Rebellion of Túpac Amaru II

Last updated
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 Audiencia of Charcas (now Bolivia) on the 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
Bartola Sisa   Skull and Crossbones.svg
Gregoria Apaza   Skull and Crossbones.svg

Micaela Bastidas

Spanish units

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

Rebel units

100,000 soldiers [2] [3]
40,000 - 60,000 asediando Cusco (January 2-9. 1781) [4]
10,000 - 40,000 asediando La Paz (March 14. 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 such as rum and pulque (the common alcoholic beverages of the peasants and commoners) while tightening the rest of its tax system in its colonies, [7] [5] [8] 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 Túpac 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] [9] 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. [8]

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). [9] 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] [10] 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. Micaela Bastidas was a pivotal force in the Túpac de Amaru rebellion and often does not get enough credit for being a superior strategist to her husband. Bastidas was known for leading an uprising in the San Felipe de Tungasucsa region. [11] .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. [12] 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] [13] 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] [10]

Women in the Revolution

Throughout the mid 1700s, women had a changing role throughout Latin America. They began getting involved politically, economically, and culturally. Women had begun getting involved in the workforce particularly producing cotton cloth and working as market traders. [14] Because of these growing gender role changes, women were involved in the Túpac Amaru II revolt. Túpac's wife, Micaela Bastidas had commanded her own battalion and she, and her battalion were responsible for the uprising in the San Felipe de Tungasucan region. Micaela Bastidas and Bartola Sisa took part in demonstrations against high prices, food distribution networks, racist treatment of Natives, high taxes, and tightening restrictions on the colonies. [15] Although women were involved in the revolution, and had a very active role throughout their own villages which had led to independence throughout the region, they had received little attention for their efforts. [15]

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.The war was also continued by Túpac Katari's female commander named Bartola Sisa. Sisa led a resistance of 2,000 troops for a number of months until they were eventually brought down by the Spanish army. [16] 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. [10] The last organized remnants of the rebellion would be vanquished by May 1782, though sporadic violence continued for many months. [9]

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. [9]

During the rebellion, especially after the death of Túpac Amaru II, non-Indians were systematically killed by the rebels. [17] [5] [18] [19]

Many of the leaders who fought in the rebellion after Túpac de Amaru's death were discovered to be women ( 32 out of the 73) and were later acknowledged by the eventual liberator of Spanish America, Simón Bolívar in his speech in 1820.


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] [10]

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. [9] 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. [9]


Túpac Amaru is the namesake of American rapper and actor Tupac Shakur. [20]

See also

Further reading

  • Fisher, Lillian Estelle, The last Inca revolt, 1780–1783. Norman, University of Oklahoma Press [1966]
  • O'Phelan, Scarlett. La gran rebelión en los Andes: de Túpac Amaru a Túpac Catari. Cuzco, Perú : Centro de Estudios Regionales Andinos "Bartolomé de las Casas", [1995]
  • Robins, Nicholas A., Genocide and millennialism in Upper Peru: the Great Rebellion of 1780–1782. Westport, Conn. : Praeger, 2002.
  • Serulnikov, Sergio. Revolution in the Andes: the age of Túpac Amaru. Durham : Duke University Press, 2013.
  • Walker, Charles F., The Tupac Amaru rebellion. Cambridge, Massachusetts : The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014.

Related Research Articles

Túpac Amaru Monarch of the Inca state in Peru

Túpac Amaru was the last monarch of the Neo-Inca State, the remnants of the Inca Empire in Vilcabamba, Peru. He was executed by the Spanish following a months-long pursuit after the fall of the last stronghold of the Neo-Inca State.

Viceroyalty of Peru Spanish Imperial territory

The Viceroyalty of Peru was a Spanish imperial provincial administrative district, created in 1542, that originally contained modern-day Peru and most of Spanish Empire South America, governed from the capital of Lima. Peru was one of the two Spanish Viceroyalties in the Americas from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries.

Túpac Katari

Túpac Katari or Catari, born Julián Apasa Nina, was the indigenous Aymara leader of a major insurrection in colonial-era Upper Peru, laying siege to La Paz for six months. His wife Bartolina Sisa and his sister Gregoria Apaza participated in the rebellion by his side. The rebellion was ultimately put down by Spanish loyalists and Katari was executed by quartering.

Túpac Amaru II Leader of a large Andean uprising against the Spanish in Peru (1738-1781)

José Gabriel Túpac Amaru — known as Túpac Amaru II — was the leader of a large Andean uprising against the Spanish in Peru, whose quelling resulted in his death. He later became a mythical figure in the Peruvian struggle for independence and indigenous rights movement, as well as an inspiration to myriad causes in Spanish America and beyond.

Inca Garcilaso de la Vega

Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, born Gómez Suárez de Figueroa and known as El Inca, was a chronicler and writer born in the Viceroyalty of Peru. He is considered the earliest-recorded mestizo in the history of the Americas. Sailing to Spain at 21, he was educated informally there, where he lived and worked the rest of his life. The natural son of a Spanish conquistador and an Inca noblewoman born in the early years of the conquest, he is known primarily for his chronicles of Inca history, culture, and society. His work was widely read in Europe, influential and well received. It was the first literature by an author born in the Americas to enter the western canon.

Mateo Pumacahua

Mateo García Pumacahua simply known as Pumacahua, modern spelling variants Pumakawa or Pumaqawa was a Royalist commander later turned into a Peruvian revolutionary who led the Cuzco Rebellion of 1814 in the War of Independence.

Tupac, Túpac or Tupaq is a defunct title used by the former Peruvian Inca Empire, and is used as a male name of Inca origin.

Peruvian War of Independence Armed conflict in Peru and Bolivia between 1811 and 1826

The Peruvian War of Independence was composed of a series of military conflicts in Peru beginning with viceroy Abascal military reconquest in 1811 in the battle of Guaqui, continuing with the definitive defeat of the Spanish Army in 1824 in the battle of Ayacucho, and culminating in 1826 with the Siege of Callao. The wars of independence took place with the background of the 1780–1781 uprising by indigenous leader Túpac Amaru II and the earlier removal of Upper Peru and the Río de la Plata regions from the Viceroyalty of Peru. Because of this the viceroy often had the support of the "Lima Oligarchy", who saw their elite interests threatened by popular rebellion and were opposed to the new commercial class in Buenos Aires. During the first decade of the 1800s Peru had been a stronghold for royalists, who fought those in favor of independence in Peru, Bolivia, Quito and Chile. Among the most important events during the war was the proclamation of independence of Peru by José de San Martín on 28 July 1821.

Agustín de Jáuregui

Agustín de Jáuregui y Aldecoa was a Spanish politician and soldier who served as governor of Chile (1772–80) and viceroy of Peru (1780–84).

Bartolina Sisa

Bartolina Sisa Vargas was an Aymaran woman and indigenous heroine who led numerous revolts against the Spanish rule in Charcas, then part of the Viceroyalty of Peru and present-day Bolivia. Alongside her husband, the indigenous leader Túpac Katari, she participated in the organisation of indigenous military camps that took part in the siege of La Paz. She was betrayed and turned in to the Spanish authorities, who later executed her.

José Antonio de Areche Zornoza was a Spanish visitador in Peru (1777–82). He was responsible for the execution of Inca rebel Túpac Amaru II, his family and coconspirators.

<i>Kuraka</i> Official of the Inca Empire who held the role of magistrate

A kuraka or curaca was an official of the Inca Empire who held the role of magistrate, about four 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.

The Battle of Sangarará was fought on November 18, 1780 in Sangarará, Viceroyalty of Peru, between rebel forces under Túpac Amaru II and Spanish colonial forces under Tiburcio Landa. Túpac Amaru II's forces won decisively.

After the fall of Tiwanaku Empire, the many Aymara Lake Titicaca were conquered by the Inca Empire. Prior to the Spanish conquest, the Andean province of Qullasuyu was a part of the Inca empire, while the northern and eastern lowlands were inhabited by independent nomadic tribes. Spanish conquistadors, arriving from Cuzco and Asunción took control of the region in the 16th century. During most of the Spanish colonial rule, Bolivia was known as Upper Peru and administered by the Royal Audiencia of Charcas. After the 1st call for independence in 1809, 16 years of war followed before the establishment of the Bolivian Republic, named for the Liberator Simón Bolívar, on 6 August 1825. Since then Bolivia has endured regular periods of political and economic instability, including the loss of various provinces to its neighbors, such as Acre, parts of the Gran Chaco and its Pacific coast, making it a land-locked country.

Tomás Katari or Catari was a Quechua chief who, in claiming indigenous rights, led a popular uprising in Upper Peru in the 18th century.

Francisco Pizarro and his fellow conquistadors from the rapidly growing Spanish Empire first arrived in the New World in 1524. But even before the arrival of the Europeans, the Inca Empire was floundering. Pizarro enjoyed stunning successes in his military campaign against the Incas, who, despite some resistance, were defeated and in 1538 the Spaniards completely defeated Inca forces near Lake Titicaca, allowing Spanish penetration into central and southern Bolivia.

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.


  1. Ward Stavig & Ella Schmidt (2008). The Tupac Amaru And Catarista Rebellions: An Anthology of Sources . Indianapolis: Publishing, pp. 27. ISBN   978-0-87220-845-2.
  2. 1 2 Daniel Castro (1999). Revolution and Revolutionaries: Guerrilla Movements in Latin America . Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield, pp. 2. ISBN   978-0-84202-626-0.
  3. Orin Starn, Carlos Iván Degregori & Robin Kirk (2005). The Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politics . Durham: Duke University Press, pp. 160. ISBN   978-0-82233-649-5.
  4. 1 2 James D. Henderson, Helen Delpar, Richard N. Weldon & Maurice Philip Brungardt (2000). A Reference Guide to Latin American History . Nueva York: M.E. Sharpe, pp. 77. ISBN   978-1-56324-744-6.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Robins, Nicholas A.: Genocide and millennialism in Upper Peru: the Great Rebellion of 1780–1782
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Serulnikov, Sergio (2013). Revolution in the Andes: The Age of Túpac Amaru. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. ISBN   9780822354833.
  7. Meade, T. A. (2016). History of modern Latin America: 1800 to the present. John Wiley & Sons.
  8. 1 2 Fisher, Lillian (1966). The Last Inca Revolt, 1780-1783. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Walker, Charles (2014). The Tupac Amaru rebellion. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. ISBN   9780674416376. OCLC   871257824.
  10. 1 2 3 4 Campbell, Leon (1978). The military and society in colonial Peru, 1750-1810. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society. ISBN   087169123X. OCLC   3598969.
  11. Meade, T. A. (2016). History of modern Latin America: 1800 to the present. John Wiley & Sons.
  12. Meade, Teresa. . A History of Modern Latin America: 1800 to the Present. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. p. 39.
  13. Garrett, David T. (2005). Shadows of empire : the Indian nobility of Cusco, 1750-1825 . Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp.  183. ISBN   052184634X. OCLC   57405349.
  14. Meade, Teresa A. (2010). A history of modern Latin America : 1800 to the present. Chichester, West Sussex, U.K.: Wiley-Blackwell. p. 40. ISBN   9781405120517.
  15. 1 2
  16. Meade, T. A. (2016). History of modern Latin America: 1800 to the present. John Wiley & Sons.
  17. Meade, T. A. (2016). History of modern Latin America: 1800 to the present. John Wiley & Sons.
  18. Nicholas A. Robins, Adam Jones (2009). " Genocides by the Oppressed: Subaltern Genocide in Theory and Practice ". Indiana University Press. p.1. ISBN   0253220777
  19. Resistance, rebellion, and consciousness in the Andean peasant world, 18th to 20th centuries. Edited by Steve J. Stern. Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press. 1987. ISBN   0299113507. OCLC   16227401.CS1 maint: others (link)
  20. Crow, John (1991). The Epic of Latin America. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. p. 408. ISBN   978-0520077232.