost decadence; many years will still pass by to rebuild them. Many houses in the towns and other places are burned, through actions of both Indian rebels and Spanish troops, who destroyed the towns. In some places one is caused to cry upon seeing their ruins."[48]

By the mid-1780s both conjuncture and structure of the commercial circuits that tied the northern altiplano to the wider colonial economy had undergone a major sea change, the outcome of three separate developments: the implementation of reformist Bourbon policies, the penetration of Andean markets by European textiles, and the destruction and power realignments resulting from the Túpac Amaru Rebellion. Contemporaries observed a "notable decadence" of woolen exports from the Cuzco obrajes to High Peru because of the "increased imports of European woolens via the Río de la Plata."[49] This shrinking control of Cuzco's obrajes over the markets of Upper Peru and even to a degree over markets in the south of Lower Peru was certainly one of the main factors of the Cuzco region's economic decline during the late eighteenth century.[50] It had a similarly depressing effect on stock raising in the northern altiplano, whose wool production found its outlet largely through the Cuzco obrajes. After 1782 the scarcity of circulating currency, the flooding of markets with cheap European imports, and the obstacles to trade between the viceroyalties of Peru and Buenos Aires prevented a strong recovery of Cuzco's obraje production and the northern altiplano's livestock economy from the ravages of the rebellion.

The authorities in Lima and Madrid showed increasing concern about the economic decline of what is today the southern Peruvian sierra and in particular the Intendency and City of Cuzco, a decline dramatized by the destruction wrought by the Túpac Amaru Rebellion. In 1788 an audiencia was established in Cuzco to attempt to halt this decline and to revitalize the city and surrounding rural areas by focusing more government attention on the region and by making long and costly appeals of litigation


to the distant Audiencia of Lima unnecessary. Azángaro, Lampa, and Carabaya provinces became judicially dependent on the Audiencia of Cuzco, whereas the remaining provinces of the Intendency of Puno stayed under the jurisdiction of the Audiencia of Charcas. The three northern altiplano provinces were thus judicially and ecclesiastically dependent on Cuzco in the Viceroyalty of Peru while administratively still belonging to the Viceroyalty of Buenos Aires. The awkwardness of this arrangement, realized as early as the mid-1780s by Visitador Escobedo, persuaded the crown to reintegrate the Intendency of Puno with the Viceroyalty of Peru on February 1, 1796.[51] But this change merely shifted the dividing line between the two viceroyalties from the altiplano's northern rim to the southern shore of Lake Titicaca. The administrative barrier splitting the northern altiplano's commercial space did not disappear.

In 1801 a plan drawn up by Francisco Carrascón y Sola, prebendary of the Cathedral in Cuzco, suggested a quite different administrative arrangement for the altiplano. The cleric proposed the creation of a new viceroyalty centered in Puno to cover the whole territory of the Audiencia of Charcas and the intendencies of Puno and Cuzco.[52] Carrascón saw the major advantage of such a far-reaching administrative change as improved political and military control over the densely populated area of the northern altiplano, whose unruly indigenous population had produced the fiercest rebels during the uprising of Túpac Amaru. But more important, the plan demonstrates that the whole of the altiplano, with an extension into the adjacent parts of modern southern Peru, was still conceived as one culturally, socially, and economically unified region. Any border that split this region into two, whether it ran across the altiplano at the Río Desaguadero, close to the southern end of Lake Titicaca, or at the northwestern rim of the altiplano basin, failed to correspond to long-standing trade and settlement patterns.

While expressing shifts in the political and economic power structure on the axis between Lima and Buenos Aires, any such administrative division tended to marginalize the altiplano areas lying on both sides of the border. The project for a new viceroyalty centered at Puno was soon forgotten, and the administrative division of the altiplano was not reversed and took on a much more serious character with the establishment of the independent republics of Peru and Bolivia in the 1820s.

During the remaining three decades before Peru's independence in 1824 the northern altiplano's trade continued to be affected by great instability. International war, rebellions, and military campaigns fought nearly continuously in one area or another of the southern Andes between Cuzco and Potosí since 1809, as well as a series of devastating droughts, led to


short-term fluctuations of prices and access to markets. Trade based on peasant production seems to have withstood this instability better than did that based on commercial goods from Spanish and creole enterprises.

In 1803 the Consulado of Lima reported that the woolen cloth production of the obrajes around Cuzco had declined to about 700,000 varas per year from a level of 3,000,000 varas only thirty or forty years earlier. This decline necessarily depressed the wool production of Azángaro and the neighboring provinces. In addition to the continued presence of European woolens in the markets of Lower and Upper Peru, beginning in the 1790s Cuzco's textile production encountered growing competition from obrajes in La Paz, La Plata, and Córdoba.[53]

There are indications that textiles produced by Indian peasants on the looms in their own homes did not decline as drastically as did those of the obrajes in the waning decades of the colonial era.[54] The cheap woolens produced by home industry were not yet affected by competition from European imports. Another factor may have been that these dispersed production sites suffered less destruction during the Túpac Amaru uprising than the large obraje plants had. Whatever the reasons, in the early years of the nineteenth century the Intendency of Puno maintained a lively trade in "flannels, quilts, ticking, coarse baizes, blankets, friezes, homespun cotton cloth, and carpets" produced by Indian peasants with various places on the coast, "particularly the city of Arequipa, where these textiles are bought up for the use by poor folk, and these goods even make their way to Lima."[55] The economic situation of the peasants was not as severely affected by the dislocation and disruptions that plagued the livestock operations, textile industry, and commercial networks controlled by the upper strata of northern altiplano society from the last quarter of the eighteenth century well into the republican era.

Only about thirty years after the Túpac Amaru Rebellion had been quelled, Azángaro saw itself embroiled in another uprising that represented the beginning of the struggle for political independence in the southern Peruvian sierra. During the Pumacahua Rebellion, initiated in 1814 by the creole citizenry of Cuzco against peninsular officials in that city, the rebel leaders again directed their military campaign southward and occupied most of the Intendency of Puno. Their forces were strengthened by Indians from Azángaro and Carabaya provinces, "some of whom had served in the Túpac Amaru rebellion and wanted to carry out revenge against the Spanish."[56] Although rapidly suppressed by royal forces under Marshal Ramirez, the Pumacahua Rebellion had much the same devastating effects on Azángaro's rural economy as had the movement headed by Túpac Amaru. The province found itself again in one of the centers of the uprising


and subsequent royalist military operations, which continued in Azángaro months after the rebels' rout at Umachiri in March 1815.[57]

After mid-1815 the intelligent administration of Viceroy Abascal—seizing on the turn of the tide in Europe after Waterloo favorable for legitimist forces—was able to recapture lost ground for the royalist cause in Peru and some adjacent colonial territories. But the structural depression facing southern Peru's commerce, textile production, and livestock-raising operations could not be overcome until the end of the colonial era. When Abascal wrote his report to his successor, Joaquín de Pezuela, in 1816, he was keenly aware of the persistence of these problems.

The rough cotton and woolen textiles provided the towns of the whole country with cheap clothing and the surplus was exported in considerable quantity to the Kingdom of Chile. After the [royal decree of free trade of October 1778] the [production of] woolen textiles decayed because of the better quality and lower prices of the common cloth of Spain and lately also [the production of] cotton textiles has decayed because of contraband. As a consequence, having lost their markets, estancias which produced the primary goods and the obrajes which elaborated the textiles have simultaneously entered a state of ruin.[58]

The military campaigns that led to Peru's independence from Spain between 1820 and 1825 affected southern Peru's commerce in varying ways. After the occupation of much of the coast between Arica and Payta by the insurgents in late 1820, the Spanish army under Viceroy La Serna withdrew to the southern sierra, making the intendencies of Cuzco and Puno the staging ground for repeated forays into regions controlled by the insurgents. The royalist army relied on provisions from the region's haciendas and textile sweatshops, and most of its soldiers were recruited here, a pattern established since the first campaigns against the rebellions in Upper Peru and the invasions by the Río de la Plata insurgents in 1809–10.[59]

At the same time, the northern altiplano briefly regained unlimited access to its precrisis markets. After several attempts by patriot armies from Buenos Aires to occupy Upper Peru had failed, the southern altiplano once more became part of the Viceroyalty of Peru between 1818 and the royalists' defeat in late 1824. Woolen cloths, hides, and dried meats could again pass without restrictions from Cuzco and the northern altiplano to Potosí and other urban and mining centers of Upper Peru. The competition that Cuzco and Puno had suffered prior to 1810 from textile producers in the interior provinces of Argentina and imports from Europe via Buenos Aires was reduced to the level of clandestine trade.[60] The Spanish merchant De


la Cotera, resident in Arequipa and privileged in the trade with Upper Peru "due to his influence with Viceroy La Serna," annually sold close to 500,000 pesos worth of woolen textiles from Cuzco's obrajes in Potosí between 1820 and 1824, a level of sales considerably higher than that in 1791.[61] José Domingo Choquehuanca must have been referring to these years when he wrote in 1831 that Azángaro's "sales of black and colored baizes, blankets, bags, and ponchos to High Peru before the revolutions for Independence were very lucrative."[62]

The Rise of the Wool Export Commercial Circuit after Independence

The final defeat of the royalists at Ayacucho in December 1824, Azángaro's integration into an independent Peru, and the establishment of Bolivia as a separate republic brought an end to this favorable conjuncture and reinforced the structural crisis for the region's livestock economy that had become evident four decades earlier. Two secular trends now forced hacendados and traders to readjust the commercialization of their products: the accelerating decline in the marketability of regionally produced woolen textiles and the growing demand for raw wool in industrializing Europe. Both trends began to influence southern Peru's regional economy when, after the battle of Ayacucho, the markets and products of the intendencies of Cuzco, Puno, and Arequipa became directly accessible to European and North American merchants in the coastal ports.

Until the 1840s Great Britain and the other industrializing nations viewed Peru and all of Latin America primarily as an important market for their growing output of manufactured goods.[63] In the years following the defeat of the royalists Peru was flooded with goods much beyond its capacity to consume them. Samuel Haigh, a British commercial agent who stayed in Arequipa between June 1825 and February 1827, lamented the flooding of the city with British manufactured goods, "the prices having lowered in proportion as the free trade was thrown open." He blamed the system of sales by commission for this unsatisfactory state of affairs. British manufacturers, without knowledge of market conditions, were remitting a "large and constant supply" of goods to Peru, maintaining a "glut of heavy goods in the market without either assortment or selection, as to quantity and quality." Shippers were generally experiencing "great losses," and "the commission merchant derives little advantage in proportion to his trouble." He concluded that "the South American markets have been much overrated."[64]


The single most important group of European imports were cotton and woolen textiles. During the 1830s and 1840s they represented an astounding 81 percent of all British imports to Peru.[65] What was potentially most damaging about such imports was the fact that their prices fell rapidly after 1820. The price of cottons at British ports fell by 72 percent and that of woolens by 63 percent from 1817 to 1850. According to some estimates, Peruvian import prices plunged by about 50 percent just in the early 1820s.[66]

The impact of these European goods on multifarious groups of artisans and manufacturers in Peru and, indeed, throughout Latin America has been highly controversial in the literature, in part because the issue lies at the core of the debate about dependency but also because contemporary evidence is as contradictory as it is vague. Petitions and public denouncements by politicians and merchants from southern Peru in the postindependence decades seem to lend much support to those authors who espouse the extreme dependency position that Peru passed smoothly from the Spanish mercantilist sphere into a British-dominated commercial system in which the country produced only raw materials for the world market, importing all its manufacturing goods, with a concomitant rapid destruction of domestic textile production.

Already in mid-1826 the Prefect of Puno, Aparicio, was claiming that the manufacture of flannels, coarse baizes, rough camlets, and other woolen textiles, which hitherto had employed between fifteen and twenty thousand families in the department, had ceased completely because the locally produced textiles had been undersold by European imports due to their "extreme cheapness." Significantly, Aparicio went on to explain that another reason for the ruin of Puno's wool manufacture lay in the fact that the foreigners were buying up wool "in all the towns of the Collao."[67] British and French merchants operating from Arequipa could pay higher prices for raw wool than the owners of obrajes could. Thus, not only the massive imports of woolen textiles from Europe but the very beginnings of wool exports contributed to the heightened pressure on southern Peru's wool-processing industries.

Aparicio's alarmist report reflected the position of owners of obrajes and livestock estates as well as merchants in Cuzco and Puno, who perceived the new wave of textile imports as the death knell of their once flourishing businesses. Until the late 1840s they were advocates of protection for wool and cotton cloth against competing European goods.[68] Although there still exists no thorough study on the textile trades in Cuzco and Puno during the early independence period, it is becoming increasingly clear that the crisis had a complex array of causes: declining sales on the Bolivian mar-


kets, rising transport costs, disruption of trade during the civil wars, and lack of capital to modernize the inefficient manufactories, which in turn arose from the depressed agrarian economy of the southern Andes. The rapid decline in the price of many textiles following the wave of imports during the early and mid-1820s merely exacerbated these problems and accelerated the withdrawal of obraje products from Andean markets between Arequipa and Potosí.

Nevertheless, the colonial circuits for obraje textiles from Cuzco and Puno, dominated by merchants from the imperial city, died a slow death. The glut of imported cloth after the mid-1820s led to the bankruptcy of a number of European import merchants and the withdrawal of others from trade with the interior, hounded by a host of protectionist legislation and the hostility of creole mercantile elites in Arequipa, Cuzco, Ayacucho, and other cities. The level of textile imports declined during much of the 1830s, and the brief Peruvian-Bolivian Confederation under Andrés Santa Cruz (1836–39) brought some respite to the surviving obrajes by giving their products free access to Bolivian markets.[69]

Most of the remaining obrajes closed their doors between 1841 and 1846. During these years military strife (arising both from internal Peruvian conflicts and renewed war with Bolivia) was particularly severe, protectionist sentiment was growing in Bolivia, and maritime freight rates dropped sharply as steamboats began to ply the Pacific coast between Valparaiso and Central America, bringing a new surge of European imports at lower prices.[70] The 1840s thus saw the final demise of a venerable colonial industry and trade that had been crucial for the prosperity of estate owners, muleteers, and merchants in Puno and Cuzco. Although some of the old textile merchants may have survived by expanding the coca trade, increasing sales of imports, or participating in the wool export trade, for many merchants in Cuzco the demise of obraje production brought impoverishment as the city ceased to be a major commercial entrepôt in the southern Andes.

But the disappearance of commercial wool manufactories in Cuzco and Puno in no way implied the end of household textile production by peasants in the altiplano and numerous areas in the Peruvian Andes. In part this was subsistence production for the peasants' own households and was quite impervious to any price changes in the market for cloth comparable to the various qualities of homespun textiles. Yet altiplano peasants also continued to sell or barter their textiles throughout the southern Andes in spite of the dramatic fall of prices. In contrast to obraje owners and textile merchants, they could withstand declining prices because they relied on family labor and used their own llamas or mules to transport their product


to market. Moreover, as monopolistic control over peasant commercialization gradually disintegrated beginning with the prohibition of the corregidores' reparto trade in 1783, the share of the final market price retained by the peasant producer rose. Thus, rapidly declining market prices for textiles translated into a smaller decline in the price retained by the peasant producers.[71]

Seven years after Prefect Aparicio claimed the virtual destruction of the altiplano's textile production, José Domingo Choquehuanca, the learned scion of Azángaro's most powerful kuraka family, published a statistical treatise that covered everything from births and deaths to fisheries and gold production in the province during the years 1825–29.[72] Here a totally different picture emerges of the impact of European imports and wool exports on the production of woolens in one of Peru's major stock-raising provinces, far removed from coastal ports (see table 2.1).

According to Choquehuanca's estimates, Azángaro still received more than one-third of its total "export earnings" from the sale of serges, colored baizes, blankets, and coca bags, while only 7,300 arrobas (about eighty-four metric tons) of wool—at most a third of total production—was shipped out of the province annually in raw form, both to the obrajes in Cuzco and for export through Islay, the port on Arequipa's Pacific coast. In fact, with overseas wool exports still very low, the province probably sold considerably less raw wool during the late 1820s than it had prior to the decline of obraje textile production in Cuzco and Huamanaga in the 1780s. Choquehuanca's careful estimates suggest that close to six thousand looms were still operated in the province immediately after independence, most of them in peasant households. They produced nearly twice as much for subsistence use as was marketed outside the province.

The avalanche of European imports reaching Peruvian ports during the mid-1820s appeared as a mere trickle in remote interior provinces such as Azángaro, where they amounted to just over 8 percent of the province's outside purchases. Consumption of European textiles clearly was limited to the few dozen priests, hacendados, bureaucrats, and professionals and their families, delighted that reduced import prices allowed them to dress in "delicate materials" whereas their fathers before independence could afford only "rough materials" produced by obrajes. European textiles served more as emblems of the emerging tiny elite in rural southern Peru, a mark of their "civilization," than as items of consumption for the great majority of Indian peasants.[73]

Among rural elites and urban middle classes European imports had cut deeply into the market for obraje textiles because their rapidly declining prices offered machine-produced textiles, which were relatively high in quality and culturally desirable, at prices that the Cuzco manufacturers


TABLE 2.1. Annual Exports and Imports of Azángaro Province,  1825–29





Lead, 400 quintales


Flour, 2720 fanegas


Baizes, 2970 pieces


Maize, 3190 cargas


Baizes in color, 20,000 varas


Sugar, 325 arrobas


Blankets, 6000


Sugar in loaves


Coca bags, 5000


Coca leaves, 5790 bags




Alcohol, 1240 quintales




Butter, 67 arrobas




Wine, 124 arrobas




Vinagre, 25 arrobas


Tallow, 1179 quintales


Oil, 9 arrobas


Chalonas, 39,500 pieces


Dried peppers, 1420 arrobas


Vicuña skins, 160


Dried figs, 385 arrobas


Wool, 7,300 arrobas


Tobacco, 555 bundles


Cows, 1,190 head


Chocolate, 174 arrobas


Young bulls, 1,910 head


Cotton, 154 arrobas


Sheep, 16,200 head


Indigo, 642 pounds




Brazilwood, 705 pounds



European goods






Note: These figures exclude Pusi, Taraco, and Poto.

Source: Choquehuanca, Ensayo .

could not match. But it was another matter to wean the Indian peasantry and the poorest urban strata, domestic servants, poor artisans, carriers, and transport workers from the use of homespun materials, a process spanning at least a century after independence. Before independence, authorities in Azángaro punished Indians for wearing Castilian clothes, considered insolent. After independence, although sumptuary laws fell into disuse, Indians continued to wear homemade serges even if they could afford imported materials, because "to the person who dresses with decency the parish administrators say, 'you are dressed with costly materials, thus you have money, thus you have to pay more [parish fees].'"[74]

To be sure, when the import of textiles again expanded rapidly at ever lower prices during the 1840s and 1850s, certain imported materials, mostly light cotton "drills," "domestics," and "shirting" but also some


woolen serges, seem to have become items of mass consumption in southern Peru. For some items of clothing, such as shirts and underclothes, the peasantry increasingly recurred to cheap English imports after midcentury. But ponchos, licllas (kerchiefs), skirts, and women's vests continued to be woven in peasant households. So did blankets, saddlebags for llamas, woolen belts, and coca bags. Locally produced woolen felt hats continued to be fashionable even among urban mestizos, and the knitting of skullcaps, socks, and gloves may have increased during the second half of the nineteenth century.[75] In fact, when traveling through the altiplano province of Lampa in 1860, Paul Marcoy encountered many women from peasant and even impoverished creole households selling spun sheep and alpaca wool in town, evidence for the survival of a rudimentary division of labor in Puno's textile trades.[76]

A conservative estimate suggests that more than 50 percent of southern Peru's annual sheep wool production between 1837 and 1840, years of rising exports, was retained for domestic consumption.[77] In years of peak exports, such as 1840 and 1841, exports might have accounted for up to 60 percent of total production; however, until the late 1850s exports were generally lower than in those peak years, and thus rates of domestic retention would have been above 50 percent. Although early data for alpaca populations are less accurate, it appears that after 1840 a considerably higher percentage of alpaca wool was exported. With the withdrawal of creole and mestizo manufacturers and merchants from textile production, an increasing share of the raw wool retained in southern Peru stayed in control of peasants for processing, subsistence consumption, and barter and trade.

This "peasantization" of the textile trades in Azángaro had set in before independence. Even by the 1780s much cloth throughout the southern Andes was produced, transported, and sold by peasants. The Wars of Independence, while diminishing the trade, further reduced the role of mestizo and creole merchants. Professional traders from Upper Peru ceased to come to Azángaro to buy cloth. By 1830 the province's textiles were sold in reduced circuits, mostly by peasant traders and possibly their kurakas on their periodic journeys to the valleys of Cuzco and Arequipa and nearby Bolivian montaña regions such as Apolobamba; these journeys also served for buying supplies of maize, chile peppers, coca leaves, and alcohol.[78] Just as in many parts of postindependence Mexico, the collapse of the commercial economy controlled by creoles and mestizos in the northern altiplano was accompanied by the survival and greater autonomy of peasant trading activities.[79]

One of the main problems affecting the Peruvian altiplano's livestock and agricultural economy lay in the vicissitudes of access to the Bolivian


markets. After 1825 the commercial flow crossing what had become an international border at the Río Desaguadero never again attained the volume still prevailing in 1791, after the onset of the late colonial crisis of the region. Southern Peru's textile exports to Bolivia were hit hardest and as early as 1826 had sunk to the low value of about 50,000 pesos. For the commercial and landholding interests of La Paz it was of great importance, as the Hungarian historian Tibor Wittmann has noted, "to cut the communication with the provinces of Arequipa and Cuzco so that La Paz itself could dominate the agricultural supplies of the mining regions."[80]

Yet even beyond midcentury Bolivia depended on imports from southern Peru for the provision of some key agricultural goods. Bolivia's yearly imports from Peru amounted to 414,000 pesos in 1826 and 592,000 pesos in 1851. Roughly 80 percent of these imports were agricultural products from the valleys around Arequipa and Cuzco: alcohol, wine, sugar, chile peppers, and—of declining significance—raw cotton. The altiplano contributed only the remaining 20 percent of these exports: cattle on the hoof, dried meats, butter and cheese, and potatoes and chuño. These imports were particularly odious to Bolivian protectionists as the Bolivian altiplano was producing the same goods.[81] Bolivia's balance of trade with Peru was highly negative during the first three decades of independence. For the year 1826 the British consul Pentland reported a value of exports to Peru of 153,000 pesos, including "a great quantity of flour and corn" from Cochabamba for the department of Puno. By 1851 this amount had dwindled to a mere 52,000 pesos, largely coca leaves from the Yungas for sale in Puno.[82]

This trade deficit was extremely irksome to the commercial interests of La Paz and contributed to repeated clashes between Peru and Bolivia between the 1830s and 1850s. It led to the flooding of Peru with debased Bolivian silver coins, which by 1847 had become just about the only currency used in the internal circulation of the country. Furthermore, it led to increasing protectionist Bolivian tariffs on Peruvian goods, mutual trade recriminations, the repeated threat of war, and temporary interruptions of trade between both countries, which reached their peak during the Bolivian administrations of Manuel Isidoro Belzú and José María Linares between 1850 and 1860.[83]

The long slump of Bolivian silver mining between the early 1800s and the 1850s, as well as the stagnation of the altiplano's urban population, diminished the demand for livestock products such as meat, tallow, and cheese and lowered prices. Although only partially successful, protectionism against southern Peru's competing livestock goods was deemed essential to stop the price decay. In this unstable trade environment, it was primarily the peasant traders from bordering Peruvian altiplano provinces


who continued small-scale trade or barter in livestock goods with La Paz. As Erick Langer has noted, the collapse of High Peru's state-supported silver-mining industry brought about the "fall [of trade] from abnormally high levels to more 'normal' levels consistent with the largely peasant population of the region."[84]

Hacendados from the Peruvian altiplano found it difficult to accept the decline of their trade with the regions South of Lake Titicaca that were now incorporated into a separate sovereign republic. It was not only their commercial interests that caused members of the northern altiplano's administrative, landholding and commercial elite to persist in seeking a "reunification" of the altiplano. Just as important were a variety of other links, such as frequent family ties, a common culture of the Indian peasantry on both sides of the Río Desaguadero, and generally a parallel social and economic adaptation to a shared geographic and climatic environment. Already in 1829, Colonel Rufino Macedo, owner of several haciendas in Azángaro province, headed a short-lived conspiracy in Puno aimed at uniting Puno, Arequipa, and Cuzco with Bolivia and relied on the active support of Bolivian President Andrés Santa Cruz.[85] When Santa Cruz finally succeeded in establishing the confederation between Peru and Bolivia under his leadership in 1836, he found much support among the notables in the department of Puno.[86] Even those refusing to support Santa Cruz, because they considered him an "invader of [the] fatherland," favored the reunification of the two neighboring Andean republics, albeit in a centralist Peruvian fashion: that is, the reannexation pure and simple of Bolivia, a plan pursued by Santa Cruz's major adversary, the Cuzqueño caudillo Agustín Gamarra.[87]

The failure of political reunification between Peru and Bolivia only underscored the irreversible disruption of the colonial commercial circuits that had linked large parts of Peru with the altiplano mining centers. The declining exports of livestock products from Puno to Bolivia and the collapse of their textile trades forced ranchers and merchants in the Peruvian altiplano to adapt to a totally distinct commercial pattern: exports of raw materials, this time as a "secondary but indispensable annex" to Europe's industrial economies. Small amounts of vicuña, sheep and alpaca wool from the altiplano, and chinchona bark (from which quinine is extracted), gathered in the tropical rain forests of Carabaya province adjacent to Azángaro, had found their way to Cadiz since the mid-eighteenth century.[88] But only after 1825 did the quantities of such exports attain a level at which they could begin to reshape the commercial system of the region's agrarian economy.


Statistics on Peruvian wool exports during the nineteenth century are problematic. The government did not begin to publish export statistics regularly until 1891. Earlier export statistics from Peruvian published sources exist only for scattered years. This lack of data has led several scholars, notably Shane Hunt and Heraclio Bonilla, to construct export statistics based on import figures of Peru's major overseas trading partners—Great Britain, France, the United States, and some others.[89] For the years up to the 1850s the scattered Peruvian data and the studies by Bonilla and Hunt offer widely differing figures for both volume and value of wool exports. Because of obvious inaccuracies and errors in the available sources, Peruvian wool exports before mid-century can only be estimated.[90]

The two major types of wool exported from Peru were sheep and alpaca wools. For both, the southern highlands—the altiplano and mountain slopes of the department of Puno as well as adjacent provinces in the departments of Arequipa and Cuzo—have constituted the most important production zone. The central Peruvian highlands in Junin and surrounding departments have been the other major production area of sheep wool, but in the centuries after conquest they lost most of their cameloid herds. Between 60 and 80 percent of sheep wools were exported through Islay and, after 1873, its successor port of Mollendo, both on the rocky and barren coast of Arequipa department, with the remaining bales channeled mostly through Callao and Arica. For alpaca wools Islay's share was even greater. Although most wool from Puno and the neighboring provinces was shipped through Islay and Mollendo, some was exported through Arica, which also served as port for wool shipments from the Bolivian altiplano.

During the first decade after independence Peru's sheep wool exports remained at a low level, never exceeding a value of 75,000 pesos and in some years during the early 1830s dwindling to almost nothing. Until the 1830s the European and especially the English woolen industry received most of its raw materials from nearby sources—the British Isles, Spain, Germany, and Russia. It is thus no surprise that the commercial agent Samuel Haigh, frantically looking for "returns" from southern Peru in the mid-1820s, did not even consider wools a relevant commodity.[91]

Sheep wool exports surged between the mid-1830s and 1841, leading the Swedish traveler Carl August Gosselman, collecting information on South American trade for his government, to remark that "in time sheep wool will probably become the principal export article of Peru."[92] Between 1835 and 1841 Peru's sheep wool export nearly doubled from 763 to 1,446 metric tons. As a consequence both of intensifying civil wars in Peru, which disrupted supplies, and an industrial crisis in England, sheep wool exports


plummeted by 50 percent in 1842 and stayed depressed at least until 1846, possibly even until 1851.[93] As this long slump during the 1840s coincided with the final crisis of obraje textile production, hacendados were particularly hard hit, much as they were in the years immediately after independence. Seeing their hopes for renewed wealth based on wool exports temporarily dashed, they turned, as mentioned above, one last time toward a campaign for protecting the domestic markets and urgently sought favorable trade agreements with Bolivia.[94]

The decades between the 1840s and 1870 saw the rapid growth and technological transformation of the woolen and worsted industries of the United Kingdom, Peru's most important wool purchaser. After having lagged behind the cotton industry in the adoption of power equipment, woolen mills went through a stormy period of innovation and growth during the third quarter of the century as the total quantity of wools consumed in the United Kingdom more than doubled between 1845–49 and 1870–74 and the number of power looms installed in the wool and shoddy section of the industry—lagging behind worsteds—jumped from 9,439 in 1850 to 48,218 in 1870. This expansion occurred while British sheep herds stagnated after the 1830s and ranchers in continental Europe were faced with increasing domestic demand, leaving a declining share of wool production for export to Great Britain. Although wool from overseas represented barely 1 percent of British wool imports in 1815, it accounted for two-thirds of imports as early as 1849, and its share continued to rise over the next two decades even as total consumption was climbing rapidly.[95] By the mid-1850s Peruvian sheep wool exports had begun to benefit from this surge in demand for overseas wool. Exports steadily climbed no later than 1854, with volume topping 1,000 metric tons in 1857 for the first time since 1841. Even more important, prices (FOB) at 26 pesos per quintal (washed) in 1856 had more than doubled over the level prevailing in the first expansionary phase of the late 1830s.[96]

The export of alpaca wool to Europe began later than that of sheep wool. Only some twelve years after independence were the first samples of the fiber sent to England by British export houses, notably that of Mohens and Company. Since the alpaca fiber is much finer than sheep wool and can reach up to one foot in length, its processing required special machinery. Once this machinery was developed by the British manufacturer Titus Salt, the volume of Peruvian exports soared. From a humble beginning of fifty-seven quintales in 1834, within the short period of seven years total alpaca wool exports from Peruvian ports reached 16,500 quintales by 1840.[97]

In contrast to the development of sheep wool exports, the 1840s apparently did not witness a sharp decline of alpaca wool exports. Only in


two years, 1844 and 1845, did exports drop below 14,000 quintales, and they reached new highs in the second half of the decade. By that time, only ten years after its commercial introduction, alpaca wool had found great esteem in European markets as one of the finest light wools, even replacing silk in such uses as the lining of gentlemen's coats.[98] This esteem was reflected in prices. A few years after its introduction it fetched more than twice the price of Peruvian sheep wool. Alpaca wool prices continued to climb in the 1850s. In 1857, at 74 pesos, 4 reales per quintal (FOB), the fiber brought nearly three times the price of Peruvian sheep wool.[99]

During the early years of the trade, at least until 1840, sheep wool dominated wool exports from Islay. In the following decade the volume of alpaca wool exports reached a parity with sheep wool, a balance that continued until the early 1870s. The story is different with regard to the value of exports. Sheep wool contributed the major share to the combined value of wool exports from Islay only until 1838. By 1839 the value of alpaca wool exports had overtaken that of sheep wool, and during the early 1850s it reached a level of twice and in some years even three times that of sheep wool exports from all Peruvian ports. Thus, already by the 1850s alpaca wool overshadowed sheep wool as the most important export from southern Peru's livestock economy.

Before the 1850s wools were far from the only important product exported from southern Peru. Until the late 1830s the fibers contributed less to the region's export earnings than did precious metals, currency, or chinchona bark.[100] Yet the key colonial commodity, precious metals, failed to insert renewed vigor into the regional economy through direct exportation. Only a secondary center of silver production during the late eighteenth century, the mines in the western and eastern cordilleras of the department of Puno had decayed notably between the early 1800s and the termination of the Wars of Independence, as mercury became scarce, transport was disrupted, and mining labor was recruited into the royalist and patriot armies. By 1825 the majority of mines were abandoned, and many had been flooded. Others were worked in haphazard fashion. Azángaro's colonial mines were largely abandoned, and in 1826 only the placer gold-mining district of Poto was being exploited.[101]

But during the following fifteen years, Puneños and especially foreigners—among them merchants, men who had participated in the Wars of Independence, and adventurers—made numerous attempts to reopen abandoned mines and invested some capital in imported mining equipment. These efforts brought success for a brief period. Puno's share of Peru's total silver output grew from 8.4 percent between 1800 and 1820 to 10 percent between 1825 and 1834. The high point of this feeble recovery


was reached between the late 1830s and early 1840s. Yet in 1845 Puno produced only about 40,000 marks of silver at seven to nine pesos per mark, compared to some 52,000 marks in 1805, the apex of the late colonial recovery.[102]

Typical of the short-lived attempts to resuscitate the northern altiplano's silver mining sector was the Manto mine on the outskirts of Puno town. In 1826 it was granted to General O'Brien, an Irish participant in the Wars of Independence. After failing to reopen the mine, he passed it on to the English merchant John Begg, who in 1830 completed a drainage tunnel begun in the early eighteenth century under the auspices of the Marqués de Villa Rica. Although Begg imported expensive mining machinery from England and employed a British engineer, he gave up his attempts to make a profit out of the Manto mine in 1839 and died a year later in Chile a poor man. Peruvian entrepreneurs continued to operate the mine on a modest scale, but it was abandoned soon after 1851. Although the mines around Puno town still employed 932 workers during the years immediately preceding independence, by 1845 this number had declined to 30.[103]

In contrast to silver, Puno was a major gold-producing region in Peru. The metal was found in placer mines in the eastern cordillera around Poto, part of Azángaro until 1854, and in river washings further east in the montaña of Carabaya province. Gold was of minor importance for Peru's economy as a whole both during the colonial period and in the century after independence, but José Deustua has plausibly suggested that it was considerably more important in the south, where upwards of two-thirds of total national output was produced during the early independence period.[104] The geographical isolation of the gold region, however, inhibited commercial exploitation on a grand scale. Transport to the tropical valleys of Carabaya on steep, narrow mule paths was difficult, and the price of all supplies in the production region, including much of the food hauled from the altiplano, was more than twice that in Puno or Cuzco. Labor had to be brought in to the sparsely populated valleys from adjacent districts in Azángaro, Huancané, and Lampa provinces, but highland peasants were reluctant to commit themselves to labor in the hot and humid river valleys for extended periods. Political authorities, landholders, and entrepreneurs from the altiplano who wanted to exploit the gold fields complained about the difficulties of finding laborers despite relatively high wages—four reales per day plus provisions, compared to two reales for public works in the altiplano.[105]

Commercial gold production in Carabaya thus remained small-scale during the early republic. In the dry season and after harvests had been completed in the altiplano, hacendados led a few hundred estate colonos and


community peasants down to the Inambari, Tambopata, and Challuma rivers to pan the river sediments for gold dust. A large part of the gold was produced by altiplano peasants operating on their own, combining a few weeks of gold panning with trips to sell livestock products in the valleys and to supply themselves with cocal leaves and other tropical and subtropical goods. As long as transport to the montaña remained prohibitively expensive, the region allowed no more than fleeting temporary incursions of commercial enterprises controlled by creole and mestizo entrepreneurs. A hell for altiplano peasants under conditions of forced labor, Carabaya remained a refuge for them when it was part of their autonomous economic undertakings aimed at supplementing household subsistence. Peasants sold the gold dust they had collected to traders at annual trade fairs at Crucero and Rosaspata on the slopes of the Cordillera de Carabaya descending to the altiplano. From there much of the gold found its way to the Cuzco mint. In contrast to silver, a substantial share of gold was not exported but kept circulating within the domestic economy.[106]

In 1849 a minor gold rush developed in Carabaya when two brothers named Poblete, Arequipeños involved in the chinchona bark trade, discovered great amounts of gold dust in the sands of the Challuma, one of the tributaries of the Madre de Dios. Prospectors from all over the world arrived in Carabaya, and many hacendados from the altiplano also tried their luck in the gold washings. Among them was the Puneño Manuel Costas, a large landholder, founder of a long-lived wool trading company, and briefly Peruvian president in 1878. Despite investments in processing machinery and housing for management and a few workers, his enterprises failed. Most other prospectors were also unsuccessful. By 1852 the Carabaya gold-mining region was again reverting to its usual state of casual gold washings by Indian peasants and a few local adventurers in the season when not much work was required for agriculture and livestock raising in the altiplano.[107]

In sum, mining in southern Peru and in the department of Puno in particular remained important for the regional economy during the first quarter century after independence as foreign and Peruvian entrepreneurs invested capital in the revival of the ailing industry. But the years between 1840 and 1852 saw the failure of these efforts, and as foreigners withdrew from mining ventures, capital became exceedingly scarce. The pandemic requisitioning of mules by the military and a temporary interruption of the mule trade from Salta made transport to and from the isolated mining camps unreliable and expensive. Indian peasants, with less pressure from provincial elites on their labor and commodities in the agricultural and textile sectors, felt little compunction to accept wage work at the mining


camps. In fact mining, like textile manufacturing, increasingly became a sphere of autonomous peasant activity. When Paul Marcoy traveled through the altiplano in 1860, his elite informants told him in frustration that the Indians knew of many rich silver and gold lodes but refused to reveal them for fear of renewed mining labor drafts, an apt metaphor for the sense of impotence that the elite felt in face of peasant autonomy.[108]

The other commodity that assumed great importance for southern Peru's exports after independence was chinchona bark. Although the largest amount of this raw material for the nineteenth-century cure-all medicine, quinine, was gathered in the Bolivian ceja de la selva provinces of Apolo-bamba and Larecaja, just south of the border with Peru, the Tambopata valley of Carabaya province rendered the highest-quality chinchona bark from its Calisaya trees. Foreign interest in the plant led to various expeditions into the region: in 1846 by the French natural scientist Hugues Algernon Weddell, who had been commissioned by the Museum of Natural History in Paris, and in 1860 by Clements Markham, who was instructed by the British government to collect seedlings of the tree in Carabaya and transplant them to Ceylon, an apparently successful operation.[109]

Many hacendados from the altiplano participated in the chinchona bark trade, among them Mariano Riquelme, a wool trader and owner of Hacienda Checayani in Muñani, and José Manuel Torres, owner and renter of haciendas in the same district. In the mid-1850s Torres received large advances for the delivery of bark from merchants in La Paz and Puno town and repeatedly had difficulties fulfilling his contracts because of the primitive production arrangements in the forests.[110] He operated in the Bolivian ceja de la selva, a region to which both traders and Indian peasants from Azángaro frequently traveled until the 1920s, either for commercial purposes or for work.

Chinchona bark exports fluctuated wildly from year to year because of the primitive nature of collection and the remoteness of the Calisaya forests. In 1835 exports from Peruvian ports reached the large volume of 14,000 quintales (valued at 440,000 pesos), more than two-thirds of which came from Carabaya or Bolivia. Peruvian bark exports still exceeded those of wools.[111] This proportion changed in the following years with the rapid expansion of both alpaca and sheep wool exports. Between 1850 and 1859 Islay's bark exports underwent a steady decline, initially caused by an adulteration of the high-quality Calisaya bark, which made it unsalable.[112]

For elite altiplano traders and landholders, the years between 1842 and the early 1850s witnessed perhaps the most frustrating phase in the long and tortuous transition from a mining supply economy to one of raw material exports. These years simultaneously saw the failure of attempts


to revitalize the colonial commercial patterns based on silver mining and sale of woolen textiles in Upper Peru and the dashing of hopes for a rapid acceleration of raw wool sales in Europe as exports plummeted and prices deteriorated. In an analysis of southern Peru's agricultural crisis Francisco de Rivero in 1845 expressed the puzzlement of the region's livestock interests. He called at one and the same time for increased exports of improved wool at higher prices and the protection of "some factories of crude cloth," for whose products "the consumer might pay a price equal to that which today he is satisfied to pay for similar products of the European industry."[113] In this difficult conjuncture the altiplano elite looked to the montaña of Carabaya, hoping to exploit not only its export commodities, such as gold and chinchona bark, but also a wide variety of products that could strengthen their position in the domestic markets. But this was a frontier region, in which all the familiar problems that plagued them in their home base on the altiplano—high transport costs, lack of capital, and scarcity of labor—were exacerbated to the extreme.

In 1851 Agustín Aragón, a hacendado and wool trader from San Antón in the province of Azángaro, owned a coffee plantation in the Quebrada de Ayapata, some eighty kilometers north of San Antón across the Cordillera de Carabaya.[114] Thirteen years later his brother-in-law Simeon Rufino Macedo, son of Colonel Macedo (who led the conspiracy to adjoin Puno, Cuzco, and Arequipa to Bolivia in 1829) and owner of several estates in the districts of Potoni and Asillo in Azángaro, formed a company with a Frenchman to construct a "finca cocal [coca farm] for all types of fruits and edible plants in the montaña of Inambari or any other point of the valleys of the Province of Carabaya." Despite elaborate preparations, including the construction of a still for cane alcohol and the use of peón labor from Macedo's estates in Azángaro, the project failed. The meager starting capital of 4,000 pesos, all that an altiplano hacendado such as Macedo could muster, proved insufficient to overcome the very grave transport and communication problems posed by Puno's jungle region.[115]

Stimulated by the acquaintance with this region that men such as Riquelme, Aragón, and Macedo had gained in the chinchona bark trade and in gold-mining ventures, the efforts to develop Carabaya's tropical agriculture were aimed at capturing Puno's own market for such goods as coca leaves, fruits, and rice, until then supplied by neighboring ceja de la selva regions in Bolivia and Cuzco. These men also hoped to tap into the sizable earnings from the export of crops such as coffee and tobacco, the potential of which regions such as the Yungas of La Paz had already demonstrated. But after prospects for the altiplano livestock economy brightened with sustained export demand for wool in the mid-1850s, efforts by the region's


hacendados and traders to exploit the potential riches of the adjacent montaña valleys slackened. For Indian peasants from the altiplano and for occasional adventurers, Carabaya remained accessible on their own terms, as they independently searched for gold, planted a few patches of coca bushes, maize, and fruits, or collected chinchona bark. The altiplano elite now largely contented itself with profiting from these goods by purchasing them from the peasants and adventurers at fairs in Crucero or Rosaspata or at their warehouses in Azángaro town when they returned to the altiplano at the end of the dry season.

The relative failure of strengthening both the regional and export trades through colonization of Puno's ceja de la selva during the mid-nineteenth century contrasts starkly with the success of such efforts by commercial and landholding elites in the central sierra. There regional trade intensified between the late 1840s and 1879 because of the sale of sugar and alcohol produced on newly established plantations in Junin's Amazonian piedmont. The difference highlights the greater availability of capital and greater population densities in the central sierra.[116] Puno's ceja de la selva could become an important commercial producer of agricultural products only with the construction of access roads, first by a foreign mining company in the 1890s and, in the 1920s, by the Peruvian government, a period when pressure on land in the altiplano had notably increased.

The Commercial System until Mid-century

During the first three decades after independence, as landholder and merchant elites in southern Peru desperately tried to adjust their economic activities to the new political, commercial, and social circumstances, new trading patterns were gradually constructed, incorporating distinct spatial circuits, new groups of traders, and changed modalities of trade. By the mid-nineteenth century the various livestock and agricultural products from the northern altiplano and surrounding, ecologically distinct regions all fed into a complex trade based to a large degree on reciprocity. Trade for export and trade for local consumption were closely intertwined.

After 1824 European and North American merchants rapidly gained control over southern Peru's foreign trade, taking up residence in the cities of Arequipa and Tacna, from where they handled both the export of Peruvian and Bolivian goods and the import of European and North American manufactured goods.[117] Despite its strategic importance the foreign mercantile community in southern Peru was small until mid-century. In 1827 Arequipa had at most forty British residents, and merchants from other nations could be counted on one hand. By the late 1850s Arequipa's


foreign community had grown to only about eighty members, thirty-six of whom were Germans and the majority of the rest English.[118] Many of the foreign commercial houses in Arequipa were branches of larger companies established in Lima or Valparaiso. They often had partnerships or even closer ties with firms in London, Liverpool, Hamburg, or Le Havre.[119]

Before the last quarter of the nineteenth century Arequipa's merchants relied on three channels for purchasing wools and other export commodities: direct delivery to Arequipa by producers, purchases from various types of independent Peruvian traders, and contracts at yearly trade fairs. Some Indian peasant wool producers from the altiplano carried their clip directly to the stores and warehouses of the foreign merchants in Arequipa, combining these sales with their annual trip to purchase necessary provisions from the coastal valleys, such as sugar, aguardiente, and dried chile peppers. But it was the producers of larger amounts of wool, owners of haciendas, who took greatest advantage of direct sales to the foreign exporters in Arequipa. The hacendados realized higher prices when they sold their wool in Arequipa, and the added cost of transport was minimal as they could rely on pack animals belonging to either their estates or their shepherds. The shepherds were obligated to accompany the wool transport without additional compensation, a service known as alquila . The only added cost for the hacendado lay in provisions for the accompanying shepherds and fodder for the pack animals, mostly the frugal llamas. Furthermore, direct sale to exporters in Arequipa spared the hacendados the inconvenience of having to deal with muleteers, considered troublesome and unreliable.[120]

Far more frequent than direct delivery of the wool by producers to an exporter in Arequipa was the bulking of wool by one or more levels of Peruvian traders, who then sold large amounts to the export houses. These local, provincial, and regional wool purchases were often based on established clientele networks and involved credit transactions as well as sales of other commodities. The bulking of wools in the production zone and their transport to the coast was controlled to a large degree by altiplano hacendados and traders in this early phase, a pattern that was to change significantly only after the War of the Pacific. The atomistic nature of production—with thousands of Indian peasants supplying more than half of all raw wools as late as the 1870s—and all the expenses, uncertainties, and delays in communication and transportation made it difficult and potentially unprofitable for foreign merchants to attempt to control the trade circuits connecting the entrepôt and port cities with the interior. Newly emerging Peruvian merchants were left with much space to expand their own commercial operations in the interior and maintain a high degree


of autonomy vis-à-vis the export merchants. This constellation changed only during the last quarter of the century.[121]

Juan Paredes was an important provincial wool bulker in Azángaro between the 1840s and early 1870s. Born in 1804 as the son of a muleteer, he inherited a string of mules and a modest liquid capital of two thousand pesos. By the 1840s Paredes had progressed from being a mere transport entrepreneur to undertaking varied trading activities on his own account. Based on a medium-sized estate inherited by his wife, he also began to move into landholding, parleyed his role as a trader and hacendado into political power in the province, and in turn used his power and influence during the last three decades of his life for a vast expansion of his family's landholdings.[122]

Paredes bought wool throughout the province either directly from producers, such as owners of small and medium-sized haciendas and indigenous peasant landholders, or from district-level wool bulkers, themselves frequently estate owners. In the four to six months prior to the wool clip in March or April, contracts were drawn up specifying how much wool a given producer or trader would deliver to Paredes once the new wool was available. The purchaser usually advanced a large percentage of the total price at the time of concluding a contract. The advances had the function of assuring supply and making it more difficult for the seller to demand a higher price for his wool at the time of delivery.[123] Quantities purchased by provincial wool bulkers ranged from two quintales (200 pounds) to fifty quintales (5,000 pounds). Paredes in turn sold the wool to regional bulkers who handled larger volumes of wool, but at times he also sold directly to Peruvian or foreign merchant houses in Arequipa. These traders made contracts with Paredes in much the same way as he did with his smaller suppliers. They also advanced him a considerable share of the total purchase price months before delivery, funds that Paredes needed for advances to his suppliers. To function as higher-level, greater-volume wool bulkers, men such as Agustín Aragón from San Antón, Hermenegildo Agramonte from Cabanillas, and Mariano Riquelme from Azángaro needed access to greater amounts of liquid capital and possessed installations to wash the wool. Large sums of metallic currency, always scarce in the altiplano, were needed to purchase 500, 1,000, or more quintales of wool, since cash advances down the commercialization chain were vital to the business. Having facilities to wash wool strengthened the trader's bargaining position with the exporters.[124]

Business relations were imbued with a sense of obligation, trust, and friendship because they were a natural extension of broader clientalistic ties permeating altiplano society. In his letters to Paredes the businessman José


Mariano Escobedo, an Azangarino native living in Arequipa and probably Paredes's most important wool-trading partner, routinely used the endearing address "My dear countryman and friend."[125] The more-than-businesslike nature of the relationship between Paredes and his wool suppliers from the haciendas and pueblos of the province is evident in a letter that he received in 1845. Manuel Mestas, a small hacendado from Caminaca, informed Paredes that he would not be able to deliver the contracted 100 arrobas of wool. The supplier tried to placate Paredes as follows:

I ardently beseech your good heart that as a good friend you may consider the best way of extricating me from the stated problem for now because I find myself incapable of complying [with the contract] I seek with all satisfaction your kindness offering in my insignificance although I am not worth anything maybe I will be able to serve you some day in compensation for the favor for which I am asking you now, for which favor I hope by means of your angelical heart; the eighty arrobas and a bit more is soon ready to have them conducted to that capital [Azángaro] at your disposition according to the contract.[126]

Mestas was clearly worried about consequences much graver than the simple loss of a business partner should Paredes take any serious steps about the impending breach of contract. Mestas belonged to Paredes's clientele and depended on him for goods and services that may have included access to foodstuffs from Cuzco and Arequipa as well as to imported goods, otherwise attainable only with difficulty or at higher prices; support in the pursuit or retention of local offices such as governor, mayor, or justice of the peace in his district; and intercession on Mestas's behalf in courts. Wool trade constituted only one aspect of the multifaceted relationship of men such as Juan Paredes and Manuel Mestas.

Economic benefits varied greatly according to the level on which a producer or trader entered the commercialization chain. The more directly one could sell wool to the exporters in Arequipa, the higher the price one could achieve.[127] Scattered figures indicate that during the 1850s and 1860s provincial wool bulkers paid only between 28 and 38 percent of the FOB price of sheep wools in the port Islay to their suppliers in Azángaro. In 1862 Juan Paredes received 100 percent more for unwashed wool delivered in Arequipa than he paid for it in Azángaro and 160 percent more if he delivered it washed.[128]

It was mostly the smallest wool producers, especially Indian peasants, and local traders who sold wool at the levels of the commercialization chain


furthest removed from Arequipa. Owners of haciendas and large-volume traders could take advantage of wool sales directly to Arequipa or at least to regional wool bulkers. The hierarchical trade system allocated greater benefits to large landholders and wealthy traders in the altiplano than to peasant landholders, marginal hacendados, and petty traders.

Annual fairs held in a number of altiplano towns combined religious celebrations around a patron saint with popular revelry and multifold trading activities. The most important of these, attended by tens of thousands of peasants, muleteers, wool traders, import merchants, and shopkeepers, was the fair at Vilque, a small town some thirty kilometers west of Puno on the road to Arequipa.[129] Others were held at Pucará, on the road to Cuzco; Rosaspata, strategically located northeast of Lake Titicaca for the trade with Bolivia; and Crucero, a crossroad in the eastern cordillera whence the most important llama paths departed to the rich ceja de la selva of Carabaya.[130]

The Vilque fair, established during the colonial period, possibly under the auspices of the Jesuits who owned nearby Hacienda Yanarico, was celebrated for two to four weeks around Pentecost in May to venerate "a Holy Christ whose miracles are famed even in the remotest places."[131] Clements Markham has left us a colorful description of the fair in 1860:

Outside the town there were thousands of mules from Tucuman waiting for Peruvian arrieros to buy them. In the plaza were booths full of every description of Manchester and Birmingham goods; in more retired places were gold dusts and coffee from Carabaya, silver from the mines, bark and chocolate from Bolivia, Germans with glassware and woolen knitted work, French modistes, Italians, Quichua and Aymara Indians in their various picturesque costumes—in fact all nations and tongues. . . . The road was crowded with people coming from Arequipa to the fair at Vilque: native shopkeepers, English merchants coming to arrange for their supplies of wool, and a noisy company of arrieros on their way to buy mules, and armed to the teenth with horse-pistols, old guns, and huge daggers, to defend their money-bags.[132]

The volume of business conducted at the fair during the late 1840s may have reached anywhere between 750,000 and 2 million pesos.[133] As British Consul Wilthew wrote to the Foreign Office in 1859, the "success or failure of the fair is a matter of no small consequence for the commercial community," and "numerous contracts for the delivery of wool" were concluded.[134]

The rise of the fairs in the decades after independence demonstrates the changes and continuities in southern Peru's commercial economy. On the


one hand, the gatherings at Vilque, Pucará, and elsewhere of people of "all nations and tongues," including mule traders from Argentina and a variety of Bolivian businessmen, demonstrated that transnational trade in the Andes had by no means disappeared entirely. But when the Andean commercial space had been in its heyday between the late sixteenth and mid-eighteenth centuries, there had been no need for fairs with such an enormous radius of participation as Vilque had in the mid-nineteenth century. The link between seller and buyer, even when it covered distances as vast as that between Cuzco and Potosí, had been secured through force (as in the repartos) or through tight-knit corporate or familial relations. The fairs responded to a tendency toward more individualized trading patterns and incipient competition, while personal, face-to-face contact and the establishment of relationships of trust was still deemed an essential element of trade. The rise of the fairs was thus intimately tied to the new import and export trade and the establishment of a group of foreign merchants outside of the long-established social fabric in southern Peru and at the apex of the postindependence commercial hierarchy. In an environment of highly insecure and expensive transport and communication the fairs constituted virtually the only means for these merchants to establish direct links to the great number of small producers and petty traders who controlled the major part of export commodities, especially wools.[135] The fairs introduced an element of competition into a commercial environment in which large landholders and altiplano wool bulkers sought to monopolize the trading relationships of their local populations.

For the Indian livestock herders the possibility of selling their wool clip to competing national and foreign merchants at one of the yearly fairs offered a significant alternative to its sale to local traders and hacendados in their own district. The very existence of a distinct group of merchants with as yet no strong social ties to large landholders and other local elites in the altiplano damaged the stranglehold over trade exercised by such local elites. The loud protest of Puno's political authorities in the late 1820s over wool purchases by foreign merchants should thus be understood as more than mere concern about possible scarcities of the fiber. More important, it expressed the fear of losing local trading monopolies that had allowed hacendados, corregidores, or priests to impose their own terms of trade on the peasants. The repeated difficulties of local traders during the 1840s and 1850s to deliver the contracted quantity of wool may have arisen because small producers, especially Indian peasants, could afford to withhold their wool clip in the hope of selling at the next fair, probably for a better price.

Nevertheless, this competitive aspect of the trade fairs should not be exaggerated. The hierarchy of middlemen was absolutely indispensable for the Arequipa merchant houses to achieve the bulking of export commod-


ities and the bulk breaking of imports. It was with larger-volume wool traders that the exporters concluded the most significant contracts at Vilque and Pucará. The peasant producers usually did not have the cash reserves to hold their wool clip until the fairs and routinely saw themselves forced to sell to local mestizo or creole traders and hacendados. In fact, the web of obligations created by the wool trade was one of the processes through which the newly arising mercantile and landholding elite in the northern altiplano sought to reestablish a higher degree of control over the region's peasantry. Still, this elite control had become fragile in the postindependence decades, and the competitive elements introduced through the fairs contributed to greater peasant autonomy. The newly rising mercantile and landholding elite of the altiplano would consolidate their control over peasant commercialization only in the decades between the 1860s and 1890s.

The interrelationship between the export and import trades and the purely domestic exchanges, apparent in the business conducted at the annual fairs, can be explored in greater depth through the web of Juan Paredes's commercial transactions (fig. 2.2). His trade consisted of both the export and local sale of goods either produced on his own estates or purchased within the province and the purchase of goods from neighboring regions or imported from Europe for his own consumption or for resale in the province. Because the sparsely populated province of Carabaya had no group of locally resident traders, it depended on traders in the altiplano for goods from third regions. Thus, in Carabaya, Paredes sold not only the range of goods produced in Azángaro but also commodities bought in Arequipa or Cuzco.

Often Paredes's trade was triangular. For example, when Juan Bautista Zea from Arapa contracted to sell Paredes fifty arrobas of wool in early 1847, he also asked him to remit a carga (four to five arrobas) of maize. Although the wool would ultimately be sold for export in Arequipa, Paredes was purchasing the maize in Cuzco or Carabaya. There in turn he sold animals on the hoof, dried meat, or tallow in exchange for cereals or coca leaves.[136]

The reciprocal nature of trade had much to do with the clientalistic, highly personal relations of business. But there was another powerful motive for reciprocity of trade relations—the scarcity of currency. By establishing long-term commercial partnerships in which one essentially paid for goods bought from a trade partner with other goods, the need for cash was reduced to a minimum. This practice was crucial in a society in which "we find ourselves very poor; such is the scarcity of coins that there is no money for anything," as the hacendado Andrés Urviola from Muñani


Figure 2.2.
Trading Network of Juan Paredes, Around 1850


wrote in 1867.[137] Technically, reciprocal trade relied on current accounts kept by both trade partners about the goods purchased and sold to each other, and these accounts were normally adjusted once every year. Only a fraction of the total value of trade conducted between the two partners ever had to be paid in cash.

The commodity flow in Azángaro's interregional trade around 1850 was not all that different, then, from what it had been in the eighteenth century: maize, wheat, and coca leaves from Cuzco for livestock on the hoof from Azángaro. Wool shipments to Cuzco were now much diminished. Coca leaves, maize, and fruits from the ceja de la selva of Carabaya and Bolivia were traded for dried meat and chuño from Azángaro. The province's traders also profited from their position as middlemen in the export of such goods as chinchona bark and gold dust from Carabaya and in supplying that region with alcohol, sugar, and other provisions from Arequipa and Cuzco. For its own consumption Arequipa received dried meat, livestock on the hoof, tallow, butter, and cheese from Azángaro, while supplying the altiplano province with cane alcohol, wine, sugar, peppers, dried fruits, oil, and other agricultural products. But the new element in Azángaro's trade relationship with Arequipa lay in the fact that the latter city was becoming the entrepôt for the altiplano's exports of wool as well as for the import of European goods. The Peruvian altiplano's declining trade with the Bolivian urban and mining centers, the centerpiece of the region's commercial circuit during the colonial period, was gradually being replaced in a restructured circuit in which Arequipa functioned as the funnel for the region's production for export. Although not yet apparent to many contemporary observers, by the early 1850s Arequipa was on its way to becoming the hegemonic urban center of a reduced southern Peruvian space, a position the city fully achieved between 1870 and 1890, while Cuzco's decay continued.[138]

Jean Piel has suggested that the first two or three decades after independence saw the Peruvian altiplano enjoying "a certain measure of regional prosperity based on agriculture."[139] His view is founded on the rise of the region's wool exports beginning in the late 1830s, a period during which most other Peruvian agricultural regions remained stagnant. But earnings from wool exports did not represent an additional source of income for the altiplano above an otherwise steady level of earnings. Rather, these earnings had to replace income lost from trade in woolen textiles and other livestock products with High Peru and from raw wool sales to Cuzco. It is suggestive that in 1791 the sale of 7,500 quintales of sheep wool from the northern altiplano to the Intendency of Cuzco alone represented close to 50 percent of sheep wool exports from Islay in the very


favorable year of 1840, and these exports include production from provinces in Cuzco and Arequipa departments! If, for 1791, we add the substantial woolens woven in household production and obrajes in the northern altiplano and sold in High Peru, it is probable that the total volume of marketed wool in 1791, a year when southern Peru's colonial commercial circuit was already experiencing a crisis, may have reached or surpassed the volume exported in 1840.

But Piel's assertion of regional prosperity in the department of Puno during the early independence period might be closer to the mark with regard to the peasant economy. The demise of the obrajes, stagnating production of precious metals, increasing difficulties of access to the Bolivian markets, rising costs of transportation and credit, and flat commodity and land prices affected the landholding and commercial elites of the altiplano but had much less effect on the peasants. The production and peddling of their traditional wares, foremost among them woolen textiles, continued to be a viable source of monetary income for their peasant household economy. Their greater autonomy minimized the effects of price declines for their textile wares, as price impositions by local or provincial power holders diminished. The opening of the wool trade and the appearance of a distinct social group of foreign merchants added further competitive elements into regional trade, as long as the exporters and the rising Peruvian trading hierarchy still eyed each other with as much distrust as cooperation. The rapid rise of alpaca wool exports, produced to a much higher degree by Indian peasants than was sheep wool, was especially important for indigenous livestock herders. In short, as altiplano elites struggled to recover prosperity within trading circuits undergoing major changes, the peasant economy was growing in autonomy.

During the eighty years between 1775 and 1855 the patterns of trade in the northern altiplano underwent a complex transitional crisis that affected the region's elites and the peasantry in notably different ways. It touched every major aspect of elite-controlled trade: commodity flows, the commercial space, the social composition of all commercial intermediary groups, and the way business was conducted. During the mid-eighteenth century the colonial commercial circuits based on the supply of High Peru's silver mining centers had brought modest prosperity to the interconnected elites of hacendados, kurakas, priests, and crown officials in Azángaro and neighboring provinces. But between the 1780s and the 1840s these circuits decayed. The late colonial recovery of silver mining bypassed the intendencies of Puno and Cuzco as the "Andean space" increasingly frayed, pulled apart by the growth of two poles, the Potosí–Buenos Aires axis and


the urban and mining economy of central and northern Peru, with southern Peru dangling in the middle.

These problems were exacerbated as silver mining went into a slump after 1800 and brief attempts at revitalization after independence definitely failed during the 1840s. In various waves since the 1780s, European industrialization intruded into the markets for the mainstay of the altiplano's livestock economy, woolen textiles. External price competition hastened the demise of the inefficient obrajes, as rebellions, the Wars of Independence, and succeeding civil wars disrupted trading routes and made markets insecure and capital and transport more expensive. Merchant and landholding elites tried to save as much as possible of the old trades in the decades after independence while eagerly grasping the opportunities afforded by export demand for wool, chinchona bark, and silver. But new trade circuits proved unstable at first. By the mid-1840s the old textile trade, the Bolivian markets, and the new export trade were all in crisis simultaneously. For a brief instant the only salvation seemed to lie in the difficult commercial exploitation of the montaña frontier to the east.

There is a certain irony about the economic situation of the northern altiplano elites during the decades after independence. On the one hand, their autonomy grew with the decay of the colonial trading circuits in which traders, muleteers, and estate owners from the Intendency of Puno depended on merchants from Cuzco, Arequipa, and Potosí or La Plata for their business. As the Andean space frayed, the northern altiplano became less of an "internal space." One might even say that the region's elites for the first time became visible historical subjects, distinct and separate from the merchants, hacendados, and officeholders residing in the cities of Cuzco or Arequipa. On the other hand, this increased autonomy did not coincide with growing prosperity; rather, it arose in an era of stagnating or falling commodity prices, insecure markets, expensive transport and capital, recurrent warfare, and the beginning of competitive trading practices introduced by foreign merchants. Most important, the temporary "liberation" of northern altiplano traders and hacendados from the colonial mercantile elites in the surrounding urban centers coincided with the growing autonomy of the region's peasantry. In contrast to creole merchants and hacendados, the northern altiplano's peasants continued to find sufficient markets in Cuzco, Arequipa, and even Bolivia for their cheap woolens and other artisanal and livestock products, as they were less affected by price competition. The peasants also profited initially from the introduction of competition in the emerging export trades for wool and chinchona bark.

By the mid-1850s high prices for Peruvian alpaca and sheep wools was signaling the beginning of a period of booming wool exports. At this time,


then, Azángaro and the northern altiplano had completed the readjustment from a colonial mining-supply economy to an economy based on exports. The region's landholding elite, intertwined with the traders and political authorities, sought alternative strategies of reestablishing their control over the indigenous population in order to maximize their exploitation of the peasantry. The expansion of haciendas and the concomitant integration of ever more Indian peasants into the estate economy was—among other causes—rooted in this attempt by hacendados to regain control over the peasant economy.


Colonialism Adrift

Azángaro and the whole of the northern altiplano had participated in market exchanges in the framework of Spanish colonial political economy since the second half of the sixteenth century. But by the late colonial period it was not a "market economy," much less a "market society." Indeed, even in the early twentieth century these terms would remain inappropriate; that is, there existed nothing close to a self-regulating market in which the values of all traded or bartered commodities were determined primarily by the equilibrium between supply and demand. Nor were people's social positions determined primarily by the exchange value of their skills or the goods they offered on the market. Rather, custom, privilege, and power all exerted strong influence on market exchanges and social chances of individuals, families, and groups.[1] The changes in Azángaro's agrarian society during the waning decades of the colonial regime took place against the background of this interdependence between commerce and the social, cultural, and political relations of production.

Spanish colonialism affected various regions in America differently and penetrated Indian societies at different times. Azángaro was located in one of the two cores of the Spanish Empire in the Americas—Mesoamerica and the central Andes—that became centers of European colonization between the 1520s and 1550s. Yet, although the northern altiplano's colonial experience differed greatly from that of frontier regions, such as the nearby Amazonian piedmont, the Araucanian-controlled territories of southern Chile, or the tierra adentro (inland) of northern Mexico, it remained something like an internal, dominated space until the very end of the colonial era. Distant from major Spanish urban centers—Cuzco was three days away by horse—the region was unpopular among Spaniards because of its frosty climate and the fierce autonomy of the Indian herders.[2]


Although geographically and socially furthest removed from Spanish colonial centers, rural society in provinces such as Azángaro was characterized most dramatically by colonialism. A handful of direct representatives of the colonial state and a few Spanish or culturally hispanized landholders, miners, and traders here clashed and—at the same time—lived together with an overwhelming majority of indigenous peasants, who adjusted as little as necessary in order to save what they could of their ethnic identity.[3] The dual function of any colonial regime—to control the conquered population politically and socially and to exploit it economically—left an indelible imprint on the structure of Azángaro's rural society. But even for the late colonial period the sources suggest that the extraordinary power of the private, crown, and church representatives of the colonial regime contrasted markedly with the precarious Spanish settlement of Azángaro and neighboring altiplano provinces.

The Formation of Livestock Estates up to 1750

Between the 1540s and 1573 all Indians in the region of Azángaro were distributed to ten encomenderos , who were entrusted with both rights of tribute from the Indians and responsibility for their welfare. Despite the legal separation between encomienda and landholding, these men established some of Azángaro's first estates.[4] In a number of cases encomenderos combined grants of Indians in the temperate valleys near Cuzco with those in the higher and colder livestock zone of Azángaro, suggesting an early integration of both regions dominated by colonists residing in the city of Cuzco.[5]

A detailed account of the early formation of haciendas in the northern altiplano lies outside the scope of this study. Suffice it to say that the mechanisms employed in the transfer of lands from Indians to Spaniards were the same here as in other, well-studied parts of Spanish America: land grants (mercedes ) by the crown to worthy settlers, with a legally prescribed residence in a Spanish city; de facto appropriations of land from Indian peasants using largely illegal and deceptive procedures; and the reaffirmation of de facto possession by itinerant crown judges during recurring evaluations of land titles (composiciones ).[6] For Azángaro, we have evidence of visitas de tierras (judicial evaluations of land titles) in 1595, 1607, 1655, and 1717.[7]

The precarious and slow entrenchment of direct Spanish exploitation in the northern altiplano may be detected in the timing of estate formation. Just as elsewhere in core Spanish America, the process got underway in Azángaro during the late sixteenth and, particularly, the seventeenth


TABLE 3.1. Livestock Estancias in Azángaro
                      Province, 1689 and 1825/30

















Owner unknown








Note: These figures exclude Poto, Pusi, and Taraco.

Sources: Villanueva Urteaga, Cuzco 1689 , 111–26;
Choquehuanca, Ensayo , 15–53.

centuries as the growth of colonial towns and a complex mining economy stimulated the development of Spanish livestock ranches supplementing goods extracted from the Indian peasant economy. But in contrast to other regions of the empire, in the northern altiplano the formative phase of estate building did not conclude or slow down at the end of the seventeenth century. Rather, more estates were incorporated between 1689 and the end of the colonial era than before (table 3.1); probably the greatest part of the post-1689 estates were formed before 1780.

In 1689 most Spanish livestock ranches in Azángaro were located in two widely separated clusters. The fertile valleys around Munañi and Putina, in the eastern part of the province close to the Cordillera de Carabaya, had the greatest concentration of estates. Most of these belonged to Spaniards who were working the gold and silver mines in the adjacent cordillera and piedmont of Carabaya; as one contemporary source noted, "The said estancias serve to dispense the supplies for the sustenance of the miners." As late as 1819 abandoned mines in the mining district of Aporoma were appurtenances of Estancia de Guasacona in Muñani.[8] The other cluster of estates was located on the western fringes of the corregimiento, in the parishes of Asillo and Santiago de Pupuja, close to or directly on the camino real from Cuzco to Upper Peru. These livestock ranches were owned mostly by Spaniards residing in Cuzco or, less often, Arequipa, among them descendants of the original encomenderos who still carried the title. For example, during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries San Francisco de Purina in Asillo belonged to the encomendero Don Gerónimo


de Costilla, Marqués de Buenavista, a citizen of Cuzco.[9] In Santiago the Jesuits' Colegio Grande of Cuzco owned two estancias from the early seventeenth century on. Proximity to the camino real, offering easier communication both with Cuzco and Upper Peru, was essential for making the formation of estates by powerful absentee lords feasible and profitable. These ranches supplied Cuzco with wool, dried meat, and other livestock products and may also have shipped such goods directly to the mining centers in Upper Peru.

Outside of these two clusters of estates Azángaro's parish priests mention only a handful of ranches in their reports to Bishop Mollinedo of Cuzco in 1689: one, owned by the kuraka Don Manuel Chuquiguanca, a few miles outside the pueblo of Azángaro; another four owned both by Spaniards and Indian communities in the vicinity of Lake Arapa; and another two further south on the camino real in the annex Achaya of Caminaca parish, at least one of which was owned by the Indian community. Until the end of the seventeenth century, then, a vast central corridor through Azángaro province, from the slopes of the Cordillera de Carabaya around Potoni in the north, through the modern districts of San Antón and San José, the wide plains around the pueblo of Azángaro, and all the way to the southern extreme of the province close to Lake Titicaca at Saman and Caminaca, was essentially free of Spanish estates. Virtually all this land still belonged to Indian peasants, their communities, and their kurakas. Spanish authority here was represented directly only through one parish priest, the corregidor, and their assistants.

Why was the Spanish presence in the core of what was to become one of Peru's premier livestock-raising provinces so precarious before the eighteenth century? It cannot have been due to the natural environment. As developments in the later nineteenth and early twentieth century demonstrate, much of the land in this central corridor of Azángaro constituted good pastures propitious for the formation of livestock haciendas. Location certainly influenced the spatial patterning of Spanish enterprises during the seventeenth century. Proximity to the mining region and to the main commercial artery of the viceroyalty drew two different types of Spanish entrepreneurs and landholders: relatively modest miners, residing on their estates when they were not in the seasonally operated mining camps, and powerful absentee landlords linked to Cuzco's aristocratic families. But the Spaniards' slowness in establishing agrarian enterprises in the central part of the province may also have had something to do with the cohesion of Indian society, the power of the kurakas, and the smaller population loss in that part of Azángaro. Indian societies based on raising large domesticated animals before conquest may have been in a better position to


defend against Spanish encroachments onto their lands than were societies based on intensive crop agriculture. The dispersed settlements of the pastoralists slowed down the spread of deadly epidemics, and the need for extensive grazing lands for the cameloid herds allowed the Indian communities to claim large areas as indispensable for their livelihood. By physical occupation of extensive pastures, the herds of the Indian communities helped protect their land.[10]

With the large increase in the number of estates between the 1690s and the 1770s, their spatial and ownership patterns shifted. Whereas the two clusters (around Putina-Muñani and Asillo-Santiago) accounted for 85 percent of all estates in 1689, by the late colonial period only 53 percent were located there. The church, which owned less than 10 percent of the estates in 1689, controlled close to one-third by the late colonial period. More than half of the new church estates incorporated after 1689 were located in the core area of the province, where previously there had been hardly any estates. The rapid expansion of church lands in areas controlled by Indian communities and their kurakas suggests the parish priests' growing power over, and involvement with, the peasant economy during the early decades of the eighteenth century.[11]

Parishes had come into possession of some land early in the colonial period, perhaps by taking over some community lands assigned to the priests of the Inca religion.[12] But most of the land that appeared as church estates after 1689 had previously belonged to the kurakas or Indian communities. In the late sixteenth century Kuraka Diego Choquehuanca, founder and financial backer of the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Azángaro, had donated extensive landholdings to the parish to help defray construction costs and administrative expenditures.[13] Communities may also have donated land to their parishes; in other cases they probably lost control over it unwittingly through the priests' administration of the lay fraternities' property or through failure to pay certain fees.[14] In contrast to other areas in Spanish America, in the altiplano parish churches held much more land than did orders, convents, or the Cuzco diocese. This was to make church lands more resistant to liberal legislation in the nineteenth century.

Among Azángaro's wealthiest landholders were some of the province's important kuraka families.[15] Between the mid-sixteenth and the mid-eighteenth century many kurakas increasingly "incorporated themselves into the group of provincial merchants, administrators, and landholders."[16] They used their position of authority over the Indian communities not only as brokers of the peninsular and creole elite but also in their own favor as private entrepreneurs or landholders. Such behavior represented


a break with modes of social interaction of the prehispanic Andean society and led to tensions between Indian commoners and kurakas.

The Choquehuancas, the wealthiest and most powerful kuraka family, traced their lineage back to a son of Inca Huayna Capac.[17] The family had held the cacicazgo (office of cacique) of the parcialidad Anansaya of Azángaro nearly uninterruptedly throughout the colonial period, although their control of this lucrative office was challenged several times. In the mid-sixteenth century Diego Choquehuanca was declared an hidalgo and granted the title Marqués de Salinas by the Spanish crown. By 1780 the Choquehuancas possessed eleven estancias in Azángaro, among them such large and valuable estates as Picotani, Checayani, and Nequeneque in Muñani and Puscallani, Ccalla, and Catacora around Azángaro. Joséf Choquehuanca's account of the services that the family rendered the crown during the Túpac Amaru Rebellion underscores the family's self-esteem and sense of social exaltation. He stressed the generosity and goodwill that the family had always shown to Spaniards, to the extent that Josef's sisters "were even married to Europeans out of the love that we profess for the Nation." They owned properties "sufficient to maintain a splendor that corresponds to the honor and birth of our lineage"; in Azángaro "no house was more comfortably situated."[18]

Of the forty-six kurakas appearing in the 1754 tribute lists for the province, none came close to the wealth and power of the Choquehuancas. Although most probably lived as relatively affluent peasants submerged in the indigenous society of their communities, a few other families held wealth comparable to that of Spanish landholders, among them the Mango Turpos, probably kurakas of the parcialidad Urinsaya of Azángaro.[19]

During the first three quarters of the eighteenth century the incorporation of lands into livestock estates occurred at an accelerated rate among all groups of landholders, the church, private Spaniards and mestizos, kurakas, and also the Indian communities, which increasingly used rental fees from communal estancias to help pay tributes and church fees. As the textile production of the southern Peruvian region boomed, interest in livestock production grew.[20] Because this interest came at the nadir of the northern altiplano's population density, the crown made it easy to acquire "excess" Indian lands.[21]

A royal cedula of October 15, 1754, facilitated the process of hacienda expansion by simplifying the bureaucratic process of sale and composition of crown lands.[22] In 1762 the family of Kuraka Diego Choquehuanca occupied large tracts of land in the area of Muñani, leading to a legal battle with three Indian communities, or ayllus . In his deposition before the commissioner of the Audiencia de Charcas, Andrés Hanco, an Indio origi-


nario from ayllu Picotani, testified that Doña María Choquehuanca, daughter of the kuraka, had taken possession of the lands belonging to Indians of the ayllu Nequeneque, constructing a building with three large rooms "at the cost of the Indians, without paying them anything," precisely on the spot where the cottage of one of the expelled community peasants had stood. The "many plots of land" taken by Diego Choquehuanca from the three ayllus in total "might amount to about forty leagues of land." The kuraka was depriving the community peasants "from raising livestock and sowing the fields, saying that these are his lands by purchase of his ancestors."[23] The Choquehuancas may indeed have held legal title to at least some of these lands since the late sixteenth century, but they attempted to incorporate them into effective estate operations only in the second half of the eighteenth century, severely infringing on the legally tenuous but real possession of these lands by the three ayllus. Nevertheless, the Audiencia of Charcas confirmed the kuraka's rights to these lands on November 21, 1762, and the formal procedure of taking possession was carried out on May 6, 1765.

Scarcity of labor was one of the main reasons inducing the altiplano's elites to establish estates rather than to rely exclusively on the extractions of surplus from the peasant economy. But the settling of a permanent labor force on Andean livestock haciendas was a long-term process that had far from concluded by the second half of the eighteenth century. According to Karen Spalding, this process began on a large scale only during the mid-seventeenth century, considerably lagging behind the process of land absorption. Previously the estates had relied primarily on labor in the form of mita and tribute obligations of Indian communities.[24] With increased repartos de bienes (forced distribution of goods) by corregidores, Indians saw themselves less and less capable of paying for the goods heaped on them. Poor peasants began to pay off their debts by working on haciendas, whose owners paid the corregidor for this supply of labor.[25] Moreover, the very process of land acquisition by the estates frequently brought peasants into the ranks of labor tenants, or yanaconas. Indian families stayed on their land being incorporated into an hacienda.[26] Some families preferred to flee from the obligations imposed on the communities—tribute payments, mita labor, and repartos by corregidores—into the relative security of hacienda yanaconaje .[27]

Throughout the colonial period owners attempted to fix increasing numbers of indigenous peasants on their haciendas as a permanently servile labor force. Yanacona labor was cheaper since it could be paid largely in usufruct rights to grazing and agricultural land. Settling a yanacona on the


estate also gave the hacendado access to the labor of his wife and children. Control over permanently settled workers reduced monetary payments for labor by a variety of manipulations, such as overcharging for foodstuffs and buying the yanaconas' own livestock products (hides and wool) at low prices.[28] But even more important may have been the quest for a secure labor supply. As the indigenous population declined until the first quarter of the eighteenth century and labor remained scarce long thereafter, hacendados worried whether sufficient numbers of mitayos and wage laborers could be drafted for their estates after the needs of the priority mining sector had been satisfied. Estates with few or no yanaconas had to rely on wage labor (gente de ruego ) and thus diminished in value.[29]

Although copious and repeated crown decrees—notably the labor tariff of Viceroy Duque de la Palata of 1687–regulated the colonos' pay on livestock estancias, the stipulated monetary wages were paid mostly in goods.[30] Moreover, administrators frequently managed to minimize payment in any form. The yanaconas' tribute was deducted from their pay, and they were charged for every head of livestock that was lost, a frequent mishap under conditions of open range herding.[31] The prices that they had to pay to the hacienda for foodstuffs, beyond the short rations (avíos ) received as part of their wage, were higher than those found in urban markets, sometimes by as much as 100 percent.[32] As a result of these practices, yanaconas frequently received only a small fraction of their monetary wage in any form. Payment for labor consisted of the limited avíos and the usufruct rights to pastures and agricultural lands of the hacienda.[33] By exempting yanaconas from mita labor and the repartos of corregidores, and by establishing special tribute rates for them (to be paid by the hacendado), the colonial administration legally defined their status as that of a caste.[34] When, in the early eighteenth century, the crown ordered that yanaconas should not be inhibited from leaving a hacienda, opposition to this measure was so strong in the Audiencia of Charcas that the royal decree was not published there.[35]

The economic operation of livestock estates remained haphazard. Three consecutive instructions for the administrators of the Jesuit ranch Ayuni y Camara between the 1690s and 1730s indicate that the order was attempting to institute more efficient exploitation of its stock and greater labor productivity, albeit with little success. Flocks of fertile ewes, rams, yearlings, and old sheep for slaughter were to be separated in order to regulate the reproductive cycle of the animals and diminish exorbitant mortality rates among newborn lambs, routinely reaching 50 percent. But the repeated admonitions in the Jesuit instructions to implement such


improved ranching methods make it clear that on their own estancias they met with little success. They were never even attempted by most ranchers in the altiplano.[36]

On the whole, land remained abundant in the northern altiplano during the last century of the colonial period, even if access to it by specific social groups was increasingly contested. When estates were leased, the annual rental fee reflected only the value of its livestock capital. An estancia with 1,000 sheep usually brought the same 100 pesos rental fee per year as a flock of equal size without pastureland. This conventional rate remained unchanged between 1689 and the end of the colonial period.[37] Land by itself had as yet little value;[38] what counted was the livestock capital and the possibility of exploiting it in a secure fashion with a minimum of monetary operational expenditures. From the perspective of Spanish commercial interests, land in the northern altiplano was still in an incipient phase of being mise en valeur . Control of land in itself could not, in contrast to a mature feudal society, secure power or wealth.

How then are we to explain the accelerated incorporation of livestock ranches during the first three quarters of the eighteenth century? After 1720 human population increased and livestock populations seem to have followed suit, particularly in the face of Cuzco's textile boom and rising demand for meat. The exploitation of livestock herds outside of estates, however, became increasingly difficult. As early as 1689 Azángaro's parish priest complained about the great difficulty that the parish had maintaining its sheep flocks grazing on land informally set aside for this purpose by the Indian communities. The parish had not been granted mita laborers, "who can be reckoned with." Thus, the parish had to solicit Indians "from various parts" as shepherds "by pleading or through the power of money." These free workers, "whenever they want, leave the flock out in the pasture to fend for itself and abscond, and in most cases they do so for having stolen or killed [some of the livestock]."[39] Such insecurities multiplied as the flocks roaming the unincorporated community pastures grew. During favorable periods for livestock products that coincided with human and livestock population growth, the only way to safeguard the flocks and to secure a reliable work force was to incorporate estates. Only then could one petition the crown for mitayos or establish yanaconas on the land. But the estancias that developed in this mid-eighteenth century conjuncture remained rudimentary in their internal organization.

Land Tenure in the Indian Communities

The landholding pattern in the indigenous peasant communities was highly interrelated with the development of the colonial hacienda complex. The


communities suffered directly from any expansion of surrounding estates, and there were labor linkages between both institutions. Toward the end of the colonial era Spanish concepts of property increasingly infiltrated peasant communities.[40]

By the eighteenth century the Indian ayllu or parcialidad differed in many respects from the preconquest Andean institutions. The ayllu of the Inca empire and the pre-Incaic ethnic kingdoms was constituted by extended family groups, which controlled the individual's access to material and spiritual resources and mediated the obligations and privileges of its members in the wider society.[41] Prior to Spanish colonization, ayllus belonged to one of two moieties, the Incaic parcialidades of Anansaya and Urinsaya, in which every level of society from the local kinship groups of agriculturalists to the Inca nobility was organized. During the centuries of colonial rule the ayllus underwent a gradual transformation into settlements defined by geographic location and their claims to land, often sanctioned by the crown. Although kinship ties, real or symbolic, continued to be important, they became less rigid, and the ayllus were increasingly inhabited by Indian peasants from different regions.

Viceroy Toledo's program of reducciones , initiated in the 1570s,[42] and the migration of large parts of the Indian population, particularly in the jurisdiction of the Audiencia de Charcas, contributed to these structural changes within the indigenous communities. In part these migrations were imposed by the colonial administration, the Potosí mita offering the most massive and notorious example.[43] In part they also represented a defensive reaction of Indian peoples against the exactions of Spanish colonial society: flight to areas outside the reach of the crown, church, or private entrepreneurs or to the anonymity of other communities and towns. The demographic development after conquest also proved a formidable obstacle to the maintenance of cultural and institutional continuity. The decline of the indigenous communities' population led to increasing encroachments on their lands from various sectors of Peruvian colonial society throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Legally all community lands were claimed by the crown, which granted their usufruct to the Indian families of the communities in exchange for tribute payments and mita labor services. This legal notion has been viewed as the basis of a long-lasting compact between colonial state and Indian communities.[44] It is certainly true that the crown had a keen interest in preserving the communal peasant economy, as it remained the crucial underpinning of private affluence and fiscal liquidity throughout Peru's colonial period. Since Toledo's time a whole body of protective legislation and institutions had grown to safeguard this interest, among them the


protectores de Indios , attached to the audiencias, and the corregidores de Indios .[45] Nevertheless, Spanish entrepreneurs, clerics, church institutions, and kurakas found ways to appropriate crown land from communities, particularly since the shrinking number of peasants could not effectively work all lands the crown had granted them in usufruct.[46]

During the eighteenth century, with the growing impact of enlightened notions of property and efficient agricultural production, the colonial administration's protective policy toward Indians became conflictive and may very well have contributed to the diminution of communal landholdings. On the one hand, the crown became increasingly concerned that the communities should have sufficient land for their member families to subsist and to fulfill their fiscal and labor obligations. Between 1710 and 1780 composiciones de tierra in favor of communities became more frequent, improving the title by which communities held their land.[47] But at the same time historical claims to land tended to be given less validity. Rather, enlightened bureaucrats and jurists wanted to base the right of community landholders on the principle that "the parcels assigned to the members should be all the same and adjusted to what one family needed and could exploit," as Joaquin Costa paraphrased the Count of Campomanes's ideas.[48] During the middle decades of the eighteenth century such precepts gradually permeated Peruvian colonial juridical practice. Crown officials began to carry out periodic land redistributions in the communities. Each Indian family of fully recognized community members received a uniform amount of land, varying from region to region. "Excess" community lands were to be sold in auctions, creating one more source of revenue for the exchequer of the Spanish king.[49]

Because this policy came during the decades just following the nadir of Peru's Indian population, it produced severe problems when the population rebounded in the second quarter of the eighteenth century. Soon remaining lands could not supply all Indians living in communities with enough agricultural and pastureland for feeding their families and fulfilling their obligations toward the various civil and religious authorities.[50] As early as the mid-eighteenth century Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa, authors of the Noticias secretas , noted that "at present the lands that remain for [the Indians] are much reduced and many of them have none."[51]

The difference between community peasants with and without land was to a certain extent institutionalized by the colonial administration. In the altiplano the distinction between originarios and forasteros, the former paying a higher rate of tribute, was based not so much on the geographic origin of the Indians as it was on their privileges in the corporate communities.[52] Although the term forastero originally described an Indian


residing in a community that was not his or her place of birth, it continued to be used for forasteros' descendants over several generations, people who were born and continued to live in the same community without achieving full usufruct rights of communal lands. Many forastero families possessed a small parcel of land, but it was always their goal to join the ayllu to obtain a share of communal land and thereby become full members of the community, or originarios.[53] In the meantime they survived by working on nearby estates, becoming clients of wealthier originarios, or renting land from the community or one of its members.[54] In 1761, for example, Juan Calsina, a notable from the ayllu Anansaya of Azángaro, brought suit against two forastero families, Nicolás and Sebastian Catari and the Amarus, before the Audiencia of Charcas. Two years earlier he had given in to their pleas and permitted them "to fallow and sow"—presumably as renters—a plot within his estancia Calaguala Hallapise, which his family had owned since the time of his great-grandfather Francisco Aiaviri Calsina. Now the Cataris and Amarus had extended the sections on which they were sowing until they had reached the house of Calsina. Calsina asked the audiencia to expel the two forastero families from his lands; the court ruled accordingly.[55]

Throughout the eighteenth century the problem of community peasants with no or insufficient land seems to have become more serious. In Azángaro the number of originarios declined by 37 percent between the recounts of 1758–59 and 1786, while the number of forasteros increased by 239 percent (table 3.2). In 1786 nearly two-thirds of the forasteros in 1786 possessed some land. During the last quarter of the eighteenth century originarios often wanted to be registered as forasteros in order to avoid mita service in Potosí and pay lower tribute rates. In brief, the number of community peasants who held enough communal lands to maintain their family subsistence and support the various levies by crown, church, and private entrepreneurs seems to have declined during the decades preceding the Túpac Amaru Rebellion.

But this cannot have been the whole picture with regard to land property of Indian peasants. What about more affluent peasants? Was it impossible for them to increase their landholdings even though they possessed the economic means to do so? Within the framework of the communities such expansion was indeed impossible since the colonial authorities undertook periodic redistributions of land with the particular goal of equalizing the plots of all originarios.[56] But peasants could acquire land outside the communities in fee simple by purchases from private landholders or by composition with the crown. Such must have been the case with the lands of the Turpo family in Asillo, for example. In 1900 Gabino Turpo applied


TABLE 3. 2. Composition of Azángaro's Tributarios,


























With land







Without land

















Note: These figures exclude Taraco, Pusi, and Poto.

Sources: Macera, Tierra y población , 161–62; Choquehuanca, Ensayo, 15–54.

for the registration of various plots of agricultural land in the ayllu Silluta of the parcialidad Urinsaya in Puno's departmental property registry. He explained that his title went back through several generations to Mateo Turpo, who had acquired the land sometime in the colonial period by composition before the Protector de Indios Francisco de Mina in Potosí.[57]

As the crown interfered more and more with communal land tenure, only land held outside the community guaranteed relatively safe possession to the peasant. Private ownership of land among Indian peasants was one of the signs of the penetration of Spanish property norms and concepts of the individual's position within society into the indigenous Andean world. At times peasants acquired land and herds as a basis for challenging a kuraka for office.[58] It appears that the peasants accumulating land in fee simple often came from the ranks of the principales , the highest communal officeholders, or the kurakas.[59] Private landholding by Indian peasants must have reached considerable proportions in late colonial Azángaro.[60] Only thus can we explain the paradoxical combination of low population density, incipient hacienda formation, and the scarcity of communal land. Private landholding introduced a new type of socioeconomic differentiation into the ranks of the Indian peasantry.[61]

The Exploitation of the Indigenous Peasantry

The system of colonial exploitation in rural provinces such as Azángaro continued to be "indirect" until the end of the colonial period. Surplus was


extracted from the indigenous peasantry in the form of payments in kind, of money, and of labor while leaving the majority of the colonial subjects in their own agrarian society. All members of the provincial elite, from the representatives of the crown to priests, kurakas, and private entrepreneurs, used their authority over the Indian population to benefit personally. Civil and ecclesiastical administration was inextricably intertwined with private appropriation. At the same time, only a minority of Indians suffered "direct exploitation" as servile laborers on the rural estates, in the mines, or in manufactories.

The two major ways by which the colonial administration extracted surplus from the Indian community peasants were the head tax and obligatory labor services. During the eighteenth century tribute rates continued to vary from province to province.[62] The tribute rate of the corregimientos of the northern altiplano was relatively low. In 1779 the Protector of Indians of the Audiencia of Lima, Dr. Baquijano, pointed out that the Indian communal lands there were extremely scarce—much below legal allotments—and that "because of [the land's] sterility and frequent floods [irrupciones ]" it was "nearly useless and infertile." As a result, Indians in the province of Paucarcolla were suffering scarcities, and "far from being able to harvest the crops in order to trade with them, in most instances they are lacking them even for their own sustenance, so that they are forced to maintain themselves with wild herbs." Concurring with the Indians' petition, he suggested reducing their tribute rates.[63]

Tribute collection was the responsibility of the kurakas, who were to turn over the moneys semiannually to the corregidores. This system resulted in a great number of abuses against both crown and commoners. In 1762 the Indians from three ayllus in Muñani, province of Azángaro, complained that their Cacique Diego Choquehuanca had hidden various Indians from being entered into the tribute list so that he could collect the tribute for his own account, that he was charging up to two pesos tribute per semester from twelve-year-old boys (legally exempt), and that he took a tribute of three pesos per semester from his yanaconas, whom he temporarily declared to be originarios.[64]

The other major obligation imposed on community Indians by the crown consisted of forced labor services, or mita. The Spanish colonial administration justified the continued and, indeed, much expanded use of this Incaic institution by reference to the supposed tendency of the Indians to idleness and the assumed need of forced labor for the realm's "public good."[65] Sanctioned and administered by the colonial government, mita labor mostly benefited private economic enterprises. It was used in mines, agricultural and livestock estates, and textile sweatshops. Employment in


public activities, such as public construction, the postal service, and tambos (way stations and inns), was of secondary importance.[66] In the mining mita one-seventh of the adult male population of an Indian community served one-year turns as mitayos. Beginning in the sixteenth century, Azángaro belonged to the sixteen corregimientos, which sent mitayos to the silver mines of Potosí.

The Potosí mita had a tremendous social and economic impact on the Indian peoples of the altiplano. After the mournful kacharparis (dances of parting) had been performed, the several hundred mitayos assembled in the provincial capital set out on their two-month, 600-kilometer trek to the mines. Accompanied by their wives and children, they took along llamas to transport household utensils, corn, and potatoes and some alpacas for meat. George Kubler has estimated that the Potosí mita from Chucuito province alone involved the movement of thirty thousand to fifty thousand animals each year. At the end of their turn many mitayos did not return to their communities, some having died while others stayed in Potosí.[67] During the seventeenth century the number of mitayos arriving in Potosí declined sharply, recovering somewhat following the 1730s. Many peasants now paid a fee to the mine owners in lieu of their labor obligations.[68]

By the eighteenth century parish priests had become powerful figures in the altiplano, benefiting greatly from their authority over Indian parishioners. They charged for every service performed—baptisms, marriages, and funerals—and forced individual members of the Indian communities to take charge of fitting out the yearly celebrations in honor of the patron saints. The Indian who received this responsibility had to pay for some new ornament for the patron saint, to provide food and drink for all celebrants, to hire musicians, and, last but not least, to pay a fee to the priest.[69] Such exactions often indebted the peasants, a situation from which they could extract themselves only by selling some of their lands or animals or by obliging themselves to work for the priest. Priests also operated as merchants, using their Indian parishioners as a captive market, although these practices were outlawed by the church. Priests often came from poor families, and their legal sources of income did not suffice to afford them a comfortable living, particularly if they had to support an illegitimate family.[70]

The unique position of kurakas in Peruvian colonial society—privileged leaders of indigenous society and representatives of Spanish colonial authority—offered them many opportunities to enrich themselves legally and illegally through various extractions from the Indian communities. Nicolás Sánchez Albornóz has noted that as early as the end of the seventeenth century the indigenous population of the altiplano showed par-


ticular frustration and anger about the exploitation it suffered at the hands of its own ethnic lords.[71] During the eighteenth century community Indians from Azángaro frequently brought suit against their kurakas before the Audiencia of Charcas.[72] Their accusations show the breadth of economic roles of a powerful kuraka in the altiplano, ranging from owner of estates, to local official imbued with authority by the viceroy to collect tribute and to dispatch mitayos, to merchant trading in locally produced and imported goods. Diego Choquehuanca's extraordinary ability to accumulate private wealth depended on his access to and control of the indigenous peasantry, both in the communities whose spokesperson he was supposed to be and on his own estates. By the mid-eighteenth century Choquehuanca's authority was not based solely on ties of kinship and reciprocal trust any more. Community Indians brought litigation against what they felt to be excessive exactions by their kuraka and routinely sought to escape compliance with these exactions, resistance for which they often received brutal punishment. Many kurakas behaved toward the indigenous peasantry in some ways as entrepreneurs, employing their crown-sanctioned authority for private ends, just as other members of the colonial provincial elite did.[73]

The infamous repartos de bienes by corregidores, which became such a heavy burden on Peru's indigenous peasantry during the eighteenth century, were by no means an unparalleled abuse. Still, corregidores practiced the reparto and other mercantile transactions forced on the indigenous peasantry on a larger scale than kurakas or priests did. As early as 1649 the revenues of the corregidor of Azángaro accruing from his commercial activities—sale of wine in the province and of locally produced sheep and saddle bags in High Peru—amounted to thirty thousand pesos for a two-year period.[74]

The eighteenth century saw a tremendous increase in the amount of goods distributed among the Indian peasantry. Recognizing that the salaries that the viceregal administration could afford to pay the corregidores were insufficient, the reform of the repartimiento system in 1751–56 for the first time legalized the practice, limited and defined by specific schedules.[75] The schedule for Azángaro permitted sales amounting to 114,500 pesos during a five-year term of office.[76] This meant an expenditure of about ten pesos for every Indian man, woman, and child every five years, or about 45 pesos per family. In comparison, such a family might have been paying anywhere from thirty-six to eighty pesos in tribute payments during a similar five-year period.[77] Corregidores, however, were not content to sell goods limited to the amount and price established by the schedule.[78] In 1771, before the completion of his term, the corregidor of


Azángaro, Fernando Inclán y Valdez, had already distributed "Castilian clothes, locally produced clothes, and mules" for 43,293 pesos in the parish of Asillo alone. When on top of these sales he carried out another distribution of forty-five mules for a further 1,440 pesos, the cacica y gobernadora of Asillo, Polonia Fernández Hidalgo, petitioned the Audiencia of Charcas to order the corregidor to take back this last reparto because the Indians still owed 23,000 pesos on the previously distributed goods. The excessive forced purchases had made it impossible for the Indians to pay their tribute on time. The cacica also reminded the authorities that Asillo's population was much smaller than that of the parish of Azángaro. The Audiencia of Charcas admonished the corregidor to limit his repartos to the amount permitted by the schedule and not to sell the Indians anything against their will.[79] But it is doubtful that this order changed his practices. Even the previous distributions of goods in Asillo, a parish accounting for about one-sixth of the province's Indian population, meant that Inclán had probably sold goods for about 260,000 pesos in the whole province of Azángaro, more than twice the amount permitted by the tariff.

The repartos de bienes were particularly odious to the Indians because of some of the ways that they were carried out: the very high prices of the goods sold by the corregidor against the low prices of the goods that the corregidor bought from the peasants; the uselessness of some articles that the Indians were forced to buy (even the mules, the most important article in the Azángaro distribution, were of rather dubious utility to them, well equipped as they were with the cheaper llamas as transport animals); and the use of distributed mules for transporting the merchandise of the corregidor without compensation.[80] In the course of the eighteenth century Azángaro's peasants repeatedly fought against the obligations imposed on them by the corregidores' forced sales. In 1741 this struggle led to a rebellion against corregidor Alfonso Santa.[81] In 1780, when Gregorio de Cangas classified all corregimientos in Peru according to their profitability, he commented that, although Azángaro was a first-class corregimiento, it was among the worst of the viceroyalty because of the cold climate and the "bellicosity of its inhabitants."[82]

Kurakas, priests, corregidores, and owners of estates all based the economic foundation of their elite status on the extraction of surplus from the community Indians. Because all of these provincial elites were relying on the same Indian peasants as "economic resource" and frequently proceeded illegally in their dealings, it was essential for the functioning of the whole system that they cooperate among each other. There is much evidence for such collusion between corregidores, kurakas, and priests.[83] It could take many different forms—for example, "profit sharing" between kuraka and


corregidor from the tributes they retained by falsifying tribute lists.[84] If for any reason cooperation between the various elite sectors broke down, their control and exploitation of the indigenous peasantry was endangered.

The Late Colonial Crisis

After the second quarter of the eighteenth century, with the renewed growth of the altiplano's Indian population, many forastero families faced a mounting land shortage. Originarios became more reluctant to share their communal land base with growing numbers of newcomers or second and third sons of originario and forastero families already settled in the communities. Colonial administrators in charge of the periodic redistributions of community lands agreed with the originarios that the lands were too scarce to include all landless Indians in the redistribution. During the 1770s and 1780s concern over scarcity of land as a cause for the Indian peasants' impoverishment became widespread.[85]

Even though conflicts over land had been on the rise during the preceding decades both among the various groups within the communities and between Indian peasants and the expanding hacienda sector, claims of land scarcity in the altiplano of the late eighteenth century remain puzzling from today's perspective. After all, Azángaro's population density was still quite low, and land in and of itself continued to be of little value. Furthermore, despite the establishment of new estates during the first three quarters of the eighteenth century, their numbers and total acreage remained modest compared to the situation in the early twentieth century. Indeed, conservative estimates would suggest that the peasantry controlled at least 50 percent of the agriculturally useful land in Azángaro until the end of the colonial period.

The puzzle can be disentangled only if we consider the effects of the growing level of exploitation to which most groups of peasants were subjected in the course of the eighteenth century. Payments and services owed to the representatives of crown and church as well as to other members of the provincial elite forced Indians to sell or slaughter increasing numbers of their animals.[86] By the 1770s the reliance on livestock for paying tribute, debts from corregidores' repartos, and other exactions, inevitable for peasants whose primary income came from animal hubandry, impeded the natural growth of the herds and may have depleted them. Royal officials, in any case not too intent on seeing those causes of the Indians' poverty linked to the socioeconomic system that they represented, attributed the stagnation of livestock herds to the "infertility" of the altiplano's soil and assumed that the pastures simply could not support


more animals. From there it was only a further step to conclude that the peasants' access to land had become dangerously insufficient.

In the decades prior to the Túpac Amaru Rebellion of the early 1780s, Azángaro's provincial elite—corregidores, priests, kurakas, and hispanized large landholders—had increased the extraction of surplus from the indigenous peasant economy just when the viceregal administration levied new taxes on Indians and extended their incidence. This apparent tightening of the squeeze led to what might be termed "overexploitation," with serious consequences for the whole fabric of society. The collusion between the various sectors of the elite was breaking down in the scramble for the limited income that could be derived from indigenous labor, land, and production. In the report to his successor, written in 1776, Viceroy Amat y Junient expressed his concern over the damages caused by the actions of corregidores:

Not only the Indians but also the respectable citizens who . . . possess haciendas in the provinces suffer much damage [from the repartos of corregidores], because the greed of the corregidores reaches their mayordomos and workers; the corregidores oblige them to make considerable payments for their servants and yanaconas and if they don't follow suit, they bother them, apprehend them and separate them from their work . . . and if they complain bitterly, the corregidores treat them as rioters.[87]

In Azángaro a severe conflict between the family of kuraka Diego Choquehuanca and the corregidor, Lorenzo Sata y Zubiría, surfaced immediately after the repression of the Túpac Amaru Rebellion. In December 1782 the corregidor was using the provincial militia to stop the Choquehuancas from requisitioning from several Indian communities thousands of heads of livestock that the kuraka family claimed to have been stolen from its estates during the rebellion. The kuraka's son, Joséf Choquehuanca, called the corregidor "our capital enemy" and refused to carry out further repartos; he was imprisoned but was later cleared of all charges by the Audiencia of Charcas.[88]

This type of struggle between various sectors of southern Peru's colonial provincial elite tended to destabilize control over and exploitation of the indigenous peasantry. The Indians could appeal—with some hope of being heard—for help against abuses by one authority to another authority. Fights between corregidores, kurakas, priests, and other members of the provincial elite allowed the audiencia to uncover illegal practices, hitherto hushed up by the collusion between all those profiting from them. This weakening of elite cohesion facilitated the Túpac Amaru Rebellion of


1780–1782. In the altiplano, peasant participation in the rebellion was directed as much against abuses by corregidores, kurakas, and hispanized large landholders as it was against the heavier burden of taxation that the viceregal administration attempted to impose on most sectors of Peru's society.[89]

One of the first steps that authorities in Lima took to contain the rebellion in 1780 was to outlaw repartos de bienes by corregidores.[90] After initially allowing the corregidores to stay in office until the end of their five-year terms, a decree of August 5, 1783, ordered their immediate removal.[91] Nevertheless, in Azángaro repartos continued until the end of the colonial era, albeit on a diminished scale, under the officials replacing the corregidores, the subdelegados . In 1789 the subdelegados of Azángaro, Lampa, and Carabaya misused funds from the royal treasury to distribute mules and cloth for 60,000 pesos among the Indians of their provinces.[92]

In spite of its military defeat, the Túpac Amaru Rebellion ushered in a number of lasting changes in the altiplano. The position of the kurakas was weakened, a measure taken by the viceregal administration not so much to control abuses by the indigenous Andean nobility of their subjects as to prevent these privileged members of colonial society from ever leading an uprising again. The office of cacicazgo was no longer to be hereditary; instead, crown officials were ordered to appoint "men of good character" known to be loyal to the Spanish king; they might even be Spaniards.[93] In many communities kurakas were also to cede their official powers, including the collection of tributes, to alcaldes y recaudadores de tributo .[94]

In Azángaro the clan of the Choquehuancas now saw the beginning of the decline of its power and wealth. This decline was probably caused as much by the destruction the rebellion wrought on their properties as it was by the new legal restrictions placed on their office. Most of the family's livestock haciendas had been burned and looted by the rebels, and several family members were killed. Beginning in the 1790s, even before the death of Diego Choquehuanca in 1796, the family had dissipated its energy in lawsuits between the numerous descendants of the old kuraka.[95] The Mango Turpo family also suffered losses during the rebellion. After a long bureaucratic process the Viceroy of Buenos Aires named Tomas Mango kuraka of the parcialidad Anansaya of Asillo some time between 1786 and 1790. But already in July of that year another principal Indian from Asillo contested his appointment on the ground that the Mango Turpos were practicing "extortions, abuses, and outrages" against the community Indians.[96]

The rebellion had an impact on land tenure in the altiplano that has not been fully recognized by scholars.[97] Túpac Amaru's troops and independent peasant bands occupied many haciendas during the fifteen months of


uninterrupted control of Azángaro and neighboring provinces.[98] In some instances—for example, during the uprising in Oruro in February–March 1781—the Indian peasants forced the owners of haciendas to sign notarial contracts making the peasants the legal owners of such hacienda lands.[99] In Azángaro the titles of private and church estancias were burned.[100] Of course, much land spontaneously occupied by Indian peasants during the rebellion was taken back afterward by the previous holders. But many Spanish residents of the region had been killed or had permanently left the altiplano. The gaps in the ranks of Azángaro's landholding elite began to be filled by new landholders, of creole and mestizo origin, as early as the last four decades of the colonial era; in contrast, in those regions of the viceroyalty not affected by the rebellion this process took place only in the decades following the Wars of Independence.

At the same time, some of the land occupied by rebelling peasants was never reclaimed. A report on the Intendency of Puno from 1803 still described the whole Collao as "very depopulated of Spanish people and of other castas [mixed races] since the time of the rebellion by Túpac Amaru and the Cataris."[101] Only eight peninsular or creole families resided in Azángaro town in 1813.[102] Both private and ecclesiastical estates were affected by the rebellion. In 1799, nearly two decades after the defeat of Túpac Amaru, Indian peasants still occupied land in the northern altiplano that had been claimed by parish churches and convents before the rebellion. Many church estates were reduced to half their previous size. The livestock capital of the estates was now suffering "great losses each year" because of scarce pastures. One contemporary source noted that even though royal judges repeatedly had ordered peasants to return these lands to the church, "it has not been possible to confine them to their just borders. This toleration of the abuse is gradually spreading so much that in a short while those estancias will cease to exist and with them the Divine Worship and the spiritual guidance offered for the benefit of the same Indians."[103] Peasants used the chaos of the long months of rebellion and the disarray into which Azángaro's church fell during the following years (with at least one parish priest tried as an accomplice of the rebels) to undo what had happened throughout much of the eighteenth century: the incorporation of communal lands informally granted to parishes and lay brotherhoods into livestock estates.

The rate of legally sanctioned sales and compositions of crown lands, including the lands in usufruct of the Indian communities, slowed down after the Túpac Amaru rebellion. Applying enlightened notions of landed property and productive, independent farmers, the Ordenanza de Intendentes of 1782 gave the intendants the power to investigate land titles and


correct abusive appropriations of communal lands. The intendants were to name judges and land measurers in each partido, and their decisions could be appealed to the Junta Superior de Real Hacienda in Lima. But given the great amount of de facto land appropriations during the eighteenth century, these regulations caused so many complaints and protests that Viceroy de la Croix suspended them.[104] Consequently, between the late 1780s and at least 1816 the viceregal administration expedited legal titles of sale or composition of crown lands only in "very rare cases."[105]

Nevertheless, during the administration of José González y Montoya as intendant of Puno between 1801 and 1806, new sales of community lands were carried out, some of them in Azángaro. In November 1802 Nicolás Montesinos, Alcalde Recaudador de Tributos of Asillo, petitioned the intendant for the composition and sale of Estancia Caiconi in his favor. Montesinos claimed that this estancia, located some forty kilometers northeast of Asillo in the foothills of the Cordillera de Carabaya, constituted unoccupied crown land (baldíos ). Witnesses supported his claim. They explained that "by custom" the land had been held by the "caciques y recaudadores de tributos" of Asillo as long as they could remember. Whenever a new man occupied that position, he assumed possession of Caiconi as appurtenance of the office, without any claims of hereditary rights by the heirs of his predecessors. The witnesses, all Spanish residents of Asillo, were a bit vague about the rights of the Indian community to the estancia lands. One flatly declared that "the común of the Indians of ayllu Hila where said estancia is located never possessed it." But according to another witness, "The community Indians never benefited from [the lands of Caiconi], although it is said that it belongs to the community." All witnesses agreed, however, that a change in the "property regime" of Caiconi would not hurt the community Indians, since they never benefited from it in the first place; moreover, they owned enough crop and pasture lands. On the contrary, they emphasized, the composition and sale of Caiconi would remove the detriment that the Royal Treasury had suffered because taxes had never been paid on the land.

The royal authorities in Azángaro and Puno accordingly went through all the customary steps of conferring title over Caiconi to Montesinos, including a public offering of the land by a town crier in loud voice on the plaza of Asillo on nine different occasions. After Montesinos had paid the determined value of the estancia into the royal treasury at Chucuito some time in 1803, the matter was sent on to Lima for the expedition of the title by the Junta Superior de Hacienda. There, however, it was held up, and although Montesinos was in possession of Caiconi, by 1807 he still had not been granted title.[106] A decree of the Junta Superior of August 19, 1809,


declared the sales and compositions expedited under Intendant González in Puno null and void. Nevertheless, by April 1813 the cabildo of Azángaro, "composed mostly of loyal Indians that have grown old in the service to the Sovereign," complained that many of the communal lands sold illegally under the auspices of González had still not been returned to the community Indians.[107]

These struggles over land during the decades after the Túpac Amaru Rebellion present evidence for the changes occurring in the notion of property and the rise of a new quality of conflicts between Indian and Spanish sectors of altiplano colonial society. Parishes, kurakas, and even private creole or mestizo residents had initially received usufruct rights to pasturelands from Indian communities for circumscribed and well-defined purposes: parishes were allowed to use the products from the sheep, cattle, or cameloids that would be pastured there in support of a hospital, a special parish fund, or the outfitting of a patron saint; a kuraka would be granted lands as appurtenance of his office in recognition of the reciprocal services that he was assumed to render for the community; creoles and mestizos might build rural chapels whose upkeep would naturally be supported by the surrounding lands.[108]

For the Indian communities land-use rights had not been based on universalistic notions of property but rather on highly specific arrangements that tied material control over land to the maintenance of mutual obligations between the community and the person or institution benefiting from the usufruct.[109] In the course of the eighteenth century this notion of land use was challenged by the colonial authorities and the provincial elites, a development that originated both in the attempt to achieve more effective control over livestock operations and in enlightened property concepts. If the beneficiary of traditional use rights began to construct a building complex on the land and treated the shepherds, whom the community had customarily dispatched as part of what it perceived as mutual obligations, as yanaconas, the community would consider this a breach of the customary use rights and initiate measures to restore the old status. Peasants would drive livestock onto the now disputed pastures, and the community would file petitions and suits with the authorities.

Before the 1780s communities in the altiplano seem to have had little success with such measures. The provincial elites were relatively united, and the authorities were as yet not overly concerned about presumed scarcities of land for the peasants and instead saw every composition in favor of an individual property holder as a step toward a more rational economic order. By the 1780s this situation had changed. Infighting between corregidores or subdelegados, priests, kurakas, and estate owners


created opportunities for the communities to recover land against an enfeebled opposition. They could hope to find a receptive ear at court and among higher-level officialdom. Fear about the explosive consequences of a presumed peasant land shortage led to the curtailment of alienations of community lands.

Of equal importance for turning the tide may have been the fact that the interest in expanding livestock estates or incorporating new ones dropped off considerably after the 1780s as demand for livestock products stagnated or even declined. Around 1810, for example, the hacendado Gregorio Choquehuanca, son of the deceased kuraka Diego and canon at the cathedral chapter in Chuquisaca, allowed several indigenous families to enjoy the usufruct of estancias that he considered "integral parts" of his hacienda Ccalla in Azángaro parish without forcing these families to lend their services as yanaconas.[110]

Nevertheless, for the poorest Indian peasants, forasteros, and younger children of originarios, access to land remained precarious during the remainder of the colonial period. A growing number of them abandoned their communities in which they had lived for generations. In part this was the consequence of a series of social and natural calamities. Following on the heels of the rebellion, the northern altiplano was struck by a drought between 1782 and 1784 that led to crop failures, further reduction of livestock herds, and death by starvation of many people.[111] In 1784, more than a year after the effective pacification of the region, the prices of several staple foods—including corn, flour, and legumes—reached all-time high levels in the Collao.[112]

As food became scarce, Indians sought opportunities to earn a few reales through engaging in petty trade, working as servants, or attending to travelers on the roads.[113] The new century brought no relief. An angina epidemic in 1802–3 killed one-tenth of the province's population, and the Wars of Independence saw massive recruitments of Azángaro's Indians, mostly by the royalists, as early as 1810–11. In conjunction with harsh frosts throughout southern Peru, in 1814 and 1816 the disruptions of the military campaigns brought about food shortages so severe that, according to José Domingo Choquehuanca, Azángaro's streets and countryside were filled with corpses of starved people.[114]

Vagrancy, as contemporary authorities called the increasing mobility among the indigenous population of the altiplano, had other causes as well.[115] According to one source, during the negotiations of Diego Cristóbal Túpac Amaru with Mariscal del Valle about a general pardon in late 1781, "the people of Azángaro were filled with so much despair when they heard that the corregidores were returning" that many families left for the


eastern escarpment of the Andes in Carabaya and Apolo (modern Bolivia) with their livestock and belongings.[116] Fleeing to the rims of the Spanish colonized realm had always been a method of evading excessive burdens heaped on the Indians by colonial authorities. Some crown officials had long expressed their fear that abusive repartos, increased crown taxation, and church fees might induce Indians to withdraw to the "barbarous and disloyal nations."[117]

But there existed another and probably more frequent expression of "vagrancy" among the poorest peasants in the altiplano: precarious squatting on underutilized lands. In his description in 1790 of the bishopric of Cuzco, of which the partido of Azángaro formed the southernmost part, Pablo José Oricaín described this phenomenon with dramatic detail:

No less painful is the fact that many Indians move about, astray in the steepest and most arid mountain regions, together with their families and livestock, under the pretext of bringing the animals from one pasture to the other. They wander around carrying some short sticks; wherever they find a source of water and sufficient pasture, they build a temporary shelter until the residents of that place oblige them to render services or rents; when they perceive any formal obligations, they take apart their hut and move on to another jurisdiction, and in this manner they migrate from one place to the next.[118]

A growing number of forasteros and children of originarios with no or insufficient land took precarious possession of any pastures not fully or permanently used by those individuals or institutions deemed to have rights to them. These could be lands which communities considered to belong to them but which the crown considered baldíos , or outlying stretches of estates recently formed by private landholders, kurakas, or the parishes, which were underutilized and had uncertain titles. Squatting allowed the poorest peasants to escape, albeit in a fragile and precarious fashion, the two conditions that threatened their livelihood most seriously: lack of land and the heavy burden of taxes and fees.

The weakening of various sectors of the southern sierra's colonial elite beginning in the early 1780s may have decreased the control over the Indian peasantry as a labor force, in spite of stringent antivagrancy decrees.[119] With the abolition of the repartos de bienes, continued on a smaller scale and with less regularity by the subdelegados, one of the most powerful mechanisms of obliging peasants to work outside of their communities or sell commodities to hispanized traders had ceased to be effective. That the abolition of repartos would lead to less production and


labor by the Indians for the benefit of hacendados, merchants, caciques, and priests was precisely the concern that prompted Visitor General Escobedo to advocate a renewal of official trade with the Indians under the euphemistic label of socorros , a plan soon abandoned for fear of leading to new revolts.[120] Crown policy toward the Indians had to steer a course between the Scylla of overly heavy surplus extraction, leading to the partial or total withdrawal of Indians from the colonial order, and the Charybdis of limiting such extractions too severely, allowing the peasantry too much autonomy to the inevitable detriment of the interests of the primary constituents of the colonial regime in the rural Andes, the provincial elites. But under the critical conditions that had arisen by the early 1780s the crown felt forced to adopt a path out of this dilemma that aimed at establishing a stronger direct cash nexus between the Indian peasantry and the crown and limiting surplus extractions by the provincial elites.

While the burden of repartos and extractions by kurakas was reduced, tribute payments in the northern altiplano rose dramatically, especially in the second half of the 1780s (fig. 3.1).[121] These increases can be attributed only in part to Indian population growth. Tribute revenue in the region's treasury districts grew fifteenfold between the 1750s and the mid-1820s, several times the rate of Indian population growth. The difference finds its explanation in improved and more systematic means of collection, an effort that began in the 1750s but culminated in the 1780s, when alcaldes y recaudadores de tributo in many cases took over from the kurakas.[122] Legally barred from carrying out repartos, the subdelegados, who had replaced the corregidores as the highest authorities in the provinces, had a keen personal interest in maximizing tribute collections, as they retained 3 percent of the taxes paid. It seems no mere coincidence that tribute payments should dramatically increase precisely during the decade after the forced trade with Indians had been outlawed and legal trade in the altiplano—in contrast to other areas of Peru—stagnated, as evidenced by the leveling off of alcabala receipts.

In sum, the decades between the outbreak of the Túpac Amaru Rebellion and the demise of the Spanish colonial regime represented the first phase of a long era of transformation for the agrarian economy and society of the altiplano. It had its origins in a multifaceted crisis that undermined the viability of the colonial order firmly established since the Toledan reforms of the 1570s. This order had largely been based on the "indirect" exploitation of the community peasantry, the extraction of surplus in the form of commodities, labor, and money from their formally autonomous economy through the mediation of the colonial authorities. The disruption of the regional trade circuits; the weakening cohesion of the provincial elite;


Figure 3.1
Mean Annual Tribute and Alcabala Collection in the Northern Altiplano, 1751–1822
Note: Up to 1800: cajas reales of Carabaya and Chucuito; from 1803; caja real of Puno.
Source: TePaske and Klein, Royal Treasuries 1:88–101, 446–52; 2:86–99.


the population increase in the Indian communities and the concomitant internal conflicts over land; the shift from informal exploitation of peasant lands through kurakas, priests, and private mestizos and creoles to their growing incorporation into formalized estate operations; and the impact of the Bourbons' "enlightened despotic" fiscal and agrarian policies—all contributed to undermine the established colonial order.

Beginning in the 1780s, members of all social groups in the altiplano were groping to redefine their economic operation and the relations among each other, while the outlines of the new order remained blurred. Estate owners, kurakas, priests, and hispanized traders entered a phase of difficulty and instability as their trade with High Peru shrank, their control over the peasant economy weakened, and the Bourbons increasingly blocked the consolidation of their landholdings.

For the peasants of the altiplano the decades between the 1780s and the early 1820s must have appeared as perplexingly "chiaroscuro," as Eric Van Young has noted for New Spain. For them this era brought increasing bureaucratic interference in such communal affairs as the appointment of kurakas and the disposal of communal pastures and crop lands. With the connivance of colonial administrators, properties belonging to the old community chests were often appropriated by mestizos and creoles who had rented them,[123] and the collection of tribute among those peasants who had not left their communities continued at a very high level until the beginning of the Wars of Independence.

Yet in many ways the onset of the crisis also strengthened the autonomy of the altiplano peasantry. The forced repartos de bienes, a crucial aspect of the colonial order at least since the late seventeenth century, had been greatly reduced, and private entrepreneurs found it more difficult to harness the peasant economy for their own advantage. The ambiguous agrarian policy of the Bourbons finally stopped the consolidation of newly formed private estates and the incorporation of further communal lands into entrenched ones; and although the crown policy of limiting communal landholdings to a specified amount per household had contributed to serious land shortages within the communities, the blockage of further hacienda expansion into what authorities declared to be baldíos indirectly favored the temporary appropriation of such lands by peasant squatters. There were also serious limits to the effectiveness of the attempted greater control of the peasantry through colonial authorities. Their removal from lands that the crown deemed to belong to the royal domain or private and church owners largely failed, and during the critical years of the "Napoleonic captivity" of Spain's monarchy, Azángaro's Indians successfully exploited new legislation to stymie tax collection for over a year.[124]


In rural areas such as the northern altiplano, then, the order that Bourbon reformers in Lima and Madrid hoped to create began to be choked by the contradictions of their own policies. These were epitomized by a legal scarcity of land for peasants in a region of low population density, a region where land was so plentiful that it had no exchange value distinct from the livestock flocks that it could nourish. Before the contours of the new, "liberal" order could emerge under commercial and political conditions more favorable to hispanized estate owners, traders, and the new provincial authorities of the republic, it was the peasants who benefited most from the uncertainty. Achieving, for the time being, an equilibrium with the colonial elites that had pressed on communal resources, their broadened autonomy gave them a brief breathing space that was to prove vital to their capacity to cope with the intense pressures of the rejuvenated provincial elites after 1850.


The Oligarchization of Liberal Visions

A few years after Peru's independence, José Domingo Choquehuanca drew a somber picture of the decay and impoverishment of Azángaro province. Most adobe houses in the towns were in bad repair, "and if one tried to sell, there would be no one to buy, which results from the depopulation and the poverty of the area." All but a handful of mines were abandoned. And the "very few" estates dedicated to ranching, "the wealth of the province," were languishing, and nobody would undertake their improvement "because of ignorance, insufficient capital, or lack of application."[1]

In part Choquehuanca was expressing the frustration of one who loved his homeland in the face of the crisis that had befallen the economy and the very social order of the altiplano during the preceding decades. But a new element also colored his perception: he portrayed the state of the province from the vantage of his liberal convictions. He reported on the natural wealth of the altiplano and on its impoverishment due to flawed human institutions. The tyranny of the recently defeated Spanish regime, the heavy and still growing burden of the church on the livestock industry, and the ignorance and superstition of the Indian peasantry were to blame for the pitiful state of affairs. If these obstacles were removed, then the virtuous propensity toward self-improvement of estate owner, artisan, trader, and peasant alike would surely lead to affluence in Azángaro, as promised by the province's rich natural endowments for mining, livestock raising, fishing, industry, and commerce. Indeed, Choquehuance noted that some of the better citizens were already beginning to adopt the customs of enlightened society.

Choquehuanca's treatise on Azángaro, published in 1831, aptly reflected the historical moment. In the thrall of an epochal crisis that touched most aspects of the social, political, and economic order of the northern altiplano,


the leading citizens of the region were beginning to envision more clearly the direction in which they wanted things to move in order to achieve stability and affluence. But it would take another quarter century before a liberal agrarian regime was firmly established in the Peruvian altiplano, freed from the hindrances and ambiguities of the late colonial order yet distant from the hopeful visions of the immediate postindependence years. In the meantime, under the deceptive surface of political chaos and economic stagnation, important shifts were affecting the patterns of land tenure and social stratification in the region.

The Languishing Estates

During the period immediately following independence hacendados and other members of the hispanized elite showed little interest in acquiring lands from Indian peasants. Rather, the greatest activity of sales and purchases, as well as leases, occurred within the estate sector.[2] For many old, established families in the altiplano and in Cuzco, economic difficulties caused by commercial dislocation and war-related losses had become so pressing that they could not hold on to their estates. The composition of Azángaro's landholding elite changed considerably during the decades following the termination of the Wars of Independence. By 1825 those creole hacendado families who had accumulated landholdings in Azángaro on the basis of sixteenth-century encomiendas had disappeared from the province.[3] Of the thirty-eight families represented among the fifty officers of Azángaro's militia regiment in 1806, by midcentury at least nine had vanished from the ranks of provincial hacendados.[4] Among the owners of large estates it was especially members of the colonial Cuzqueño patriciate who were giving up their haciendas in the altiplano, a process that had begun even before independence. Other families, while remaining residents of Azángaro, lost estates or saw their holdings splintered through inheritance to numerous heirs. Notable among these were the Choquehuanca and Mango families, who suffered from the abolition of the office of cacicazgo on July 4, 1825, and from interminable legal struggles over inheritance.[5]

Between the 1810s and 1840s individuals or families from outside the province acquired estates in Azángaro. Most of these newcomers could rely on income from a military position, an administrative office, or an ecclesiastical appointment or had accumulated some wealth as traders before becoming landholders in the altiplano.[6] Francisco Lizares, for example, a creole born in Urubamba near Cuzco before the turn of the century, was a sergeant major in the royal army well into the Wars of Independence.[7]


He appeared in Azángaro sometime during the early 1820s. During the following three decades Lizares managed to lay the foundations for two separate lineages of Azangarino hacendado families. At the time of his death around 1850, his wife, Juliana Montesinos, a native Azangarina, and their three legitimate daughters—Maria Dolores, Augustina, and Antonia Lizares Montesinos—inherited four small to medium-sized haciendas in the districts of Azángaro and Arapa stocked with more than 1,700 head of sheep and 140 cows. Lizares had been granted two of these estates in emphyteusis for 150 years by the church between 1829 and the 1830s.[8] Like other men of limited means, Lizares was taking the first step toward building up sizable landholdings: the short-term rental or, preferably, long-term lease of a church hacienda.

Building on the inheritance from Francisco Lizares and his mistress Josefa Quiñones, Lizares's illegitimate son, José Maria Lizares Quiñones, became one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in Azángaro during the second half of the nineteenth century. The origin of the possession of most of his numerous estates is clouded, but as early as 1840 Francisco Lizares was expanding the small hacienda Muñani Chico—owned by Josefa Quiñones, a woman of some notoriety in Azángaro's provincial society—by purchases from neighboring peasants. This hacienda was to become a sprawling estate during the late nineteenth century and the centerpiece of the vast landholdings of the Lizares Quiñones.[9]

Another newcomer, Manuel Ruperto Estévez, had worked as a merchant in Arequipa during the final years of colonial rule. From there he conducted a substantial trade in European goods and coca leaves with Cuzco and the altiplano. He became administrator of Puno's departmental treasury during the 1830s and in 1846 purchased Hacienda Huasacona, district Muñani, from Juliana Aragón vda. de Riquelme, whose family had acquired the estate only during the 1830s.[10] The livestock capital of Huasacona, which had been one of the province's important estates since the seventeenth century, amounted to 15,000 ovejas madres en reduccion , or units of sheep. (Abbreviated OMR, this figure was the basic unit for tallying livestock.) For such a sizable purchase Estévez relied on his own wealth as well as lines of credit from outside the province.[11] Like most affluent hacendados, he never resided on his estate or even lived in the province. Two years after purchasing Huasacona he leased it to a notable from Muñani, who operated it for decades.[12]

During the two decades following the occupation of Lima by San Martín in July 1821, successive Peruvian administrations confiscated property belonging to peninsular Spaniards as well as religious and civil institutions. It has long been assumed that the early Peruvian state played


a significant role in changing the composition of Peru's class of large landholders by distributing confiscated estates through donations, sales, or adjudications to private citizens. This redistribution presumably helped the public treasury and created "a new republican landholding aristocracy" indebted to particular administrations.[13] Although such redistribution may have been frequent on the coast, in Azángaro only a few haciendas were transferred through state interference. The institutions that suffered most loss of land were the community funds. In 1821 the Caja de Censos de Indios in Lima, the umbrella organization for all community funds, was incorporated into a newly created Dirección de Censos y Obras Pías.[14] In the following years the payments by tenants of the ancient caja's properties were neglected, forgotten, or suspended. In 1825 the interest on the credits granted by the caja were lowered from 5 percent annually to 2 percent for rural and 3 percent for urban properties. Debtors were allowed to amortize these credits by paying with documents of the public debt at their nominal value, although their market value was much lower. Many properties of the caja were simply usurped by those who happened to be holding them.[15]

In Azángaro, Hacienda Payamarca of the community fund of Asillo was adjudicated to the Sociedad de Beneficencia Pública of Puno some time after its foundation in the 1830s. In 1853 the beneficencia sold the estate to José Mariano Escobedo. A wool merchant and at that time one of Puno's two senators to the Peruvian congress, Escobedo had been in possession of Payamarca by virtue of a lease (censo ) granted by the fund to Escobedo's mother in the early years of the century. Escobedo, perhaps a nephew of subdelegado Ramón Escobedo, whom Azángaro's peasants had accused of illegally appropriating community lands in 1813, paid the purchase price of 6,000 pesos with internal debt bonds, redeemable at the Caja de Consolidación, established by President Echenique's notorious scheme of consolidating the internal debt.[16]

The church suffered little loss of land through confiscations in Azángaro. During the liberal administrations of Luis José de Orbegoso and Andrés Santa Cruz, between 1834 and 1839, such confiscations were frequent in many parts of the republic.[17] In 1835 President Orbegoso ordered José Rufino Echenique, the future president, "to capitalize and sell all properties held in mortmain existing in [Puno] with the goal of procuring resources for the army." After learning how much corruption this process entailed and how the temporary holders of many estates saw it as a convenient means to obtain full property titles, Echenique decided that such "violent expropriations" were "contrary to [his] principles" and


renounced the commission.[18] Indeed, in Azángaro province most church haciendas remained untouched by government expropriation during the early decades after independence.[19]

Tax lists on rural property for the neighboring province of Lampa for 1843 and 1850 give a rough idea of the size distribution of altiplano estates. The number of haciendas in that province grew modestly from 154 in 1843 to 184 in 1876; however, this increase may merely reflect a change in terminology.[20] The size of most estates was not measured in the altiplano until after 1900; thus, we have to rely on livestock capital—expressed in OMR—as an index of the size of estates.

In 1843 Lampa province counted twenty-one large estates with 5,000 or more sheep, somewhat less than one-seventh of the total number of estates.[21] Of Lampa's 154 estates, 54 percent were mid-sized (between 1,000 and 5,000 OMR), and 32 percent were small (fewer than 1,000 OMR). Only nine haciendas held 10,000 or more units of sheep. In 1843 the largest estate, Hacienda Miraflores in the district of Cabanillas, a property of the Beneficencia Pública of Cuzco, maintained on its pastures 16,000 OMR of its own plus 2,000 OMR belonging to the long-term tenant. From what we know about carrying capacity of altiplano pastures, we can estimate that an hacienda such as Miraflores required anywhere from 6,000 hectares to 18,000 hectares to maintain these sheep flocks.[22] Although such haciendas were many times larger than the majority of small and medium-sized estates, they did not reach the dimensions of the vast livestock latifundia of northern Mexico or even some of the mixed livestock and crop-raising estates of the Bajío, described by David Brading for the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.[23]

The tax rolls assessed the net income produced by an estate as a flat rate of 10 percent of its livestock capital. For example, in 1843 Hacienda Miraflores, with its 18,000 OMR, was assumed to generate 1,800 pesos income per year for its leaseholder. But tenants of estates throughout the 1840s and 1850s also routinely paid leases set at 10 percent of the livestock capital if the flocks fully used the carrying capacity.[24] The actual ratio of income to livestock thus must have exceeded the fictitious ratio of 1:10 used as a basis of tax assessment.[25] Even so, few haciendas could have generated an annual income of 4,000 or 5,000 pesos. The majority of Lampa's estates, holding from 1,000 to 5,000 OMR, must have produced annual net incomes of below 1,000 pesos.[26] Small estates generated at most an income of 200 pesos annually.

Even the largest altiplano estates did not produce an income that by itself made their owners wealthy men or women by any but narrow regional


TABLE 4.1. Haciendas in Azángaro with 5,000 or more OMR, Mid-Nineteenth Century



Owner or Enfiteuta


Livestock (OMR)

Value (pesos)


Year of Information



María del          Rosario Choquehuanca

Modesto Basadre







Martina Carpio vda. de Urbina

Bonifacio Ramos







Juliana Aragón de Riquelme







Manuel Ruperto Estévez

José Manuel Torres







José Mariano Escobedo







Virginia Urviola

Andrés Urviola







María A. Vieyra y Choquehunaca


Above 20,000



Muñani Chico


José Luis Quiñones

José Manuel Torres






San José

Santiago and Carmen Riquelme

Miguel Bueno,     José Pastor







José Manuel Calle

Andrés Urviola







Rufino Macedob





Purina y Viscachani


Dionicio Zevallosb







Juana Manuela Choquehuanca





a The owner panned to restock the estate up to the higher number.                        b Enfiteuta; owner was the parish church.

Sources : REPA and REPP, 1852–64; RPIP, vols. 3–4.


standards. Unlike many of the coastal vineyards and sugar haciendas, one of the dozen or so very large estates in the department of Puno did not constitute sufficient property and income to place its owner among Peru's fluid upper class. Ownership of a small finca provided for only an extremely modest life-style, in which being able to afford certain dietary items and some European garb and household furnishings took on great importance for maintaining the distinction between one's own social position and that of Indian peasants.

The size range of Azángaro's estates in the middle years of the past century was similar to that of Lampa province. In Choquehuanca's opinion, of the seventy privately owned estates, fifty-seven were "only some small properties, the products of which hardly suffice to subsist on."[27] Of the thirteen large haciendas with 5,000 or more units of sheep (table 4.1), eight were nearly contiguous; from Puscallani in the northeastern corner of Azángaro district to Picotani, Huasacona, Checayani, Muñani Chico, and Nequeneque in the district of Muñani and, continuing southeastward, to Tarucani/Sirasirani and Pachaje in the district of Putina. This had been one of the two core regions of estates in the province as early as the seventeenth century. The medium-sized and small estates were more dispersed, although they thinned out considerably in the southwestern corner of the province.

The value of Azángaro's livestock haciendas was low. Huasacona, one of the largest and best-capitalized estates, sold for 25,040 pesos in 1854, not counting mortgages for a total of 9,525 pesos owed various establishments and persons in Cuzco. This price included all livestock and installations.[28] In 1862 José Mariano Escobedo asked his business friend Juan Paredes to try to sell Hacienda Quichusa, district Azángaro, for him. "If somebody would buy it, capitalized with 2,000 sheep, for 4,000 pesos cash down, you could sell, by which you would do me a favor."[29] During the severe slump of the mid-1840s estates often could be sold only at a loss, if buyers could be found at all.[30]

The value of land in the altiplano stood in close relation to the livestock capital that it could maintain. It had probably not changed much since the late colonial period, although evidence for this claim remains tenuous.[31] During the mid-eighteenth century the Jesuits charged a rate of 10 percent of livestock capital as lease for their haciendas Llallahua and Titiri. This same conventional rate prevailed for rentals one hundred years later. As late as the mid-nineteenth century many appraisals of estates still neglected to differentiate between the value of livestock capital and the land itself. Such differentiation became necessary only in those cases in which an


estate had excess pastures over its present livestock capital—that is, when it was undercapitalized.[32]

The appraisers of land (peritos agrimensores ), often estate owners themselves, based their assessments on land quality and other factors determining how many livestock units an estate could maintain throughout the year. Visual inspections served them in arriving at this judgment. The same criteria used to evaluate Hacienda Llallahua in 1771 were applied nearly one hundred years later, in 1869, on the occasion of a dispute over the adequate rental rate for the small Hacienda Achoc, property of the parish church of San Miguel de Achaya. The prospective renter, Casimira Zea vda. de Hidalgo, cited these criteria:

One has to find out the extension of the estate, the quality and type of its pastures, its livestock capital, both regarding sheep and cattle; if an estate is good in all respects, [and] contains a large livestock capital, there is no doubt that one could well pay 15 percent rent on it, because in this case the income it produces [utilidad ] is real or of a regular level. But in the contrary case, as happens when I try to lease a small finquita, a rent of 15 percent results highly excessive and the estate would hardly bring any income. . . . [Achoc is] small in size, dry, has few pastures . . ., has no waterholes, nor a comfortable building complex, nor does it have its own Indians or shepherds so that for the necessary services one has to entreat and beg people from outside the estate, who don't stay forever. Its livestock capital is extremely small, as it has no more than 1,000 head, and with this capital one can get only a very small income from the estate, which might possibly reach the 15 percent that has been indicated as rent by the treasury of the bishopric.[33]

In appraisals all factors influencing the quality and profitability of an altiplano livestock estate were subsumed conventionally in one figure: the value of a unit of livestock capital, including its necessary pasture.[34] Put differently, even by the 1860s land in the altiplano continued to be of little value in and of itself. Just as in the colonial period, it was treated as an appurtenance of the livestock, the "lead commodity" determining the exchange value of land.[35]

The wealthiest landholders, who could be said to belong to southern Peru's regional elite, often owned several estates, aside from urban properties and investments in mines or commerce. María Rivero vda. de Velasco, born in the small market town of Vilque, west of Puno, was one of the wealthiest persons in the department of Puno by midcentury (table


4.2). Not atypically, a significant part of her properties—Hacienda Añavile, the mine Jesus María, and the house in Arequipa—were sold on her death to pay for various private and public debts (including arrears of taxes); the remaining proceeds were to be distributed among the poor of Puno town.[36]

The Lampa tax lists of 1843 and 1850 reveal another important aspect of altiplano hacienda structure in that era.[37] In 1843 nearly half of all estates were not operated by their owners. Eleven of the seventy-one estates were held in emphyteusis for the standard three "civil lives" (150 years). Such long-term leases were used mostly by corporate landowners, such as parishes and convents, to receive a steady flow of income from their property. Many of the other sixty estates operating under short-term rental contracts belonged to corporate holders as well, mostly parish churches.[38] But there was also a considerable number of private hacienda owners who preferred to rent out their estates rather than to operate them directly.[39] This tendency was most pronounced for the largest haciendas. In 1843 an amazing 80.9 percent of all large haciendas in Lampa province were not operated by their owners. The percentage declined for medium-sized estates to 55.9 percent and to only 14.3 percent among the small estates. The sample of large haciendas from Azángaro at midcentury (table 4.1) suggests a similarly high share of indirect hacienda operation (nearly 70 percent of the total). In the Lampa tax list for 1850 the percentage of estates operated by their owners had already begun to climb appreciably to just under two-thirds, with the shift most marked among mid-sized estates. This shift may be an early indication of the improving conjuncture.

Many hacienda owners in the altiplano were unwilling to exploit their estates by themselves during the difficult postindependence years. While risks and uncertainties had increased, it had become more difficult to bring outside laborers onto the estates for the wool clip and the slaughter of the old animals, and the cost of transport and credit had gone up. Yet rents had stagnated or even declined since the 1770s. Under these circumstances many owners of estates preferred the relatively secure and steady income from lease fees to operating the hacienda directly, even though this approach diminished the absolute level of income. Owners of small estates could ill afford to give up part of their income to a renter since they usually needed every peso to make ends meet. The greater revenues of the owners of larger estates, often multiplied through ownership of several haciendas, gave them more leeway with regard to the manner of operating an estate. Absenteeism among large estate owners also favored leasing out haciendas to tenants, as difficult transport and communication conditions rendered adequate supervision of the estate's management nearly impossible. In


       TABLE 4. 2. Property of María Rivero vda.
                             de Velasco, 1854

A. Livestock Estates

Livestock capital

Hda. Toroya, Dist. Cabana

8,000 sheep

Hda. Añavile, Dist. Cabana

5,000 sheep

Hda. Tolapalca, Dist. Vilque

660 sheep


25 llamas

Hdas. Cochela Tango and                                Chijollane, Dist. Atuncolla

3,300 sheep


50 cows


5 bulls

Hda. Buenavista, Dist. Caracoto

3,300 sheep


50 cows


5 bulls

Hda. Chujura, Dist. Vilque

2,200 sheep


25 cows


5 bulls

Hda. Qquera, Dist. Vilque

2,200 sheep

Estancias Taccara and Quillora

550 sheep

Total Livestock Capital

25,210 sheep


125 cows


15 bulls


25 llamas

B. Other Real Estatea

3 houses in Vilque

4 houses in Puno

1 house in Arequipa

3 crop fields, with cottage, in the outskirts of Puno

1 mill for silver ore, in the outskirts of Puno

Hacienda mineral Jesúa, Dist. Tiquillaca

a Missing from this list: Hacienda mineral Poto, located in the                      Cordillera de Carabaya, northeast of Muñani. In early 1854 Rivero                      had leased the famous gold mine to Juan Bustamante, the traveler                            and later leader of an Indian uprising, for 2,450 pesos annually                      (REPP, año 1854, Cáceres [Jan. 25, 1854]).

Source: Will of María Rivero vda. de Velasco, REPP, año 1854,                     Cáceres (Jan. 24, 1854).


contrast, the majority of owners of medium-sized estates lived in Azángaro town or in the capital of the district where their hacienda was located. Owners of small estates often lived on the land itself.[40]

The low revenue-generating capacity of altiplano livestock haciendas around 1850 had one further cause, undercapitalization. The 1843 Lampa tax list contains several haciendas en casco , without any livestock. In 1854 Manuela Cornejo vda. de Collado gave her Hacienda Quisuni, district Putina, in rent to Gaspar Deza for twenty pesos annually. The estate, probably rather small, had no livestock capital at the time; not only did this lack reduce income from the estate to a negligible amount, but it also encouraged invasions by neighbors.[41] Numerous estates held less livestock capital than their pastures allowed. Owners strove to increase stock, at times without much success. Years, sometimes decades, after estate owners had commissioned the tenant or the administrator of the estate to refurbish its livestock, haciendas often continued in the same condition of undercapitalization.[42] The undercapitalization of estates constituted a graver problem for the owners of small haciendas than it did for the wealthiest landholders, who could afford to use the income from one estate for increasing its stock while relying on other sources of income for day-to-day living expenses. Yet the apparent difficulties in capitalizing estates contributed to the depressed condition of livestock enterprises of any size.

Statistics for various altiplano provinces from the last decades of the colonial era and the first years after independence suggest low levels of livestock populations (table 4.3). The figures for Azángaro during the late 1820s, probably more accurate than those for Lampa and Huancané, translate into an average livestock density of just over one OMR per hectare of pasture. By 1920 livestock density in the province had doubled.[43] The growth of livestock populations outpaced that of the province's human population by more than 50 percent during the next century. Whereas the ratio between livestock and human population stood at about 15:1 in 1825–29, it stood at 24:1 in 1940–45.

Unfortunately, we cannot make reliable estimates about the altiplano's livestock population for periods before 1800. Given the smaller human population, however, it seems unlikely that during the early or mid-eighteenth century livestock density lay at or even above the low value for 1825–29. Ecological conditions in the altiplano, as well as the nature of domesticated sheep and cameloids, do not allow these animals to fend for themselves; these stocks follow the human settlement frontier rather than precede it. Consequently, in the long run a certain correlation between human and livestock populations would prevail in the altiplano, as long as the maximum carrying capacities of pastures had not been exceeded and


TABLE 4.3. Livestock Populations in Three Altiplano Provinces,


Huancané, 1807a

Lampa, 1808 b

Azángaro, 1825/29c






































































Sources and Notes:

a Macera, Mapas coloniales de haciendas cuzqueñas , lxi–lxii.

b "Partido de Lampa de la provincia é intendencia de la Ciudad de Puno: Estado que manifiesta en primer lugar el numero de pueblos y habitantes clasificados, y en segundo lugar los valores de todos los frutos y efectos de agricultura, de industria y minerales que ha producido este partido en todo el año de 18..[sic ], distinguido por el numero, peso o medida de cada clase," Lampa, May 23, 1808, BNP.

c Choquehuanca, Ensayo , 15–53; excludes Poto, Pusi, and Taraco.

d Possibly lumped with llamas.

society remained overwhelmingly agrarian. Nevertheless, circumstantial evidence suggests that the ratio between livestock and human populations was considerably higher during the early and mid-eighteenth century than it was fifty to seventy-five years later.[44] In other words, during the decades between the 1780s and 1840s livestock populations, still growing sluggishly in absolute numbers, lagged behind the growth of human population in Azángaro. The recurring civil wars and military campaigns "contributed not a little to diminish the capital of estates," a knowledgeable author commented in 1845.[45] Moreover, modern long-range climatic analysis has found that these decades were in the center of a secular period of below-average precipitation in the Andes, leading to recurring scarcity of pasture and an associated decline in natural livestock population growth rates.[46] In the five years from 1825 to 1829 "there was not one year of plentiful pastures," José Domingo Choquehuanca tells us.[47]

Choquehuanca also attributed much importance to the extensive church property in Azángaro. The church owned thirty-four livestock haciendas


TABLE 4.4. Livestock Capital on Azángaro's Haciendas, by Ownership, 1825–29







Average per Estate



Average per Estate








Owned by communities




Church or chaplaincies







All Estates







Note: These figures exclude Poto, Pusi, and Taraco.

Source: Choquehuanca, Ensayo , 15–53.

in the province in 1825–29, about 31 percent of all estates;[48] 8.5 percent of the province's cattle, corresponding to 28.2 percent of the cattle of all livestock estates, belonged to the church, as did 19 percent of the province's sheep, or 47.2 percent of sheep on estates (table 4.4). The overwhelming majority of church estates belonged to individual parishes and were administered by the bishopric of Cuzco. Only two estates, both located in the district Santiago de Pupuja, still belonged to religious orders in the early republican era—Hacienda Quera of the convent of Nazarenes in Cuzco and Hacienda Achosita of the convent of Santo Domingo in Cuzco.

A true nineteenth-century liberal, Choquehuanca found in the church a convenient explanation for the ills the province was suffering. Because the parishes were often giving their haciendas in short-term rentals to people who were not residents of the province, the number of affluent estate owners who otherwise might have populated the towns was naturally reduced.[49] Even more harmful, church estates were not receiving the improvements that any private owner would have undertaken. Their livestock capital never grew since the short-term renters were eager to sell all increments of livestock to make a high profit during the few years of the lease. Presumably, such profits were often taken out of the province since many tenants left after terminating the rental term.[50]

It is true that church estates given in short-term lease were frequently left in a worse state by the tenants than they had received them, with a diminished livestock capital and run-down installations. But the church gave its largest and most capitalized haciendas in emphyteusis for 150 years.[51] Of the twelve estates given in emphyteusis during the three


decades after independence, five were given to members of old families of the province (the Macedos and Riquelmes). Another four estates were given to Cuzqueños (Francisco Lizares and José Joaquín de Tapia), who founded families in Azángaro. Only the holders of the three remaining estates seem not to have been long-term residents of Azángaro. Safe in their possession for 150 years, the emphyteutic leaseholders, of course, had no reason to plunder them. Within eleven years of taking Hacienda Potoni in emphyteusis in 1849, Rufino Macedo had nearly doubled its livestock capital to ten thousand ewes, declaring that he had carried out "valuable improvements . . . on the finca, consisting of two houses of sufficient comfort on its borders, enclosed corrals for slaughtering, barley fields adjacent to these, and two ditches, constructed at high cost to irrigate the ahijaderos [moist pastures]. All these improvements have cost us much more than 4,000 pesos."[52]

In short, Choquehuanca's critique of the church as landholder can be accepted to only a limited degree. The major explanation for the depression of the province's livestock economy during the early years of Peru's republican era still has to be sought in the effects of the commercial crisis that had hit the southern Peruvian Sierra since the 1780s and in the destruction wrought on the region by the Túpac Amaru Rebellion and the Wars of Independence, social and economic conditions exacerbated by a secular cycle of below-average precipitation.

Just as in other Spanish American republics, liberal politicians in independent Peru sought to limit the economic influence of the church and to free property from encumbrances. As early as 1823 a "constitutional declaration" abolished all colonial fetters, such as chaplaincies, censos, and entails, to the free exercise of property rights. The civil code of 1852 prohibited donations of land to mortmain and the foundation of new chaplaincies, censos, and pious works; it also allowed the liquidation of existing encumbrances.[53]

But in Azángaro church-related encumbrances and credit facilities played a minor role; I have found only three cases of chaplaincies in the province.[54] How are we to explain this apparent near absence of chaplaincies, censos, and other land-related credit operations by the church, which contrasts with what is known about other regional hacienda complexes in Spanish America up to the mid-nineteenth century?[55] First, the value of most estates was too low and their owners often too poor to afford a sizable encumbrance. A chaplaincy of 3,000 pesos came close to the value of most of the province's haciendas prior to 1850 and would have resulted in the complete transfer of their annual net utility from the owner to the ecclesiastic beneficiary. The isolated cases of chaplaincies or other encum-


brances pertained to the very largest estates in the province, such as Picotani or Huasacona, or indeed represented the transfer of the complete estate to an ecclesiastic beneficiary, as with "Hacienda Capellania" Loquicolla Grande.[56] Second, Puno became the seat of a diocese only in 1866. Before then negotiations for church loans, as well as the administration of donations to church beneficiaries, took place in Cuzco, some three to four days on horseback from Azángaro.[57] Azángarino landholders naturally suffered much inconvenience in conducting business in such a distant center; moreover, hacendados from the immediate vicinity of Cuzco must have had an advantage in applying for credit from the diocese or a convent, since they could maintain closer contacts with the hierarchy.[58] With a weak competitive position in the attainment of loans, altiplano landholders may well have checked their zeal in granting donations such as chaplaincies, since the return on such investments—in terms of added leverage vis-à-vis the church hierarchy in Cuzco—was low.

The Agrarian Reform of the 1820s and the Altiplano Peasantry

The explosive mixture of depressed conditions for livestock estates, strong reactions of peasants to earlier land losses, and the liberal reformist decrees and laws had a great impact on landholding among the altiplano peasantry. Initially, the ignorance of the Bolivarian leaders about the diverse realities in the Peruvian countryside limited the effectiveness of their agrarian reform measures. In the end a law that struck a curious balance between liberal property concepts and Bourbon enlightened reformism contributed greatly to shaping the country's rural property regime for decades to come.

Late Bourbon thinking on rural property regimes had been hampered by insurmountable contradictions. On the one hand, it aspired to a broad distribution of landed property as the most promising path to increased agricultural production. On the other hand, for reasons of fiscal necessity and social order, the Bourbons could never quite relinquish the peculiar relationship between crown and Indian peasantry that they had inherited from the Hapsburgs. Even during the early nineteenth century they depended on the peasantry for the fiscal solvency of the colony and for regulated access to Indian labor. In return, they had to guarantee minimally the continuity of social hierarchies and customs within the Indian communities, even though crown policies became more contradictory in this regard after 1780. As a consequence of this special relationship, symbolized by the tribute nexus, the Bourbons felt constrained in disposing of established usufruct patterns of communal lands that might upset the originarios' capacity or willingness to pay higher tribute rates and hold onerous offices in their communities. As much as they were concerned


about a broad distribution of productive property, the Bourbons saw no way of converting Indian peasants into freeholders with full title to their land, along the lines of liberal property concepts, without jettisoning the special relationship that was the indispensable fiscal and social basis of their colonial regime in the Andes.

Viceroy José Fernando Abascal y Sousa, as critical of liberalism as he was pragmatic about shifting policy options, clearly perceived the linkage between the special status of the Indian and the limits of agrarian reform. Only after the liberal Cortes of Cadiz, much to his chagrin, had abolished tribute and mita in 1812, thus critically undermining the stability of the colonial regime, did Abascal consider a distribution of lands to landless and impoverished families of mestizos, whose condition he blamed for much banditry and crime. In his report of 1816 he suggested that "the property of these lands [previously reserved to the originarios] belongs by right of return to the state; the great amount of surplus lands among them present a most welcome opportunity to settle infinite families of mestizos, liberating them from the misery in which they have been living."[59]

From this perspective the renewed abolition of tribute by José de San Martín by a decree of August 27, 1821, was the crucial prerequisite for the first agrarian measures taken by the republican regime. On April 8, 1824, when the altiplano was still under royalist control, Simón Bolívar decreed from Trujillo that all state lands were to be sold at a price one-third below their assessed value. Indians were to be considered owners of the lands that they then possessed. The decree further ordered the distribution of community lands to those Indians presently without any parcels of land so that "no Indian should remain without his respective plot." Surplus community lands should be sold under the same conditions as other state lands. In every province commissioners should be named in order to distribute land "with the necessary exactitude, impartiality, and justice."[60]

Bolívar's first foray into the maze of Peru's rural property structure pursued a dual goal: (1) to use the sale of state lands below value as a means to raise urgently needed cash for the liberation, and (2) to increase agricultural production through the creation of an industrious class of Indian and mestizo yeoman farmers. This was the most liberal but also the most unrealistic of the major agrarian laws of the 1820s. It placed no restrictions on the resale of distributed lands, thus fulfilling the precept of liberal writings on land according to which only its untrammeled circulation could assure optimal use. But Bolívar and his advisers failed to realize that the sale of state lands, even one-third below market value, effectively excluded those poor, landless Indians and mestizos whom it was meant to benefit. In many provinces, as in the altiplano, there would also be no communal


lands left for free distribution above and beyond granting full title to those presently in possession. Finally, entrusting the distribution to commissioners named in the provinces virtually assured that only local elites and their limited clienteles would benefit. In short, it was impossible for the weak insurgent authorities to achieve an agrarian reform that would at one and the same time produce income for the struggling state, significantly broaden the distribution of land, and assure its free circulation.

As Bolívar and his advisers gained a better understanding of Peru's agrarian structure, they weakened the philosophically liberal contents of their agrarian policies and moved closer to Bourbon reformist positions articulated since the mid-eighteenth century. A decree of July 4, 1825, stipulated limits on the amount of community land to be distributed to landless Indians, according to which caciques were entitled to considerably more land than commoners. The holdings of caciques and tax collectors based on their office, which had caused so much conflict during the late colonial era, were not to be recognized, whereas those of caciques de sangre , the descendants of Andean nobility, were. Indians who had become owners of community lands by the decree of April 1824 could not sell them prior to 1850. The decree also sought to strengthen the central government's control over the selection of provincial land commissioners.[61] While favoring caciques one last time based on their social position rather than on privileges stemming from their office, Bolívar proceeded on the very same day (July 4, 1825) to extinguish the title of cacique altogether.[62]

The dilution of liberal contents in the agrarian legislation became more marked during the following year. Because of mounting fiscal pressure, in August 1826 the Bolivarian council of government, in which Bourbon reformists such as Hipólito Unanue and José de Larrea y Loredo held prominent positions, reintroduced Indian tribute under the euphemistic denomination of contribución de indígenas , a measure that replicated most of the modalities of its predecessor tax. The inevitable consequence for the agrarian program followed on the heels, when in December 1826 Bolívar instructed provincial authorities to prefer originarios, who paid the full rate of the contribución de indígenas, to forasteros in the distribution of community lands.[63]

As things stood by December 1826, the Bolivarians had removed any legally fixed privileges from Indian communities but had recognized existing stratification based on social prestige and wealth, ratifying the greater claims of former caciques and originarios to communal lands. Having understood the scarcity of communal lands in many regions of the country, their concept had reverted to the Bourbon practice of distributing strictly limited amounts of communal lands in a manner reaffirming social hier-


archies within the communities, albeit with the decisive difference that the plots now were to be held in fee simple.

Yet these principles of distribution within the communities clashed with the most liberal plank of the original agrarian decree of 1824 that had been retained, namely, that every Indian was to own whatever land he or she held at the moment without contradiction. This provision could not be applied to land within the communities but only to lands that Indians possessed outside the communities, often under the precarious conditions of the late colonial period. Moreover, for all lands that Indians were to own in fee simple, the Bolivarians now had taken back the key liberal property concept of unfettered circulation by imposing a twenty-five-year prohibition on land sales. Apprehensive about Indian peasants' capacity to compete with powerful provincial elites in the ideally envisioned free market, the Bolivarians had sacrificed the liberal notion of unfettered property circulation in order to safeguard the older Bourbon goal of broad distribution of productive land.[64]

As the Bolivarians understood full well, especially after the Liberator's triumphant tour through the southern highlands in mid-1825, the implementation of their agrarian reform measures depended on power constellations in the provinces. Because their program went beyond the mere conversion of usufruct rights and precarious, insecure tenures of Indian peasants into full property rights, aiming as it did also at the redistribution of community lands, they needed to rely on the willingness of local authorities to carry out these measures "with impartiality and justice." Here Bolívar's agrarian reform measures appear to have floundered completely. The land commissions in the provinces either failed to carry out the measurement and registration of community lands or committed "the most pernicious abuse" of unjustly granting land titles to their favorites, although they lacked authority "to expedite property titles, or to confirm titles of those in possession, and especially to distribute lands or carry out compositions; they were merely authorized to inform [the government]."[65] In August 1827 a congressional resolution reiterated that no community lands should be sold until the land commissions had delivered their reports to the central government.[66] Thus, the realization grew that in order to achieve anything concerning the agrarian problem, the provincial authorities, closely tied to the elites, had to be largely removed from the process.

The law that was to have lasting impact on the landholding pattern, at least as far as Azángaro is concerned, was that passed by the congress on March 27, 1828. It again declared Indians, but now also mestizos, to be proprietors of the lands that they presently occupied on the basis of the


periodic distributions of communal lands, or—in the case of land outside the communities as defined by the Bourbon authorities—"without contradiction," that is, without other claimants coming forth to dispute their possession. The only limitation on their right to sell this land now consisted in the stipulation that they be able to read and write. Landless Indians and mestizos were to receive the remaining lands belonging to the state once the Juntas Departamentales had gathered the corresponding statistics. Should there be any surplus lands left after this operation, they were to be assigned to schools to provide revenues.[67]

During the following decades this law must have circulated even in the remotest corners of Peru. Indian peasants considered its provisions as the basis of their title to an estancia. When, for example, on May 10, 1859, María, Carmen, and Sebastián Carcausto sold Estancia Ccatahui Sencca in the ayllu Urinsaya, district Azángaro, to Juan Paredes, they stated that they had inherited the land from their father, "whom the law of the year '28 found in possession and since that time we are owners [of the estancia]."[68]

The crucial difference between the law of 1828 and the preceding Bolivarian measures lay in the influence that commissioners or any provincial authorities could exert over its execution. Now the granting of full property rights to land presently held by Indians or mestizos was to proceed immediately, independent of and prior to any land registrations and assessments by authorities. The distribution of community or other state lands to landless Indians and mestizos was to occur separate from and subsequent to the mere extension of property rights to any lands now held in usufruct or precariously.

In the altiplano this extension of property titles had the effect of an agrarian reform. Besides reaffirming peasants' rights to community lands, it strengthened their title to the lands that they occupied and worked precariously but that had been in limbo during the last decades of the colonial regime: lands that had been claimed by private hacendados, the church, kurakas, or their successors as tax collectors but that the crown had increasingly refused to grant in fee simple through compositions since the 1780s; or lands that had never been claimed as property by members of the colonial elite and that the crown had considered tierras realengas (crown lands) but were habitually occupied by forasteros and others without sufficient access to lands in the communities.

In the face of the weakened position of elite landholders the law of 1828 in Azángaro managed to undo in one stroke the paradoxical late colonial condition of land scarcity among the peasantry in an era of abundant land and low population densities. The national government ceased its attempts to dislodge peasants from lands that they occupied in 1828, as the Bourbons


had done by repeatedly declaring all community lands and much of the land precariously worked by peasants outside the communities to be realengas. Hacendados and the church lost the legal battle over much of the land that they had attempted to integrate into their estates in the decades before 1780 and in some cases even later.

To be sure, the law of 1828 failed, just as the Bolivarian measures had, to redistribute any lands. In Azángaro "there was not an inch of land without somebody in precarious possession, . . . and thus article 2 of the law [referring to distribution of surplus state lands] has been inapplicable."[69] Provincial authorities did manage illegally to sell or reaffirm through composition some state lands considered sobrantes or tierras de oficio after the abolition of the office of cacique and the earlier Bolivarian land measures.[70] But there can be no doubt that in the altiplano the primary beneficiaries of the law of 1828 were the thousands of peasant families who had precariously held lands outside of the communities since the late eighteenth century. It thus legally solidified the temporary stalemate between peasant and hacienda sectors in the northern altiplano. Any future attempts to take control of peasant lands could not be based on colonial title claims. In the decades of a rapidly accelerating land transfers after 1850 notaries routinely recognized the peasants' property titles based on the 1828 law.

This interpretation does not refute the notion that the agrarian laws of the 1820s legally facilitated the onslaught on Indian lands in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but it does demonstrate that the measures of the 1820s did not simply constitute the ill-advised application of abstract liberal property notions. The goals of the agrarian reformers of the 1820s—increasing revenues, a broad distribution of land, and its free circulation—could not be attained at once.

In the political battles over defining a realistic policy, waged between various factions in Lima and provincial authorities and elite groups, the liberal impulse was tempered and modified in such a fashion that in the end the agrarian measures showed as much Bourbon reformist continuities as they showed new liberal departures. The effect that the replacement of confusing land-use rights and precarious tenures by individual property titles was to have on the development of an ideally free land market would become apparent only after 1850. Indeed, this long-term effect was of secondary importance for the reformers of the 1820s. Their foremost concerns were directed at securing state revenue collection among Indian and mestizo smallholders and stimulating agricultural production through a broad distribution of land.


The renewed reliance on an Indian head tax brought with it the recognition of social hierarchies in the Indian communities, albeit without the colonial corporate privileges and associated official powers.[71] Indeed, fiscal interests led early republican governments to keep a watchful eye on the preservation of the Indians' land base. As late as 1847, just two or three years before the explosion of guano revenues, Manuel del Rio, minister of finance during Ramón Castilla's first administration, called for a law that would allow Indians to sell their land only to other Indians. He feared that a widespread use of the Indians' right to sell their land freely to whomever they wished would lead to a serious depletion of revenue collection, as Indians with no or too little land would pay only half the rate of the contribución de indígenas.[72]

The critics of nineteenth-century Peruvian liberalism have asserted that the agrarian laws enacted during the 1820s caused an immediate cycle of land grabbing by hispanized large landholders.[73] Yet between the late 1820s and the 1850s the transfer of land from Azángaro's peasant sector to the estate sector proceeded at a rather slow pace. Indeed, peasant land only trickled into the estate sector during the 1850s (see chapter 6), and there is no reason to believe that during the two preceding decades hacienda expansion had proceeded at a more dramatic pace, particularly given the depressed level of the wool market during most of the 1840s.[74] Although some early republican hacendados—most notoriously Francisco Lizares in Muñani—did expand their holdings onto peasant lands, these remained isolated cases. During the three decades after independence Azángaro's Indian peasants held their lands, which they had just been granted in fee simple, with fewer challenges and threats of being dislodged than they had faced during the last century of the colonial era.[75]

It has often been assumed that the legislation of the 1820s legally abolished the communities.[76] Yet, although the reforms of the 1820s legally privatized all communally held land, no law or decree went so far as to positively outlaw Indian communities. This remained true for the rest of the century. Not even the civil code of 1852 abolished communities; it merely followed the legislative tradition, well established by then, of disregarding the institution altogether.[77] By the mid-nineteenth century the indigenous community had become, in Jorge Basadre's words, "a submerged juridic patrimony, alive in the soul customs of the peasants, although invisible and strange to the formal mentality of legislators, magistrates and authorities."[78]

Because the national state had withdrawn its legal protection and ceased to enforce the standard functions that had given all communities certain


common characteristics during the colonial era, their continued vitality depended primarily on local circumstances, the most important being the relations of production, type of production (particularly the contrast between stock-raising and agricultural communities), degree of market integration, power constellations between the Indian peasants and the local elite, and the cohesion within the communities. Consequently, after the 1820s the Indian communities in the distinct regions of Peru underwent a process of increasing differentiation, particularly regarding their systems of land tenure.[79]

In many parts of Cuzco department, community lands continued to be redistributed annually and were not treated like private property in terms of inheritance. But in the altiplano the law of 1828 did create individual peasant landholders and reduced communal landholding to a minimum. However, this change did not signify the disappearance of Azángaro's communities. In February 1844, for example, the community Tiramasa accused one Juan Arpita before the justice of the peace of Azángaro of invading the plots called Moroquere, Calasacsani, and Chijurani. The representatives of the community explained that "the lands in question belong to the community and are mandas on which annually at the proper time they planted their crops." Arpita objected that Chijurani was his own property. The justice of the peace settled the dispute by ordering each party, the community and Juan Arpita, not to transgress into the other's property. A dividing line was plowed, satisfying both sides.[80] The community of Tiramasa, then, was alive enough to defend itself against incursions. The land in question served as agricultural plots, the so-called mandas or levas of the community, which formed the surviving nucleus of communal land in Azángaro well into the twentieth century. But these plots were minute—no more than a few hectares—compared with the vast pastoral lands that had come to be considered the private land of the peasant families since the decrees of the 1820s.

When describing the gradual process of privatization of communal lands in Peru, most authors claim that pastures remained communal property longer than agricultural fields did.[81] In Azángaro, though, the opposite occurred. Why did the land tenure pattern of communities evolve so differently there than in other Peruvian regions? The answer to this question lies in the economic basis of particular communities. As the concept of private property penetrates traditional community structures, it will find acceptance first for that part of the peasants' economic operation that constitutes their primary income-earning activity, particularly if it links them to the market. The concept of individual gain, which a long-term interaction with the market fosters, will strengthen the peasant's desire to


have exclusive and irrevocable control over the land that enables him or her to produce a marketable surplus. Competition will be keen for the lands employed in the production of these goods. Conversely, those lands used for the production of goods consumed only by the peasant families within the community will be less subject to the pressures of privatization because no market value will be attached to those goods. Hence, individual competition for these resources will tend to be weaker. In Azángaro Indian peasants first began to abandon communal landholding patterns on the pasturelands since animal husbandry was the economic activity of overwhelming importance for every family. Although competition for pasturelands was keen, the peasants left the small agricultural plots to be worked under a communal regime.

Just as in the land question, the effectiveness of labor recruitment, taxation, and various schemes to exploit Indians' resources ultimately depended on power constellations at the provincial and local level.[82] In August 1821 a decree by San Martín had abolished all types of forced labor services, including mita and pongueaje (domestic service).[83] But such decrees could not automatically change long-entrenched practices of the landholders and the civil and ecclesiastic authorities accustomed to dominating provincial society. In December 1828 the Junta Departamental of Puno, with José Domingo Choquehuanca and José Ignacio Evia as representatives for Azángaro province, denounced the "infractions of the constitution" by which Indian peasants were routinely victimized. The long list of abuses included forced labor for civil and church authorities, arbitrary and excessive fees charged by judges and priest, levy of illegal local taxes, and requisitioning of peasants' livestock and other property without compensation. Such abuses had been routinely practiced under the colonial regime, but Puno's Junta Departamental found it particularly deplorable that "under a liberal government the injustice of the stronger should prevail [my emphasis]."[84]

Yet, while lamenting the "illiberal" practices of local authorities in Puno's provinces, the Junta Departamental almost simultaneously, in December 1828, agreed on a draft of a departmental mining code (Reglamento de Minería) that included an elaborate scheme for recruiting labor almost identical to the colonial mita. District governors were to determine the number of vagrants and "harmful" (perjudiciales) persons in their areas. A supervisory committee on mining, elected by all mine owners in the department, would apportion labor contingents to be sent to each mine. Subprefects were to be responsible for delivering the workers to the mine operator, who had to pay the workers a salary and a mileage fee for their trips to and from the mines and provide them with "comfortable and


healthy" accommodations. The code contained a provision for contracting "voluntary workers" through district governors against advance payments. The Junta Departamental thus proposed to entrust the recruitment of Indian mining labor, an operation that by definition and necessity involved force, to the same local authorities whom they had just accused of serious abuses against the freedom and property rights of the Indians.[85]

We do not know whether this mining code ever became effective. The small numbers of mine workers that the silver and gold mines in the various districts of the department of Puno required for their struggling operations in the decades after independence were certainly recruited by some type of coercion.[86] Yet until midcentury such measures were of limited success. During the brief mining flurry of the early 1850s authorities complained about the scarcity of mining labor in the Cordillera de Carabaya. Azángaro's peasants refused to work in the gold-washing operations in Poto belonging to Señora Rivero vda. de Velasco, even though there they could "earn substantial wages."[87] The machinery of coercion, now lacking the sanction of the central state, had become more haphazard. With the opening of export trades in wool and cascarilla, the peasants had alternative means of generating the cash they needed to pay the various taxes and fees and to acquire Manchester shirting cloth.

After its reintroduction in 1826 the contribución de indígenas continued as the second most important source of revenue for the central government until a few years before its abolition in 1854 by Ramón Castilla.[88] Although collection of the tax was higher, in absolute terms, by 1850 than tribute revenues were during the 1790s, the amount taken in per tributary was lower.[89] For the department of Puno collection per Indian tributary declined by one-fifth, from an average of 5.29 pesos during the 1790s to 4.22 pesos in 1846.[90] In Azángaro province the mean amount owed per tributary according to the tax lists declined from 5.92 pesos annually during the late 1820s to 5.55 pesos in 1843. The nominal rate of the head tax remained unchanged between its reintroduction in 1826 and its abolition in 1854, ten pesos annually per originario and five pesos per forastero.

Several factors might account for this declining effective taxation of Indians in the altiplano—indeed, across the nation—between the late colonial period and the mid-nineteenth century. As Nicolás Sánchez Albornoz has argued for the Bolivian altiplano,[91] the ratio of originarios to forasteros (or sobrinos ) might have continued its long-term decline through the mid-nineteenth century, thus increasing the weight of the lower tribute rate for forasteros in the mean rate. But in Azángaro and neighboring provinces of the northern altiplano the decline in the number of originarios bottomed out as early as the tribute recounts undertaken by


Visitor General Mariano Escobedo during the mid-1780s in the wake of the Túpac Amaru Rebellion.[92] As the total number of Indian peasants enrolled in the tax lists grew during the early independence period, the number of originarios grew proportionately. In the tax lists of the mid-1820s the number of originarios grew more rapidly even than that of forasteros, suggesting that some of the forasteros who had long held less than the full allotment of land within the communities temporarily switched to the category of originarios, perhaps in order to maintain the distinction from those peasants, who only now received title to land through agrarian reform measures.[93]

Confusion reigned among the provincial commissioners charged with drawing up the tax lists for the contribución de indígenas. After each peasant's land had been confirmed by the laws of the 1820s, how much sense did it still make to differentiate between originarios and forasteros? Although the distinction might still reflect different amounts of land held by members of the two groups within the old communities, there now existed many forasteros with as much land outside the colonial communities as originario families held within them. The tax list of 1830 for Huancané province lumped all Indian tributaries under the category "con tierras "; the same province's list for 1850 again differentiated between originarios and forasteros, stressing, however, that the members of both groups held land. The lists for Lampa, Carabaya, and Azángaro provinces differentiated mostly between tributaries "con tierras" and "sin tierras," with the latter category holding between two-thirds and four-fifths of all tributaries. And the last list for the contribución de indígenas drawn up for Chucuito province in 1853, a year before the abolition of the tax, adopted a much more differentiated categorization of tributaries into originarios, forasteros, uros, sacristanes , mestizos, and yerbateros , an atomization of categories that also characterized Indian tax lists across the border in Bolivia during the mid-nineteenth century.[94]

These various categorizations no longer reflected different access to land by various groups of Indian peasants: the land tenure patterns of neigh-boring provinces such as Huancané and Azángaro were much too similar to lend credence to figures in the tax lists according to which all peasants in Huancané owned land, whereas some three-fourths of those in Azángaro owned none. Rather, the lists now reflected deeply ingrained status differences among Indian community peasants, coupled with the interest of the treasury to keep up the number of peasants paying the full tax rate as originarios.[95]

The major cause for declining per capita collections of the Indian head tax lay in the quiebras , the failure of provincial and district authorities to make all Indian tributaries pay. In 1846 Indians in the department of Puno


failed to pay more than one-fourth of the head tax they owed; this was no isolated incident, as debts of more than 450,000 pesos had accumulated for previous years by then.[96] During his tenure as prefect of Puno between June 1834 and March 1835, Ramón Castilla pleaded continuously with subprefects in the provinces to submit long overdue taxes to the departmental treasury, apparently with little success. After Castilla had repeatedly reminded the subprefects since late June that they should speedily remit the sums still owed on the tax for the San Juan term (to be collected on or around June 24), by October 18 he threatened that they would be deposed if they had not rendered the accounts for that term by the end of the month. But by November 17 he was cajoling them, saying that "displaying all [their] energy, influence, and authority in the province," they should now undertake the collection of the head tax for the Christmas term and start remitting "the greatest possible sum" to the departmental treasury "without omitting any measure to effect the payment of outstanding past tax debts."[97]

Subprefects changed at brief intervals because of patronage appointments by the revolving national administrations; often they remained in office for less than a year. They had great difficulties in regularizing tax collection in their provinces, and their performance was seldom scrutinized through subsequent residencias , as was prescribed by law.[98] No doubt the subprefects just as frequently appointed new district governors who actually oversaw the collection of the head tax. Instability of local and provincial administration debilitated the authorities' capacity to collect the head tax and gave individual governors and subprefects greater opportunities for cheating the treasury by retaining part of the taxes. On the one hand, in this situation the Indian peasants may have found it easier to evade payment. On the other hand, collection became more arbitrary, for much depended on the attitudes and enforcement powers of each local official, often an affluent Indian or a small mestizo landholder himself.[99]

Although the peasants of the northern altiplano enjoyed greater stability during the early republican era in their control over land and faced less severe and effective labor drafts and declining rates of taxation, the frequent civil wars brought disruption of a type that had arisen only since the campaigns between royalists and insurgents in 1810. As many of these struggles were fought in southern Peru, the department of Puno again and again saw itself as the arena for recruitments and provisioning of both contending sides, especially between 1834 and 1844.

During early 1834 the country was embroiled in the contest for power between the former president Agustín Gamarra and the elected President Orbegoso. In Puno the French traveler Etienne, comte de Sartiges wit-


nessed how soldiers of a regiment supporting Gamarra during the night went out and surrounded the hamlets in the vicinity of the city. In the morning they fetched the fit men out of the peasant huts, tied their hands, and led them to Puno. "There they proceeded to cut their hair and mark their ears so that they could be recognized and executed in case of desertion. The conscripts were locked into a church turned into barracks. They were let out only twice per day for exercises." A few days later, when de Sartiges passed through Lampa, troops belonging to a division under Colonel Miguel San Román "acted as if they were in enemy country: horses, mules, livestock, fodder, foodstuffs—everything they claimed in the name of the patria."[100]

The impressment of fathers or adult sons and the requisitioning of livestock (the infamous chaqueo ) and foodstuff inevitably affected the income of the peasant family, especially when these depredations occurred at crucial periods during the agricultural cycle. It is likely that peasant communities close to the main roads, such as those in Santiago de Pupuja, suffered these abuses more frequently than did the more remote communities in the central and easterly parts of Azángaro province. In general, this type of exploitation at the hands of caudillo armies was marked by its arbitrary and haphazard nature, making it worse for those affected but perhaps affecting only limited numbers of communities during limited periods of time. It was a far cry not only from the more systematic annual recruitment drives of the early twentieth century, during which the army scoured the countryside of the altiplano from one end to the other, but also from the fairly bureaucratic application of the mita during the colonial period. The exploitation of the Indian peasantry by the caudillo armies is further evidence for the increasingly incidental and personalistic structures of power in the rural altiplano during the early postindependence decades.

Some sixty years ago José Carlos Mariátegui flatly affirmed that with Peru's independence "a regime was inaugurated which—whatever may have been its principles—to a certain degree worsened the condition of the Indians instead of improving it."[101] Nevertheless, during the postindependence decades the Indian peasantry of the altiplano enjoyed increased autonomy. Released from the most disruptive colonial measures, such as the Potosí mita and the strict Bourbon limits on the extent of the community holdings, the peasants could consolidate their control over land and rebuild communal institutions in those settlements where forasteros had moved up from being precarious squatters to proprietors. The agrarian legislation merely provided the legal space for this consolidation. The fledgling central state did not automatically back the interests of provincial elites, as the Bourbons had done until 1780. The increased breathing space


of the Indian peasants was the result both of their own assertiveness since the days of the Túpac Amaru Rebellion and of the continued weakness of provincial elites, in the midst of a semisecular commercial crisis and a major social recomposition.[102]

Increasing autonomy did not necessarily bring growing material well-being, however. Peasants were also affected by declining prices for their home-produced textiles. The decrease of surplus extraction had not raised their income above what might be called the subsistence level for all to withstand bad years without suffering. A drought in 1848 immediately produced a famine in Puno because of crop failure, and the typhoid epidemic of the mid-1850s devastated the altiplano's population.[103] But for better years I am inclined to agree with the observation of Modesto Basadre y Chocano, subprefect of Azángaro during the early 1850s, that "the Indian peasantry of Azángaro with their small crop fields and their livestock had enough to cover their limited necessities."[104]

Azángaro's Society During the Early Independence Era

As late as 1810 Azángaro had been a province in which only a few royal officers, priests, and creole or mestizo entrepreneurs lived as intruders and exploiters in an Indian world. By the 1860s the non-Indian elites had confidently begun to see themselves as the legitimate masters of this world, firmly entrenched at the top of a provincial society becoming more structured and differentiated even though the legal barriers of the colonial caste society were disappearing.

Until the mid-nineteenth century no settlement in the province had reached the status of a town. Azángaro had been a corregimiento de Indios during the colonial period, and the colonial regime did not recognize urban centers that were not Spanish. The small population centers that did exist by the mid-eighteenth century had sprung up around parish churches, mining camps, or even particularly important estancias.[105] As late as the 1820s no settlement counted more than 550 residents, and several had fewer than 100. Together these small nuclei accounted for about 6 percent of the province's population.

The three largest centers were Putina, Azángaro, and Asillo. Whereas Azángaro and Asillo had been centers of some importance in the prehis-panic period, Putina had been founded by Spanish miners and estancieros around 1600. By the early nineteenth century Putina still had considerably more Spanish residents than did the other parishes of the province.[106] As an "Indian province," without a Spanish town, the pueblos should have had cabildos de Indios . But by the late colonial era the intromission of creoles


and mestizos into erstwhile corregimientos de Indios had become so routine that some of them occupied positions as alcaldes and regidores on the cabildos. Still, as late as 1813 the majority of councillors in the pueblo of Azángaro continued to be Indians.[107] In smaller nuclei probably no corporate bodies beyond the Indian communal authorities existed until the establishment of the republican administration during the late 1820s.

The physical appearance of these pueblos underscored their social distance from Spanish colonial cities. At most two hundred low adobe houses with thatched roofs were huddled around the parish churches, the only imposing buildings to be found in the province. In most pueblos a plaza faced the church; there, market stalls were put up and processions held on the days of the patron saints. The streets were laid out "without any order," a mix between a rudimentary Spanish colonial grid and Indian conceptions of nucleation, albeit now agglutinated by the Christian church.

Most houses in the pueblos belonged to peasants. These were humble, rectangular adobe cottages, mostly with a single room of about six by three meters. They had no windows and no ceiling below the thatched roof; the hard-stamped ground served as floor, and the low door frame was usually closed by a hide, as timber was expensive in the treeless altiplano. Behind this cottage there lay a plot of some three hundred to four hundred square meters enclosed by an adobe or stone wall; in this enclosure animals were guarded and fodder, fuel, agricultural implements, and other tools stored. Quite a few of these houses remained empty during most of the year, as they belonged to Indian peasants who lived on their estancias in the surrounding countryside and spent time in the pueblos only during market days or the weeks of the major festivals or while engaged in official business. Other cottages, on the perimeter of the pueblos, were permanently inhabited by peasants who owned lands close by. The distinction between "urban" space and the countryside was fluid.

The residences of notable citizens were larger and better furnished than those of the peasants, but they shared the same types of building materials and domestic utensils. The "complete houses," as José Domingo Choquehuanca called elite residences, were distinguished by having "a door to the street, a courtyard, and all the other features of convenience and security expected of a house."[108] They were equipped with wooden floors, plastered walls, some furnishings, and silverware and plates, produced locally or in one of the many towns in the southern Andes with a reputation for a particular craft. European goods were rare and prized possessions even among affluent citizens. For Choquehuanca, the notable citizens of Azángaro still lived "a la rústica" as late as the 1820s, in houses that left much to be desired from the standpoint of modern comfort, let alone luxury.


Whereas the residences of merchants, miners, and the more substantial landholders in towns such as Puno, Arequipa, or Cuzco were valued at 3,000 to 6,000 pesos or more, hardly a house in Azángaro province was worth more than 900 pesos, with simple peasant cottages costing as little as 20 pesos. Even these modest and rustic elite residences were rare in Azángaro until after independence. Choquehuanca counted thirty in Putina, twenty-three in Azángaro, and only six in Asillo; several pueblos had no house with a patio and a wooden door.[109]

In style, size, and comfort there was little difference between houses in the pueblos and building complexes in the countryside. There the peasants lived in small clusters of the same type of cottages, often intricately grouped together in a manner revealing the relationship between the nuclear family and the patrilineal descent group. The caseríos (building complexes) of altiplano estates had nothing of the grandeur of many colonial Mexican haciendas or even of Cuzco's great estates. The caseríos of the most established haciendas might be two courtyards deep, with the rooms around the second courtyard used to store potatoes, wool, hides, and dried sheep carcasses or to produce cheeses. Off to the side there might be a small chapel, "indecently plain and lacking the necessary adornments," dedicated to a local patron saint celebrated for a certain miracle or apparition;[110] however, most haciendas lacked such a chapel. To give the caserío a grander, more dignified appearance, the driveway leading to the main door was often lined with graceful kkolli trees. Whereas peasant estancias were dispersed throughout the landscape, in the middle of broad plains, on the banks of a river, or on hillsides, hacienda building complexes tended to be constructed at the foot of hills, slightly elevated from the pampa they faced. Perhaps such a location was chosen for easier defense against rebelling peasants.

Until the 1820s Azángaro was as yet too rustic a society for patterns of consumption to serve as a major criterion of social distinction. "Before the present regime [i.e., independent Peru] most people dressed in baizes and other rough materials," Choquehuanca observed, and "while our fathers heaped up gold and silver, they lived sadly, without enjoying the comforts of a civilized society."[111] Social hierarchies were shaped by the privilege and authority that came with the modest civil and ecclesiastic offices and through one's position in the caste system. Distinction was underscored and reenacted by the place and honor accorded to families in religious festivities and civil ceremonies, such as the homages for arriving dignitaries.

But in the unstable environment of the early nineteenth century privilege and authority appear to have been shaky underpinnings of social


hierarchy. By 1806 Azángaro's recently formed Dragoon Militia Regiment, which should have offered creoles and mestizos an arena of social distinction, was experiencing gaps in its command ranks. Adjutant Cayetano Castro had left the province, and no one knew his whereabouts; Captain Nicolás Montesinos of the Second Company had been residing for two years in Cuzco; Captain Mariano Cáceres of the Eleventh Company was absent and served as substitute mayor of a town in the province of Apolo in the Viceroyalty of Buenos Aires; Lieutenant Juan Balenzuela of the Twelfth Company had fled after committing acts damaging to the royal interests; Grenadier Lieutenant Carlos Velarde had left for Cuzco and married an Indian woman without permit.[112] After independence things got worse. The provincial militia unit, now renamed the Civic Cavalry Regiment, was "purely nominal." Officers commissioned to lead units in neighboring districts refused to go so that "they would not have to neglect the attentions of their house, nor incur burdensome expenses." The list of regulars included old men and invalids. Limited to the province's mestizos, the manpower pool was too small. The regiment existed only on paper.[113]

More disconcerting from the perspective of the privileged, the forms of submission and devout respect routinely expected from Indians by the provincial elite during colonial times were temporarily relaxed with the egalitarian ideological affectation of the incipient republic. "In the five years since independence it has been notable that such servile submission is beginning to disappear; for this reason those accustomed to see the Indians tremble, find that the world is lost and there is no respect and subordination any more."[114]

For liberals such as José Domingo Choquehuanca, the crisis of authority and privilege was desirable. He stressed other criteria of stratification, more akin to his belief in the perfectibility of the individual through education and application. For Choquehuanca the distribution of income and property, while still reflecting the inequities of Spain's tyrannical regime, became of central importance. The liberal institutions and norms of the republic would allow all to better their stations. In 1830 Azángaro's distribution of wealth demonstrated both the enduring effects of the colonial caste society and the impoverishment the province had suffered during preceding decades.

Choquehuanca divided Azángaro's population according to a combined income and property index, apparently based on the physiocratic notion of net revenue, into three basic "classes": "rich," "well-off," and "poor." Relative to the "poverty of the province," he considered as rich those "who hold values up to 50,000 pesos and who can live in abundance as their consumption is smaller than their revenues." By this vague definition he


found only three rich persons in the province, two of whom were priests and the third an owner of estates.

The well-off were defined as those "who can live without want and who thus can pay all the taxes they owe and defray all other necessary expenses." Choquehuanca subdivided this "class" into three groups of people according to their "savings and material comfort." The top layer consisted of the remaining parish priests, about ten men, who were in a position to accumulate funds through the sometimes substantial parish fees. They were followed by the "old proprietors, commonly called hacendados. These only amount to thirteen [families], although the tables show seventy privately owned estates. . . . The other estates are merely some small properties, whose products hardly suffice to subsist." The lowest strata of the well-off consisted of the "new proprietors"—the Indians who had benefited from the agrarian laws of the 1820s—and some mestizos who owned land or exercised a "commercial industry." Among these must have been the owners of small estates. Choquehuanca placed two-thirds of the province's Indian population in the ranks of the "new proprietors."

The poor encompassed the remaining Indians and "other inhabitants." "They suffer every manner of privation for lack of nourishment and other necessities of life; they are so poor that in years of scarcity they eat roots and many starve to death." Choquehuanca stressed that these were hard-working people trying to pay their taxes and parish fees, an eloquent comment on the weight of state and church exactions on the rural poor.[115]

Choquehuanca's classification replicates old schemes of the relative well-being of people that differentiate between those who become wealthier, as their "rents" exceed their needs; those who lead a secure, more or less comfortable life, neither accumulating riches nor threatened by starvation; and those who are constantly threatened by want. During the early years after independence Azángaro was, in economic terms, a comparatively homogeneous society, with very few "wealth-accumulating" people and a broad majority of people living more or less well, without want. But there existed a substantial minority of poor peasants, some of them landless, whose well-being was seriously endangered in years of scarcity. Choquehuanca emphasized this problem to demonstrate the heritage of exploitation and ignorance bequeathed by Spanish colonialism. Declining prices for craft goods and the shrinkage of long-range marketing networks hit hardest those peasants who had either no land or too little land and livestock capital for family reproduction. Yet this group was perhaps smaller than the author suggested, and it was certainly not growing during the early decades after independence.


It is striking that the parish priests stood at the apex of Azángaro society in terms of income. Choquehuanca might have exaggerated this point because of his anticlerical inclinations. Nevertheless, this situation underscores the relatively modest proportions of landed wealth in the altiplano of the early postindependence period and suggests that priests survived wars and commercial dislocation more unscathed than other elite groups did. Parish priests purportedly earned between 2,000 and 4,000 pesos annually from baptisms, funerals, weddings, ceremonies for patron saints, and alter offerings.[116] These figures may be unrealistically high, but even the 1,500 pesos that Father Bonifacio Deza (parish priest of Azángaro town, the most lucrative benefice in the province) earned according to the tax list for 1850 represents an enormous sum of money for the altiplano society of the time. Parish priests continued to find ways to extract resources from their Indian parishioners.[117]

The economic situation of estate owners need not be dwelt on here. Choquehuanca merely confirms what was suggested earlier, namely, that there existed only a dozen or so large estates in the province and that all were experiencing hard times, reducing the rent their owners could hope to derive. However, the lowest stratum of the well-off requires further scrutiny. Here Choquehuanca placed not only the owners of small fincas and the great majority of Indian peasants but also those following some trade. In other words, he suggested that diverse groups were, in terms of economic well-being, quite undifferentiated. Income and living standards did not carve a great chasm between the small finca owner, the trader, and many Indian peasants.

Artisanal activities and commerce consisted in two more or less distinct sectors in Azángaro during the early decades after independence. A small number of traders, shopkeepers, and artisans in the provincial capital and the larger pueblos earned a modest income sufficient in itself to place them among the well-off, this vague middle sector of a rather poor rural society. The great majority of those practicing trades, however, were peasants. In their case the sale of a few bundles of coca leaves, a bushel or two of maize, some homespun baizes, or pottery added but a small amount of cash to households otherwise based on agriculture and livestock raising.[118]

A tax list for the contribución general de industrias from 1850 confirms the slim numbers and exiguous economic position of full-time "urban" artisans, traders, and professionals. The tax was levied at a flat rate of 4 percent on annual income above 50 pesos derived from commerce, artisanal production, professions, operation of rented estates, and nongovernment employment (e.g., hacienda administrators).[119] Among sixty-seven


households primarily dedicated to these pursuits in the district of Azángaro, only twenty-three were drawing incomes of more than 50 pesos from their "industry." Their earnings ranged from 88 to 200 pesos, with the highest income listed for one lawyer, the provincial tax farmer for tithes, and one trader. Twenty-seven heads of households were declared to be "without lucrative occupation" or "without property." These must have been traders, artisans, shopkeepers, and possibly a few employees with monetary income so small as to be exempted from the tax.[120]

Yet the number of households supplementing their incomes through crafts or commercial activities continued to be large. In the 1862 population census nearly 50 percent of all persons in Azángaro town for whom an occupation was listed were traders, shopkeepers, or artisans (including textile workers; see fig. 4.1). Among general artisans, such as masons, bakers, candlemakers, carpenters, dyemakers, and silversmiths, no whites appeared; most were Indian men. Crafts played a particularly prominent role for the small population classified as mestizo. Except for a few white male tailors, the still important textile trades were the domain of women from all ethnic backgrounds. Nearly all white women in this sector worked as seamstresses. They were widows or wives in households of relatively poor finca owners or traders. Whereas mestizo women in this sector were evenly divided between seamstresses and spinners or weavers, nearly all Indian textile workers were spinners or weavers. Except for a few mestizos, crafts provided only a supplementary income for households, and even the handful of full-time artisans in Azángaro probably relied on access to some land for their livelihood.

Trade and storekeeping were the only other occupations in the 1862 census to which large numbers of persons from all three ethnic groups had access. The spread of incomes from trade was larger than that among artisans. Some of the most affluent families of Azángaro's provincial society practiced trade, usually in conjunction with owning estates. Juan Paredes belonged to the small group with considerable income from trade, 200 pesos annually according to the tax list of 1850. This type of operation required a far-flung network of contacts and access to credit, allowing the exchange of many different commodities. At the other extreme of the trading hierarchy were many Indian peasants who made one or two journeys each year to the montaña or the valleys around Cuzco or Arequipa after completing their harvests. Their trade was small in volume and specialized as to goods exchanged. Nearly all women active in trade were either shopkeepers or operated small inns. These activities, if not associated with proper trade in livestock products, alcohol, maize, sugar, or imported goods by another member of the household, produced little monetary


income, as pure retail stores sold only small quantities of commodities. Although mercantile endeavors could net respectable returns by provincial standards, practitioners of trade were stratified fairly rigidly along ethnic and gender lines, just as artisans were. But this was not a neat "urban"- rural divide, as many peasant artisans and peasant traders lived in the pueblos.[121]

Azángaro's Indians, who continued to make up about 90 percent of the province's population throughout the nineteenth century, were internally differentiated by multiple dimensions: differing status between kurakas, originarios, and forasteros or between colonos on estates and community peasants; varying levels of honorific offices within the communities and parishes; and the purely economic dimensions of income and wealth. Status and economic condition still overlapped to a considerable degree in the position of many families, yet Azángaro's Indians had long ceased to be part of an integrated, one-dimensional social hierarchy.

As late as the 1870s over three-fourths of the province's Indians lived outside of livestock estates and were in some way associated with an ayllu or parcialidad. The economic differentiation among this community peasantry depended primarily on access to land, which determined the size of livestock herds a family might own. The agrarian reforms of the 1820s had, as noted above, diminished differences between kurakas, originarios, and forasteros in terms of their access to land, but over the next few decades these differences had not fully disappeared. Although many forasteros now owned sufficient land for the subsistence of their families, the poorest peasants with the least land were still likely to come from their ranks, and the most affluent Indian landholders were still to be found among the now officially disestablished kurakas. Kurakas continued to command respect from Indian commoners and may still have received labor services and goods from their communities, although the surviving ancient lineages of noble kurakas were now fully integrated into the provincial landholding elite.[122] Lesser kuraka families who had held power in individual parcialidades, such as the Carcaustos and Zecenarro Mamanis in Azángaro, the Callohuancas in Asillo, the Amanquis in Arapa, and the Carlosvisa in Achaya, continued to own impressive landholdings during the mid-nineteenth century, with livestock herds of up to a thousand sheep.[123] The originarios apparently also continued among the ranks of the more affluent peasants; by the 1820s they were largely identical with the principales, those occupying the higher, more honorific communal offices and exempted from the "mechanical services." Many sent their children to live in Arequipa for a number of years so that they would learn Spanish, often living as domestic servants in well-to-do households.[124]


Figure 4.1.
Occupations in Azángaro Town, by Ethnic Group, 1862.
Top: Whites. Bottom: Indians.
Source: Manuscript census of 1862, BMP.


Figure 4.1 continued.
Top: Mestizos. Bottom: All ethnic groups.


About one-seventh of Azángaro's Indian peasantry worked as colonos on livestock estates, a percentage that increased after midcentury.[125] As hacendados made no effort to control the colonos' peasant economy, their livestock herds varied between a dozen and five hundred or more head of sheep. Besides usufruct rights in hacienda pastures and a plot of cropland, their remuneration depended on the size of hacienda livestock herds entrusted to them; four reales per month for each one hundred sheep was a conventional rate during the 1840s.[126] Yet the relative affluence or poverty of the colonos depended primarily on their own peasant economy, the amount of livestock products they could sell or barter, the size of their own crops, and their artisanal production. The internal differentiation among labor tenants was great, certainly much greater than the income difference between this group as a whole and the community peasantry. Given that estates were frequently understocked and that control over colonos was lax, we have no reason to assume that their economic situation differed greatly from that of community peasants. The real difference between the two groups had more to do with questions of status and honor than with material well-being.

In sum, between the 1820s and 1860 the span between the wealthiest and poorest strata of Azángaro's income and property distribution was—compared to other Latin American estate complexes—relatively small. About twenty priests and hacendados, some of whom were also active in commerce, drew an annual income of between 500 and 1,500 pesos. The majority of estate owners, however, earned no more than 100 to 200 pesos per year. The few professionals in the province did not earn more than this. Among traders, a small elite with far-flung nets of mercantile connections earned about 200 or 300 pesos per year, while most Indian and mestizo peddlers, shopkeepers, and muleteers earned anywhere from 20 to 80 pesos for their exertions. Among the artisans the scale was lower. Here again a small group, mostly mestizos practicing their craft in the pueblos, earned considerably more than did Indian artisans, urban or rural. The multilayered peasantry, finally, bracketed the whole range between intermediate income groups and absolute poverty, with most peasant families earning well below 100 pesos.

Such an income scale should nonetheless be treated with caution. As Lewis Taylor has observed about the area of Cajamarca during the nineteenth century, "Occupational categories as applied to particular individuals and social groups—landowners, miners, peasants, laborers, artisans, muleteers, merchants, etc.— . . . tend to disguise the complicated nature of the populace's working existence."[127] During the mid-nineteenth cen-


tury, and for a long time thereafter, Azángaro's population—Spaniards and Indians, urban and rural folk alike—relied on multiple activities, combining stock raising and agriculture with trade, shopkeeping, craft production, and mining.

Hierarchies of occupation, property, and income had not as yet changed much between the late 1820s and 1860. Still, after midcentury Azángaro's society was showing a subtly different texture. This shift cannot be characterized simply as the change from a caste-oriented society to a class society, as suggested by much of the recent literature.[128] It is true that one's place in the colonial hierarchy of ethnic castes, reaffirmed by the legislation of the 1820s, lost its legal definition and backing as a yardstick for honor and status after Ramón Castilla abolished the contribución de indígenas in 1854. In its place the provincial elite increasingly defined its excellence in terms of life-style, income, and property. These were the liberal notions of a civilized society that José Domingo Choquehuanca had stressed in 1831 as the path along which Azángaro would overcome the colonial heritage of racial inequality and exploitation. Full of hope that the liberal institutions and laws of the republic would allow all citizens to share the benefits of civilization and affluence, he perceived "the civilized part" of Azángaro's population, composed primarily of public authorities and hacendados, as slowly adopting this new life-style. They were taking up "decent and agreeable manners and modes of behavior" and "modern customs, as for example in the good taste and arrangement of the dinner table and in fashions."[129]

After the national government withdrew its support of caste society during Castilla's second administration (1854–62), provincial elites began to use such liberal notions to buttress a reconstructed ideology of stratification. But this ideology merged with the older ethnic prejudices to create a new, more polarized vision of society. This polarization was reflected in the censuses. In 1798 only 561 persons in Azángaro were considered españoles, a mere 1.5 percent of the population. In that year 3,106 persons, or 8.6 percent of the provincial population, were classified as mestizos, and nearly 90 percent were classified as Indians. The 1876 census counted only 1,293 mestizos, 2.8 percent of Azángaro's population, whereas the white population had increased to 1,308. Already in the 1862 census the category of mestizos had become limited to a few muleteers, shopkeepers, artisans, and hacienda administrators.[130] They were turned into a vague, residual ethnic group whose lifestyle, income, and property qualifications could not be easily placed in the emerging polarized ethnic vision of society: on the one hand, the "civilized" hacendados, civil and ecclesiastic authorities, and


better merchants, considered whites, who flouted a "modern" lifestyle, and on the other, the overwhelming majority of "barbaric" Indians persisting in their "anachronistic" habits.[131]

In the practice of the republican provincial elites, liberal notions turned from a moralizing, hopeful call for emancipation of all social groups from the strictures of Spanish "medieval" tyranny into the justification of exclusionary pretensions to social excellence and political power.[132] The agrarian laws of the 1820s, the abolition of the Indian head tax in 1854, and the passage of a largely liberal civil code in 1852, designed to strengthen and clarify property rights, did nothing to improve the situation of Indians in terms of their social treatment and recognition of their rights by local power holders. Those few individuals in the altiplano who at midcentury continued to fight for the emancipation of the Indians were appalled by the pseudo-liberal practices of their peers. In 1867 Juan Bustamante, a businessman and politician from Lampa province who had been an eyewitness to the French revolution of 1848 and was shortly to promote an Indian rebellion, lamented the "horrible condition to which the Indian caste is subjected":

The generous efforts of enlightened authorities to alleviate the nefarious burdens which weight down three-fourths of our population have been sterile and impotent. The Indian does not resist becoming civilized, nor is he incapable of turning into an educated, laborious, moral, and independent citizen. . . . The persons opposed to the regeneration of the Indian and frustrating every well-intentioned effort . . . enrich themselves by abusing the ignorance, humiliation, and abandonment of the Indian. They don't want the Indian to open his eyes to the light of the truth so that he may not know his rights and emancipate himself from his oppressors.[133]

By the mid-nineteenth century a new paradox was beginning to characterize altiplano society. While most families in the province continued to live off modest incomes and properties, with a mere handful of affluent citizens and a considerable minority of poor folk at the ends of the economic scale, the new republican elite defined itself through an increasingly polarized vision of social status and prestige that was embodied in their treatment of Indians. Until the 1860s one could still find cases of prestigious affluent Indians treated as equals by notables, for example, in the role of bondsmen or as trusted allies of prominent Azangarinos in political undertakings.[134] In subsequent decades such equality became rare, as hacendados, merchants, and officialdom associated "Indianness" with backward


peasants or estate colonos. Henceforth, relatively well-to-do Indians aspiring to prestige outside their own community had to demonstrate their worthiness and civilization through Spanish speech, European garb, residence in town, and the role they were willing—and allowed—to play in religious and civil ceremonies.

It was not coincidental that the notable citizens of Azángaro now applied for the provincial capital to be elevated to the status of ciudad , a petition finally passed into law by the congress in 1875. Putina received the same honor in 1889.[135] Azángaro town had firmly established its "urban primacy" in the province by the time of the 1862 census. Its population had tripled since the late 1820s to reach 1,595, while other pueblos had grown more slowly. During the administration of José Rufino Echenique in the early 1850s Azángaro received a municipal building, and a canal was constructed from Lake Lolanta, one kilometer from town, to supply drinking water "of good quality."[136] By 1862 two schools for boys functioned in the province. Ninety-three of the ninety-five students at Azángaro's Colegio Municipal were classified as white.[137] Although the province was far from undergoing a process of urbanization, the distinction between town and countryside became more marked as rudimentary amenities of urban life appeared.

The number of state officials and authorities, still small in absolute terms, had also grown significantly after independence. The Judge of First Instance and his subaltern scribes and doormen, the justices of peace in every district, the governors in the districts, and, at the top, the subprefect and the provincial deputy to congress were positions now open to the provincial and local elite, a multiplication of positions of power and authority through which services and goods could be extracted from the Indian peasantry. The municipal councils ceased to be cabildos de Indios, and the councillors and mayors were now elected from the ranks of the provincial elites; only councils in districts with few haciendas and a particularly small "urban" nucleus, such as Saman or Achaya, still had Indian peasants among its members.[138]

By the 1850s, then, a new republican elite was well on its way toward redefining the patterns of dominance and domination in the altiplano. It appropriated liberal notions of civilization as the basis for its preeminence vis-à-vis the vast Indian majority. A process of "traditional modernization" had begun. The newly emerging elites selectively grafted notions of a constitutional political culture, liberal legal norms, and bourgeois cultural values and patterns of consumption onto old hierarchical norms of social conduct, in which the honor of the family and a harsh patriarchal order of domination and subordination maintained their uncurtailed validity and


legitimacy.[139] In contrast to the early hopeful and moralizing liberal conceptions of a Choquehuanca, by midcentury Azángaro's elites relied on their self-righteous conviction of representing progressive civilization in a backward Indian province to justify innumerable forms of exploitation and abuse of the peasantry. As might be expected, few elite members in the altiplano dared to embrace the anticlerical planks of European liberalism; the church was to remain a major pillar of their superficially modernized yet still patriarchal order.

For the casual observer, the altiplano at midcentury might have appeared unchanged. The towns were still unattractive agglomerations of thatched adobe buildings. Estates continued to operate the same way they had one hundred years earlier. Many of the elite families who considered themselves as whites, imbued with modern values and life-style, might have been looked on as rather rude mestizo bumpkins in Lima or even Arequipa. Yet the new republican landholders, traders, and officials had found a way to adapt their domination over the vast majority of Indian peasants to the changed patterns of commerce, law, and politics emanating from Lima and Europe. The stage for the rise of gamonalismo, that peculiarly violent Andean version of bossism, was set. Azángaro's elites were ready to grasp the opportunities presented by expanding markets for their livestock products.


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