José Gabriel Túpac Amaru (1738 - 1781) was the leader of an indigenous uprising in 1780 against the Spanish in Peru.Although unsuccessful, he became a mythical figure in the Peruvian struggle for independence and rights movement.
Tupac Amaru II was an inspiration to myriad causes in Hispanophone America and beyond.
He had been given the title of Marquis of Oropesa, a position that allowed him some political leverage during Spanish rule.
In 1760, he married Micaela Puyucahua of Afro-Peruvian and indigenous descent.
Tupac Amaru II inherited the caciqueship of Tungasuca and Pampamarca from his older brother who was governing on behalf of the Spanish governor.
The Spanish thought they got rid of the rest of the royal Inca family when Viceroy Toledo killed Tupac Amaru I in 1572, and his only son died after being taken to Lima, in a conveniently way. But the Spanish forgot one important thing..the Incas daughters. One of his daughters, Juana, married to a native province lord south of Cuzco, named Diego Felipe Kunturkanki. So the Incas blood was kept alive for 200 more years.
In the beginning of the 18.th century, the Spanish has come to understand that they needed to establish some amount of native midleclass rulers to be able to govern Peru, so there came a new native aristocracy, as administrators, after the old system of the Incas. These middle men was called Kurakas. The good ones helped their people, the bad ones used all means to enrich themselves. They came to be the upper middle class of Cuzco.
Among the persons who liked to study the Inca history and the writings of Garcilazos Royal Commentaries, was a man named Jose Gabriel Kunturkanku Tupac Amaru. He was the great, great , great grandson of Tupac Amaru the first.He was Kuraka of the province of Pinta, on the altiplano between Lake Titicaca and Cuzco. He had a good education for his class, (mestis blood they say, too, but it is not evidently), and he had a income to survive on. He was often travelling, also to Lima, so he could see the class differences. He saw how the colonists used the natives as slaves , more or less, working themselves to death in mines and how they had to live on useless Spanish goods, to help the Spanish import economy. He also tried many of his peoples cases in the Spanish ColonyCort. The taxed that took all from the weak were controlled by corregidores, (lowed judges and tax collectors.)
He owned land and was from a noble mestis family, this well educated man of two worlds. In 1780 he had enough of the harass and bad treatment of the people in his home province Pinta. He tried to appeal to the authorities in Lima without luck, so he took the corregidor in Pinta as prisoner. Later he dressed the corregidor in a Franciscan friar crowl and hanged him at the plaza in Tungasuca, November 1780, in front of celebrating natives and rather angry Spanish.
At his first victorious battle, he beat a government force in Sangara. 600 of the government soldiers had taken refugee in a church. Tupac Amaru II burned them all in, only 28 escaped. Tupac Amaru also took a clear political half religious approach to the people, he called himself " The father of the weak, All the poor, the helpless, and those suffering"
Its told that he claimed the name Inca Tupac Amaru with these words:
Manañam kunanmanta wakchakayniykiwan wiraqocha mikhunqañachu!!
(From this day, no longer shall the Spanish feast on your poverty!)
Tupac Amaru and his wife Micaela fought together and after they had a certain success in the uprising the first part of it. Around in Peru and Bolivia, also other uprisings followed, and it can be seen as a tax revolt. The return of the Inca, made the Andean peasants to hope again. They remembered always their great leaders killed by the Spanish, like Atahualpa, Manku and Tupac Amaru, and for them these historical persons now had an archetypal meaning, the Incarí, The Inca Messiah. They said that God had two sons, Jesus and Inkarí, and when Inkarí was weakened the son Jesus took his life and his throne, after cutting the troat of Pacha Mama, their mother.
Tupac Amaru was a reborn king of the Incas. He besieged the city of Cuzco and sent a letter to the town council in January, the 3. 1781, demanding a new tax system and Kuraka system. The town council might not agreed, and they did not surrender. The war fiersed and became more radical, a lot of natives wanted to settle the score with the colonists and their collaborators, and beside of that there was confrontations inside the guerilla, and some meztis people deserted.
He was betrayed. In April of 1781, after a series of defeats, the Inca and his family was captured and sent to Cuzco. Jose Antonio Areche, was originally sent from Spain to look into the abuses of the peasants and what has started the rebellion. He became now the torturer of Tupac Amaru. He and his family was tortured their tongues torn out, and cut into pieces, the heads sent around the region, and what was left , was burned and thrown in the river. All the most horrible ways of evil ways of molesting a human being was used, and Tupac himself had to witness how they tortured and killed his wife and other family members.
"Cuzco 3. May 1781: " The rebel Tupac Amaru doesnt confess to anything in spite of severe torture".
The only thing Tupac Amaru had to tell general Jose Antonio de Areche was: " There are only two responsible, you and me. You as the oppressor, me as the liberator. We both deserve to die".
Tupac Amaru, 11 Tupacamaristas was murdered at the Cuzco main plaza, including his wife Michaela and his two sons, the youngest a boy of 10 years of age. His future aftercomers in four generation was sentenced to death."
The torsos of the Inca and his wife was sent to Piqchu*, burned and the ashes thrown into a stream nearby.
Only two years after the rebellion flamed again, and now with more hate and violence than ever. Diego Christobal Tupac Amaru, the eldest brother of Tupac Amaru besiged government troops in battles around the highland surrounding Titicaca. In one battle hundreds of Spanish was killed, and he buried their wives alive. A seas fire was signed later in Sicuani, but when it was broken, Diego Christobal took the blame. He was taken prisoner and suffered the same end as his younger brother at the plaza in Cuzco, together with his mother Marcela Castro, and Manuela Tito Condori was sentenced to lifelong exile. (19th of July, 1783)
The rebellion continued here and there for years after, killing thousands of whites in revenge for the Incas death. But eventually, the "Indian" was "forbidden", and all trace of the culture had to be erased, that was the Spanish goal for the next 250 years.
Tupac Amaru has been a idol for liberation movements also outside Latin America, ever since.
"Mother Earth, witness how my enemies shed my blood."
(last words Túpac Amaru)