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4 The Oligarchization of Liberal Visions
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The Oligarchization of Liberal Visions

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

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

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


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

The Languishing Estates

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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



Owner or Enfiteuta


Livestock (OMR)

Value (pesos)


Year of Information



María del          Rosario Choquehuanca

Modesto Basadre







Martina Carpio vda. de Urbina

Bonifacio Ramos







Juliana Aragón de Riquelme







Manuel Ruperto Estévez

José Manuel Torres







José Mariano Escobedo







Virginia Urviola

Andrés Urviola







María A. Vieyra y Choquehunaca


Above 20,000



Muñani Chico


José Luis Quiñones

José Manuel Torres






San José

Santiago and Carmen Riquelme

Miguel Bueno,     José Pastor







José Manuel Calle

Andrés Urviola







Rufino Macedob





Purina y Viscachani


Dionicio Zevallosb







Juana Manuela Choquehuanca





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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

A. Livestock Estates

Livestock capital

Hda. Toroya, Dist. Cabana

8,000 sheep

Hda. Añavile, Dist. Cabana

5,000 sheep

Hda. Tolapalca, Dist. Vilque

660 sheep


25 llamas

Hdas. Cochela Tango and                                Chijollane, Dist. Atuncolla

3,300 sheep


50 cows


5 bulls

Hda. Buenavista, Dist. Caracoto

3,300 sheep


50 cows


5 bulls

Hda. Chujura, Dist. Vilque

2,200 sheep


25 cows


5 bulls

Hda. Qquera, Dist. Vilque

2,200 sheep

Estancias Taccara and Quillora

550 sheep

Total Livestock Capital

25,210 sheep


125 cows


15 bulls


25 llamas

B. Other Real Estatea

3 houses in Vilque

4 houses in Puno

1 house in Arequipa

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

1 mill for silver ore, in the outskirts of Puno

Hacienda mineral Jesúa, Dist. Tiquillaca

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

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


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

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

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

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


TABLE 4.3. Livestock Populations in Three Altiplano Provinces,


Huancané, 1807a

Lampa, 1808 b

Azángaro, 1825/29c






































































Sources and Notes:

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

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

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

d Possibly lumped with llamas.

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

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


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







Average per Estate



Average per Estate








Owned by communities




Church or chaplaincies







All Estates







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

Source: Choquehuanca, Ensayo , 15–53.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

The Agrarian Reform of the 1820s and the Altiplano Peasantry

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

Azángaro's Society During the Early Independence Era

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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