Túpac Amaru II (1742-1781)
Túpac Amaru II was the nom de guerre of José Gabriel Condorcanqui Noguera, a Jesuit-educated man from Peru who organized one of the largest indigenous rebellions against the Spanish in South America. Inspired by Garcilaso de la Vega’s seminal Comentarios Reales de los Incas, and claiming to be a descendant of the sixteenth century Inca leader Túpac Amaru, Condorcanqui began his insurrection with the public execution of a local colonial governor. He gathered up an army of several thousand indigenous people who quickly occupied various smaller colonial towns before successfully defeating the Spanish during the Battle of Sangarará in 1780. His army was eventually met by a string of defeats, and he was ultimately betrayed to the Spanish by some of his collaborators. Túpac Amaru II was sentenced to a brutal death in Cusco, where he was decapitated and quartered, his severed body parts strewn all over the country. Most of his family met a similar fate, and all his properties and goods were confiscated and destroyed. His rebellion led the colonial Spanish government to ban all outward expressions of Inca culture and traditions, and inspired similar indigenous revolts elsewhere in the continent.