The Role of the Kuraka Essays

1253 Words Mar 8th, 2012 6 Pages
The Role of The Kuraka During The Spanish Conquest

During the Spanish conquest of the Incan Empire the role of the Kuraka was crucial in gaining control over the Andean society. The role of the Kuraka could be thought of as “provincial nobility”[1] whose main job was to control the labor and tribute made and delivered from the natives to the state. In order to do this job the Kurakas had to maintain respect from the natives while maintaining good relations with the colonial state. This could be difficult considering that too much affiliation with the state could lead to a loss of status to the natives, and a loss of respect from the natives would make one useless to the state. “The Indian who broke entirely with his own culture
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These laws demanded “no manner shall justify making a slave of an Indian whatsoever, and that it is our will that they be treated as subjects of the crown of Castile, for so they are” [6]. However, these laws were never taken serious or really put into place.

In the late 16th and 17th century Felipe Guaman Poma De Ayala, a native Andean, composed a manuscript, “The New Chronicle and [Treatise on] Good Government (Nueva Cronica y Buen Gobierno)”, meant specifically for King Philip III. This manuscript was a critique of the disobedience of royal laws and colonial ordinances that were supposed to support the Indians.[7] This lack of compliance and mistreatment of Indians, along with the new taxes imposed on the Indians[8] led to many rebellions, including that of Tupac Amaru II.

Tupac Amaru II’s plan was to “not only end exorbitant taxation by the Spaniards, but to drive out the Europeans and restore Inca Monarchy”.[9] Even though this rebellion was not a success it is a great example of the role and power of the Kuraka. Tupac Amaru II was considered, in society, to be a Cacique (The 18th century equivalent to a Kuraka). He used his role to gain support not only from the Indians but also from Creoles, Blacks, and even Spaniards. Because of his position in this dual economy he knew a lot of people not only in his racial group but also had relations with Spaniards high up in society, and he used this to his

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