6007 - Myths and realities of Peruvian Independence, 1780-1824

In 1971, in an attempt to celebrate the supposed 150th anniversary of Peru's independence from Spain, the Revolutionary Government of the Armed Forces convened a major historical congress in Lima, designed to pluck from relative historiographical obscurity José Gabriel Túpac Amaru, leader of the 'Great Rebellion' of 1780. The official line was that he rather than Miranda or Bolívar was the great precursor of Spanish American Independence. Almost a decade later, despite a shift to the right in Peruvian politics, bicentennial celebrations of the rebellion, less extravagant than those of 1971, further perpetuated this myth. Since then Peruvians have had few significant anniversaries to celebrate, and in 2010 they wisely missed the opportunity to commemorate the despatch of expeditionary forces to defeat bids for independencerin the neighbouring kingdoms of Chile, Quito and Charcas. In the longer term the 1814 seperatist rebellion of Cuaco, the first serious bid for Peruvian independence, might be worth celebrating, despite the fact that it horrified the upper echelons of the creole elite. The paper explores these themes in some detail, and concludes with a discussion of why the majority of Peru's creole inhabitants continued to fight for the roysalist cause, even after the landing of San Martin's motley army south of Lima in September 1820.

Keywords: Túpac Amaru, San Martín, Peru, Cusco, Independence

Author: Fisher, John (University of Liverpool, United Kingdom/Ver Königr)


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