Economic Prosperity of Peru

In 1532 the Spanish soldier and adventurer Francisco Pizarro conquered the Inca Empire, creating a catalyst for the creation of a new colonial society. Steve Stern discusses the manner in which the indigenous peoples of Huamanga met the challenge of European conquest in his piece entitled, “Peru’s Indian Peoples and the Challenge of Spanish Conquest”. When the conquistadorsfirst arrived, there appears to have been a mutual attraction and dependency between the Spaniards and indigenous peoples. Stern cites for example that the military skills of the Spaniards intrigued the native aristocracy, the kurakas, and helped local Andean society recognize their new “masters”. Besides this element of respect, the local societies of Huamanga saw an alliance with the Spaniards as an efficient way to break from Inca rule and to “protect and advance their own ethnic interests”. Hence, it could be said that there was a mutual cooperation between the Spaniards and indigenous people atfirst. Indians were extremely open to the Spaniard’s influence and way of life atfirst. Joining with them, they believed in the creation of a new society for the financial and commercial profit. However, as Stern mentions, this alliance did not imply that life was without conflict. As in most cases, when there is an ongoing struggle for power, violence is practically inevitable. Peru was no exception. Early relations displayed an uneasy mixture of force, negotiation, and alliance (34). Like the alliance between the two groups, the violence was also shared; Indians abused African slaves and Indians were often subjected to “whipping, looting, and rape by Spaniards, blacks, mestizos, and mulattos” (34). As the Spanish rule continued, the relationship between the Spaniards and the indigenous peoples worsened. Stern mentions labor as one of the elements of civilization that caused negative effects. Spaniards employed Indians for the majority of their labor force, squeezin…


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