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2 From the "Andean Space" to the Export Funnel
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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.


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