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Peruvian Rebellion

As Colonial Rebellions go, the most important, spectacular and extended of all colonial rebellions took place way above sea level high in the remote Andes which at the time was part Spanish America.

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, when the Hapsburg's rule gave way to the Bourbon monarchy of Spain it was felt as far away as Peru, and this resulted in a several rebellions. Juan Santos, left Peru and travelled to Europe, on his arrival back in Peru in 1740, he felt that rebellion was the only way forward for the people of the country. Juan, rid the country of white people and by recruiting the support of the forest Indians, managed to repel the authorities. Juan was known as Tupac Amaru. One of the down sides of the rebellion was that as the country had little trade with its neighbours, the Peruvians could only buy food that was excessively priced and excessively poor quality. The country was ready for further rebellion. Enter Tupac Amaru II in 1780.

Tupac Amaru II, aka José Gabriel Condorcanqui, who claimed he was of Inca descent, and took the name of Tupac Amaru II in memory of Juan who died in 1765. Tupac Amaru II, differed in his strategy as he recruited his alliances from the peoples who were native born whites, indigenous people and mestizos like himself. Mestizos, is a Spanish term that refers to peoples that are of a combined mixed race. This term used during the eighteenth century described a person who had a combined race of European and Native American. José and his supporters were fighting against the European born Spaniards.

There are several important lessons to be learned from this rebellion. The ethnic class and structure of the rebels was extremely complicated especially compared to the rebellion under Tupac Amaru I, where the rebels were indigenous and non-white. Also the context in which rebellion led by Tupac Amaru II was very different, as it was brought about by internal difficulties caused by poor treatment of the population by its internal infrastructure rather than the Rebellion of 1740, which was brought about by colonial administration which did not allow the indigenous peoples of Peru to have an opinion or consultation on the administration and decision making processes within their own country. In effect the rebellion of 1740 was about gaining independence. There are lessons to be learned from both rebellions.