The Last Tupac

The Spanish colonial conquests and governing of South America were not always smooth sailing, especially in the 18th century when they came up against Túpac.

Túpac Amaru II

Túpac Amaru II

By the late 1770's, the Spanish had begun to divide the Peruvian province into separate colony's (modern day Bolivia and Argentina) which led to economic detriment in Peru, not to mention the indigenous population of the region was consistently treated unfavourably by the Spanish. Tensions hit fever point in 1779 when the Spanish announced a taxation increase in goods sold in the colony.

Túpac Amaru II was a leader of the local indigenous Indian tribe in southern Peru, he grew up learning the ways of a Catholic life, but still maintained his Incan heritage and roots. He was born José Gabriel Condorcanqui, but took the name Túpac Amaru II later in life, claiming to be a direct descendant of the last Incan King (Túpac Amaru).

In 1780, Túpac had started the uprising against the Spanish colonial government, by arresting the head of the local government (Antonio Arriaga), on charges of being cruel to the native population. A week after he captured Arriaga, he publicly executed him for all to see. This act led to an all out rebellion against Spanish rule, with many coming to join the cause, and the rebellion had spread as far south as Argentina.

By the time he reached Sangarará, the Spanish had assembled a force of 900 to stop him (dispatched from Cuzco), but Túpac's forces swiftly defeated the Spanish. In December Túpac made his way to try and take Cuzco, but were stopped by the amassed Spanish force which had come from Lima and Cartagena.

The Spanish began to gain control by February as Túpac's forces were waning and had suffered heavy losses, and by April Túpac and his family were captured. 

The Spanish arranged for Túpac's wife and children to be executed in front of him so he could bear witness, and then they proceeded to brutally mutilate Túpac before he was drawn, quartered, and beheaded.

Túpac's uprising led to reforms introduced by Spanish government, which included a ban on anything remotely associated with Incan history or remembrance of it.

As estimated 40,000 native Indians lost their lives in the rebellion, with the Spanish suffering losses of 10,000.