Death and Conversion in the Andes
Lima and Cuzco, 1532-1670
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Notre Dame Press
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This book studies how the conversion of the Andean populations to Catholicism was achieved from a particular perspective: changes in attitudes toward death. Specifically, it investigates how and why the to their peers or what arrangements they make for the remains of choice in their conversion to Christianity. Through different routes...
1. Death in Pre-Hispanic Peru
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Beliefs and practices concerning death were of fundamental importance in the lives of the ancient inhabitants of the Andes. Investigating these beliefs and practices is key to understanding the Andeans’ vision of the world and the sociopolitical organization of their societies. This chapter aims to sketch out some of the characteristics of experience of death in the Andes at the moment of the Spanish conquest and to explore its diversity...
2. Death during the Conquest
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The years between the Spaniards’ arrival in the Andes in 1532 and the execution of the last rebel Inca in 1572 were dominated by war and violence. The wars of conquest were followed by civil wars between the Spaniards, caused by disputes over the sharing of the booty and control of the former Inca empire, the Tahuantinsuyo, and by the rebellions of the conquistadors against...
3. The Conquest of Death
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Inducing the native populations to adopt Christian beliefs and customs concerning death was a crucial part of the Spanish missionary project in the Andes. This ambitious goal involved becoming familiar with Andean ideas and practices, reducing them to a concise and intelligible whole, and using what the Spaniards believed they had learned to create procedures...
4. Spaces and Institutions for the Missionary Project
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Enacting policies to implement the missionary project required defining the spaces, institutions, and methods of reaching the native Andeans. Following age-old European and Spanish precedents, colonial and ecclesiastical authorities exhorted the Indians to live “politically” in the belief that cities provided the ideal space in which human beings could be governed adequately and live in order and harmony.1 Hence, the Spanish colonial project was...
5. Wills, Graves, and Funeral Rites
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The final sacraments, although essential, were not sufficient preparation for death and its aftermath. The will, a document that brought together the two fundamental aspects of life—the spiritual and the material—was also a requirement for leaving this world secure in the knowledge that one’s soul was on the right path, and that one’s relationship with God and one’s fellow man was well tended. For this reason, writing a will took on a...
6. Ancestors, Successors, and Memory
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On Palm Sunday in 1606, an elderly woman called Luisa Quina wrote her last will before a notary and an Indian interpreter in the town of Santa Cruz de Lati, east of the city of Lima. Luisa recounted that she had had five children and that the eldest, Constanza, had been married to Don Rodrigo, one of the village...
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This book has sought to show how the Christianization of death was crucial in the conversion of the Andean peoples. Compared to similar processes in other parts of the world, the transformation of practices and ideas regarding death in the Andes came about in a surprisingly brief period and on a very large scale. This monumental change brought about after the Spanish...
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Page Count: 368
Illustrations: Tables/maps removed; no rights.
Publication Year: 2010