Native Presence in Postconquest Central Peru

Gabriela Ramos

in Latin American Studies

ISBN: 9780199766581
Published online October 2011 | | DOI:
Native Presence in Postconquest Central Peru

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  • Regional and Area Studies
  • History of the Americas



In approximately the late 15th century the Incas dominated a large portion of the central Andes and presided over a rapidly expanding empire encompassing an ethnically diverse population. Inca imperial expansion was brought to a halt by the Spanish arrival in 1532. Although the size of the Andean population at the time of contact with the Europeans is unknown, based on early colonial descriptions and inspection reports historians have estimated that before the Spanish conquest the population of the central Andes could have reached at least ten million people. Deep demographic crisis induced by the Spanish conquest, and colonization altered the composition and distribution of Peru’s native population. On the coast, the indigenous population dropped acutely in the years following Spanish arrival. The region was exposed to intense immigration from within and outside the Andes, and interaction between people of varied origins was widespread. The central and southeastern highlands housed the largest number of native inhabitants, a condition that subsisted in spite of the epidemics that decimated the indigenous population of Peru after the Spanish invasion. Studies tend to focus on the city of Lima and its surrounding territories and southeastern Peru. Among the most prominent themes investigated are the demographic circumstances so far described, life conditions at the new centers of political power, Catholic missions, evangelization and religious repression, the role of indigenous authorities in colonial rule, and the circuits and sites of pivotal economic activity, like mining. Although this bibliography’s main emphasis is on the area today comprising the modern country of Peru, during the colonial period the territory then known as the viceroyalty of Peru was significantly much larger. The links between lower and upper Peru—today Peru and Bolivia, respectively—preceded the Spanish conquest, lasting throughout the colonial period and beyond. This historical connection is reflected in the literature herein organized thematically.

Article.  11363 words. 

Subjects: Regional and Area Studies ; History of the Americas

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