Faculty Baden Presentations

History of the Incas and Indigenous Sovereignty: Two Cases in Colonial Peru, 1722-1758



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When we think of Spanish domination in colonial Latin America, how do we imagine the situation of indigenous peoples? What images come to our minds about their social and economic status? What do we know about the political agendas or everyday agencies of indigenous communities from Mexico to the Andes, beyond some of the well-known armed uprisings such as the Tupac Amaru II rebellion?

In this lecture I will address two specific cases of colonial Peru during the first half of the 18th century. In both cases, lettered knowledge is the decisive strategy that allows these groups of educated indigenous people a certain margin for agencies grounded on the power of the written word. The first case is about the participation of the indigenous elite in an official fiesta honoring King Felipe V in the city of Lima, in 1722, which is described in a book written by the Creole intellectual Pedro de Peralta y Barnuevo (officially printed in 1723). The second one, about a group of anonymous indigenous and mestizo intellectuals who clandestinely printed a book (ca. 1754-58) and sent it to Pope Benedict XIV in Rome. In this book titled Planctus Indorum in America Peruntina (A Cry of the Indians of Peruvian America), these indigenous and mestizo lettered men asked the Pope to expel all Spaniards from the viceroyalties of Peru and Mexico, and also requested him to assume the government of these territories according to the laws of the divine government in Christendom.

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Document Type

Lecture - Restricted to Campus Access


Peru, Incas, 18th century, rulers, Roman Church, monarchy, Spain, Andean studies


European History | History of Christianity | Indigenous Studies | Latin American History | Latin American Studies


Delivered as a faculty Baden presentation with an introduction by Dr. Mark Schneider, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Ursinus College.

The downloadable .m4V file has a run time of 52:02.

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The contents of this presentation are for educational purposes only.

History of the Incas and Indigenous Sovereignty: Two Cases in Colonial Peru, 1722-1758


Available to Ursinus community only.