8747 - An Inca Monarch for the Criollo Patriots

In May of 1810, some of the leading revolutionaries rising against Spain in the Viceroyalty of the River Plate put forward the notion of an Inca Monarchy to replace the existing political order. This paper discuses the juridical and literary influences behind the proposal, biographical and kinship aspects of the instigators, and the documents that were produced to support it (some of them translated into Indian languages). It analyzes the responses this institutional project provoked, and its ethnographic and political grounding. It also examines a number of "cartas de caciques" --documents produced by Indian leaders of different communities of the "Provincias Unidas del Rio de La Plata." What emerges from these analyses is a contrast between the ideology of the patriots and the practical tenor of the Indian letters. The two parallel worlds seldom merged, with consequences reflected in the Indian laws that were passed by the new nation. Questions arise also about the gathering of ethnographic knowledge during the colonial and national periods, and how this knowledge has informed political action, the creation of national symbols and juridical processes.

Keywords: Viceroyalty of the River Plate, History of Anthropology, Indians of the Gran Chaco, Inca Monarch, Legal History

Author: Krebs, Edgardo (Smithsonian Institution, Ud States of Am / USA)


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