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




The Symbiosis of Exports and Regional Trade

Most Latin American economies went through a period of rapid growth between the 1850s and 1920 as the extension of steamship services and the construction of rail lines from major ports to agricultural and mineral production zones allowed raw materials from the region to supply the burgeoning industrial economies of Western Europe and North America. Peru certainly participated in this experience of rapid growth, but more than any other nation in Latin America, its economic development during these seven or eight decades was punctured by a devastating depression lasting from 1873 to the late 1880s. The depression was brought on by the collapse of the lucrative guano export business, the destruction and loss of resources inflicted by Chilean troops during the War of the Pacific (1879–83), and the particularly severe cyclical crises simultaneously wrecking the European economies.[1] Growth of foreign trade, capital investment, and government revenues was impressive in the decades after the crisis.[2] But growth came with considerable costs: increasing dependence on the performance of key export sectors; a decline in "autonomous development" and in the growth of domestic industrial output; increasing foreign ownership of enterprises; intensifying regional and social income disparities; and the concentration of the modern sector of the economy in Lima and a few enclaves along the north coast and in the central highlands.[3]

In this chapter I examine the degree to which southern Peru shared the paradoxical national experience of strong growth with few lasting benefits. I argue that growth of foreign trade, although significant by regional standards, was less impressive in the south than it was in the north and center. Before 1920 the trade cycles were not as disruptive for the region as they were for Peru as a whole, and the growth of wool exports was associated with an expansion of domestic regional commerce. In great parts


of southern Peru, especially in the altiplano, trade continued to be shaped by low per capita incomes, the strength of the peasant household economy, and a neocolonial, clientalistic sociopolitical structure.

Southern Peru's Export Performance

By the 1850s the export of wool to Europe had come to constitute the altiplano's most important source of income. After the slow demise of the colonial mining-supply economy, producers and traders adapted to the new commercialization system. Yet it is difficult to speak unequivocally of an overpowering wool export boom for southern Peru during the following sixty-five years. Evaluation of wool export performance during this period depends on specific variables: the volume or value of exports; sheep or alpaca wool exports; and, most important, the currency used as a basis for measurement. The task is further complicated by the fact that, in spite of wool's strategic importance for the region, Peru never became a major source of supply in the world markets: during the first quarter of the twentieth century the country's wool exports constituted between one-third and one-half of one percent of world wool production.[4] Most international trade publications did not bother to list data on Peruvian exports, so that on such matters as the FOB price of wools in a Peruvian harbor, the disposition of the wools in the consumer nations, and even the volume of exports, statistics for Peru remain less reliable than they do for major producers such as Argentina or Australia. Although the data for the years between 1855 and 1920 are more reliable than those for the immediate postindependence period, the statistics discussed below should be viewed with caution, particularly regarding year-to-year fluctuations.[5]

Five countries with high land/labor ratios—Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, and Uruguay—rose to dominate the world trade in wools during the second half of the nineteenth century. As the modern woolen industries grew rapidly, first in England between 1850 and the late 1870s and thereafter in other European countries and the United States, these overseas suppliers controlled a growing share of world trade in animal fibers. The shifting pattern of the wool trade was accelerated by the diminution of sheep herds in most of the major West European wool consuming nations.[6]

Peru also benefited from this rapid growth of demand for overseas fibers. But it could not keep pace with the five major wool exporters because its wool-producing regions, notably the altiplano, lacked the one condition allowing them to augment production for export in close correlation to rising demand: plentiful land not employed in production for domestic


           TABLE 5.1. Annual Averages of Sheep Wool Exports from Islay
                                and Mollendo by Five-Year Periods, 1855-1929



Volume (kg.)


Value (pounds sterling)a


(soles m.n.)











































































































a At British port of importation.

b Excluding 1882.

Source: Jacobsen, "Land Tenure," 815–33, app. 1.

markets or for peasant household subsistence. While countries such as South Africa and Australia increased their sheep wool exports more than tenfold between the late 1850s and 1911–15, Peru merely doubled its exports. As early as the mid-1860s Peruvian sheep wool exports reached a peak volume not surpassed until the boom years between 1916 and 1919. The volume of national alpaca wool exports rose somewhat more steadily, growing by about 150 percent between the late 1850s and 1910–14 (tables 5.1, 5.2). Yet, although the elasticity of wool supplies for export markets was much lower in Peru than it was in the major export nations, it was not altogether absent. In the short run, merchants, large landholders, and peasants adjusted their wool remittances to foreign demand. Furthermore, for many decades Peruvian wool production increased more rapidly than did exports. Thus, growing domestic consumption must be considered as one factor that limited export expansion.


Table 5.2. Annual Averages of Alpaca Wool Exports from Islay
                 and Mollendo by Five-Year Periods, 1855–1929






(soles m.n.)











































































































a At British port of importation.

Source: Jacobsen, "Land Tenure," 815–33, app. 1.

Sheep wool exports from Islay, the port on Arequipa's coast that handled most of southern Peru's maritime trade until 1870, expanded vigorously from the mid-1850s until 1867 in terms of both volume and value (table 5.1). In the latter year nearly two thousand metric tons were exported, close to double the amount of average yearly exports during the quinquennium 1855–59, a period of record wool exports itself. As prices rose vigorously in reaction to the cotton famine and the rapid growth of Britain's woolen industries, total value of sheep wool exports climbed by nearly 200 percent between 1855 and 1867 (figs. 5.1, 5.2).[7] Expansion was interrupted in individual years, such as 1857 and 1865, because of civil wars, when the road to the port was blocked and transport animals became scarce.[8]

Sheep wool exports contracted briefly between 1868 and 1870, with prices declining by up to 30 percent and total export value plummeting to below half of its mid-1860s peak level (from 1,151,318 to 413,241 soles



Figure 5.1
Annual Volume of Sheep and Alpaca Wool Exports from Islay and Mollendo, 1855–1929
(Five-Year Averages)



Figure 5.2
Value of Sheep and Alpaca Wool Exports from Islay and Mollendo, in British Pounds Sterling and Soles m.n., 1855–1919
(Five-Year Averages; 1855–59 = 100)


m.n.). When trade recovered again during most of the 1870s, sheep wool prices in Britain (CIF prices [that is, the price including cost, insurance, and freight]) for the first time showed the effects of overproduction of wools in Australasia and the Río de la Plata.[9] After 1873 the British woolen industry, the all-important consumer of Peruvian sheep wools, was hit hard by shrinking export markets in continental Europe and the United States, the effect of both a severe cyclical crisis there and a change in fashion, when consumers began to abandon Bradford worsted goods in favor of soft, all-woolen fabrics, often made with merino wools; this branch of the industry was more developed in France, where Peru sold little wool.[10] Even in the best year of the 1870s (1877) total value of sheep wool exports (Peruvian currency) lay about 25 percent below the record value of 1867.

During the 1880s the double blow of an industrial crisis in Europe and the War of the Pacific in Peru produced the most severe depression of southern Peru's wool export for the whole period under consideration. As early as 1879 British CIF prices had dropped 20 percent below the 1855–59 average. In 1880 the Chileans blockaded the port of Mollendo and destroyed port installations. Although there was no fighting in southern Peru's wool-producing zone, pack animals required to get the clip to railroad stations became scarce, and the army placed large orders for uniforms with shops and the one existing woolen mill in Urcos (department of Cuzco), diminishing exportable wool surpluses.[11] By 1882 the quantity of sheep wool exports through Mollendo had declined to just over half of the average amount for the years 1855–59. Although the restoration of peace in 1883 permitted the sale of stocks accumulated during the war years—sheep wool exports nearly tripled in 1884 from the preceding year—the slump continued, perhaps because of the civil war between Mariano Iglesias and Andrés Avelino Cáceres, until 1887.[12] Even so, southern Peru suffered less from the war and its aftermath than did central and northern Peru, where the 1880s produced the most severe economic and social crisis between the Wars of Independence and the Great Depression of 1929–32, causing the bankruptcy of many hacendados and endemic social unrest.[13]

The recovery of southern Peru's sheep wool exports coincided with a difficult period for international trade. The volume of exports from Mollendo increased moderately from the late 1880s until 1897, reaching a peak 25 percent higher than the average for the years 1855–59 yet still substantially below the level of the boom years of the mid-1860s. But through the early 1890s prices in Liverpool and London continued their long decline, begun in 1873, to less than two-thirds of the average price during the late 1850s.[14] World production of wools increased by more than a third


between 1887 and 1895, affected especially by the dizzying growth of sheep herds in Australia.[15] This surge of supply coincided with a severe slump of demand during the depression of 1890–95. The cyclical crisis intensified the structural crisis of the British woolen industry—still by far the most important customer for Peruvian wools—which saw its markets eroded by the growing success of foreign competition.[16] The total value of sheep wool exports from southern Peru in terms of pound sterling at British ports thus recovered only slightly from the nadir of the 1880s.

After 1895 international wool markets began a long period of prosperity. As global wool production stagnated, prices increased steadily until the end of World War I, except for brief recessions in 1907–8 and 1911–12.[17] Peruvian sheep wool exports did not immediately benefit from this price increase. Southern Peru exported mostly coarse wools consumed by the mills around Bradford, which turned out traditional worsted fabrics whose market share continued to decline.[18] Thus, in contrast to average wool prices on the international markets, CIF prices for Peruvian sheep wool began to recover only after 1904; 1915 was the first year since 1878 during which they surpassed the average level for the years 1855–59. Export volume may have reflected these specific market conditions for Peruvian sheep wool. It stagnated through 1902 at between 900 and 1,200 tons, about the same level as during the second half of the 1850s. But after 1903 exports expanded vigorously, reaching over 2,000 tons in 1911, a volume slightly above the previous peak of 1867. Shipments from Mollendo dipped briefly but sharply in the recession years of 1907–8 and 1912.

After a brief crisis in southern Peru's wool business during the early months of World War I, brought on by the country's financial woes, Europe's wartime scarcities produced a wool export boom of unprecedented dimensions between 1915 and the first postwar year of 1919. At more than 2,500 tons, the volume of sheep wool exports in the peak year of 1917 was more than two and a half times larger than the average for the years 1855–59. Although only a modest increase over previous peak years such as 1867 or 1911, this growth of exports demonstrates the responsiveness of merchants and producers to favorable market conditions.[19] By 1918 a kilogram of average Peruvian sheep wool sold for 79.4 pence at an English port, over three times the average for 1855–59. The combination of extremely high prices and record export volumes brought a bonanza of earnings for the five-year period 1915–1919. In the following year, 1920, prices and export volumes plunged precipitously, with severe repercussions for southern Peru's economy (discussed further in chapter 9).

Overall, the record of southern Peruvian sheep wool exports between the mid-1850s and 1920 is not one of impressive growth. Prices and total


TABLE 5.3. FOB and CIF Prices for Peruvian Sheep Wool,
                     1861–1929 (in soles m.n. per kg.)


Islay and Mollendo

British Ports


   FOB as %
    of CIF
















Sources: FOB prices: Bonilla, Gran Bretaña 4:164–256, 5:2–94; Dir. General de Aduanas,
Sección de Estadística, Estadística 1928:378–79, 1929:372–74. CIF prices: Bonilla, "Islay,"
43–44, table 5; Behnsen and Genzmer, Weltwirtschaft der Wolle , 84.

value in terms of British currency went through two growth periods, 1855 to 1867 and 1903–4 to 1919–20. Although World War I briefly led to an export bonanza of much greater proportions than that during the first cycle of expansion, export volume had grown only modestly from the first to the second peak. In between there lay a period of decline, from 1867–72 to 1882–95 (depending on whether one looks at price or volume), and another of halting recovery, from the late 1880s to the early 1900s.

The picture looks different if transport costs and currency exchange rates are considered. The dramatic decrease in maritime freight charges between the 1850s and the early decades of the twentieth century—brought about first by steel-hulled sailing clippers and, beginning in the 1870s, by regular steamship lines—contributed, as Berrick Saul has put it, "to the steady decline of import prices for Britain during the 'Great Depression' [of 1873–95], whilst reducing the impact of unfavorable terms of trade for primary producers."[20] In other words, an increasing share of CIF prices accrued to exporters. The reduction in transport costs varied greatly according to specific commodities and routes, with high-bulk/low-value goods hauled over the longest distances generally benefiting most.[21] Rory Miller has suggested that between 1863 and the late 1880s shipping rates for wool from Peru to Liverpool declined by at least 50 percent. By my own calculations (table 5.3) nearly half of the precipitous decline in the international wool prices between the early 1870s and mid-1890s was absorbed by the reduction in the cost of overseas shipping, insurance, and other incidental charges. For Peruvian producers the effects of declining CIF prices were much less drastic and more short-lived than it appears at first sight.[22]

A compensatory effect of similar proportions was achieved through currency devaluation. As silver became demonetized in one nation after another beginning in the early 1870s, it lost 50 percent of its value in terms


of gold until the mid-1890s. Peru's adherence to the silver standard led to the devaluation of the silver sol by the same ratio from the 1860s, an expression of the agricultural exporters' power, especially between 1887 and 1895.[23] When the Piérola administration switched Peru to the gold standard between 1897 and 1900, the exchange rate stabilized at about twenty-four pence per sol.[24] This parity was maintained with only slight fluctuations until Peru's export boom during and immediately after World War I led to a brief appreciation of her currency by about 20 percent, only to slide below the gold parity during the early 1920s.

This currency devaluation made the slump of sheep wool prices during the last quarter of the nineteenth century less severe and shorter in terms of soles (fig. 5.2). As early as 1889 the price lay above the average for 1855–59, and in 1894 it surpassed the previous peak of the mid-1860s. In 1897 the CIF value of sheep wool exports through Mollendo lay only 21 percent below the best year of the 1860s in terms of soles, and by 1905 it had surpassed the previous peak of 1867 by nearly 30 percent.[25] If we take FOB prices into consideration, the whole decade between 1892 and 1902 (before the renewed expansion of export volumes) appears as one of growing affluence for southern Peru's sheep wool trade.[26]

But the role of currency transactions in southern Peru was more complex than this analysis suggests. At least until 1910 the department of Puno relied primarily on Bolivian coins as a medium of circulation, whereas Peruvian currency remained scarce. By one calculation, between the first emission of debased coins under President Santa Cruz in 1829 and the termination of this practice after the overthrow of the Melgarejo regime in 1869, some thirty-four million pesos were minted in Bolivia, of which ten million circulated in Peru.[27] Repeated attempts by both the Peruvian and Bolivian governments to withdraw this debased coinage from circulation proved insufficient, and the debased quintos and arañas , coins valued at one-fifth and one-fourth of a Bolivian peso, were still the most common currency in the Peruvian altiplano decades after their last coinage.[28] In 1890 the Peruvian government once again undertook to convert all "bad money" circulating in southern Peru; this effort was opposed by merchants and the general public, burned by losses sustained in the conversion of paper money during the late 1880s. Although the operation seemed to succeed in Cuzco and Arequipa, the minister of finance and trade had to admit that "since [in Puno] the Bolivian pesetas called arañas are the only circulating money, it will be somewhat more difficult to let it disappear soon."[29] As Indian livestock herders insisted on being paid in coins for their wool and hides, the withdrawal of Bolivian currency without replacing it with Peruvian coinage of small denominations would have led to a collapse of the wool export business.


Monetary confusion in Peru's altiplano was greatest between the mid-1880s and 1905. Debased Bolivian peso denominations and coins of the more recent decimal boliviano currency, dubbed soles moneda boliviana in Azángaro, predominated, but gradually circulation of Peruvian soles moneda nacional (soles m.n.) increased. As late as the 1890s some "strong" pesos continued to change hands, probably official Peruvian coinage from before the introduction of soles in 1863. Bolivian currencies constituted a widespread medium of payment in the Peruvian altiplano as late as 1920. At that time many stores in towns such as Puno, Juliaca, and Ayaviri and even farther north in Sicuani and Cuzco considered money exchange an important part of their business, prominently displaying the service in advertisements.[30] Throughout the wool-producing area Bolivian currency was the lubricant of trade at least until 1910.

The predominance of Bolivian currencies is important for calculating regional earnings from exports because their exchange rate fluctuated vis-à-vis Peruvian currency. Bolivia fully adopted the gold standard only in 1908, eleven years after Peru had taken this step.[31] During this period Bolivian silver currencies depreciated against Peruvian soles m.n. proportionately to the declining value of silver on international markets, just as the Peruvian currency had done vis-à-vis the pound sterling up to 1897 (fig. 5.3).[32] Because producers were paid overwhelmingly in debased Bolivian pesos or bolivianos, their devaluation resulted in higher earnings from wool exports for several years between 1898 and 1910.

But fluctuations in the value of Bolivian coins in the Peruvian altiplano show another influence: that of demand fluctuations for wool. "Coinage is becoming scarcer every day and the prices [for wool] in silver are reduced, as is natural," one trader in Ayaviri noted at the beginning of the World War I boom in mid-1915.[33] The demand for coinage—and this meant mostly Bolivian coins until the 1910s—in the altiplano was determined primarily by the export conjuncture: an export boom led to appreciation of the Bolivian coins vis-à-vis soles m.n., and trade crises, such as those of 1901–2 and 1907–8, brought the value of the coins down. Such currency fluctuations attenuated the price paid to producers in boom periods and diminished the rate of decline during crisis years while making imported goods more expensive. The free currency market of the altiplano worked as a buffer—especially for Indian peasants, who relied most on Bolivian currency—against the gyrations of the export commodity cycle.

Alpaca wool exports from Islay and Mollendo developed differently than did those of sheep wool (see table 5.2, figs. 5.1, 5.2). During the late 1850s export volumes for both fibers, at about one thousand tons, were nearly equal. But between 1869 and 1920 alpaca exports exceeded those of sheep wools in every year except one. During the first decade of the twentieth



Figure 5.3
Exchange Rates between Bolivian Currencies and Soles m.n. in Azángaro Transactions, 1895–1910
Sources : REPA and REPP, 1895–1910.


century, with exports of up to 2,600 tons, alpaca export volumes often were double those of sheep wool. The former increased rather steadily during the whole period from 1855–59. Only the averages for two five-year periods, 1880–84 and 1910–14, show moderate declines. However, the steady growth in the volume of alpaca wool exports failed to translate into an equally strong growth in their value, as prices went through a longer and deeper slump than did sheep wool prices. Alpaca wool was produced by only three Andean countries (with the lion's share coming from southern Peru); until quite late in the nineteenth century the totality of industrial consumers consisted of a small number of manufacturers located mostly in the West Riding, and demand for the precious fiber was highly dependent on fashions. Thus, market conditions for alpaca wools differed greatly from those for sheep wools.

Because production of alpaca wool was widely dispersed among a large number of Indian smallholders with no organization and little information about market conditions, Andean producers had little control over prices. On the contrary, for many years a few processors were able to impose low prices. The three manufacturing companies that were "overwhelmingly dominant" as consumers of British alpaca wool imports until the early 1870s—Fosters, Titus Salt, and G. and I. Turner—frequently colluded to keep down the price of their raw materials.[34] In the United States, a market of increasing importance since the closing decades of the nineteenth century, the preeminent consumer, the Farr Alpaca Company, successfully sought to discourage the entry of new competitors into the market.[35]

Such evidence for oligopsonistic control over the alpaca wool market, in addition to cyclical and structural weaknesses of demand, must be taken into consideration as a factor underlying the particularly severe and long-term depression of alpaca wool prices. The much finer and longer alpaca fiber had always fetched considerably higher prices than sheep wool had. The premium for alpaca peaked during the 1850s and 1860s, with prices of two-and-one-half times those for sheep wool. When international wool prices began their long-term decline in the mid-1870s, alpaca wools were hit considerably harder and longer than sheep wools were. A fashion change in the 1870s exacerbated the cyclical crises over the following fifteen years, sending CIF alpaca prices from a peak of 96.8 pence per kilogram in 1864 to a nadir of 22.3 pence in 1888.[36] In terms of pounds sterling the price did not reach the average level of 1855–59 in a single year between 1876 and 1917, and during most years of this period it was less than half the average price for the late 1850s. In spite of continued growth in export volumes five-year averages of total value remained below or barely above the par value for the 1855–59 period until the boom years of World War


I (sheep wool export values in pounds sterling had witnessed a more steady recovery since 1905). Alpaca wool prices profited from the boom of World War I, but less so than sheep wool prices did.[37]

Of course, because of the Peruvian currency devaluation, the slump of alpaca wool export values in terms of soles m.n. during the 1880s was also less severe than if it were measured in pounds sterling. As early as 1895 the total value of alpaca wool exports in soles m.n. surpassed the previous peak of 1866. By this measure, for the remainder of the period alpaca export values grew parallel to those for sheep wool, in spite of the stronger growth of volume. However, the alpaca trade benefited less from reductions in overseas transport costs than did sheep wool.[38]

Although the longer-term trends for wool prices and export volumes (table 5.4) underscore the responsiveness of southern Peruvian producers and traders to external demand, two problems need special consideration:[39] (1) Why did sheep wool export volumes stagnate between 1892 and 1902 when, as early as 1893–94, CIF prices in soles m.n. had reached levels comparable to the previous peak of the mid-1860s? (2) By contrast, why did alpaca wool export volumes continue to grow so vigorously between the mid-1880s and 1905–6 when prices in pounds sterling were depressed throughout this period and even prices in soles m.n. failed to return to the level of the mid-1860s? To answer these questions, we need to consider the development of domestic production of both fibers, changing ratios of domestic consumption to exports, and the impact of foreign demand on different groups of wool producers.

Information on these issues is fragmentary. It seems unlikely, however, that a strongly differentiated development in the production of both fibers caused these phases of countercyclical export volumes. During the century after independence sheep populations in the altiplano and neighboring livestock zones grew approximately threefold while alpaca herds may have grown somewhat faster. As noted in chapter 2, around 1840 a higher percentage of total alpaca wool production than of sheep wool production was exported. Given the trends for export volumes and total production of both fibers, this situation did not change over the next eighty years. All estimates from the early twentieth century suggest a considerably larger production of sheep wool than of alpaca wool, although alpaca wool exports continued to outpace those of sheep wool.[40] Production ceilings thus cannot explain the stagnation of sheep wool exports during the years of improving market conditions between 1892 and 1902. If anything, the expansion of alpaca wool exports might have been hampered by short supply, especially in years of rapidly growing demand. The British engineer A. J. Duffield, who claimed to have studied Peruvian wool production methods for four


TABLE 5.4. Major Trend Periods for Peruvian Wool Prices
                     and Export Volumes, 1855–1919

CIF Prices for Peruvian Sheep Wool at British Ports

Pounds Sterling

Soles m.n.

1855a –1872:


1855a –1872:

















CIF Prices for Peruvian Alpaca Wool at British Ports

Pounds Sterling

Soles m.n.

1855a –1875:


1855a –1875

















Volume of Wool Exports from Islay/Mollendo

Sheep Wool

Alpaca Wool

1855a –1867:


1855a –1876:


















a Or earlier.

years, wrote in 1877 that "all the wool of the alpaca, the llama and the vicuña is sent to England. No Peruvian of any social standing has had the pluck or the sense to do anything towards extending the cultivation of alpaca wool." Had its production been expanded, Peru might have derived "a net annual income of £20,000,000."[41]

Although this figure certainly was poetic exaggeration, designed to underscore the Peruvian elite's failure during the "age of bird dung," other evidence also suggests that Indian peasants routinely sold most or all of their


TABLE 5.5. Composition of Exports From Islay and Mollendo by Value, 1863–1930 (in percent)





1902–04 c






















Live Animals
























































































a 1863–1901 figures include Bolivian exports through Mollendo.

b Arithmetic error in source: "Total" is smaller than sum of exports; thus no residual.

c From 1902 onward figures only include South Peruvian exports.

d Arithmetic error in source: "Total" is too large by about 2,000,000 S./m.n. "Other" has to be reduced accordingly.

e Includes combined silver and gold ores.

Sources: Bonilla, Gran Bretaña vol. IV; Dir. General de Aduanas, Sección de Estadística, Estadística , annual.


alpaca wool crop during the second half of the nineteenth century.[42] As late as 1927 the Indian peasantry in Chumbivilcas, a livestock-raising province in the department of Cuzco, owned about 72 percent of domestic cameloids; during the preceding sixty years this percentage would have been even higher.[43] As hacendados remained reluctant to enter the alpaca-raising business, supply of this fiber was highly dependent on peasant production. With the exception of a few items of ceremonial clothing, peasants appear to have substituted sheep and llama wools for their home consumption of alpaca wool. This substitution was prompted both by the price premium paid for alpaca and by the strong pressures wool traders exerted on them. Traders could still earn handsome profits even during the long phase of declining demand for alpaca wools by passing on the lion's share of price reductions to the peasant producers. Thus, the role that alpaca wools played in peasants' household economy and the exploitive commercialization practices into which they were tied help explain the failure of alpaca wool exports to respond to the long-term downturn in international demand.

Sheep wool exports, by contrast, responded more closely to international demand fluctuations. A higher share—probably above 50 percent by the 1890s—was produced on estates. The stagnation of exports during the mid and late 1890s corresponded to a phase in which, because of the devaluation of the currency and increasing levels of industrial protection, the terms of trade favored domestic processing over exports. A number of woolen mills were founded both in the south and in Lima.[44] Wool producers and traders must have sold a growing albeit still minor share of the clip to these new mills. By 1902 the output of the Cuzco mills may have begun to affect peasant demand for cheap imported cloth in the south, as the British vice consul in Mollendo reported a sharp drop in sales of Bradford serges over previous years.[45] But in the following years the terms of trade again favored raw material exports, a result of declining tariffs for textiles, currency stabilization, and the stagnation in international wool supplies. Industrial wool processing in Peru seems to have stagnated while exports increased again.[46]

Even if wool dominated the region's foreign trade, southern Peru never became a single-export economy between the 1850s and 1920. The long-term share of wool in the total value of exports from Islay and Mollendo hovered around 60 to 65 percent (table 5.5). It briefly increased to as much as 80 or 90 percent in boom years during the 1860s and 1910s and may have fallen below 60 percent in the decades of declining wool prices between the mid-1870s and mid-1890s.[47] After the turn of the century other livestock products, especially cowhides, contributed up to 7 or 8 percent to southern Peru's exports.


A wide range of mineral and agricultural commodities complemented southern Peru's wool exports. Most of these contributed to the region's foreign trade in appreciable amounts only for a decade or two, but as one product was displaced from international markets others grew. Cascarilla (chinchona bark) remained the region's second export commodity through the 1880s but dwindled to insignificance during the next decade as aspirin replaced quinine as a cure-all. During the 1890s coca leaves, rubber, and borax began to be exported from Mollendo in large amounts, each contributing briefly between 7 and 20 percent to total southern Peruvian exports. But by the early 1910s these trades had withered, displaced by substitute products, more efficient foreign producers, or conflicts with the Peruvian government.[48] Beginning in the mid-1910s cotton and, more briefly, sugar, both produced in the valleys between Arequipa and the coast, became important export commodities for southern Peru.

Minerals such as silver, gold, and copper were, of course, the other major exports from the region. However, although as late as 1840 about one-half of regional exports came from mineral ores, concentrates, and bars (especially silver) or specie, mining in the southern sierra appears to have undergone a long decay between the 1850s (after the boomlet in gold exploration in Puno's montaña) and the 1880s, perhaps because of lack of capital, scarcity of labor, and especially the remoteness of many deposits, resulting in exorbitant transport costs.[49] The extension of the rail link from the port of Mollendo to the northern altiplano by the late 1870s, greater political stability after 1886, and the rapid fall of exchange rates between 1890 and 1893 led to an upswing of mining activity in the southern sierra. Between the early 1890s and 1907 British, American, and native capitalists made substantial investments in machinery for the extraction and processing of silver and gold ores in Arequipa's Cailloma province and in Lampa, Carabaya, and Sandia provinces in Puno.[50] The high share of minerals in Mollendo's global exports during the 1890s was due largely to increasing Bolivian transshipments of silver, copper, and tin. But during the years 1902–4, when statistics for Peruvian and Bolivian exports through Mollendo are separated for the first time, gold, silver, and copper still contributed 17 percent to Peruvian exports from that port. Yet during the 1910s mineral exports declined. Gold was marketed mostly within Peru; a temporary turn to the domestic market might also account for the temporary decline of silver exports.[51]

This broad range of secondary exports regularly contributed about one-third of foreign trade earnings. Not only did they buffer cyclical fluctuations in the wool trade, but they also extended the geographic reach of monetarized trade to diverse and distant districts, from the valleys of


Arequipa to its highland mining zones and the broad eastern escarpment of the Andes. This diverse range of exports strengthened the network of regional trade conducted by hispanized and foreign traders. Although regional commerce, outside of the circuits maintained by the peasantry, had atrophied during the long decades of declining markets between the late eighteenth century and 1850, it now rose to new vitality in close but complicated interrelationship with the export trades.

Imports, Domestic Production, and Regional Trading Circuits

Southern Peru's balance of trade with foreign countries conducted through Islay and Mollendo stayed positive for most years between the mid-1850s and 1919.[52] Trade surpluses were especially impressive during the mid-1860s and the years of World War I but were large in most years since the 1890s. In part such surpluses flowed out of the region to Lima in the form of import duties and direct and indirect taxes. The south, like other provincial regions of Peru, helped to pay with its balance-of-trade surplus for the higher level of imports consumed in the capital, whose port, Callao, consistently garnered a share of imports much beyond its hinterland's share of national population and its export capacity. But part of these surpluses must have been retained in the south and contributed to the growth of expenditures for consumption or investment satisfied with regionally produced commodities.

"At least 60 percent of the population of Peru is practically negligible so far as the purchase of foreign goods is concerned," wrote William E. Dunn, the commercial attaché of the United States embassy in Lima, in 1925. In his opinion the Indian peasants, living in their "bare and desolate mud or stone huts in the Andean heights" and lacking "the remotest ideas of comfort in life," limited their purchases of manufactured goods to "a few cheap tools or an occasional novelty that strikes their fancy." They spent the "petty sums" they earned from the sale of wool and other products on the purchase of alcohol and coca leaves. Dunn viewed "mestizos of the lower class," with their "dilapidated houses, . . . furnished with only a few indispensable household articles," as only slightly better customers of imported goods. In fact, he thought that "the combined purchasing power of the Peruvian people might well be compared with that of the average American city of about 650,000." (Peru had about five million inhabitants at the time.) Demand for a broad range of upscale consumer goods, especially important for U.S. foreign trade by the early twentieth century, was concentrated in Peru's major cities, especially Lima.[53]


Although Dunn's cultural prejudices are striking, there is no reason to accuse him of underestimating the Indian peasants' propensity to consume imported goods. It was, after all, his job to identify potential markets for U.S. products. Southern Peru, with its great concentration of Indian peasants, consumed relatively few imports in relation to its population. During the first two decades of the twentieth century the region, with close to one-third of the country's population, accounted for 10 to 15 percent of Peru's total imports.[54] Without major urban centers the disproportion between population and consumption of imports was, of course, greater yet in the altiplano. As early as 1850, a few years after the terminal crisis of southern Peru's textile manufactories, the important trade fair at Vilque saw wholesale purchases of regional products for export of 490,000 pesos, while the sale of imported wares to altiplano traders and consumers amounted to only 300,000 pesos.[55] And for the period between 1920 and 1935 the Arequipa export and import house of Guillermo Ricketts y Compañía "bought much [primarily wools for export] and sold little [imports]" in Puno.[56]

Among the fifty-two different articles of wearing apparel imported into Peru in 1913, imports through Mollendo accounted for 10 percent or more of national imports for only fifteen articles.[57] Ready-made imported apparel did not sell much in southern Peru, either because its high price limited demand to two or three retail stores in Arequipa, or because the cheapest grades of standard clothing items were already being produced in small domestic clothing manufactories, or because most of the "better" families in the provinces continued to rely on seamstresses and tailors for major items of their wardrobes such as dresses and suits.[58] Similar problems were faced by a wide range of imported consumer goods in southern Peru. Domestic and artisanal production continued to supply many of the traditional items of consumption. At the same time, many items in the broadening range of commodities newly added to consumption patterns in southern Peru, especially since the 1890s, were produced by a growing number of small factories and artisanal shops in Arequipa and Cuzco or in Lima and other coastal towns.

To be sure, an ever-broadening range of imported goods did circulate throughout the southern highlands, integrating the remotest hamlet and the humblest peasant family into a commercial chain that had its other end in mighty factories in Bradford, Limoges, or Essen. As early as the 1830s and 1840s certain imported textile materials, hardware, glassware, and foodstuffs were consumed in altiplano provinces. Consumption patterns changed considerably after the coming of the railroad, and especially after the late 1880s.[59] The range of goods available in altiplano stores and


markets expanded rapidly, and many of the newly offered items were imports. The dry-goods store of José Pantigoso Chavez on the Plaza Mayor of Puno town in 1858 carried a total of 74 items, of which 21 can be identified as likely imports, 36 as domestically produced, and 15 as either imported or domestic goods.[60]

By comparison, in 1890 the Casa de Comercio de Efectos Ultramarinos y de Abarrote Moller and Compañía, also located in Puno town, carried 241 different articles, of which 148 were probable imports, 35 were domestic goods, and a further 58 were of uncertain origin.[61] The more affluent of Azángaro's hacendados purchased imported furniture, household goods, apparel, and luxury food items. For example, in February 1873 the hacendado Manuel E. Paredes from Azángaro received special foods, beverages, and glass and china were from a general and dry-goods store in Puno. Of the bill, which came to 142 pesos, 5 1/2 reales, items amounting to at least 56 1/2 pesos corresponded to imported goods, among them Norwegian beer and Spanish canned fish.[62] In the 1909 will of the hacendado Mariano Wenceslao Enríquez, long-time parish priest of Azángaro, appear such imported items as "one new French piano," a typewriter, and a sewing machine.[63]

Indian peasants also spent some money on imported goods. In the early 1860s, probably the apex of the relative strength of imports in southern Peruvian markets, the English traveler Clements Markham claimed, with considerable exaggeration, that "almost all the woolen clothing of the Peruvian Indians is now imported from Yorkshire, and their shirtings from Lowell."[64] Beginning no later than the last decade of the nineteenth century, peasants and poorer urban folk in the altiplano purchased such imported wares as basic tools (e.g., scissors and plowshares), needles, mirrors, and aniline dyes.[65] For southern Peru as a whole, the composition of imports underwent a major shift between the 1860s and the 1910s. In 1863 at least 52.3 percent of total imports through Islay were textiles, but their share had declined to an average of 34.9 percent between 1913 and 1916. By the mid-1910s, 40.5 percent of imports through Mollendo consisted of metal goods, ceramics, glass, cement, timber, paints, oil, rubber goods, tools, and machines, a broadened range of consumer and investment goods difficult to disentangle.[66]

But the weight of such imports in the overall expenditures of the altiplano's population, from community peasants to large, hispanized landholders, should not be exaggerated. With the exception of certain textiles, purchases of imports by hacendados or Indian peasants constituted occasional, extraordinary expenditures and did not belong to their day-to-day consumption. The items of the normal diet not only of peasants but also


of hacendados, when they did not stem from the livestock growers' own production, originated mostly in regions adjacent to the altiplano.[67] Outlays for domestically produced maize, rice, noodles, flour, salt, fresh and dried fruits, and sugar occasioned considerable expenditures, particularly for the peasants. A great deal of income was spent on stimulants such as coca leaves and alcohol (aguardiente de caña for the peasants, pisco [brandy from Peru's coastal vineyards] and wine for the hacendados). Candles and fuel (if the dung of one's animals was insufficient), locally produced pots and silverware, and other domestically produced household items had to be purchased on a regular basis. Although the construction of a peasant's adobe hut required the purchase only of timber—not a cheap item in the woodless altiplano—the building of a hacendado's urban residence and, more generally speaking, investments in urban real estate swallowed up much money. Both hispanized hacendados and indigenous peasants invested savings from the sale of wool or other livestock products in land and livestock. There were expenditures for transportation, for the education of children in the case of more affluent landholders, and, last but not least, for numerous national, municipal, and church taxes and fees. In short, altiplano wool producers, after selling their wool to merchants, did not immediately turn around and spend all their returns on imported goods. This fact was obvious to Clements Markham, who wondered what alpaca herders did "with the enormous sums of money thus received." He suggested that they routinely buried such cash income.[68]

Among the altiplano peasantry, burial may indeed have been a common method of saving money for large, special expenditures (e.g., baptisms, marriages, and funerals), a type of deferred consumption. More generally, the increasing revenue brought into the region by wool exports and associated activities stimulated regional trade with domestically produced goods. Since the 1850s the export of wools had become the lead sector of the southern Peruvian economy. As export earnings grew, demand for regionally produced goods rose. Wools were now fueling the economies of the southern highlands just as silver had during much of the colonial era. As Manuel Burga and Wilson Reátegui observe, wool exports helped to form an economic region that became dynamic through that trade.[69]

What had changed since the mid-eighteenth century was the spatial definition of the economic region, the social composition of commercial networks, and the distribution of benefits from trade. The symbiotic relationship between the conjuncture for the major export commodity and the conjunctures for a broad range of regionally exchanged goods did not change, however. The strengthened foreign trade nexus had undermined or even destroyed specific processing activities and commercial flows by the


TABLE 5.6. Wool Production in Southern Peru  (Estimates) and Exports From Islay and Mollendo,
                      1840–1917 (1,000 metric tons)




% Retained





























Sources: Exports based on Jacobsen, "Cycles and Booms," 490–500, tables 3–6; Jacobsen, "Land Tenure," 815–33, app. 1. For wool production, I constructed baseline estimates for 1830 and 1929. For 1830 see chap. 2, n. 76. In the other baseline year, 1929, the first national agricultural and livestock census was carried out; see Dir. de Agricultura y Ganadería, Estadística general agro-pecuaria. Its figures are unreliable. For the department of Puno, it calculates a sheep population nearly identical to that for 1959, while for cameloids it indicates about one-fifth of the 1959 population. Given that by 1959 southern Peruvian livestock herds had just been decimated by the catastrophic drought of the mid-1950s, I have estimated net growth of livestock populations and wool production between 1929 and 1959 of 10 percent. I arrived at estimates for 1840, 1867, and 1917 by calculating the linear absolute growth between the two base years. Of course, this renders only rather rough estimates.


In the title of table 5.6 (page 173) the units of measurement should read "metric tons," not "1,000 metric tons."

mid-nineteenth century, but over the next seventy years it did not have the strength or the explosive impact to completely eliminate trade in artisanal goods and other regionally produced processed commodities. On the contrary, indications are that the share of regionally or nationally produced goods among the total goods consumed in southern Peru rose after about 1870.

Take the crucial case of wools. As late as 1840 close to 60 percent of sheep wool and over a third of alpaca wool produced in southern Peru was not exported but was processed in the region, either on looms in peasant households or in the remaining obrajes. Most obrajes finally collapsed during the mid-1840s, a new wave of cheaper imported textiles entered the region, and the price for wool rose dramatically during the 1850s and 1860s. Because of these developments, the share of wools that was exported appears to have risen sharply. By 1867 only about 42 percent of sheep wool and 20 percent of alpaca wool may have been retained domestically (table 5.6), confirming the frequent complaints by British consuls that the exports of alpaca wools were limited by tight supply. But over the following fifty years this trend was reversed as livestock herds grew faster than wool exports. For the whole period 1830–1917, southern Peru's sheep population may have grown nearly three and a half times, whereas sheep wool


exports grew 2.8 times between 1840 and 1917. Alpaca herds may have grown more than four and a half times, with exports expanding by a factor of 3.7 between 1840 and 1917.[70] Between 1867, when the ratio of wool exports to wool production probably reached its highest point, and 1917, sheep wool production may be estimated to have grown by nearly 70 percent, while exports increased by only 30 percent. The share of domestically retained wool thus was elevated to at least 55.9 percent in the case of sheep wool and a more modest 25.9 percent in the case of alpaca wool.[71]

Two reasons account for the growing domestic consumption of raw wools. One is the opening of modern woolen mills in southern Peru that processed the regionally produced raw materials. The first opened in 1861 on Hacienda Lucre, site of an old obraje close to Cuzco, by the Garmendia family, a prominent family of large landholders since colonial times. After a mere twenty years of nearly complete prostration of elite-controlled textile production, this was the first step in the reversal of that trend. But southern Peru's modern textile industry grew very slowly. Between 1895 and 1910 two more mills began operations in Maranganí and Urcos, in the colonial centers of Cuzco's textile production in Canchis and Quispicanchis provinces, and one opened in Arequipa. The Maranganí factory, "one of the most progressive and up to date enterprises in South America," had modern English, German, and Belgian machinery installed. It relied on Indian community peasants and colonos as workers, something that remained true for all textile factories in Cuzco before 1920.[72]

These factories were small in terms of capital, installed capacity, and work force in comparison with the woolen mills in Lima and especially with the cotton mills in the capital, owned by powerful foreign enterprises such as W. R. Grace and Duncan Fox and Company. The south Peruvian market for manufactured woolens was now disputed by three sets of producers: factories located in the region itself, in Lima, and in Europe. By the second decade of this century more nationally produced textiles were sold in the region than imports. And although the large Lima factories dominated the market for cotton goods, the southern factories were relatively strong in woolens up to the end of World War I, especially in highland departments such as Cuzco, Apurimac, and Puno, but briefly also in Arequipa. The Cuzco factories specialized in baizes, cashmeres, flannels, and blankets aimed at peasants and other downscale consumers, a market segment for which their lower transport costs and intimate knowledge of regional styles and marketing arrangements gave them the edge.[73]

Nevertheless, according to one report, by 1918 Peru's factories still absorbed only some 680 metric tons of sheep wool, below 10 percent of national production and just under 20 percent of exports.[74] Although this


industrial use of wools clearly contributed to the shifting balance between exports and domestic consumption, the surprising fact is the continued weight of wool processing in peasant households. Even during the height of the wool export boom toward the end of World War I, nearly one hundred years after the opening of direct foreign trade with England and more than fifty years after the installation of the first modern woolen mill in the country, cloth woven on the simple looms of the peasant households must have consumed between 45 and 55 percent of all sheep wool and close to one-fourth of all alpaca wool produced in southern Peru.[75] Estimates are too rough to indicate with confidence whether the relative share of peasant household production in the disposition of southern Peru's total wool clip had begun to decline during the first century after independence, when consumption of wool by obrajes was replaced by wool exports and modern factory processing. But it is clear that with the strong growth of livestock populations the absolute quantity of wools processed in peasant households continued to increase until 1920. Although southern Peru's rural folks and the poorer strata of the towns had purchased certain imported textile items since the 1830s or 1840s and had begun to use domestically manufactured woolens since the 1860s, the attendant reduction in the per capita consumption of household-produced textiles was more than offset by the increase in the region's population that continued to rely on some homewoven fabrics. To reiterate this crucial point: the absolute amount of woolens produced in peasant households continued to grow during the century after independence, even if per capita consumption began to decline.

This increased output of homespun woolens would not have been unusual as a relatively brief transitional phenomenon accompanying the formation of an integrated domestic market in conjunction with the emerging dominance of the capitalist mode of production, as Emilio Sereni has shown for the Italian case. For a period of some thirty years following the onset of the formation of a large-scale textile industry in the 1860s, the processing of linen and hemp in rural households in Italy continued on a high level, and the number of looms in the countryside continued to increase even until the early 1890s. But the opening of Italy to massive foreign trade, the liberal policies of the resorgimiento , and, after 1880, a policy of industrial protection created a national market in which rural producers increasingly succumbed to the large factories in the northern cities, industry and agriculture became thoroughly separated, and the mezzogiorno was made into a "dependent territory" of the northern industrialists.[76]

In the comparative perspective of Western Europe, Sereni considered the Italian transition toward a capitalist national market excruciatingly slow, held back by "feudal remnants." But the Peruvian case was quite different.


Before 1930 no national market emerged; foreign trade and modern industry, rather than functioning as battering rams bringing down the walls of southern Peru's traditional modes of production and exchange, accommodated themselves to regional interests; agriculture and industry remained highly linked, and domestic household production grew along with foreign trade and modern industry, whose capacity to expand thus remained limited.[77] Low productivity in agriculture and artisanal production, as well as the neocolonial structure of the society, made the southern Peruvian highlands resilient to the forces of change.

The money circulating in southern Peru through export activities thus stimulated a broad range of domestic production and processing for regional trade without drastically changing the mode by which these commodities were produced. The demand for many of these commodities moved together with the export economy. Maize in Cuzco became scarce in 1917 when demand from the core livestock area between Sicuani and Lake Titicaca rose in conjunction with the wool export boom.[78] Sheep and cattle on the hoof from Puno and maize from Cuzco briefly encountered strong markets in Chilean-occupied Tarapacá during the 1910s, when that region's nitrate export peaked.[79] Since the 1850s the consumption of grape alcohol from the valleys of Moquegua and around Arequipa had increased in the rural areas of the altiplano. After the railroad facilitated access from the coast to the southern highlands, cane alcohol from the rapidly modernizing north coast sugar estates pushed out the southern grape alcohols, and peasant consumption of aguardiente de caña grew in close relation to conjunctures of the wool market.[80]

Besides the various woolen goods, a broad range of artisanal products found strong demand throughout southern Peru. Artisans from the altiplano and workshops in Arequipa or Cuzco did not merely continue to produce standard items of long-standing demand but adjusted their production to shifting urban consumption patterns. Potters in Santiago de Pupuja and Pucará diversified from the plain jars and pots used for cooking in most of the altiplano, creating vases, ashtrays, and ornamental pieces sought after by urban middle-class families. Leather workshops, especially in Arequipa, also adjusted their production to new urban demands in footwear, clothing accessories, and household furnishings.[81]

Southern Peru took on its contours as a distinct trading region during the second half of the nineteenth century as a consequence of this articulation between foreign and regional trade. From Desaguadero to Abancay, from Huancané to Camaná, and from Quillabamba to Moquegua, dozens of trading circuits transmitted the impulses from the export activities to remote valleys and mountain slopes that produced commodities for the


regional market. While regional interchanges intensified along with foreign trade, commerce with Bolivia, which had been the major pole of the erstwhile colonial pattern of exchange, lost in relative weight. Southern Peru became a distinct region for which the links with Liverpool were more important than those with Lima. Since the early 1870s the railroad line connecting the port of Mollendo and the entrepôt Arequipa with the highland zone had become the backbone of this trading region, erecting new commercial hierarchies, fostering new urban centers, and relegating others to a marginal position within those hierarchies. The creation of a new spatial hierarchy in southern Peru's commerce as a result of the rise of the wool exports and the construction of a modern transport funnel went hand in hand with the renovation and intensification of social hierarchy in trade: the growing centrality of the import and export merchants, benefiting most from the advantages of improved means of transportation and communication; the establishment or, in some towns, the expansion of several layers of middlemen, from wholesalers, regional bulkers, and owners of well-stocked general stores in important centers along the rail line to itinerant peddlers and wool purchasers; and the dependent incorporation of mestizo and Indian traders into the bottom rungs of these hierarchies. As Gordon Appleby has argued persuasively, trade in southern Peru became organized into a "dendritic" model, akin to a tree in which the life of even the remotest twig in the crown depends ultimately on the main stem.[82]

But this was not the whole story. Much of the regional trade continued to flow outside of the channels of this "dendritic" system, even if it did not escape its influence in terms of demand fluctuations. Many points of conflict and tension marked the attempts by merchants entrenched in the export- import hierarchy to impose their trade routes, their prices, and their commercial intermediation on peasants, muleteers, and others who continued to ply older, more autonomous trade circuits based on intraregional complementarity. The conflicts erupting in southern Peruvian trade since the late nineteenth century were not primarily between groups attempting to impose foreign trade against the maintenance of intraregional exchanges or vice versa. Especially in the altiplano there were few traders who did not have a foothold in both types of activity. At stake was the social distribution of benefits within a regional trading system made up of heterogeneous elements.

Two studies on other Andean regions have emphasized that between the 1870s and 1880s regional commercial circuits were disrupted through the corrosive effects of economic liberalism and war. Tristan Platt has pointed to the "internal market" for maize and wheat in Upper Peru and Bolivia up to the 1860s. Cochabamba and, after independence, Chayanta supplied


the northern Bolivian altiplano and adjacent regions in southern Peru with these staples. The community peasantry of Chayanta played a prominent role in the "internal market" as long as the Bolivian state pursued a protectionist trade policy and maintained its alliance with the Indians symbolized by the tribute nexus. This "internal market" was destroyed within little more than a decade, when between the late 1860s and early 1880s the Bolivian national elite turned to a free-trade policy, allowing Chilean grains to flood the national market, and simultaneously attempted to institute a liberal land policy, which, had it been successful, would have destroyed the Indian ayllu and replaced it throughout the republic with large estates.[83]

The other case concerns the central Peruvian sierra, analyzed by Nelson Manrique. Since the 1840s a dynamic, relatively autonomous regional market had developed, based on the rising demand for livestock products in Lima and an intensive trade in locally produced cane alcohol. This regional market conjuncture, in contrast to the picture drawn by Platt for Chayanta, primarily benefited large landholders and merchants. It entered into crisis through the destruction and social mobilization wrought on the region by the War of the Pacific. As most families of the central sierra's regional oligarchy saw their properties destroyed, sources of credit withdrawn, and markets challenged, they lost control over the regional economy first to better-capitalized businessmen from Lima and, after 1900, to "imperialist capital" taking over the copper-mining industry. In Manrique's view the formation and demise of the central sierra's regional market were inevitable steps toward the formation of Peru's national market.[84]

Southern Peru underwent a different development. After painful adjustments to the displacements of certain domestic goods by imports between the 1780s and 1850s, the regional market became tied to the growth of foreign trade. The liberalization of imports during the 1850s and 1860s helped to establish foreign trade as the strategic, lead sector of southern Peru's economy, favored the formation of new mercantile hierarchies dominated by the foreign houses of Arequipa, and in this way fostered the growth of the "dendritic" trading pattern that defined the south as a region in and of itself. But this trade liberalization did not lead to a general crisis of intraregional trade, as Platt has described for Chayanta. The crucial difference between the two cases concerns the commodities involved and the producers. In Chayanta the strategic products for peasant participation in the "internal market"—cereals—could easily be replaced by imports once the tariff and transport conditions favored such replacement. In southern Peru the strategic export commodity was produced to a considerable part by peasants. The same activity of livestock raising that involved the peasantry in the export nexus simultaneously produced a broad range of goods for regional trade, from wool and hides to meat, tallow, butter,


and cheese. Wool bulkers could hardly have wanted the peasants to cease barter and trade in such commodities, as it would have made them totally dependent on income from wool sales for export, inevitably leading to demands for higher prices for peasants' wool.

Other commodities from different parts of southern Peru, such as coca leaves, tea and coffee, cane and grape alcohols, chile peppers, raisins, and olives, had little to fear from overseas imports. Between 1888 and 1897 higher import tariffs and exchange rate devaluation led to increased levels of effective protection, but this situation did not automatically benefit regional trade controlled by peasants; rather, it led to modest import substitutions through a few new factories, such as the woolen mills discussed above, iron foundries, and breweries, which merely shifted the origin of manufactured goods confronting some of the peasants' domestic goods. Industrialists and merchants were either identical or the former were highly dependent on the latter before 1920. For this reason the national debate over import tariffs during the 1890s does not appear to have split the region's business elite. Until the end of the World War I export boom most members of that elite, in Cuzco and Puno as much as in Arequipa, remained free traders.[85]

The Altiplano's Commercial System Between the 1850s and 1920

Until the late 1850s the export of wool through Islay was controlled by only four companies of foreign origin operating from Arequipa—two British, one French, and one German.[86] For them, the import of manufactured goods from Europe was as important as their export business. In both activities the foreign houses still operated mostly in Arequipa itself. As importers they worked as wholesalers; as exporters they bought wool from middlemen directly in Arequipa or made a yearly venture to one of the annual fairs on the altiplano.[87]

In these circumstances independent Peruvian merchants had a considerable role to play in all stages of wool bulking prior to final exportation. Affluent men such as José Mariano Escobedo, an Azangarino resident in Arequipa, or the Areqipeño José María Peña often entered the wool trade only as one line of business among many.[88] Escobedo owned a number of haciendas in Azángaro and received large public works contracts from the government. In 1851 he began the wool trade as a partner of the German merchant Guillermo Harmsen.[89] Peña had owned gold mines in the Cordillera de Carabaya since before 1850s.[90] Sometime before 1865 he had formed a company with Eusebio Prudencio, a Bolivian, "for the purchase of chinchona bark and alpaca wool and the sale of merchandise in Soraicho,"


located in Huancané province from where the trade with the Bolivian lakeshore as well as the ceja de la selva could easily be organized. Prudencio was to take care of business in Soraicho while Peña arranged for the sale in England as well as the purchase of Peruvian and imported goods finding demand on the eastern rim of the altiplano.[91] Peña probably held similar contracts with traders from other wool-producing regions, and his mercantile operation spanned the whole altiplano.

Merchants with the necessary capital joined together with persons who could ensure a supply of wool from their own extensive estates. This was the case in the company founded by Manuel and José María Costas and Antonio Fernández, all of Puno, on April 15, 1853.[92] Fernández saw himself incapable of paying his share of the company's capital, so it was paid in by the Costas brothers as credit. The Costas brothers found it advantageous to join in a common enterprise with Fernández because he was owner and renter of numerous livestock estates and promised "to cede to the Society all sheep wools proceeding from his haciendas." These haciendas happened to be located west of Puno in the geographic funnel of the altiplano leading to the main mule road to Arequipa and thus could well serve as warehousing, washing, and packing points for the wools purchased by the company prior to their transport across the western cordillera.[93]

Only six years after the founding of the company Fernández admitted owing his partners the amazing sum of 53,832 pesos, 4 reales, a sum corresponding to more than 10 percent of the total value of average annual sheep wool exports from Islay during the 1850s and more than the value of the largest altiplano estates during those years. This debt represented cash withdrawals from the company's funds as well as sales on Fernández's own account of sizable quantities of company sheep wool as payment of private debts to the Arequipa export houses.[94] The size of such transactions suggests that a relatively small number of Peruvian wool traders, either individuals or companies, must have supplied a large share of all wool subsequently exported by the Arequipa houses. Despite the heavy debts incurred by their early partner Fernández, the Costas family continued its wool-trading business at least until 1925.[95]

Before the 1870s the tendency of the foreign houses to limit their mercantile operation largely to Arequipa and the concomitant strong position of Peruvian merchants such as Escobedo, Peña, and Costas also had consequences for the structure of southern Peru's credit network. During the 1850s and 1860s altiplano wool traders and hacendados depended on the Arequipa export houses for credit—for example, for their wool purchases or investments in real estate—considerably less than they would toward the end of the century. The large regional wool bulkers apparently


possessed sufficient working capital not to require advances from the exporters for purchasing large amounts of wool; thus, they could operate independently and decide when and to whom they would sell their wools. It seems to have been these regional bulkers who extended credit to their suppliers.

Another important source of credit existed in the altiplano during the third quarter of the past century. A small group of merchants, who partially overlapped with the regional wool bulkers, had become something like specialized bankers extending credit to dozens of shopkeepers, landholders, and magistrates. Antonio Amenábar was one such "merchant banker." Born in Córdoba, Argentina, between 1824 and 1826, he pursued a great variety of business ventures in Puno and Tacna, including transportation (he invested in the first metal cargo ship operating on Lake Titicaca) and collection of government taxes.[96] In 1865 his Puno stores contained goods, including imports, worth 40,839 pesos. At the same time he had outstanding credits, extended since 1860, amounting to 46,675 pesos (including interest). Among his fifty-four debtors, who owed him between 70 and 6,000 pesos principal besides interest, were members of the department's wealthiest and most powerful families—the Macedos, the Pinos, the San Romans, the Núñez, the Aguirres, the Tovars, and the Arésteguis. Some of them owned haciendas in Azángaro province.[97] Nine years later, in 1874, his will no longer listed merchandise from a store, which by then was possibly the property of his wife through a legal "division of goods."[98] But he still had outstanding credits amounting to 36,500 pesos, extended to twelve clients since 1871.[99]

On a smaller scale, some provincial traders also seem to have attempted a measure of specialization into such credit operations. A case in point is Pedro Palazuelos, hacendado and trader from Putina in Azángaro province. After his death, sometime before May 1865, his wife and son attempted to collect some 5,800 pesos in outstanding credits extended to nine clients, most of whom were prominent Azangarinos. Besides further, probably minimal debts by another nine clients, Palazuelos's heirs also tried to recover rented livestock and 6,000 pesos given as advances to Indian peasants for purchases of wool and slaughter animals.[100] The amount of general-purpose monetary credits extended by Palazuelos and the number of his debtors justify calling him a specialized creditor. But the borderline to the more general phenomenon of small money loans, practiced by many landholders and traders in the altiplano, seems blurred.

The scarcity of cash threatened vital routine commercial transactions for many families. A dense network of small, reciprocal credit transactions, organized through ties of kinship and trust among friends, sprang up in


the towns and hamlets of the altiplano in an era of increasing trade. Such petty credit exchanges could shift imperceptibly into more hierarchical, asymmetric credit relationships, constructed by provincial traders who had somewhat more cash and were eager to profit directly from the cash scarcity or to build up a dependent clientele for mercantile endeavors.

With the increase in southern Peru's exports of wool and other raw materials, demand for transport animals rose during the middle decades of the nineteenth century. At least until the late 1860s a lively trade in mules from Salta kept up the supply of these animals. In June 1857, for example, the merchants Juan Bautista Coret and Telesforo Padilla from Salta and Simón de Oteira from La Paz passed through Puno with some sixteen hundred mules, which they hoped to sell on their march to Lima, a good part of them probably in the vicinity of Arequipa.[101] In Puno, de Oteira purchased another 540 mules from Fernando del Valle, a local hacendado and "merchant banker."[102] It appears that del Valle regularly acquired mules in order to let them regain their strength on his estates in Acora after their long trek from Argentina. He resold some of these animals to passing traders and kept enough for his own trains, with which he transported pisco from Moquegua to La Paz.[103]

During the third quarter of the nineteenth century the transport business concentrated in Arequipa and adjacent valleys as this city became the entrepôt for southern Peru's exports. Markham considered Arequipa's muleteers, whose increasingly numerous mule herds had taken over much of the city's fertile campiña from food crops, to be a "wealthy class of men" during the 1860s.[104] Of course, these mule trains did not enjoy a monopoly over southern Peru's transport requirements. Peasant landholders and hacendados transported much of their products on their own llamas. Specialized transport entrepreneurs in the altiplano working with llamas also continued to ply the trans-Andean routes.[105]

One of the reasons why the foreign merchants limited their activities largely to transactions in Arequipa itself lay in the extreme difficulties of transport between the coast and the altiplano. In the words of one foreign traveler, "Most of the roads are merely mule tracks and they are taken over passes of the Andes from 14,000 to 17,000 feet above the sea amidst snow and ice."[106] The regularly established mail covered the distance from Arequipa to Puno in three days, and pack trains needed at least five days for the same route.[107]

Between about 1860 and 1875 changes in the commercial structure of southern Peru began to affect the balance between the various social groups involved. The boom of wool exports and generally favorable commercial conditions during the 1860s led to the establishment of many new export


houses.[108] As early as 1862 the mercantile community of Arequipa and Islay was clamoring for a railroad connection between the Ciudad Blanca and its port.[109] On December 18, 1869, the Peruvian government commissioned Henry Meiggs, an American engineer involved in the nitrate business, to construct a railroad line from the Pacific coast via Arequipa to Puno. Choosing a termination point a few kilometers south of the established port of Islay, the line connecting Arequipa with Mollendo was opened for traffic on January 1, 1871. By 1873 the whole line of 351 kilometers to Puno, crossing the western cordillera at an altitude of about forty-five hundred meters at Crucero Alto, was completed.[110] From Puno regular boat services across Lake Titicaca connected this line with Bolivia, and by the early years of this century, a number of cargo ships had established regular links with a whole string of small ports, including Moho and Huancané in the north and Ilave, Juli, Yunguyo, and Desaguadero in the south.[111]

The northern section of the altiplano began to be integrated into this modern transportation funnel to and from the coastal port with the construction of the railroad line ultimately linking Cuzco to the Puno-Arequipa line. Meiggs received the government contract to build this line in December 1871. Branching off from the previously constructed line at Juliaca, about forty kilometers north of Puno, it pursues a northerly course and for some sixty kilometers straddles the border between Lampa and Azángaro provinces. This course, necessitated when powerful citizens of Lampa rejected the track's passing through their town,[112] gave rise to four railroad stations—Calapuja, Laro, Estación de Pucará, and Tirapata—conveniently located for large parts of Azángaro's livestock-raising zones. By the mid-1870s, before the financial crisis halted further construction, the railroad line had been completed for 131 kilometers to the town of Santa Rosa, close to the northwestern rim of the altiplano. All of the Peruvian altiplano had now been put into reasonable proximity of rail or boat transport; except for isolated hamlets in both cordilleras most locations lay within two days' journey on muleback from railroad stations or ports.[113]

Traffic on the line remained thin until the 1920s. One passenger train a day traveled in each direction between Arequipa and Mollendo, and only two per week ran between the entrepôt city and Puno, covering the distance of 350 kilometers in ten to twelve hours. Freight trains were no more frequent, and schedules changed often in accordance with traffic conditions. These frequencies remained basically unchanged until the mid-1920s.[114] The railroad operated at a loss during its first years. It was built not to accommodate already existing trade but to produce its own business through a major reduction in transport costs and an anticipated expansion


of trade. Such expectations by the government and southern Peru's business elite proved optimistic at best. In contrast to Mexico, where the shift from a slow and inefficient transport system to railroads contributed to strong economic growth,[115] southern Peru's growth of trade and production remained relatively modest. The modernization of the transport system failed to transform the relations of production in the countryside or to deepen the market. Railroad freightage grew primarily by concentrating commercial flows through the consolidation of the dendritic system, drawing business from muleteers. Railroads accelerated economic growth in Latin America most when the commodities to be moved were bulky items, such as minerals or grains, and when there were virgin resources (land, major untapped mineral deposits) in the production zone accessed by the rail link. Neither of these conditions prevailed in the case of the altiplano. Moreover, since transport costs represented only a small part of the FOB values of wools—no more than 15 percent by one estimate—a reduction in freight rates through the switch from mules and llamas to rail could produce only small savings for the producer.[116]

Paradoxically, when trade flourished, the modern transportation funnel rapidly reached its full capacity. British consuls repeatedly complained about bottlenecks caused by shortages of boxcars, the inefficient steamer service across Lake Titicaca, and insufficient warehouses in the port of Mollendo.[117] The Peruvian Corporation, the British proprietor of the Ferrocarril del Sur and the lake steamers since 1890, apparently adapted to southern Peru's business environment by keeping transport space scarce.[118] Yet railroad freight rates appear to have been relatively low compared to those of other lines in Peru.[119]

Nevertheless, traders and livestock growers in the altiplano frequently complained that the Peruvian Corporation's transport rates favored imports and Bolivian transit commodities over goods from the Cuzco and Puno highlands shipped to the coast.[120] During the first forty years the railroad, to be marginally profitable, depended on cargo to and from Bolivia, especially ores but also wool from the departments of La Paz and Oruro as well as imports for the urban market of La Paz. Despite wool's great importance for the regional economy, shipments of it from the Peruvian production areas, the core zone of the railroad's operation, never brought enough business for the down trips to break even. When the new La Paz–Arica line opened in 1914, Bolivian business on the Ferrocarril del Sur was sharply reduced, with "catastrophic effects" for the line's profitability. To compensate, in 1919 the Peruvian Corporation began a series of rate increases in excess of rising costs. In the following decade the company attempted to increase the tonnage of wool shipped by railroad from the altiplano to Mollendo. Until the mid-1920s it unsuccessfully


sought to establish a huge wool-production syndicate under its control in Puno and Cuzco, an undertaking meant to ensure increased wool shipments on the rail line. As late as 1932 the Ferrocarril del Sur drew only 7.4 percent of its total freight income from the transportation of wool.[121]

Llama and mule transport was not replaced by the railroad overnight. Pack trains were still needed to take wool and other livestock products from the estates and offline urban bulking centers to the warehouses at railroad stations and lakeside ports and bring back domestic and imported supplies, hauled up to the altiplano from the coast or Arequipa by railroad. Nor did transport animals disappear immediately from the old mule paths crossing the western cordillera. As late as the 1920s as much as 20 to 25 percent of exported altiplano wool was transported to Arequipa by llama or mule trains.[122] In particular, many owners of small and medium-sized haciendas, who wanted to benefit from direct sales to the export houses in Arequipa but were in no position to profit from day-to-day fluctuations of wool prices, preferred to use their own or their shepherds' llamas as inexpensive means of transport.

The new extractive enterprises that developed in the department of Puno beginning in the 1890s—gold mining in the cordillera and piedmont of Carabaya and rubber collection further down in the rain forest—brought muleteers and llama drivers additional business on the roads and trails that fed into the railroad line. The supply of mining and rubber companies in Carabaya and Sandia provinces proved profitable both for altiplano estate owners, who dispatched their own transport llamas or those of their colonos, and for professional muleteers, mostly from Arequipa, who plied these new circuits with strings of up to a hundred mules.[123]

After the mid-1890s, construction of improved roads, passable by four-wheeled vehicles, began in the Peruvian altiplano. The foreign-owned Inca Mining Company constructed a road from the Tirapata railroad station toward its gold mines at Santo Domingo on Río Inambari. For over ninety kilometers this road passed through Azángaro province, connecting its northern and eastern districts (Asillo, San Antón, and Potoni) more comfortably with the rail line.[124] Public road construction projects connected the capital, Azángaro, to the railroad station Estación de Pucará (a distance of some thirty kilometers) as early as 1896, and Azángaro with Asillo (about twenty kilometers) by 1916. During the 1920s the eastern part of the province around Muñani and Putina was incorporated into the road network both by a link to Azángaro town and through a more southerly direct connection to Juliaca via Huancané (see map 1.1).

By the late 1920s Puno's road network, with about two thousand kilometers of improved roads completed, was the most extensive in the whole republic. One observer explained this comparatively rapid progress as the


consequence both of the favorable terrain—the broad pampas of the altiplano—and the abundance of Indian labor pressed into the heavy chores of road building by local authorities and estate owners. These factors were important, but the new roads also underscored the departmental elite's influence in national politics during the first third of this century. Paradoxically, although the condition of altiplano roads was described as "excellent" as early as 1913, there still hardly existed any motorized vehicles. Only during the 1920s did trucks begin to assume an important role in transport to and from railroad stations. Just as in the case of railroads, construction of roads largely preceded effective demand.[125]

In spite of its modest impact on the scale of trade and on relations of production, the modernization of the transport system has to be considered the most important motor behind changes in the spatial patterning and the social and economic structure of trade in the altiplano.[126] Previously the role of towns in the bulking of wool and other commodities for export, as well as in the distribution of imported goods, had been relatively small since in a "landscape of uniform, primitive transportation" much wool could be transported from the producer to the entrepôt city, Arequipa, without being handled in towns, even though it passed through several layers of middlemen.[127] The switch of the predominant transport mode from llama and mule train to railroad and lake steamers brought about the rise of commercial centers, strategically located on the rail line or the lakeshore, where merchants handled the transshipment of goods flowing in both directions through the funnel. Puno, Juliaca, and Ayaviri benefited most from this new spatial pattern. Other important commercial centers owed their very birth to the railroad, among them Estación de Pucará and Tirapata in Azángaro province.[128] Some urban centers that did not share the advantage of being located on the rail line or the lakeshore managed to hold on to and even intensify commercial activity. This was true of Azángaro town and Putina in the eastern part of the province, which remained secondary centers of wool bulking because of their distance from railroad stations or ports.[129]

A growing number of traders, shopkeepers, and commercial establishments now set up business, and the penetration of trade by the Arequipa export houses intensified. These changes were already becoming noticeable by the mid-1870s, though the crisis and dislocation caused by the War of the Pacific retarded their full development until about 1890. Some of the new traders and shopkeepers had long been residents of the department of Puno; many others came from Arequipa, Cuzco, Tacna, and other parts of Peru, and quite a few came from overseas. Except for the entrepreneurs and engineers at the newly opened mines, foreigners settled in the largest


towns, principally Puno and—after the turn of the century—Juliaca, rapidly becoming the major wool-bulking center in the department because of its strategic location at the hub of the new transport lines. Combining wholesaling and retailing activities, many foreigners established well-stocked stores with adjacent warehouses where they sold imported and Peruvian merchandise and purchased "country products," mostly wool and hides but also gold, rubber, and coffee.[130]

Rodolfo Möller may stand as an example of foreign retailers in Puno. His Casa de Comercio de Efectos Ultramarinos y de Abarrote Möller y Compañía carried a great variety of foreign and domestic merchandise: ten bottles of "eau de Cologne, best grade," some hundred cans of different aniline dyes, 26 cases of Lion brand Norwegian beer, 27 varas of white narrow cotton flannel, 221 packages of white thread for "Chardio" sewing machines, kerosene from Tumbes, paper, silverware, scissors, and knives.[131] Möller had bought most items on credit from the import and export house of Enrique W. Gibson y Compañía in Arequipa.

The Peruvians, from both inside and outside the department of Puno, who had swelled the ranks of altiplano traders and shopkeepers since the 1870s spread more evenly through the towns of the region. In Azángaro newcomers settled especially in the capital of the province, some of the larger district capitals such as Asillo and Putina, and, of course, at the railroad stations Tirapata and Estación de Pucará, where warehouses and shops sprang up around the railroad tracks on what previously had been pastures.

Many of the newcomers first appeared in the altiplano as muleteers or itinerant traders from Arequipa or other surrounding regions with which Puno traditionally had maintained an active commercial interchange. One such man was Manuel Sixto Mostajo Yáñez. His father, an itinerant peddler from Arequipa, had frequently passed through Azángaro on his sales trips to Sandia, the piedmont region northeast of the province. Manuel continued this business. Sometime during the 1890s he married Victoria Enríquez, who belonged to an old hacendado family from Azángaro and was the niece (or even daughter) of the town's long-time parish priest, Mariano Wenceslao Enríquez. Mostajo now established his residence in the provincial capital, built—apparently with financial aid from Father Enríquez—a large house on the Plaza de Armas, and established a store, where he sold such goods as cloth, window glass, and the like.[132] He became wool-buying agent for the Arequipa export house of Ricketts and in 1903 received a contract from the Peruvian postal service to transport baggage and parcels from Azángaro to Sandia.[133] As early as 1901 Mostajo was so well integrated into Azángaro's provincial society that he became treasurer of the town's municipal council.[134] But he maintained his itin-


erant trading expeditions to the ceja de la selva and to the annual fairs at Pucará, Rosaspata, and Cojata until the end of his business career. In 1930 Mostajo ordered for such a peddling circuit items including woolen shawls, cheap felt skirts, cheap hats, Italian borsalino hats, cotton cloth, thread, aniline dyes, and even unassembled bicycles.[135]

Among long-time residents of Azángaro a growing number of hacendados diversified into wool trading and shopkeeping just as the Paredes family had done since the 1840s. Around 1890 the half brothers Bernardino Arias Echenique and José Sebastián Urquiaga inherited Hacienda Sollocota, a small livestock estate of colonial origin, around which they built a vast landholding complex. At the same time they went into business as alcohol merchants in Azángaro town, and at least Urquiaga also operated as a wool trader.[136]

Owners of strategically located haciendas were able to use their locations to purchase the production of smallholders in the surrounding area. This tendency was already observed by the Italian naturalist Antonio Raimondi in 1864 regarding an estate in Azángaro's district of Potoni, on the slope of the Cordillera de Carabaya: "Hacienda Potoni has as its object the collection of the sheep wool of the surrounding countryside and of the much more valuable alpaca wool produced in the immediately neighboring province of Carabaya."[137] In 1904 Mariano C. Rodríguez, a landholder and trader from Rosaspata, Huancané province, offered to sell altiplano products to Ricketts y Compañía in Arequipa. He explained that his Hacienda Huaranca Chico was located close to the Bolivian border and that there, on the estate, "one can easily buy all these products [wool, rubber, and chinchona bark]."[138] Access to smallholder production was a more crucial qualification for altiplano traders than was formal knowledge of commercial operations.[139] Rodríguez explained to Ricketts that his family used the income from livestock ranching "to comfortably supply our needs." For his business he spent no money on rent and little on wages because "we have Indians who work for us nearly free of charge. In this way I can utilize the profit from the business to capitalize [it] and to attend to unforeseen business losses."[140] While the operation of livestock haciendas was to provide the income for a comfortable life-style, Rodríguez hoped to use his commercial business as a source of capital accumulation.

Below the ranks of mestizo merchants and specialized itinerant traders flourished a complex and fluid world of peasant barter and trade. Exchange between altiplano peasant herders and agricultural producers of different ecological levels had been an important part of the structure of Andean society since prehispanic times. Trips by owners of livestock estancias from Azángaro to the ceja de la selva regions of Carabaya, Sandia, or the adjacent


valleys of Bolivia ordinarily served the purpose of exchanging wool, dried meat, hides, and other altiplano products for coca leaves, maize, and medicinal herbs for the herders' own consumption. But it was only a small step to trade more of such goods than one needed for family subsistence, particularly when the terms of trade developed favorably for livestock products.[141] If such a trip went well, the peasant from Azángaro could profit from the barter or sale of his or her products in the ceja de la selva and again on return to the altiplano from the sale of the surplus maize or coca leaves.

Tomás Lipa, a peasant from Putina, seems to have engaged in this kind of trade, frequently making trips to Caupolicán province in Bolivia. In 1888 he rented one sector of estate pastures of Hacienda Chamacca, district Azángaro, and promised the owners, Josefa González and her husband Lorenzo Aparicio, to take one mule loaded with goods on their account with him on each trip to Bolivia.[142] Nineteen years later, in 1907, his son Pablo Lipa extended a credit of 1,200 soles to the notary Filiberto Aparicio González, son of Lorenzo, who then handed the whole estate over to Lipa as security for a contractual period of four obligatory and five voluntary years.[143] Trade had permitted the younger Lipa to accumulate this large amount of cash and, with it, the temporary possession of a hacienda. Other peasants found an avenue to trade by opening tiny stores in their rural communities—selling a few pounds of coca leaves, sugar, and so on—or by selling to urban bulkers not only their own wool clip but also that of relatives and neighbors. As Benjamin Orlove has noted, such bartering and trading peasants "shade[d] imperceptibly into the traveling buyers."[144]

As trading networks in the altiplano became denser, the Arequipa export and import houses strengthened their position vis-à-vis the other groups involved.[145] The marketing of Peruvian wools overseas continued in the same manner for the whole period under consideration. Sheep wool was sold for the Arequipa export houses at auctions in London and Liverpool, whereas alpaca wool was disposed of "through the even more archaic system of private deals between handlers and manufacturers" in England.[146] In contrast, by the turn of the century Australia and New Zealand had established national wool auctions, and Argentina had developed an intermediate system in which export houses shipping directly to French manufacturers, purchasing agents of European houses, and consignment agents competed with each other.[147] In the Peruvian system prices were least responsive to local supply conditions, whereas the position of the exporters vis-à-vis the producer was strengthened.

Improved transport conditions and fast communication links (the telegraph) between the coast and the altiplano permitted the Arequipa houses to bring to bear their advantages—greater capital resources, links with the


European wool importers, and up-to-date information on prices and market conditions. Since the 1870s and particularly during the economic recovery after the War of the Pacific, companies such as Gibson, Stafford, Ricketts, and Braillard had established purchasing and sales outlets in the commercial centers and at key railroad stations of southern Peru's wool production zone, from Desaguadero in the south to Sicuani in the north and from Conima (Huancané province) in the east to Santa Lucía (Lampa province) in the west.[148]

Specific arrangements of market penetration varied greatly. In the most important centers the export houses opened branch offices. Some traders in the altiplano became their exclusive agents, handling all their sales and purchases through one Arequipa house. Among independent traders some concluded long-term contracts with the Arequipa houses, whereas others concluded contracts with varying export firms in Arequipa. Branch offices, agents, and large independent wool bulkers depended on three sources for their fiber purchases. Owners of small and medium-sized haciendas frequently offered their clip to the agents on a yearly basis and delivered it to agents' shops and warehouses on their own pack animals. Many peasant smallholders and colonos brought small amounts of wool to traders' shops on an irregular basis. And last, hundreds of itinerant traders, usually working firmly established circuits, combed the weekly markets in district capitals and communities as well as the yearly fairs for as much wool as they could find or could afford to buy and then sold it to the agents. Many small traders worked for only one agent and one export house.[149]

The owners of the largest haciendas preferred to deal directly with the Arequipa companies. José Guillermo de Castresana, an Arequipeño businessman and, from 1906, owner of Hacienda Picotani in Muñani district, regularly instructed the administrator of his estate when to expedite the wool clip to the railroad station Estación de Pucará and on to Arequipa.[150] Through social ties with one or the other export house, Castresana possessed information on wool price fluctuations and adjusted the transport schedule of the wools accordingly.

The Arequipa houses regularly extended credit for wool purchases to their agents and independent traders, who did likewise with their suppliers. In 1920 the roughly ten wool-buying agencies in Santa Rosa every week received between six thousand and fifteen thousand soles in coins from their respective export houses in Arequipa.[151] By advancing a large share of the total value of wool, the traders hoped to secure supply. Wool buying was highly competitive on each level, between the Arequipa exporters, between agents, and between itinerant traders. The Arequipa houses attempted to gain complete control of local producing zones and were willing


to have their agents pay considerably higher prices for wool to the itinerant traders during an interim phase in order to ward off competition.[152]

The Arequipa houses exercised the predominant influence over short-term wool prices in the altiplano. Every week they cabled price quotations to the traders there, refusing to purchase any wool above that figure. The trader then calculated the cost of handling and freight as well as his profit margin to determine the price that he could afford to pay his suppliers. Although price quotations generally had to follow the prices established at the London wool auctions, the exporters could afford to vary the margins between the world market quotation and the price at which they purchased wool, particularly in a declining market.[153] In 1921, for example, the Sociedad Ganadera del Departamento de Puno, organized by hacendados at the height of the postwar crisis, complained that the prices for wool paid to them by the Arequipa merchants not only had declined precipitously since the boom years of the war but were even low compared with the prewar levels—for old clients, eleven pesos per quintal compared with thirty-five pesos before the war.[154] Yet prices paid for average Peruvian sheep wool at a British port stood at nearly the same level in 1921 as they had in 1913. The key to the exporters' strong position vis-à-vis their suppliers lay in their relatively plentiful working capital, which permitted them to accumulate stocks in their warehouses. Thus, as Appleby has observed, "In a falling market the Arequipa house might either suspend purchases or set extremely low prices until it could dispose of its stocks of high-priced wools."[155]

Producers and small traders were not totally defenseless against the price dictates of the exporters. Lively competition between houses such as Gibson, Ricketts, and Stafford permitted them to sell their wool to the highest bidder.[156] Nevertheless, many hacendados and wool traders preferred to maintain lasting commercial ties with one house because the exporters could bestow a number of advantages on long-time clients, including better credit terms, banking services, preferred treatment in the supply of imported goods, and guaranteed prices for wools during the three to six months between the contract and actual delivery.[157]

With the penetration of the wool trade in its primary bulking stages by the Arequipa export houses, direct credit links between these houses and the owners of larger haciendas, traders, and shopkeepers in the department of Puno became more frequent. Hacendados selling their livestock products directly to the exporters maintained current accounts with them by which they purchased imported goods on credit against the security of their next wool clip. Wills of hacendados often listed debts to the import and export houses.[158] Between the mid-1870s and early 1880s this growing credit


dependence led to a number of sales of urban real estate in the department of Puno by local traders and hacendados to the export houses in payment of debt, probably a consequence of falling wool prices.[159] However, prior to the 1920s merchants in Arequipa, Juliaca, and Puno rarely gained control of important landholdings in Azángaro province through debt foreclosures.

With the foundation of the Banco de Arequipa in 1871, modern bank credit made its appearance in southern Peru. Based on the capital of the regional oligarchy, the bank extended its operations to Cuzco and Puno.[160] Together with the increasing importance of the large import and export houses, banks slowly supplanted merchant bankers such as Amenabar or del Valle as credit institutions in the altiplano. This process is symbolized in a credit contract from 1875 in which a Puno shopkeeper received a credit of 1,700 pesos from the Banco de Puno—presumably a branch of the Banco de Arequipa—but relied on the merchant banker Fernando del Valle as cosigner for the loan, who in turn received a mortgage on real estate as security for his potential obligations against the bank.[161]

The Banco de Arequipa and its Puno branch fell victim to Peru's financial collapse of 1876. Only in the late 1880s did another bank begin to operate again in Arequipa, and Puno had to wait until the early 1920s before a branch of the Banco de Perú y Londres opened its doors.[162] Between the late 1890s and World War I Peru's reconstituted banking system remained cool toward agro-exporters; the banks pursued a stable money policy in opposition to export interests and considered agricultural mortgages a bad risk. In 1902 Wenceslao Molina, a professor of animal husbandry at San Marcos University in Lima and the heir to Hacienda Churura in Putina, outlined a program of measures necessary for the establishment of a modern livestock industry in Peru. Reflecting a general frustration of large agro-exporters with the credit system after the adoption of the gold standard, Molina demanded the establishment of agricultural mortgage banks, "which could fill the void left by the presently [existing banking institutions], which grant credits only to the merchants and keep them from the hard-working rancher."[163]

Alfonso Quiroz's recent work on Peru's financial institutions confirms Molina's critique. Yet despite their unwillingness to finance agricultural improvements, banks did play an increasing role in export financing. With the help of the banks, bills of exchange finally became common in the wool export business, a first step in alleviating the chronic cash shortage in the altiplano. But only large traders and producers benefited from the introduction of this financial tool.[164] The hacendados' reliance on credit from the export houses increased their multifaceted dependence on these merchants, and they inevitably resented their relative weakness.[165] Whenever


earnings from wool exports declined, hacendados experienced the uneven distribution of the benefits from the trade particularly keenly and—as after the brief slump of 1901–2—called for measures "to throw off the yoke of the export houses."[166] This conflict of interest intensified in the period of the sharp slump of the early 1920s.[167] Prior to this date, however, long periods of improving market conditions muted the conflict and left the hegemony of the export houses untouched. In the words of the owner of a small hacienda in Azángaro, "the wholesalers were in charge."[168]

If hacendados had reason to complain about the uneven distribution of benefits from the wool trade, the indigenous peasants entering the market with small amounts of wool found themselves in a much more disadvantageous position. Although competition sometimes led wool exporters and their agents in the altiplano to outbid each other to secure the production of a large hacienda, the indigenous smallholders rarely received this benefit.[169] This was just one of the economic consequences of the sociocultural domination of the Indian smallholder by the social groups controlling the commercialization of wool.

Wool traders in the altiplano automatically classified sheep wool into "estate wool" and "common wool." Estate wool was presumed to have longer and finer fibers, to be of a uniform white color, and to contain less hay and dirt. The wool bought from Indian estancia owners was automatically downgraded as being dirtier and having shorter fibers and a greater admixture of black wool.[170] Thus, peasants received considerably less for their wool than did estate owners. In 1920, for example, woolbuying agents in Santa Rosa paid five soles less per quintal of sheep wool to peasants than they did to hacendados, at a current price of fifty-five soles per quintal, a discount of nearly 10 percent.[171] When buying wool from Indians, the traders at times used rigged scales. They discounted one pound in every quintal for dirt, wetness, and the weight of the rope holding the bales together, although such weight losses were calculated in the basic price for unwashed wool. When peasants wanted to sell wool or hides to merchants, they were often met at the outskirts of town by alcanzadores , who sought to persuade the approaching Indians to sell their goods to a particular merchant, a persuasion that could take the form of money advances, alcohol, or brute force.[172] Once in the store, they were obliged to buy alcohol, sugar, or maize at inflated prices.[173]

In some parts of the southern highlands, the bulking of wools produced by peasants could be organized in a fashion similar to the colonial repartos de bienes. In a village of Chumbivilcas province in Cuzco department, peasants protested in 1882 that "in certain seasons of the year [wool traders] from different towns come to our huts . . . and force an exces-


sively small price for this commodity on us. At the time of the wool clip they capriciously snatch [the wool] from us, weighing a quintal as an arroba. When for this very reason we are incapable of paying the whole debt which they force us to contract, they double our losses by charging usurious interests, and end up secretly taking all our livestock from us."[174] In Puno's Chucuito province the authorities themselves practiced a forced system of wool bulking as late as 1920. A few weeks before the shearing season, in December or January, the district governor would distribute money, lent to him by wool traders, to the Indian livestock herders, obliging them to deliver a specified amount of wool. If they refused to accept the conditions, the governor employed the communal authorities to deposit the money for the wool at the peasants' hut, and the latter knew that they "had to come up with the equivalent amount of wool."[175] Mayors and subprefects entered the wool business precisely because they had power over Indian herders and thus could guarantee supplies to exporters.[176]

Imposing low prices and securing supplies for specific traders and authorities were the goals of these methods of deceit and force. Such schemes were practiced again and again by those with leverage over Indian peasant producers. They subverted an intrinsically competitive market into a myriad of monopolistic relations of appropriation. But they were no longer the very precondition of peasant market participation, as repartos de bienes still might have been during the eighteenth century.

Between the 1850s and 1920 Indian livestock herders increasingly came to view market transactions with hispanized traders as important regular parts of their household subsistence economy. Their margin of autonomy in exchange relations was diminishing as the dendritic system matured after the War of the Pacific. As late as the 1850s and 1860s a legend flourished among Puno's elite that Indian peasants had buried about ten million Bolivian pesos, their receipts from increasing wool sales, money that thus "vanished from circulation."[177] In other words, there existed a sphere of monetarized circulation among the peasants that lay outside the control of the altiplano traders.

Over the next sixty years both pull and push factors brought the peasants into increasing dependence on hispanized traders. The everdenser network of itinerant traders and wool-buying agents, especially after 1890, made it more difficult to escape their purchasing pressures. The diminishing land base in the parcialidades, caused by hacienda expansion and population increase, led to smaller average livestock herds for most peasant families. Fiscal measures sought to capture more of the peasants' monetary income from wool sales. Between 1867 and the 1890s governments in Lima undertook repeated attempts to collect the contribución


personal , a new head tax that replaced the contribución de indígenas. A new alcohol consumption tax established in 1887, excise taxes on alcohol, sugar, and tobacco introduced in 1904, and the broadened collection of the contribución de predios rústicos after 1902, which in Azángaro primarily affected peasants, were at once means and expression of a more effective control over the peasantry, especially after the 1890s. The railroad and telegraph and the establishment of rural police posts in each province after 1895 made it easier to quell uprisings or discourage them before they were undertaken.

But this greater reliance on market transactions did not mean the abandonment of the traditional goals of the peasant economy: subsistence of the family in the context of communal solidarity. Cash received for livestock products from traders paid for the considerable expenses of festivities, such as those for a community's patron saint, a baptism, a wedding, or a funeral. Indian livestock herders from the northern altiplano perhaps made cash purchases of commodities such as salt, pottery, or alcohol with which to maintain long-standing barter relationships in neighboring areas as the montaña in Bolivia's Larecaja province. As the parity of exchange values between bartered goods remained constant for longer periods of time, during phases of increasing prices for wool and hides it was advantageous to purchase barter goods with cash received for livestock products.[178]

Indian peasants held back much wool from the export trade even during boom years. Other livestock products, including tallow, sheepskins, and dried meat, entered the dendritic system of monetarized trade in even smaller proportion. Besides direct consumption in the peasant household, these goods continued to serve as means of exchange in traditional barter relationships. For example, each May after the shearing season the colonos of Hacienda Picotani abandoned their estate and went down to the valleys of Sandia to provision themselves with maize, coca leaves, and other foodstuffs in exchange for livestock products and homespun baizes.[179] During the World War I boom peasants from around Juliaca refused to sell any serge to the merchants to whom they sold raw wool, as they were taking increasing amounts of this home-woven cloth 150 kilometers farther north to Sicuani, their traditional spot for provisioning with maize.[180]

Indian livestock producers did not object to being integrated into the market, as they had come to rely on cash as part of their family subsistence strategy. What they objected to was the force and deceit that traders and authorities routinely imposed in the "marketplace." However, they did not accept such exploitation fatalistically. Indians "give life to business in this region," as wool trader Francisco Rodríguez of Santa Rosa wrote to Ricketts in 1918, and this market position allowed them to use ruses, tricks, and


plain common sense to countermand and limit their exploitation at the hands of unscrupulous traders.[181] Indians mixed hay and dirt into the wool, moistened it, and even poured sugar water over it to increase the weight.[182] In 1932, when Bolivian customs agents began to collect export duties on wool, alpaca herders from south of the border ceased to sell their wool to Peruvian traders in border towns such as Cojata and Moho, instead establishing relations with merchants in Puerto Acosta on the Bolivian side.[183] Peasant herders sought to adjust their sales both to the rhythms and requirements of their household economy and to market fluctuations.

During the 1920s, a period of unstable wool prices, traders again and again complained about "the absence of the Indians" from weekly markets or annual fairs. "The Indians held back [their alpaca wool] in expectation of price improvements, they only sold amounts indispensable for satisfying their most pressing needs," wrote the Ricketts's agent Hipólito Sanchez from Moho in Huancané province in September of 1926.[184] They tried to sell the wool during the season of highest prices, September through December, coinciding with the months of the agricultural cycle when last year's harvested food began to get scarce. Before celebrations such as carnival or patron saints' festivities, wool sales increased, as did alcohol purchases.[185]

Peasants considered trading a complex skill entrusted only to the most experienced and honored family members, an activity in which sons were trained from a tender age, when they accompanied their fathers on expeditions to distant market towns or subtropical valleys. To give some stability and predictability to trading in those alien environments, the peasants sought long-lasting trading relationships with compadres (their children's godparents, whom they sought out as protectors). A trader might have as many as six hundred compadres among peasants selling him wool.[186]

But resistance always proved fragile. The very compadre to whom the peasant had entrusted himself over many years for his wool sales might exploit that dependence. And the attempt to hold the wool clip until prices were high collapsed when there was a prolonged price slump or when food was scarce because of crop failures. Then the reverse pattern was set in motion: peasants had to market their wool as fast as possible, whatever the losses. They sheared the animals before term, bringing shorter fibers to market; the price they received would be doubly low on account of the inopportune season of sale and the low quality of their wool.[187] Of course, poor peasants, with scarce resources of land and animals, faced these problems more frequently than did affluent comuneros and colonos. And alpaca herders, such as those high up in the Cordillera de Carabaya, with


their undisputed control over the know-how of producing the cameloids' precious fiber, may have had a more stable market position than did sheep-wool producing comuneros from the altiplano proper.

Through the tremendous intensification of the competition for land, the wool market may have driven forward this type of social differentiation among the peasantry. But comuneros and colonos had a number of countervailing strategies at their disposal that assuaged such effects of the wool market before 1920. For better or for worse, the prosperity of the altiplano's indigenous livestock herders—as well as of hacendados, transport entrepreneurs, traders, and administrators—had become linked to the vagaries of international demand for wool, just as they had depended on the fortunes of the mining centers in Upper Peru until the end of the colonial era.


The Avalanche of Hacienda Expansion

The early decades of the republican period were marked by a relative equilibrium between the hacienda and peasant sectors of the altiplano. This situation began to change during the 1850s. As early as 1867 Colonel Andrés Recharte, subprefect of Azángaro, could write that "most of the damages and abuses suffered by the Indians have stemmed from the mestizos' covetousness for their land."[1] After the slow decay of the colonial mining-supply economy and the dislocations caused by the Wars of Independence, a newly emerging landholding elite gradually adapted to the wool export economy. By midcentury, as the prospects of wool exports became brighter, they sought to control the important peasant sector more thoroughly in order to capture a greater share of regional income. In this chapter I discuss central aspects of Azángaro's changing property relations between the mid-1850s and 1920.[2]

Methodological Considerations

I devised a methodology to answer questions as the following: How did the "flows" of land between various social groups evolve over time? How did the size distribution of land parcels offered for sale vary between different social groups? The notarial contracts render bits and pieces of information, permitting the judicious construction of a scheme for categorizing all participants in transactions. They normally list occupation, place of birth and residence, capacity to speak Spanish, and—less dependably—the socioethnic origin and any public offices held by each party. I gathered these data in an index of all participants in notarial transactions, containing some


eight thousand cards, and assigned each party to a notarial transaction to one of the following categories:

1. Indigenous peasant

2. Hispanized large landholder

3. Intermediate group (including persons of indeterminable social status)

4. Church

5. Beneficencia pública

Internal consistency of assignments was maintained through the use of clear criteria in the evaluation of the social indicators. Some values placed the person into category 1 ("indigenous peasants"): for example, the occupations labrador and pastor , the socioethnic labels indígena or indio , lack of knowledge of Spanish, and residence in a parcialidad or ayllu. Other values indicated that a person belonged to category 2 ("hispanized large landholders"): for example, occupations such as hacendado or abogado , knowledge of Spanish, and holding of offices such as gobernador, subprefecto , or juez de primera instancia . Certain terms were used so indiscriminately that I considered them to be neutral. Some notaries applied the occupational labels propietario and comerciante as an insoluble pair to all individuals, the peasant selling a parcel for 50 soles m.n. as well as an hacendado selling an estate for 5,000 soles m.n.

At least two social indicators had to point unequivocally to category 1 or 2 to make an assignemtn. For example, in order to assign a person to category 1 ("indigenous peasant"), he or she had to be described as indígena and labrador, as a non-Spanish speaker and living in a parcialidad. If the social indicators showed any ambivalence, or if there was only scanty information on a party to a contract, I placed the case in category 3. Thus, two subgroups constitute the members of this category: persons for whom information was insufficient, and persons for whom the social indicators seemed ambiguous, truly an intermediate group on the range from indigenous peasant to hispanized large landholder.

This problem brings us to the conception underlying the categorization scheme. Azágaro's social stratification was considerably more complex during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries than this scheme implies. However, what mattered here was to choose a scheme that reflected an underlying structural element of Azángaro's society while allowing the categorization of most contract parties despite limited information on their social backgrounds. Thus, the scheme strikes a compromise


between the exigencies of an all-too-imperfect source and the issues that I sought to investigate.

The categories are viewed as lying on a continuous scale in which the various status groups in Azángaro's society grade imperceptibly into each other. The scale is bounded on both ends by ideal types formed by a total clustering of all social indicators capable of defining a category. Categories 1 and 2 are meant as such ideal types at polar ends of Azángaro's social scale: on the one hand, the indigenous peasant who was born and lives in an Indian community, lives poorly from the income derived from herding and crop raising on small parcels of land, is a monolingual Quechua speaker without any schooling, is labeled as "Indian" by members of all other social groups (including notaries), wears rough, self-made baize clothes, and derives supplementary income from working on nearby haciendas, from artisanal home production, or from petty trade activities that remain secondary and do not break through the predominantly agrarian pattern of his life. On the other end of the scale is the hispanized large landholder, the ideal type of category 2, who speaks Spanish, has enjoyed formal education, owns one or more large estates employing dozens of peasant families as colonos, usually lives in a townhouse in the provincial capital, might even own a house in Puno, Arequipa, or Lima, dresses in European garb, consumes imported goods, holds important administrative, legislative, and judicial positions in the province or the department, and maintains close contacts with higher strata of regional and national society. This construction of ideal types describes both the fluidity and the stark polarity in the socioethnic stratification of Peru's sierra.[3]

Most individuals appearing in notarial transactions were not idealtypical "indigenous peasants" or "hispanized large landholders" but rather approximated one of the two polar constructs. I felt justified in including most merchants and officeholders in category 2, since they were pulled toward the ideal type of the hispanized large landholders. This, after all, is why they appeared so often before the notary as land purchasers. Socially they had more in common with the largest hacendados of the province than with the Indian peasantry. Category 2 thus encompasses all sectors of Azángaro's provincial elite, of which the large landholder was the dominat figure.

Category 3 includes petty traders, owners of minimal estates (perhaps employing two or three colonos) imperceptibly shading into peasant estancias, persons about whose knowledge of Spanish the notarial records waver back and forth, and persons who generally lived in the district capitals but who may also have resided on their modest landholdings. The distinction between this intermediate group and impoverished hacendados


on the one hand, and affluent peasants on the other, is minimal in most cases. For this study the distinction is based on an arbitrary cut in the continuous scale by requiring two social indicators, the minimal sign of "clustering," for assigning an individual to one of the two polar categories.

Although information on the economic situation of the contracting parties (e.g., the amount and type of land property held prior to their participation in notarial transactions) has influenced their assignment to one of the social categories, the transactions themselves were not used for this purpose. To be sure, a person buying or selling a large estate was excluded ipso facto from category 1. But because the accumulation or loss of landed property has to be viewed as one important indicator for social mobility in Azángaro, consideration of the notarial transactions for determining an individual's social category would have resulted in a circular argument. Thus, a person who in early contracts shows all the traits of an indigenous peasant will be treated as such for all subsequent contracts, even though he might purchase such an amount of land that at the end of his "career" he might more meaningfully be placed in category 3 or even category 2.

Hacienda Expansion

The enormous upsurge of sales constituted the single most important factor influencing the provincial landholding pattern between the 1850s and 1920. Sales of rural landholdings represented the overwhelming majority of contracts recorded by notaries. Their annual number and total value grew from a trickle during the 1850s to an avalanche during the first and second decades of this century.[4] Nearly three-fourths of all sales contracts concluded between 1851 and 1920 were transacted during the last two decades of that period (table 6.1).

This growth of land sales did not proceed in a linear fashion. A first cycle of sales activity reached a peak in 1867 with forty-seven sales contracts evaluated at 35,549 soles m.n.; then their frequency and value declined until about the early 1880s. Only after the end of the War of the Pacific did a recovery begin, and during the early and mid-1890s a level close to the previous peak year of 1867 was reached. A quantitative leap occurred in 1898–99, when within two years the frequency of sales roughly tripled, accompanied by a smaller increase in total value. After 1904 the frequency of sales climbed again to reach 297 sales during 1908, five times more than in the peak year of 1867 during the first cycle. Between 1908 and 1913 the number and value of land transactions reached their peak for the whole period under consideration. In 1914 there followed a brief but sharp slump.


TABLE 6.1. Number and Value of All Land Sales in Azángaro
                     Province by Ten-Year Periods, 1851–1920


(soles m.n.)




Mean Sales
(soles m.n.)

















































a Estimate based on the values for 1913–14 and 1918–19.

Sources: REPA, 1854–1920; REPP, 1852–1920.

The recovery during the remainder of the decade failed to bring back the frantic rhythm of sales of the prewar years.[5]

A breakdown of all sales according to price allows a clearer understanding of the types of land property changing hands in Azángaro. In over 88 percent of all sales the price lay below 500 soles m.n., and for nearly two-thirds of all cases the price was below 200 soles m.n. In contrast, only 2.9 percent of all priced transactions concerned pieces of land for which a buyer paid 2,000 soles m.n. or more. But how much land could one buy for 200, 500, or 2,000 soles m.n.? There was no easily discernible correlation between the price of land and its size. Beyond factors such as quality and location of the land, the social positions of buyer and seller often influenced price. Powerful hacendados might force a peasants dependent on them for credit and work to sell their ancestral estancia for a price much below its "market value."[6]

If we differentiate sales contracts according to property categories, the preponderance of the estancia is overwhelming. But what did contemporaries understand by estancia ? During the colonial period the term had referred to livestock ranches.[7] For some areas of Spanish America, notably Argentina, estanica even today refers to sizable livestock estates. In the altiplano, however, it ceased to have that meaning by the mid-nineteenth century. Just as David Brading has described for west-central Mexico, the term hacienda began to be used for a particular type of landholding in the


altiplano only during the eighteenth century. It took one hundred years, from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century, for it to replace the term estancia in the semantic field of "livestock estate operating with semi-servile labor."[8] By the 1850s such properties were usually labeled haciendas or fincas , but on occasion estancia was still used with this meaning.[9] In 1849 the Puneño Juan Bustamante, while speaking of the region's "haciendas" still referred to their owners as "estancieros," a term soon to be supplanted by "hacendado."[10]

After the 1860s the term estancia was not used any more when speaking about livestock estates in the Peruvian altiplano. In its new semantic field it referred to the Indian peasant's rural "farm," with its adobe huts, a corral enclosed by a stone wall, pastures, and some parcels planted with potatoes, quinua, and other crops. Estancia became equivalent to "agricultural units of family or sub-family size," in recent social science terminology.[11] Writing in 1947, Juan Chávez Molina, the heir to Hacienda Churura, district Putina, flatly affirmed that "the estancia today is a small property."[12] The term had lost the connotation of livestock ranch. In an analysis of Puno's social stratification in 1931–32, Oswaldo Zea asserted that "in the area of crop farming [zona de chacarismo ] small properties are widespread and are called estancias."[13] The predominance of estancias in Azángaro land transactions thus offers a first indication that land of the peasantry formed the lion's share of the rural property passing hands in the province.[14]

Haciendas and fincas together accounted for just over 5 percent of the total number of sales.[15] On average, fewer than three estates were bought and sold each year between the 1850s and 1910. Size was not a sufficient criterion for differentiating fincas and haciendas from lesser landholdings (fig. 6.1). Attempts to rely on quantitative criteria for defining what constitutes a finca or hacienda, such as minimum size, minimum number of livestock, or minimum production of the property, remain unsatisfactory.[16] By these criteria there was considerable overlap between small fincas and peasant estancias.[17] What distinguished the hacienda from peasant estancias or other family smallholdings was its internal social organization: a stable, hierarchically ordered population resided on its land, and its members were "directly tied to the owner or his representative through a number of personal obligations, of both a material and symbolic nature."[18]

Thus, beginning in the 1850s the same paradoxical constellation of continuity and polarity crystallized in the altiplano's land tenure regime that we observed for the region's social structure: on the one hand, a continuous spread in the size of holdings, from large estates to smallholdings; and on the other, a stark juxtaposition between hacienda and Indian



Figure 6.1
Land Sales in Azángaro, by Category of Property and Price Range, 1852–1910


peasant estancia. This dichotomy was based on the necolonial division between hispanized rural elite and an indigenous peasantry, a division more deeply rooted in the perceptions of the two groups than in different rationalities of their economic operations.

Did the accelerating tempo of land transfers alter Azángaro's landholding pattern or merely represent increased exchange of property within the same categories of landholdings and proprietors? To answer this question, we have to differentiate land sales according to the social origin of sellers and buyers. Among the three social categories of the scale, only members of the category of hispanized large landholders appear as net purchasers of rural property in Azángaro. Only for this group do number and value of land purchases exceed sales (fig. 6.2). By value, some 70 percent of all land transfers into the holdings of this group represent land of indigenous peasants; by number, these transfers are nearly 86 percent. The intermediate group of landholders contributed about 27 percent of the value and 13 percent of the number of land parcels purchased by large landholders.

Land purchases by hispanized large landholders were more markedly cyclical than were overall provincial sales transactions. After negligible amounts of land purchases from peasants and members of the intermediate group during the 1850s, hispanized large landholders expanded their landholdings by more than 140 notarized purchases during the 1860s, with transactions peaking in 1867. During the next two quinquennia these purchases steadily declined to a low of 35 transactions for the period 1876–80, roughly 60 percent below the level of 1866–70.

Land purchases from indigenous peasants continued at a low level through the early 1880s and began to pick up again only in the quinquennium 1886–90 (table 6.2). The brief surge of purchases by hispanized large landholders during the early 1880s resulted exclusively from an increase in transactions with persons assigned to the intermediate group. These transactions during the difficult years of the War of the Pacific may point to the problems faced by impoverished owners of marginal fincas. The double crisis of the early 1880s, in which war-related disruptions of livestock production and commercialization of wool were added to the problem of sliding wool prices, perchaps caused some concentration of landholding within the estate sector while expansion of haciendas into peasant land slowed down.[19] On September 10, 1881, for example, the brothers Felipe and Manuel Figueroa Obando sold Finca Antocollo y Antaña in Putina district without livestock capital for 3,600 pesos (2,800 soles m.n.). At least one of the brothers had been in debt for five years; during the war years they apparently saw no way of extricating themselves from this debt other than selling their land.[20] After 1881 the Figureroa Obandos disappeared from the ranks of estate owners in Azángaro.



Figure 6.2A
Social Categories of Sellers in Azángaro Land Sales,
1852–1910; Left: By value of sales. Right: By number of sales. 
Sources: REPA and REPP, 1852

The net transfer of land from indigenous peasants to hispanized large landholders (purchases minus sales) accentuates the nadir of the curve for hacienda expansions between 1876 and 1885. For the long run, this measure can best depict the cyclical nature of hacienda formation in parts of Latin America or, as Eric Hobsbawm has put it, how "in the course of post-colonial history haciendas have been formed, expanded, split up and reformed, depending on political change and economic conjuncture."[21] Sales to peasants increased during this decade of severe commercial, fiscal, and political crisis, just when purchases by hispanized large landholders decreased. As in the quarter century after independence, peasants benefited from the crisis of the hispanized landholding elite, at least with regard to retaining their land.[22]

During the early 1890s land purchases by hispanized large landholders recovered, and from the second half of the 1890s onward their purchases grew at such rapid pace that all previous land transactions are dwarfed by comparison. The value of their acquisitions increased by 160 percent from 1891–95 to 1896–1900, followed by a further jump in 1901–5 of over 50



Figure 6.2B
Social Categories of Purchasers in Azángaro Land Sales,
1852–1910. Left: By value of purchases. Right: By number of purchases.
Sources: REPA and REPP, 1852

percent and another rise of 125 percent from the first to the second quinquennium of the present century. The peak of hacienda expansion was reached between 1908 and 1913. During 1908, with a total of 212 purchases, the frenzy of land purchases by hacendados and other members of the provincial elite approached two transactions every three days.[23]

How are we to account for the accelerating rhythm of hacienda expansion between the late 1850s and 1913? Both contemporary observers and modern scholars have pointed to the favorable conditions thought to prevail in southern Peru's wool export trade as the most important incentive for many hispanized large landholders to expand their estates and found new ones.[24] In 1916 José Sebastián Urquiaga—who, through one of Azángaro's most spectacular land-purchasing campaigns, had turned the small maternal finca Sollocota into one of the province's largest estates—explained this context as follows:

About 25 years ago [i.e., 1890–91] the haciendas of the department of Puno passed nearly unnoticed as profitable estates;


TABLE 6.2. Land Purchases by Hispanized Large Landholders from All Other Categories, 1852–1919


Purchases from
Indigenous Peasants

Purchases from Intermediate Group

Purchases from Others

All Purchases
(A + B + C)

Mean Annual











Index a


Index a







































































































































































































a 100 = Mean annual value and N of purchases, 1852–1910.

Sources: REPA, REPP, 1852–1919.


their products, such as livestock, wool, dried meat, cheese, butter, etc., were sold at extremely low prices, less than half of what they are today. And as the price improvement has made itself felt year after year, the interest in acquiring fincas in the interior was awakened. But since the owners with very few exceptions did not sell their estates, people thought of buying estancias from the ayllu Indians.[25]

Land purchases by hacendados followed export market conditions for wool as the single most important product of the altiplano livestock estates closely enough to reflect cyclical swings of wool prices and export volumes (fig. 6.3).[26] The year 1914 confirms the close correlation between trade conditions and land purchases by hispanized large landholders. The brief dislocation of commercial and credit circuits in southern Peru brought on by the outbreak of World War I coincided with a sharp reduction of land acquisitions by hacendados.[27]

But by the late 1910s something had changed. In these years the value of wool exports reached unprecedented heights, and hacendados were more prosperous than ever before. yet, although in 1918 and 1919 they again acquired much more land than they had in the crisis year of 1914, acquisitions from peasants lay considerably below the levels of 1908–13. Just when the wool market reached its peak, the correlation with land acquisitions broke down. One mighty reason discouraged many hacendados from attempting to acquire more peasant lands: the Rumi Maqui Rebellion, which had swept through several livestock districts of Azángaro province since mid-1915, lifted the level of peasant resistance to encroachments on their lands to a level not seen in the altiplano since the late colonial period. Resistance by community peasants against hacendados continued for the rest of the decade, becoming broader and more ideologically charged during the early 1920s.[28] The tide of hacienda expansion thus began to turn even before the wave of prosperity brought on by rising wool exports had crested.

Other authors have explained the drastic and rather sudden increase of land purchases by hispanized landholders since the mid-1890s as the result of political constellations. Karen Spalding suggested that hacendados required strong military backing in order to shift the balance of landholding in their favor. The conditions for extending such military support were created only when the Civilista oligarchy effectively took power in Lima after Piérola's victory over the Cáceres forces in 1895. The growth of altiplano livestock haciendas thus "was primarily the product of the alliance between the serrano [highland] political elite and the nouveaux riches of the coast, who themselves were dependent on their alliance with foreign capital."[29]



Figure 6.3
Annual Averages of Land Transfers to
Hacienda Sector and of Sheep Wool Exports, 1856–1910, in  Soles m.n.


There are two serious problems with this thesis. (1) There is no evidence for the development of such a general class alliance between altiplano hacendados and the ruling coastal oligarchy. Azángaro's politically active hacendados were split along party lines, and many of them fought the local and regional representatives of Lima's ruling Civilista party. (2) Under normal circumstances hispanized landholders in the altiplano did not require military or police contingents supplied by the central government to expand their estates onto peasant lands.[30] As early as 1874 Azángaro's subprefect Daniel Rossel y Salas, a native of Putina who later became judge of Puno's Superior Court and, by marriage, co-owner of Hacienda Huasacona in Muñani, had vividly portrayed how the province's large landholders could carry out armed raids totally independent of, and indeed against the will of, the national police.[31]

In 1931 José Frisancho—who was the offspring of a prominent landholding family from the altiplano town of Pucará and whose judicial career took him from the position of prosecutor in Azángaro's Court of First Instance to the presidency of Peru's Supreme Court—presented an argument similar to Spalding's.[32] As he saw it, the centralism of Lima's "pseudo-aristocracy" after 1895 subverted the political and moral fiber of serrano society, making it servile and corrupt.[33] This subversion had a sudden and dramatic impact on landholding in the highlands. Between independence and 1895 the upright, patrician landholders of the sierra were "mere conservers of the colonial haciendas," and "not a single case" existed in which indigenous community lands were incorporated into a latifundium. "After 1895 occurred the rapid transformation of the communities into latifundia, to such a degree that in some provinces the ayllus have disappeared."[34]

In Frisancho's view the new political regime established by Piérola brought a class of persons to the surface of altiplano society who had no scruples about appropriating peasant lands. In reality, however, there was no sudden qualitative break in the relations between hacendados and Indians and, more specifically, in the methods of acquiring peasant lands. The whole panoply of a paternalistic, neocolonial society—from entrapment through debt to legal ruses and sheer force—became gradually entrenched during the decades before 1895.

But Frisancho's analysis contains one important observation: after the end of the War of the Pacific, and increasingly during the 1890s, many newcomers to the altiplano began to form estates from strings of peasant estancias. These new residents were attracted to the economic opportunities linked to the short-lived mining and rubber collection boom in the ceja de la selva of Carabaya and Sandia but also to the growth of commercial


networks in the altiplano. The military campaigns during the War of the Pacific and the subsequent civil war may also have led some soldiers and officers to settle in the altiplano.[35] Among the 436 men entered in Azángaro's electoral register for the year 1897, 96 were born outside the province.[36] The influx of these newcomers during the late 1880s and early 1890s accounts for a good part of the increased land purchases in Azángaro following 1895.

The two decades between Piérola's civil war victory in 1895 and World War I marked the high tide of gamonal power over the Indian peasantry of the altiplano. The consolidation of Peru's oligarchic regime during what has come to be called the Aristocratic Republic set the stage allowing the region's elite of large landholders, traders, and officeholders to take full advantage of the favorable commercial conjuncture that whetted their appetites for pastoral resources and peasant labor. The penetration of a modern network of transportation and communication through the southern sierra, fueled by exaggerated hopes of economic development, and the expansion of the infrastructure and fiscal means of the central state helped to strengthen the altiplano's elite after 1895.

But the path on which this elite had come into being, in an incipient and contradictory fashion between the 1820s and 1850 and in a first moment of ebullient power between the late 1850s and early 1870s, was unique to the south. This newly forming elite was indebted to the central government only through its relative weakness in the southern highlands. The bases of the large landholders' power, independent of any alliance with oligarchic groups on the national level, were their favorable insertion into the expanding commercial circuits centered on Arequipa as well as the consolidation of clientele systems, a process made easier by the commercial expansion. It is true that beginning in the 1890s the provincial elite of the altiplano expected increasing support from the central government to consolidate their gains vis-à-vis the peasantry, both through distribution of funds and offices derived from Lima among their clients and through strengthened police and military contingents in the countryside. Yet the gamonales never saw themselves as junior partners of Lima's oligarchy. They insisted on maintaining independent power in the provinces against what they perceived as the threat of subversive modernization pushed by the central government.

The Value of Land

If indeed an improvement in the economic conjuncture for altiplano livestock products constituted the major motivation for the rapid increase of


land purchases by Azángaro provincial elite, then this improvement should be reflected in rental rates of estates and the price of land itself. Rental rates paid for Azángaro livestock haciendas, in spite of problems with the data base,[37] show a remarkably clear development.[38] From just over 8 percent of productive capital in soles m.n. (just over 10 percent in pesos) during the 1850s, the mean rate jumped to just under 10 percent in soles m.n. (just over 12 percent in pesos) in the 1860s. During the following twenty years it stagnated, and only during the 1890s does a new rise become visible. The rate climbed from 12 percent in soles m.n. during the 1890s to 15.6 percent in the following decade and 22 percent between 1910 and 1917, nearly three times as high as during the 1850s. The average annual lease paid on a hacienda fully capitalized at 1,000 OMR jumped from 80 soles m.n. in the 1850s to 220 soles m.n. during the boom years of World War I.[39] At that time an hacienda produced as much in annual leases without any livestock capital as it had done sixty years earlier when fully capitalized.[40]

The increased profitability of operating a livestock estate during the 1860s, expressed in rising rental rates, coincided with the first postindependence push toward hacienda expansion in Azángaro. When southern Peru's wool export economy went through its phase of retraction, from about 1873 until the mid-1880s, rental rates stanated and hacendados scaled down land purchases, reaching an extremely low level between the mid-1870s and 1885.[41] Growing income from wool exports after the mid-1880s—preceding the recovery of the international conjuncture for wool by about ten years because of the devaluation of the Peruvian currency—was reflected in renewed increases in rental rates beginning in the early 1890s. These increases in turn set the stage for the new wave of land purchases by new and old hacendados, which climaxed during the five years preceding World War I.

Continuous sets of rental contracts for one and the same estate spanning the greater part of the period from the 1850s to the 1910s exist only for small, usually church-owned fincas.[42] Soñata, one such small, church-owned finca, was located in the parcialidad Cacsani in Arapa. Because of its favorable situation on a bend of Río Azángaro, the finca in 1913 could dedicate 100 of its total 668 hectares to crops. On the remaining second- and third-class pastures it could maintain about 1,070 sheep.[43] Surprisingly, the rent charged by the church on Soñata reflected the general rise of rental rates with a considerable lag. After neglecting even to charge the tenant for excess pastures in 1860, the rate stayed unaltered at 10 percent (in terms of pesos) until the 1890s. Only after 1901 and then again in 1914 did the annual rent paid for Soñata participate in the general upward trend of rental rates.


The explanation for this "unorthodox" finding has to be sought in the slower-than-average rise of minimum rental rates. Small fincas, often undercapitalized and equipped with an insufficient colono labor force, too little water, and inferior pastures, did not partake in the growing profitability of hacienda operations during the 1860s and the years between 1890 and 1920 to the same extent as large ones did. For such estates the church could find renters only at below-average rates.

It proves more difficult to determine the development of land values during this sixty-five-year period. The most obvious problem consists in the scarcity of information on the size of landholdings, mentioned in notarial contracts only since the early twentieth century. The measurement of property, carried out primarily by nonprofessional agrimensores, was required for the inscription of landholdings into the departmental land register, established in 1889. Although these measurements purported to be exact down to the last square meter, their reliability is rather low, and they could vary by 25 percent or more.[44] Until the 1890s the rare mention of a landholding's size merely gave its approximate perimeter or its length and width by kilometers. Thus, it is not possible to determine the development of the average hectare prices over a longer period of time.

The only way to use the large data base of notarial sales contracts for measuring changes of land prices consists in determining the average price of land per transaction. For most categories of sales the mean purchase price per transaction declined from the 1860s or 1870s to the 1880s and 1890s. In all cases it grew between the 1890s and the first decade of this century. These changing average price levels can be interpreted in two ways: either land prices fell between about 1870 and 1890, or the mean size of land parcels offered for sale went down. Individual property histories suggest that even during the difficult years between the late 1870s and early 1880s land prices did not decline. Thus, it would seem that the mean size of land parcels offered for sale tended to decline between the 1860s and the 1880s or 1890s, an early indication of the impact of population increase on Azángaro's landholding pattern. Of course, we cannot exclude the possibility that land values had already begun to climb in the 1860s or 1870s and that these increases merely failed to show up in mean sales values because of the reduction of the mean size of land parcels. It is equally possible that the size reduction continued after the 1890s but was now covered up by a stronger increase of prices for land. One might interpret the peculiar development of the mean purchase price per transaction as the outcome of a scissorlike configuration between land values and mean size of land parcels offered for sale: until the 1880s or early 1890s decreasing


average size had a stronger impact on mean purchase prices than did the increasing land value; this relation was reversed after 1900.

Prices for land organized in estates underwent sharp increases between the 1850s and 1920, generally by between 100 and 200 percent (table 6.3). Increases occurred both in the early phase, from the late 1850s to the 1880s, and in the second half of the period, from the 1890s. Haciendas whose value temporarily declined (Loquicolla Chico, Huañingora) had experienced a decline in their livestock population.[45]

The crucial variable in the appraisal of pastureland was its livestock carrying capacity. We can piece together a set of figures covering a longer time span for the value of the unit of land required to feed one sheep year-round plus the value of the sheep itself (table 6.4). This had been the conventional measure in the appraisal of estates since the colonial period. Of course, the actual size of this unit varied according to the carrying capacity of the land. In all, the price of a unit of top-quality pastureland required to feed one sheep plus the sheep itself increased by about 250 to 300 percent between the 1850s and the second decade of the present century.[46] One can again discern two waves of price increases, one prior to the 1890s, probably during the 1860s, and a second, showing a considerably greater rise, between 1902 and World War I.

This price development for land was closely linked to prices for live sheep, which rose at about the same rhythm as land values (table 6.5). Livestock prices were the key factor directly influencing the value of pastoral land in the altiplano. The values of sheep and cattle, in turn, are directly related to the prices of the products derived from them, and here wool is crucial for the altiplano. The two phases of price spurts for sheep occurred when wool prices rose between the late 1850s and early 1870s and again between the mid-1890s and World War I. Livestock prices did not, however, participate in the slump of the 1870s and 1880s; they merely stagnated. This stagnation probably reflected domestic inflation in Peru but might also indicate that the tradition of price conventions, immune to short-term market forces, still had some influence on livestock prices. The impetus for increases in the price of land, during the 1860s and again between about 1895 and the end of World War I, came, transmitted by livestock prices, from heightened demand for the altiplano's most important commercial product, wool.

The preceding discussion of rental rates and prices for land is based on information concerning haciendas or land in the hacienda sector. The development of market prices for peasant lands is much less clear. Moreover, the very notion may be flawed. Consider the constitution of Hacienda


TABLE 6.3. Prices of Selected Estates in Azángaro,

Date of

(soles m.n.)

Context of
Price Setting

Huasacona, Dist. Muñani

July 7, 1854



May 9, 1889



May 20, 1925



Apr. 24, 1937



Checayani and anexo Quesollani, Dist. Muñani

Oct. 23, 1902



May 31, 1904



Nov. 5, 1963



Checca, Dist. Santiago de Pupuja

Jan. 3, 1863



July 21, 1899



Loquicolla Chico, Dist. Putina

Mar. 11, 1862



Apr. 30, 1882



Ichocollo, Dist. Putina

July 3, 1859



Jan. 10, 1875



May 28, 1917



Calacala, Dist. Chupa

July 3, 1859



Feb. 9, 1867



June 4, 1872


       Promise of sale

July 22, 1893



Apr. 25, 1899




TABLE 6.3 continued

Date of

(soles m.n.)

Context of
Price Setting

Quichusa, Dist. Azángaro

Sept. 20, 1862



Dec. 5, 1912



Huañingora, Dist. Achaya

June 23, 1866



July 23, 1893



Dec. 4, 1901



a Including 2,000 head of livestock.

b Without livestock.

c Including 2,000 OMR.

d Incl. 1,000 OMR.

e Incl 1,000 OMR.

Sources: REPA and REPP, 1854–1902; RPIP, vols 1–3; Min. de Agricultura, Zona Agraria 12 (Puno), Expediente de Afectación: Huasacona.

Lourdes in Potoni district between 1880 and 1901.[47] The eight distinct estancias and fincas making up the new estate had been purchased by Adoraida Gallegos for no more than 4,600 soles m.n. Yet in 1901, less than ten years after most of the parcels of land were purchased, an appraisal gave Hacienda Lourdes' value as 12,156 soles m.n., not at all unlikely for an estate extending over 11,719 hectares. Only a small part of this jump of nearly 200 percent in the value of the integrated landholding over the purchase price of the individual estancias reflects the general price trend. The greater part resulted from the higher unit value of land organized in estates, with a stable resident labor force and its own livestock capital, compared with unincorporated peasant land. The formation of Hacienda Lourdes illustrates the economic advantages enjoyed by Azángaro's owners of estates over peasant landholders.

Repeated sales of peasant lands reveal rather peculiar price developments. On April 24, 1908, for example, the peasant woman Teresa Quispe Huarcaya from parcialidad Curayllo in Arapa sold Estancia Collini Accohuani to José Albino Ruiz, politician and owner of the large Hacienda Checayani in Muñani, for 200 pesos. "More than twenty years" earlier she had bought the estancia from Marta Huarcaya for the same price.[48] In a


TABLE 6.4. Prices for Estate Pasture Lands, 1850s–1916 (in soles m.n.)


Unit of First-Class
Pasture Necessary to
Feed 1 Sheep (including
cost of the sheep)

Price per Hectare
(without sheep)

























a The carrying capacity per hectare of the best pastures was variously estimated at between 3.0 and 4.5 OMR.

b Estimate, in appraisal of Hacienda Huancarani, Azángaro, Apr. 12, 1845, MPA; REPA, año 1863, Patiño, F. 53, No. 18 (Apr. 22, 1863).

c Appraisal of Hda. Sollocota in REPP, año 1895, San Martín, No. 83 (Nov. 9, 1895).

d Jiménez, Breves apuntes , 83. Hectare values are my own calculations based on Jiménez, using higher carrying capacities, between 1.5 and 4.5 units of sheep per hectare.

e Cisneros, Frutos de paz , 262.

f Appraisals of various haciendas between Sept. 4, 1912, and May 1, 1913, in REPP, 1912–1915.

g Urquiaga, Sublevaciones , 24.


TABLE 6.5. Prices for Adult Criollo Sheep in Azángaro, 1850s–1915


Conventional Pricea
(soles m.n.)

Price Range
(soles m.n.)

1850s–early 1860s





Late 1890s–1908








a This is the price most often found during a specific period; it is not necessarily the statistical mean, however.

Sources: Juan Medrano to Juan Paredes, Caira, Nov. 1857, in MPA; 24 notarial contracts, REPA and REPP, 1863–1915.


similar case, the Indian peasant Marcelo Sacaca in 1888 had purchased estancia Pachaje Chico in Putina for 1,600 soles en quintos bolivianos (soles q.b.) with money inherited from his mother-in-law Juliana Quenallata. Nearly twenty years later, on June 22, 1907, two granddaughters and coheirs of Juliana Quenallata, Jacoba and María Mejía Machaca and their husbands, sold their share in Pachaje Chico to Manuel Esteban Paredes Urviola, a member of one of the largest landholding clans and the only medical doctor of the province, on the basis of the 1888 transaction, without any price increase.[49] But in other cases peasant land underwent surprisingly large price increases over short periods. On June 25, 1910, Francisco Adrián Toro Nafria, a merchant and hacendado from Asillo, bought Fundo Quisini, located in parcialidad Jila or Supira (the notarial contracts are contradictory) of the San Antón district, from the peasant Damaso Hispanocca Vilca for 50 soles m.n. Two months later, on August 13, 1910, Toro Nafria resold the land to Pablo Anco Turpo and his wife Victoriana Turpo Ccallasaca, peasants from San Antón, for 150 soles m.n., a 200 percent gain, diminished only slightly by the fees for title deed and sales tax.[50]

Such contradictory price developments for individual peasant landholdings reflect the social position of both parties to the transactions. Where the landholding was resold without any price increase even after several decades, the seller was an Indian peasant and the purchaser a hispanized large landholder. The speculative gains, by contrast, were realized by hispanized large landholders reselling (or trading) a property to peasants. These price developments, then, have their common explanation in the social dominance of one contracting partner over the other.

The nature of prices for land changed slowly in the altiplano. Around 1850 prices for land, like rental rates and livestock prices, still had a strongly conventional character. Short-term economic fluctuations did not easily disturb this pricing structure. Within the region all people involved in transactions over land or livestock shared a common understanding about these pricing rules. Phrases such as "according to the conventions used in this department" or "customarily fixed at" appeared often in notarial contracts. This is not to say that land values and livestock prices bore no relation to market conditions; rather, major secular economic changes were required to prompt readjustments in those conventional prices. Thus, for example, the conventional price for one adult sheep remained at four reales between the beginning of the nineteenth century and the 1850s.[51] Rental rates for estates continued to be calculated on the same basis of 10 percent of livestock capital during the 1850s just as they had in the 1770s.[52] The few examples at our disposal to analyze land values in this early period suggest the same type of stability.[53]


During the following sixty years the impact of market conditions on land values became more pervasive, and convention gradually lost strength as the basis for determining prices and lease fees on land and livestock. This development was aided by the growing technical capacity to measure the quality and extension of land. But it had its causes in the increasing awareness of the impact of market fluctuations on land values and income levels among some of the region's landholders, itself a consequence of the link to the world market for wool. This process, by which prices for pastureland came to reflect market conditions for the altiplano's livestock products, was far from complete by 1920. Azángaro's pricing structure for land remained ambiguous during the early years of this century, leading at times to seemingly erratic prices for one and the same landholding. This ambiguity allowed members of the socially dominant groups to draw extra profit from land transactions with peasants and tradition-bound landholding institutions such as the church.

To summarize the development of land values in Azángaro: The value of estates generally rose between 100 and 200 percent from the 1850s to about 1920, with prices for top-quality pastureland rising by up to 300 percent. First-class haciendas, endowed with the best pastureland, sufficient resident labor, and, most important, extensive acreage, experienced a steeper rise in their value than did smaller estates with scarcer natural and labor resources. By contrast, the price for peasant land does not reflect market conditions because in most cases it was shaped by the social constellation between buyer and seller rather than general price trends. Still, for estates the link between wool exports, livestock prices, and land values explains why old and new landholders adjusted their purchases of land to the rhythm of the regional wool export economy: earnings from estate operations followed this rhythm.

The Geography and Ecology of Hacienda Expansion

The enormous expansion of estates onto peasant lands between the late 1850s and 1920 affected Azángaro's districts and communities unevenly. Whereas the four districts in which indigenous peasants sold the most land to hispanized large landholders and members of the intermediate group accounted for more than 60 percent of all transactions, the four districts with the fewest sales by peasants accounted for only 8.5 percent.[54] In Azángaro, by far the district with most sales by peasants to other groups of landholders (nearly 30 percent of the total number), peasants alienated land valued at over 96,000 soles m.n. in 563 transactions until 1910. At


the other extreme, for Caminaca district the notaries registered only 18 such transactions for a total of under 2,700 soles m.n.

Distinct ecological and land-use zones in the province had a bearing on the spatial distribution of land sales. Caminaca and Saman in the south of the province experienced only a limited expansion of haciendas onto peasant lands. On the plains between Lake Titicaca and Lake Arapa agriculture played a relatively more important role than it did in other parts of the province. Until the mid-nineteenth century only a few small estates had been established there, and land was more evenly distributed than it was in the pastoral areas of the province. The comparatively equal distribution of lands and the absence of powerful hacendados inhibited the subsequent advance of estates into peasant communities since large agglomerations of land could not serve as points of departure for acquisition schemes. When a few small estates were finally formed in Saman after 1900—among them Finca Santa Clara, owned by the hacendado and livestock trader Ildefonso González from Arapa, and Finca San Juan, owned by the local merchant and livestock trader Mariano Abarca Dueñas—peasant resistance was particularly adamant.[55] After 1912 bloody clashes ensued between these gamonales and the peasants.[56] In the short run gamonales could inflict losses of land, material belongings, and even life on peasants. But in Saman the balance of power between peasants and haciendas was such that after 1940 no hacienda survived.[57]

The four districts in which hacienda expansion had the greatest impact in relation to population lay in the predominantly pastoral zone of the province to the northeast of Azángaro town. In three of these, San José, San Antón, and Potoni, ecological conditions favored livestock raising, but only a handful of haciendas had existed in the early republican period, perhaps because of their isolation from trade and communication circuits of that time. There hacienda expansion had particularly dramatic consequences for the land tenure pattern. Although by the early independence period a considerable number of estates had existed in the fourth district in this group, Azángaro, it was also the location of the greatest number of peasant parcialidades. The combination of a strong estate base and plentiful peasant lands, as well as the advantages offered by the provincial center with its commercial and administrative opportunities, accounts for Azángaro's predominant share in land acquisitions by established or aspiring large landholders.

Muñani and Putina, with their fertile valley pastures and their arid cordillera slopes unfit for crops, belonged to the areas most suited for livestock raising in Puno department. Yet in proportion to population both districts experienced a low rate of peasant land sales to other groups of


landholders. Here a great part of peasant lands had already been absorbed by haciendas by the early republican period. By the 1870s little peasant land remained in Muñani. In Putina a number of parcialidades survived at least until the early twentieth century, and peasant land sales were rather frequent in absolute terms. Transactions among hacendados and intermediate landholders had a greater weight in Putina than in any other district, corroborating the existence of numerous haciendas and smaller nonpeasant landholdings since before 1850.

In contrast to what happened in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Azángaro's "hacienda frontier" now moved outward from the center of the province. During the 1850s and 1860s more than 80 percent of peasant land sales to hacendados and intermediate landholders concerned land in Azángaro district, with only a sprinkling in all other districts. The bulk of purchases can be attributed to purchases by Juan Paredes and José María Lizares, the most dynamic hacendados in the province between independence and the War of the Pacific. Both men came from families that arrived in Azángaro after independence, and both held administrative offices and participated in trade in the provincial capital. They could build up a clientele system most easily in the immediate vicinity of their residence, seat of business and of official power, and thus began their land purchases in Azángaro district.

Even though the market for livestock products had become favorable, most hacendado families in the rest of the province did not expand their landholdings onto peasant lands during this period. Until the late 1860s it remained relatively easy to find estates for lease, and despite the wool export boom, a sufficient number of hacendados and owners of smaller nonpeasant landholdings were still willing to sell land. Apparently not all established landholders were profiting from the favorable market conditions, and some saw themselves forced to give up their estates. Such sales occurred even during the second boom phase after the 1890s.

Supply and demand for pastoral land were still largely balanced during the 1860s. Aside from the situation in Azángaro and Muñani districts, potential land buyers had no need to resort to peasant estancias. After 1890, by contrast, mushrooming demand for land could not be met any more by nonpeasant landholdings offered for sale. During the first boom period in the 1860s Azángaro's land tenure pattern was still affected as much by changes in the composition of the hacendado class as it was by outright hacienda expansion, whereas after 1890 the weight shifted decidedly to the latter mode.[58]

From 1870 to 1890 the "hacienda frontier" moved into some of the districts in which relatively many haciendas had existed before, including


Putina, Arapa, and Santiago. Some of the districts that were to become central locations for hacienda expansion between the 1890s and 1920, such as San José, San Antón, and Potoni, still saw no or only minimal land transfers from peasants to hacendados and intermediate landholders. Until 1890 the purchases of peasant lands served mostly to enlarge well-established estates rather than to constitute new ones. Although a few new estates were formed during the 1870s or before, most were founded after 1890. Only the increasing demand for land beginning in the last decade of the past century—coinciding with the entry of a substantial number of newcomers into Azángaro's land market—prompted aspiring estate owners to penetrate hitherto unaffected Indian communities. It was easier to acquire peasant lands in districts with a long-established hacienda-community complex, since there peasants were more closely tied into patterns of dependence and paternalism. By contrast, in areas such as San Antón and Potoni the majority of peasants had traditionally lived and worked outside the sphere of influence of estates.

In these areas the advance of the hacienda frontier was aided after 1890 by the opening of the road from railroad station Tirapata via Asillo, San Antón, through Potoni district to Macusani and from there to the ceja de la selva of Carabaya. The trade connected with the rubber and gold exploitations in Carabaya province, which now passed through these districts, and the growing network of itinerant wool buyers regularly visiting every parcialidad multiplied the opportunities for intricating peasants into clientele systems as the prelude to land acquisition schemes. During the thirty years following 1891 the tide of land transfers from peasants to hacendados and intermediate landholders engulfed nearly the entire province. Only Muñani, with little peasant land remaining, and Caminaca were largely untouched by the avalanche. This period saw particularly rapid growth of old and new estates in the northeastern districts of Potoni, San Antón, and San José. It may not have been mere coincidence that the most serious peasant rebellion, the Rumi Maqui Rebellion of 1915–16, centered on San José district.

Sales of peasant land to hacendados and intermediate landholders varied greatly from parcialidad to parcialidad. The data must be interpreted with great caution, as parcialidades or ayllus could change their boundaries over time.[59] In seven of Azángaro's ten districts with six or more parcialidades, more than 50 percent of all peasant land sales occurred in just two parcialidades. In five of these districts, the two communities with the heaviest sales activity accounted for more than 70 percent of all such transactions. Of the five parcialidades in Saman, one, Chejachi, accounted for 82 percent of all peasant land sales to other categories of landholders (88.6 percent by


value). Chejachi is located on Saman's northern border, next to Arapa district. Hacendados who owned landholdings in Arapa extended their land purchases into the neighboring district. The two districts in which peasant land sales were least concentrated in a few parcialidades, Azángaro and San José districts, were those with the highest number and value of sales. Here the expansion and new foundation of haciendas spread over most areas of the districts so that no parcialidades stood out.

Different size and population of individual communities may account for some of these variations. In the absence of information on the extension of parcialidades I tested the relevance of population by selecting two districts, Caminaca and San Antón, for which the parcialidades listed in the censuses of 1862, 1876, and 1940 remained the same and were nearly identical to those appearing in the notarial registers. Population does make a difference in the ranking and spread of land sales activity in various parcialidades. But great variations remain unexplained by population. Using the average population from the three censuses, in Hila, San Antón, one sale was transacted by every seven community members, whereas in Sullca one sale was concluded by every thirty-three persons. In terms of value more than ten times as much land per capita was sold in Sillota as in Sullca. In Caminaca, with only a few peasant land sales, per capita sales differed little in three parcialidades, but there were none in a fourth community.[60]

What accounts for this great variation of per capita land sales in different parcialidades? Just as between districts, the varying weight of agriculture and livestock raising probably played an important role. So did more specific locational conditions, such as the proximity of a parcialidad to established haciendas and the availability of water, good pastures, and collpares. The ten parcialidades with the highest number or value of peasant land sales to hacendados or intermediate landholders (map 6.1) together accounted for about one-third of all such sales. Specific locational factors help explain the heavy losses of land in most of these communities. Parcialidad Jayuraya, for example, was located in the hilly and broken terrain southwest of the pampa of Río Tarucani between Muñani and Putina. For many of the estates clustered around these two towns, and particularly for Hacienda Checayani, Jayuraya formed the only potential area of expansion, since they were hemmed in by other estates on all other sides. Similarly, we can detect locational reasons for limited alienation of lands in some communities. Between the 1850s and 1910 parcialidad Sillota, in Asillo, lost only one-third as many parcels of land to hacendados and intermediate landholders as did Collana (in the same district) between the 1850s and 1910, although Collana had 50 percent fewer inhabitants.



MAP 6.1.
The Ten Parcialidades with the Greatest Number and/or Value of
Land Sales by Peasants to Hacendados and Intermediate Landholders, Azángaro Province

Much of Sillota's territory, north of Asillo town, offered quite favorable conditions for agriculture in the low foothills on both sides of the Río Grande; only small fincas developed here.

But do locational factors suffice to explain why parcialidades were affected so differently by the process of hacienda expansion? It seems likely that the internal situation of the parcialidades played an important role in determining vulnerability to outside pressure. Factors such as community


solidarity, the affluence or poverty of community members, demographic pressure on the land base, cleavages between rich and poor peasants, and the survival of autonomous cultural traditions could help or hinder access of aspiring outside landholders to the land of community members. Local cultural and ideological traditions and politics thus intervened in blocking or facilitating the avalanche of hacienda expansion.[61]

Expansion Strategies

Interpretations of the modalities of hacienda expansion in the altiplano cluster around two extremes, which might be called the myths of free will and brutal force. Apologists have stressed the legality of most land acquisitions by hacendados and described the purchases of peasant lands as a contract between free and—as far as the transaction goes—equal parties. This apologetic view was expressed by the first organization of Puno's hacienda owners in a petition sent to President Augusto Leguía in 1921. The hacendados claimed that estates were based either on colonial land grants and compositions or on "just and legal titles for land . . . purchased, without deceit and according to the law, from the Indians since the period in which these were declared owners of the land they had occupied and free to sell."[62]

The other extreme view regarding hacienda formation became widespread with the rise of indigenismo in the second decade of this century and has remained one of the points of accusation against the agrarian regime of the southern sierra before 1969. As the sociologist Jorge Lora Cam put it in 1976, "Haciendas in Puno were mostly formed by violent usurpation of the land of the community Indians, converting some of them into colonos enserfed to the gamonal power, while others were thrown out if they were not physically liquidated."[63]

Both characterizations of the process of hacienda formation and expansion fail to grasp the complexity of socioeconomic interaction patterns in the altiplano during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A sales transaction between free and equal economic agents and a violent usurpation of land have one thing in common: they are punctual actions. Both parties, seller and purchaser in the first case and aggressor and victim in the second, need not have interacted previously. This lack of interaction may be characteristic, on the one hand, of individualistic market societies in which all actors at least ideally have the freedom to make economic choices and, on the other hand, of societies in which social cohesion has utterly broken down, as in conquest or civil war. But in a society such as that of Azángaro, built on long-standing ties of family, religion, and


community and on neocolonial hierarchies, sales transactions between free and equal economic agents and violent usurpations of land were merely the extreme modes of land acquisition on a scale in which most cases were characterized by a mixture of volition and coercion.[64] The social positions of the contracting parties, their economic resources, the existence or nonexistence of kinship ties between them, and other factors gave special significance to each individual transaction.

Land purchases, the most frequent form of estate formation and expansion, varied greatly as to type and size of land, social status of seller and buyer, and circumstances leading to the transaction. Those with sufficient capital or access to credit facilities tried to purchase small fincas as a central building block in the process of forming a large new estate. The most spectacular example of this strategy was the formation of Hacienda San José in the district of the same name. Sometime during the mid-1880s the half brothers José Sebastian Urquiaga Echenique, born in 1857, and Bernardino Arias Echenique, born in 1860, inherited Hacienda Sollocota, located in the border area of districts Azángaro and San José, from their maternal family.[65] During the eighteenth century the estate had belonged to Miguel de Echenique, a Spanish miner working veins in Carabaya and an ancestor of President José Rufino Echenique. Although gradually decaying, Sollocota remained in control of the family during the early republican period.[66] In the decade after Carlota Echenique, mother of José Sebastian and Bernardino, had assumed the administration of the largely decapitalized estate, sometime around 1860, she undertook to restock Sollocota with cattle and sheep.[67] The family's landholdings expanded only after José Sebastian and Bernardino inherited the finca. Between 1891 and 1905 the two together bought sixty-five separate properties; nearly all were located in the general vicinity of Hacienda Sollocota, some in the northern part of Azángaro district, but most in San José. Among the properties were several small to medium-sized fincas, such as Finca Parcani, with a livestock capital of 1,800 sheep, and Finca Unión. Although Parcani was an older estate, Unión had been recently formed by the previous owner, José Guillermo Riquelme, through agglomerating at least thirteen peasant estancias.[68] In February 1903 Urquiaga and Arias Echenique bought Finca Quimsacalco, an estate of colonial vintage with a capacity of 4,000 sheep, from three brothers and sisters of José Guillermo Riquelme for 12,000 soles m.n.[69]

Beginning in 1905 the two half brothers began to purchase land separately, and we may assume that around that year they effectively divided their property.[70] Urquiaga received the old maternal Finca Sollocota, now greatly expanded by some of the landholdings purchased since the early 1890s. Arias Echenique became exclusive owner of the majority of the


purchased property, including the three Fincas Quimsacalco, Parcani, and Unión. All of this land was incorporated into a new estate called San José. The narrow Río San José now formed the border between the two estates for some fifteen kilometers. Both Urquiaga and Arias Echenique continued to expand their separate haciendas through the 1910s and succeeded in integrating further estates (the colonial Hacienda Puscallani became part of Sollocota) besides dozens of peasant estancias. By 1925 Hacienda San José, according to one measure, extended for 40,000 hectares in the districts of San José, San Antón, and Potoni.[71] After years of legal fights it passed into possession of the Sociedad Ganadera del Sur in 1944, a corporation owning a dozen large estates in the department of Puno and controlled by the Gibsons from Arequipa, the largest southern Peruvian import, export, and banking house.[72] Some of the land of San José, within half a century, had been exploited through four different levels of landholdings. Original peasant estancias had been integrated into a small finca (Unión), which became part of the large estate of San José; this hacienda in turn was purchased by the largest corporate landholding company of southern Peru. The formation of the new Hacienda San José, accomplished in thirty years at most, relied on the integration of a number of older estates besides the purchase of dozens of peasant estancias. Without the older estates, in themselves extending over several thousand hectares, San José would have remained a medium-sized finca like most new fincas incorporating only peasant estancias.[73]

This type of agglomeration was an option only for the wealthiest and most powerful large landholders of the province.[74] In most cases the expansion or new formation of estates depended entirely on the incorporation of peasant estancias. This was a slow and tedious process, requiring contact with numerous Indian peasants, some of whom might hold rights to only minuscule plots. Given the advancing fragmentation of the original peasant landholdings since the colonial and early republican periods, potential purchasers frequently had to carry out genealogical inquiries to locate all persons with rights to an estancia.[75] José Albino Ruiz proceeded in this manner in 1908 when acquiring a number of peasant landholdings in the border area between Azángaro and Arapa districts, "with the aim of forming a small finca called Calahuire."[76] This had been the name of the original landholding owned by the Indian Carlos León Huarcaya in the mid-eighteenth century. Ruiz now was purchasing some ten different shares from third- and fourth-generation descendants who all traced their lineage to that common root, the "stem" of the family.[77]

Most transactions over land between hacendados and peasants do not mention the circumstances under which they were concluded and, in their


formalistic language, give the impression of a totally free agreement between the two parties. But a sufficient number of contracts grant us glimpses into the great variety of means designed to coax peasants into relinquishing control over their land. Frequently a peasant had received food on credit from a hacendado "for the subsistence of his family" over a period of several years. The creditor would finally present the bill and, if the peasant were incapable of repaying the debt in money or some commodity as wool or livestock, demand payment in form of land. I found 165 cases in which land was explicitly sold as payment of a debt. But in reality the number was higher, as many notarial contracts lacked precision to list such circumstances. Debts leading to the sale of land could arise out of a great variety of situations. The purchase of sheep on credit or monetary obligations in connection with church festivities at times led to land sales by peasants.[78] More frequent were cases of debts incurred to defray the expenses of a proper funeral.[79]

Old people often relinquished their land in exchange for future material benefits, including the payment of their funeral, rather than as payment for past debts. Juliana Ramos, a small shopkeeper of peasant origin in Asillo, whose husband and only son had died, in January of 1893 sold her "Hacienda" Viluyo with the adjoining estancias Misquichuno and Hulquicunca and her small store on the plaza of Asillo to Lieutenant Colonel Juan Manuel Sarmiento, a Cuzqueño military officer, for 140 soles. She explained that the properties might be worth a bit more but that she considered the difference a donation to Sarmiento for the services "which I have received from the buyer and for those which I will receive given that Sr. Sarmiento pledges to feed and dress me, to cure me when I am ill, and to bury me when God calls me."[80]

The sale of land was coupled with the expectation of material aid and protection by a strong hacendado. Often a peasant had no choice but to become integrated into such clientalistic dependencies. For hacendados intent on expanding their landholdings, such transactions brought important advantages. It was easier to persuade Indian smallholders who had come to depend on a hacendado to relinquish legal title to their land than it was to deal with fiercely independent peasants with sufficient economic means to reject any purchase offer or to have to resort to costly legal battles or coercive measures.

Acquiring land from an indebted peasant often reduced the effective purchase price. Although the notarial bills of sale usually stated that the seller had received the full price to his "entire satisfaction," in many cases it was paid only later or not in its entirety at all.[81] If the seller was a client peasant, the purchaser might pay a considerable share of the total price in


goods, such as foodstuffs, the price of which could be fixed to his or her advantage.[82] In many cases hacendados withheld a part of the purchase price in order to pay it later to a co-owner of the property not present at the transaction; this money was often retained for good by the purchaser. In other cases hacendados had to pay only part of the purchase price in recompense for services already rendered or to be rendered to the seller in future. In 1867 Juan Paredes acquired an estancia in ayllu Hilahuata from a peasant widow, paying cash for only one-fourth of the property and receiving usufruct of the rest free of charge in recompense for raising the woman's minor child in his household, surely more of a benefit than an expense for the hacendado.[83]

Cases in which hispanized landholders paid only a small share of the purchase price for a parcel of land after having given legal counsel—commonly without professional qualifications—have become notorious.[84] In 1899 Lieutenant Colonel Victor Gregorio Rossello, descendant of an old Azangarino landholding family and veteran of the War of the Pacific, was forgiven four-fifths of the purchase price of 500 soles m.n. for Estancia Callapani in district Santiago de Pupuja in recognition of his judicial efforts on behalf of the sellers, a group of peasants and weavers from the parcialidad Mataro in the same district. On top of this, Rossello was forgiven the remaining one-fifth of the purchase price as "indemnification for all the damages which we [the sellers] have caused him through repeated attacks on his properties."[85] Rossello thus acquired legal title to Callapani without paying one centavo to the previous owners.

This contract demonstrates the ambivalence of paternalism in the context of an expanding hacienda complex and neocolonial social relations. How can we believe that the peasant owners of Estancia Callapani sought out Rossello as their spokesman in court cases when they had had conflicts with him serious enough to lead to recurring attacks on his estate? The notarial contracts cannot directly reflect what the mostly illiterate and Quechua-speaking peasants stated. We hear only what the notary put in their mouths. In the present case direct statements by the peasants probably would have revealed that they were coerced or tricked into the deal with Rossello. The establishment of clientalistic relations here was a one-sided strategy by the hispanized landholder to gain access to the land and labor of Indian peasants.

But such clientalistic links by no means needed to be based on deceit or coercion. Although the dominant partner was likely to benefit most, the reciprocal benefits for the dependent peasant, in the form of protection, credit, and foodstuff in times of need, could constitute significant assets. Some peasants accepted dependence on a paternalistic gamonal as a prudent


course of action without being a victim of specific entrapment beyond that constituted by the structure of society.[86]

These underlying social relations are indicated by the long delays that often occurred between the conclusion of an informal contract and the entry of the title deed in the notarial register. The original contract might be celebrated before the justice of the peace of the local district or in the residence of the hacendado. It was common knowledge that many justices of the peace were corrupt. An Indian peasant could be induced to sign over land rights without even realizing the impact of the action.[87] It was simple enough to make up an informal contract through trickery or forgery, since most peasants could not sign their names and one of the witnesses signed for them.[88] Only years later would the interested party bring the transaction before the notary to elevate it to a fully recognized title document. In the intervening time the peasant might have become a colono on the purchaser's hacienda while continuing to live in his or her old estancia. In other instances the original peasant owner had died in the meantime. Only then did the hacendado approach the heirs to demand the reaffirmation of the original sale, often claiming that part of the purchase price had been paid already to the deceased person as an advance (arrás ). The heirs, unfamiliar with the informal contract as documentary proof of the hacendado's assertions, could often do nothing—short of risking legal actions with all their expenses and delays—but to consent to the notarial reaffirmation of the sale.[89]

Of 3,060 sales contracts between 1854 and 1910, 278 were protocolizations, with an average lag of nearly eight years between the informal conclusion of the sale and its entry in the notarial register as a title deed.[90] In another 460 contracts the purchaser was stated to have been in possession of the property for at least four weeks and up to forty years prior to the notarization. In all, there was a lag between the informal conclusion of a sales contract and its notarial registration in a minimum of 24.1 percent of all sales transactions.

The peculiarity of the altiplano land market is illustrated by the importance of a transaction called anticresis or prenda pretorial. It involved the extension of a credit to a landholder, who, rather than mortgaging his or her land as security for the credit, would turn it over in usufruct to the creditor for a period of between five and ten years, at the end of which the loan was to be repaid and the land returned to the owner. The rent of the land and the interest on the loan were considered to be of equal value, so that the debtor did not pay interest and the creditor did not pay rent. An anticresis contract, then, fulfilled two functions, extension of credit and medium-term land transfer, with a minimum of cash transactions.


Which of the two functions was primary for the transaction depended on the social relations between the contracting parties. If the creditor was a hispanized large landholder and the person turning over a plot of land an indigenous peasant, the contract's primary function mostly lay in the appropriation of land by the large landholder. For five to ten years the hacendado was getting a piece of land for extending a sum of money considerably below its sales price. If the peasant failed to return the credit at the appointed time, the creditor could demand the formal sale of the land, for which he or she paid only a minimal additional sum. In this way unfulfilled anticresis contracts represented a variety of the "delay strategy" discussed above.[91] Adoraida Gallegos, for example, systematically employed anticresis contracts over fifteen peasant estancias to gain control of land at the fringes of her Hacienda Lourdes.[92]

But anticresis contracts were more important for peasants than for hispanized large landholders.[93] Nearly one-third of all anticresis contracts were concluded between peasants, a rate much higher than that for sales. The popularity of anticresis contracts with peasants and intermediate landholders reflects two important traits of Azángaro's rural society, the scarcity of cash and the uncertainty of loan repayment.[94] They affected the poorest people most heavily, so that wherever possible, they recurred to transactions minimizing the flow of cash. For poor landholders in need of a substantial amount of cash, the anticresis contract was preferable to mortgaging their land, since it freed them from regular interest payments. Creditors, especially peasants and other small landholders, preferred to take over the possession of a land parcel as tangible security until repayment of their loan rather than risking the uncertainty and trouble of collecting interest and principle on a loan. Anticresis contracts, then, reflected the fragility of the altiplano's credit market, the weakness of the legal framework for enforcing contracts, and the high level of material protection against losses from transactions demanded especially by the poorest landholders.

The anticresis contract constituted an alternative to renting or buying land. Renting peasant land, although involving smaller cash transactions, was not a real option, as peasants were reluctant to relinquish control of land in exchange for a small rental fee. For the purpose of providing day-to-day subsistence, it was obviously more economical to work the land by oneself rather than to rely on a rental fee, which had to lie considerably below the gross value of goods produced by the land. Only when peasants needed major sums of money in extraordinary or critical situations, such as family celebrations, funerals, crop failures, or livestock epidemics, were they willing to relinquish control over land. From the perspectives of both


the owner and the person with limited cash resources wishing to acquire land, an anticresis contract could be preferable to an outright sales transaction. The owner could hope to regain control of the land on repayment of the loan. For the person with limited cash wanting to acquire land, anticresis was cheaper than outright purchase and also kept that option open.

The contrast between the use of anticresis contracts and rentals in Azángaro is striking. Land rentals from peasants or members of the intermediate group played only a minimal role among the strategies of hispanized large landholders to gain access to more land. In only 7.3 percent of all rentals did indigenous peasants lease land to hispanized landholders. Rental contracts were overwhelmingly concluded over landholdings belonging to hacendados (50.0 percent) and the church (20.1 percent). In most cases these holdings were rented out to hispanized large landholders. The parishes and Cuzco convents never leased their fincas to peasants, an important fact for evaluating the economic role of the church in the province. Intermediate landholders, by contrast, did have some access to land for rent both from hispanized large landholders and from the church.

Newcomers to the province—mestizo and white traders, transport entrepreneurs, administrators, lawyers, and priests—often lacked sufficient capital to purchase an incorporated estate or had not yet established strong clientalistic links that would enable them to form a new hacienda; these newcomers often began their ventures as renters of small or medium-sized fincas. In one-fifth of all rental contracts the renter was born outside Azángaro province. For example, sometime during the mid-1880s Felipe R. López, a trader born in 1851 on the peninsula of Capachica near Puno town, came to Azángaro with his wife, the Arequipeña Petronila Butiler, and established a small dry-goods store.[95] By 1889 they were renting the small Finca Upaupani, two miles outside of the provincial capital, from a member of the Paredes clan for a yearly rental fee of 32 soles q.b. (26.66 soles m.n.). At the time Upaupani had no livestock capital.[96] In 1899 López and his wife rented the small Finca Pumire, probably with livestock capital, for five years for the annual rental fee of 100 soles q.b. (63.37 soles m.n.).[97] Only in the following year, after more than ten years of residence in Azángaro, did López begin to purchase land.

The majority of renters, however, were well-established landholders. Even the greatest hacendados of the province, such as the Paredes clan or the Lizares Quiñones, found it advantageous to rent additional estates, because, as one landholder stated, it could "advance the productivity [industria ] of their estates."[98] Renting estancias or fincas adjacent to their own


estate could bring about economies of scale, allowing them to run more sheep per flock or to form more flocks for different categories of sheep so as to obtain better breeding results.

But the number of properties offered for rent did not keep up with expanding demand for land; the number of contracts concluded between hispanized large landholders declined slightly, from thirty-four between 1851 and 1870 to thirty-one between 1871 and 1890 and another thirty-one contracts during the following twenty years. As new estates were being formed and old ones expanded at a rather spectacular rate, the possibility of leasing land from hispanized large landholders became more limited. The interest of hacendados in managing their own estates was increasing.

When a hacendado failed to acquire a landholding by one of the contractual procedures outlined above, he or she could resort to the judicial system. In 1916 José Frisancho, Azángaro's state attorney during much of the second decade of this century, published a scathing indictment of the administration of justice in the province.[99] It climaxed in the oft-cited assertion that "in spite of having been victim of frequent crimes, in not one case has the Indian achieved justice against some hacendado." In Frisancho's view, Azángaro's judicial personnel, from the judge of first instance to the district justices of the peace, the scribes, the court-appointed experts, and the witnesses, had become subservient to the interests of the large landholders, interests that found their strongest expression in the rapid appropriation of the land of the Indian peasantry.[100] This development largely explained why in Azángaro "latifundism has reached an extreme degree of preponderance, much more so than in any other Peruvian altiplano province." Frisancho resigned in his struggle against the "forensic denaturalization" in Azángaro and found that any reform effort had to collapse "before the impenetrable resistance of the social environment, zealously guarding its vested interests."[101] Because of such indictments, it is commonplace to characterize the sierra's judicial system during the first century of republican Peru as serving the class interests of the hacendados, a tool for the exploitation of the Indian peasantry.[102]

In reality, courts fulfilled a more complex role in serrano provincial society. They functioned as an arena for testing the power of the litigants. The outcome of a case did not necessarily rest on which party had the law on its side but rather on who could bring to bear more influence on the court. Such influence could take the form of better legal preparation, more money to spend on the suit—not necessarily for bribes but for lawyers and appeals to higher courts—and more leverage for concluding quid pro quo deals with court personnel, requiring bargaining chips of value outside the court system.[103] In a legal contest between a hispanized large landholder


and an Indian peasant, the outcome may indeed have been a foregone conclusion. But often peasants were backed by another hacendado whose client they had become. The suit thus became a contest between two hacendados, and the outcome was by no means certain. Litigation over land between hacendados or between peasants occurred just as frequently as legal battles between a hacendado and peasant.

Viewing the judicial system as an arena for power contests between gamonales and their clients helps to explain why many court cases over land were never concluded. Of every hundred cases over land brought before courts in the department of Puno in 1893, only five were concluded within the year.[104] Many suits dragged on for years or even generations. Often the litigants decided to abandon the judicial struggle and settle out of court. The economically weaker party had been exhausted by the high cost of litigation and was now willing to accept the terms of the stronger party. In the context of hacienda expansion strategies, such cases constituted the continuation of economic means of land acquisition within the judicial arena.[105] In some cases even the threat of litigation could be sufficient to force poor landholders to relinquish their claims.[106]

In the absence of title to a claimed property, an interested party could initiate proceedings of formación de titulos supletorios . Witnesses were heard to verify the legal and undisputed possession of the petitioner, and notices calling for any opposition to the granting of judicial title were published and affixed in public places. Of course, neither the witnesses nor the public call for opposition presented an effective palliative against abuse. Supportive witnesses could easily be found among the claimant's clients and friends, and the peasants whose land was mostly at issue in these proceedings could not read the public notices. In 1903 Adoraida Gallegos initiated proceedings on Estancias Ccaramocco, Chuantira, and Pisacani in Potoni district. She claimed to have inherited these lands from her father, Geronimo Gallegos, but no will existed to prove it. Four witnesses, all Indian peasants from Potoni, confirmed her claim, the justice of the peace had the notices affixed in the small population center for thirty days, and they were printed nineteen times in Puno's newspaper, El Ciudadano , which was not likely to be read by anybody in Potoni, 220 kilometers farther north with only a handful of literate residents. When no opposition was voiced, Gallegos was granted judicial title to the estancias by Puno's judge of first instance, and they became part of her Hacienda Lourdes.[107]

Judicial procedures such as the formación de titulos supletorios, the queja de desahuicio , and the interdicto de adquirir played a notorious role in the surreptitious appropriation of land by members of the provincial


elite.[108] In 1913, when the wave of hacienda expansion was cresting, the president of Puno's superior court admitted that the "interdicto de adquirir greatly facilitates the usurpation of land." Not infrequently, the Indian owner of an estancia, unaware of any legal proceedings, "sees a judge approach his cottage accompanied by a person whom he does not know and to whom the judicial personage formally hands over the land that he [the real owner] had inherited from his ancestors."[109]

The departmental property register is filled with examples from Azángaro, in which such judicial procedures led to the desired end without any public opposition.[110] Cases in which peasants successfully resisted such procedures were rare, although not unknown.[111] But more than any concrete judicial procedure, the venality and partiality of the judges, scribes, and witnesses made the use of the judicial system appear promising to persons attempting to gain control of some parcel of land, a problem particularly severe at the district level.[112]

Last, hacienda expansion could proceed through violent usurpation of neighboring landholdings. José Avila, himself a judge in Azángaro during the 1960s and 1970s, has given us an ideal-typical description of sequences of violent actions aimed at land usurpation:

The grabbing of land from Indians begins with the act of daily placing cattle and mules belonging to the usurper in the pastures and cultivated fields of the Indian. In this the colonos and employees of the latifundista use force, and they proceed to kill the few head of livestock of the Indian for their own consumption. Alternatively they drive the Indian's livestock to the latifundia's central building complex, [kill the animals there], and distribute most of the meat and hides among themselves, while reserving the carcasses of the best-fed animals for the patrón or as gifts to the provincial authorities. . . . In the following days the looting of the Indian's hut begins with the object of weakening his economic situation. This goes on until, under the pressure of this display of force, the owner decides to sign the bill of sale. As sales price they receive a small sum in money or kind according to the whim of the land grabber.[113]

This account includes different violent actions against landholders that were recurrent themes in legal proceedings as well as in indigenista literature of the time.[114] Avila places the individual episodes of aggression in the framework of escalating use of force in an overall usurpation strategy, but each of these episodes could occur separately. If peasants yielded to a neighboring estate owner after repeated trampling of their planted fields and consumption of their pastures by the gamonal's livestock, an escalation of force would be unnecessary.


Competing claims over the same parcel of land were common in the altiplano during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Labyrinthine title histories and vague border definitions could justify competing claims on innumerable holdings. Border demarcations usually relied on natural landmarks such as hill crests, creeks, and even trees or shrubs and at best on easily changeable ditches or border stones. Many usurpations could be justified as recovery of land properly belonging to the invader.[115] Even complete knowledge of all relevant title deeds does not always make it clear which landholder held the legally more valid claim since titles themselves could overlap. Violent usurpations occurred not only in the context of hacienda encroachments onto peasant lands but also in interactions among hacendados as well as among peasants.[116] Display of force was the other side of Azángaro's clientalistic society. It permeated relations between members of all social groups in the altiplano, although peasants became victims most frequently.

It is difficult to estimate how important violent usurpations of peasant lands were for the overall process of hacienda expansion in Azángaro between the 1860s and 1920. Although petty harassment, such as introducing livestock onto the pastures of a neighboring landholder, occurred regularly, the use of more serious levels of force, such as destruction of peasant residences, never lost its character as an extraordinary event. Nevertheless, the huge wave of land purchases by hispanized large landholders between the 1890s and 1920 led to endemic open violence in Azángaro's countryside, an expression of the critical impasse that the altiplano's neocolonial society was approaching.

Hacienda expansion strategies were further differentiated by a number of economic variables, including size of the parcels acquired, capital available for hacienda operations, and the dispersion or concentration of parcels acquired. Land purchases by relatively poor, marginal large landholders differed considerably from those by the wealthiest and most powerful families in the province.[117] Itinerant traders, small retailers in the district capitals, small-time muleteers, pettifoggers, and other mistis (members of the local elite, usually of mestizo background) desperate to distance themselves from the ranks of the Indian peasantry commanded exiguous funds sufficient only for purchasing a few small parcels with which to enlarge their small fincas, establish themselves as marginal finca owners, or enlarge their scattered estancia holdings.

For example, Cesar Salas Flores, an orphan born in the capital of the neighboring province of Lampa, came to Azángaro as an unskilled worker with a band of muleteers sometime during the late 1880s or early 1890s.[118] He married Isabel Mango, a descendant of an impoverished kuraka family who brought only a little property into the marriage. Salas himself had no


capital and did not establish any trade or transport business in Azángaro;[119] rather, his main occupation consisted in working as a tinterillo , or pettifogger, and acquiring small peasant properties in the process. By 1909 Salas had agglomerated six to eight peasant estancias around the two largest properties. He had acquired one of the two central properties, Vilquecunca, located five kilometers northwest of Azángaro in the plains of the Río Grande close to the road to Asillo, in December 1892 for 520 soles q.b. (433 soles m.n.) from the peasants José María and Juan Quispe.[120] The newly forming finca lay within the territory of the parcialidades Jallapise and Urinsaya and stretched—as did many estates—from the banks of the river to the hillsides of Cerro Mamanire, the northeastern edge of the gently sloping massif separating the Azángaro and Pucará rivers. Although Vilquecunca was referred to as a "finca" after 1899, effective estate operations took longer to establish. In 1900 Salas gave Vilquecunca and its seven or eight cabañas, the agglomerated estancias, in anticresis to Norberto Vásquez, another newcomer trader busy forming estates, for a credit of 240 soles m.n., obviously without livestock capital.[121] In late June 1907 he reclaimed Vilquecunca from Vásquez, only to conclude another anticresis contract with him two and one-half months later. This time, however, Salas gave Vásquez only one of the finca's constituent estancias, Cangallo Llinquipata Quilinquilini, for a credit of 200 soles m.n.[122] Salas apparently now needed the major part of the finca for himself, and we may assume that it had taken him that long to build up a livestock capital commensurate with the pasturelands of Vilquecunca. To operate the estate himself without a minimally sufficient livestock capital would have been both uneconomical and dangerous, as estates with no or too little stock invited usurpations by neighbors. Just one year before resuming direct control over most of Vilquecunca, Salas gave the second finca that he was in the process of constituting, Anccosa, about fifteen kilometers west of Azángaro in Asillo district, in anticresis, also without livestock capital.[123] He was perhaps pooling all of his livestock capital to use the larger finca's carrying capacity to the highest degree possible. The formation of effectively operating fincas, then, merely began with the agglomeration of a sufficient land base.

Such nominal new estates went through a transitional phase in which their operation differed little from their situation as independent peasant estancias. The former peasant owners, obligated to stay on as colonos of the new estate, now had to plant a few masas (a traditional land measure equal to 760 square meters) of potatoes or quinua for the patrón and render transport and domestic services. But lacking the requisite capital, the marginal estate owner may have been unable to make full use of the labor


and pasture resources for quite some time. This process contrasts with the formation of haciendas by some of the wealthiest families in the province. In the cases of haciendas San José and Sollocota, the owners counted on a preexisting core of one or more older estates and had sufficient capital to stock the expanding pasturelands with additional sheep and cattle. The transition from loosely agglomerated peasant lands to well-integrated, fully stocked estate must have been briefer here.

Marginal large landholders such as César Salas had just sufficient means and influence to build an estate within a narrowly circumscribed area, perhaps only within one parcialidad. But most of the wealthiest hacendado families acquired land throughout the province, in some cases even in several provinces. When José Angelino Lizares was born in the mid-1860s, his family had already achieved affluence and power in Azángaro, since both his father, José María Lizares, and his grandparents, Francisco Lizares and Josefa Quiñones, had persistently increased the family's landholdings.[124] When José María Lizares Quiñones passed the administration of his estates to his sons José Angelino and Francisco in 1895, the family owned seven fincas in Muñani and Azángaro (Muñani-Chico, Arcopunco, Calla-tomasa, Ticani, Tintire, Quichusa, and Cayacayani) and several smaller estancias in Azángaro and Santiago de Pupuja, with a total livestock capital of 28,000 OMR.[125]

José Angelino continued the acquisition of landholdings in Santiago, Azángaro, and Muñani and expanded further into San Antón, Arapa, and Chupa. His landholdings now were scattered over some six thousand square kilometers of territory. He succeeded in forming new estates in widely dispersed parts of the province because he not only had sufficient monetary resources but could also call on numerous social ties extending beyond the provincial capital and the family bailiwick in Muñani. These ties derived in part from family connections and in part from broader client networks. His purchase of land in San Antón followed his marriage to Leonor González Terrazas, daughter of the judge of first instance, Federico González Figueroa, who had been putting together Finca Cangalli in San Antón since around 1900. Given as a dowry to Lizares Quiñones's wife, Cangalli became the core of Lizares Quiñones's new Hacienda Esmeralda.[126] In Chupa, Lizares Quiñones's formation of new estates against the determined resistance of community peasants proceeded with the support of one of the most influential local families, the Salas. Both Lizares Quiñones and Nicomedes Salas had received military titles during the Cacerist administrations between 1886 and 1895.[127]

Lizares Quiñones's provincewide influence owed much to his political career, which he began as mayor of Azángaro's provincial council during


the early 1890s. He held the congressional representation of the province for many years between 1908 and 1929, followed by a short term as senator for Puno until the overthrow of the Leguía regime in 1930.[128] These positions allowed Lizares to ingratiate himself with some of the notables of the districts and to influence the distribution of administrative positions on the provincial and district levels to serve his interest. By developing this sociopolitical "infrastructure" throughout the province, he enhanced his capacity to induce local landholders to sell him land and to apply pressure in case they refused.

The majority of large landholders in Azángaro followed Lizares Quiñones's strategy of building up dispersed estates throughout the province, but a few affluent land purchasers whose biographies suggest economic and political resources similar to those of Lizares chose not to form dispersed estates. Some of the most prominent were Arias Echenique and Urquiaga (discussed above) and José Albino Ruiz, the owner of large Hacienda Checayani in Muñani district. They concentrated on developing single, very large estates, whereas most of Lizares Quiñones's fincas, like those of other hispanized landholders owning dispersed properties, such as the Paredes clan, González Figueroa, and the Rossellos, were merely medium-sized. Specific local circumstances may have influenced such divergent patterns: Lizares Quiñones's Hacienda Muñani-Chico, for instance, was totally surrounded by other estates, precluding further expansion. But they may also reflect the first appearance of somewhat divergent goals. For a minority of hacendados, the formation of efficient livestock haciendas took on growing importance, and they emphasized maximum size. Yet most hacendados expanded their landholdings primarily in order to enhance their power and influence in the province. Here a broad geographical spread of the estates could only be advantageous. In other words, Lizares Quiñones's acquisition and expansion of fincas in six different districts not only built on his already considerable sociopolitical power but served to increase and fortify it.

For the department of Huancavelica in the central sierra, Henri Favre has noted that the process of hacienda expansion between the end of the War of the Pacific and 1919 proceeded in three different ways: (1) expansion of existing estates through incorporation of surrounding landholdings, (2) constitution of totally new haciendas by purchases of a large number of small properties, and (3) reconstitution of colonial haciendas that had splintered since the late colonial period.[129] The first two forms of expansion also characterized the landholding development in Azángaro. Reconstitution of splintered colonial estates, however, occurred only rarely in the altiplano. Not many haciendas had splintered by the late nineteenth cen-


tury. The few reconstitutions in Azángaro province took place in Putina and Muñani, districts whose livestock economy had been closely linked to mining enterprises during the colonial period.[130] The more pronounced discontinuity of land tenure patterns of some estates in Putina and Muñani, as in Huancavelica, was perhaps a consequence of the integration of mining enterprises with livestock haciendas. Once the mining operations had decayed, some associated haciendas also decayed, and the impoverished owners were unable to prevent their physical disintegration.

But the expansion of Azángaro's estate sector was a much more complex process than suggested by Favre's classification. Variations in the mode of land transactions, the mean value of acquired landholdings, the concentration or dispersion of properties, and the number of sellers per transaction gave each expansion project a different social and economic significance. This complexity contributed to the emergence of a landholding pattern by the second decade of this century that was far from a uniform landscape of large estates.

Inheritance and Sale: The Stability of Landholding Families

Fifty years ago Emilio Romero, the distinguished Peruvian geographer who was born and raised in Puno, wrote that "toward the end of the nineteenth century . . . property in the sierra became somewhat divided."[131] For Azángaro, Romero's assertion cannot be maintained in this general fashion. Although parcelization began to affect peasant estancias and properties of other small landholders, haciendas survived the crisis of inheritance surprisingly intact. Hacendado families, fully aware of the dangers that any splintering of the family estate entailed, pursued elaborate strategies for countering the centrifugal tendencies of inheritance. But more than any of these strategies, it was the expansionary environment in trade and livestock raising that forestalled the atomization of family estates before 1920.

Property was transferred from one generation to the next in three ways: (1) owners passed on property before their death; (2) wills specified how goods were to be distributed by the executor after the testator's death; (3) the goods of a person dying intestate were distributed strictly in accord with legal prescriptions governing inheritance. The first form of property transfer was known as antícipo de legítimo . Used when the owner could not properly take care of his estate, mostly because of old age, such transfers commonly took the form of a donation. But at times parents also sold landholdings to their children. This form of generational transfer offered the greatest degree of discretion to the owner, who could favor a preferred


heir without coming into conflict with Peru's inheritance laws. Moreover, distributing the estate during the lifetime of the testator allowed continued exercise of parental authority to quell discord between heirs, who often had to promise "to conserve the good family relations."[132]

The generational transfer of property through wills imposed greater strictures on the testator. Peruvian inheritance law, inscribed in the civil code of 1852, was based on the two Spanish principles of equal inheritance and bilateralism. By law and practice the testator's direct descendants, his or her children and their offspring, enjoyed precedence as heirs. Property that husband and wife brought into matrimony (bienes raices ) always remained the separate estate of each spouse. A married testator could dispose only of the goods that he or she brought into the marriage and 50 percent of the property that the couple had accumulated during matrimony (gananciales ), with the other 50 percent automatically belonging to the spouse.

Given the rapid expansion of many family holdings, the weight of gananciales vis-à-vis bienes raices could be great, and the surviving spouse's share of the total estate might approach 50 percent. Furthermore, it frequently was the wife who brought in the bulk of bienes raices when marrying. Although Peruvian law treated wives as minors who needed the consent of their husbands for legal transactions, after her husband's death the widow often found herself as owner with full control of the major part of the family estate.[133] A widow thus might come to hold the controlling shares of large estate complexes, particularly when she was considerably younger than her husband (as in second marriages), when the couple had had no children, or when the husband had died young and the children were still minors. In many cases widows were declared executors of their husbands' estates and legal guardians of their children, controlling their property until they came of age. Juana Manuela Choquehuanca, for example, controlled the parental Hacienda Picotani in the cordillera above Muñani for some twenty years after the death of her husband, Mariano Paredes, in the mid-1870s.[134] Carmen Piérola, a native of Bolivia, managed to be married to three sons of Juan Paredes in a row between the late 1870s and 1904, surviving them all and in the process managing—and expanding—a large part of the clan's landed estates.[135]

The legal minority of wives and Azángaro's social norms assigning a domestic role to women in hacendado families kept them from managing estates during their married lives. After the husband's death, the widow had to face unaccustomed tasks made difficult by a society in which the exertion of authority was tied to the threat or application of force. Not surprisingly, widows frequently entrusted the management of the family


estate to a friend or relative, left more decisions to the finca's administrator, or even rented it out. All of these options risked the estate's deterioration through neglect or willful overexploitation.[136]

Family estates in more than one case entered a critical phase when they passed into the control of a widow or a young, unmarried daughter of the deceased head of the family. In contrast to women from peasant and petty shopkeeper families, who were often used to economic decision making, women from the landholding elite had been socialized in such a way as not to be concerned with economic matters.[137] In several cases widows or young single heiresses could not hold on to family estates.[138] Contemporary society saw women as unfit to manage livestock estates. The "incapacity in which [female heads of households] find themselves to improve their lot" condemned their families to the fate of impoverishment, in the view of a priest in Saman.[139] But certainly there were women in Azángaro who had great success as landholders or traders.[140] Adoraida Gallegos, never having married, formed one of the province's greatest estate complexes between the 1880s and 1920. It is perhaps more than coincidence that she has become a legendary figure in the province, depicted as a fearless and haughty woman, riding around the frontiers of her estate with pistols on her hips, not hesitating to whip any neighbor who tried to appropriate her lands; she was, in short, a woman who acted "as a man."[141] Her very legend seems to confirm how exceptional such independent women were among the province's hacendado families.

Although Spanish and Peruvian law prescribed equal inheritance among all legitimate children, the testator had the possibility of improving the share of any child through a mejora , usually one-fifth or one-third of all property. Asunción Lavrín and Edith Couturier have suggested that in colonial Mexico mejoras served "to buttress the family's social position and prevent the deterioration of its economic status" or, in other words, to favor the heir who promised to hold the family estate together most efficiently.[142] In Azángaro the stated purpose of mejoras was to reward a child who had helped the testator during his or her old age with particular dedication or to secure the material situation of the heir facing the greatest economic uncertainties, perhaps a daughter who had married poorly or would probably stay single.[143] But mejoras appeared seldom in wills of Azángarino landholders.

Family strategic considerations may have played a larger role in the testator's disposition as to quality and type of property rather than its quantity. The heir whom the testator expected to be most capable of preserving and enhancing the family property and social position tended to receive the centerpiece of the landholdings, the best-established, largest,


and most lucrative hacienda. In the settlement concluded by José María Lizares with his estranged wife Dominga Alarcón in 1905, a settlement that was to be his final will, he specified that, whatever the disposition of the remaining family fincas, his son José Angelino should receive for his "loyal services" Haciendas Muñani Chico and Nequeneque, the largest and best established of the family's estates. Notwithstanding an equitable distribution of the family estate in terms of quantity or monetary value among all heirs, the most trusted son was to receive the family's best haciendas.[144]

Following Spanish legal tradition, most testators attempted an equitable distribution of their property among their legitimate children, regardless of sex or birth order. The goal of providing each heir with equal material belongings took precedence over the goal of assuring the maintenance of the economic and social position of the family through accumulation of property in the hands of one heir. Although contradictory on the surface, these goals in fact were complementary. Testators knew full well that the single greatest danger to the maintenance of the family's economic and social position consisted in interminable legal squabbles. The need to sell land for defraying the costs of litigation damaged the fortunes not only of peasant families but of hacienda owners as well, as in the case of the Choquehuanca family (discussed below). Avoiding costly litigation constituted a precondition for preserving the social and economic position of the family; an equitable distribution of the family estate among all heirs could best assure this goal.[145]

If someone died intestate, the estate had to be divided according to legal norms between the heirs-at-law. The surviving spouse would receive his or her gananciales, one-fifth of the estate went to the recognized illegitimate children, and the rest would be divided in equal parts among the legitimate children. No mejoras or legacies could be granted, and normally none of the heirs-at-law could be disinherited. The division of the estate could then be carried out either through an out-of-court settlement within the family or by a legal procedure involving its judicial inventory, appraisal, and subsequent division. If the proceedings promised to be protracted, the estate was placed in judicial deposit. The court-appointed trustee was charged with insuring the integrity and continued revenue generation of the properties, which he often chose to lease out.[146]

On the surface these formal aspects of inheritance suggest that the generational transfer of estates led to dispersion of family landholding complexes, but to what degree this dispersal actually occurred depended on two factors, the number of heirs and the manner in which they chose to operate the estate. The number of children varied widely in hacendado families, from none to eighteen, including illegitimate children. In twenty-


nine wills of Azángarino hispanized large landholders between 1854 and 1909, the mean number of children of the testator, from all marriages and extramarital relations, was 4.89. But on average only 2.17 children were still alive at the time of the father's or mother's last will. The figures were higher for the eight testators between 1854 and 1878 (an average of 8.125 children, with 3.75 surviving at the time of the parental will) than it was for the twenty-one cases between 1892 and 1909 (an average of 3.6 children, with 1.57 surviving at the time of the parental will).[147] The number of children surviving their parents on average was rather low. To be sure, in a few important hacendado families four, five, or even eight children had to share the parental estate. The large estate of Juan Paredes just sufficed to bequeath one finca to each of his six surviving legitimate children, leave Finca Lacconi to his two illegitimate sons, and set aside the small Finca San Juan de Dios for a beneficent institution.[148] But in many cases the family estate had to be distributed among only two heirs or passed in its entirety to a single surviving son or daughter.

Following the appeal of so many parents not to divide the family fincas, heirs frequently sought to operate the estates jointly.[149] In September 1893, for example, the four surviving children of Mariano Solorzano and Augustina Terroba, traders from Putina who had shifted their operation to the capital of the department, formally established a company to manage the undivided estate left by their parents. The capital of the company consisted of the family's real estate, including Haciendas Collpani and Loquicolla Chico in Putina and two large houses in Puno town, as well as livestock capital, household furnishings, and business credits. The object of the company was to "administer, improve, and increase the property that constitutes its capital" and to "dedicate itself to the customary businesses of the family, such as trade in wool, planting of potatoes, barley, and quinua, slaughter, trade in alcohol, and other transactions up to the value of 1,000 soles monthly."[150] The management of the company was to rotate between the four fraternal partners on a quarterly basis. The managing partner was to receive 55 percent of profits or losses on new business deals concluded under his management. Fifty soles monthly were to be distributed to each partner from company earnings for subsistence, and remaining profits would be reinvested. Company real estate could not be sold, and proceeds from the sale of other company property were to be reinvested into the purchase of further real estate.

The company did not last long. Ten months after its founding it was dissolved and the property divided among the five heirs, including the widow of the deceased brother Mariano Casto Solorzano. Each heir received a portion worth about 13,000 soles m.n. To effect an equitable


division, three fincas were carved out of the two existing estates. The portion with the greater part of Hacienda Collpani fell to Adrian, and that containing most of Hacienda Loquicolla Chico's lands to Julio. The newly created Finca Pampa Grande, mostly on the lands of Loquicolla Chico, fell to Emilia Toro, the widow of Mariano Casto Solorzano, in representation of her daughter Natividad's rights. The two remaining heirs, Maria Manuela and Natalia, received the houses in Puno and several small chacras located in the outskirts of that town.[151]

In subsequent years only two of the five brothers and sisters continued the same type of economic operation the parents had exercised, ranching and trade. The other three heirs or their descendants shifted the source of their livelihood to Puno town. Adrian Solorzano, who had received the greater part of Hacienda Collpani, studied law in Lima and Arequipa and in July 1900 was accredited as lawyer in Puno.[152] He took out loans on Collpani, leased it to other family members, and in December 1905 consented to sell the estate for 10,500 soles m.n. without livestock to his brother Julio.[153] He effectively withdrew from landholding and trade and dedicated himself to work as lawyer, teacher, and journalist in Puno, becoming a prominent and trusted public figure in the capital of the department.[154]

Between 1896 or 1897 and 1904, Finca Pampa Grande, property of the deceased Mariano Casto Solorzano's minor daughter Natividad, was administered by Alberto Gadea, second husband of Natividad's mother Emilia Toro and director of Puno's Colégio Nacional San Carlos during the decade following Nicolás Piérola's civil war victory.[155] After Emilia Toro's death sometime before April 1904, Pampa Grande was leased jointly to Natalia Solorzano de Zaa and her brother Julio, who was still renting the finca during the 1920s. Natividad and her maternal family became urban rentiers.[156]

María Manuela Solorzano had married the Puno notary San Martín even before the establishment of the company in 1893. In the subsequent division of the paternal estate she received one of the large houses in Puno town. In the notarial registers she does not appear again as a landholder in Azángaro, and we may assume that she and her family lived off the income from her husband's business and any property he may have owned.

Natalia Solorzano had received the other urban property in the 1894 division, but she and her husband, Arturo Zaa, remained active traders in Azángaro province. By 1900 the couple was again acquiring landholdings by lease or anticresis in the same area where the family haciendas were located. In 1913 Zaa and his wife acquired Hacienda Loquicolla Grande, adjacent to the Solorzano family estate Loquicolla Chico, from the Puno diocese in exchange for urban property.[157] Natalia Solorzano and her husband thus were reestablishing their position as large landholders and traders.


Julio Solorzano, the fifth heir who had received most of Hacienda Loquicolla Chico in the property division, was soon able to expand his landholdings in Putina through leases and purchases from family members as well as other landholders.[158] After the dissolution of the family company, and probably taking up old family business connections, he established himself in trade selling wool to Arequipa export houses such as Stafford and Ricketts.[159] By 1902 he owned the most important dry-goods store in Putina,[160] and within a decade his position compared favorably with that of his parents in spite of the estate's division.

Thus, of the five heirs to the estate of Mariano Solorzano and Augustina Terroba, only two continued to own livestock haciendas and trade in a wide range of goods. Some ten years after the division of 1894 the rural landholdings were reconcentrated in the hands of one heir through Julio's purchase of Collpani and his long-term lease of Pampa Grande. Two heirs, Julio and Natalia, achieved an expansion of family holdings into adjacent estates and estancias. Heirs who relinquished control over their portion of the family landholdings preferred family members in their sales, as stipulated in many divisions of estates.[161] In the case of the Solorzano family, the three heirs who by choice or circumstances lost control over family estates did not suffer social descent. Through marriage or occupation they managed to transfer their social status to an urban base.

The majority of Azángaro's multi-estate complexes underwent a similar partition shortly after the death of the patriarch. These partitions rarely led to a long-term splintering of family estates prior to 1920. This was a period during which old haciendas expanded rapidly and new ones were formed. The paternal social status and client networks could usually be carried over to the next generation. This situation helped heirs in expanding their portion of the family estate through purchase or lease of adjoining landholdings, just as Julio Solorzano was doing. In a recurring pattern, some heirs withdrew from landholding altogether, while one or two heirs aggressively participated in the wave of expansions and new formations of estates. Children or grandchildren of the founders who had established or consolidated the family estate between the 1840s and early 1870s at times purchased as much or more land than their parents or grandparents had. Besides the Lizares family, we may cite the descendants of Juan Paredes, whose granddaughter Sabina, together with her husband Carlos A. Sarmiento, belonged to the five greatest land purchasers between the 1850s and 1920.[162]

Heirs tried to insure the territorial integrity of a single parental finca by any of three techniques: (1) operating it jointly (pro indiviso ); (2) rotating the lease of the estate to each of the heirs while the other heirs drew rent corresponding to their share of the estate; or (3) leasing the whole


estate to a third person and dividing the rent among all heirs. Joint operation of an estate tended to be adopted particularly by heirs of rather poor families who had always lived on the finca itself or in the district capital and had no other source of income. But these arrangements were fragile and did not resolve the principal problem of having a growing number of family members depend on the income from one estate. In most instances where such schemes were applied to medium-sized or large estates, they did not last longer than ten years. Heirs setting up a business, building a new house in town, or having some other urgent need for cash became interested in selling their shares. Again and again one heir succeeded in reuniting all shares of the estate, thus ending the danger of property splintering.[163]

A fascinating example concerns Hacienda Checayani in Muñani, where the estate was reunited only in the third generation. The hacienda had belonged to the Choquehuanca family during the late eighteenth century. By 1892 it had become divided among seven grandchildren of the last owner of the whole estate, Mariano Riquelme, who had acquired it sometime before 1844. By 1906, after fifteen years of intrafamily squabbles, a contest between two in-laws for control of the hacienda, a momentary decision to relinquish family control over it altogether, and more than twenty-five notarial contracts between family members, Natalia Riquelme and her husband, José Albino Ruiz, again were sole owners of Checayani, a condition last enjoyed more than fifty years earlier by her grandfather.[164] When Natalia Riquelme dictated her fifth will shortly before her death in childbed in 1908, she reflected on the tortuous property history of Checayani and admonished her heirs not to give up what had been reached:

I declare . . . so that my children may know that the whole [title] documentation of Finca Checayani until its definite registration and the judicial possession has been a very difficult undertaking which cost many thousand soles and innumerable privations. All of this is owed to my husband, don José Albino Ruiz, to whom my children should be eternally grateful. Thus I recommend to them and their heirs never to sell Checayani to an outside person nor to divide it . . . in order to conserve the integrity of the finca and so that this estate which was acquired by my grandfather Mariano Riquelme and his wife Juliana Aragón may not disappear.[165]

In the 1980s the core part of Checayani, which was not affected by the agrarian reform during the early 1970s, was still owned and operated by Natalia's grandson, Martín Humfredo Macedo Ruiz, a fifth-generation owner from the same family. Indeed, none of Azángaro's large estates and relatively few mid-sized estates became divided through inheritance prior to 1920.[166]


The outstanding exception to this stability of family estate complexes concerned the Choquehuanca family. Legal quarrels occupied the numerous descendants of Cacique Diego Choquehuanca for a whole century following his death in 1796. Of the eleven estates that the family owned in Azángaro province at the time of the Túpac Amaru Rebellion, only five remained family property by the 1840s: Haciendas Catacora, Ccalla, and Puscallani in Azángaro district and Haciendas Picotani and Nequeneque in Muñani. By 1910 the family had definitely lost three of these (Catacora, Puscallani, and Picotani) and held on only to shares of the other two estates.[167] Each of four lines of Choquehuanca descendants with some claim to family property fought legal battles about all of these five estates against all other members of the family. Several of the cases were decided by the Supreme Court in Lima only after decades of litigation. Every generation brought new dissensions between heirs.[168] The endless and costly lawsuits must be viewed as the major cause of the ultimate loss of most Choquehuanca landholdings and the ensuing impoverishment of most family members. Successive generations of Choquehancas took out large loans to defray court costs, promised their lawyers shares of estates in lieu of honoraria, and proceeded to sell portions of or complete estates, all to defray fees for lawyers and the courts.[169] By the first decade of the present century the family had lost its preeminence among Azángaro's landholders.[170] The Choquehuancas, who in 1780 had been the greatest landowners in the province, some 120 years later had become marginalized.

Intrafamily litigation about land was common among Azángaro's hacendado families, but the Choquehuancas hold the record for duration, frequency, and ubiquity of such fights, with about every branch of the family at some point suing every other line. To a degree, the lack of family cohesion, which produced such devastating effects, must be viewed as the consequence of losing the office of cacique. As long as one family member held the cacicazgo of Azángaro's parcialidad Anansaya, the Choquehuanca estate had survived intact.[171] The loss of the cacicazgo appears to have brought with it the atrophy of the intrafamilial structure of authority: no heir could claim any primacy over his or her brothers and sisters or cousins. As the Choquehuancas lost the economic benefits associated with the office of cacicazgo, such as the cacique's salary and the opportunity to exploit the Indian peasants, a chaotic scramble for the family's resources commenced.[172] What at first glance appears as the peculiar decline of a single family of large landholders may have been symptomatic for the decline of a social group, the affluent elite of colonial cacique families descended mostly from the prehispanic Andean nobility.[173]

Estates faced acute dangers of atomization among poor hacendado families when none of the heirs succeeded in acquiring other property or


establishing themselves in some trade or business of equal prestige and income-earning potential. During a period when commercial opportunities blossomed and it was fairly easy to constitute new estates, this problem did not arise often. Not surprisingly, the few cases of long-term atomization of Azángaro estates had originated during the economically difficult period before the 1850s.

Fincas underwent a process of splintering in two different ways. The parcels of all heirs could be divided, resulting in independent estancias of diminishing size. This had been the fate of Finca Nuestra Señora de las Nieves de Chocallaca in Putina, last owned and operated as a whole by one Juan Ortíz in the late eighteenth century. One hundred years later, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren of Ortíz all owned independent estancias or shares of such, connected by nothing but family ties among the owners and their memory of an "ancient and extinguished finca."[174]

In the other mode of estate splintering, heirs never formally divided the estate and continued to own and operate it pro indiviso. Despite the fragility of this construction, under certain conditions a finca remained common property of all heirs even over several generations. Although the integrity of the estate was preserved, in the long run its internal structure changed profoundly. In effect, the growing number of co-owners lost the characteristics of hacendados and gradually approached the status of members of a peasant community. This process occurred in Finca Carasupo Chico in Muñani. The estate had belonged to one Diego Vargas probably before the end of the colonial period. Around 1900 some twenty-five heirs—at least great-grandchildren of the common ancestor—lived on the estate with their families. Although all heirs continued to own the property jointly, each family individually worked a small segment, a cabaña. In negotiations with outsiders—for example, with neighboring landholders about border disputes—they acted as a group representing the whole estate. By 1900 the status of Carasupo Chico was becoming confused. Sometimes still referred to as a finca, in other documents it began to be called a parcialidad or comunidad. In an 1897 property tax register the owners of Carasupo Chico appeared as follows: "José S. Endara, Mariano Arizales, Felipe Serna, and the other comunarios ." In July 1907 all the co-owners leased Carasupo Chico to a neighboring hacendado, Federico Gonzales Figueroa. Because they lived on the estate, we may assume that they became the tenant's shepherds. Most of the generation of owners in possession of Carasupo Chico around 1900 no longer spoke Spanish. Although some worked as rural weavers or cobblers, others were referred to as agricultores , an occupational label nearly always applied to peasants in


TABLE 6.6. Absolute and Mean Numbers of Sales of Thirty-Two Estates in Azángaro, 1850s–1920


Intrafamily Sales

Extrafamily Sales

All Sales



Mean N
per hda.


Mean N
per hda.


Mean N
per hda.

Large hdas. (N = 10)
All other hdas.
    (N = 22)













All hdas. (N = 32)







Note: These figures include exchanges of property.

Sources: REPA and REPP, 1852–1920.

the notarial contracts.[175] At the end of a process that spanned at least three generations, the heirs of hacendado Diego Vargas were becoming peasants.

The majority of families managed to hold on to their haciendas over two or three generations. Probably two factors contributed more to this stability than anything else: the replacement rate remained, on the average, relatively low during this period, as child mortality was still quite high, and the expansionary tendencies of southern Peru's wool export economy between the late 1850s and 1920 created income-earning alternatives in the regional economy for "excess heirs." Such heirs could form new estates, establish themselves in trade, or seek administrative positions. Expansion thus helped to keep down the burden of supporting growing numbers of descendants who encumbered family estates. Although the passage of landed property from one generation to the next often entailed a crisis, family estates were generally kept together, later to expand through reuniting most portions in the hands of one or two heirs and the acquisition of further landholdings.

The stability of estate ownership is confirmed by a sample of thirty-two fincas and haciendas with substantially complete information on title transfers between the 1850s and 1920 (tables 6.6, 6.7). On average there was nearly one sales transaction per estate during the seventy-year period from 1851 to 1920, with more than one-third (37.5 percent) not entering the market at all. In order to measure the continuity of estate possession by Azángaro's hacendado families, we need to exclude sales transactions within families. Half of the thirty-two estates underwent no extrafamily sales transaction between 1851 and 1920. Thirteen estates were sold once


TABLE 6.7. Frequency of Sales of Thirty-Two Estates in Azángaro, 1850s–1920


Estates with (N of Sales ):




All Sales













Large hdas.
(N = 10)
All other hdas. (N = 22)




















All Hdas.
(N = 32)












Note: These figures include exchanges of property.

Sources: REPA and REPP, 1852–1920.

outside the families of the owner, but only three passed to different families two or three times.

These figures indicate a remarkable degree of stability of landholding in Azángaro's estate sector. For a comparable seventy-year period, from 1690 to 1760, seven of eleven haciendas in the area of Huancavelica were sold more than three times, and only one remained property of the same family throughout.[176] But the overall stability of landholding in Azángaro's estate sector masks rather significant differences between large haciendas and small and medium-sized estates: although seven of the ten large estates in this sample never were sold outside the family between the 1850s and 1920, the same held true for only nine of the twenty-two other estates, that is, just over 40 percent as compared with 70 percent for large haciendas. At the same time, only a small fraction of the small and medium-sized fincas were ever transferred by sale within the same family, whereas such sales occurred with half of the large haciendas. Large estates were sold much less often than were small and medium-sized fincas and were more likely to be purchased by another family member, perhaps an heir attempting to reunite all the shares. Small and medium-sized fincas showed a higher propensity to be sold and were less likely to be purchased by other family members. Put differently, heirs to shares of small or medium-sized fincas found it more difficult to reunite the parental property than did families owning large haciendas. This confirms that the generational transfer of


landholdings presented a more critical situation for poor hacendados than it did for Azángaro's landholding elite.

The Lands of the Church

In spite of repeated attempts by liberals and military caudillos to expropriate church estates in Azángaro, they survived nearly intact until the early twentieth century.[177] None of the estates was operated directly by church organizations. Except for two or three estates—Purina and Posoconi in Asillo and Potoni in the district of the same name—church fincas were relatively small, with a mean size slightly below the average for all estates in the province. With the establishment of new haciendas, the church's share of estates declined from close to a third in the early 1830s to between 10 and 15 percent by the second decade of this century.

Some church estates were rented by newcomers as an affordable first step toward becoming hacendados, but most were rented or held in emphyteusis by established families of large landholders from the province. Often a hacendado leased a church estate immediately adjacent to a finca of his or her own and integrated both into one livestock operation. In the case of Hacienda Posoconi in Asillo, around 1840 Coronel Rufino Macedo sold the emphyteutic rights, acquired in 1829 for 150 years, to José Mariano Escobedo, the Azangarino merchant and politician residing in Arequipa. Posoconi, with 1,568 hectares, had a livestock capital of 4,080 head of sheep and brought rental fees of 400 pesos annually for the church of Asillo.[178] Because the estate had no adequate water supply, it made eminent sense to integrate it with some neighboring landholdings. Since 1805, through a censo , Escobedo's family had been in possession of the adjacent Finca Payamarca, property of the Indian community of Asillo, and, since the early 1830s, of the Sociedad de Beneficencia Pública in Puno.[179] Between the mid-1830s and 1857 Escobedo bought another three substantial landholdings, all bordering on Payamarca and Posoconi. Although the church continued to hold the property title to Posoconi and its livestock capital, the whole complex by the late 1850s was operated as one single estate with the considerable livestock capital of 16,600 sheep. Escobedo bequeathed all these landholdings to his illegitimate daughter Teresa O'Phelan,[180] whose husband, Arequipeño Manuel Velando, purchased further adjacent peasants estancias and one finca during the 1870s. Another adjoining finca, Rosaspata, was added to the complex during the early 1910s.[181]

By the 1910s Posoconi had become the center of a sprawling private estate complex of some 4,673 hectares, which surrounded it on all sides.


In 1915 the Velando O'Phelans finally consolidated the property title to the hacienda when the church sold Posoconi in fee simple to the family for 4,800 soles m.n., roughly one-fourth of its appraised value.[182] Unable to repay massive debts contracted during the boom years of World War I, the Velando O'Phelans in 1923 had to sell Posoconi, with more than 36,338 head of sheep, for 13,500 libras peruanas (135,000 soles m.n.) to the Arequipeño merchant house Enrique W. Gibson. In 1926 the estate became part of the newly founded Sociedad Ganadera del Sur.[183]

Throughout the first century after independence, liberal critics continued to blame the church's mortmain property for its retrogressive influence on Peruvian agriculture, much as Choquehuanca had done in 1830. Failing to see the effect of changed commodity markets, the French agriculturalist J. B. Martinet erroneously blamed mortmain holdings for increased land prices and rental rates during the 1860s.[184] As late as 1930 Julio Delgado, a Cuzqueño social scientist, leveled the same charge against the church properties as Choquehuanca had done one hundred years earlier, claiming that in short-term leases of church fincas their productivity declined since "the tenant does not concern himself with improvements, but only with drawing the greatest possible gain by extracting the maximum from the land."[185]

For the approximately twenty church haciendas in Azángaro that were actually operated under short-term leases, Delgado's charge is correct. But the overall importance of these estates was limited, as they were mostly small, comprising a few hundred hectares and with a livestock capacity rarely exceeding 1,000 sheep. Tenants often overexploited these fincas during their five- to nine-year leases. Again and again the estates had less livestock at the end of the lease than at the beginning.[186] For the parishes in Azángaro and the Puno diocese that shared the income from the estates, the recurring losses of capital translated into a diminution of their revenue. Because of undercapitalization and the insecurity of their borders, these church estates regularly were rented out at lower rates than were privately owned haciendas, and the church saw itself forced to cede part of the annual rental fee to the tenant for restocking. Hacienda Ocra in Muñani lost three-fourths of its livestock capital between 1870 and 1890 during its lease to Luis Paredes; the church had to accept a corresponding decline in its effective lease fee when it handed the estate over to a new tenant, José Angelino Lizares Quiñones, in 1890.[187] But low rental rates were not limited to the church estates leased for short terms. As annual fees for emphyteutic haciendas were fixed for the 150 years' duration of the contract, after about 1860 they lay considerably below rising lease fees paid for private estates.


The church undertook only feeble efforts to recover losses from over-exploitation of its estates. Rather than itself taking legal steps against the responsible tenant, it merely obligated the following tenant to pursue the recovery of embezzled livestock. Judging from the chronic undercapitalization of many small church fincas, these endeavors generally met with little success. It proved difficult for the church to press charges against former tenants, who blamed the shepherds for the decline of the estate's livestock capital, left Azángaro after terminating the lease, or pleaded poverty and incapacity to pay the debt.[188] The only real alternative consisted in leasing all estates by long-term emphyteusis contracts. But few tenants could be found willing to take over small, undercapitalized, and unstable fincas for more than a few years.

But why could the church not avoid such despoliations of its estates to begin with? It was improbable that a priest would mobilize the colonos of one of the parish estates in order to stop invasions by neighboring hacendados by force, an action routinely taken by private landowners. More important, the parish priests were firmly tied to the local society of their parishes through commercial contracts, friendship, and family relations. Because the tenants commonly belonged to the same small group of district notables as did the priest, the latter usually pursued the repayment of lost or embezzled church livestock capital rather half-heartedly and recommended to the diocese to lease estates at low rental rates.[189] It thus appears that the church could neither avoid despoliations of its small fincas nor hope to recover most of its losses from short-term leases.

The decapitalization of the small church fincas allowed the tenants, often owners of haciendas themselves, to improve their income, increase their own livestock capital, and lease pastures at low rates in order to supplement fodder for their animals. Contrary to the church's critics, church estates in themselves cannot be seen as a major factor impeding economic progress in the Peruvian sierra. They were part and parcel of an agrarian system that for a number of reasons failed to stimulate the development of the rural economy. In brief, until the early twentieth century the landholding regime of the church contributed to the economic stability of the altiplano's seignorial livestock regime. It subsidized the interests of those new and old hacendado families who continued to rely on capital-extensive relations of production for sustaining their privileged socioeconomic status.

On November 7, 1911, law number 1447 went into effect, obligating the owners of all real estate held in emphyteusis to sell their title (dominio directo ) to the persons enjoying the usufruct right of such property, the enfiteuta . Coming half a century after the peak of anticlerical land legislation throughout Latin America, the law was a major step in reducing


mortmain landholdings; it seems not to have led to heated public debates about the role of the church in civil society. According to a complicated formula, it prescribed the share of the property's assessed value that the enfiteuta had to pay, a share that declined the longer the emphyteusis contract had been running. Puno's Bishop Valentín Ampuero immediately began to implement the law, ordering assessments of all church estates in question. In Azángaro the first emphyteutic finca, Hacienda Cancata in Santiago de Pupuja, was consolidated on September 11, 1912. By the end of 1918 eleven emphyteutic church fincas in Azángaro, among them such valuable large estates as Purina and Posoconi, had been alienated through consolidation (table 6.8). But Bishop Ampuero, for reasons not entirely clear, went one step further and, without legal necessity, initiated the outright sale of church fincas operated under short-term leases, a decision that earned him severe criticism within the church.[190] Between April 1912 and March 1914 the diocese sold six fincas in Azángaro operated under short-term leases. They were mostly acquired by the tenants actually in possession. Altogether the church alienated seventeen estates in Azángaro in the seven years following the consolidation law, half of all its landholdings in the province. By value and acreage the reduction of church property was considerably steeper, since most of the large haciendas were consolidated or sold. Thereafter, the role of the church as landholder, with 5 to 7 percent of all estates, became insignificant in Azángaro.

The holders of emphyteutic haciendas profited greatly from consolidation. After having enjoyed bargain lease fees for decades, they now had to pay only a fraction of the estate's assessed value. In May 1913 Elena Landaeta, widow of José Luis Quiñones, paid 3,786.42 soles m.n. for the consolidation of Hacienda Parpuma, assessed at 9,351 soles m.n. Two months later she sold the finca and a few small adjacent estancias to Pio León Cabrera, a notorious land grabber from Sandia province, for 18,000 soles m.n.[191] With the law of consolidation the landholding elite in the altiplano—and presumably elsewhere in Peru—benefited one last time from the church as a major player in the region's agrarian ancien régime.

The church's importance for the agrarian structure of Spanish America is thought to have rested on three factors: (1) its role as landholder; (2) the "huge amount of encumbrances"—such as chaplaincies and pious works—that weighed on privately owned estates; and (3) its role as creditor to private estate owners. In Arnold Bauer's view, church influence significantly declined throughout Spanish America during the century from 1750 to 1850 because of anticlerical action by the Bourbon reformers, by political and military leaders in the era of the Wars of Independence, and again by mid-nineteenth century liberal politicians.[192] In the Peruvian


TABLE 6.8. Church Estates in Azángaro Alienated through Consolidation or Sale, 1912–20

Date of Alienation




Enfiteuta or

Year of original contract

Appraised Value b

Price Paid b

Type of




"10 km. around"

M. E. Paredes








J. Bustinza vda. de Dianderas






Purina y Viscachani



M. J. Cabrera vda. de Rios









J. A. Ruiz








D. La Rosa and F. Luna






Cuturi y Soñata



D. La Rosa and F. Luna









M. F. Macedo









E. Landaeta vda. de Quiñones









J. A. Ruiz








N. Solorzano and A. Zaa








C. Santisteban








A. Toro Nafria









J. M. Fernández Maldonado








J. Avila









Velando O'Phelan









M. A. Manrique, J. L. Astorga, J. B. Paredes









M. Manrique





a In hectares.      b In soles m.n.

Sources: REPP, 1912–1920.


altiplano, however, church influence on the agrarian structure declined much more slowly during the first century after independence, perhaps because the region was distant from the centers of civil and ecclesiastic power. Church encumbrances on land had never been extensive there, and by the nineteenth century there is not much evidence for the church as a source of credit either. Legislation to abolish chaplaincies and censos before the War of the Pacific did nothing more than prevent new donations or encumbrances. As late as 1877 Martinet found that "the chaplaincies in Peru still exist nearly in their entirety."[193] In Azángaro the few chaplaincies finally ceased to exist by the early twentieth century; church credit to private landholders remained as rare then as it had been in 1850 or even 1820.[194] But the role of the church as a landholder remained strong for nearly a century after independence, at last virtually disappearing with the execution of the law of consolidation.


Communal group preparing fallow land for sowing, Melgar province.
Photograph by Pedro Condori, Talleres de Fotografia Social (TAFOS), 1989.


Members of a cooperative (ex-hacienda) near Ayaviri sack and weigh
alpaca wool for dispatch to wholesalers. Photograph by TAFOS, 1989.


Central building complex of Hacienda Muñani Chico of the Lizares
Quiñones family. Note the watch tower at the right. Photograph by the author, 1976.


The end of an era: the cooperative (ex-hacienda) Quisuni in Orurillo,
Melgar province, after it was burnt and destroyed by a Sendero Luminoso
detachment. Photography by Damaso Quispe, TAFOS, August 16, 1989.


Adoraida Gallegos, owner of Hacienda
Lourdes, circa 1910. Photograph from
the private archive of Mauro Paredes, Azángaro.


José Angelino Lizares Quiñones, one of
the most powerful hacendados and politicians
in Azángaro during the early twentieth century.
Photograph from an electoral pamphlet, 1924.


Electoral rally in Azángaro town for José Angelino Lizares Quiñones,
1924. Photograph from the private archive of Mauro Paredes, Azángaro.


Founding meeting of Azángaro's Fraternal Society of Workers in 1929.
Some hacendados were members. Seated, second from the right, is the
subprefect of the province. Photograph from the private archive of
Mauro Paredes, Azángaro.


Communities, the State, and Peasant Solidarity

The history of the Andean peasant community during the century after independence remains largely unwritten.[1] Ignored by the laws, the courts, and the administration of the Peruvian republic, the community took on a bewildering variety of forms and functions. Property regimes, the extent and nature of economic cooperation and of autonomous local cultural and ritual traditions, relationships with hierarchies of authority and power—all developed differently in various regions and shifted over time. By 1920 an observer would have been hard pressed to say what the communities of the north coast, the Mantaro valley, and the altiplano had in common.

In this chapter I focus on the property and usufruct of land, social inequality, and the rise of new communities in Azángaro between the mid-nineteenth century and 1920. During this era the autonomy of the communities faced the greatest challenge since the Toledan reforms of the late sixteenth century. As their resource base came under growing external and internal pressure, the communities readjusted the meaning and scope of communal solidarity. The rise of numerous new communities, based on family descent groups, testifies to the continued vitality of this crucial Andean institution, even in times of adversity.

Land, People, and Animals in the Communities

A first impression of the extraordinary complexity and shifting meaning of the altiplano peasant community can be gained from a discussion of the three terms employed to denote aspects of it during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: parcialidad, ayllu , and comunidad . By far the most frequent term in contemporary usage was parcialidad . Usually the term referred simply to all landholdings within a geographic area demar-


cated more or less clearly along customary lines. Even estates owned by hispanized large landholders were described as being situated within a parcialidad.[2]Parcialidad was also the preferred term for the institutional aspects of the community, the hierarchies of religious and civil offices that gave form to the organization of communal solidarity and articulated the relations with governors, justices of the peace, and parish priests in the districts.

The term ayllu , although less popular with hispanized officialdom, was used with essentially the same meanings as parcialidad . Usages such as "parcialidad Urinsaya, ayllu Cullco" (1869) might be thought to express the ancient moiety structure. However, the prehispanic notion of moieties seems to have largely disappeared; other references to the same communities reversed the two terms. Such encapsulation probably reflected the recent formation of subdivisions within peasant communities.[3]

As parcialidad and ayllu were increasingly used to denote the territorial and institutional aspects of communities, usage of the third term, comunidad , became restricted. Until the end of the colonial period the term usually signified three aspects viewed as widely overlapping: a crown-sanctioned corporate institution, its territorial base, and usufruct of the land controlled in common. This third semantic field set usage of the term comunidad apart from parcialidad and ayllu in the century after independence, leading to its diminished employment in notarial transactions and administrative documentation. Whenever the term was used in connection with land, it referred to common property or usufruct.[4] Whenever parcialidad or ayllu was employed in connection with land after 1850, it was a statement about the geographic location of the land, not its title or use.

After the agrarian reform legislation of the 1820s the community as an institution and whatever common property regimes survived within it had become divorced from each other. As communal property was alien to republican legislation, this notion was reflected in the semantics and the usage of the terms referring to the community. Comunidad , the term signifying common property or usufruct over land, ceased to be used when referring to the community as an institution.

When Peruvian intellectuals, especially in southern Peru but after the 1910s also in Lima, began to espouse the Indian heritage of the country, they were particularly fascinated by the indigenous peasant communities. Here many indigenistas hoped to find the social organization that, without disrupting Andean society, could best move Peru's serrano countryside toward "socialistic cooperativism," as Hildebrando Castro Pozo wrote in 1924. For the indigenistas the most important feature of the communities


consisted in the alleged continued predominance of communal property of land.[5] The growing political strength of the indigenista campaign was first codified in the constitution of 1920, elaborated as a consequence of Augusto Leguía's seizure of power. Article 58 brought the first official recognition of what was now called the comunidad de indígenas since independence. Underscoring the close link between comunidad and property, article 41 proclaimed that "the property belonging to the State, to public institutions and to the comunidades de indígenas is unalienable and can only be transferred by public title in the cases and in the form prescribed by law."[6]

In 1925 the government began to register parcialidades and ayllus that had been granted official recognition. This was the starting point for the emergence of a legally uniform category of communities in which geographical boundaries, internal institutions, and the communal property of the land again coincided as they had during the colonial period.[7] All of the lands within the boundaries of the community constituted communal property, and none could be alienated to outsiders, a legal concept strengthened by articles 208 and 209 of the constitution of 1933 and by the Peruvian Indigenous Community Statute of 1936.[8] But in contrast to the colonial era, only a minority of communities sought and achieved this official recognition. As late as 1958 only 24.6 percent of the 5,986 known communities in Peru had been registered. In the vast majority of communities without recognition the transfer of land remained unrestricted. By 1958 a considerably lower proportion of known communities—only thirty of 1,396, or 2.1 percent—had chosen and achieved recognition in Puno than had done so in any other department of Peru.[9] Their reluctance to seek official recognition suggests how far property regimes and institutional aspects of communities had drifted apart in the minds of the altiplano peasantry.

All this points to a tenuous survival of communal landholding in the altiplano up to the present century. Generally four types of property continued to be subject to some degree of common control by larger groups of community peasants: (1) agricultural land with a fixed crop rotation, the manda, lihua, suyo , or aynoca ; (2) lands set aside for the payment of fees to civil and religious authorities; (3) special appurtenances of communities, such as access to lakes, watering holes, springs, and mineral deposits, as well as customary rights of groups of peasant families (e.g., rights of passage through private plots); (4) communal pastures. Not every community comprised all four types of common property, and their extent varied from district to district. The frequency, extent, and location of the fourth type


of common property, communal pastures, is the critical issue for the pattern of land tenure of agrarian communities dedicated primarily to livestock raising.

The lihua landholding pattern strengthened communal institutions through its fixed obligatory rotation system, much like open field systems in ancien régime Europe. Every family received a strip within the field dedicated to one crop. In the relatively fertile soil of the lakeshore belt around Lakes Titicaca and Arapa, a rotation of three or four different annual crops was practiced. Nearly always begun with potatoes, it continued in years two to four with barley, oats, quinua, ocas, or lima beans in varying orders, after which the plots were left fallow for one or two years.[10] In more arid parts of the altiplano, such as San José's parcialidad Llaulli, lihua plots might be planted only once every seven years.[11] After the harvest the lihua was opened for the livestock of all co-owners to feed on the stubble or remaining foliage.[12]

Lihuas or mandas in which many, but not necessarily all, families of a parcialidad held parcels existed in communities of most districts in Azángaro around 1900. In some communities—for example, the newly formed comunidad San José—annual rituals of distributing the strips of land within the lihua continued until the mid-twentieth century, even if each family always received the same strips.[13] Title belonged to individual families.[14] Lihua plots seem to have been small and unevenly distributed. In a community in Salinas, south of Azángaro, twenty-eight peasants in 1932 owned 101 agricultural parcels of one masa (760 square meters) each, amounting to a total of 7.676 hectares, or 0.274 hectares per person. One comunario held ten masas (0.76 hectares), whereas some only held one masa (0.076 hectares).[15] Besides their parcels in the lihua, most peasants also planted crops on their own estancia lands, usually in the immediate vicinity of their residence.

Some communities set aside special parcels of land called yanasis , "which have to be cultivated exclusively and free of charge for the governor."[16] One of the duties of the highest community officials was to supervise the timely plowing, sowing, weeding, and harvesting of these plots and to see to the care of the sheep that the community maintained on its own pastures for the authorities.[17] Yanasis plots were limited to Huancané province and the adjacent districts in Azángaro, especially Chupa and Saman.[18] But even where no yanasis plots were set aside, local authorities received agricultural and livestock products from communities. Year after year the communal authorities selected some of the best plots of the lands of individual family estancias on a rotating basis for this purpose. One contemporary author estimated that each community in


Azángaro annually dedicated between 80 and 120 masas (6.08 to 9.12 hectares) of private croplands for the governor, which took sixty peasants four to six days to fallow with their digging sticks (tacllas ).[19]

Special resources were often held as common property. Springs, creeks, ponds, and shores of rivers and lakes could be used by many (although not necessarily all) of the peasant families of a community for irrigating garden plots, watering the animals, feeding them on semiaquatic plants, and fishing. Paths to such places, even if they traversed private land, were considered appurtenances of all adjoining lands. These resources, however, do not seem to have been considered common property of communities as institutions; rather, they went along with the ownership of specific plots or residence in their vicinity. When estancias or parcels of land were sold, leased, or transferred in any other way, rights to appurtenances were noted. Adjoining haciendas might share in them.[20]

When such specific resources held a preponderant weight for the peasants' economy, common rights tended to disappear. The outstanding example in Azángaro province was the exploitation of the Lake of Salinas, some twelve kilometers southeast of Azángaro town. Until the 1870s community peasants owned practically the whole lakeshore. It was divided into small, privately owned stretches of shoreline, between twenty and one hundred meters wide, called entradas de sal . Only title to such an entrada gave a family the right to scrape salt from the dried lakebed between June and December, when the water had receded. The amount of salt that a family could gather apparently depended on the width of the entrada.[21] In 1896 the Piérola administration established the state salt monopoly and instituted a tax on salt "for the rescue of Tacna and Arica," occupied by Chile since the War of the Pacific. At Lake Salinas, as at other sierra salines exploited by peasants, these measures led to a price increase of some 400 to 800 percent—from between five and ten centavos to between fifty-one and fifty-six centavos per quintal of salt—and to the peasants' loss of control over its commercialization. The ensuing cycle of militant peasant protests was repressed militarily.[22]

How frequent and extended were pasture commons in Azángaro's parcialidades between the 1850s and 1920? In 1921 Carlos Valdéz de la Torre evaluated land tenure patterns in altiplano communities: "In the department of Puno the evolution of indigenous agricultural property has reached a greater degree of specificity than in Cuzco; in Huancané, Chucuito, Azángaro, Lampa, and possibly in the other provinces every individual is proprietor of his plot and can sell it freely. There are no regularly redistributed plots and property remains undivided only concerning pastures and hills ."[23] This evaluation by Valdéz, a Cuzqueño with limited knowl-


edge of local circumstances in Puno, is paradoxical: while stressing that by the 1920s privatization had advanced further in Puno's communities than in those of Cuzco, he told his readers that "only" pastures and hills remained common property. But over 90 percent of all lands in the altiplano were pastures!

References to "common parcels" or "community properties" appear often in notarial contracts, but in only a few instances are common pastures mentioned. One case concerns the plots Incacancha, Cuncapampa, Patapampa, and Coparciopata in parcialidad Yanico of Arapa district. Around 1870 Melchor Quispe, a fifty-year-old peasant from Yanico, claimed these plots as private property, whereas a large group of other peasants from the same parcialidad considered them as common lands. To terminate the costly legal battle, in March 1871 both sides agreed to an out-of-court settlement. These lands were to be "common usufruct [disfrute comun ] of all persons referred to [Quispe and thirty-three other community peasants] so that they may benefit from its pastures as before without forming cabañas and other obstacles." If for any reasons cabañas needed to be built, construction was to be undertaken only with the approval of all families with rights to the land. Land could be rented out only to one of the contract parties and never to third persons. All agreed to sustain costs for litigation over this land against outsiders.[24]

These lands were undoubtedly an example of pasture commons, and the contract sought to block their internal division, privatization, and alienation. The requirement that permission be sought before constructing residences on the land foresaw the formation of new households from within the group of participating families; however, such permission was to be closely controlled by all interested parties. Each subscriber's rights in these plots hinged on his or her willingness to rally to their defense against potential outside claimants, particularly, if need be, by contributing to court costs. Failure to share in the costs of defending communal property was often considered as forfeiting one's title claims.[25]

The number of peasants who held rights in the pasture commons is crucial for interpreting this case. In 1876 parcialidad Yanico had a population of 764 persons, constituting at least some 150 nuclear families.[26] Even if we assume that each of the thirty-four male peasants holding rights to the pasture commons, subject of the 1871 agreement, represented a different nuclear family, fewer than one-fourth of all families in Yanico shared these rights. In other words, these were not pasture commons of parcialidad Yanico but of a certain group of peasants who, though they lived within that parcialidad, were defined by some other criterion.


A second example helps to identify such specific groups inside communities. In April 1863 twenty-three Indian peasants from parcialidades Choquechambi and Caroneque in Muñani district initiated litigation against the owners of Hacienda Muñani Chico, José Luis Quiñones and his half-brother José María Lizares Quiñones, for usurping various parcels of land belonging to the community. Among other items they instructed their judicial plenipotentiary to take legal steps against the following loss of land:

Equally he should reject the violent dispossession which the current Justice of the Peace of Muñani district, Don Juan Antonio Iruri, has perpetrated through the border demarcation . . . of the plots Accopata, property of the Ccoris, integral part of the commons where all of us Indians used to peacefully maintain our livestock , and today we suffer very grave damages . . .; the pretext [for the border demarcation was that] Pedro Quispe had sold the lands of Accopata although it was clear that all the other coheirs were owners and through the said demarcation a number of families also suffered dispossession .[27]

When Pedro Quispe married Francisca Ccori, his parents-in-law assigned them part of their family estancia, namely the lands called Accopata, "with perfectly marked borders . . . so that we might live independently." After most of their children had died, "and finding our wealth [fortuna ] in a decadent state after more than forty years of marriage," in February 1863 the couple signed a contract of promise of sale concerning Accopata and two other shares of the Ccori's family estancias now held by the families of Francisca Ccori's brother and sister, in favor of José Luis Quiñones and José María Lizares Quiñones. Pedro Quispe claimed to have received authorization for initiating the sale of those shares from his wife's family. But soon the Ccoris raised opposition to the proposed sale and demanded a legal division of the three parts of the Ccori estancia. In this situation the border demarcation must have occurred, by which Justice of the Peace Iruri, a half brother of the owners of Muñani Chico, adjudicated Accopata, Quispe's share in the Ccori family estancia, to the Lizares Quiñones as a consequence of the sales agreement. Although originally all shares of the estancia had been included, because of the resistance of the Ccoris and other community peasants only Accopata effectively became part of Muñani Chico. But the peasants fought even this loss of land. By 1872 the lawsuits, as well as the hatred between the Ccoris and their in-law Pedro Quispe, had not terminated.[28]

What, then, were the pasture commons among which the community peasants counted Accopata? This plot, along with the other parts of the


Ccori estancia, was used by all members of an extended family as pasture for their various livestock herds. The head of the Ccori family had assigned one sector of the estancia to his daughter and her husband Pedro Quispe, probably for establishing a residence and clarifying inheritance rights. Yet this assignment had not ended the practice of herding the livestock of various family members indiscriminately on the different parts of the family estancia. Accopata was thus both individual property and pasture commons for an extended family of community peasants.

Nothing in the documentation suggests that by the second half of the nineteenth century Azángaro peasant communities as corporate entities still held title to pasture commons. In fact, among all categories of property for which some type of common or group holding occurred, only the second category, the yanasis lands, clearly constituted corporate communal property. Rights to lihua plots, although shared by all members of a community in specific cases, were not derived from membership in the community as a corporation but rather through traditional title of families to the usufruct of certain plots. The same holds true for rights to appurtenances and to pastureland.

The Indian community as a clearly defined corporation existed only in relation to the civil and ecclesiastic authorities of the broader society. As long as the colonial state dealt with the Indian peasantry through communities on many levels, their function as corporate holders of property were strong in regard not only to the lands worked by individual peasant families in usufruct but also to the extensive holdings of community chests and cofradías (Catholic lay brotherhoods). In the later nineteenth century only local authorities dealt with communities as corporations, whereas demands of higher-level civil and ecclesiastic authorities largely ceased or were directed immediately at individual families. The corporate function of the communities vis-à-vis the local authorities still found its expression in the survival of specific plots maintained for the governor, priest, and justice of the peace, although even these burdens had been allocated to individual peasant family plots in most communities. Below the level of the weakened corporate community, groups of peasant families continued to use land jointly, even if individual family members were convinced of holding full property rights and were strengthened in this conviction by outside landholders applying pressure to purchase the land.[29]

In an effort to overcome the formalistic juxtaposition of community and hacienda, Benjamin Orlove and Glynn Custred have described one type of southern Peruvian social organization, which resembles conditions in Azángaro between the 1850s and 1920. The "localized descent groups," found among pastoralists of the high slopes of the western


cordillera in Arequipa's Castilla province, consist of three to ten households, which are

linked usually through agnatic ties; frequently the household heads are brothers and patrilateral cousins. The residences are located in named population nuclei separated from each other by distances of over a kilometer. These groups are sometimes three generations deep. . . . Each localized descent group owns some of the scarce permanent pasture land along with huts and corrals located on it; . . . individuals have grazing rights both on these permanent pastures and on the rainy season pastures by virtue of membership in a localized descent group. . . . Each household uses a portion of the land for its own maintenance, but ownership remains corporate with the senior household head acting as executor. In such cases only sons and unmarried daughters may lay claim to the land.[30]

With some modifications, this model can be applied to altiplano communities. The relation between property title and actual land use could vary. A descent group might use some or all of its pastures and agricultural plots jointly, either while holding joint title to the land (pro indiviso) or even after having undertaken a formal distribution of all shares among coheirs. Joint title to ancestral lands did not automatically ensure that usufruct was not by individual families. In the majority of cases where a legal division of the ancestral lands had been carried out, at least some land was used by individual families. In contrast to the pristine social organization of pastoralists of the cordillera, peasant descent groups in the altiplano tended to be more open; built-in mechanisms for self-perpetuation and defense against alteration from outside forces were usually weaker. There is little evidence to suggest that in Azángaro valuable dry-season pastures and arid hilltops were held in common by descent groups more frequently than other types of pasture were.[31]

As in the case of the Ccori family lands, common usufruct of land within Azángaro peasant descent groups was endangered and subverted by outside and inside pressures. In a clientalistic rural society with an accelerating demand for land, individual peasants within descent groups could find themselves forced to sell their rights in the ancestral estancia to a powerful outsider. This situation led to numerous instances of litigation in which a group of peasants fought the sale of one share of the family estancia by one of their coheirs. On one level, they reflect contradictory coexisting concepts of rights to peasant lands: even if nobody doubted that a peasant had inherited title to a specific share of a family landholding, it was by no means clear for the coheirs that this entitled him or her to sell that share to


outsiders. On another level, such legal conflicts demonstrated that the degree of economic well-being could vary strongly within descent groups. Some members became indebted to outsiders by mortgaging their share of the family estancia, whereas others within the group remained economically independent. There is little evidence to suggest that descent groups in Azángaro attempted to prevent the transfer of a share of the family land to outside peasants by marriage to a female heir.[32] Such transfers constituted another source of external pressure on the joint usufruct of land by peasant descent groups.

Many potential causes for tension within such groups existed. After the death of the head of an extended family who had controlled all family lands, relations between brothers, cousins, nephews, and uncles frequently showed as much competition as solidarity. The senior member of the following generation often lacked the authority of the deceased patriarch.[33] Litigation between altiplano peasants, frequent by the late nineteenth century, was fed not to a small degree by intrafamily conflicts. It was incompatible with the maintenance of joint usufruct of a landholding by a descent group.

Even where land was used jointly by all nuclear families of descent groups, they usually operated their own livestock herds. Inevitably this independence led to a differentiation of wealth. As one peasant increased his herds by marriage, purchased some livestock, and was able to keep down the mortality of his animals, his relative might have lost sheep during a harsh winter or might see himself forced to sell animals to defray the costs associated with a communal office. Differences in the size of herds did not threaten the descent group's joint use of the ancestral land as long as pasture was plentiful, but once the herds pressed hard on the family's pasture resources, tensions were bound to build. In such a situation the more affluent peasants within the group sought to augment usage rights to the land in any way they could. If one parcel of the land had been purchased, or if expenses for its defense had been incurred, the peasants who paid these outlays would claim increased rights to the family lands against those group members who had been too poor to contribute.[34]

But when did pastureland become scarce in Azángaro's peasant communities? Writing in the 1940s, the anthropologist Bernard Mishkin suggested for the southern Peruvian sierra in general that "a sharp increase in the number of livestock, with the resultant competition for pasturage, has removed any vestige of pasture commons."[35] The animal/land ratio in the communities was determined by three factors: the amount of pastureland available, the size of livestock populations, and—a secondary


TABLE 7.1. Development of Azángaro's Community Freeholder
                     Population, 1876–1940





increase, 1876–
1940,  total
population of
each district



















































San Antón





San José















a Excluding Villa de Betanzos, classified as a pueblo in this census.
b Including San Juan de Salinas, part of Azángaro until 1908.
c Excluding Huilacunca-Ayrampuni, classified as a pueblo in this census.
d Excluding mining and construction camps.

Sources: See table 1.1.

factor with a strong bearing on the two primary factors—the population of the communities.

The growth of the human population is the clearest factor. In most districts the overall population grew faster than did its smallholder population (table 7.1). This increase is accounted for by population growth in the "urban" centers, mining camps, and, most important, haciendas. These data nicely confirm findings on the growth of the province's hacienda sector. In districts with a minimal growth of estates, such as Saman and Caminaca, the population growth rates for the whole district and for their community freeholders show the smallest difference. In districts with rapid


hacienda expansion, for example, San José and Chupa, the growth rate for the total population was considerably larger than that for peasant freeholders. These figures, of course, suggest a transfer of population from the communities to haciendas or urban centers.

Some studies have claimed a correlation between hacienda expansion and the spatial distribution of population in the altiplano. A commercial guide to southern Peru for 1920 suggested that "the absorption of the communities and smallholdings of the Indians by the hacendados has much influenced the gradual depopulation of certain areas."[36] However, in most of Azángaro's districts hacienda expansion did not cause depopulation (table 7.1). According to a more specific notion, hacienda expansion would have caused a shift of the altiplano's population toward areas with a high concentration of peasant parcialidades and few estates, principally the belt around Lake Titicaca and the large pampas north and east of Juliaca, including some parts of Lampa province and Azángaro's districts of Achaya, Caminaca, and Saman.[37] But in Azángaro province such a pattern is also not discernible before 1940. Some districts—for example, Chupa—in which the estate sector swallowed much of the peasant lands experienced above-average overall population growth, whereas other districts with rapid hacienda expansion—for example, Potoni—saw their population increase only slowly. Saman and Caminaca, with minimal hacienda expansion, experienced below-average population growth. It appears likely that ecological conditions had a major impact on differential population growth between districts. In particular, the suitability of land for supplementary crop production may have influenced sustainable population levels in the communities.[38] This factor explains above-average population growth in Chupa, Arapa, Asillo, and Azángaro, the district with the most complex land-use pattern.

Community population increased by possibly 50 to 60 percent between 1876 and 1940,[39] but there were great variations from district to district. Lacking a measure for the extent of peasant lands sold to hacendados and intermediate landholders, we can present only a crude index of the increase of population pressure in each district's community sector by considering the combined effect of population growth and loss of land to outsiders. In the districts of Arapa, Asillo, Azángaro, and Chupa population density in the communities grew most since there peasants lost much land to haciendas while their population increased at a high rate. In Putina, San Antón, Caminaca, Saman, San José, and Santiago, communities experienced moderate increases of population density. In San José's communities, for example, a high rate of land sales had a diminished effect on density because of low population growth. Density increased least in the communities of


Achaya, Muñani, and Potoni districts because population growth or the rate of land sales to outsiders were low to intermediate. In Muñnai the rudimentary community sector, which had survived the earlier expansion of estates, saw little change in population density; there density had probably approached its ecological limits even by 1870 or 1880 because of the communities' scanty remaining land base.[40] This case remained exceptional; before 1920 most communities had not reached the limit of their capacity to sustain human populations under prevailing land-use patterns.

Population density in most districts' communities thus increased at widely varying rates during the census interval 1876–1940. But whatever the local differences, the amount of land available to many peasant families diminished, confirming the declining mean size of land parcels sold by indigenous peasants. In many cases, by 1900 ten, twenty, or more related peasants owned shares of a landholding that all recalled having been the property of one common ancestor a few generations back. Fundo Chafani Choquechambi, for example, located in Arapa's parcialidad Ilata, had been the exclusive property of Vicente Ayamamani during the first half of the nineteenth century. It was extensive enough to be sold in 1906 for the considerable sum of 2,000 soles m.n. The purchaser, Luis Felipe Luna, renamed the fundo Hacienda Luisa, even without the addition of further peasant lands. By the time of this transaction the landholding had been parceled into nine cabañas, shared by twenty-five descendants (not counting husbands and wives) of Vicente Ayamamani.[41] Still, even by 1910 or 1920 in some localities large older peasant estancias remained undivided; in addition, sizable landholdings had recently been agglomerated by newly affluent peasants.

What impact did the diminishing size of land available to many peasant households have on the animal/land ratio in the communities? In chapter 3 I estimated that during the early years after independence livestock density lay below the carrying capacity of pastures both in the estate and peasant sectors. Despite unreliable earlier sources, there is little doubt that Azángaro's livestock population underwent long-term growth, increasing by some 300 percent between the 1820s and the mid-twentieth century (table 7.2). Herds could be expected to recover naturally after the repeated decimations between 1780 and the mid-1850s; this recovery was favored by the interests of hacendados and peasants alike in increasing their herds, as demands for wool and live animals increased after the 1850s. In the long run, the most important cause for the growing numbers of sheep and cattle must be sought in the growth of Azángaro's human population. A burgeoning number of families whose subsistence was based primarily on livestock resources attempted to build up their herds to the limit allowed


TABLE 7.2. Azángaro's Livestock Population, 1825–1959


1825/29 a


































Total OMR g







Notes and Sources:
a Choquehuanca, Ensayo , 15–55.
  b Min. de Fomento, Dir. de Fomento, La industria , 15.
  c Mean of high and low estimates, from Jacobsen, "Land Tenure," 871–81, app. 6.
  d Dir. de Agricultura y Ganadería, Estadística . . . del año 1929 , 394–96.
  e Belón y Barrionuevo, La industria , 15–16. The author gives the livestock population for the department of Puno; I calculated the Azángaro figures by applying the proportion of the province's livestock in 1959 to the 1945 figures.
   f Min. de Hda. y Comercio, Plan regional , vol. 28, Informe PS/G/59, Manual de estadística regional , 239–41.
   g Based on conversion rates in Jiménez, Breves apuntes , 63–64
   h Without equines.

by the available pasture.[42] But when did this increasing livestock population begin to exceed the carrying capacity of pastures in communities?

Livestock density in Azángaro's peasant sector reached a level of between 2.76 and 5.04 units of sheep per hectare by 1920, a range appreciably higher than the mean carrying capacity of about two units of sheep per hectare for natural altiplano pastures.[43] To place those values in historical perspective, by 1960 livestock density in Azángaro's peasant communities had reached seventeen units of sheep per hectare. Pastures could maintain considerably more animals than their assumed carrying capacities, and herds did not suddenly stop growing once pastures reached their defined capacities. But it should not be thought that the customary calculations of pasture carrying capacity were fictitious: too many practical ranchers and livestock technicians concurred on the extremely low nutritive value of altiplano pastures.[44] When livestock densities exceeded the carrying capacity of pastures, animals tended to become rickety, mortality rates shot up, and production of wool and meat declined.[45]

Peasants possessed certain means for diminishing these effects of overgrazing. Through limited irrigation works they could increase the amount of pastures that grew year-round. By making careful use of the moist winter pastures (Moyas or ahijaderos ), they effectively increased the car-


rying capacity of their overall pastoral land resources.[46] Moreover, community peasants placed some of their animals with the herds of hacienda colonos grazing on estate pastures, in return for which they would pay the colono in goods or services. This practice shifted livestock pressure on pasture resources from the peasant to the estate sector.[47] Community peasants could also legally rent pastures from neighboring estates, although in Azángaro such rental appears to have been rare. According to Mishkin, "a wealthy herder [from the community] must ultimately seek pasturage in the haciendas," an example of what Juan Martínez Aliér has called the "external siege" on hacienda resources.[48]

My estimate for the animal/land ratio in Azángaro's peasant communities lends weight to the notion that by the early years of this century the use of common lands by localized descent groups was coming under increasing internal pressure through growing conflict over limited pasture resources, in addition to the external pressure exerted by neighboring landholders. As Julio Delgado noted in 1930, landholding in southern Peru's peasant sector was passing through "the transition from family property to individual [property]."[49]

Inheritance patterns among peasants reflect this weakening of the descent group, associated with the diminishing role of a paternal head of an extended family. In 1916 José Sebastian Urquiaga still saw the majority of Azángaro's Indian peasants passing a much smaller share of goods to daughters; the first-born son, viewed as "representative of the family," became universal heir.[50] Nevertheless, peasant wills in which a male heir received all of the family's land to the disadvantage of sisters are exceedingly rare.[51] Children at times were disinherited for "disloyalty" or "lack of respect" against the parents, but male heirs suffered such ostracism just as often as female heirs did.[52] In most wills sons and daughters received equal shares of property. Indian women routinely appear as owners of parental landholdings in all types of notarial contracts, from wills to bills of sale. By the early twentieth century, then, inheritance of land among Azángaro's Indian peasants, at least among those affluent few who left notarial wills, approximated the pattern of equal inheritance among the province's hispanized residents.

Commercial Penetration, the State, and the Shifting Locus of Communal Solidarity

The crisis of common property and joint usufruct of land by descent groups of course did not lead to the disappearance of solidarity within such groups or within the larger parcialidades. Mutual labor exchange, common defense


against outside land invasion, shared rituals and celebrations, and the myriad of everyday activities shared or undertaken jointly—all these continued, contributing to the trust binding such groups together.

Far from being stable, static entities, peasant communities in the altiplano were undergoing a process of complex metamorphosis by the early twentieth century, particularly by branching off or splitting into several new ones.[53] The dynamic elements in such subdivisions were the descent groups. In the 1940 census the term estancia for the first time denotes rural population centers that had developed out of peasant landholdings divided between a growing number of second- and third-generation heirs.[54] Often the "locus of solidarity" was shifting from the old parcialidad to smaller groups even while the scope of that solidarity was becoming more limited through the individualization of land-use patterns. The old parcialidades were not affected uniformly by this process, however, and in 1940 many still held considerably more population than did most of the recently constituted ayllus, parcialidades, or estancias. Of Arapa's eight parcialidades from the 1876 census, six continued to thrive in 1940 with populations of between 182 and 588 persons; one had disappeared totally and another one—the important nineteenth-century parcialidad of Yanico—had shriveled to a population of three. The transfer of solidarity from the older parcialidades to the new units based on descent groups probably began at their geographic rims. There the landholdings of descent groups could span several communities, and intermarriage with members of neighboring communities was more likely.[55] Such marriages contributed to a pattern in which peasants from one parcialidad held land in another parcialidad, weakening solidarity in at least one.[56]

But between the 1880s and 1920 most of the old parcialidades continued to provide some institutional cohesion to the various descent groups, sectors (barrios ), or estancias that had sprung up inside them. This cohesion was engendered through a curious dialectic of exploitation by outside authorities and defensive assertion of autonomy and solidarity within the community. Along with the growing entrenchment of hispanized local and provincial elites, the extraction of labor and resources from the communities through their hierarchy of offices, not new in itself, reached its greatest scope and elaboration in this era. Yet such extraction also became more volatile and unstable; after 1920 this form of tributary exploitation would enter a phase of decomposition.

The number of offices in the communities grew with the variety and frequency of extraction practiced by the authorities. In some districts the governors, local representatives of the central government, had sixty to eighty communal officers at their disposal, apart from those designated to


serve the parish priest and the justice of the peace. Most communal officers were chosen for a term of one year in elaborate ceremonies held each January 1. Every parcialidad chose one segunda , the highest communal authority, who was "obliged to present himself before the governor every Sunday and on days of festivities together with his subordinates . . . in order to give account of the projects carried out since the last meeting." The segunda coordinated all the work and obligations of the whole parcialidad toward the governor, priest, and justice of the peace. He distributed duties to and collected goods from his immediate subordinates, alcaldes and hilacatas , who represented the various barrios, estancias, and descent groups within the parcialidad. They in turn fulfilled the same function within their sector, supervising the lower officers, alguaciles (guards), propios (messengers), pongos , and mitanis (men and women doing domestic service in the authority's household).

The duties toward the governors were broad in scope, time consuming, often costly, and mostly uncompensated. Either personally or collectively, the officers and their parcialidad planted and harvested fields for the governor's private use; rendered fixed quantities of sheep, wool, and other livestock products; spun and wove wool that the governor had distributed among them; disbursed within the communities the money with which the governor purchased additional wool at a fixed price; transported his goods to and from urban markets with their own animals; served in his household; and collected taxes in the communities.[57] The authorities used the community officers to recruit laborers for the faenas (public work projects). In 1893 Azángaro's mayor requested the subprefect and district governors to provide Indians from parcialidades to make adobes for the "urgently needed" construction of a new prison; one year later the mayor requested twenty Indians per week to pave the provincial capital's Plaza de Armas, suggesting that they be paid "the same daily subvention as the prison laborers," ten centavos.[58]

According to Nelson Manrique, this heightened and systematized use of traditional communal authorities meant that in southern Peru "they ended up being reduced to a condition of servants of priests and local functionaries of the central government and unpaid helpmates of the state."[59] Yet the most affluent and respected families in the parcialidades, from whom the highest communal authorities were recruited, were hardly pliable dupes in this apparent subversion of their venerable offices. They were generally willing to play along, in part because this shabby remnant of the colonial "compact" between crown and community might still afford some protection of the communal domain against outside intrusions. In part they were pursuing their own interests against other peasants.


Francisco Mostajo, the eminent progressive liberal intellectual from Arequipa, observed in 1923 that

the Indians of Huancané province gladly work in the construction of roads and the repair of churches, the only public work projects in those parts. They have internalized the social concepts of the Inca Empire or of still earlier societies so much, that they believe that these collective labor projects give them title to the property and usufruct of the land on which they live and plant crops. I build roads, I repair the church—the Indian will tell you when he is drunk or when he perceives a threat of being imprisoned—and this is my land: nobody can take it from me. When Protestant Indians refused to participate in the repair of the church, the other Indians said: you should not have any land then, you may not use "our" roads.[60]

In part this view reflected the indigenista reinterpretation of Andean collective work customs that Mostajo hoped to harness for a "wise social legislation." But the notion that a link existed between fulfilling one's public duties in the parcialidad and the claim to land was alive among some altiplano peasants during the early twentieth century. In a will of 1910 Tiburcio Choquehuanca, a seventy-five-year-old peasant from parcialidad Jallapise with sufficient means to have purchased a dwelling in Azángaro town, espoused this view. He thought that his title to Estancia Parajaya, acquired in part through inheritance and in part through purchase, was reaffirmed because he and his wife had "rendered for this parcel the communal services or offices of mitani, pongo, alquacil, alcalde, and segunda, services that my children have also rendered for the custom that is common in these districts and that gives title to assure the possession of property."[61]

Peasants thus appealed both to notions of private property and to the older notions of reciprocal obligations and rights as legitimizing their possession of land. It was a kind of insurance policy in the face of threats against their land resources arising from various quarters of the local hispanized elite. As long as private property rights to peasant estancias continued to be threatened by neighboring estate owners through their predominance in the courts and use of force, appeal to the legitimacy of possession of land through the "compact" with the authorities of state and church might provide a modicum of protection. The segunda, alcaldes, and hilacatas could rally the whole parcialidad to defend land and to reject demands by outsiders that went beyond customary obligations.

At the same time, however, the communal authorities were involved in the complex contests over political power between the various gamonales,


the provincial and local bosses using patronage and clientalism to advance their family's own interests. Depending on specific local power constellations, segunda and alcaldes in some cases were allies of the governor, receiving a share of the taxes they collected, entering into commercial deals with him, or pursuing common strategies to appropriate municipal or communal land.[62] Such alliances heightened centrifugal forces on the cohesion of old parcialidades, persuading peasants in its various sectors to transfer the "locus of solidarity" increasingly to the descent group or to strengthen the private property claims to the family's land.

In 1900 the contribución personal, the disguised Indian head tax that President Castilla had abolished in 1854 but that continued to lead a spurious life during the second half of the nineteenth century, was abrogated for good in the department of Puno, five years after its abolition by Peru's national congress. This ended the long history of tribute and its various successor taxes, which had formed one of the key links between the state and the Indian communities.

For the national congress and the executive in Lima, increasingly under the sway of coastal financiers, merchants, and agro-exporters after the revolution of 1895, the tax had become a dispensable embarrassment, too reminiscent of the crude extractions by the Spanish crown. The Indian community had ceased to be important for the financial well-being of the central government. For the notable citizens and authorities in the sierra, however, the abrogation of the contribución personal was a matter of concern, since it was the major source of income of the departmental councils. Established in 1886 by President Andrés Cáceres to oversee fiscal decentralization, these bodies demonstrated the political power of the serrano gamonales and hacendados during the decade of Peru's "New Militarism" after the War of the Pacific. The tax's abolition weakened their political autonomy, making them more dependent on the treasury in Lima. Puno's Prefect Manuel Eleuterio Ponce, himself a notorious land grabber in Arapa, lamented that departmental tax income had plummeted by two-thirds in 1901. But far from helplessly accepting this shrinkage of regionally controlled funds, authorities in the altiplano reacted by shifting the tax burden on the Indians to increased collection of property tax (contribución de predios rústicos ) on their estancias.[63] During the following decade the mean tax assessment grew more rapidly in districts with relatively few estates and a predominant peasant sector, such as Saman and Achaya, than in those with high concentrations of estates (table 7.3).

For Puno's peasantry, the meaning of the shift from contribución personal to the property tax was ambiguous. During the 1880s and 1890s communities in Bolivia's altiplano had successfully resisted this shift,


TABLE 7.3. Mean Property Tax Assessment per Landholding, 1897 and 1912 (Ranked by Rate of Change)


(soles m.n.)

(soles m.n.)


San Antón








San José












































Provincial average




a This figure excludes Salinas.

Sources: Matrículas de contribuyentes, 1897 and 1912; BMP.

designed by that nation's liberal oligarchy as the cornerstone of a radical policy of breaking up communal property by administrative fiat. The communitarian ideology of Bolivia's altiplano peasantry saw "both the 'servicios forzosos' and the payment of tributo, in accordance with traditionally accepted norms, . . . [as] the communal counterpart of a pact of reciprocity with the state."[64] But in Puno no tear was shed by community peasants when the contribución personal was finally abolished, and by 1900 they had accepted payment of property tax in principle . Here the tax was applied to peasants gradually, with a few appearing in matriculas as early as 1850. Instead of imposing a completely alien notion of property, the slowly advancing incorporation of the department's peasantry into the property tax rolls paralleled rather than preceded the advance of notions of private property. The connection of this shift with changes in the institutional corporate character of Puno's parcialidades is crucial. The abolition of the contribución personal weakened the position of the tra-


ditional communal officers, who had collected the tax from every adult male in their jurisdiction for the district authorities.

The increasing collection of the contribución de predios rústicos among the communal peasantry coincided with the establishment of a new tax collection agency, the Compañía Nacional de Recaudación, independent of district and provincial authorities. Because many families in the communities did not have to pay property tax, the Compañía's agents may have dealt directly with the heads of those households that did.[65] They may also have approached the hilacatas of relatively affluent descent groups or barrios, where many families were entered in the tax rolls. In any case, tax collection ceased to be an issue for the parcialidad as a whole. Descent groups opposed to the impositions by communal authorities now grasped the opportunity to strengthen title to their own land by willingly cooperating with the collection of property taxes, in the process furthering the transfer of solidarity from the old parcialidad to their own smaller groups.[66]

This is not to say that Puno's peasantry did not resist the increased collection of property tax. The massive revamping of Peru's tax structure under Presidents Nicolás Piérola, Eduardo López de Romaña, Manuel Candamo, and José Pardo in the decade after the revolution of 1895 coincided with a new wave of peasant mobilization in the altiplano. The salt tax and monopoly introduced in 1896, the new excise taxes on sugar and alcohol of 1904, and the increases in property taxes amounted to a completely new program of fiscal extraction from the country's still mostly rural population. The tax system was now based on a notion of individual consumers rather than on corporate groups of producers. But in contrast to Bolivia, in the Peruvian altiplano property taxes, which strengthened a landholding regime based on private title by individuals and their families, never became the dominant issue of peasant resistance.[67]

At least two-thirds of all landholdings enrolled in the property tax registers between 1897 and 1912 belonged to peasants. It was public knowledge that assessed peasants paid a proportionally higher rate than did most hacendados. Not only did estate owners frequently underreport their livestock capital, resulting in a low assessed tax rate,[68] but tax commissioners also liberally estimated stocks for many landholdings of illiterate peasants, who had little chance to do anything against this abuse. The 600 to 1,200 peasants enrolled in the tax registers between 1897 and 1912 represented only a small share of all peasants owning land in the province. By legislative resolution of October 30, 1893, all landholding units producing income below 100 soles m.n.—equivalent to a livestock capital of up to 500 head of sheep—were exempted from paying property tax.[69] Most peasants owned smaller livestock herds. Nevertheless, until 1907 tax com-


missioners entered many peasants with annual incomes of below 100 soles m.n. in the rolls; in the 1897 rolls more than 80 percent of all assessed peasants fell into this category. Even so, most peasants were not assessed for the property tax. Nobody paid who had an estimated annual income below 20 soles m.n., equivalent to a livestock capital of 100 OMR; in some communities, and even entire districts, hardly any peasants were entered.

A law of December 4, 1908, reaffirmed the exemption of property producing less than 100 soles m.n. in annual income, and this time it stuck in Azángaro. It had the curious effect that the presumed livestock capital of many peasant holdings, from which the estimate of annual income was calculated, doubled or tripled in subsequent tax rolls, from 200 or 300 OMR to 500, 800, or even 1,000 OMR. At the same time the number of peasants assessed declined by half from the 1902 rolls. Although tax assessments clearly reflected widely different levels of income derived from livestock operations among the peasants, who paid and how much he or she paid evidently depended in good measure on power constellations and on the client networks of the tax commissioners.

Social differentation in Andean communities is not a new phenomenon of the past century. Even the often repeated claim that it has increased immensely with advancing commercial penetration or the "transition to capitalism" is difficult to prove because of the lack of comparable income and property statistics for the nineteenth and earlier centuries. Migration and the need to pursue income-earning activities outside of agriculture have characterized generations of Andean peasants in previous centuries as well. All we can say is that these phenomena became more massive (and thus more visible) during the twentieth century and that the criteria and mechanisms for social differentiation gradually underwent important changes.

During the colonial period, and to a certain degree even during the decades immediately following independence, wealth and prestige in the communities had been closely tied to lineage. The families of kurakas and many originarios maintained a higher level of access to community resources by birthright, even if they increasingly used the privileges of their offices and the opportunities in the marketplace to enhance their position vis-à-vis commoners. Although they had lost their privileges during the agrarian reforms of the 1820s, the descendants of minor kurakas remained among the wealthiest peasant families as late as the 1850s. Some owned estancias with a thousand head of sheep or more, not unlike small to mid-sized fincas. This was the case with the Puraca family and their Estancia Buenavista de Conguyo in parcialidad Moroorcco, or the Zecenarro Mamanis' landholding San Antonio de Lacconi.[70] Without relin-


quishing their Indian identity, affluent community peasants during the middle decades of the past century still had enough social standing to be called on as guarantors in contracts between hispanized landholders, pledging their estancias and livestock capital as security.[71]

In the more complex and fragmented economic and political environment of the altiplano around 1900, social differentiation within the peasant communities also became more complex, and families relied on a broader range of strategies to ensure reproduction of their household economies. A cautious interpretation of the 1897 property tax rolls, raised before political and fiscal pressures introduced the massive distortions of the subsequent decade, allows us a glimpse of the more affluent peasant families of that time. Perhaps as many as 8 to 10 percent of the families in the communities, between 600 and 800 families, owned livestock herds of 100 or more animals.[72] The wealthiest among them, possibly 2 percent of Azángaro's community peasantry, had herds of 500, 1,000, or even 2,000 animals. They were prevalent especially in cordillera communities on the northeastern rim of the province, between Putina and San Antón, where few crops could be grown. Population pressure tended to be lower there, and perhaps communal institutions remained stronger, blocking competition by new families for scarce resources such as moyas.[73] The wealthier descent groups thus could fully benefit from increased demand for sheep and especially alpaca wools.

In communities with stronger pressures from neighboring landholders or from internal population growth, especially in the plains and valleys and on lakeshores, accumulation of wealth required additional strategies. In some cases prominent families in the parcialidades relied on political assets to get more land, pay less taxes, and avoid being hindered in their commercial activity. Such ends could be achieved through patronage with the local authorities or a powerful hacendado. In districts with a weak elite of hispanized large landholders and traders, the dividing line between mistis and affluent community peasants was quite fluid, and here prominent comuneros might become justices of the peace or serve on the town council.[74]

Purchase of additional land from other peasants or, less frequently, from hispanized large landholders became increasingly important for families with large herds. Whereas for the whole period 1852–1910 purchases by peasants accounted only for 14.4 percent of all sales transactions by number and 5.5 percent by value, between 1913 and 1919 they constituted 24.9 percent by number and 6.9 percent by value. The boom of the wool export economy propelled affluent peasants in the altiplano to expand their landholdings, secured by notarial title deed.



Figure 7.1.
Annual Income of Peasants in Chupa in 1897, by Age.
Left: 49 years or younger. Right: 50 years or older.  Source: Matrículas de contribuyentes, 1897, BMP.

In many cases peasants were buying from relatives parcels of lands that had formed part of the estancia of the descent group.[75] Thus, the pattern so frequent among hacendado families repeated itself among a minority of affluent peasant families. The most entrepreneurial son or grandson attempted to reunite the original holding, increasingly splintered through equal inheritance. Possession of land was also linked to the life cycle of peasant families in the altiplano, something first suggested by A. Y. Chayanov for Russia. In 1897, in three districts with numerous affluent peasants, Arapa, Asillo, and San José, nearly 60 percent of peasant landholders paying property tax were in their fifties, sixties, or seventies, a much higher proportion than in the population at large. In Chupa the proportion of peasants with a relatively high annual income, an expression of the amount of livestock and ultimately of the land they possessed, was considerably higher among older peasants than among the younger ones (fig. 7.1). In other words, over the years well-to-do peasant families were often able to expand their landholdings as the labor power of the grown children allowed them to keep larger herds. But in contrast to Chayanov's model, no automatic shrinkage of the family domain occurred during the parents' old


age. To be sure, old age presented a crisis for many peasant families. Adult children established their own households based on parcels of the family estancia. Aging parents were often swayed to accept dependence on a neighboring hacendado in the hope of receiving protection and material benefits, from food supplements to payment of funeral expenses. But among affluent peasants in the tax rolls, many were in their seventies, veritable patriarchs controlling the family domain. After their death the heirs continued to operate the estancia jointly (pro indiviso), manifested in the tax rolls by dozens of entries such as "heirs of Juan Quispe" or "Andrés Maldonado and co-owners." Where descent groups continued joint ownership of the family estancias, the Chayanovian down phase of the landholding cycle of peasant families could be avoided.

But such traditional family strategies do not suffice to explain growing land purchases by peasants. In many communities transfers of land among peasants remained negligible as late as 1910. For the entire sixty preceding years a total of nine land sales between the peasants of Saman's five parcialidades were recorded by the notaries of Azángaro and Puno. By contrast, the ten parcialidades with the greatest sales activity between peasants accounted for nearly half of all such land transfers in Azángaro. Most of these parcialidades were not identical with those that lost a great deal of land to hispanized large landholders. For some parcialidades the correlation between strong peasant purchase activity and numerous affluent peasants in the tax rolls is striking. Families such as the Callohuancas, the Sucaris, and the Huaricachas in Asillo's parcialidades of Sillota, Anoravi, and Hila or the Sacacas and Quenallatas in Putina's Huayllapata appeared as owners of five hundred head of livestock or more in the tax rolls and as active land purchasers in the notarial registers. There were, then, a few communities in which the land market was considerably more active than in the rest and which had a particularly vigorous group of kulak peasants.

Commercial activities played an important role for many affluent peasants. The sale of rural crafts and of livestock products from their own estancias were part of the survival strategies of most peasant households, an expression of their precarious subsistence. But real trade, with goods acquired from neighboring peasants, from other traders, or from producers in distinct regions, could be more than that. It allowed dozens of affluent peasants to accumulate funds for the purchase of additional lands or livestock or for social investments in outfitting festivities in the communities. Although rural crafts largely remained an expression of peasant poverty, trade often was associated with affluence. Peasants were especially active


as traders of livestock, coca leaves, and alcohol; some worked as itinerant wool buyers. Just as with land purchases, peasant traders were concentrated in a few districts and in specific communities.[76]

In the absence of detailed ethnohistorical information, we can only conjecture about what distinguished communities with an active land market and numerous peasant traders. No single factor can account for all communities in which market forces seem especially strong. Some, such as those in Asillo, Putina, Chupa, and Arapa, benefited from a broad mix of resources, with relatively plentiful croplands, riverine, or lakeshore pastures propitious for cattle grazing and sufficient higher pasture grounds to maintain numerous sheep and alpacas. The social differentiation in these communities was more complex than it was in the cordillera or on the broad plains in the center of the province. The intensity of peasant trading owed much to the location of communities. For example, many families were active as coca leaf traders in Chupa and Putina communities, from where peasants regularly undertook barter trips across the nearby cordillera to Larecaja province in Bolivia, an old center of coca estates. Livestock trade, by peasants as well as by hispanized traders, was strong in Saman and Arapa, strategically located for driving herds to market in Juliaca and Puno.

But the nature of commercial penetration, the relation between communal resources and household economy, and the prevalence of a stratum of kulak peasants also depended on politics and on the effectiveness of solidarity in each and every parcialidad. The correlation between incipient market-based stratification in the communities and ecological, demographic, and commercial factors was never perfect. It should also be stressed that Azángaro's kulaks largely continued to be well-integrated members of their respective communities, drawing advantages from the exercise of high office, relying on relations of asymmetrical reciprocity and clientelage to receive cheap labor services, and prepared to rally the whole parcialidad in defense of "communal" property.[77]

Most peasant families faced a more precarious existence. Perhaps as many as 80 percent of Azángaro's peasants owned between twenty and a hundred sheep, a cow with its calf, and perhaps two or three transport animals. They could sell only a few livestock products before diminishing their herds, with devastating consequences over several difficult seasons. Any crisis could seriously upset their livelihood: droughts or livestock epidemics, increasing the mortality of the animals; crop failures; a protracted fight over land; theft of animals; onerous impositions by the governor or the priest; recruitment into the army; and the expenses and


difficult adjustments required by major events in the life cycle, especially marriages and deaths. The limited amount of surplus livestock products that they could sell made other sources of income more important: crops; rural crafts, such as spinning and weaving, pottery making, cheese making, and rope making; occasional labor for neighboring hacendados or for hispanized residents in the district and provincial capital; seasonal work in the mines in the Cordillera de Carabaya or further down the eastern slope of the Andes in gold-washing camps, coca plantations, or rubber tree forests, or in construction projects and as day laborers in cities such as Puno and Arequipa.

This is an unexceptional picture of a traditional middling and poor peasantry, facing the cyclical crises in their precarious family subsistence with a great variety of strategies. Perhaps "proletarian" forms of seasonal supplementary labor had increased somewhat by 1900 from fifty years earlier, with growing needs for workers during the brief mining boom in the Cordillera de Carabaya as well as the beginning expansion of employment opportunities in southern Peru's cities. But such types of seasonal wage work for altiplano peasants were not totally absent during the early years after independence. In any case, they remained the income sources of last resort; peasants preferred to supplement their farm income through peddling and barter, rural crafts, and occasional labor in nearby towns and estates.

Indeed, it seems unlikely that the average income of Azángaro's peasants declined significantly between the early decades after independence and World War I. A rough estimate suggests that the number of livestock held by every man, woman, and child in the province's communities stayed roughly the same between 1825–29 and 1920 at ten OMR.[78] With prices for animals and livestock products during the 1860s and perhaps again between the mid-1890s and 1917 outpacing the price of comestibles, stimulants, and manufactures typically purchased by peasants, it cannot be ruled out that their real income rose during those years.

Yet the old and familiar cyclical crises of peasant households could take on new and drastic consequences. The heightened volatility of prices for pastoral goods, demographic pressure, and a consolidated hispanized elite with more power and money all contributed to force thousands of poor and middling peasants to relinquish control over their lands and become colonos on estates. In most cases the sale of land was not the consequence of long-term impoverishment but of a relative loss of autonomy. The capacity of many peasants to minimize the effects of the cyclical crises on their household economy through the solidarity of the community was


diminished. An increasing share of their exchange relations were with the hierarchy of hispanized traders, shopkeepers, and commercial agents. The value of their marketable surplus of livestock goods underwent sharper cyclical swings than had been common until midcentury.

The land resources in the communities were often becoming too scarce to provide the buffer that would allow amiable settlements of conflicts arising out of greater pressure of livestock populations on available pastures within the descent groups. In such situations, blurred pro indiviso title rights to the estancia of an extended family became the wedge by which hispanized landholders broke into the land of community peasants. Those avid to expand their estates now had sufficient cash or credit, and often the political backing, to exploit any crisis of a peasant household's subsistence economy. After gradually tightening peasant's dependence through loans of money or foodstuffs, through labor exactions, or through protection before the courts, the police, or the local administration, an estate owner would finally force the peasant to give up title to his or her parcel of land and incorporate it, together with the former owner's household, into the hacendado's estate. This process of increasing dependence often had little to do with impoverishment.[79]

The multiple pressures on the community peasantry thus resulted in a rapid and vast growth of the ranks of colonos in the estates. This status, in which the household economy of the former community peasant remained intact, was an ambiguous and ill-defined halfway point between peasant autonomy and the complete loss of "peasantness" experienced by landless peasants who left their native communities. The hacienda thus functioned as a kind of forced catchment basin, a depository for a peasant reserve army. With the disintegration of some newly formed estates during the decades after 1920, numerous colonos would revert back to a fully autonomous status as community peasants.

But how many peasants lived in the communities without land or even without livestock? Such poor peasants appear in the manuscript census as early as 1862, living as dependents in the households of more affluent peasants, who had often taken them in as young children.[80] Their situation approached that of colonos on estates. Their main task consisted in herding a flock of their patrón. In return they were allowed to keep animals of their own and possibly build a residence in the center of a sector of the patrón's pastures.[81] In such cases landless dependents could form households and families. This may also have been the situation of landless or near-landless rural artisans earning the overwhelming share of their livelihood through their craft. In communities where families relied primarily on craftwork, such as the potter communities in Santiago de Pupuja, the availability of


this alternative helped to keep on the land dozens of poor families who might otherwise have migrated or sought employment in a nearby hacienda.

More frequently, however, a landless peasant would stay as a single retainer in the household of his or her patrón, assigned whatever jobs needed to be done—from herding to spinning or weaving, to construction and repair of the patrón's cabaña and transport of some products to market—against the sole recompense of food and lodging. In this position he or she could not accumulate resources sufficient to form an independent household. This type of retainership probably corresponded to specific phases in the life cycle of poor peasants. As children they were given as dependents into the households of more affluent peasants to strengthen clientalistic ties. When they reached adulthood they attempted to form independent households, either as shepherds on an estate, as artisans, or as muleteers. But some—especially women, for whom the lack of a dowry formed a serious obstacle—might be forced to remain as dependents in their patróns' households throughout their lives. Widowed older peasants without descendants, unable to maintain their own household economy, also attached themselves to more affluent peasant households. The social structure within communities was characterized by clientalistic relations similar to those between peasants and hispanized large landholders, albeit on a smaller scale of exchange between economic resources and labor services.[82]

Landless peasants had a few avenues to establish independent households tied into the agrarian economy. If they owned some animals, they could turn them over to one or more peasants with sufficient pastures. Either the owner of the land would pay rent on the animals and keep all of their products, or owners of land and animals would share in the products, a contract known as waqui in some parts of southern Peru.[83] In 1910 Casimira Mamani, a sixty-year-old widow, owned and lived in half a house in Azángaro town. She possessed no land but had eight cows, two young bulls, one riding horse with two colts, one donkey with its colt, and thirty sheep, maintained on the pastures of six different peasants.[84]

In rare cases landless peasants were granted vacant plots in the communities by a process of petitioning district authorities with the concurrence of communal officers.[85] Some were assigned plots of families extinguished in one of the severe epidemics, such as the typhoid fever epidemic of 1856–58.[86] Of course, theoretically landless peasants could lease, take in anticresis, or purchase land from other landholders. But it is my impression that most peasants buying land or taking up a plot in anticresis were affluent peasants.[87]


Despite growing pressure on land resources landless peasants seem not to have formed an increasing share of community population in the early years of this century.[88] There are two reasons for this situation. Many landless peasants living as retainers in households of other peasants did not found families and had fewer children than did peasants with sufficient resources or income for sustaining households. Consequently, their status tended not to be inherited; rather, this social stratum was renewed from generation to generation. Second, with growing demographic pressures in the communities it became preferable for impoverished peasants to become colonos on estates, where they could maintain their own household economies. Others emigrated to the ceja de la selva, the Cuzco valley system, or Arequipa. But before 1920 the number of families permanently leaving the countryside was dwarfed by those who continued to work as peasants in the estates.


Gamonales, Colonos, and Capitalists

The decades between the late 1850s and 1920 were the heyday of the altiplano livestock estate. In an increasingly hectic drive toward expansion, old and new landholding families came to claim a greater share of the region's resources than they had since the conquest: the proportion of land, livestock capital, and labor held in the hacienda sector reached a peak during the first third of the present century. For this offensive against the Indian peasantry to bring long-term success, the control over the expanded resource base needed to be secure and effective. As hacendados tried to set down stable and profitable relations of production in their expanding domains, imperceptibly slow but no less real developments began to change both labor relations and technical aspects of livestock operations. By the early twentieth century the long-term stability of yanaconaje, with its seigneurial overtones, was giving way to a labor tenancy that was, at its edges, more mobile and took on contractual overtones. Modest capital investments showed the path toward more intensive livestock production. But this was not a transition from feudal haciendas to capitalist livestock ranches. Most hacendados were unwilling, and the few who tried were unable, to change the fundamental traits of the labor tenancy system and convert to modern, capital-intensive methods of production. This traditionalism was to have long-term implications for the power constellations in the region's agrarian structure.

Labor Recruitment

Beginning in the late 1850s, the number of colonos on Azángaro's estates grew rapidly. In 1829, just after independence, at most some 5,600 persons lived as colono families on the province's estates, no more than 14 percent


of Azángaro's rural population. By 1876 this number had nearly doubled to more than 9,800, accounting for just under one-fourth (23.4 percent) of Azángaro's rural population. Between 1876 and 1940 the number of colonos and their families grew more than threefold to 31,651. In the latter year colonos made up 35.8 percent of Azángaro's rural population; their share may have been higher during the 1920s.[1] The resident population on some of Azángaro's largest estates grew even more spectacularly between the 1860s and 1920s (table 8.1).

This wave of new colonos was the last phase in a process of "fixing" an adequate, stable labor force on altiplano livestock estates that began in the late sixteenth century. For the 350 years before the early 1900s, the number of yanaconas , as labor tenants were still often called even after independence, had been insufficient. During the colonial period hacendados had to rely on supplementary mitayos even for routine tasks such as herding and shearing. As late as the 1860s estates drafted nominally free laborers from neighboring communities.[2]

Until after 1900 hacendados jealously guarded their colono labor force. Administrators and renters were admonished by the owners not to do anything that might cause colonos to abandon the hacienda; rather, if possible they should procure additional labor tenants. But by the early twentieth century an expanded colono labor force had greatly diminished the need for outside labor. Most estates could now carry out all routine tasks of the livestock cycle as well as their limited agricultural operations with the resident labor force. Hacendados employed only small numbers of outside wage laborers for special projects, such as constructing sheepfolds or digging irrigation ditches.[3] Until 1920, then, the tendency was toward diminution of old forms of wage labor on the estates.

Some of the increase in the number of colonos was due to population growth among earlier hacienda residents: the children of colonos staying on the hacienda and establishing new households as shepherds. But between 1876 and 1940 population growth on Azángaro's haciendas was nearly three times larger than that of the peasant communities, pointing to the incorporation of people from the outside. The lion's share of these newly incorporated colonos were peasants and their families from adjacent communities whose land the haciendas had acquired. Routinely the notarial bills of sale legalizing these land transfers noted that the sellers had promised "to serve the buyer as yanaconas."[4] The peasant families stayed on their land, converted into a cabaña of the estate, but now had to fulfill the labor obligations associated with their new status as colonos. Most colono families were incorporated into the estates with their land. At the peak of hacienda expansion around 1910 some thirteen thousand to fifteen


TABLE 8.1. Permanent Residents of Haciendas, 1862–1972















































































































Note: A = number of colonos; B = number of hacienda residents.
   a Actual number slightly higher.
   b Colonos with cargo only; total number slightly higher.

Sources: AFA-P; AFA-S; censuses of 1862 (MS.), 1876, 1940, 1961, and 1972; Aramburú López de
Romaña, "Organización," 54; Diaz Bedregál, "Apuntes."

thousand persons belonged to such first-generation colono families, more than a third of the total population of the hacienda sector.

But not all colonos settled in an estate with a family, nor did all stay there for the rest of their lives. By the early twentieth century a complex pattern had developed in which a core of colono families resided in one and the same hacienda for a lifetime, perhaps for generations, whereas other colonos worked on an estate for a few years and then moved on to another estate. On Hacienda Picotani in 1909 six patronyms accounted for forty-one of the sixty-eight shepherds employed by the estate. Fifteen years later, in 1924, only ten of the twenty-seven patronyms from 1909 were still present, but the core six still accounted for more than 50 percent of all shepherds.[5]

Long-term colono families usually belonged to a few kin groups contributing numerous shepherds to the estate, whereas individual colonos


without strong family ties came and went over the years. Mobile colonos were often unmarried young men with little livestock of their own who switched estates in search for the best working conditions. As many of the small, newly formed haciendas had only scarce pasture resources, and their owners, with little capital, tended to pay the lowest wages and meager food subsidies, fluctuation of colonos was strongest there.[6] By the early twentieth century, then, a group of colonos—still quite small—emerged who were highly responsive to different labor conditions. They had probably come from landless or land-poor families in the communities and remained poor on the estates. Until the 1920s haciendas functioned as a catchment basin for these rural poor, whose only alternative consisted in migrating to urban or mining areas.

The mechanisms by which hacendados induced peasants to work for them included a complex mix of coercion and economic and ideological elements.[7] This mix largely reflects the ambiguous bases of land sales by peasants to hispanized landholders, characterized in chapter 6 as a blend between a free contract and imposition by force. Certainly force or the threat of force could play an important role in turning peasants into colonos. Community peasants at times explicitly rejected "being turned into yanaconas," taking legal steps to block the maneuvers of powerful hacendados.[8] Evidence for such campaigns comes largely from the 1860s and 1870s, when pressures on community resources had not reached a critical level. Rather than a deterioration of their economic condition, they feared a loss of status, suggesting that colonial corporate caste stratification still influenced peasant thinking during the decades before the War of the Pacific. At least until that date peasants judged the condition of yanacona as lower in relation to hierarchies within the communities.

Toward the end of the nineteenth century economic reasons began to play a greater role in peasants' resignation to becoming hacienda colonos. Sale of their land often stood at the end of a series of debts. Dependence on the cyclical wool export trade, tighter political control exercised by local gamonales, and growing scarcity of land in the communities made peasants more vulnerable to debt entrapment strategies. Once a hacendado had succeeded in affecting their land, acceptance of the status of colono, with continued usufruct of at least part of that land, was preferable to staying on as landless peasants in the community or searching for wage labor in distant places. What mattered most to peasants was the continued usufruct of their land; hence their transformation into labor tenants was perhaps less drastic than it seems from our vantage point, fully accustomed as we are to thinking in terms of private property and the sanctity of contract. The peasants-turned-colonos who continued to work their erstwhile land


for their families' subsistence certainly did not conceive of this transformation as ceding absolute dominion over the land to the new patrón.

As Gavin Smith has observed for the central Peruvian sierra, even communities "with a long history of confrontation and independence" were shaped by "an equally long history in which Andean peasants have been expected, in their turn therefore expected to offer services to superiors who often went under kin terms or pseudo-kin terms as taita or padrino/patrón."[9] Indeed, the fact of being incorporated as colonos into a hacienda did not automatically alter the type of services that the peasant previously had to render in his community. He and his family had been obliged to herd sheep, plant crops, transport goods to market, and work as domestic servants for the governor or the priest, just as they now would be expected to do for the patrón of the hacienda.[10] Gamonal exploitation was not exclusive to the estates; it was replicated in the authority structure that tied communities to local officialdom. Acceptance of the colono status ideologically signified a switch of patrón, not a totally novel form of subordination.

On the surface, the drive of altiplano hacendados to expand their labor force appears overwhelmingly successful. But a closer look at the colonato , as it had evolved by the early twentieth century demonstrates how fluid, fragile, and unwieldy this labor regime had become. Rather than a broad-based transition to a more tightly controlled regime of wage labor, the struggles over the nature of colonato presaged a new stalemate between the social forces in the rural altiplano.

The Colonato and Paternalism

The settlement pattern on estates closely resembled that of the rest of the province. Even today the traveler has difficulty distinguishing between territories belonging to haciendas and those forming parcialidades. The caserío constituted the estate's nerve center; here orders to shepherds originated, and central functions and labor processes were carried out. By 1900 caseríos had changed little in their physical appearance since the early years after independence. Improvements usually took the form of enlarging the building complex without changing its essential features. More rooms were added around a second or third patio. Some "progressive" hacendados invested in corrugated tin roofs to replace the old thatch. In a few instances special quarters were built for preparing cheese and butter, without, however, any notable investment in modern dairy-processing equipment.

Although many small fincas were managed by the owner, most large haciendas were under the direction of a mayordomo or, after 1900, an


administrador . Until the 1870s most mayordomos were recruited from among trusted shepherd families on the estate itself, but after the War of the Pacific a growing share of administrators were sons of small estate owners and other members of the altiplano's middle strata whose families belonged to the network of friends and clients of the hacendado. In a few cases large haciendas employed natives of Arequipa or other coastal towns or foreigners as administrators. Besides free room and board in the caserío, their remuneration consisted of a salary perhaps ten times that of shepherds and a fixed percentage of the hacienda's yearling sheep, which they could sell or raise on estate pastures at will.[11] With few expenses on the estate, some administrators accumulated savings that they invested in land themselves. While administrator on the Molina family's important Hacienda Churura in Putina during the early years of this century, the Arequipeño Luis Gutiérrez put together a finca of his own through purchases of land from a nearby peasant community.[12]

Hacendados usually left their administrators considerable freedom in the daily management of the estates, partly because they had limited understanding of the intricacies of livestock raising and partly because the wealthiest among them increasingly preferred to reside in fine houses in Puno, Arequipa, or Lima, pursuing political or administrative careers, engaging in liberal professions, or tending to business interests. They personally took charge of the disposition of the hacienda products, of land purchases and sales, and of other legal matters; but the administrator controlled the timing of major tasks in the annual livestock cycle, the assignments and hiring of shepherds, and the rudimentary ledgers registering the livestock capital and accounts with the colonos. Inevitably all kinds of conflicts developed between owners and administrators. The belief that "the administrators did not have any interests in the prosperity of the hacienda and cared only for their prosperity" was widespread.[13] Where a relation of personal trust between owner and administrator did not prevail, the position could become volatile. During his first five years as owner of Hacienda Picotani, the Arequipeño Manuel Guillermo de Castresana hired and fired four administrators.

At times an administrator could function as lightning rod for the owner. In his daily contact with the shepherds the administrator would discipline them, at times with cruelty, while in the estimation of the colonos the hacendado remained the taita (father), the final arbiter over right and wrong, the dispenser of protection. When the administrator was socially close to the Indian colonos, he could become a broker who might transmit the interests of the "hacienda community" to the owner. In 1925 one mayordomo penned the complaints of colonos, who could not write, against


the administrator of Picotani, an act that promptly cost the mayordomo his job.[14] Mayordomos helped organize the celebration of the haciendas' patron saint and partook in the devotion to them. "I have promised to become ccapero [one of the officials] for the fiesta, I am going to serve our Lady of the Rosary in Toma and am daily asking her blessings for your health, my Sr. Patrón," wrote Pedro Balero, the mayordomo of Hacienda Toma, to its owner, Juan Paredes, in 1874. "I sure hope you'll also come to see our fiesta."[15]

Below administrator and mayordomo every hacienda employed a number of subaltern officials drawn from among the shepherds. The quipu , "generally the shepherd with the greatest knowledge and best behavior," was directly in charge of many livestock operations—selection, classification, assignment of pastures, slaughter, and wool clip.[16] The quipu continued to work as shepherd, leaving the care of the flock to his wife and children. He received a salary about twice that of shepherds and rations of food and stimulants during his presence at the caserío; he was also assigned some laborers, perhaps young sons of other shepherds, to harvest his fields. Haciendas further employed rodeantes , sons of colonos who still had not received a flock of their own and normally lived in their parents' household. Paid rations and a salary up to twice that of shepherds, they took orders from the quipu. A type of circuit riders, they guarded moyas and external hacienda boundaries from intruders and conveyed orders to the shepherds.[17]

In 1928 Emilio Romero remarked that "generally, the Indian organization [of the estates] has continued. All the positions are Indian and they have their prerogatives and jurisdictions within the territory of the hacienda."[18] A certain similarity with the hierarchy of offices in the Indian communities may indeed be noted. Even though quipus and rodeantes were handpicked by the administrator or owner, they had to enjoy the respect of most shepherds to be effective. In Picotani, for example, all three quipus in 1909 belonged to the preeminent kin group, the Mullisacas.[19] In contrast to most large estates on Peru's coast, altiplano livestock haciendas had not yet developed a clear separation between "white-collar" employees, identified with management, and manual workers. The day-to-day functioning of the estate rested on the smooth cooperation of a hierarchy of Indian supervisory officers mediating between owner or administrator and the colonos, just as communal officers did vis-à-vis district authorities.

The colono family formed the basic unit of production of the altiplano livestock estate.[20] They lived far removed from the caserío in the center of their cabaña or tiana , the sector of pastures assigned to them for herding hacienda flocks. Families were rarely switched from one cabaña to another,


and some, on the older estates, may have lived in the same spot for generations. Their residences, one or more low, windowless, thatched-roof adobe cottages, differed in no way from those of community peasants.

Once or twice a year the head of the colono family was assigned a cargo , the flock of hacienda livestock that he would drive to his sector of pastures. He would be responsible for the flock's well-being until he had to render accounts six to twelve months later. In the meantime supervision by the hacienda administration was sporadic. Once every week or two the quipu or one of the rodeantes would visit the cabaña, check whether the estate's flock was doing well, and pass along instructions about upcoming tasks and events in the caserío.

Besides the year-round work of herding, the colono family was obligated to provide labor for a broad range of other tasks during the annual production cycle. The head of the household or an adult son had to participate in the wool clip in February and March and the slaughter in June and July at the caserío, the two major annual labor tasks lasting up to a month each. At least one family member had to take part in the agricultural labors of the estate: plowing, sowing, weeding, and harvesting tubers, quinua, and barley, produced on most haciendas as provisions for the shepherds and the owner's urban household and as fodder for cattle and pack animals. They were obligated to transport hacienda products to merchants in towns or to warehouses at railroad stations and to bring back provisions on the return trip. Such trips could remove the colono for a week or more from his own household labors. Colonos commonly had to use their own llamas or mules for this service, without any recompense for loss or damage. Men and women of the colono family had to work as pongos and mitanis in the caserío or the urban residence of the owner for up to one month per year. In that function they were the general-purpose servants, cooking, washing, cleaning, running errands, and fixing things around the house. The colono family had to send one worker to the estate's extraordinary projects (faenas), building or repairing irrigation ditches or fixing the stone walls around corrals and moyas.[21]

All labor services were unregulated. There were no written contracts.[22] This vagueness of the quantity and quality of labor obligations presented opportunities for both the labor tenants and the hacendado to interpret obligations in their favor. Conflicts could develop on a wide range of issues. By the early 1990s, an era in which the colonato expanded so rapidly that on many estates the majority of labor tenants had arrived during the previous decade, the weight of custom began to lose strength in the definition of rights and obligations.


The remuneration of the colonos theoretically consisted of three distinct elements: rights to the usufruct of hacienda resources, wages, and gifts and subsidies. The first of these was by far the most important for the colonos, constituting the basis of what Juan Martínez Alier has called their income as peasants.[23] They had the right to maintain their own livestock (huacchos ) on the pastures of the cabaña they occupied, and they could plant crops for their own family subsistence. Traditionally no limitations had been placed on huaccho flocks and crops of colonos, and this remained the case on most estates in 1920. The huacchos and the colono's flock of hacienda animals were pastured together, convenient for the colono but loaded with problems for the hacendado. It was easy to exchange animals between the two flocks; frequent crossbreeding kept huaccho and estate animals equally scroungy and unimproved; and the size of estate flocks was limited by the simultaneously pastured huacchos, since losses on flocks of more than a thousand animals grew exponentially.[24]

Huaccho flocks consumed a significant share of the haciendas' pasture resources. The labor tenants' livestock accounted for 25 to 50 percent of all animals maintained within an estate's borders, in some cases even more.[25] This was perhaps the strongest indication of the limited control of a hacendado over the colonos. Colonos might collectively produce as much wool and other livestock products as the hacendado did. It was on some of the smaller estates, put together since the 1880s, that pastures remained scarcest and the weight of huacchos was strongest. Some small fincas appeared to be little more than agglomerations of peasant estancias loosely held together by the authority of the gamonal owner, who extracted just enough commodities and labor from his "domain" to underwrite his social aspirations.[26]

With little control exercised by the hacendado, the size of huaccho flocks varied substantially, both within one estate and between estates. They were the most important factor determining the well-being and social status of colono families. On some estates in Muñani and Putina a few families owned as many as one thousand or even two thousand OMR, including herds with hundreds of alpacas, making them no less affluent than kulak families in the communities.[27] The most prominent colono families, such as those of Guillermo and Aniceto Mullisaca in Hacienda Picotani, had resided on their estates for generations; the clan of the Mullisacas had been members of the ayllu Picotani, which Kuraka Diego Choquehuanca transformed into an estate during the 1760s.

But in contrast to such "kulak colonos" most colono families owned between twenty and one hundred head of livestock; some may not have


owned any. Because well-being depended largely on the strength of their "peasant economy," colonos with little stock and scarce opportunities to trade were poor. "Generally the pay for the shepherd is not sufficient to satisfy the most pressing needs of his family and he finds himself forced to steal the products of the hacienda," commented one agronomist as late as 1932.[28] Administrators of Hacienda Picotani regularly worried about the estate's "poor colonos" whose families did not have enough to eat. Women shepherds, widowed or single, and young single male shepherds were found most often among the poor on the estates.

What allowed this tremendous differentiation in the ranks of the colonos? We can only speculate. Affluent colonos needed to have access to plentiful pastures from the hacienda and sufficient labor from their kin group. This condition in turn required mutually reinforcing privileges and respect from the hacendado and fellow colonos. The situation of affluent colonos, mediating between the patrón and other shepherds, may have been akin to that of high communal authorities.[29] Poor shepherds, in contrast, lacked access to sufficient labor power and thus found it difficult to maintain sizable huaccho herds, grow enough crops for family subsistence, and dedicate time to produce craft goods for home consumption and barter. Perhaps their condition was made more permanent by being assigned a cabaña with pastures of limited extent and poor quality.

Wages and subsidies and gifts remained secondary and merely supplementary for the colono families' subsistence economy, yet they had important implications for the nature of the labor regime. Differentiation between wages and gifts and subsidies was largely fictitious before 1920. Wages for yanacona shepherds had been decreed at least since the ordinances of the Viceroy Duque de la Palata in 1687.[30] By the mid-nineteenth century some estates were calculating remunerations to colonos based on the number of livestock herded, although payment was mostly in the form of subsidies (avíos ) of food and stimulants. Other estates alotted avíos as a fixed monthly amount, without reference to a wage.[31]

This ambiguity continued into the twentieth century. A slowly increasing number of haciendas nominally paid wages, now calculated on the basis of the length of the colono's service per year.[32] But payment continued to be largely in chuño, maize, coca leaves, alcohol, and dried meat. The national debate about the "feudal exploitation" of Andean "serfs" led to a series of protective laws by congress beginning in 1916, largely reasserting legislation on the books from the 1820s prohibiting forced labor and requiring payment of wages.[33] These laws only made the duplicity of altiplano landlords more of an open secret, however, without changing the


basic practice of payment in kind for some thirty years after the first law's passage in 1916.

During the early twentieth century, then, two issues remained confused and unresolved: whether wages would be paid, and, if they were paid, whether they would take the form of avíos or of money. As estates were expanding rapidly and commercial interchange intensified, the very nature of the labor regime began to be at issue. Would the altiplano haciendas move toward rural wage labor or see a continued evolution of the seigneurial, paternalistic regime of labor tenancy? Every attempt by hacendados to alter a particular obligation, privilege, or form of payment of colonos and every demand or defiant stance of resistance by colonos formed part of the evolving definition of this labor regime.

Nominal wages increased between the mid-nineteenth century and the early decades of the twentieth century. During the early 1840s Juan Paredes paid an average of 27.5 pesos annually to the shepherds of Hacienda Quimsachata in Azángaro, most of it in foodstuff and stimulants.[34] In 1908–9 Hacienda Picotani, which had recently passed into the possession of the Arequipeño financier and businessman Manuel Guillermo de Castresana, paid between 38.40 and 62.40 soles bolivianos annually, equivalent to between 48 and 78 pesos. In 1917–18, at the height of the wool boom, Hacienda Sollocota, owned by the heirs of the recently deceased José Sebastian Urquiaga, still paid a uniform 38.40 soles (presumably bolivianos) annually, or 48 pesos.[35] The increase in nominal wages since the 1840s amounted to between 74.5 and 157.8 percent. However, with prices for chuño, maize, and coca leaves rising by more than 100 percent during this period, in real terms Picotani's highest wages of 1908–9 lay only some 50 percent above those paid in Quimsachata in the early 1840s, while the lowest wages lay below those of the 1840s.

Disbursements of wages in the form of goods or cash were made on an irregular basis, as the colonos needed them, although on some estates a pound of coca leaves and an arroba of maize were distributed to each shepherd every month. Once a year, in September, after the slaughter and the recount of the estate's livestock capital, the administrator settled accounts with each shepherd. Advances drawn during the previous twelve months were added up, and the shepherd then received the remainder of his or her annual wage. If the shepherd had drawn more than the allotted wage, the difference would be carried over to next year's accounts. On Hacienda Sollocota, in 1918, the colonos on average took more than half of their annual wages at the September settlement of accounts, mostly in the form of chuño and other foodstuffs. Although the timing and com-


position of their pay varied according to family size and the strength of their own peasant economy, cash disbursements were insignificant for most. The Sollocota data suggest that the major function of wages was to help tide colono families over during the six months prior to harvest, when food reserves from their own previous harvest were running low.[36]

Advances included not only goods or money received by the colonos toward their annual wage but other debts to the hacienda as well. The major source of such debts concerned fallas de ganado , the animals from estate flocks for which shepherds could not account at the annual recount in August or September.[37] Unless the colono brought the hide or carcass of a dead sheep to the caserío shortly after it had died, he or she was held responsible for its loss. Its value would be subtracted from the yearly wage, and the colono was expected to pay with wool or a sheep from his or her own flocks as compensation. Fallas were a constant bone of contention between colonos and hacienda administrators. Shepherds claimed, with good reason, that on the open range losses to wild animals or rustlers were unavoidable. Administrators and owners, perhaps with equal justification, were convinced that colonos took better care of their own animals than they did of those of the estate and occasionally slaughtered hacienda sheep for their own consumption. They also accused colonos of appropriating hacienda lambs for their own flocks before they could be marked and of handing over dead huaccho lambs as belonging to the estate flock.[38]

Debts from fallas could be considerable, and estates found it difficult to collect them from the shepherds. Between September 1907 and September 1908 the administrator of Hacienda Picotani charged colonos with losing 846 sheep, mostly lambs from one day to six months old. Some colonos were responsible for up to 100 fallas. The shepherds disputed most fallas, and Picotani's administrator Adrian Fischer was concerned that if he did not manage to take huaccho animals in recompense for the lost hacienda sheep, the shepherds would "laugh [at me] and never comply [with orders]." One year later Fischer had received only 274 sheep and nine soles bolivianos cash in payment of these fallas.[39]

On Picotani colonos were regularly in debt not only for fallas but also for extraordinary avíos, such as the gallon cans of alcohol that they bought during festivities. The administration used such debts to gain access to the colonos' own wool production. In special ledgers, separate from the wage accounts, the administration entered the amounts of wool equivalent to the value of such debts, according to fixed barter ratios between alcohol, maize, or falla stock and wool. For example, for one can of alcohol (probably a gallon) the shepherd would owe two quintales of sheep wool. On October 1, 1909, the end of the agricultural year 1908–9, fifty-six colonos of


Picotani owed the estate 118 quintales of sheep wool, 4 quintales of alpaca wool, and 12.5 pounds of llama wool. Two well-off colonos with substantial huaccho herds owed about 11 quintales of sheep wool each, whereas colonos whom the administration classified as poor owed from a maximum of 4.5 quintales down to 12.5 pounds of sheep wool. Only ten of the colonos employed at the time owed no wool. In two cases the debts had been contracted during the preceding agricultural year, 1907–8. Although one of these cases involved the substantial amount of over 8 quintales sheep wool, Fischer considered them as "lost in the balance for 1908, deducting them from the profit for that year." Such debts, then, were to be paid with the wool clip from the following year; if still unpaid after twelve months, they were written off.[40]

"You cannot imagine how much labor it is costing to get the indiada [Indian shepherds] to pay up the fallas and wool debt," Fischer wrote to the owner, Manuel Guillermo de Castresana, on August 30, 1908. "I have given them until the tenth of the coming month to cancel their wool accounts and bring in the fallas." Three weeks later, on September 20, less than half of the wool debt had been paid up in one sector of the estate. Fischer found that much of the credit granted by his predecessor was recorded inaccurately and amounted to absurd charges, with several colonos disputing their debts.[41] It was unlikely that he would be able to collect the totality of the substantial wool debts arising from credits granted during the preceding year. Two years earlier his predecessor had managed to collect just over half of the amount Fischer now hoped to collect.[42]

Debt peonage was not a feature of labor tenancy in altiplano livestock estates by the early twentieth century. Hacendados systematically used credit to force peasants to relinquish their land and become colonos on their estates, but once this end was achieved, credit served more limited goals in the correlations of power within the estate. Some hacendados used it, with limited success, as a lever to gain control over the labor tenants' own wool production. More generally, credit was required to stabilize the livelihood of colono families and thus increase their willingness to stay on the estate year after year.[43] In the altiplano the hacienda store, the notorious tienda de raya of Mexican cereal estates, was unknown. To be sure, some hacendados used the exchange of goods with their colonos as an extra source of income, charging dearly for foodstuffs and paying little for the colonos' wool; in effect such hacendados replicated the relations between wool traders or urban shopkeepers and community peasants.[44] But other hacendados charged their colonos at cost for maize, coca leaves, and alcohol and paid prices for colonos' wool on a par with those paid by itinerant traders in the communities or in district capitals.[45] Debts were not used


systematically as a tool to retain colonos by force; rather, owners and administrators were constantly bothered with the difficulty of collecting debts. As José Sebastian Urquiaga, owner of Hacienda Sollocota, wrote in 1916, the shepherd could "withdraw from the estate at his convenience; all he has to do is turn over the hacienda flock as he received it."[46]

Hacendado control over the labor and resources of their colono families was strictly limited. Indeed, the colonos' strategies to assure their families' subsistence involved virtually the same range of activities as those of the community peasants. The colono's wife and minor children fulfilled the most time-consuming obligation toward the estate, herding the sheep entrusted to them. They perhaps bore the brunt of any increased work requirements imposed by the transition from community peasant to colono. The father was free to pursue more autonomous income-earning activities and to cultivate social ties with fellow colonos and friends and relatives in nearby communities. Colonos marketed a wide range of rural crafts, the most important being textiles; pottery, hats, and other items were also marketed. But their premier commercial activity concerned sale or barter of wool and other livestock products from their own huaccho flocks.

Even hacendados who sought to capture these goods to enhance the trade with their estate's direct "demesne" production failed to cut off the colonos' market ties. In Picotani, for example, the hacienda hardly received any of the valuable wool from their large alpaca herds (amounting to 7,741 heads in 1929), and the labor tenants exchanged as much as half of their sheep wool directly with third parties.[47] Where hacendados sought to force colonos to sell them their livestock products, colonos still found ways to entrust the wool to friends and relatives in nearby communities for later sale.[48] Itinerant traders, buying up wool, tallow, and hides and peddling alcohol, coca leaves, aniline dyes, and borsalino hats, included stops at colonos' cabañas on their circuits.

Most colonos periodically left the estate to barter or sell their livestock and crafts products for family provisions. One of Picotani's well-to-do shepherds, Benito Mullisaca, on one occasion sold the estate 200 quintales of salt, a crucial commodity for livestock operations; he had brought the salt from Lake Salinas, in the central plains of the province.[49] Just as in the communities, then, exchange activities of colonos shaded into trade proper. In some cases colonos maintained fields in distinct ecological zones to produce the maize needed to supplement the avíos. Many of Picotani's shepherds left the estate after the conclusion of the wool clip for one or two weeks in April to harvest their maize in the ceja de la selva of Sandia, at times causing considerable delays to hacienda work projects.[50]


Yet this impressive autonomy of colono households was only one side of the coin. Hacendados sought, with varying degrees of success, to tie their labor tenants into a hierarchical, paternalistic order of authority. As was true for paternalistic authority in most premodern agrarian structures, it relied both on benevolence—generosity and protection—and on malevolence—punishment and withdrawal of favor.[51] In altiplano livestock estates paternalism was cast in the idiom of Andean asymmetric reciprocity, with its emphasis on festive common labor and gifts, as well as in the idiom of Catholic patriarchy, stressing the concern of the father for the spiritual and material well-being of his children.[52]

The patrón's generosity and protection was designed to succor the colonos' life from birth until death, at work and in celebrations, on the estate and in their dealings with outsiders, much like an invisible shield. Hacendados became godfathers of the labor tenants' children at the occasion of their baptism. They loaned money or directly contributed to the costs of funerals and, at least until 1880, were asked to give their blessing to marriages between children of colonos. Hacendados sought amicable relations with parish priests so that they would attend to the spiritual needs of the hacienda's residents and officiate at baptisms, marriages, funerals, and the annual celebrations for the estate's patron saint.[53]

When all colonos worked together at the caserío or in the fields, they expected and received a copious, warm meal and perhaps a handful of coca leaves and a swig of alcohol. During the slaughter some estates allowed their colonos to keep part of the innards, reason enough for the whole shepherd family to attend this task. Colonos in charge of cows were allowed to keep the milk one day every week. And on certain occasions the administrator distributed gifts in the name of the patrón, a vara or two of cloth, for example. When colonos conducted business outside the confines of the estate, transporting hacienda products to town or the railroad station, exchanging goods for their own household economy in markets or the ceja de la selva, they were under the protection of their patrón. The hacendados used their influence and connections, as well as their lawyers, to free colonos grabbed by the Guardia Nacional or the army on their recruitment sweeps and to get them out of jail when accused of minor infractions. When colonos were attacked or livestock was stolen from them, the hacienda administration pressed charges and sought restitution on their behalf. Conflicts between labor tenants were routinely settled by the hacendado rather than before courts.[54]

But such protection and favors were always conditional and could be withdrawn at the whim of the hacendado. Administrators could give troublesome colonos difficult or time-consuming assignments, impound


animals from their huaccho flocks, or fail to intervene on their behalf before the authorities. Some hacendados and administrators resorted to floggings against colonos who had failed "to show respect" or refused to carry out an order. And numerous estate owners and administrators did not stop short of sexually abusing the wives and daughters of their labor tenants, on the estate or when they served as mitanis in their townhouses.[55] In case of resistance or negligence by colonos "the reprisals are immediate and consist of material punishments and exactions," as the Cuzqueño indigenista Francisco Ponce de León noted. Mayordomos and foremen were well armed, and "with such constant threats, the patrón maintains his real and effective authority over the submissive and defenseless Indian."[56]

No doubt, colonos viewed their hacendado as a powerful personage whose protection they needed and whose wrath it was prudent to avoid. Many of the more traditional hacendados, the gamonales, adapted the construction of their power to the cultural and material environment of the Andean peasant world. They practiced and championed a traditional Catholicism and showed a certain respect for peasant ritual. Celebrations of the estate's patron saint, weddings, and funerals served to reenact and actualize the paternal ties binding the patrón to "his men." The colonos rendered homage to their taita (father), who in return demonstrated generous affection for his hijitos (sons). Alberto Flores Galindo and Manuel Burga have shown in the case of Azángaro's José Angelino Lizares Quiñones how legends and rumors could imbue a gamonal with an aura of magic, associating him with supernatural events and shamanistic powers. Use of violent force, although vital for such all-encompassing visions of the patrón, constituted merely a tool of last resort in the construction of his authority.[57]

At the same time hacendados viewed themselves as outposts of modern, European, civilization in a sea of Indian barbarians. In communications among themselves, with their staff, and with public authorities, the Indians were "lazy," "shameless," and "abusive" in their appropriation of hacienda resources and "refractory to learning." One administrator repeatedly referred to the incorporation of community peasants into the hacienda as "conquests." Often, although by no means always, such images of the Indian colono were suffused with a vicious racism. Andrea Pinedo, widow of the uniquely powerful and abusive gamonal Pio León Cabrera, embittered about the brutal sacking and destruction of her husband's Hacienda Hanccoyo in 1917 by colonos and political enemies, a few years later referred to Indians as "cannibals" and "helots," overcome "in the lair of their ancestral vices by slovenliness and their innate apathy."[58]


There was, to be sure, an overlap between the visions of the hacendado as traditional, quasi-magical lord and as representative of modern civilization. In both constructs it was his right, even his duty, to rule the Indian colonos with a "firm hand." An owner of a livestock estate in Cuzco's Quispicanchis province admonished his administrator in 1904 that he should "correct [the colonos] with toughness so that they mend their ways and cease being rascals."[59] Both constructs formed part of the traditional hacendado's self-image. Fully versed in the Andean peasant world, their language, customs, norms, and codes of behavior, he felt superior to them by dint of his education (even if slight), his modern life-style, his social intercourse with the notable citizens of the province, or even birth.

His persona, the Janus-faced construct of his power, was at once a product of the Andean peasant world, one contemporary version of accepted forms of domination and subordination, and the representation of Western civilization, whose mission it was to conquer the barbarian Indian peasants and convert them into "industrious laborers." Authority derived from such constructs, even if all encompassing on the surface, was highly fragile. For the colono the generous and protective taita could easily be unmasked as the exploitive gamonal. Both images were "true." On one level at least, what Eugene Genovese has written of antebellum Southern masters may be applied to altiplano hacendados at the apogee of their power: "The most flattering self-portraits of the slaveholders and the harshest and most exaggerated indictments of their critics have much in common. . . . They were tough, proud, and arrogant; liberal-spirited in all that did not touch their honor; gracious and courteous; generous and kind; quick to anger and extraordinarily cruel. . . . They were not men to be taken lightly, not men to be frivolously made enemies of."[60]

Paternalistic authority, even if claiming to hold sway across all domains of the subjects' lives, is inherently limited and ill defined. So much more so in the setting of altiplano livestock estates, with their dispersed settlement and labor patterns and the long history of peasant autonomy. In the relation of domination and subordination between hacendado and colono part of the "transcript" was hidden, to use the language of James Scott. Both needed to get along with each other on a daily basis and were aware of the roughly defined customary boundaries of reciprocal obligations and rights. Hacendados could not afford to lay bare their contempt for the Indian labor tenants in their day-to-day dealings as they did when among themselves. Colonos, while "investing" in demonstrations of deference and respect toward the patrón, and, in principle, accepting their subordination, sought to "hide the track" of their resistance and, on most days,


kept anger or contempt felt toward administrator or hacendado to the relative safety of conversations with family and friends.[61]

Hacendados, eager to stabilize their expanding work force, needed to limit the severity and frequency of punishments and other measures of social control. Picotani's administrator Adrian Fischer, when reporting his success in recruiting new shepherds, noted the dire consequences of neglecting such caution: "Pascual Miranda from Tarucani also has a flock [on our estate] already. That finca increasingly finds itself without Indians, just as Sollocota, and I believe the reason is that both Don Victor and César Ballón apply the stick with cruelty."[62] And Juliana Garmendia, owner of Hacienda Ccapana, a livestock estate in Cuzco's Quispicanchis province, repeatedly admonished the administrator "to treat the Indians with prudence; I notice that they are desperate because, they say, you beat them, and they want to leave the finca; I am alerting you to this, because that would be against our interest."[63]

The Economics of the Estate

The altiplano livestock hacienda operated at a low level of productivity, and efforts at improvement remained feeble during the early decades of this century. Most owners sought to maximize the net income derived from their estates by minimizing monetary outlays for production and commercialization.[64] In some regards such a strategy was exactly the opposite of that of modern capitalist agrarian enterprises seeking to optimize the return on invested capital. The labor regime, with its stress on minimizing the wage bill, was merely one, albeit central, aspect of this strategy. The same low productivity—low capitalization approach characterized the quality and pasturing of the estate's stock, its installations, and its means of transportation.

Most of the sheep roaming altiplano pastures around 1900 were descendants of the Spanish merinos brought to Peru during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Contemporary observers agreed that Puno's sheep population, degenerate through lack of selective breeding, combined many of the characteristics in the species most undesirable for efficient ranching operations: low weight; coarse, irregular, and short fibers; and little wool. To boot, many sheep came in hues from black to shades of brown and gray, "dirty colors" that at times found no market in Europe.[65] Whereas purebred merinos or Corriedales or South Downs, typical of Australian or Argentine flocks, weighed 60 to 112 kilograms and easily produced 7 kilograms of wool annually, Peru's criollos weighed about 15 kilograms and


produced 1 kilogram of wool.[66] Obviously these sheep also produced little meat, a less important product for altiplano ranchers. Descriptions of Puno's cattle were no more flattering.[67]

One of the advantages of large estates was that they could aim at economies of scale through the efficient separation of flocks and herds and their optimal rotation through different pastures. A typical small to mid-sized finca, with a livestock capital of 1,500 OMR and six or seven colonos, perhaps employed one labor tenant each in charge of one cattle herd and one flock of alpacas, undifferentiated as to age and sex. The remaining four or five shepherds employed to watch the stock of sheep would not be sufficient to form optimally differentiated flocks. In contrast, a large estate such as Sollocota, with some fifty colonos, maintained highly differentiated flocks: ewes placed with rams for fertilization; ewes with lambs up to six months old; yearlings separated by sex; rams; ewes between weaning of their last lamb and new fertilization; one- and two-year-old wethers; lambing flocks (pregnant ewes after separation from the rams); slaughter animals (three-year-old wethers and five- to six-year-old ewes). In addition, Sollocota kept fourteen differentiated cattle herds, two flocks of alpacas, one flock of transport llamas, and two colonos in charge of the riding horses.[68]

Ideally such a careful regime of flocks and herds differentiated according to annual reproduction cycles should have produced certain productivity gains—through higher rates of reproduction and efficient use of pastures—even without any further investments. Thus, ideally, agglomeration of land into large estates should have brought productivity increases. But the gains seem to have been small. In 1909 Picotani's 20,844 adult sheep produced about 2.5 pounds of wool per head, only slightly more than the average for all estates.[69] No estate could easily escape the complex set of conditions that kept productivity low. They were inextricably intertwined with the logic, or the "rules of play," of altiplano society.

Hacendados pursued a strategy of maximizing their livestock even to the point of risking fodder shortages.[70] Ranchers relied nearly exclusively on unimproved natural pastures,[71] and availability of fodder fluctuated sharply from year to year and from season to season. Many estates strove to bring their livestock capital to a level at which the carrying capacity of the pastures would be fully used during the season with plentiful fodder. Toward the end of the dry season, between September and November, fodder became scarce and mortality rates increased. In Sollocota's ledgers the following entries appeared for the animals entrusted to the shepherd Agapito Montesinos in 1906: "October 15, 2 ewes dead (because of weak-


ness [por flacas ])"; "November 19, 2 ewes dead (because of weakness)"; "November 22, 1 ewe and 2 rams dead (because of weakness)"; "December 10, 4 ewes and 1 ram dead (because of weakness)."[72]

Haciendas set aside some of the best pastures, those maintaining moisture longest, for the dry season and constructed stone fences around these moyas. Some pastures produced fresh fodder months after the last rains in March or April through small irrigation works.[73] But these moyas had "only a small extension," often insufficient to tide all animals over the long months without rain.[74] And the shepherds did not always respect the moyas. They had the "shamelessness," lamented one administrator, to put their own huacchos on the fresh pastures, leaving the grazed, exhausted pasture for the estate animals.[75]

Agronomists and livestock technicians had no doubt that hacendados "preferred quantity to quality." "Don't we see here livestock ranches with numerous flocks of animals that are nearly always skinny and little developed?" the veterinarian A. Declerq from Peru's National Agricultural School asked in a lecture before the Sociedad Nacional de Agricultura in 1907. "What is the cause of this state of affairs? It is only the disproportion between the number of animals and the quantity of fodder."[76] This choice of "quantity over quality" both expressed and reinforced a vicious circle like those encountered by other Third World economies, from which it is so difficult to escape: because the productivity of each animal was low, hacendados aimed for maximum stock, which in turn perpetuated low productivity. To choose significantly lower levels of stock heightened the danger of invasions of temporarily vacant pastures by neighboring hacendados and community peasants, initiating a downward spiral of hacienda resources: a further need to reduce livestock capital, in its turn inviting further invasions, and so on. Under conditions of high risk, insecurity, and disputed rights to resources, the efficient estate maximized livestock capital, even if this approach lowered productivity.[77]

This rationality informed the strategy of stock reproduction adopted by most hacendados. The German agronomist Karl Kaerger calculated from the livestock inventory of an estate near Juliaca, a few kilometers southwest of Azángaro province, that only forty live lambs were produced per one hundred fertile ewes annually.[78] Statistics for several estates in Azángaro confirm these low rates of reproduction (table 8.2). By comparison, on the Hacienda de Hermanas, one of the vast ranches belonging to the Sanchez Navarro family in the state of Coahuila, Mexico, even in 1847 more than ninety lambs were born to one hundred ewes. In the western United States lamb crops of range-herded sheep averaged nearly 80 percent by the early


TABLE 8.2. Composition of Sheep Flocks on Three Estates (percentages in parentheses)


Picotani, 1909

Picotani,  1915

Sollocota, 1928



786 (3.0)

1,970 (5.8)

139 (1.1)

58 (4.3)


11,782 (45.3)

16,845 (49.6)

5,974 (45.4)

625 (46.0)


3,770 (14.5)

6,104 (18.0)

1,902 (14.5)

185 (13.6)


4,506 (17.3)

3,985 (11.7)

2,632 (20.0)

281 (20.7)


5,143a (19.8)

5,071b (14.9)

2,499 (19.0)

209 (15.4)


25,987 (99.9)

33,975 (100.0)

13,146 (100.0)

1,358 (99.9)

Lambs as a
   of ewes





a Includes 1,774 crias de vientre (unborn lambs). If a 50 percent mortality rate is assumed for these lambs, the rate of live lambs as a percentage of ewes declines to 36.1 percent.

b Includes 1,376 crias de vientre. With the same assumption as in the previous note, the rate of live lambs declines to 26.0 percent.

c Six-month-old sheep were counted as yearlings. If counted as lambs, the rate of live lambs as a percentage of ewes increases to 52.2 percent.

Sources: Aramburú López de Romaña, "Organización," 15; AFA-S; REPA.

twentieth century, and those of farm sheep, tended in enclosed paddocks, could be as high as 130 to 150 percent.[79]

The major cause for low lambing crops on altiplano estates was mortality among lambs.[80] As many as 50 percent of lambs died during the first six months after birth, most of them during the first few weeks. Another 25 percent of lambs fell to loss or theft.[81] The lambs were born in the open range, during day and night, during lambing periods that lasted for a month or more. Sheepfolds to protect pregnant ewes and newborn lambs from frosts and hail were virtually unknown. Administrators complained that the shepherds "completely neglected" to care for the newborn lambs or appropriated unmarked lambs for their huaccho flocks. Some lambs were not accepted by their mothers, others were accidentally separated from them, and many ewes were too weak to feed their lambs. Lacking intensive supervision, many of these lambs died of starvation, if they were not too sickly to survive in the first place.[82]

With such meager results in each lambing period, altiplano hacendados attempted to maximize the increase of their stock by scheduling up to four lambing seasons each year: the Christmas, March, San Juan's Day, and


Lapaca (Quechua for "stealthy") lambings. Ewes that had not produced a lamb at one of the two major lambings, Christmas and San Juan, were again placed with rams three months later. Many hacendados tried to get two lambs per year from each ewe, expecting at least one lamb to die. They were continuing a practice that the Jesuits had already sought to abandon—without clear success—on their ranches two hundred years earlier. Livestock technicians were advocating only one annual lambing season, around Christmas when the weather was more benign. Experience in Australia and Argentina had shown that this was the way to maximize lambing crops, allowing the shepherds to concentrate attention on each lamb and permitting the ewes to recover their strength.[83]

Stock reproduction was further hampered by the failure to practice selective breeding, by diseases and adult livestock mortality, and by the short life span of sheep. Not only did most hacendados fail to introduce new blood through the purchase of purebred or improved rams, but they also neglected inbreeding through selection of the best ewes and rams from their own flocks. Ewes were culled only because of old age, thus keeping unproductive and infertile animals that depressed the lamb crop. Some 10 percent of adult sheep died annually on most estates because of both malnutrition and diseases.

Bacterial infections were rare in the dry and cold altiplano climate, but parasites such as the ovine ticks (garrapata ), scab mites (sarna ), and various species of worms attacking the sheep's lungs and stomach were endemic, stunting growth, reproductive capacity, and the weight of fleeces. In 1924, after nearly twenty years of striving for improvements on Hacienda Picotani, one of the altiplano's most "reformist" estates, its new administrator was shocked to discover that nearly all its sheep were infected with up to four varieties of worms in addition to being "covered with garrapatas." He warned the owners that if nothing was undertaken immediately, much of the stock might be lost.[84] A number of widespread poisonous weeds, especially the "zenkalayo , of mortiferous effects for the animals," contributed to the precarious health conditions of many flocks.[85]

"The tough and nutrient-poor fodder" that dominated Puno's pastures meant that sheep had to be slaughtered at five years, "at most at six, but sometimes even at four years," because they had lost their teeth.[86] This meant that ewes, first served by rams at eighteen to twenty-four months, could be used only three to four years for reproduction. With annual lambing crops ranging from 20 to 50 percent, each ewe on average produced as few as 0.6 and no more than 2 surviving lambs during its entire life span. These were dangerously low rates of reproduction, which toward the lower end of the range did not guarantee replacement of culled sheep. For


example, the mid-sized Hacienda Huito in Santiago de Pupuja, belonging to Dr. Alejandro Cano Arce, judge on the bench of Puno's superior court, in May 1896 had two flocks of old ewes and two-year-old wethers, altogether 287 animals, which would be slaughtered in July. At the same time the estate had 326 lambs born since the previous June. With a comparatively high lambing crop of 52.2 percent Huito barely managed to increase its stock by less than 3 percent over the year.[87] Lambing crops below 40 percent could be insufficient to replace existing stock.

The stability of estate livestock capitals was precarious in the altiplano. On average, the region's aggregate sheep, alpaca, and cattle population grew at a slow rate of perhaps 3 percent annually during the century after independence. But many estates saw their stock decline over several years, as did peasant smallholders. Lax management of the flocks, instability of borders, endemic livestock rustling, years of drought, sharp frosts, and hail, a livestock epidemic—all could disrupt the precarious balance of flocks and herds. A downward spiral could result, at the end of which small and mid-sized estates remained without livestock capital and the largest estates lost up to two-fifths of their capital during a span of several years. Such unstable, downward-spiraling livestock operations explain the frequent cases of estates sold without stock or with stock considerably below their pastures' carrying capacity. The need to restock was common for the precarious, low-productivity economy of altiplano estates.

Multiple annual lambings required frequent and highly complex movements of sheep between various flocks. Under these conditions rudimentary accounting and lax maintenance of livestock ledgers made optimal disposition of the flock nearly impossible. "The majority of estates," wrote Vicente Jiménez in the first practical guide for altiplano ranchers, published in 1902, "keep only sporadic annotations without system or order. The owners are . . . satisfied with lambings irregularly registered by the mayordomo, or with a verbal report by a mere quipu and at times even with the declarations by the shepherd himself, never complete or precise. As a result the livestock capital remains stationary, if it does not suffer losses."[88] Multiple lambings, scarcity of fodder, diseases, high mortality rates, the pervasiveness of livestock rustling, and border insecurity tended to cancel out productivity advantages theoretically achieved by large estates through economies of scale.

But low productivity was not identical to inefficiency. Under the precarious, low-productivity conditions of the altiplano livestock economy, efficient operations made the difference between flourishing estates with high income-earning potential for the owner and decaying, disintegrating estates. Efficient livestock estates were characterized by a stable or growing


livestock population making full use of available pastures; enough colono families to minimize the need for external labor; enough food production for supplying the colonos; well-established marketing networks, including cheap sources for food supplements (maize, coca leaves, alcohol), preferably through barter for the estate's own surplus crops (potatoes) and livestock products; control and supervision of the labor force through at least minimal bookkeeping; and, last but not least, safe and stable borders.

The two major threats to efficient operation of seigneurial livestock estates were posed by rising costs of production and by disintegration. Costs reached critically high levels if the estate failed to produce sufficient crops to feed its resident labor force, if it needed to hire outside labor on a permanent basis, if flocks could not be kept stable and needed to be replenished through purchases, or if disputes over land required expensive litigation. Estates were threatened by disintegration when they were considerably understocked, when control over shepherds was especially weak, and when serious disputes about hacienda lands arose either within the owners' family or with neighbors. All these factors, often interrelated, could cripple estate operations and lead to a serious decline of its income-generating capacity. The owner might be forced to sell, or the hacienda might shrink in size or become atomized. Clearly then, a great difference existed between efficient and inefficient seigneurial livestock estates. But the criteria for efficiency had little to do with capitalist, profit-optimizing modes of operation.

Available sources do not allow us to calculate the rate of return on altiplano livestock estates with any degree of confidence. It varied according to the conjunctures for livestock products and from one estate to the next. Returns depended on the estate's efficiency, on the type of tenure (that is, whether the hacienda was held in fee simple or emphyteusis or was rented), and on the level of debt incurred in the acquisition of land and livestock capital. Large estates usually rendered a greater rate of return than small ones did, not because they were more productive through economies of scale, but because they could more easily achieve the kind of efficiency described above. Their owners were more powerful and could protect their colonos more effectively against abuses by authorities, traders, and the military, crucial for stabilizing a resident labor force. They could use their considerable labor power to fight border incursions and livestock rustlers; on many large haciendas the ratio between resources used for "demesne" production and those given over to the colonos also tended to be more favorable to the owner. Because power was such a vital ingredient in the altiplano's livestock economy, large landowners faced fewer risks of seeing their stock decline or control over land diminish through external and internal siege, with obvious consequences for the rate of return.


The very notion of profit or rate of return renders misleading results for the type of economy prevailing in the altiplano during the early twentieth century. Labor and land were not fully commodified, and the goods produced on an estate did not all enter the market.[89] Calculating market prices for capital, inputs, and labor, as well as for the output of the hacienda, thus exaggerates the amount of capital invested, the costs of production, and the total value of production.[90] If, by contrast, calculations are based merely on the money actually paid and received by the hacendado for the various factors of production and for the estate's output, the results for individual haciendas are no longer comparable. (For example, one hacendado may have purchased his or her estate, whereas another may have inherited or agglomerated land through trickery.) Because the notion of rate of return continued to be so inappropriate for altiplano estates, it is not surprising that accounting for profits and losses was practiced hardly at all. What hacendados cared about in 1910—just as they had in 1830, when José Domingo Choquehuanca differentiated Azángaro's social classes according to wealth—were net revenues, the difference between current gross revenues produced by the estate and the current costs of production.

The meaning of the following widely differing estimates of rates of return, then, should not be exaggerated. In the first years of this century the French traveler Paul Walle visited livestock haciendas in the central sierra, where some hacendados had undertaken considerable efforts to improve their estates. In spite of the high mortality and low productivity of the livestock, ranchers there claimed rates of return (intérêt ) of up to 25 percent and not below 10 percent.[91] Altiplano estates rarely reached Walle's maximum rates of return, except perhaps during the boom years of World War I. During the decade before 1915 they may have hovered around 10 percent. In 1909 Hacienda Picotani was worth about 80,000 soles m.n., more than any other estate in Azángaro province. It sold about 8,000 soles m.n. of wools that year, and additional sales of animals on the hoof, dried meat, tallow, hides, butter, and cheese probably totaled about 4,000 soles m.n. The estate paid wages and salaries, mostly in kind, of 3,498.93 soles m.n. to its permanently employed colonos and administrators. Other expenditures—for livestock medicine, salt, a small number of new stock, legal fees, and incidental wages for special construction projects—were small, perhaps no more than 1,000 soles m.n. Thus, total costs of about 4,500 soles m.n. represented slightly more than a third of the value of production, 12,000 soles m.n. Picotani's net revenues of 7,500 soles m.n. for 1909 would have brought a rate of return of 9.4 percent.[92]


José Sebastian Urquiaga, the large landholder from Azángaro, calculated that in 1916, early in the World War I export boom, an altiplano hacienda of "ten square miles" (about 25,000 hectares) with a livestock capital of 10,000 head of all types and ages, or 7,500 OMR, and average quality pastures, would have cost between 33,750 and 41,250 soles m.n. He suggested that its "net rent" at that moment, "when wool achieved its highest price due to the European war," would amount to 5,000 soles m.n. annually, a rate of return of between 12.1 and 14.8 percent.[93] Because Urquiaga sought to downplay hacendado exploitation, this was perhaps a conservative estimate. In any case, such an average hacienda's "net rent" would have increased over the next two years as a result of even steeper increases in the price of wools.

Ten years later, in 1929, when costs had increased while prices had not recovered high wartime levels, Carlos Barreda, an agronomist and spokesman for reformist ranchers in Puno department, suggested much lower rates of return. "Rigorously calculating the production of a mid-sized estate which is managed by the owner, . . . the utility barely reaches 6 percent of the capital employed." Even this low rate of return was possible only by paying "extremely low" wages to colonos. If shepherds were paid the legally mandated minimum wages, "no hacienda would produce a utility or interest on capital," and at a "rational wage" of 30 soles m.n. per month, "most haciendas would go bankrupt." Barreda concluded that the profit of most altiplano estates "is due . . . to the work of the Indian shepherds converted into utility."[94]

These widely divergent estimates of rates of return, from 6 percent in 1929 to perhaps 15 percent in 1916, in part reflect different conjunctures. More important, however, they demonstrate the imprecision of the measure. With accounting continuing at a rudimentary level in most estates, hacendados simply did not think in terms of capitalist rates of return. It is worth repeating that it was the notion of net revenue that mattered to them, the simple calculation of the difference between the value of the estate's marketed commodities and the cost of production and other regular expenditures. The data confirms for the altiplano the notion well established for Andean estates and haciendas in other parts of Spanish America, that low labor costs were crucial for maintaining large net revenues.[95] Other costs were even lower. Expenditures for tools, improved stock, seeds for pasture, and building materials were so small that they rarely figure in estimates of hacienda production costs.[96] Thus, the fixed capital of the estates remained minimal, limited largely to the simple adobe constructions of the caserío.


Under such conditions rising wage bills would have an immediate, devastating effect on net revenue. Greater outlays for labor allowing a more controlled, regularized work process and making use of increasingly specialized skills made economic sense only if they went hand in hand with capital investments, such as fencing and improved stock and pastures, assuring higher productivity per unit of labor. Initiating such a process was out of the question for most hacendados. They lacked sufficient capital, the credit system was not designed to proffer it, and their control over the estate's resources remained strictly limited. Endemic land invasions and livestock rustling by neighboring hacendados and community peasants and the colonos' stubborn defense of their autonomy made it less than certain that improving landholders could reap any benefits from capital investments. Under the circumstances most old and new hacendado families adopted the least risky strategy for increasing net revenues: they expanded their haciendas, ran more livestock on them, and settled additional colono families, while keeping outlays for land, labor, and inputs of production at a minimum. They did so by making full use of kinship networks, clientalism, and especially their strengthened position vis-à-vis large segments of the altiplano peasantry resulting from many peasants' dependent insertion into dendritic commercialization channels and the provincial elite's greater power of repression.[97]

It would be too simple, however, to identify the low-productivity, "seigneurial" operation of most altiplano livestock estates during the early twentieth century as mere traditionalism, a continuation of how things had been in 1850 or even 1780. Ironically, it was the very structures blocking the emergence of capitalist livestock enterprises that offered the opportunity to hundreds of modest families of mestizos, whites, and even a few affluent Indian peasants to acquire small to mid-sized haciendas. Given the economies of scale in highly productive, capitalized ranching operations, a tidy transition to agrarian capitalism, with secure and well-defined property rights, skilled rural wage laborers, and improved stock grazing on fenced pastures would have resulted in a predominance of latifundism in the altiplano perhaps akin to the vast estancias of Argentina's fertile pampas. The continued and indeed enhanced strength of clientalism, paternalism, and violence as sources of power paradoxically fostered the emergence of middling landholders—owners of small to mid-sized haciendas as well as affluent peasants—rather than blocking it. While locked in a fierce contest over the distribution of resources that reproduced the main colonial divide between Hispanic conquerors and a subordinate Indian peasantry, most gamonal hacendados and Indian peasants joined in re-


jecting attempts to transform the altiplano along the lines of agrarian capitalism.

Attempts to Modernize Livestock Haciendas and the New Stalemate

So far I have stressed how during the two phases of expansion between the late 1850s and 1920 altiplano estates continued to be marked by low productivity and reliance on highly autonomous labor tenants. But after 1900 politicians, intellectuals, agronomists, veterinarians, and even a few practical ranchers wrote and spoke about the need to modernize technical, economic, and social aspects of livestock ranching in Peru. Until the 1920s those not too familiar with the day-to-day problems and the brutal conflicts in the altiplano showed great optimism about the possibility of achieving such modernization in a relatively short time, and they were encouraged by a brief spate of government interest in improving stock raising between 1917 and 1923. The height of the modernizers' enthusiasm was reached during the early 1920s, just when the altiplano haciendas had entered a severe crisis.

In December 1920 Colonel Robert Stordy, a retired colonial officer, delivered a lecture before the Royal Society of Arts in London. He had been tapped by the Peruvian Corporation and President Augusto Leguía to direct an experimental sheep ranch to be established in the department of Puno and had just returned to England after a six-month inspection tour of Peru's livestock raising zones. Stordy fired the imagination of his illustrious audience about the future potential of wool production in this distant land that conjured up "visions of unbound wealth, mystery and fable." "I venture to assert that the breeding and rearing of livestock should prove more valuable to the Republic than its mines," Stordy told the listeners. "In the great Peruvian Cordillera there lies a future pregnant with possibilities; . . . in the practice of sheep husbandry and the conservation and scientific development of the alpaca and vicuña hair industry there are commercial prospects of considerable extent and value." Stordy envisioned the investment of foreign (especially British) capital in altiplano ranches and land, with a core labor force of "a large number of ex-officers and men of the British Army who might be glad to avail themselves of the amenities of an outdoor life, . . . whose habits of discipline and appreciation of work would make them desirable members of the community, and who could . . . do much to raise Peru to that position among the wool and hair producing countries of the world which her natural advantages dictate." All that was needed to set this vast transformation in motion was for the


Peruvian government "to advance her best interests by throwing open large tracts of land for colonization on an extensive scale."[98] In advancing this ingenious plan to solve Britain's problems with unemployed veterans and develop Peru's economy in one stroke, Stordy failed to appraise his audience of the fact that, at the very moment when he spoke, a bitter conflict over increasingly scarce land was raging between hacendados and Indian community peasants in the region that he wanted opened for colonization. Based on racist stereotypes, his insistence on British (especially Scottish) colonists as shepherds because of their "habits of discipline and work" implied the need to remove the Indian peasants from their land to achieve his bountiful vision.

Others, although not sharing Stordy's racist calls for European colonization, foresaw a no less grandiose transformation of Peru's sheep and alpaca industry. Professor L. Maccagno, a zootechnician at Lima's National School for Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, reported in 1924 on what he believed to be a growing disparity between world wool production and consumption and concluded that "Peru is the country best equipped to resolve the crisis. . . . No region in the world presents greater advantages than Peru [for increased wool production]." Maccagno believed that massive investments in ranching, both by national and foreign capitalists, was favored by the "existence of many estates of enormous extension" with "excellent conditions . . . for systematizing and improving pastures and stock."[99]

Confidence in a rapid and profound transformation of Peru's livestock estates into highly productive capitalist enterprises was fueled by the collapse of the wool market in 1920–21. This crisis both demonstrated the vulnerability of the seigneurial estate and the exhaustion of its growth potential and encouraged radical indigenistas to put forth the opposite vision of a rejuvenated Andean peasant community recovering its dominance (see chapter 9). During the first two decades of this century, however, calls for change had a less visionary ring to them, advocating instead gradual improvements toward the desired transformation. To be sure, fundamental critiques of the "semifeudal" hacienda had been voiced even before World War I, and highly productive agrarian enterprises employing proletarianized shepherds were already seen as the solution by many upper-class commentators on rural affairs. But during the heyday of the altiplano estate, politicians and professionals fully expected the hacendados themselves to undertake the required transformation.[100]

Against such expectations, change in the altiplano came painstakingly slow, and by the late 1920s it was evident that it would not soon touch the great majority of livestock estates. The following discussion of investments


in improved livestock operations and attempts to change the labor regime thus concerns only a handful of haciendas in Azángaro and, out of more than a thousand estates, a few dozen in the whole Peruvian altiplano. A tiny minority of "improving landlords" sought to limit colono autonomy and to increase their reliance on wages, strengthen the administrative-supervisory structure of their estates, and invest in more productive stock, pastures, and tools.[101]

Encouraged by the intensifying national debate about feudal exploitation on serrano estates, colonos demanded payment for extraordinary services such as pongueaje and alquilas. When such payments were legislated in 1916, hacendados responded by charging yerbaje , a pasturage fee for the colonos' huaccho flocks, designed to cancel out the need for additional cash payments. Although such fictitious wages and countervailing fees lent a more contractual aspect to labor tenancy, they did not change the estates' day-to-day labor process.[102]

The "improving landlord" needed to be willing and have sufficient capital to increase the shepherds' wages in order to tackle the crucial issue in the transition to modern, productive livestock operations: a significant reduction in the colonos' use of hacienda resources and a complete separation of estate and huacchos flocks. A 1926 report about Hacienda Huacahuta in Melgar province, owned by the Bedoya and Revie Company, clearly indicated this nexus. The present difficulties could be overcome "through the system of enclosed paddocks. . . . Under this new system the Indian will be obliged to pasture his own flock on his own land, leaving the patrón free to improve and develop his hacienda for the benefit of the country and himself. The rancher will be able to pay much higher wages to the Indian, freeing him from the state of semislavery in which he finds himself today."[103]

After 1906, when Manuel Guillermo de Castresana acquired Hacienda Picotani, he began a slow and cautious campaign to limit the usufruct of estate pastures by colonos. In 1908 a differential wage scale was introduced according to which the poorest colonos earned nearly two-thirds higher wages than the richest colonos, a bonus for running only small huaccho flocks on hacienda pastures. The colonos with the largest flocks of huacchos were obliged to sell some of their slaughter animals to the estate at low prices "in order to compensate a bit for the pastures that they use."[104] In September 1911 administrator Carlos Esteves proposed to give the estate's critical lambing flocks to the poorest shepherds, rewarding them "according to their needs, with a bit more avíos. . . . They are more careful in shepherding the flocks and have less need for extensive pastures [for huacchos]." Castresana and his administrator systematically favored


poorer shepherds over the entrenched colonos with large huaccho flocks by shifting the composition of their remuneration toward wages and avíos. Esteves suggested to Castresana that they follow this approach "to subdue the rich colonos a bit, or rather to punish them. It would not matter to you if two or three [rich] shepherds get annoyed; it will be much worse if the advance of your interests continues to suffer. The stock of the hacienda will never increase if they [the rich shepherds] keep on utilizing estate pastures and oppressing [sic ] the estate's animals as they do until today."[105]

Despite Esteves's bravado, Castresana had to walk a tightrope in his endeavor to recover hacienda resources from the colonos and instill greater attention to the estate's livestock in them. As Picotani was expanding rapidly between 1906 and the war years, it needed more shepherds. The richest colonos formed the most stable part of the work force, and alienating them could undermine the stability of Picotani's livestock operation. Although Castresana taxed the shepherds' use of hacienda pastures, he never ordered an actual reduction of huaccho flocks.

The rhythm of change on Picotani picked up only after Castresana's death in 1924, when the hacienda passed into the possession of his nephews and nieces, the children of Eduardo López de Romaña, Peru's president between 1899 and 1903. On the recommendation of the Gildemeister family, owners of Peru's largest sugar estate, they hired a German agronomist as Picotani's new administrator. Having previously worked on a large corporate ranch in the central highlands, this man was in a hurry to make Picotani more productive. Eager to expand the estate's stock, he doubled the average number of sheep in each colono's flock by 1927. He required additional labor from the colonos, increased falla charges against them, and tried to abolish the food supplements. Shepherds unwilling to comply were routinely flogged. The colonos repeatedly protested against this erosion of their customary rights and working conditions to the owners, who warned the foreign administrator about the danger of an "Indian uprising," especially in Picotani where "the colonos formerly enjoyed consideration and good treatment." They ordered him "to change those radical extreme measures of punishment for prudent measures that defend the interests of the hacienda and at the same time are not abusive of the Indians."[106] But by 1928 the situation had come to a head. More than a third of the shepherds abandoned the estate, animal mortality increased, and the quality of wool and meat declined because of overgrazing. The remaining colonos plotted to blow up the caserío. The owners now agreed that the German administrator had to go, bitterly complaining to the Gildemeisters for recommending a man so inappropriate for the delicate task of directing an altiplano livestock estate.[107]


By the early 1930s Picotani had managed to recover its work force, achieve more stable flocks averaging about seven hundred animals, and improve productivity per shepherd and per sheep.[108] But the crucial matter of reducing huaccho flocks and strictly separating them from those of the hacienda had still not been achieved. In fact, huaccho flocks continued to grow, from 11,648 sheep and 7,741 llamas and alpacas in 1929 to 9,971 sheep and 14,722 llamas and alpacas in 1943. In that year the owners, after delaying for over a decade for fear of the colonos' reaction, finally approved a plan to castrate huaccho rams and designate a special flock of hacienda rams to breed huacchos. The goal was to improve the blood of huacchos so that accidental crossbreeding would be less damaging to improved hacienda flocks. During the years until the agrarian reform in the early 1970s, huacchos were reduced to about one-eighth of their number in 1943. Although the number of colonos declined by nearly 50 percent, from 66 in 1935 to 35 in 1969, the estate's stock was reduced by no more than 20 percent, and productivity per animal probably continued to rise.[109]

As early as the 1920s some colonos acquired specialized skills, for example, sheep shearing or supervising of lambings.[110] Basic medical service had been provided to the colonos since before 1920, but Picotani established a primary school for colono children only in 1946, more than three decades after the first schools opened in peasant communities.[111] As the owners sought to push back the colonos' peasant economy and create a more skilled work force, they increased wages, first between 1908 and 1911, then during the late 1920s, and again after World War II. Between 1906 and 1948 nominal wages went up elevenfold, perhaps double the increase for retail food prices.[112] As cash wages became more important, Picotani's owners had to relinquish their attempts to block direct commercial ties between the estate's work force and outside traders.

Efforts to change the traditional colonato regime, with its high degree of autonomy of shepherd families and their lack of modern sheep-ranching skills, began in earnest only during the years of the World War I bonanza. Colonos resisted these efforts almost immediately, seeking to block any erosion of their autonomy. In 1917, with the bloody attack on Pio León Cabrera's Hacienda Hanccoyo in the mountainous border region between Azángaro and Sandia provinces and a little-known uprising in Hacienda Huasacona, Muñani district, colonos rose up against their patrones for the first time.[113] During the 1920s they organized militant protests on numerous haciendas in Azángaro and adjacent provinces in Puno and southern Cuzco. Often in contact with the broad movement of community peasants sweeping the southern highlands, the colonos nevertheless pursued their own agenda. They protested against limits on huaccho flocks,


steep fees for hacienda pastures, forced breeding programs designed to change the quality and color of their huacchos, and restrictions on the sale of their livestock products. "Unionist" demands, typical for rural workers, were not absent but secondary. They included limits on the size of flocks, no reduction of food subsidies, and compensation for special services such as alquila and pongueaje.[114]

Riots, protests, and participation in rebellions by colonos began to block and channel changes in the labor regime. By 1930 the grand designs for transforming the region's sheep and alpaca industry into a high-productivity business based on wage labor had failed. The direction and speed of change on modernizing estates became steadier, slower, and more predictable. The colonato would not be abolished, but use rights of the shepherds would gradually be limited and huaccho flocks reduced and separated from hacienda flocks. The weight of wages in shepherds' total remuneration increased, and colonos acquired special skills. By the 1950s the labor system on modernizing estates had become contractual. On a few estates, such as Posoconi in Asillo, labor unions submitted lists of demands to management in the name of all colonos. There the old paternalism, if it survived at all, degenerated to mere folklore.

This gradually evolving contractual colonato retained some basic features of the old while removing obstacles for highly productive, capital-intensive ranching.[115] Not unlike other labor-tenancy regimes on modernizing estates, such as its namesake on Brazil's coffee fazendas , it continued to keep the cost of labor down and reduced the hacendado's risks during cyclical crises caused by declining commodity prices, livestock epidemics, or harsh weather. These landlord gains were achieved after decades of gradual, piecemeal changes and then only by a small group of modernizers. Before 1920 they had hardly made a dent in reforming the altiplano estates' labor regime.[116]

Isolated technical changes preceded reforms of the labor regime on modernizing estates, but their effectiveness necessarily remained limited. Attempts to improve the breed of sheep through the importation of rams from Europe and Argentina began as early as the 1840s, and after the 1890s they became more regular.[117] But before 1920 they showed minimal results. The few imported purebred animals quickly died from diseases, and no infrastructure existed to keep their improved-breed offspring separated from the great majority of degenerate animals.[118] Prodded by the experimental sheep ranch that began operating in Chuquibambilla, Melgar province, in 1921, some modernizing estates, among them San José, Sollocota, and Picotani, began to import large numbers of purebred rams from Argentina. By the early 1930s Picotani maintained a few flocks of purebred


Corriedale and Rambouillet sheep and larger numbers of three-fourths and half-blooded sheep; even these animals produced 70 to 150 percent more wool than did the unimproved criollos.[119] During the 1920s some estates finally altered reproductive cycles to one annual lambing season, devoting special care to the survival of the newborn lambs.[120]

Beginning in the early years of this century, a few improving hacendados invested in technical facilities, such as sheepfolds, shearing knives or scissors or, on one estate, even a hydraulic machine for the wool clip, sheep dips to combat parasites, and wool-washing installations and presses.[121] Use of trucks to transport hacienda products to railroad stations, eliminating conflicts with colonos over alquila services, began only in the 1920s. During the mid-twentieth century truck transport revolutionized the altiplano's marketing system, benefiting haciendas and peasant communities alike.[122]

Some hacendados undertook to increase the efficiency of their estate's administration, indispensable if they hoped to tighten control over colonos and introduce more regulated, "scientific" methods of livestock raising. Instead of the rudimentary ledgers registering avíos and the livestock added to or subtracted from the shepherds' flocks, modernizing haciendas now kept numerous accounts, meticulously recording the disposition and productivity of the different types of stock, the results of the annual wool clip and slaughter, the dispatch of hacienda products to market, remaining products and supplies on hand in the warehouse, the disposition of the flocks, and payments to and debts of the colonos.[123] Improving landlords hired more quipus and rodeantes from among their colonos. A handful of administrators now had some training in agronomy; others at least possessed basic skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic, a far cry from the semiliterate mayordomos still the norm on altiplano estates as late as the 1870s. It remained rare for an owner's son to study agronomy before taking over the parental estate.[124] Increasingly, sons of large landholders from the altiplano sought an education preparing them for urban careers, as they were loath to be directly associated with the management of their parental estates, deemed feudal and antiprogressive by public opinion even before the onset of the crisis in 1920.

Technical change came slowest where it most directly interfered with the labor regime. This was true especially of the introduction of artificial pastures and of fencing, measures of strategic importance for increasing productivity yet also inimical to the colonos' autonomy. Around the turn of the century Alberto Gadea, the director of Puno's Colegio San Carlos, experimented with new, more nutritive strains of pasture, and more hacendados planted barley as additional livestock feed.[125] But these examples did not catch on. Any serious effort to tackle the increasing problem of in-


sufficient feed required fencing in order to protect the young shoots of improved grasses or barley until they matured. Indeed, during the war boom several altiplano hacendados began to fence in pastures, preparing to plant high-nutrition grasses.[126] They encountered immediate and adamant resistance by the colonos, who understood full well that fences would lead to exclusion of their huaccho flocks from the estates.

As late as the 1960s fences remained exceptional in the altiplano. The great majority of hacendados, of course, had never even attempted to invest in seeds for high-nutrition grasses or in fencing, in part because they lacked funds or credit to do so. The obstacles to augmenting fodder by these means presented the most immediate motivation for hacendados to acquire additional land during the years of rising demand for wool, allowing them to keep larger flocks. Lack of fencing also forced hacendados to keep the size of flocks within conventional limits to avoid loss or predation. With increasing livestock capital, estate owners inevitably had to employ more shepherds.

The Andean Hacienda Revisited

Our current understanding of the Andean estate as it operated between the late nineteenth century and the 1960s owes much to the pioneering work of three economists, Juan Martínez Alier, Shane Hunt, and Geoffrey Bertram.[127] All three rejected the widespread image of Andean seigneurial estates as feudal or semifeudal enterprises whose inefficiency and apparent waste of resources reflected the social parasitism and lack of entrepreneurial spirit of the hacendados, latifundists who relentlessly and brutally exploited their Indian "serfs." All three authors sought to demonstrate that the persistence of labor tenancy made economic sense from the perspective of both hacendado and colono as long as certain assumptions prevailed. In concluding this chapter, I summarize Bertram's discussion of the hacienda, which draws and expands on the work of Keith Griffin, Martínez Alier, and Hunt, and then highlight how my own discussion goes beyond the 1970s revisionism.

Bertram suggests that because of sociopolitical conditions the opportunity costs of land were lower for the large landholder than they were for the peasant. Andean hacendados attempted to monopolize land in order to manipulate other markets, especially those for labor and credit. Wage labor does not automatically represent a more advanced type of relations of production than labor tenancy does. Because both hacendado and colono were rational actors, the choice between the two systems "rests upon the efficiency and profitability in production for external markets, in the case


of the landowner, and the comparison between the cash wage offered and the value of usufruct access to land for the colono." Labor tenancy will prevail as long as the value of a year's access to a plot of land for the colono is higher than the cash wage for a year's labor on the hacienda, and the value of a year's labor is in turn higher than the opportunity cost of the same plot for the hacendado. Under these conditions both hacendado and peasant are better off than they would be in a system based exclusively on payment by means of a cash wage.

The peasant enterprise, employing the labor of the whole family and redistributing the output, constituted the underpinning of the Andean hacienda. Colonos preferred it to wage labor also because it provided security and employment to all members of the family and a safety cushion in difficult times. "Unless there is full employment in the wider system," guaranteeing "any member of the peasant enterprise employment at the prevailing wage rate," the peasant enterprise will use its members' labor even when its marginal product is substantially below the prevailing wage rate and will tenaciously defend the access to land on which it is based. Bertram, following Martínez Alier, saw proof for this assertion in the fact that expulsion of a colono from a hacienda was often considered punishment.

This system comes under pressure through exogenous change, especially through increases in the price paid for hacienda products. The hacendado will seek to raise productivity and to work more of the land directly, in "demesne." With a sufficient increase in the value of estate lands, the hacendado will try to abandon the labor tenancy regime altogether in favor of wage labor. In an open economy—one in which the landlord does not automatically possess the type of power requisite for keeping his or her opportunity costs for land and labor stable—the balance of class forces ultimately determines the capacity of the landlord to carry out such changes. "The same forces which led the hacienda to seek to expand could also produce a countervailing (though not equal) strengthening of the peasantry's motive and ability to resist." The notorious slowness with which innovations such as enclosures, specialization of labor, new crop types, improved pastures, and new stock breeds have been introduced on serrano estates during the twentieth century was due not to the "feudal" mentality of the large landlords but rather to the strength of Indian opposition. Bertram concludes that the "hacienda has thus been an agent of progress (in the sense of modernization of the rural sector) while the peasantry has been conservative." Peasants calculated that the benefits of modernization would accrue primarily to other groups while they would have to bear the costs.[128]


How does this analysis fit into the preceding discussion of altiplano livestock estates? In order to stress the economic rationality of the Andean agrarian structure, Bertram and Martínez Alier confound and conflate the issue of the incorporation of peasants into the estate with the issue of alternative labor regimes, labor tenancy or wage labor. The expansion of the hacienda would be explicable by the same shift of relative factor costs as the expansion of hacienda demesne production. Indeed, these authors see both processes as essentially one and the same thing: in reaction to increasing commodity prices hacendados reclaimed old lands of the hacienda to which they possessed titles dating to colonial times but which they had not worked because of a lack of a market. This construct clearly does not explain the great majority of land transfers from peasants to hacendados in the altiplano during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It allows the authors to disregard issues of ideology and culture involved in the incorporation of peasants and their land into haciendas. From the perspective of the peasants, this process represented a totally distinct and much less cataclysmic change than did any attempt to switch from labor tenancy to wage labor, even though, from the perspective of the hacendado, both could be understood as reactions to changing relative prices.

Most authors writing on the Latin American hacienda, including Bertram, Hunt, and Martínez Alier, assume that estates held land far in excess of productive needs, primarily as a mechanism to pry loose labor from the Indian community sector. But this assertion is difficult to prove, and the case of the altiplano seems to contradict it. Land not regularly used by its putative owner was likely to be invaded by peasants or neighboring hacendados. When the market improved for livestock products after the 1850s, hacendados required both more labor and more land. The acquisition of land cannot be explained simply as a ploy to incorporate more labor into the estate. At the same time, the incorporation of more labor cannot be said to have been the consequence of the monopolization of land by hacendados. In fact, by the late 1910s, when the extraordinary expansion of the hacienda sector had largely run its course, additional labor requirements were, it appears, met less by transfers from the communities to the haciendas and more by shifts of colonos from one estate to another.[129]

During the phase of expansion the willingness of community peasants to work as colonos on estates should not be explained primarily by hacienda monopolization of land. More important factors were the increasing commercial dependence of peasants on gamonales eager to use their credit and compadrazgo relationships as a means to incorporate both the land and the labor of their clients into new or expanding estates; demographic pressures from within the peasant communities, which did not automatically derive


from hacienda expansion itself; and finally the greater concentration of effective force in the hands of provincial hacendado elites. Altogether the significance of the shift from freeholder to colono, from the ideological perspective of the peasant, was perhaps less dramatic than commonly assumed. When peasants passed into the sphere of hacienda control, together with their families, their livestock, and their land, they were changing one patrón, the district governor or some other authority, for another, the hacendado. Gavin Smith has captured this shift aptly for the central Peruvian highlands by suggesting that hacienda expansion may be understood as part of a community coming under the sway of an hacendado, while not necessarily severing ties with and participation in the trunk community.[130]

Not only did hacienda colonos and community peasants have more in common and, indeed, show a greater overlap than usually assumed, but they also showed a similar kind of internal differentiation. The minority of colonos with no or very little livestock, and no or very little family labor to rely on, enjoyed considerably fewer benefits from their peasant enterprise than most others did. They were more open to the lures of modernizing estate owners when these sought to shift the balance of remunerations from usufruct rights to wage payments. Poor colonos relativize the notion of Martínez Alier and Bertram that dismissal from the estate was considered punishment. A small number of colonos in the altiplano were quite mobile by the early twentieth century, moving between estates in search of the best remunerations. Martínez Alier's argument that the situation of labor tenants was more favorable than that of community freeholders thus has to be specified both in terms of the period and the specific strata of colonos and types of estates.[131]

Only the massive transfer of land from the peasant sector to the estate sector between the late 1850s and 1920 created more favorable animal/land ratios in the estate sector than existed in communities of peasant freeholders. But even by 1910 or 1920 peasants integrated as colonos into newly formed small estates often had no more pastureland available for their own flocks than they had controlled previously as community freeholders.[132]

To understand the resilience of seigneurial livestock estates based on labor tenancy, we need to go beyond a consideration of commodity, labor, and land markets. Changes in these markets were a necessary condition for the transition toward capital-intensive agrarian enterprises using wage labor. But they were never sufficient to bring about these changes. The cost of capital, the high-risk environment, the neocolonial mode of constructing power, and peasant resistance to such power "explain" the reluctance of


owners of seigneurial estates to undertake their modernization even when other relative factor costs favored such change.

Long-term credit for capital improvement projects continued to be unavailable in the altiplano during the early twentieth century, except for small amounts raised locally at usurious rates. Hacendados constantly feared attacks on their livestock, invasions of their pastures, and destruction of their installations. The massive transfer of land from peasant communities heightened these risks. Although the Peruvian state had sought to strengthen the legal guarantees for private property after the 1850s, this attempt proved largely ineffective in the altiplano. The same landholders who demanded guarantees for rural property owners relied on clientalism, the peasants' acceptance of charismatic authority, and, as an ultimate resort, violence to expand their holdings.

What Bertram called "class constellations" were closely connected to this high-risk environment; indeed, such constellations underlay the lack of definition of rights in resources. Most colonos resisted the improving landlords' attempts to banish their huaccho flocks and turn them into rural proletarians, and not merely because their own peasant enterprise generated more income than they could trust wages to do. Wealthy colonos such as the Mullisacas in Picotani, original residents of the place who for more than a century had raised their alpacas and sheep and exercised far-flung trading activities under the umbrella of the hacienda, but also many of the thousands of peasants recently incorporated into estates, did not consider the hacendados to be owners of the land they were working. They accepted the right of the hacendados to exploit the resources of their estates and to their family's labor, as long as the hacendados respected their rights to the usufruct of hacienda pastures and crop lands. The hacienda sector was highly successful in expanding its share of resources, including land, between the 1860s and 1920, but estate owners did not have the same free disposition over these resources that a capitalist entrepreneur enjoys.

It is misleading to speak of the hacendado as the progressive, modernizing element in the altiplano's rural economy of the early twentieth century, and the peasant, either in the community or on an estate, as the conservative force. Most hacendados, like most of the peasants, clung to labor-intensive, low-productivity methods of production not because they were intrinsically conservative but because they offered the most secure way to keep a tenuous hold on resources, especially land. Eventually, a minority of peasants, like their counterparts among the large landholders, sought to invest in more intensive exploitation of their estancias. There was no iron law that condemned them to becoming either proletarians or


increasingly archaic peasants on shrinking plots of poor lands; they were not automatically condemned to exemplify the notions of either Lenin or Chayanov, as David Lehman has remarked.[133] The blocked development of productivity on the altiplano's haciendas, just as among the community peasants, cannot, in the last instance, be explained in terms of relative factor costs. It was the consequence of a neocolonial society in which rights to resources were contested and fragmentary and in which liberal notions of property and contract did not become fully accepted. As long as this colonial heritage remained strong, hacendados and peasants alike would waver between a profit-optimizing, high-risk strategy of investing into more intensive livestock production and the conventional risk-averting path of capital-extensive production embedded in social relations of hierarchy (patron-client relationships) and solidarity (within networks of family and friends). The seigneurial hacienda and the communal peasant economy formed two sides of the same coin.

The implementation of modern stock-raising methods on a broad scale presupposed their acceptance by the majority of hacendados, colonos, and community peasants alike and required multifaceted changes on individual estates. The successful introduction of such improvements as selective breeding, fencing, artificial pastures, and reductions of stocks in order to achieve optimal productivity per animal implied not merely technical changes but a major reorientation in the relations of production, intimately tied to the system of social stratification. Questions concerning the capital intensity of production were intertwined with the labor regime and the land tenure pattern. Selective breeding made sense only if hacendados could separate their own livestock from that of colonos. Providing sufficient fodder for hacienda livestock implied, at a minimum, limiting access of the colonos' huaccho flocks to estate pastures or even switching to a system of wage labor without usufruct rights. Reducing stock capital presupposed a land tenure pattern with universally recognized and respected borders.

Tied up with the capital-extensive agrarian complex of the altiplano was a whole sociopolitical system of domination, a value system and a life-style that gave even rather marginal hacendados a favorable place in provincial society. A livestock economy in which market forces reign unimpeded would have undermined this world, in which hacendados commanded respect as much for their family origin, social status, public office, and patterns of consumption as for their economic resources.[134] Introducing a system of wage labor would weaken the clientalistic, paternalistic structure of Azángaro's estates and society at large. Although the most affluent hacendados might have benefited from agrarian capitalism, the majority of estate owners would have seen their social status threatened.


Recently historians writing on large landed estates in Latin America during the "age of export economies" have sought to stress how much the institution changed during the decades between the continent's more intensive insertion into world markets through railroad and steamship and the Great Depression of 1929–32. Simon Miller concluded an article on Mexican cereal estates by arguing that "far from being a 'feudal' anachronism of artificial and foreign origins, the arable hacienda of the Mesa Central was in fact a dynamic and appropriate adaptation to nineteenth century Mexico and capable of significant capital accumulation."[135] Likewise, Michael Jimenez suggests that before 1930 coffee hacienda owners in Colombia's Cundinamarca state were "travelling far in grandfather's car" by consolidating recently formed or expanded estates and adapting them to changing labor and market conditions.[136]

We have certainly come a long way since the first third of this century, when indigenista, populist, liberal, or Marxist critics of the Spanish American hacienda decried it as feudal and archaic, an obstinate, anachronistic remnant of a long-passed colonial age. I have tried to show how the altiplano estate of the early twentieth century was the product of struggles over land and labor between various strata of hispanized landholders, community peasants, and labor tenants. It adapted to changing markets, transportation systems, commercial hierarchies, and power constellations in the province and nationally. It would not make much sense to view the altiplano hacienda at its apogee, the boom years between the 1890s and the end of World War I, as a mere remnant of the colonial regime. After all, half of the haciendas in 1920 had not existed a hundred years earlier. Most of their owners did not come from a closed, preexisting stratum of colonial large landholders; rather, they were the recent beneficiaries and protagonists of struggles with the peasantry, a self-made group of hacendados who skillfully and often ruthlessly exploited newly arising commercial and political opportunities.

Yet if we look inside the hacienda, at its labor regime and technical-economic aspects, we cannot avoid the conclusion that change came exceedingly piecemeal and slow, that hacendados adapted to new commercial opportunities primarily by expanding the scope of long-standing practices. Why did altiplano livestock ranchers travel less far in grandfather's car than did owners of Colombian coffee fincas or central Mexican cereal haciendas?

Part of the answer may lie in the nature of the production process. Altiplano ranching was highly decentralized, with different flocks and colonos' cabañas often miles apart. Centralized or centrally coordinated labor processes occupied no more than eight to ten weeks every year. Entrenched decentralized production processes such as these would have been difficult to turn around under any circumstances. Altiplano ranchers


also had a certain amount of bad luck. In contrast to their Colombian colleagues, they were hit with a severe crisis and a period of volatile markets immediately on the tails of the great expansion of their landholdings, leaving them little time for internal consolidation and modernization. Hacendados were also hampered by the high cost of capital and difficulties of transportation, even though by the 1920s more roads had been constructed in Puno department than just about anywhere else in Peru.

But the fundamental problem was the very nature of the altiplano's hierarchical and segmented neocolonial society. By neocolonialism I am not referring primarily to any dependence that might have continued to tie the altiplano, now by strings of commerce rather than sovereignty, to an overseas metropolis. Rather, I am referring to the revitalized strength of a colonial mind-set polarizing society into Indians and Spaniards or whites; to the ambiguity, among all social groups in the altiplano, between clinging to the security in hierarchical or communal associations and taking advantage of new commercial opportunities; and to the willingness, or perhaps the perceived inevitability, of actors among all social groups to rely on force and violence in the pursuit of personal or group interests.

This neocolonialism of the altiplano's late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries socioeconomic and political matrix allowed large landholders to expand the land formally under their control but blocked the universal recognition of property rights and, hence, full rights of disposition for the hacendados. It allowed hacendados to integrate Indian laborers into their expanding domains at minimal costs but blocked the transition toward a wage-labor regime. Neocolonialism facilitated the cycle between the 1860s and 1920 in which hispanized landholders came to control an increasing share of altiplano resources, but it also constituted the basis of Indian peasant resistance against that expanded control.

The practices of paternalism, coercion, and violence, through which the hispanized provincial elite defined the community peasants and colonos as Indian and subordinate, reinforced the Indians' own perception of their identity as distinct and taught them the continued usefulness of communal solidarity and of maintaining their peasant livelihoods. In a real sense neocolonialism informed both the strength of the landlord offensive and the strength of peasant resistance against it. The peak of hacienda expansion nearly coincided with the hacendados' attempts to initiate internal transformations on their domain and the peasants' "internal" and "external" resistance against both. When this resistance was followed, in 1920, by the collapse of the booming market for wools, hacendados and peasants, the minority of modernizers and the majority of "traditionalists" among both groups, entered a new phase of stalemate.


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.


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