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The Spanish Invasion

Nueva Corónica y Buen Gobierno

The handwritten manuscript “Nueva Corónica y Buen Gobierno “ – “New Chronicle and Good Government” from 1615 appears in Storm in the Andes. Devastated
by what he witnessed indigenous Guaman Poma wrote this book about the Spanish invasion. It is impossible to understand Peru without looking back 500 years.

Guaman Poma and
the Spanish Invasion

The handwritten manuscript “Nueva Corónica y Buen Gobierno “ – “New Chronicle and Good Government” from 1615 appears in Storm in the Andes. Devastated by what he witnessed indigenous Guaman Poma wrote this book about the Spanish invasion. It is impossible to understand Peru without looking back 500 years.

New chronicle and good government

The intention of Poma was to warn the Spanish king Philip III of the terrible consequences of the oppressive conditions in Peru, not only for the Peruvians but also for the viceroyalty itself.

It is not known if Philip III ever read the manuscript although it was brought to Spain and later ended up in the possession of the Danish court. But the 1000 pages with nearly 400 drawings is a remarkable document of the consequences of this early European colonial war.

The digital version of the magnificent manuscript kept at the Royal Library of Copenhagen can be studied at: http://www.kb.dk/permalink/2006/poma/info/en/frontpage.htm

The Inca civilisation upheld an empire stretching from today’s Chile to Ecuador. Roads, bridges and cities with an impressive stone architecture as seen in the famous ruins of Machu Picchu existed all over the empire. A well functioning state administration kept the empire together and even stored basic necessities for the citizens in times of need.
Machu Picchu © Martin Chambi

When the Spanish invader Francisco Pizarro landed on the Peruvian cost in 1532 he only brought 168 men with him.

But with a combination of superior armament, deceit and a cynical use of the existing contradictions within the Inca empire he succeeded in his invasion.

The Spanish viceroyalty of Peru was established and gave origin to a steady stream of capital to Spain, mostly in the form of precious metals. This capital played an important role in the dynamics of the industrial revolution in Europe. In Peru it resulted in the destruction of the existing society, depopulation and general misery among the indigenous population. A colonial and feudal order was established.
© Martin Chambi
The harsh social and racial contradictions still haunting Peru have their origin in this history.
© Martin Chambi