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Contested Territory

Mapping Peru in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

Heidi V. Scott

Publication Year: 2009

Landscape is never static, but changes continuously when seen in relation to human occupation, movement, labor, and discourse. Contested Territory explores the ways in which Peru’s early colonial landscapes were experienced and portrayed, especially by the Spanish conquerors but also by their conquered subjects. It focuses on the role played by indigenous groups in shaping the Spanish experiences of landscapes, the diverse geographical images of Peru and ways in which these were constructed and contested, and what this can tell us about the nature of colonial relations in post-conquest Peru. This exceptional study, which draws from archival records and sources such as cartographies, offers a richly nuanced view of the complexity of colonial relations. It will be read with appreciation by those interested in Spanish history, geography, and colonialism.

Published by: University of Notre Dame Press


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1. Landscape and the Spanish Conquest of Peru

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pp. 1-16

In 1527, about five years before the conquest of Peru began in earnest, a small band of Spaniards, sailing southward along the Pacific coast in the vicinity of the equator, captured an indigenous seagoing raft bearing trade goods that included, among other things, emeralds and fine textiles. Described in the Relaci

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2. Beyond Textuality: Landscape, Embodiment, and Native Agency

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pp. 17-48

In May 1532 a small group of Spaniards disembarked at the port of T

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3. Landscapes of Resistance?: Peru’s Relaciones Geográficas

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pp. 49-74

In the late sixteenth century, fifty-point geographical questionnaires, designed by the Council of the Indies’ chief chronicler and cosmographer, López de Velasco, were sent to colonial officials throughout Peru and other parts of the New World, along with instructions on how to complete them. Described by Mignolo as “one of the most impressive...

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4. The Mobile Landscapes of Huarochiri

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pp. 75-108

By the latter half of the sixteenth century, the turbulence of the initial period of conquest and ensuing civil conflicts in Peru had begun to subside, giving way to a new and, in many ways, more grounded colonial society. By the 1570s the age of large-scale expeditions of exploration and conquest that forcibly uprooted thousands of indigenous people, ...

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5. Negotiating Amazonia: The Accounts of Juan Recio de Le

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pp. 109-132

The first foundations of Spanish control had barely been established in the Peruvian highlands when new expeditions of conquest headed eastward toward the Amazon frontier. Propelled by the spectacular success of the Peruvian campaigns and by rumors of wealthy polities beyond the Andes, wave after wave of would-be conquistadors left Quito, ...

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6. Contested Frontiers and the Amazon/Andes Divide

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pp. 133-159

A curious paradox marks Inca and Spanish relations with the tropical low lands. The Spaniards—unlike the rulers of Tawantinsuyu, for whom a concept of opposition between Andes and Amazon was fundamental to their sense of identity—did not generally articulate such a binary at the time of their arrival in Peru, nor, like the Incas, did they regard the ...

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Conclusion. Mapping Peru in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

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pp. 159-166

Between the 1520s, when the first Spaniards tentatively set foot in the northern extremities of the Inca empire, and the final third of the seventeenth century, the human and physical landscapes of what was administered as the Viceroyalty of Peru underwent significant and in some respects dramatic and irreversible changes. In a very material sense, ...


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pp. 167-169


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pp. 170-213


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pp. 214-248


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pp. 249-256

E-ISBN-13: 9780268092702
E-ISBN-10: 0268092702
Print-ISBN-13: 9780268041311
Print-ISBN-10: 0268041318

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2009

OCLC Number: 694144534
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Contested Territory

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Peru -- History -- 1548-1820.
  • Spaniards -- Peru -- History -- 17th century.
  • Cultural landscapes -- Peru.
  • Spaniards -- Peru -- History -- 16th century.
  • Human geography -- Peru.
  • Peru -- History -- Conquest, 1522-1548.
  • Peru -- Discovery and exploration -- Spanish.
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