Rebellion of Túpac Amaru II

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Rebellion of Túpac Amaru II
Picture of Tupac Amaru II in the Andean mountains of Perú
DateNovember 4, 1780  March 15, 1783
Viceroyalty of Peru and Audence of Charcas (now Bolivia) in Pacific coast of South America
Result Spanish victory
Bandera de Espana 1760-1785.svg Spanish Empire
Aymara and Quechua rebels
(together with: whites, mestizos and blacks subleved[ clarification needed ])
Commanders and leaders

Agustín de Jáuregui
Juan José de Vértiz y Salcedo
José del Valle
José Antonio de Areche
Antonio Arriaga  
Tiburcio Landa
José de Roseguín


José Sebastián de Segurola

Túpac Amaru II   Skull and Crossbones.svg
Pedro Vilca Apaza   Skull and Crossbones.svg
Diego Cristóbal Túpac Amaru   (POW)
Andrés Túpac Amaru   (POW)
Túpac Catari   Skull and Crossbones.svg
Tomás Catari   Skull and Crossbones.svg
Bartolina Sisa   Skull and Crossbones.svg

Gregoria Apaza   Skull and Crossbones.svg

Spanish units

15,000 [1] - 17,500 [2] soldiers

Rebel units

100,000 soldiers [2] [3]
40,000 - 60,000 asediando Cusco (2-9 de enero de 1781) [4]
10,000 - 40,000 asediando La Paz (14 de marzo de 1781) [4]

The Rebellion of Túpac Amaru II (1780 c. 1782) was an uprising of native and mestizo peasants against the Bourbon reforms in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru. [5] While Túpac Amaru II, an early leader of the rebellion, was captured and executed in 1781, the rebellion continued for at least another year under other leaders.


The government of Spain, in an effort to streamline the operation of its colonial empire, began introducing what became known as the Bourbon Reforms throughout South America. [5] In 1776, as part of these reforms, it created the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata by separating Upper Peru (modern Bolivia) and the territory that is now Argentina from the Viceroyalty of Peru. These territories included the economically important silver mines at Potosí, whose economic benefits began to flow to Buenos Aires in the east, instead of Cuzco and Lima to the west. The economic hardship this introduced to parts of the Altiplano combined with systemic oppression of Indian and mestizo underclasses (a recurring source of localized uprisings throughout Spanish colonial South America) to create an environment in which a large-scale uprising could occur. [6]

In 1778 Spain raised sales taxes (known as the alcabala ) on goods produced and sold in the colonies, [5] [7] in part to fund its participation in the American Revolutionary War. José Gabriel Condorcanqui, an upper-class Indian with claims to the Inca royal lineage, adopted the name Túpac Amaru II (alluding to pac Amaru, the last Inca emperor), and in 1780 called for rebellion. He claimed to be acting on behalf of the King of Spain, enforcing royal authority on the corrupt and treacherous colonial administration. [6] [8] He was motivated in part by reading of a prophecy that the Inca would rule again with British support, and he may have been aware of the British colonial rebellion in North America and Spanish involvement in the war. [7]

Rebellion near Cusco

On November 4, 1780, after a party in Tungasuca, where Túpac was cacique, Túpac and supporters seized Antonio Arriaga, the corregidor of his hometown of Tinta. They forced him to write letters to his treasurer in Tinta requesting money and arms and to other powerful individuals and kurakas ordering them to congregate in Tungasuca. On November 10, six days after his capture, Arriaga was executed in front of thousands of gathered Indians, mestizos, and Criollos (locals of mostly Spanish descent). [8] Túpac began moving through the countryside, where he gained supporters, primarily from the Indian and mestizo classes, but also with some creoles. On November 17 he arrived at the town of Sangarará, where Spanish authorities from Cuzco and the surrounding area had assembled a force of about 604 Spaniards and 700 Indians. Túpac's ad hoc army, which had grown to several thousand, routed this force the next day, destroying the local church where a number of people had taken refuge. [5] [9] Túpac then turned south, against the advice of his wife and lieutenant Micaela Bastidas, who urged him to attack Cuzco before the government could mobilize. Indigenous communities often sided with the rebels, and local militias put up little resistance. It was not long before Túpac's forces had taken control of almost the entire southern Peruvian plateau. [6]

Spanish colonial administrator José Antonio de Areche acted in response to Túpac's uprising, moving troops from Lima and as far off as Cartagena toward the region. Tupac Amaru II in 1780 began to lead an uprising of indigenous people but the Spanish military proved to be too strong for his army of 40,000–60,000 followers. [10] After being repelled from the capital of the Incan empire the rebels march around the country gathering forces to attempt to fight back.Troops from Lima were instrumental in helping repel Túpac's siege of Cuzco from December 28, 1780, to January 10, 1781. [6] Following these failures, his coalition of disparate malcontents began to fall apart, with the upper-caste Criollos abandoning him first to rejoin the loyalist forces. Further defeats and Spanish offers of amnesty for rebel defectors hastened the collapse of Túpac's forces. [6] By the end of February 1781, Spanish authorities began to gain the upper hand. A mostly indigenous loyalist army of up to between 15,000 and 17,000 troops led by Jose del Valle had the smaller rebel army surrounded by March 23. A breakout attempt on April 5 was repulsed, and Túpac and his family were betrayed and captured the next day along with battalion leader Tomasa Tito Condemayta, who was the only indigenous noble who would be executed alongside Túpac. [5] [6] [11] After being tortured, on May 15 Túpac was sentenced to death, and on May 18 forced to witness the execution of his wife and one of his children before he was himself quartered. The four horses running in opposite directions failed to tear his limbs apart and so Túpac was beheaded. [6] [9]

The Rebellion continues

Túpac Amaru's capture and execution did not end the rebellion. In his place, his surviving relatives, namely his cousin Diego Cristóbal Túpac Amaru, continued the war, albeit using guerilla tactics, and transferred the rebellion's focal point to the Collao highlands around Lake Titicaca. Government efforts to destroy the rebellion were frustrated by, among other things, a high desertion rate, hostile locals, scorched-earth tactics, the onset of winter, and the region's altitude (most of the troops were from the lowlands and had trouble adjusting). [6] An army led by Diego Cristóbal occupied the strategically important city of Puno on May 7, 1781, and proceeded to use it as a base from which they launched attacks all across Upper Peru. [5] Cristóbal would hold the town and much of the surrounding territory until mounting losses and diminishing support convinced him to accept a general amnesty from Viceroy Agustín de Jáuregui. A preliminary treaty and prisoner exchange were conducted on December 12, and Cristóbal's forces formally surrendered on January 26, 1782. Though some rebels continued to resist, the worst was over. [9] The last organized remnants of the rebellion would be vanquished by May 1782, though sporadic violence continued for many months. [8]

Diego, his mother, and several of his allies would be arrested and executed anyway by paranoid Spanish authorities in Cuzco on July 19, 1783 on the pretext he had broken the peace accords. [8]

During the rebellion, especially after the death of Túpac Amaru II, non-Indians were systematically killed by the rebels. [5] [12] [13]


The ultimate death toll is estimated at 100,000 Indians and 10,000–40,000 non-Indians. [5] [6]

Viceroy Jáuregui lessened mita obligations in an attempt to ameliorate some of the Indians' complaints. In 1784, his successor, Teodoro de Croix, abolished the corregidors and reorganized the colonial administration around eight intendants. In 1787, an audiencia was established in Cuzco. [5] [9]

Areche's decrees following the execution of Túpac Amaru II included the banning of the Quechua language, the wearing of indigenous clothing, and virtually any mention or commemoration of Inca culture and history. [8] Areche's attempts to destroy Inca culture after the execution of Túpac Amaru II were confirmed by royal decree in April 1782, however colonial authorities lacked the resources to enforce these laws and they were soon largely forgotten. [8]


Túpac Amaru is the namesake of American rapper and actor Tupac Shakur. [14]

See also

Further reading

Related Research Articles

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A kuraka or curaca was an official of the Inca Empire who held the role of magistrate, about 4 levels down from the Sapa Inca, the head of the Empire. The kurakas were the heads of the ayllus. They served as tax collector, and held religious authority, in that they mediated between the supernatural sphere and the mortal realm. They were responsible for making sure the spirit world blessed the mortal one with prosperity, and were held accountable should disaster strike, such as a drought.

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Micaela Bastidas Puyucahua, was a pioneering indigenous leader against Spanish rule in South America, and a martyr for Peruvian independence. With her husband Túpac Amaru II, she led a rebellion against the Spanish and like him, suffered martyrdom of execution by the Spaniards when the revolt failed. She was a full partner in her husband's enterprises before the revolt, and "an exceptionally able leader of the rebellion." She has been described as the "celebrated wife of José Gabriel Condorcanqui ... who played a paramount role in the logistics of the rebel army in Cuzco in 1780 and 1781.

Charles "Chuck" Walker is the MacArthur Foundation Endowed Chair in International Human Rights and professor of Latin American history at the University of California, Davis. He also serves as director of its Hemispheric Institute on the Americas. His interests include Peru, natural disasters, social movements, subaltern politics, truth commissions, and sports and empire.

Tomasa Tito Condemayta Hurtado de Mendoza was a leading force in the indigenous uprising against the Spanish colonial rulers under Tupac Amaru II in the 18th century in Peru. She was cacica of her people in the 1770s, the most powerful such ruler in her region. During the uprising, she served as both a strategist and a military officer. She was executed for her role in the rebellion alongside Tupac Amaru II, his wife Micaela Bastidas Puyucahua, and their son Hipólito Condorcanqui Bastidas.


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