Thursday, 18 June 2009

Pre-Hispanic nobility of Peru vanished, but not completely without a trace

This article is about the indigenous nobility in Peru, the descendants of the former Inca rulers and rulers of the other kingdoms such as the Chimú. In the 1850-ies the last inca nobles with official positions in independent Peru died forgotten. Justo Sahuaraura Inca was in 1826 deputy of Aymaraes . He died in 1853, lonely and disappointed. José Domingo Choquehuanca Bejar was in 1835 prefect of Puno. He died in 1858. Both descended from Inca emperor Huayna Capac. In the beginning of the 19th century the indigenous Peruvian nobility disappeared, after having survived colonial rule for almost 300 years. What happened? And are there descendants still around?

The last Inca executed
When the Spanish conquistadores arrived in Peru in 1532 they encountered a country in turmoil. The civil war between the brothers Huascar and Atahualpa had just ended in favor of the latter. The empire which spanned an enormous surface was a creation of not more than 100 years by the emperors Pachacutec, Tupac Yupanqui and Huayna Capac, the father of Huascar and Atahualpa. Many peoples had been conquered or were still resisting being conquered. Royals of the Chimú, Huancas, Ichma and Aymara were incorporated in the imperial nobility.


The Spanish made good use of the differences between the people. Divided the country already was, and in a couple of years the Spanish ruled. In a small enclave in Vilcabamba Manco Capac II, another son of Huayna Capac, continued to rule as the Inca. But his son Tupac Amaru became the last ruler. He was executed by the Spanish viceroy in 1572. Other nobles supported the Spanish and already in the 1540-ies Carlos recognized the Inca nobility; the 15 sons of Cristóbal Paullu Inca, as well a son of Huayna Capac, were legitimized. Families received coats of arms in the European style. To increase the connection with Spain Beatriz Coya the granddaughter Manco Capac II was married around 1580 to a nephew of Ignacius of Loyola. Their daughter Ana Maria Lorenza de Loyola y Coya-Inca was created in 1614 the first Marquesa de Santiago de Oropesa. She and her descendants were the oldest line of descendants of Huayna Capac and in a way the representatives of the imperial line. Through several female successions the title ended up with the dukes of Medina de Rioseco and the last descendant died childless in 1741.


In 1776 a certain José Gabriel Condorcanqui Noguera, cacique (indigenous ruler) of Surimana in the province of Cusco applied for the title of Marqués de Santiago de Oropesa as being the closest living relative of Beatriz Coya. The mother of his greatgrandfather had been an illegitimate daughter of Tupac Amaru. He could even produce a document of the viceroy from 1618 confirming this. However there was another claimant Diego Felipe Betancur Tupac Amaru with a fabricated claim as a descendant of an illegitimate son of Manco Capac. After several years of litigation Diego Felipe was recognized in 1778 by the council of Inca Nobles as being the main descendant of Huayna Capac, although the title was never restored. José Gabriel became in 1780 the leader of a rebellion against Spanish rule and took the name Tupac Amaru II. The rebellion was suppressed and he with his wife and eldest son were publicly executed in the main square of Cusco in 1781. A younger son died in Rio de Janeiro in 1784 and his half brother Juan Bautista Condorcanqui Mojarras died as the last representative of this family in Buenos Aires in 1827. There had been some talks between him and the generals Belgrano and San Martín to put him on the throne of the United Provinces of South America.

The nobles lost their function and income
The Inca nobility was organized in so called panacas (families) per Inca emperor. Each emperor started a new panaca when he ascended the throne. As Huascar and Atahualpa did not have any male children the last panaca is that of Huayna Capac. As stated above there were in the 16th century numerous descendants of the Inca emperors. Many had the function of cacique. This is the Spanish term for curaca, or local ruler. These functions became more or less hereditary in the noble indigenous families. Their main connection was not to land however, as in European feudal titles, but to people. The indigenous population had to work for the Spanish; on the haciendas and in the mines. And tribute had to be paid. The caciques had to arrange this. They were the middlemen. Not an enviable position. In the first century of colonial rule the indigenous elite managed to keep their position, but in time the Indian population declined through disease and the Spanish/criollo/mestizo population became more and more important. In the 18th century there were more marriages between the groups as the cacical families adapted to this new development and tried to maintain their position. They became hispanized. And they became tribute collecting agencies, losing the connection with the indigenous population. Many descended into poverty as they had to squeeze their budgets to pay tribute and to keep up their style of living. Although the Inca nobles in Cusco with their impeccable bloodlines descending in the male line from Tupac Yupanqui and Huayna Capac regarded Tupac Amaru as a second rate Inca being a mestizo from the provinces they got the blame afterwards. They supported the Spanish crown, knowing that the future of their position lay with the king in Europe, not with a freedom movement of the new middle classes in Peru. The crown however did not appreciate this and the position of cacique lost its hereditary status. The final blow for the nobility came in 1824 when Bolivar abolished this function and when he made private property leading. The Indigenous groups were more connected to communal properties and had much less property rights. So they lost their jobs and their income. After that being Indian and poor were synonymous.


One of the most important families in Cusco were the Ramos Tito Atauchi. They descended in the male line from Cristóbal Paullu Inca, son of Huayna Capac. Ascensio Ramos Tito Atauchi was Cacique of the Ayllu Ninancuyuchi and the Ayllu Collana de Santa Ana in Cusco and had an estate worth of 10,000 pesos in houses, furnishings, debts, clothing, silver, jewelry and some agricultural lands when he died in 1750. One of his daughters married Nicolás Apu Sahuaraura Inca, Cacique hereditario of the Ayllu Cachona de Santiago, a descendant of emperor Pachacutec. Their son Pedro married Sebastiana Bustinza Inca y Yaurac de Ariza Titu Condemayta, whose father descended from a daughter of Huayna Capac that had married conquistador Pedro de Bustinza and whose mother was a descendant of emperor Mayta Capac. One of their children was priest Justo Sahuaraura Inca, born in Cusco in 1775. He supported the independence and became a deputy in 1826. This was however the time of the big haciendados that now owned the country. There was no place anymore for Inca nobles. He died in 1853, having legitimized in 1838 his five children. His relative Luis Ramos Tito Atauchi , a lawyer in Cusco, dropped the last two parts of his surname. They did not have any use anymore and the family continued as simply Ramos.


Another son of Huayna Capac; Cristóbal Huaca Tupac Inca moved to the former Aymara lands around Puno as part of Inca control of this area. His descendants are the Choquehuanca family of caciques of Azángaro. In 1780 Diego Choquehuanca Huanca Tupac Inca was cacique of Azángaro. His eldest son Blas was married to the daughter of the cacique of Carabuco, his second son Gregorio was a priest and his daughter Maria Teresa was cacica in her own right. His niece Manuela Ccopa Condori Choquehuanca was married to Pedro Vilcapasa Alarcón a general of Tupac Amaru. The rest of the family supported the colonial government. The eldest son was murdered together with the family of his wife by the rebels in 1781. José Domingo Choquehuanca Bejar was born in 1789 or 1792 as the son of Gregorio, the priest. He was a lawyer and supported the independence. In 1835 he was prefect of Puno. José Domingo Choquehuanca Borda, who died April 2009 in Arequipa, is supposed to be his direct descendant. José Domingo nicknamed El Cholo was very active in the support for medium and small enterprises in Arequipa and in the support for the pueblos jóvenes around the city.A brother of Huayna Capac and son of Tupac Yupanqui, Felipe Tupac Yupanqui also moved to Aymara lands in the process of controlling these. He became cacique of Pacajes. His descendants became the Cusicanqui caciques of Calacoto. Their descendants are till today traceable in Bolivia.


Heirs of Chimú kings continue as caciques
Around 1470 Tupac Yupanqui conquered the Chimú kingdom in the northern coastal area of Peru. The last king was taken hostage and his son Chumun-caur was made governor of the area. Several of his descendants were rulers when the Spanish arrived. One of them was Antonio Chayhuac, who became the first Christian cacique of Mansiche and Huanchaco. The Chayhuac family ruled these towns until 1805. In 1749 was Domingo Chayhuac Huamansep cacique. He was married to Maria Urbana del Espiritu Santo Santillán y Casamusa, the daughter of the cacique of Magdalena near Lima, showing that these cacical families married on the same level over big distances, as European royals. His granddaughter Juana Manuela Chayhuac y Céspedes Tito Inca Yupanqui was the last cacica as she died childless in 1805/06. Other descendants of Chumun-caur ended up as caciques of Santiago de Cao, Chocopa and Chicama. Their last title holder was Gregorio de Mora Chimo who died in 1780. His descendants kept up legal actions deep into the 19th century to claim property rights in the former cacicazgo. The last known representative was Evaristo Aguilar Mora Chimo in 1892.


Descendant of Aymara cacique Bolivian mayor
The Aymara were living in several kingdoms that were conquered by Pachacutec and Tupac Yupanqui during the fifteenth century. The rulers of the Charcas, now central Bolivia (Sucre), became the Ayaviri family of caciques of Sacaca. At the end of the sixteenth century Fernando Ayaviri and his son Juan even became mayors of the indigenous population of the important mining center Potosi. By the end of the 18th century this family had faded away. This happened as well with the former royal families of the Lupaqa kingdom; the Cari and Cusi dynasties. The Cari became caciques of Chucuito with the surname Cutimbe. Around 1750 Basilio Cutimbe renounced his position of cacique, he preferred being a bookkeeper in Carangas. The story of the Siñani caciques of Carabuco is a different one, as the direct male line descendant of Juan Siñani who lived around 1600, has been mayor of Bolivian town El Alto in our times. A nephew of cacique Agustin Siñani, who was killed in 1781 together with his son in law Blas Choquehuanca, Diego Siñani married Paula Paredes y Ponce Santella. Their son Apolinar took the surname of his mother Paredes. His grandson was the Bolivian writer and historian Manuel Rigoberto Paredes Iturri (1870-1950). His grandson José Luis (Pepe Lucho) Paredes Muñoz (born 1956) served twice as mayor of El Alto for the MIR party.

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