Power and Violence in the Colonial City: Oruro from the Mining Renaissance to the Rebellion of Tupac Amaru (1740-1782)

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This book examines the characteristics of political power in the cities of the colonial Spanish Empire between the 1740s and 1780s, based on a detailed study of the mining city of Oruro in Alto Peru (present-day Bolivia). Oruro, after Potosi, was the second most important colonial center of silver production in the southern hemisphere. The fluctuations in the volume of this activity, as well as its financing and production, were important cultural and political factors in this colonial city. The author gives special emphasis to the specific forms of the exercise of power, assessing the judicial process and the material opportunities that the various bureaucratic positions made possible. From this, it can be seen how these public activities were to a large extent of a private nature, and how the resources available to each official greatly determined his scope of action. Toward the end of this period, the analysis focuses on the important Indian uprisings of the 1780s (the rebellions of Tupac Amaru) and the causes of the alliances or confrontations between the members of the distinct bands, either white or Indian. These episodes are of particular interest because some aspects of the present guerrilla activity in Peru by the Shining Path can be seen in the insurrections of the 1780s.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Given the importance of the book's subject, the author's knowledge of much local detail and a helpful documentary appendix, specialists on the history of late colonial mining and politics in the Andes will find this work useful..." Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"This is an excellently translated and well-edited volume....The maps, figures, and tables are all clear and concise, and provide a good supplement to the text....an important contribution to Andean mining, political, and resistance history, and should be included in any serious library on Latin America." H-Net Book Review

"Power and Violence provides and excellent examination of conflict over city government and its early chapters usefully complement the political analysis in Jacques A. Barbier's Reform and Politics in Bourbon Chile, 1755-1796 (1980). The vivid narrative and thoughtful analysis of the 1781 uprising in Oruro is also notable." The Americas

"...a valuable contribution to our understanding of Spanish society in Peru, of the vicissitudes of Andean mining, and of the convoluted social currents in a colonial uprising that some experts believe may have taken the lives of more than 100,000 Indians and settlers." Michael F. Brown, American Anthropologist

"...interesting, important....Cornblit's study is important..." Susan Migden Socolow, American Historical review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521533157
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/30/2003
  • Series: Cambridge Latin American Studies, #76
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 230
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface; 1. Oruro between two epochs: a mining cycle; 2. Under Spanish law; 3. Oruro in 1741: details of a stormy election; 4. The people; 5. Madmen, comedians, and hypocrites; 6. Captains of shipwreck; 7. Returning to the known; 8. 'The fruits of the earth'; 9. The end of an epoch: the indigenous uprisings of 1780–1781; 10. Oruro in the economic and geopolitical context of the epoch (circa 1780–1781); 11. The Oruro uprising; 12. The voice of the rebels; 13. Picking up the pieces; Appendix; Notes; Bibliography

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