restricted access 9. The Rise of Complex Agro-Pastoral Societies in the Altiplano Period
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One of the first great historians of Peru, Pedro de Cieza de León, considered the Titicaca Basin one of the most important regions in all of the Indies. By the time Cieza visited the area, the Inca empire had controlled the region for about two generations. The physical and cultural landscape that the first Western historians saw in the sixteenth century was primarily defined by the pre-Inca peoples of the Titicaca Basin. By and large, the peoples of Collasuyu, as the circum-Titicaca Basin was known in the Inca empire, were Aymara-speakers who had created several large and powerful kingdoms, or señoríos, prior to Inca conquest. In chapter 99 of his Crónica del Perú, Cieza said that the Collao was perhaps the most populous region in Peru. He commented on the numerous herds of camelids (referred to as ganado, or “cattle,” in older texts). He noted the existence of large towns along 2 0 4 the lake edge and vast expanses of underpopulated territory away from the lake. He suggested that if the Titicaca Basin had been in a better climate (such as one of the lower valleys where maize could be grown), it would have been the best and richest land in all of the Indies. Most of what we know about the great pre-Inca Aymara señoríos of the Titicaca Basin comes from the information recorded by Cieza, Cobo, and other early historians. In one of his most important quotes about the pre-Inca peoples, Cieza relates: Before the Inca reigned, according to many Indians from Collao, there was in their province two great lords [señores], one named Zapana and the other Cari, and these señores conquered many pucaras that are their fortifications, and that one of them entered Lake Titicaca , and found on the major island [Isla del Sol] C H A P T E R 9 The Rise of Complex Agro-Pastoral Societies in the Altiplano Period bearded white people with whom they fought and put all of them to death. And more people say, that after [these events], there were great battles with the Canas and Canchis. (Cieza 1553: chapter 100) Cieza was an astute observer. Along with his work, which provided a great deal of first-hand information , was that of Bernabé Cobo, Guamán Poma de Ayala, Garcilaso de la Vega, Ramos Gavil án, Juan de Betanzos, and others who described the peoples of the Titicaca Basin. Historical data from such sources make it possible to define a number of distinct political divisions within the circum-Titicaca region during the sixteenth century that almost certainly reflect some of the pre-Inca boundaries. Map 9.1, adapted from several sources (Bouysse-Cassagne 1986; Julien 1983; Saignes 1986; Spurling 1992; and Torero 1987), shows the distribution of these divisions . These boundaries, of course, existed before the R I S E O F C O M P L E X A G R O - P A S T O R A L S O C I E T I E S 2 0 5 Early Spanish period. Julien (1983) has convincingly argued that these divisions reflect Inca provincial boundaries, which, in turn, reflected the pre-Inca political-ethnic landscape. In other words, it is a safe assumption that these divisions reflect the general outlines of the Altiplano- and Inca-period cultural landscape in the circum-Titicaca region. The largest cultural geographical division in Titicaca Basin society is that of Umasuyu/Urqusuyu. In the most superficial terms, Umasuyu corresponds geographically to the eastern and northeastern side of the lake, and Urqusuyu refers to the western and northwestern side. These concepts, however, are more than a geographical division: they refer to a series of dualities vital to Andean political and social geography . Urqu, or orqo, implies masculinity, “mountainness ,” dryness, solid, and high (Kolata 1993: 8). In Bertonio’s dictionary, orqo is defined as “the masculine sex in all of the brute animals” (1956 [1612]: 0 25 50 km Lake Titicaca Señorío of the Collas Señorío of the Pacajes Señorío of the Lupaqas Señoríos of the Umasuyu Azángaro Island of the Sun Hatuncolla Paucarcolla Chucuito Ilave Juli Desaguadero Moho Pomata Kallawaya Chiquicache (?) N MAP 9.1. Sixteenth-century political and ethnic boundaries in theTiticaca Basin, as derived from historical documents. Adapted from Cieza, Juan de Betanzos, BouysseCassagne 1986, Julien 1983, Saignes...