Revolution in the Andes: The Age of Tupac Amaru

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1236 Words
Date:  2022-04-04

The revolution was a mastermind to oust the Spanish rule that had taken root in the Latin America following its conquest by the Spain nationals. It is an in-depth history of the Tupac Amaru insurgency that posed a fierce and most hostile challenge to Spanish rule. The rebellion occurred mainly between 1780 and 1783, featuring an insurgent army that was organized throughout the Andean region. The region constituted cities like La Paz, Puno, Cuzco, and Oruro occupied by the colonialists. However, most parts of the countryside were occupied and controlled by the indigenous rebel forces fighting to oust the Spanish rule and restore the Andes rule. The rebellion would also help the rebels to recapture their lands grabbed by the colonialists. Sergio Serulnikov chronicles the uprisings and resultant wars that claimed the life of 100, 000 primarily indigenous people before being crushed by the colonialists. Therefore, this paper recounts the various events that transpired in Colonial Latin America in the eighteenth century. It also focuses on the outcomes of the indigenous rebellious movements, as well as factors that propelled the insurgents.

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

The Tupac Amaru rebellion was a significant event as far as the History of Spanish empire is concerned. It was a clear sign of an impending crisis that befell the Spanish rule in Latin America at in the 18th century. 1780 marked the beginning of the rebellion in a rural village known as Chayanta in northern Potosi. It took only three years for the revolution to expand northwards occupying regions such as Lake Titicaca (separating Cuzco and La Paz cities). The regional evolution of the rebellion reveals significant political relationships amongst the indigenous occupants of Aymara and Quechua. It also provides an account of the impact of Spanish authoritarian rule to the political expectations of the native Andes people. In his book, Sergio Serulnikov describes the indigenous persons as political actors who have exhausted all established judicial processes and customary channels to redress their grievances in vain. As a result, they resorted to rebellion and insurrection only as a last resort.

In "Revolution in the Andes," Serulnikov analyzes the various rebel movement that appeared in the Andes in the late eighteenth century. He compares the social composition of such movements and the motivations of the leaders and followers. He demonstrates that despite the great mobilization of Indian masses, these rebellious movements did not divide the colonial population along racial or social groups, but gathered people from the different social background, at least Initially. Serulnikov recounts how the administrative and economic reforms of the eighteenth century had increased the grievances of the native population and caused hardships to other social groups. If individuals from various social groups were dissatisfied with the colonial rule, why did these rebellions unable to succeed?

The Bourbon Reforms by the colonialists (1750-1790) is what prompted the grievances raised by the rebels. The reforms, according to them, were detrimental to their rights. Thus, resulting in an outrageous outcry from native leaders, both local caciques as well as Spanish creoles, who were compelled to leave their offices to outsiders. The reforms prompted increases in taxes, thus causing hardship. For instance, the increase in sales tax leads to the overburdening of the masses and reduced profits to the merchants, the Muleteer Tupac Amaru II included. Several attempts by caciques to dispute the legitimacy of the reforms through petitions, localized protests and lawsuits were unsuccessful. Therefore, the conflict was due to unfair policies and abuses. The protests posed a threat to the imperialists' authority resulting in a bloody fight between the imperialists and the indigenous army/people. The bloody fighting continued for three years resulting in several deaths and injuries, especially to the indigenous Latin Americans. The rebellions could, however not succeed due to the divisions that characterized the indigenous population. Furthermore, the imperial state prevailed they had superior weapons at their disposal and a well-regulated, organized and enlarged army.

During the rebellion, all the racial, ethnic and political alliances did collapse an indication of the failure of the indigenous armies to oust the imperialists and their reforms. Serulnikov indicates that the efforts by indigenous rebels were previously backed by support from the Spanish Creoles who were also outraged by the retrogressive reforms. However, such alliances were short-term as the sympathetic creoles deserted the course. For instance, in Cusco, the creoles abandoned the mission following the accidental burning of the church at Sangarara by the indigenous troops/rebels. The Spanish troops used to receive sanctuary from the church, hence the reason for the outrage from the creoles. The result prompted Cusco Bishop Moscoso to expel Amaru II and his supporters from the sanctuary. Following the expulsion, atrocities between the caciques and creoles increased resulting in racial conflicts. Tupac Amaru II put on the regalia of the Inca emperor thus restoring the sovereign power of the Inca kingship.

The conflict intensified in other regions such as Aymara, from Lake Titicaca to Chayanta under the command of Tomas and Tupac Katari. The insurgents compelled the creoles to wear aboriginal clothes and chew coca leaves, as Andean natives always do. To make their rebellion real, the Indian natives declined to lay to rest the remains of the dead offensive Spaniards. The rebels claimed the creoles were evil, hypocrites and behaved in an atheist manner. In Oruro, creoles Jacinto and Rodriguez, out of pretense joined the revolt. In the end, they recovered their lost possessions such as office and wealth. However, they refused to recognize indigenous rule. Accompanied by his brothers, Rodriguez initiated a counter-revolution that overthrown the native rebels who were later incarcerated by the crown.

Both Serulnikov and Burkholder cites sharp divisions/disagreements amongst the rebels as the cause of the unsuccessful rebellion. For instance, in his book, Serulnikov indicates that the Andean populaces were uniformly divided between royalists and rebels. In Cusco region, the most admired caciques withdrew their support for Amaru II's rule and incited the natives to reject him. Furthermore, the Andean rebels from Cusco ignored forming military or political alliances with insurgents from other regions such as Aymara. Consequently, the natives had less-sophisticated weapons such as clubs, slings, and spears that were ineffective for the fight. The weapons sagged their morale as they had to face a well-armed militia with more advanced weapons such as artillery, muskets and still swords. Due to their weak weapons, the rebels eventually abandoned the fight. The result was total clump-down and execution of prominent insurgents and their families. The royalist forces then expelled the royalist caciques from their offices and took full control of the indigenous society. The imperialists, then, utilized the opportunity to solidify chaste division based on race.

Serulnikov uses his book, "Revolution in the Andes: The Age of Tupac Amaru" to account for the atrocities that characterized the rebellion. He unearths deep cultural roots that influenced the reactions of the indigenous rebels. His reactions to reports of rebels massacring or eating the hearts of captives are that the non-Indians are demons, bestial and diabolical beings. However, according to Mark Burkholder, "Colonial Latin America" the atrocities committed by both the colonialists and the indigenous Americans were the cause of war and conflicts in the region. The indigenous Latin Americans wanted to reclaim their land from the colonialists. Hence the conflicts were inevitable


Mark Burkholder and Lyman Johnson, Colonial Latin America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994).

Serulnikov, Sergio. Revolution in the Andes: The Age of Tupac Amaru. Duke University Press, 2013.

Cite this page

Revolution in the Andes: The Age of Tupac Amaru. (2022, Apr 04). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism