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The Great Rebellion in Upper Peru (1780-1782) reflected the ever-widening gulf between the native peoples of Latin

America and their perceived enemies, the Spanish, Creoles, and Mestizos. Many factors contributed to the rebellion, most notably the hierarchal system by which curacas (intermediaries between the Spanish governor and the people) were both exploitive of and ill informed about the native peoples. The mistrust and hatred grew to such an extent that when the rebellion broke out, even those indigenous peoples who adopted European dress and manners, faced the anti-Spanish purges that followed. Nicholas A. Robins in Genocide and Millennialism in Upper Peru asserts that native peoples of Latin America were, not only victims of genocide, but perpetrators as well. He uses the events of the Great Rebellion in Upper Peru (1780-1782) to illustrate his conclusion, namely that Indigenous peoples systematically targeted Spanish, Creoles, and Mestizos for extermination. Indigenous peoples suffered under Spanish rule. Robins tells us that the Spanish government in seeking ever-greater riches legislated Indian males between the ages of eighteen and fifty into forced labor, often in the gold and silver mines. Labor obligations increased even as native populations, due to disease, declined. Mita obligations extended from one year of labor for every five to six years, to one mita every two to three years. Indian lands, left abandoned because of the Mita, proved vulnerable to thief. The repartimiento de mercancias law forced Indians to buy European goods (many of which were useless to them such as books and blue powder for their hair) on consignment. This in turn trapped them in a never-ending cycle of debt. Many became perpetually beholden to the merchants and large landowners. Added to these burdens, were the exorbitant

church tithes, fees for services, and upkeep of the village priests. Indians sought redress through the court system, and for a time it appeared that the situation would improve; however, with the advent of Bourbon rule in Spain, conditions further declined. The new King, in an effort to increase revenues for the crown, enacted legislation that increased native obligations. Exploitation and the questioned legitimacy of the new administration gave the Indians a realization of latent power. A curaca in the Peruvian province of Tinta, Jose Gabriel Condorcanqui y Thupa Amaro (Tupac Amaru) sought legal redress for his people, but failed. Disillusioned, Tupac Amaru fomented rebellion and he preached a vision of America as a land free of those not born there, reports Robins. Though one may argue that Tupac Amaru never intended the genocide that resulted, in reality, his forces raided and murdered at will, some even resorting to cannibalism. Curacas, priests, Spanish, Creoles, Mestizos, and their families died at the hands of the rebels. Indians were accused of killing as many Spaniards and Mestizos as they could get their hands on. Using knives, clubs, and stones, the natives decimated

whole villages. Robins affirms genocide by stating, The rebels appeared to enjoy crafting the demise of the alien system. Victims were stripped, busts of Charles III were hanged, and Indians drank chichi from silver (church) chalices. Spanish garb made one white in the eyes of the killers, and many Indians died for wearing Spanish shirts. Robins records, Sparing the lives of whites was the exception, not the rule and states that this demonstrated the genocidal nature of the rebellion. Nicholas Robins work chronicles the development, execution and demise of the Great Rebellion of Upper Peru and alleges that these events prove the genocidal nature of the

rebellion itself. Has Robins proven his case? The Geneva Convention says concerning genocide that it is a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. When examing the facts, it becomes clear that Robins fails in convencing his audience of the validity of his argument. It is true that non-Indians were targeted for destruction. Tupac Amaru wanted an America free of both the Spanish and their kin; however, clearly no coordinated plans were carried out to accomplish this. The rebellion was framented and the attacks on Spanards, Ceoroles, and Mezitos were sporatic and haphazard. Framentation evenually led to the defeat of the rebellion. Robins clearly demonostates that no one people has a monoply on cruelty, that injustice causes people to perpetrate horrible crimes on their oppressions; however, mass murder of individuals within one same ethnic group does not by itself constitute genocide.

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