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June 22, 2024 24 mins

This 2016 episode covers the Tupac Amaru rebellion, a conflict between Spain and its colonies in South America which took place from 1780 to 1783.

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Speaker 1 (00:02):
Happy Saturday.

Speaker 2 (00:03):
Coming up next week, we are going to have an
episode that mentions the Inca Empire. Kind of the episode
is really about somebody who used the term Inca but
didn't necessarily have a meaningful connection to that empire. So
we thought that for Today's Saturday Classic, we would have
an episode that is more directly related, and it's actually

won the kind of dovetails with those forthcoming episodes.

Speaker 1 (00:29):
This episode is about the Tupaca Maru Rebellion. It originally
came out March twenty eighth, twenty sixteen. Enjoy Welcome to
Stuff You Missed in History Class, a production of iHeartRadio.

Speaker 2 (00:48):
Hello and welcome to the podcast. I'm Tracey V. Wilson
and I'm Holly Frye. We have some South American history today.

Speaker 1 (00:56):

Speaker 2 (00:58):
So, given how many of our listeners are from places
that either are or used to be British, I think
probably most folks know at least the very basics of
the Revolutionary War which went on from seventeen seventy five
to seventeen eighty three between the British Empire and its
American colonies. So today we are going to talk about

another conflict that overlapped this war and was between another
empire and its American colonies. This time the war was
between Spain and its colonies in South America. In particular,
we're talking about the Tupac Amaru Rebellion, which took place
from seventeen eighty to seventeen eighty three, so right at
the end of the same time as the Revolutionary War.

It started in the Andes Mountains in Peru, and in
addition to stretching over multiple years, this rebellion actually wound
up spanning more territory than the Revolutionary War did, so,
as you might imagine, we could really spend a whole
series of podcasts on this rebellion, just like you could
with the Revolutionary War. The day is really an overview
of the basics, and just because I don't want folks

to spend this podcast distractedly wondering about it every time
we say Tupac Amaru. Yes, the late rapper Tupac Shakor
was named after him. His mother actually renamed him after
this revolutionary figure while he was still a baby, and
our last caveat his apparent teacher heads up. This story
contains a couple of particularly horrifying executions. One of them

caused me to I am holly while I was doing
the research to say, this sounds like it came out
of Game of Thrones. So this might be a podcast
to listen to yourself before sharing it with little ones,
and then use your own discretion about whether it's appropriate
for those little ones.

Speaker 1 (02:48):
All right. So, Spain's colonization of Central and South America,
which started in the sixteenth century, had three primary aims.
To expand the Spanish Empire, to seek treasure, and to
convert the local population to Christianity. Today's story, as Tracy referenced,
just a moment ago takes place in the Andes Mountains

in Peru in the eighteenth century. Yeah, so Spain had
been around for a couple hundred years in Central and
South America by this point. The population by now in
this part of the Andes Mountains was overwhelmingly made up
of indigenous South Americans known as Quechua, and their languages
were all part of the Ketchwan language family. The Ketchwan

language family goes back to the days of the Inca Empire,
and a lot of the indigenous people who were living
in the Andes Mountains by the eighteenth century traced their
lineage back to the Inca as well. In addition to
the region's indigenous population, there were also Spanish Europeans people
who had both European and indigenous ancestry, who were referred

to as mestizos, and people of European ancestry who had
been born in South America who were referred to as creoles.
And there were a few, although not very many, enslaved
Africans along with their descendants. The population of enslaved Africans
was much greater in some other parts of South America,
but not so much in the Andes Mountains. We could

look at the system of local government that Spain had
instituted in Peru in terms of three roles. There were,
of course, lots of other roles besides these three, but
these are sort of the key figures. On the Spanish side,
there was the correodor, who was an official representative of
the Spanish government. On the indigenous side, there was the
quarraca or the cacique, who was essentially a native liaison

between the native population and the Spanish government. Karaka was
actually a Catchewin title dating back to the Inca, and
Casique was the Spanish term that was applied to the
same basic role. And then there was a local clergy,
the parish priests, who were responsible for particular towns and settlements. Together,
the karaka, the corriodor and the priests saw to the

government and the legal and spiritual needs of the community.
At least for the Spanish point of view. Although the
presence of the karaka may make it seem as though
Spain was taking steps to include the indigenous population in
the system of government, this wasn't really the case. Many
of the indigenous populations spoke only Quechuan languages, but official

events and documents were presented only in Spanish. Apart from
the karaka, most of the people involved in the government
were not only Spanish, but also had been born in
Spain and not South America. While it's certainly within the
realm of possibility that an individual correodor could be acting
with the indigenous population's best interest at heart, this was

really a position that was quite prone to greed and
mismanagement and abuse. The position itself was immensely powerful. It
had grown from one that was mostly judicial to one
that combined judicial, administrative, and legislative power all into uncentralized
role This meant that one unscrupulous corriador had the power
to have an enormous and nearly unchecked impact on the

area that he was in charge of. As is a
recurring theme in just about all of our podcasts on colonialism,
Spain had implemented some policies and practices that were deeply
unpopular in its South American colonies. One, unsurprisingly, was taxes,
both sales tax on goods that people tried to buy,
and another called a head tax, and that's basically like

a tribute based on a number of people. There were
also involuntary labor drafts to staff mines and mills, some
of which were extremely far away from the homes of
the people that were drafted into working there. As another
way to make money, Spain also forced the sale of
European goods to the indigenous population. Basically, a lot of
what Spain was expecting from its colonies in terms of

both labor and money was either forced or coerced, and
in the late eighteenth century, a lot of this was
getting a lot worse for indigenous South Americans. Spain had
been in the process of implementing a lot of changes
to how it ran its empire, These became known as
the Bourbon Reforms after the royal house of the same name.

These reforms had been going on for a while, but
they really peaked during the reign of Charles the Third,
who ruled Spain from seventeen fifty nine to seventeen eighty eight.
The Bourbon Reforms had wide reaching effects for Spain's military
and government, and for how religion affected the government in
civic life. But when it came to South America's indigenous population,

the reforms led to higher taxes, an increase in forced
and coerce labor, and fewer rights, along.

Speaker 2 (07:32):
With the range of other cultural and religious issues. All
this dissatisfaction with taxes and forced sale of goods and
forced labor ultimately led to more than one rebellion in
Central and South America, and the one we're talking about
today was started by and at least at first led by,
a man named Jose Gabriel Konderconki, and we will talk

about him after a brief sponsor rank. Jose Gabrielle Kondorkanki
was born around seventeen forty two, and he claimed that
he could trace his lineage back to the last ruler
of the Inca Empire. Tupac Amaru, the first Tupaca Maru,

ruled the empire from fifteen seventy one to fifteen seventy
two before being executed by the Spanish at the age
of twenty five or twenty six. This was at the
end of Spain's conquest of the Inca Empire, and with
Tupaca Maru's death, the throne was essentially abolished. Kandorkanki had
a formal Catholic education. He spoke both Spanish and Quetchuwa fluently,

and as an adult he worked as a merchant and
a muleteer. His education, his Inca heritage, and his family's
place in the community really uniquely positioned him to be
able to interact with every class in Peruvian life, from
the Spanish ruling class to the most impoverished working class.
In seventeen fifty, kan Conki inherited the role of kuraka

of three towns in the Tinta district known as Surimana,
Papa Marca and Tungasuka, following the death of his father.
He had actually grown up in Suramana, but as an
adult he made his home in Tungasuka. Ten years after
his father's death, he'd married Mikaela Battista, who became an
equal partner in his work as a merchant. In seventeen

seventy seven, Kondra Conki traveled to Lima for eight months
with the hope of regaining a noble title. While he
was there, he met a lot of Spanish nobility, and
he gained a sense of how the Spanish colonial government
worked in Peru and more at a bigger, more general
scale for the region as a whole. At this point,
tensions had already been rising in South America for several years,

and as a result, there had been rebellions and uprisings
that had broken out within Spanish territory in several places.
The corridor in the area where kondo Conki lived was
Antonio di Ariaga, and as you might go guests from
our discussion of the role of Corriodor before the break,
he was not a beloved figure. Among other things, he
was responsible for arranging an enormously unpopular labor draft to

staff a silver mine. Mining was of course dangerous work,
and the mine itself was about six hundred miles away. Also,
in the face of the ongoing changes that came along
with the Bourbon Reforms, condra Conki was having an increasingly
difficult time in his role as karaka. More and more
of the Corridor's demands were unreasonable and exploitive of the

local indigenous population, and a lot of them were really
despised by the people that the Corriodor was governing. On
November fourth of seventeen eighty, Ariaga and kondra Conki had
dinner at the home of Father Carlos Rodriguez, condra Conki's
old tutor. It was overall a friendly meal which celebrated
the feast day of Saint Charles known in Spanish as

Saint Carlos, and later in the afternoon, kondra Conki invited
Ariaga to spend the evening at his home. Ariagar refused,
saying that he needed to get back to his own residence,
probably motivated at least in part by the fact the
tax payments were due to him.

Speaker 1 (11:09):

Speaker 2 (11:10):
When Ariaga left with his entourage of staff and servants,
Kondra Konki and some other young men. Kondrakonki was about
forty at this point, walked with him for a while
and then they said that they were going to head
back to kondra Conky's home in Tungasuka, and that wasn't
really where they were going though. Instead, they stealthily got
ahead of Ariaga and they ambushed him. Ariaga tried to flee,

but kndra Conky's men captured him and some of his entourage.
They took them all back to Tungasuka and they confined
him in a cell in kondra Conky's basement. Then kondra
Conky forced Ariaga to write letters to his treasurer in
which he claimed he was going to plan an expedition
to the coast to deal with a pirate problem. He

asked the treasurer to send money and weapons. Then kondra
Conki took Ariaga's key and went to his home, where
he armed himself with muskets, gunpowder, and bullets, as well
as taking money, mules, and silver from Adiaga's home. Kondra
Conki also wrote letters to a lot of other local leaders,
military figures, and entrepreneurs asking them all to meet up

in Tungasuka. He signed Adiaga's name to these letters, so
he was basically writing them as though he were Ariyaga.
He also wrote to the other Kurrakas in the area,
asking them to send troops to Tungasuka as well, and
he started stationing centuries along the road to Cuzco to
try to keep the Spanish government from hearing about this
massive gathering that was starting to form in Tungusuka. Over

the next few days, all of these people that kondra
Conki had written letters to started arriving in Tungusuka. Thousands
of people arrived and had no idea that the Corriodor
was imprisoned in a basement not far from where they
were congregating. Spanish leaders who answered that call were also
in prison. On November ninth, kondra Conki sent a priest

to adiagas cell to take his confession, and at this
point Adiaga knew that he was probably going to die.
He started trying to bargain with his fortune. He basically
offered kondra Conki everything he had in exchange for his freedom,
but condra Conki refused. Meanwhile, kondra Conki started telling people
who had assembled in Toungasuka that he was acting under

the authority of the King, the High Court and Visitor
General Jose Antonio di Areque. He set them to practicing
military maneuvers, and he increasingly did something that he had
already been prone to doing, referring to himself by the
name of the Inca Empire's last ruler and his ancestor,
tupac Amaru. He also conducted reviews of these maneuvers on horseback,

and he wore clothing that combined elements of traditional indigenous
attire as well as the fine silks and furs and
gold that were a lot more common among the Spanish aristocracy.
He's reported to have cut a very fine figure doing this.
On the tenth tupac Amaru kondra Conki, going by that name,
once again, had the assembled crowd, which numbered thousands of people,

line up in a military formation, and then he had
them march to a nearby set of gallows. There he
had a proclamation read in both Spanish and Quetchwan. According
to this proclamation, the king had abolished the sales tax,
the custom houses, and the forced labor draft the silver mine,
and this proclamation went on the king's wish was for

the indigenous South Americans and the Creoles to live in
harmony with one another, because that's the name that he
adopted as he led this rebellion. We're basically just going
to call him Tupakamaru for the rest of the episode.
And of course none of these things that he was
proclaiming were actually true. He had written all of these
proclamations himself, but they were of course extremely well received.
And then another important point was that all of this

information was delivered to the indigenous people of the area
in the language that they actually spoke, rather than in Spanish.

Speaker 1 (14:59):
Then the event moved on to something else purportedly authorized
by the king, and that was the execution of Antonio
di Ariaga. Soldiers took Ariaga to the gallows and they
forced him to change out of his military uniform and
into a Franciscan habit. Then Antonio Oblitas, who was an
enslaved African that Ariaga owned, was forced to act as

his executioner. In the first of this episode's horrifying executions,
the rope broke and both Ariaga and Oblitas fell. Instead
of being hanged, Ariaga was strangled with several ropes. People
screamed epithets at him, with some of the loudest being
hurled by Mikayla Battista. While Tupaca Maru had taken steps

to keep word of what was going on from reaching Cusco,
where it would then get to the rest of the
Spanish Empire. The news that he had executed the corriodor
just could not be contained, and we will talk about
what happened after that news spread after another brief word
from a sponsor. To get back to the story, After

the execution of Antonio de Ariaga, tupac Amadu and his
wife set off almost immediately to try to raise more
support from nearby towns. They'd already used their duplicity and
strategy to a mass of really large following in Tungasuka,
and the two of them then started using the extensive
connections that they had developed to recruit more people to
their cause. Tupac Amadu himself used his new name and

the connections to the Inca Empire that existed from his
lineage to spread the idea that the Inca were returning.
With this thought inspiring the rebels, they tried to take
the fight to the Spanish. Initially, the targets of the
rebellion were very narrow. He didn't want the priests, the mestizos,
or the Creoles to be harmed. Only Spanish leaders from

Europe and especially the corridors. Local landowners and others whose
behavior had been exploitative were to be imprisoned, but not killed.
Since Spain hadn't yet raised an army to resist them,
these first few excursions were relatively bloodless.

Speaker 2 (17:11):
In every town that they visited, Tupacamaru would speak in
both Spanish and Quetchua, and he would recruit as many
people as he could to join the rebellion. He still
was insisting that he was actually acting under orders from
the king. The rebels would also abolish any taxes and
force labor drafts in the towns that they went to.
They would burn down the textile mills where people had
been forced to work, and they would free anyone who

was being held in the jail. Then they would also
burn down the gallows. They'd get as many provisions as
they could from the stores of the local corridor and
other landowners in the area, and they would move on
to the next town.

Speaker 1 (17:45):
He also wrote lots of letters and proclamations, issuing orders
to neighboring towns to turn away from the Spanish and
granting local leaders the authority to act in his stead.
On November sixteenth, Tupacamaru wrote a proclamation for the emancipation
of enslaved Africans and Afro Peruvians on the seventeenth and

the aftermath of a battle that had played out in
a church and had accidentally destroyed part of the structure
of the church in a fire, the bishop excommunicated tupac
Amaru and his followers. Tupac Amaru and his wife were
both extremely devout Catholics, and they really had not intended
any harm to come to this church at all. As
we said earlier, they had been trying to protect the
clergy the whole time, so this was both devastating to

them personally and it was a strike against them in
terms of public opinion. Just as a side note and
the end, there were priests and others associated with the
Church on both sides of this conflict. Soon though, this
rebellion spread beyond the Andes Mountains, and the bigger it got,
and the farther away from tupac Amaru's base at his
home in Tungusuka, the bloodier and more violent it became.

Spanish and Royalist forces started calling in reinforcements and gathering militia,
meaning that the rebels had to fight their way through,
rather than basically walking into towns and declaring that the
Spanish government was no longer in charge. By the end
of the year, Spain's control on colonial Peru had started
to really crumble. As the rebellion got bigger and bigger,
more and more people got swept up in it, and

the original instructions to harm only the Spanish ruling class
started to fall away. A lot of people really just
got caught in the crossfire. More and more innocent people
were harmed by both sides as the conflict got bigger
and bloodier. At the start of seventeen eighty one, Spain,
having raised an army of thousands of soldiers, started actively

trying to find and capture tupac Amaru. On April seventh,
they trapped Mikayla and two of her sons. Mikayla and
tupac Amaru had gotten separated from one another about a
month before this, and they had always planned that should
something happen, they would flee through the south. When he
heard that his wife had been captured, Tupacamato did just that,

and along the way one of his followers, a man
named Vin Shua Landietta, insisted that he stop and take arrest.
It turned out that this was a trap. Tupacamadu was
taken into Spanish custody along with his wife and children,
along with other prisoners. Tupacamaru and Mikaela Bastidas were put
on trial that April, and when Tupacamaru refused to incriminate

himself or name any of his accomplices, he was tortured
by stretching. His wife, on the other hand, claimed this
she knew very little about the rebellion and had in
fact been coerced into participating. After days of being questioned
and sometimes tortured, on May eighteenth, seventeen eighty one, Tupacamadu
and Mikayla Bastitas were taken to the gallows for the

other horrifying execution in this episode. First, they were made
to watch the executions of other prisoners. Some of them
were family members, one of them was actually their eldest son.
These other prisoners were dragged behind horses and had their
tongues cut out before they were hanged. One was placed
in a chair and slowly strangled with an iron bar

before being hanged to confirm that she was dead. Sources
actually disagree on exactly how Mikayla Bastidas was executed, However, universally,
she is described as being tortured to death while her
husband Tupakamaru was made to watch. And then and the
thing that caused me to I am holly and tell
her this sounded like it was out of Game of Thrones.

Tupacamadu's tongue was cut out, his limbs were tied to
four horses in order to be quartered. They didn't actually
quarter him, though, His limbs were dislocated but not severed
from his body. Then he was beheaded. This time his
youngest son, who was ten years old, was made to watch.
After the executions, Tupacamadu and Mikayla's bodies were dismembered and

the parts were sent to surrounding cities to serve as
a warning, while their torsos were burned on a bonfire.
Their executions didn't stop the rebellion, though other leaders moved
into Tupacamayo's place, some of them also taking a similar name,
including his successor, Diego Tupacamadu. He would also be executed
on July nineteenth, eighteen seventy three. Eventually, after numerous gory executions.

The rebellion failed. About one hundred thousand people were killed,
most of them indigenous South Americans. Spain put increasing restrictions
on South America's indigenous people in the hope of preventing
another uprising, including forbidding the Tupaca Maru Rebellion from being
discussed or written about at all.

Speaker 2 (22:33):
Tupaca Maadu is still a really well known figure in
South America today, although mikaeleb Bastidas has largely been written
out of a lot of accounts in spite of the
fact that she was a leader of this rebellion. Also,
Tupaca Maadu's name and image have also been used as
part of other revolutionary movements. And if you're interested in
hearing more about the story, there is a pretty recent

book which is actually how I heard about this in
the first place, was reviewing a catalog recently published books.
It is by Charles F. Walker, and it is called
The Tupac Mighti Rebellion, and it is from the Bell
Knappe Press of Harvard University Press. It actually came out
in twenty fourteen, but I think there's a paperback of
it that is coming out soon, and it goes into

a lot more detail than what we have talked about today.
It especially gets into a lot of the more specifics
about the individual actions between or the individual actions between
the rebels and the Spanish, and specifics on where all
of this fighting took place and how it all played out,

and then also some more about how it later affected
the colonial government in South America. Thanks so much for
joining us on this Saturday. Since this episode is out
of the archive, if you heard an email address or
a Facebook RL or something similar over the course of

the show, that could be obsolete now. Our current email
address is History podcast at iHeartRadio dot com. You can
find us all over social media at missed Inhistory, and
you can subscribe to our show on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts,
the iHeartRadio app, and wherever else you listen to podcasts.

Stuff you Missed in History Class is a production of iHeartRadio.
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