Preferred Citation: Jacobsen, Nils. Mirages of Transition: The Peruvian Altiplano, 1780-1930. Berkeley, CA:  University of California Press,  1993.

9 Conclusion Gamonales Aren't Forever

Conclusion Gamonales Aren't Forever

The Main Threads of the Story

We have now followed the winding and interwoven trails of Azángaro's history for some one hundred and fifty years, and it is necessary to seek high ground allowing us to look back and discern the major direction of these trails. Several turning points mark the trajectory of the region's society and economy: the 1780s, the 1850s, and the 1920s. The middle decades of the eighteenth century were a period of growth for the northern altiplano, fostered by the recovery of silver mining in High Peru and Cuzco's booming woolen industry, which drew its raw materials from livestock herders in Azángaro and neighboring provinces. Encouraged by Bourbon enlightened notions about property, provincial elites sought to convert informal exploitation of Indian communal land and labor, hitherto justified by notions of reciprocity, into formalized estates with a resident labor force. Hacienda formation continued strongly for much of the eighteenth century. Although the altiplano's population recovered vigorously from the epidemics of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, population density remained low. Land was not scarce in absolute terms; it had monetary value only in conjunction with livestock. Nevertheless, conflicts over land rose sharply after midcentury, both among community peasants and among the communities, their kurakas, and other sectors of the hispanized provincial elite. Bourbon policy limited the lands each community could hold according to its population and sold "excess lands" to private landholders. Affluent peasants increasingly relied on landholdings in fee simple. But the major challenge for the livelihood of the communal peasantry was posed by the growth of forced surplus extractions, in the form of repartos de bienes, and taxes and fees levied by crown and church. During the 1760s and 1770s the peasant economy was threatened primarily through harsher terms of the colonial tributary mode of production.


The era of crisis and gradual realignment began during the 1780s and lasted until the mid-1850s. Competition from European textile imports, the semisecular decline of Upper Peru's silver production, and, after independence, rising transport costs coincided with depressed prices. Elite-controlled trading circuits between Upper and Lower Peru gradually decayed. The division of the former "Andean space," first into separate viceroyalties and later into distinct republics, drove the disruption of commercial circuits forward. Complementary exchange relations between peasants fared better during these decades.

The Túpac Amaru Rebellion marks the onset of the era of crisis and realignment for the northern altiplano, as it exacerbated the contradictions of the Bourbons' political economy. The colonial authorities relied both on repression and limitations of elite surplus extraction to regain control over the communal peasantry in the Andean highlands. They sought to halt the consolidation of haciendas but could not bring themselves to implement their protoliberal property notions on disputed crown lands or in the peasant communities. Estates of kurakas, the church, and private hispanized entrepreneurs lost land to peasant squatters. In the last decades before independence a sense of uncertainty permeated social and property relations in the altiplano. To say that the peasants lost the Túpac Amaru Rebellion is only half true.

The agrarian reform laws of the 1820s helped to consolidate the gains that peasants had achieved through land occupations and lifted the corporate character from the communities. But early republican governments did not challenge social hierarchies in the communities, as they sought to stabilize revenue collection from the head tax. With demand for labor stagnant, elite-controlled trade in disarray, the land base more secure, and per capita collections of head tax and of other forms of surplus extraction diminished, the Indian community peasantry enjoyed a brief interval of enhanced autonomy, crucial for its capacity to withstand the gamonal onslaught that was to come.

During the first three postindependence decades a new provincial elite gradually took shape and sought to set the criteria for social stratification. The disintegration of the colonial system of domination, based largely on state-sanctioned surplus extraction, laid bare a social landscape that was "Indian" to a surprising extent. Except for parish priests and a handful of large landholding families of colonial origin, the emerging provincial elite thus pulled itself up by its own bootstraps from modest backgrounds. The tools to do so were provided by opportunities in trade and control over public office, avenues to power intertwined in broadening clientele networks. It was only during the early 1850s that traders and large landholders


in the northern altiplano relinquished all hopes of reconstructing colonial trading circuits and fully embraced the exportation of wools as the inevitable base for provincial trade. And only the upswing of the export economy during the 1850s provided the fiscal wherewithal to stabilize political power on the provincial and local levels. The emerging hispanized elite relied on notions gleaned from the ascending European bourgeois civilization—the importance of private property, education, and "modern" patterns of consumption—to establish its difference from the vast majority of Indian community peasants and estate colonos and to buttress its claim to exclusive exercise of political power and leadership in the province. The Indians now became those "barbarians" who did not embrace the hallmarks of a progressive civilization, and by the late nineteenth century their distinctness was increasingly described in racial terms. Although income and property distribution was gradated between the most affluent large landholding families and the poorest peasants, with a considerable overlap between marginal finca owners, small traders, and affluent peasants, altiplano society became polarized sociopolitically.

The redefinition of the Indians from a historic corporate group to an intrinsically distinct racial group outside of the pale of civilization came to form the basis of the neocolonial relationship between the peasantry and the provincial elite. It justified enhanced surplus extraction by local authorities and the increasing incorporation of community peasants into estates as colonos. The self-made gamonal elite invested its growing power to convert the Indian peasantry into directly dependent clients in the spheres of both commercialization and production. But this was a dialectical process. One could equally say that it was the growing gamonal control over Indian land and labor and over the peasants' commodities in the marketplace that constituted the essence of the provincial elite's growing power. The gamonales, rural bosses in the districts and the province, constructed their own position in society both through intimacy with the peasant world, from whence many had come themselves, and through difference from that world.

Between the 1850s and 1920 the wool export trade was the motor of the economy of the altiplano and of much of southern Peru, just as silver mining had been during the colonial period. Although export volumes grew only modestly, rising international prices delivered growing incomes to producers and traders. Decreasing costs of international transport and the devaluation of Peruvian and Bolivian currencies augmented regional returns on the export trade. Articulated through the rail line between the altiplano and the port of Mollendo, the wool export business created a dendritic pattern of trade throughout much of southern Peru. It fostered


a new spatial pattern of commerce centered on the entrepôt Arequipa and slowly marginalized exchanges with the Bolivian altiplano. The wool export economy helped define a common southern Peruvian identity that had first appeared in the political struggles during the Túpac Amaru Rebellion and Peru's postindependence civil wars. After an interim phase in which prominent altiplano merchants acted quite autonomously as wool bulkers, merchant bankers, and distributors of European imports, in the late 1880s the Arequipa export houses began to extend their influence in the production zone through a hierarchical system of agencies and itinerant wool buyers. Traders and producers alike became increasingly dependent on credit from the Arequipa firms. Although competitive on each level of trade, wool buyers sought to create local monopolies and firmly tie producers to themselves. By the early twentieth century peasants were eager to participate in trade but bitterly resented and resisted the ruses and violence of hispanized traders and local authorities that greatly diminished their returns on every deal.

Regional trade in foodstuffs, stimulants, textiles, household goods, and building materials grew in tandem with wool exports. Although imports gradually led to a restructuring of processing industries, artisanal production did not vanish; in fact, local processing of wools grew more rapidly than wool exports did during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Low productivity, in both the agrarian sector and processing, in association with the neocolonial system of domination, kept income levels low for most people in the region and precluded an advancing division of labor. In addition, high transport costs, even after the establishment of the rail link, and maintenance of localized fashions and tastes and of long-standing personalized exchange relations among peasants in various ecological zones contributed to keep regional artisanal production competitive with imports and the modest beginnings of import-substituting industries.

Fueled by the rise of the wool export trade, old and new hispanized large landholders acquired an unprecedented amount of land from community peasants to found new livestock estates and expand old ones. Land purchases were correlated with fluctuations in the demand for wool and the price of livestock. Only as an outcome of this massive process of hacienda expansion, swallowing between one-fourth and one-third of Azángaro's usable lands in the short span of some sixty years, did livestock haciendas come to control the majority of land in the altiplano. The number of haciendas and fincas in Azángaro province more than doubled between the 1820s and 1940, with most new estates founded since the 1850s. Most of the new foundations remained small, cobbled together by traders, officials, and established landholding families through the acquisition of small strings of peasant


estancias. Some two dozen haciendas had become very large indeed by World War I. All large haciendas had their origin in colonial estates, expanding rapidly during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by incorporating other estates and numerous peasant holdings. Church property, much of it operated through long-term leaseholds, survived virtually undiminished until the second decade of the present century.

The distance between the income and wealth of families owning large estates and most other hacendado families had grown since the mid-nineteenth century. Most affluent hacendado families could hold on to their landholdings for three or more generations and found ways to avoid splintering their properties through inheritance. Indeed, revisionist writers on Latin American haciendas may have overemphasized the rate of sales of haciendas, as they failed to consider frequent intrafamily contracts. Hacendados realized the central importance of family cohesion for holding on to the family's estate and social position.

Despite the enormous upswing in land transfers, it would be misleading to speak of a land market in the altiplano around 1900. There was no open marketplace for land. Perfect strangers, without social or family ties, political power, or business connections in the province, normally had no way of knowing what was "for sale" and virtually no chance at all of buying rural property. In most cases the notarial bill of sale, which purported to be a contract between free and equal agents, in fact inscribed a long-standing relation of dependency or, worse, a fait accompli based on deceit or violence. Over the sixty-five years of the wool export economy, prices for haciendas gradually came to reflect market conditions, and the custom of "conventional prices," changing only with major long-term economic shifts, gave way. But as late as 1920 prices for peasant lands still reflected specific social constellations between seller and buyer rather than supply and demand.

A fully developed land market is intimately connected to the notion of private property, as defined by laws and sanctioned by the state's law enforcement and judicial agencies. Such a notion was not unequivocally accepted in the altiplano. Land invasions, vague land boundaries, and livestock rustling remained pandemic. The ambivalence toward private property was shared by community peasants and large landholders. Members of the provincial elite made fine speeches about the "defense of private property," which was, after all, one of the key planks of the worldview through which they hoped to distinguish themselves from the Indian peasantry. Yet in moving border posts, leading their livestock onto neighbors' fields, impounding neighbors' livestock, and, manu militari , occupying lands claimed by others, they were ready to disregard precepts of private property if in doing so they could broaden their own control over


land. The courts, the notaries, and the land registry office in Puno functioned not as indisputable arbiters and guarantors of property rights but as arenas for contesting power between various gamonales and their clients. A title deed, highly prized by peasants and landholders alike, served not as a symbol of indisputable rights but as one of various tools or weapons wielded in the struggle over land. Possession of land required its unchallenged, habitual use or the effective projection of power up to the borders one claimed. A property title, without use or power over the land, did not guarantee possession.

In parcialidades and ayllus corporate communal landholding became rare after the agrarian reform of the 1820s. During the following century it was largely the patrilineal family descent groups, embedded within the communities, that continued the practice of common usufruct of pastures. With higher livestock and population densities and the growing market opportunities for livestock products, however, the sharing of pasture commons came under pressure in the family descent groups. Communal solidarity remained important on other levels. As gamonales increasingly used the parcialidades' hierarchy of officeholders to extract labor, commodities, and money, the locus of that solidarity often shifted to sectors of peasants within the old communities, the family descent groups, for example.

The number of autonomous rural peasant settlements grew sharply during the early decades of the twentieth century, and the principales were losing their grip on the community population. These shifts were closely connected to the penetration of market forces in the communities' social stratification. Inequality, nothing new in the communities, increasingly came to be based on economic factors. But that did not diminish the need or the practice of communal solidarity, in defense of land, in resistance to arbitrary demands by authorities, in common work projects, and in celebrations. As long as provincial and local elites construed their power in juxtaposition to an Indian peasantry marked as inferior and different, communal organizations, expressions of ethnic identity and defense, would remain strong.

The number of colonos residing on livestock estates increased greatly between the late 1850s and 1920. Most were the former owners of the estancias that new and old estates were incorporating. Because the colonos maintained their autonomous peasant economy, often even continuing to reside on their former land, the change in their way of life and their income was less dramatic than has often been assumed. The majority of hacendados did not have the capital resources required to attempt a change to capital-intensive methods of production. Like the officeholders in the districts, they continued to exercise a paternalistic authority, all encompassing and


fragile at the same time. In most of the small fincas and some of the largest haciendas the owner's control over resources remained strictly limited, and often the colonos together held as much livestock as their patrón. The minority of hacendados who sought to build highly productive livestock enterprises based on wage labor encountered massive colono resistance. Change to a wage labor regime here occurred in a painstakingly slow process between the 1920s and the 1950s.

The Crisis of the 1920s

The years around 1920 mark a sea change for the rural society of the northern altiplano, a change in the constellation of forces no less important than that initiated by the Túpac Amaru Rebellion 140 years earlier. Three strands of development, entangled in their causes and effects, brought about this epochal shift: a crisis in the wool trade and its economic repercussions for the estates; the mobilization of community peasants, estate colonos, and certain urban middle-class sectors; and population growth. When the Great Depression hit the altiplano economy during the early 1930s, it merely reaffirmed what had become clear during the preceding decade: the exportation of wools and other livestock products had ceased to be the motor of growth; the transfer of land from peasant communities into the hacienda sector had diminished and in some cases had even begun to be reversed; the years of prosperity and upward social mobility were over for many hacendado families; and population pressures were beginning to hurt the majority of Indian peasant families in the diminished domains of their communities. Yet none of the social forces in the region was able to impose an alternative model of economic growth. Instead, the altiplano's economy and society entered a long phase of stalemate that held until the agrarian reform of 1969.

The decade between 1915 and 1925 witnessed the most widespread peasant movements in the altiplano since the early 1780s. This cycle of peasant unrest had actually begun during the mid-1890s, in the aftermath of fiscal and administrative reforms introduced by the Piérola administration. During the following decade community peasants protested and fought against the new state monopoly on salt, the increased collection of rural property taxes, and the myriad fees, fines, labor services, and forced sales imposed on them by local and provincial officialdom.[1]

A few years later, between 1909 and 1913, at the height of the land-grabbing frenzy, Azángaro's community peasantry adopted more militant forms of resistance to the expansion of estates. In 1911 peasants from neighboring communities attacked and sacked Hacienda Cuturi of Luis


Felipe Luna in Arapa. In 1909–10 Hilahuata community in Chupa district sought to resist its forced conversion into a livestock estate by José Angelino Lizares Quiñones, resulting in brutal reprisals at the hands of local authorities and troops called in from Puno. In 1913 community peasants from Saman and adjacent districts fought against the land grabbing and other abuses of a local gamonal, Mariano Abarca Dueñas, a small-time coca and alcohol trader who had cobbled together a livestock estate, San Juan, since the 1890s through violence and deceit. After threatening to take the little town of Saman, power base of Abarca Dueñas and his allies, the peasants attacked Hacienda San Juan. A few months later, encouraged by the central government's promise to send an investigative commission, they ceased to recognize the local authorities and again sacked San Juan and several haciendas in neighboring Caminaca district. Answering pleas of local authorities and large landholders, the prefect of Puno sent a detachment of soldiers and gendarmes to "pacify" the zone. More than a hundred peasants were killed in the ensuing unequal battles.[2]

These early movements remained local affairs, limited in their goals to the removal of a specific abuse or grievance. Yet they made use of strategies and advanced a type of awareness that would come to fruition after 1920. They seized on political openings on the national level, as during the mildly reformist administrations of Manuel Candamo (1903–4) and Guillermo Billinghurst (1912–14), or on the local level, encouraged by the appointment of a sympathetic district governor or subprefect. Peasant resistance was inserted into local power struggles between gamonales and their clients in which disputes over land became entangled with competition for elective and appointed offices. The altiplano's provincial elite of the early twentieth century was far from united. Divisions between gamonales deepened, and clientele systems to a certain extent solidified after 1895. Provincial and district-level branches of Peru's three major parties (Civilistas, Demócratas, and Constitucionalistas) inscribed vertical alliances in party rolls, from leading hacendados down to small finca owners, shopkeepers, and even Indian peasants. In the struggle for power gamonales allowed no quarter. If they were united, on principle, in despising the Indians and brutally repressing peasant resistance, they used and even quietly supported such acts of resistance against elite competitors.[3]

When petitions and court cases failed to stop land grabbers and exploitive authorities, communities dispatched "messengers" to Lima. Aided by sympathetic middle-class intermediaries, they sought to present grievances to representatives of the central government and publicized them in the national press. During the early years of the twentieth century the "Indian problem" began to attract growing attention among intellectuals and public


figures in the capital, and even conservative politicians close to the Civilista oligarchy, such as Manuel Vicente Villarán, began to call for protective legislation for Indians.[4] Reformist administrations dispatched commissions to the highlands, especially to the department of Puno, to investigate reports of abusive or illegal practices and forced appropriations of lands committed by public authorities or powerful citizens.[5] In the altiplano a small but growing number of educated urbanites, among them young lawyers, journalists, schoolteachers, and even a few priests, were willing to defend Indians, to promote their rights, and to name the names of abusive gamonales. Not infrequently these budding indigenistas were themselves children of hacendados, swayed by the growing rhetoric denouncing "feudal" haciendas. Francisco Chukiwanka Ayulo, for example, a spokesperson for the Asociación Pro-Derecho Indígena in Puno and staunch defender of Indian peasants, was the son of Juana Manuela Choquehuanca, descendant of the ancient kuraka family and, until 1893, owner of Hacienda Picotani.[6]

The Rumi Maqui Rebellion of 1915–16 elevated the struggle to a higher level of integration, planning, and staying power. The rebellion erupted on the night of December 1, 1915, when several hundred peasants attacked first Hacienda Atarani, San Anton district, property of Alejandro Choquehuanca, and then moved on to Bernardino Arias Echenique's Hacienda San José. Forewarned by the drums, pututos (bullhorns), and screams of the approaching peasants, a handful of well-armed estate employees took up defensive positions in a small tower at the back of the caserío—probably constructed for this purpose. From there they randomly fired into the crowd of attackers who had surged into the patio of the building, seeking to plunder it and to set it on fire. When the peasants fled at dawn, the defenders had killed between 10 and 132 of them. More were killed when San José's employees hunted down fleeing peasants in the surrounding countryside. In mid-January 1916, after scouring the area's communities, the hacendado's bands apprehended José Maria Turpo, who had led the peasants and was wounded in the attack and whom Arias Echenique and his men had for years considered one of their most dangerous opponents among the peasants. On the spot Turpo was tortured and barbarously executed by being dragged by galloping horses over rocky ground for two miles.[7]

This rebellion was again inserted into the struggles between various gamonales, so much so that authors sympathetic to the cause of the Indians flatly denied that there had been a rebellion at all and saw the whole affair as a confabulation of one gamonal band, seeking to hurt their enemies and to justify the slaughter of peasants. Yet recent studies by Augusto Ramos Zambrano and Luis Bustamante Otero leave no doubt that a peasant movement of rather large proportions had indeed been organized.


Why was this rebellion so important? In the first place, it linked the coordination and ideological projection of an outsider with mounting resistance of local peasant groups. The outsider was Teodomiro Gutiérrez Cuevas, the man sent by President Billinghurst in 1913 to investigate the conflicts in Saman. A midlevel military officer with a checkered career, Gutiérrez Cuevas had held various administrative posts in Puno and other parts of Peru since the early years of the century. He combined a conviction in the need to "redeem" the Indian through education and legal reforms with a certain anarchist orientation. After the overthrow of Billinghurst he fled to Chile and became convinced that only a militant movement of the peasants themselves could bring the needed changes. In September 1915 he clandestinely returned to the northern altiplano and established contact with José Maria Turpo and other peasants who had been meeting locally since July to plan actions aimed at blocking further land appropriations in the parcialidades of San Antón and San José districts by Bernardino Arias Echenique. Because of Gutiérrez Cuevas's work, peasants from the districts of San José, San Antón, Asillo, Santiago de Pupuja, Arapa, Chupa, Achaya, Saman, and Taraco as well as from the neighboring province of Sandia took part in the December 1 attack. In the few letters and manifestoes found to date Gutiérrez Cuevas called himself "Rumi Maqui" (Quechua for "Hand of Stone"), "General and Supreme Director of the indigenous pueblos and armed forces of the Federal State of Tahuantinsuyo" (a Quechua term for the Inca Empire), "Restorer of the Indians," and "Supreme Chief of the Indian pueblos and Generalissimo of their armies."[8] He proceeded to appoint leaders (cabecillas ) of this nascent federal state in a number of districts; these leaders did not come from the ranks of established community authorities.

Rumi Maqui stressed the autonomy of individual Indian pueblos within a federal state that was to reunite Peru with Bolivia. This federalism, with its Incaic overtones, had been suggested a few years earlier by Azángaro's powerful gamonal, José Angelino Lizares Quiñones.[9] Rumi Maqui intended to destroy the rule of the gamonales in order to restore justice and liberty for "my loyal friends, the Indians of Puno." From the perspective of the Indians, modern authors have seen the Rumi Maqui Rebellion as a new manifestation of millenarianism in the southern Andes, as the expectation of a pachacuti , the Andean notion of a turning point of cosmic dimensions and the beginning of a new era through which what was below would be on top and vice versa. Indians would supplant the hispanized population in positions of power, the communities would get back the lands appropriated by estates, and the Incas would return.[10] Or at least these were the goals imputed to the movement by the altiplano's elite, always


ready to dramatize and ridicule Indian peasant resistance in order to underscore the hopeless distance between themselves and the "Indian barbarians" and justify the call for massive repression.

Gutiérrez Cuevas no doubt sought to invoke the peasants' memories of a mythic past remembered as just. During a time when educated serranos had begun to show pride in Peru's prehispanic civilizations, Indian communities themselves at times defended their interests by exalting selectively remembered traditions going back to the seventeenth century or earlier: from the insistence on real or fabricated colonial property titles, to the secret collection of a colonial fee to meet expenses in the protection of lands (rama ), to renewed use of colonial communal offices (south of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia's Pacajes province).[11] But these memories were mobilized to serve new goals squarely arising out of early twentieth-century political, economic, or cultural conflicts. The peasants attacking Hacienda San José did not fight to strengthen the old parcialidades or ayllus that had claimed the solidarity of Azángaro's peasantry during much of the nineteenth century. In the extant documents Turpo, the recognized peasant leader of the attack, is referred to as coming from Estancia Soratira in San Antón district, the landholding of the Turpo linear descent group. The family had fought Arias Echenique's attempts to incorporate the estancia into San José for years.[12] There is no evidence to suggest that Turpo or any other peasant participating in the Rumi Maqui Rebellion held high office in the old parcialidades. On the contrary, in one communication from early 1916, in which peasants of San José and San Antón detailed the persecution to which they had been subjected since the previous December and enumerated their grievances, they bitterly complained about the actions of "principales y autoridades," a formula that would reappear in the peasant movement of the early 1920s.[13] The Rumi Maqui movement was fighting against not only gamonales appropriating peasant land but also segundas, hilacatas, and alcaldes in the parcialidades, perhaps because they belonged to the political clientele of the gamonal enemy. But the insurrectionists also wanted to be free from the extractions organized by principales and district authorities for their own benefit. Some of those participating in the attack were fairly affluent peasants who had previously bought land and owned large livestock flocks.

In brief, the Rumi Maqui Rebellion conjoined the struggle against land-grabbing hacendados and abusive local authorities with the emancipation of dynamic groups within the parcialidades from oppressive communal authorities. The fight against powerful hacendados and their political clientele at the onset of the World War I export boom expressed a heightened militancy in the struggle for resources of growing commercial


value. As wool prices began their dramatic rise, many community peasants were less and less willing to see benefits from the windfall taken away by hacendados seeking to monopolize land and "principales y autoridades" seeking to monopolize trade.[14] The Rumi Maqui Rebellion coincides with the moment when land purchases between Indian peasants were increasing notably, further evidence for the strengthening of a group of affluent peasants eager to exploit market opportunities.

The Indian leaders of the Rumi Maqui Rebellion combined the drive for unimpeded control over their properties and commodities with an assertion of greater political autonomy, expressed in millenarian and Incaic terms. This discourse fit their political strategy perfectly. On the one hand, it was precisely what their urban indigenista allies expected from them and could easily translate into progressive-liberal or anarchist notions of equality and justice, federalism and local autonomy. On the other hand, it gave them an ideological lever to gain support from poorer families in the communities who were in less of a position to benefit from newly arising commercial opportunities. It would thus allow them to reconstruct solidarity around new communities, split off from the old parcialidades and freed from impositions by the old village authorities.

The importance of the Rumi Maqui Rebellion lies in its combination of concrete socioeconomic goals with a political agenda, of a millenarian discourse with the drive for more economic and political autonomy. In economic terms dynamic peasant groups wished to take advantage of opportunities offered by the market without obstacles interposed by large landholders and political authorities. At the same time they were seeking to strengthen their political autonomy and cultural identity by reconstructing communal solidarity on a new, more voluntary and associational basis.[15] Peasants invoked idealized memories of autonomous communities because power continued to be held by gamonales, at times supported by the central state. The reconstruction of community was the inevitable counterpart to the hispanized provincial elite's reconstruction of the colonial dichotomy of conquerors and conquered, now transformed into a simplified and racist dichotomy between civilized whites and Indian barbarians. The insistence on re-creating new community structures since the 1910s and 1920s should not be misunderstood as the reassertion of some innate, atavistic "Indianness" in which a specific form of communal social economy and Indian cultural identity are one and the same thing. Rather, Indian peasants insisted on communal solidarity, adjusting its form to shifting economic, political, and cultural conditions, as long as it offered a measure of protection against a harsh power structure erected and main-


tained by provincial elites in neocolonial, dichotomized terms. Gamonalismo and Indian communalism conditioned each other.

The Rumi Maqui Rebellion only began to express this reorientation of the altiplano peasantry's economic, political, and cultural thinking and acting, and it is likely that the majority of peasants still remained loyal to the old principales. But the rebellion began to shift the constellation of forces in Azángaro, and it lasted much longer than the frustrated attack on Hacienda San José suggests. Clandestine meetings and contacts between various communities were held as early as mid-1915, and in late August, Bernardino Arias Echenique's lawyer alerted the provincial authorities that a general rebellion was being planned by community Indians to "reconquer" all hacienda lands.[16] After the attack on Hacienda San José two army battalions were dispatched to the northern altiplano to "pacify" the region. Dozens of peasants were killed in the sweep of the troops and police forces through the provinces of Azángaro, Huancané, Sandia, and Puno. New reports of peasants massing to attack haciendas came in from widely dispersed districts as late as mid-January 1916.

In the meantime the national press had begun to discuss the abuses committed by Bernardino Arias Echenique, José Sebastian Urquiaga, and other altiplano large landholders. For the first time these men, important members of provincial society who had access to the officials in the national capital, saw themselves as the objects of a campaign denouncing their life's work of building large estates as exploitive, feudal, and antiprogressive. Even as demand for their estates' principal products was reaching unprecedented heights toward the end of World War I, the transfer of land from the peasants to estates began to slow down.

A sharp slump of the international wool market during much of 1920 and 1921 ushered in a period of economic instability in southern Peru.[17] Wool prices continued to rise in international markets until early 1920. Because of postwar demobilization and the reestablishment of prewar supply channels, prices on the Liverpool market then fell by some 55 percent over a one-year period. In Peru prices had begun to fall earlier, from 50.5 pence per pound for first-class sheep wool in September 1918 to 39.5 pence in March 1920. Speculating that still higher international prices could be achieved, Arequipa exporters had begun to stockpile wools in 1919 and reduced demand in the production zones. When the Liverpool market collapsed in the second quarter of 1920, the consequences in southern Peru were particularly severe. The exporters, with their warehouses filled to capacity, reduced purchases to an absolute minimum, and some ceased buying wools altogether. By 1921 southern Peru's sheep wool exports had


fallen by nearly four-fifths of the peak volume in 1917, totaling under 600 tons; alpaca wool exports declined by nearly two-thirds from 1918 peak volumes to just over 1,100 tons. Prices for first-class sheep wool fell from 39.5 pence per pound in March 1920 to 20.5 pence in December and 11.5 pence by September 1921, just over one-fifth of 1918 peak prices. A modest recovery for sheep wool prices began only in late 1922, whereas alpaca wools stagnated at below 30 percent of 1918 peak prices for most of the decade.[18]

The commercial crisis affected all sectors of altiplano society—large and small traders, estate owners, and community peasants—and produced ripple effects throughout southern Peru. Many retail merchants and wool-buying agents withdrew from trade.[19] Hacendados had taken up loans from the Arequipa export houses during the boom years, to be repaid with the expected high-priced wool clip and secured by mortgages on their estates.[20] As wool prices plummeted, many hacendados could not repay their debts. Merchants from Arequipa and Juliaca foreclosed on overdue debts, and for the first time the regional mercantile oligarchy acquired altiplano estates on a significant scale.[21] Several of Azángaro's large haciendas, including Posoconi, Purina, Huasacona, and, a bit later, San José, passed into the hands of exports houses in Arequipa and Juliaca.[22] Community peasants and estate owners alike sought to restrict wool sales and postpone the clip. But faced with reductions in cash income of up to 80 percent, such restriction was not always possible. Small and large livestock producers alike were outraged at what they saw as arbitrary price slashing by the merchants.[23] The rift between producers and middlemen, covered up in the long phase of trade expansion, now came to the surface.

The crash of the wool market in 1920 brought the crisis for hacendados, gamonales, wool merchants, and the system of domination they had gradually constructed to its head. "Major uprisings rocked the zone; general lawlessness peaked; Indians and landowners each banded together for defense and/or mutual aid; political agitators roamed the highlands."[24] A "seismic wave" of rebellions and other forms of peasant resistance engrossed nearly every highland province of Puno and Cuzco departments between 1920 and 1923.[25] Social tensions came to a boiling point through a compounding of crises. The long-standing conflicts of altiplano society became more explosive with the profound slump of the wool trade. During his first four years in office President Augusto Leguía (1919–30) sought support against the Civilista oligarchy among the middle class, university students, southern regionalists, and, briefly, organized labor. Employing reformist rhetoric, he effectively opened political space through which the deepening social conflicts could come to the surface. This political opening


coincided with a radicalization among middle and popular classes, especially in the provinces, where students and professionals adapted the bewildering array of new European ideologies, from fascism to bolshevism, to the conditions of regional society and politics.

The "Indian problem" now rapidly emerged as the core issue in a growing debate about Peru's national identity. Rooted in deep-seated social and ideological tensions, indigenismo rose to center stage aided by Leguía's "official indigenismo," as expressed by the recognition of the Indian community in the 1920 constitution, the opening of a Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1921, and his sponsorship of a bombastic but largely ineffective national "Patronage of the Indian Race." Indigenista reformers in Puno pursued two goals. By insisting on legal reforms improving the condition of Indian colonos and community peasants, they hoped to weaken the gamonales' hold on political power. By focusing on Indian cultural heritage and the distinct make-up of regional society, explained in terms of the altiplano's racial composition and the "telluric forces" of its stark environment, they sought regional autonomy from Lima's centralism. Although fighting for their own agenda, urban professionals, artisans, and students who embraced indigenismo and were willing to speak out for the Indian peasantry were becoming more numerous and more vociferous by the early 1920s.[26]

In June 1920 President Leguía appointed a commission charged with investigating the rising tide of complaints from Indians in Puno. When the commissioners arrived in Azángaro, "8,000 Indians in military formation and carrying sticks and a few guns" were there to meet them, ready to present their grievances.[27] A frightened provincial elite accused the commission of fostering an Indian rebellion. Hacendados sent a barrage of furious telegrams to the central government in Lima, demanding the withdrawal of the commission and the dispatch of troops. Although the commission heard some ten thousand cases and documented the severity of the conflict over land, especially in Azángaro province, it did not have the authority to settle them, although often encouraging Indians to pursue their claims.[28]

For the first time Indian peasants throughout the southern highlands felt encouraged to organize openly. In 1921 migrant peasants from the sierra founded the Comité Pro-Derecho Indígena "Tawantinsuyo" in Lima, and local branches were rapidly established in the provinces and districts of the altiplano. From 1921 to 1923, before the organization lost its effectiveness, the Comité's national congresses passed detailed reform resolutions. They demanded the establishment of schools and medical services in each community and hacienda, the return of community lands, new local authorities under direct control of the communities, better wages


and working conditions for colonos, separation of church and state, and abolition of forced labor for road construction, recently introduced by President Leguía. This reformist program was packaged in redemptionist discourse containing both millenarian and anarcho-syndicalist elements.[29] The Comité's vision was disseminated in many parcialidades of the altiplano through delegates returning from Lima and through indigenista and labor movement papers, apparently read aloud in community assemblies.[30]

Put on the defensive by the double crisis of a severe commercial slump and unprecedented peasant mobilizations, hacendados for the first time organized leagues and held congresses to discuss "the Indian problem." In a memorandum to President Leguía of February 15, 1921, the Sociedad Ganadera del Departamento de Puno, representing more than ninety owners of livestock estates, feigned absolute innocence and defenselessness in the wave of rural violence sweeping the altiplano. "Our shepherds and we are victims of the theft and the attacks by community Indians; but these employ every possible means and false promises to demoralize them [the hacienda shepherds], to incite them to rebellion, imbuing them with hate and rancor against us." They blamed outside agitators for the unrest and were especially bitter about the government commission for its "little tact and its imprudence" in favoring community peasants. They demanded that the government should disavow the commission report, station more police and military in the altiplano provinces, and conduct military trials for captured "ringleaders" of the peasants.[31]

Up to 1920 peasant resistance had been directed primarily against local officialdom and land usurpations by hacendados. After 1920 patterns of commercialization and the situation within the livestock estates also became focal points of the peasant movement, resulting in a broadening of its social base. Bands of peasants attacked strings of llamas and mules transporting wool belonging to traders or hacendados, something that had never happened before. The depressed wool trade made the use of deceit and force in the marketplace insufferable for many Indian stock herders. In one case they grabbed a trader's scales, symbol of such trickery. Some hacendados delayed their wool remittances for fear of losing their crop.[32]

Attacks on livestock estates multiplied between 1920 and 1923, at least eight distinct instances being reported in Azángaro province alone.[33] At times these attacks were carried out by peasants from nearby communities, the pattern that had prevailed during the previous decade, but colonos now joined in or even organized the actions on their own. In some cases, as when the colonos took control of the sprawling latifundium Lauramarca in Cuzco's Canchis province for over a year in 1922–23, they demanded the hacienda's transformation into a community.[34] In other cases colonos


rejected attempts to cut back their usufruct rights and other customary privileges. Colonos demonstrated that they continued to prize their autonomous peasant economy and that no principal social barrier existed between them and community peasants.

The climax of the peasant movement came in late 1923 in events centering on a community in Huancané province, with repercussions through much of the northern altiplano. After long judicial procedures and representations before President Leguía in Lima, the comuneros of Huancho in Huancané, on the border of Azángaro province, began to boycott that urban market and refused to render any more labor services for the hispanized authorities. Led by local members of the Comité Pro-Derecho Indígena "Tawantinsuyo," they proceeded to build a new, politically autonomous urban center in their community, which they named Huancho-Lima because it was based on the street outlay of the capital. They allotted ample space for a school and the church, designated special streets for the various artisanal trades, appointed new political authorities and a committee of public hygiene, and prohibited the speaking of Aymara. Most important, they established a weekly market on the plaza of their new city. The idea caught on, with other communities in Azángaro and Huancané provinces holding their own autonomous markets and heeding the calls of messengers from Huancho-Lima to cease recognition of local authorities.

For reasons that are still unclear, in December 1923 the people of Huancho began an offensive. According to one author, an Indian congress with delegates from the whole department of Puno was held in the new town, demanding abolition of the envarados (the old communal authorities, now seen as tools for exploitive hispanized authorities), return of lands appropriated by haciendas, foundation of rural schools, and punishment of those assassinating Indian leaders. These concrete political goals were again capped by a call for restoration of the Tahuantinsuyo.[35] In mid-December the Huanchinos attacked the Lizares Quiñones's Hacienda Caminacoya in Azángaro's Chupa district, scene of bloody confrontations in 1909–10, and assaulted a string of mules transporting wool for a Juliaca merchant. They then besieged the provincial capital of Huancané, bastion of the political bosses and hispanized commercial monopolies they wished to shake off. Many communities throughout Huancané province and adjacent areas in Azángaro also rose up and supported the siege. The hispanized townspeople, led by a particularly ruthless cabal of gamonales, were prepared for this offensive; they broke the siege and by late December had begun a brutal campaign of repression and revenge in the communities. Huancho-Lima was razed, as were community schools, deemed centers of insubordination; many peasant cottages were put to the torch, and thou-


sands of head of livestock were taken from the peasants. By the time an army contingent had finished its pacification campaign in January 1924, perhaps two thousand community peasants in Huancané and Azángaro provinces were dead.[36]

This type of "pacification" once again proved as persuasive as its instigators had hoped. It broke the back of the Huanchinos' drive for autonomy, disoriented the work of the Comité Pro-Derecho Indígena "Tawantinsuyo," and quelled surging peasant militancy in the altiplano. Yet indiscriminate banditry and livestock rustling, committed by peasants and gamonal bands alike, remained endemic for the rest of the decade. Many authors have spoken of a defeat of the altiplano peasant movement. This seems an inevitable conclusion for those who, like Manuel Burga and Alberto Flores Galindo, have labeled the cycle of rebellions between 1915 and 1924 as millenarian, pure and simple. The peasant movement, in their view, "lacked political orientation, tactical skills and immediate goals." Steeped in a "religious consciousness, it wanted to reach all or nothing"; the peasants remained isolated, incapable of forging lasting alliances.[37]

But if we take the peasants at their word, their goals seem considerably less illusory, and the outcome of the mobilization appears less bleak. In many ways "the reestablishment of the Tahuantinsuyo" served as a unifying metaphor of the movement. The phrase echoed and reaffirmed the worst suspicions of gamonales and the boldest dreams of indigenistas. The metaphor encapsulated all the concrete, realistic, down-to-earth demands that the altiplano peasantry advanced during the early 1920s: the return of lands to Indian peasants, uninhibited trade, better payment for labor services, prohibition and effective abolition of involuntary services—from those exacted by district authorities to Leguía's conscripción vial —construction of rural schools, and political autonomy for the communities. These demands coincided with the reform programs put forward by the peasants' middle-class allies.

Seen in this light, the peasant movement produced, in conjunction with broader structural shifts, considerable results. To be sure, political and economic domination by gamonales, hacendados, and merchants did not disappear overnight, and, as the case of Huancané demonstrated, these sectors could still muster awesome repressive force. But by raising the risks and the costs of further accumulations of resources, at a time when their value had diminished through the slump and subsequent stagnation of the wool market, the movement contributed to the containment and decay of the order based on gamonalismo and haciendas.

Beginning in the 1920s, the old communal office hierarchy, the centerpiece of the subordination of the communities to the whims and exploitive schemes of local and provincial officials, fell into disuse in Azán-


garo's parcialidades.[38] Henceforth they were governed by elected community councils and lieutenant governors appointed by the Ministry of Government. A growing presence of representatives of the central government, including teachers, officers of the newly established Guardia Civil, and engineers supervising road construction, modestly began to check arbitrary rule by gamonales in rural districts.[39] Rather than automatically backing gamonales against Indian protests, under Leguía the central government began to pursue a strategy of solving the "Indian problem" through economic and social development.

With the introduction of trucks and the extension of Puno's road system during the 1920s, the region's commercial structure began to undergo major changes. The number of marketplaces grew, and for the first time regular weekly markets were established in peasant communities, a development that accelerated after World War II.[40] As traders of wool and hides and of foodstuffs for the growing urban demand came to the communities, the peasants' control over their own commercial transactions increased. This development further weakened gamonal authorities in the district capitals.[41]

With the unstable international wool conjuncture of the 1920s and 1930s, the expansion of estates continued the slowdown begun in 1914–15 and came to a standstill at some undetermined point (probably during the 1940s). There even appeared signs of a reversal of the trend, as some haciendas lost land or disappeared altogether through peasant invasions or through voluntary sales to peasants by impoverished hacendados. By 1940 no hacienda survived in Saman district, and the land of estates such as San Juan had been acquired once again by community peasants.[42]

Between 1920 and 1940 the transfer of peasants from communities to the estate sector came to a halt. Blocked from further physical expansion, haciendas had absorbed as much labor as they could use, and now, no later than 1940, the process was reversed. The population of the estate sector began to decline again, even in absolute terms. A few modernizing estates managed to reduce the number of their colonos, and in some economically marginal estates colonos became smallholding peasants as a result of parcelizations or invasions. At the same time population growth in the peasant communities and in "urban" centers accelerated (table 9.1). Thus, only after 1920, when the most hectic phase of hacienda expansion had ended, did conditions match the often repeated claim that the altiplano haciendas' control of vast areas of land led to a disproportionate concentration of population in the peasant sector.

The commercial and political crisis of the early 1920s emboldened the visions of those entrepreneurs, ranchers, and agronomists who wished to overcome the extensive, seigneurial livestock hacienda based on labor


TABLE 9. 1. Hacienda and Peasant Freeholder Share of the Rural
                       Population of Azángaro Province, 1876–1961

































Sources: Derived from Dir. de Estadística, Resumen del censo . . . hecho en 1876 , 93–108; Dir. Nacional del Estadística, Censo . . . de 1940 8: 104–19; Dir. Nacional de Estadística y Censos, Censo de 1961 4:113–40.

tenancy and to begin a serious effort to develop modern, capitalist stock operations.[43] Some owners of large estates, including merchants who had recently acquired landholdings, imported purebred sheep, invested in fencing, and undertook measures against high animal mortality. Several haciendas were incorporated into shareholding companies, among them the Sociedad Ganadera del Sur, controlled by the Gibson family from Arequipa. The modernizers sought to change the labor regime of their haciendas, although before the agrarian reform of 1969 a labor regime based preponderantly on wages appeared on only a few estates. They limited the herds of colonos, separated the pastures to be used by hacienda and colono livestock, worked toward a greater specialization and productivity of their work force, improved housing, and established schools and medical facilities. As these haciendas attempted to achieve higher productivity levels, they now were interested in reducing the number of shepherds in order to save expenses and retain a greater share of pastures for hacienda animals.[44]

These changes led to the gradual appearance of a sector of quite modern livestock estates between the 1920s and the 1950s, but they did not spread to the overwhelming majority of small and medium-sized haciendas and left even some of the largest estates untouched. The major blockages were lack of capital to finance improvements and colono resistance to any limitation of their long-standing privileges. Most haciendas continued to operate as best they could, yet commercial stagnation and the assertiveness of colonos weakened them economically. Their owners ceased to incorporate further peasants into their haciendas but often lacked the power to


dislodge colono families and their adult children. Under conditions of stagnating markets and mounting obstacles to expand haciendas or found new ones, inheritance posed a greater threat for many hacendado families than it had done during the boom years. Heirs sought to establish themselves in urban trades or professions and became part of the urban-based lower middle and middle classes of Juliaca, Puno, Arequipa, or Lima. But divisions of estates became more frequent. Many families became impoverished, stubbornly clinging to a social status in Azángaro's provincial society that their parents or grandparents had reached in better times.

Cleavages and conflicts among southern Peruvian elites involved in the wool economy erupted on all levels during the critical 1920s—between merchants and hacendados, between foreign entrepreneurs and the established regional elites, between the major transport company and wool merchants and producers, and between modernizing "capitalist" large landholders and the majority of more seigneurial hacendados. The Peruvian Corporation, the British-owned railway company, sought to offset losses caused by the opening of the rival La Paz-Arica line in 1914 by increasing transport tariffs between 41 and 274 percent from 1919 to 1923. This increase produced a xenophobic outcry among all sectors of southern Peruvian society, and Arequipa's Chamber of Commerce unsuccessfully demanded the nationalization of the company.[45] The Peruvian Corporation sought to foster demand for its transportation services by fomenting altiplano livestock production. It supported the project of an experimental sheep ranch, planned since the World War I boom years. The ranch, financed by a fee on wool exports, finally began operation at Chuquibambilla, Melgar province, in 1920. Hacendados were enthusiastic, expecting it to distribute purebred or crossbred rams to the ranchers at minimal costs. Three years later they had become disillusioned and bitter about the Granja Modelo de Chuquibambilla, "which to date has not rendered one positive benefit to the livestock industry."[46] Rather than cheaply distributing improved stock to Puno's ranchers and introducing new livestock raising techniques, the ranch had become a commercially operating hacienda, supported by government funds and controlled by its British managers.

Allied with and instigated by Colonel Stordy, the blundering manager of Chuquibambilla, in 1923 the Peruvian Corporation sought to attract a large foreign sheep-breeding company, the Compañia Rio Negro of Argentina, with the aim of buying up huge tracts of pastureland and establishing a modern, capital-intensive sheep ranch on a Patagonian scale. When the Rio Negro Company, in spite of guarantees by President Leguía, became aware that this project would involve serious conflicts with the altiplano's communal peasantry over land rights and the implantation of


wage labor, it withdrew and the plan came to naught.[47] This was only the most spectacular of a number of attempts to form large syndicates for the production and commercialization of wool.[48] Some merchants and hacendados initially showed interest, hoping to see their estates improved by foreign capital and to share in the prospective increase of trade. But they soon became hostile when their expectations were dashed and they saw the foreign entrepreneurs as potent competitors rather than as partners. Then chambers of commerce and hacendado leagues organized shrill nationalistic campaigns to block such projects, claiming to speak for all southern Peruvians, from peasants to large landholders, "in defense of the Peruvian sierra, bulwark of nationality."[49]

The trajectory of Carlos Belón is paradigmatic for the developing dissensions between corporate modernizers and traditionalist hacendados during the 1920s and 1930s. His family owned large estates in Santiago de Pupuja and adjacent Lampa province, among them Hacienda Checca. During the early 1920s Belón aggressively sought associations with foreign entrepreneurs, hoping to tap their capital for repaying the family's debts to merchant houses and modernizing the estates. He became partner of the Gibsons of Arequipa in the establishment of the Sociedad Ganadera del Sur. The Gibsons decided to use that corporation to gain access to the maximum amount of wool by purchasing more and more estates rather than investing in the improvement of the corporation's earliest holdings. Belón withdrew his estates from the Sociedad Ganadera del Sur, leading to a noisy legal battle with the Arequipa family during the early 1930s. In the late 1920s he championed Puneño resistance to the establishment of a huge foreigncontrolled alpaca wool purchasing monopoly. In 1931 he campaigned for a congressional seat under the aegis of APRA, the radical populist party recently founded by Victor Raúl Haya de la Torre. Belón's electoral platform focused on the defense of Indian peasants endangered by hacienda modernization. Although not opposed to limited improvements of stock operations, Belón now became an outspoken adversary of any plans to introduce wage labor on altiplano estates. By 1945, when he wrote a treatise on the altiplano's livestock industry, he was fighting against those "big capitalists" who attempted to introduce "the salaried worker in Puno and who work toward the disappearance of the community of pastures in the haciendas."[50] In effect, a frustrated modernizer had become an advocate of the extensive, seigneurial livestock hacienda and the type of relations between estate owners, colonos, and community peasants developed during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The 1920s, then, mark a turning point for the economy and society of Azángaro and the Peruvian altiplano. Hacienda expansion had largely run


its course. The seigneurial hacienda complex henceforth failed to absorb the growing rural population, to augment marketable production of wool and other livestock goods, and to guarantee the social position of the hacendados who had formed the dominant social group during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This new situation was observed by the American journalist Carleton Beals, who traveled through the southern Peruvian sierra during the early 1930s: "In remote parts of Puno and Cuzco the tide of land seizures by large hacendados is receding, even . . . turning the other way. In that region landlordism is bankrupt, technically, economically and morally."[51]

Some Final Thoughts

In a recent review of Victor Bulmer-Thomas's incisive work on Central America's export economies, E. V. K. Fitzgerald succinctly paraphrased that author's main hypothesis as follows: "Export agriculture has been the source of dynamism in the Central American economy, providing potential resources for industrialization and social infrastructure, while simultaneously generating institutions and incentives that make these strategic objectives difficult to obtain."[52] This statement epitomizes the frustrations of economic, social, and political development in many parts of Latin America and approximates one of the main theses of this study. To phrase this idea more broadly, favorable commercial conjunctures for major primary products lead to economic growth throughout entire regional economies. At the same time there was a strengthening of the social forces, modes of behavior, and institutions that undermine the possibilities for sustainable growth and many of the required structural transformations, from infrastructure to education and a more even distribution of income. In the southern Andes this notion applies as much to the colonial silver cycle as to the wool export cycle that began in the 1820s, flourished between the 1850s and World War I, and decayed after 1920.

I have suggested in this book that an incomplete and truncated transition to capitalism lies at the root of the frustrations suffered by the export economy in the altiplano. During the mid-nineteenth century the notable citizens of rural areas such as the altiplano embraced the possibilities of integrating their region into international markets dominated by European and North American capitalists. They espoused the notions of material progress, the values, and the institutions propagated by Europe's seemingly triumphant civilization: free trade, the sanctity of private property, investment in transport infrastructure, and modern education. But they did so from a position of weakness rather than strength. The disintegration


of the Andean colonial commercial circuits and structures of authority had destroyed the fortunes of many an obraje owner, hacendado, and merchant. During the period of crisis and realignment Andean peasants had become more autonomous and solidified their hold on much of the land.

Under these conditions the espousal of European progressive civilization was associated with authoritarian, hierarchical, and paternalistic notions of social control over the vast majority of the altiplano's population, the Indian peasantry. Developing the export trade, insisting on the sanctity of private, individual property, and drawing broad distinctions between an enlightened, Europeanized elite and the Indian masses, said to persist in their "ancestral vices," became mere tools to foster the narrow interests of provincial gamonales. It was the only path open to the struggling provincial notables to improve their own economic situation and build a base of power. The colonial divide between Spaniards, now called whites, and Indians was reinvented—indeed, recast in starker terms—within an export economy and notions of European civilization. It legitimized the rising provincial elite's exclusionary claims to power and delivered the tools to incorporate increasing numbers of Indian peasants into dependent relationships through trade, acquisition of their lands, appropriation of labor in livestock estates, and the use of local offices for surplus extraction from the communities.

Thus, between the mid-nineteenth century and 1920 there occurred a deepening of the commercial web, of market exchanges and the "commodification" of social relations, and simultaneously a strengthening of dependency, paternalism, and subjection of the peasants to the designs of gamonales. The newly empowered provincial elites were not picky about the means they employed to foster their economic and political interests, and these means frequently were in direct conflict with the notions of bourgeois society and competitive market economy that they espoused themselves. In brief, exploitation along the reinvented colonial and ethnic divide was made harsher with the rise of the export economy, but this exploitation had at least as much to do with strongly polarized neocolonial power relations as it did with class interests. Consequently, many gamonales feared that the rise of agrarian capitalism, with its impersonal capital, commodity, and labor markets, might undercut their political and economic power, based on highly personal qualities of leadership and protection of their clients and toughness against competing gamonales and unruly dependents.

The rise of the wool export trade created similar ambivalences among the peasants. The new era of economic expansion brought tremendous hardships for the great majority of peasants, who suffered insertion into


highly dependent trade relationships, the transfer of much land from communities to the new or expanding haciendas, and growing demands from local authorities. But it also created complex transformations and differentiations among the Indian peasantry. In the first place, as the provincial elites used notions borrowed from European bourgeois civilization to distinguish themselves from the Indian peasantry, so the Indian peasantry came to have a stronger sense of its own separate and subaltern identity. The same degrading, racist, and authoritarian images of the Indian so emphatically disseminated by the altiplano provincial elite to underscore their own exalted identity appeared in the indigenista literature after the turn of the century as evidence for the need to protect and "redeem" the Indian.

The effects of the wool export cycle on communal solidarity were not all deleterious. No doubt, commercial, demographic, and land-related pressures strained what was left of common usufruct of land, but solidarity flourished in other arenas of community life. At the same time some of the more affluent peasants took seriously the gamonales' sermons about market economy and sanctity of private property and began to acquire additional parcels of land and to clamor for unimpeded trade and the termination of unpaid labor services and other obligations. In other words, the economic and political ideologies associated with the export economy and the social differentiations engendered by that economy began to create challenges to gamonal domination on its own terms. In the cycle of social movements that swept the altiplano between 1915 and 1924, these affluent peasants combined Incaic notions, inevitable products of the neocolonial divide of the preceding decades, with anarchist and progressive-liberal demands for autonomous markets, return of community lands, rural schools, and so on. In calling for more autonomous, associational communities, they weakened the hierarchical community structures that ironically had become the very tool of gamonal domination. But it is crucial to stress once again that these new, commercial peasant leaders were not abandoning communal solidarity altogether. A mirror image of ambivalences among hacendados, they sought both to advance their own family interests in market terms and, as an insurance policy against continued gamonal abuses, to foster Indian communal solidarity.

The blockage of the full transition to capital-intensive and highly productive agrarian structures based on wage labor and yeoman farming in the altiplano can be explained through a number of discrete economic variables, such as specific factor endowments and high transaction costs, which I have discussed in various parts of this study. But there remains a residue, not easily captured in economic terms, that has to do with historical constel-


lations of power between social groups, modes of conflict resolution between them, and the type of legal and institutional framework the state provides for economic actors.

After the disintegration of the colonial corporate order, the Peruvian state of the nineteenth century increasingly sanctioned the notions of free trade, private property, and the sanctity of contract. But the state had little power in faraway provinces such as Azángaro other than that exercised by the provincial elite in the state's name. Until late in the nineteenth century the state in the altiplano was little more than the resonance box for the ideological pretensions of the provincial elite, as well as the arena for battles between various gamonal factions. After the central state gained more autonomy in the mid-1890s, the provincial elites hoped to make it into their handmaiden in their drive to concentrate a growing share of resources under their control. It did play that role in numerous instances, but never dependably so. Just when the state began to gain autonomy, it also began to listen, sporadically and unreliably, to the indigenista critics of the provincial elites. Yet even then, as witnessed by the military campaigns of repression between 1915 and 1924, it was still far from setting a firm, dependable frame as guarantor of private property and the sanctity of contract.

There is a sad irony in this history. Until the agrarian reform of 1969 it was commonplace to note that the most severe exploitation in Peru occurred precisely in the "mancha india," the southern sierra, including the altiplano, where the Indian population share continues to be high. Exploitation and the conservation of Indian identity somehow seemed to have formed an indissoluble pair. Only when Indian identity can be construed without the heavy burden of repression, and when businesspeople and officials in Peru's sierra have ceased to rely on the crutch of the neocolonial construction of power, can we hope for sustainable economic growth and a more equitable distribution of resources.

9 Conclusion Gamonales Aren't Forever

Preferred Citation: Jacobsen, Nils. Mirages of Transition: The Peruvian Altiplano, 1780-1930. Berkeley, CA:  University of California Press,  1993.