previous chapter
4 The Oligarchization of Liberal Visions
next sub-section

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 next hit, 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 previous hit Lizares next hit 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 previous hit Lizares next hit 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. previous hit Lizares next hit 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, previous hit Lizares next hit 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 previous hit Lizares next hit and his mistress Josefa Quiñones, previous hit Lizares's next hit illegitimate son, José Maria previous hit Lizares next hit 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 previous hit Lizares next hit 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 previous hit Lizares next hit 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 previous hit Lizares next hit 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.

previous chapter
4 The Oligarchization of Liberal Visions
next sub-section