South America

Peru History – Organization of the Viceroyalty

According to agooddir, the establishment of the new order started by La Gasca, which before leaving (but kept it hidden until his departure) with a reorganization of the repartimientos reduced in number and privileges, it was after short viceregal or presidential governments completed by the viceroy Andrés Hurtado de Mendoza, Marquis of Cañete (1556-1561), who combined the prudence and cunning of La Gasca with the energetic and unscrupulous obstinacy of Blasco Núñez. He sent back to Spain or sent in search and conquest of new lands or, if necessary, mercilessly executed the most turbulent of conquerors; while trying to solve the fundamental political problem posed by the conquest but not yet resolved. The Inca empire had been brutally overthrown with terror; but the power of the Inca continued to spiritually dominate the country. Murdered by an almagrist (Gomez Pérez) who took refuge with him the legitimate Inca Manco Capac, and that Cristóbal Paullo died, proclaimed to the Spaniards, that La Gasca had given him as successor, he continued to reign venerated, from his mountain recess of Vilcacamba, a son of the first, Sairi Tupac. Mendoza managed to enter into negotiations with him and persuade him to reduce himself to Lima, where he awarded him an income of 20,000 ducats on the encomiende of Sacsahuana and Yucay, together with the title of adelantado. On the contrary, the viceroy allowed him to go to Cuzco, where the Inca, baptized with the name of Diego, died three years after submission. The viceregal construction of which the Marquis of Cañete had laid the foundations developed rapidly in a few years with the Viceroy Francisco de Toledo, Count of Oropesa (1569-1881). With him the Gordian knot was brutally cut, which Cañete deluded himself to have untied: the persistence of that Inca court, albeit nominal, of Vilcacamba, “refuge of robbers”, “wolf’s den” (the Spaniards said), which constituted the last inviolate shrine of religious idols and of the Indian national spirit that fed vain hopes restlessness of the conquered people and was used by the revolting Spaniards. It was necessary to dig out that Tupac Amaru, son of Manco Capac too, who reigned there. A mixed column of Spaniards and natives, which entered Vilcacamba by surprise, took over the Inca; a formally legal process condemned him to death as a “tyrant and traitor” and his head, a legitimate descendant of the greatest of the Incas, Huayna Capac, rolled from the gallows on the square of Cuzco, like that of any adventurer, of a Almagro or a Pizarro or a Carvaial (1571). The tragedy struck the soul of the Indian people much more than the end of Atahualpa, usurper, after all, of the Inca throne: Tupac Amaru remained the hero of the oppressed race over the centuries and his gallows Calvary and the symbol of the resurrection. When, hacienda or financial management, the cacique of Tungasuca, Don José Gabriel Condorcanqui, raised among Creoles but claiming his Inca origin, will poke against the methods of Spanish indigenous politics and the abuses and abuses of its perpetrators, more than against Spain, the tragic blaze of that kind of jacquerie India suffocated in blood (it is estimated that about 80,000 Indians left their lives there) after having covered Upper and Lower Peru with ruins and massacres; the last Indian national hero will take back the name of Tupac Amaru and in 1781 he will consecrate in Cuzco with an even more tragic death than the distant ancestor (he will be pulled into a ponytail, quartered and strangled) the brief dream of the resurrection of his race, if not perhaps (according to some at least) the largest and most luminous of an independent Indio-Iberian Peru.

However, the administration of Francisco de Toledo does not only mark the material and spiritual end of the Inca domination over Peru; but also the crowning, one can say, of the Spanish viceregal construction which then lasted for almost three centuries. While indeed with its famous ordenanzas adopted after having visited the country in detail in the space of five years, it laid the foundations of the local administrative organization; he – to improve the fate of the indigenous people, if not to radically solve the indigenous problem – organized their relations with the government and with the dominant element on the basis of more equitable taxes (collection of them by the caciques or indigenous leaders), of a greater justice, of a more effective and human evangelization (the civil and human work of old and new religious Spanish preferably in the city to leave the countryside more free to the indigenous one) and in that of work. To thisurban corregidores, alcaldi and royal officers, down to the encomanderos) and for a hundred different jobs, and instead instituted a kind of general civil conscription (the mita), with the distribution of the indigenous people subjected to it – privileged myth of mercury, of the ‘silver, gold; mita secondary of plowed earth, of the vineyard, coca, etc., on the basis of the demographic consistency of the various regions, in quantitative limits (from 1 / 7 to 1 / 5 of the male population able to work depending on the various mitas) – and with well-established rules. The indigenous problem was for the Peruvian Solon a land problem: having taken the arable land from the Indian to give it to the Spaniard, that servitude, which by right the crown, the Church, the viceroys wanted to be abolished, became in fact inevitable ; and with it the destruction of that indigenous race which was sincerely wanted to be saved for political and economic reasons as well as religious and human ones.

However, between the Spanish conquest and the administration of Oropesa, a new factor had come to complicate and completely dominate the indigenous problem: the rapid development, that is, of the mining industry and with it the problem of labor for non-profit purposes. more agricultural only, but also and above all mining. The old agricultural Peru of the Incas was succeeded by the mining of the Spaniards.

Certainly in 1544 – but it is probable even earlier – the silver mass of the Turkey oak of Potosí was discovered and in 1545 the Villa Imperial de Potosí was created; in 1564 the exploitation of the mercury mines of Huancavelica began and the Villa Rica de Oropesa rose between the mountain and the river of the same name; immediately afterwards Pedro Fernández de Velasco introduced to Peru, in the production of silver, the new method of amalgamation (with mercury), instead of fusion, discovered shortly before (1554) in the Mexican mines of Pachuca by Bartolomeo de Medina, and s ‘he inaugurated the Spanish policy of associating the silver mercury in the field of labor (mita silver and mita of mercury) no less than in the economic-financial one (free the production of silver, but monopolized the prejudicial one of mercury). Silver and mercury will thus become two poles of the economy, the two maximum ends of Iberian domination in Peru, and Potosí and Huancavelica will enrich, but also depopulate, Peru with a system of work too comfortable for mining capitalism to be abandoned (in 1603 Potosí it employed 30,000 indigenous people between wage earners and Indios de cédula de repartimiento or mitayos, but 5 of these cost the mine farmer as much as a single wage Indian).

Thus the Indian servitude through the mita (still standing at the beginning of the 19th century) and other forms of forced labor in substance even if formally free (that in particular of the Janaconas, Indians exempt from the myth and the tax, but forced in compensation to work the land of the owner, keeping only a small plot of it for himself), as through the forced repartimiento (distribution among the Indians of the district of the goods that the correadores – the local administrative officials increasingly replaced the encomanderos and called by a spirit viceroy “diphthongs of traders and judges” – at the beginning of their management and then implemented at the price of a thousand oppressions even if not always with adequate profits), it perpetuated itself in Peru, despite the contrary intentions of the government, the condemnation of the Church, the solemn proclamations of the crown. Even in 1657 Padilla dared to make revelations on the condition of the natives, which filled with horror and led to the promulgation of new and no less vain laws of indigenous protection (1664). Only towards the end of the eighteenth century, when the Indian uprising of the Condorcanqui was ruthlessly repressed, did the administration of the viceroy Jáuregui y Aldecoa (1780-84) seriously study the causes of Indian discontent and the relative remedies; ordenanzas regie of January 28, 1782 (suppression of the corregidores ; division of the viceroyalty into seven, then increased to eight, stewardships, divided in turn into partidos ; abolition of the most hateful forms of tax revenue and their replacement with other less vexing ones).

Peru History - Organization of the Viceroyalty