Hello and good day!
When I left off yesterday, the Spanish had conquered the Incas and had established European style feudalism in the Americas.
Their territory encompassed all of South America, except for Brazil which was a Portuguese colony, Central America, most of the Caribbean Islands, and much of what is now the southwest United States, including California and many of the states that are on the Mexican-American border.
In order to govern and administer the new colonies, the Spanish broke up the Americas into 4 viceroyalties. They were called New Spain (Mexico), Peru (Peru), Rio De La Plata (Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay), and New Granada (Columbia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Central America).
Each of these viceroyalties has their own fascinating history. I’m pleased to say that I’ve done a fair amount of reading on each of them, and each is worth investigating if you like studying history.
But for the sake of our story, we will focus on Peru, although when revolutions started breaking out across South America, the stories of the various viceroyalties coalesce.
Before moving forward in the story, I need to backtrack in time for a moment.
When the Incas were expanding their empire over the course of several hundred years, long before the Spanish arrived, there was a civilization in the north whom the Incas were never able to defeat.
This was the Jivaro civilization. Their capital was in what is now the city of Jaen, Peru. Jaen is a northern agricultural city and the zone where we’ve been buying cacao for the last 15 years is an hour and a half northeast of Jaen.
The Incas tried again and again to bring the Jivaro people under subjugation but were never able to. The Jivaro were a fierce, independent, fighting people. The agricultural productivity of the zone gave them abundant stores of food and resources that allowed them to sustain long military campaigns.
Derogatorily, the Incas referred to the Jivaro as the “Braca Moros”, which in Quechua translates to the “Red Faces”. This name referred to the Jivaro military tradition of soldiers painting their entire bodies in red paint before going into battle. Far from taking it as an insult, the Jivaro considered this nickname a point of pride.
Over time, they came to refer to themselves as the “Braca Moros” tribe. This was a reminder to the Incas that the Jivaro were an indominable people who would never back down from a fight. To this day, the city of Jaen calls itself the “Land of The Brave Braca Moros.”
Over time, Braca Moros came to be pronounced Pakamuros, and out where we buy cacao there are a ton of old artifacts that people identify as belonging to the previous Pakamuros inhabitants.
As the Spanish extended their footprint throughout South America, they were able to do what the Incas couldn’t. The Spanish defeated the Braca Moros and took control of Jaen.
However, remnants of the tribe escaped deep into the jungle where they lived as hunter gatherers until the 1960’s.
Getting back to the main thrust of the story. The subjugated natives in Peru launched many revolutionary attempts to try and overthrow their Spanish lords.Unfortunately, all ended in failure with the leaders tortured and executed publicly.
I should point out here that there were many Spanish intellectuals, mostly liberal Catholic priests, who fought for the rights of enslaved natives. Their very logical argument was that all human beings should have the same rights.
This was the only point of view consistent with Jesus’s teachings in the holy scriptures. The priests argued that it was the church’s sole purpose on earth to uphold the teachings of Jesus.
However, their point of view was the minority, and the fight for the rights of the native population failed to gain much traction. It wasn’t until the early 1800’s when a successful revolutionary movement took root in the Spanish Americas.
It wasn’t fought in the name of the native population though. It was fought by and for a class of citizens of Spanish descent, but born in the Americas, known as the Criollos. The Criollos were descendants of conquistadores and Spanish nobles who had been granted land rights hundreds of years earlier.
As the generations rolled on, these people came to identify less as Spaniards and more as citizens of the land where they were born.
That being the case, they came to question why they were still subject to laws handed down from Spain and why they were required to continue paying taxes and tribute to the Spanish crown.
Debate raged on with liberals advocating for a clean break and conservatives wanting to maintain the status quo. It is important to note here that the wars of independence were not fought in the name of the native population.
The generational owners of inherited land wanted to maintain the feudal structure of the economy. They just didn’t want to be subjects of Spain any longer.
Peru ended up declaring independence in 1819 and the Criollos in Peru joined forces with Criollos from other countries in a war against Spain.
The most famous leaders in the war were Simón Bolívar, a Venezuelan general, and Jose de San Martin, an Argentinian general. It was a hard fought and protracted war, but in the end the Criollos prevailed and Peru was officially independent from Spain on July 28, 1821. the pictues is of Criollo tribe members
As is the case when any country declares independence, a period of extreme political instability kicked off. Debates over what type of government to form divided the country.
Some advocated for a constitutional republic, like the United States. Some argued for a monarchy or a military dictatorship. A few argued that native rights should be written into the laws, but this opinion didn’t take root until much later down the line.
A civil war broke out in Peru in 1843. The outcome of all this conflict was a succession of military dictatorships, coup d’états, and constitutional reforms.
Through it all, the land-owning aristocracy continued to control the economy and the people of native descent continued working the land as serfs.
I’m running out of space for now.
Thank you so much for your time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!