Rawley Prizes, American Historical Association. Chapter 1 [PDF]. Kagan, International History Review. This clearly written, thoughtful, and perceptive volume is based on outstanding research in printed primary and secondary materials in Latin, Spanish, French, Italian, and English. This book fits into an ever-expanding historiography on and re-evaluation of the chronicles.
Its most significant contribution is MacCormack's encapsulating analyses of their authors. MacCormack's book places her capable analyses at the service of her colleagues and our students. MacCormack has contributed greatly to the intellectual history of early modern Spain and Spanish America. More than this, she has offered a model of how such investigations might proceed elsewhere on the edges of European empires.
It challenges the paradigm of the Spanish ruling in Latin America as completely negative and dark-sided. The book reconstructs the classical roots of a period that is perhaps not very familiar to a classical audience and, conversely, shows how deeply indebted to Greco-Roman culture were the new realities of a modern empire, and how this ancient civilization and its canonical authors were read and perceived.
Many fine illustrations some by the author herself provide a helpful corollary to the written text. MacCormack's splendid scholarship makes the Roman past come to life in the world of the Incas, showing convincingly how it was claimed on behalf 'of Inca past and Spanish present. Let us now hope that scholars use MacCormack's intellectual history as a model and inspiration for similar inquiries into the early colonial periods of Mexico, British America, or New France. This is an important contribution for the field of Atlantic history not only for illuminating new perspectives on empire but also for showing that intellectual history in the early modern period must not be constrained by European geographic parameters.
MacCormack's meditations are those of a master scholar and storyteller; this is a very significant and novel contribution to our understanding of South American history. Atahualpa objected that this would deprive him of proper burial and an afterlife, and so he was given the option of being baptized a Christian and then strangled. The last king of the majestic Incan empire was killed in this manner on August 29, Spain ruled Peru as a viceroyalty for nearly years after the conquest and regarded it more or less as a huge mine that existed to fill the crown's coffers.
The Spaniards felt that as a superior culture their customs and particularly the church brought civilized society to the natives. The political and economic system they instituted to carry out their aims, called encomienda, granted soldiers and colonists land and mining permits, as well as the slave labor of the natives. Living and working conditions for the native Peruvians on the farms and especially in the mines were horrendous: hard labor, malnutrition exacerbated by the Spaniards' introduction of European crops and the elimination of many native ones , and especially diseases wiped out an estimated 90 percent of the pre-conquest native population within a century.
During this colonial period Spain passed legislation attempting to protect the native population, but it was virtually ineffectual. Practices specifically outlawed—such as debt peonage, where subjects are trapped in an unending cycle of indebtedness for necessities of life which cannot be overcome through their labor—were in reality widespread. The influx of Spaniards taking advantage of these opportunities, as well as , African slaves, became part of a highly stratified society with European-born Spaniards at the top, Peruvian-born Spaniards Creoles next, and the urban working poor, the black slaves, and the indigenous population at the bottom.
In a descendant of the last Inca took the name Tupac Amaru and led a rebellion by the indigenous population. The rebellion began to gain wider support by condemning the corruption of colonial officials, but promptly lost it with indiscriminate attacks on Spaniards and Creoles.
On the wings of time: Rome, the Incas, Spain, and Peru
Ultimately, the campaign for independence resulted from conditions outside Peru and had to be led by outsiders. When Napoleon invaded Spain and imprisoned the king in , the vacuum of authority allowed the Creoles in the colonial capitals set up autonomous regimes.
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He exploited the economic benefits of guano, a bird dung collected from islands off the coast of Peru and sold to Europe for fertilizer, as well as desert deposits of sodium nitrate, which was used to make munitions and fertilizer. The general also organized a public school system, built the country's first railroad, ended the tribute tax paid by indigenous people, and abolished slavery, which led to the importation of Chinese laborers. Peru's defeat by Chile in the War of the Pacific , fought over lands with rich nitrate deposits, was a humiliating experience that led many to call for an improvement in the lot of indigenous Peruvians so that they might contribute more fully to the society.
The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries showed evidence of efforts to modernize the society and economy.
Public administration was improved, the armed forces were professionalized, public education was fostered, and modern labor legislation was enacted. These contributed to the conditions that encouraged foreign investment capital in the burgeoning sugar, cotton, copper, and rubber industries. This, in turn, created an urban industrial proletariat and strengthened the middle class. In the s the Great Depression had a crippling effect on the Peruvian economy as export markets collapsed and foreign loans dried up.
This situation seems to have contributed to the rise of a political movement known as the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance APRA , which was anti-communist but borrowed from the ideologies of Marxism and Italian fascism and advocated agrarian reform, the nationalization of industry, and opposition to U. The Peruvian military had long played a large role in the state, either through generals assuming the presidency or by influencing elections. From to General Juan Velasco Alvarado and the Revolutionary Government of the Armed Forces ruled in an attempt to create a new and prosperous Peru that was "neither capitalist nor communist.
He nationalized most of the country's banks, its railroads and utilities, and many foreign corporations. Central to this effort to control the economy and increase social justice was Velasco's land reform, which was among the most extensive in Latin America. Ninety percent of Peru's farmland had been owned by a landed aristocracy comprising just two percent of the population, so the administration appropriated 25 million acres of this land and distributed it to worker-owned cooperatives and individual families.
This failed to achieve the farranging effects hoped, however, in part because of the insufficient amount of arable land relative to the large number of people, and also because of the absence of policies giving the poor a greater share of the benefits. Peru's poor economic performance, including inflation that soared as high as percent annually, continued to wreak social havoc.
On the Wings of Time: Rome, the Incas, Spain, and Peru
In addition to these economic woes, Peru suffered from social disruption caused by leftist terrorist groups and the governmental response to them. In a period of less than 20 years, 30, people were killed. The coca harvests, which supplied much of the United States' huge cocaine market, also brought violence as U.
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In President Fujimori responded to these economic and social crises by dissolving the congress and judiciary and consolidating power in a Government of Emergency and National Reconstruction, while promising to submit a revised constitution to a referendum and hold elections at some point in the future. Referred to as an autogolpe, or self-coup, Fujimori's takeover also involved a suspension of civil liberties.
As of Fujimori was attempting to improve Peru's standing with international creditors and lending agencies and to lure foreign investment back to the country, but the task remained a daunting one. Peruvians began immigrating to the United States in small numbers early in the twentieth century, but the vast majority have come since World War II and especially in the last 20 years when the United States has been the destination for more Peruvians than any other country. Official statistics show a Peruvian population of , in , but other estimates put the number beyond , Some of the disparity may have to do with illegal immigrants who were not counted in the former number.
It is more clear where the immigrants have settled. Peru's social and economic crises are at the root of internal migration from rural areas to the cities, as well as immigration to the United States. Unemployment rates of over 50 percent have left many without a means to earn the basic necessities of life, This Peruvian American sheepherder is innoculating the sheep in his small herd.
An unstable political climate and especially political violence by terrorist groups have caused many to flee. Peruvians are attracted to the political and economic stability of the United States, the work opportunities, and the chance for their children to go to school and have a better future. A majority of these immigrants have family or acquaintances established in the United States who serve as intermediaries in their transition to a new culture. In addition to the family, there are social institutions that aid the Peruvians' assimilation to American culture.
The Catholic Church is important to newly arrived Peruvians because of its familiarity, the services it often extends in terms of finding work and applying for citizenship, and the opportunity it affords for meeting other Peruvians, including those of a higher social class. Also important is the broader Latino community. Peruvians benefit from sharing a language and many cultural traits with other more established groups.
The travel, legal, and labor services that already exist in these communities assist newer immigrants.
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State social service programs are also available to the most indigent. Peruvians from the upper class have benefitted economically from their immigration to the United States because on the whole they have been able to transfer their capital and business expertise. They range from owners of factories and large stores to accountants for major banks and corporations to agro-industrial managers. However, this group has faced major obstacles to its assimilation. Although they are well off financially, these Peruvians do not have the economic or particularly the political power they had in Peru.
Yet, because of their background, they tend not to identify with the middle-class Americans whose status they share. Many try to compensate by joining relatively exclusive associations that have social gatherings for holidays and weddings. Middle-class Peruvian immigrants did not arrive in large numbers until the s, when the exodus was led by doctors and engineers. Assimilation has been relatively easy for this group, and consequently they have been labelled the "children of success. The difference was that these middle-class Peruvians did not lose any prerogatives or privileges.
This group tends to maintain a stronger cultural and religious identity through participation in church and other social activities. Peru's lower classes were the last to take advantage of the opportunities in America and have immigrated in increasing numbers since the mids. These immigrants have come from positions ranging from low-level bureaucrats to manual laborers. They have had the most difficulty assimilating on account of their tendency to lack formal education, to have a greater difficulty learning English, and to cling more tightly to their home culture. They generally live in areas of urban poverty and have a lot of pressure to send money back to families in Peru.
Many in this group have only recently made the transition from rural to urban life in Peru, where they have learned or improved their Spanish in order to come here. As is the case with the nation's standard of living in general, there is a great disparity between rural and urban health care in Peru. Most health services are located in the cities; residents of Lima have the best access to health care and about 60 percent of the country's hospital beds.
Only about one-third of the rural population sees a doctor even once a year. Part of this is owed to the fact that many in Peru's indigenous population are superstitious and reluctant to use Western medicine, preferring instead home remedies and in some cases even ritual magic. Respiratory diseases are common, and many diseases are spread through parasites and infection. The infant mortality rate in Peru is very high—84 per 1, live births—and the life expectancy of 61 for men and 65 for women is low. A major medical catastrophe struck Peru in when an epidemic of cholera broke out.
A result of dismal or nonexistent sanitation systems that left the vast majority of rural residents without clean drinking water, the cholera spread quickly to over 50, people and killed hundreds. Health officials estimate that only five percent of those living in rural areas have access to potable water, and in the cities the figure is a still dangerous 80 percent. Spanish has been Peru's official language since the Spanish conquest. A language that grew out of the Latin brought to Spain by conquering Romans, Spanish has a vocabulary and structure similar to other Romance languages, such as French and especially Italian.
The "b" and "v" are interchangeable in Spanish and are a bit softer than an English "b. Spanish vowels have one primary sound, making spelling and pronunciation on sight much easier than in English: "i" as in "feet" , "e" as in "they" , "a" as in "hot" , "o" as in "low" , "u" as in "rude". Words ending in a vowel, "n" or "s" are accented on the next-to-last syllable, those ending in other consonants have stress on the last syllable, and any exceptions require an accent mark. This changed in when, in an effort to promote cultural pride among the indigenous population as a means to increasing their stake in Peruvian society, the military government declared Quechua an official language along with Spanish.