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TUPAC AMARU

The first serious revolts against Spanish rule in South America took place in the 18th century. In Peru Native Americans of the Andes mountains, forced to work in terrible conditions in Spanish-run mines and factories, rebelled in 1780. They were led by Jose Gabriel Condorcanqui, a wealthy Spanish-American who claimed descent from a 16th-century Inca emperor, Tupac Amaru, whose name he had taken in 1771. His followers used birds' feathers in their costumes as their Inca ancestors had done. The rebels overran much of the highlands and attacked the city of Cuzco. They secretly sent news of the revolt to sympathizers in Bolivia using the ancient Inca method of quipus, knots in strings, to convey information. In March 1781 the Spanish captured Tupac Amaru and tortured him to death. About 10,000 of his followers were killed by Spanish soldiers during the revolts. Some Peruvians, particularly those who were Spanish or had Spanish ancestors, remembered the rebellions as an uncontrolled lashing out against Spanish-Americans. They became more loyal to Spanish rule. But the revolt continued, and was only finally crushed in 1782, after rebels had twice attacked the Bolivian city of La Paz.



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