Pedro Cieza de León

Pedro Cieza de León

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First part of Crónicas del Perú

Pedro Cieza de León (Llerena, Spain c.1520 --- Seville, Spain 1554) was a Spanish conquistador and chronicler of Peru. He is known primarily for his history and description of Peru, Crónicas del Perú.. He wrote this book in four parts, but only the first was published during his lifetime; the remaining sections were not published until the 19th and 20th centuries.

Early life

Cieza de León was likely born in 1520 in Llerena, a town in southeastern Extremadura. Little is known of his early life; given the fact that he left home at age thirteen, it is doubtful that Cieza de León received more than a rudimentary education at a local parish school. His father, Lope de León, was a shopkeeper in the town, and his mother, Leonor de Cazalla, was a native of Llerena, and there is scant documentary evidence of the young Cieza de León's childhood.[1]

In South America

Cieza participated in various expeditions and helped found a number of cities. These activities include the following:

  • 1536 and 1537: Expedition to San Sebastián de Buenavista and to Urute with Alonso de Cáceres.
  • 1539: Foundation of San Ana de los Caballeros (Colombia), with Jorge Robledo.
  • 1540: Foundation of Cartago (Colombia).
  • 1541: Foundation of Antioquía (Colombia).
  • He took possession of an encomienda in Cartagena of Indies, which he granted to Sebastian de Belalcazar.
  • 1547: Cieza de Leon participated in missions headed by Pedro de la Gasca in support of the royalist campaign against Gonzalo Pizarro's rebellion.
  • 1548: He reached the "City of Kings" (present-day Lima), where he started his career as a writer and official chronicler of the New World. During the following two years he traveled across the Peruvian territory, collecting interesting information he would later use to develop his works.

Later life and the fate of his writings

Cieza returned to Seville, Spain, in 1551 and married a woman named Isabel López de Abreu.[2] In this city he published, in 1553, the first part of the chronicles of Peru (Primera Parte). He died the following year, leaving the rest of his work unpublished. His Second Part of Chronicles of Peru, describing the Incas, was translated by Clements Markham and published in 1871. In 1909, the fourth part of his chronicle, focusing on the civil wars among the Spanish conquerors was published under the title Third Book of the Peruvian Civil Wars. The third part of Cieza de León's Crónicas del Perú, which examined the discovery and conquest of Peru by the Spaniards, was considered by historians to be lost. The document eventually turned up in a Vatican library, and historian Francesca Cantù¹ published a Spanish version of the text in 1979.[3]


Though his works are historical and narrate the events of the Spanish conquest of Peru and the civil wars among the Spaniards, much of their importance lies in his detailed descriptions of geography, ethnography, flora and fauna. He was the first European to describe some native Peruvian animal species and vegetables.


  • Cieza de León, Pedro de. The Second Part of the Chronicle of Peru, translated by Clements R. Markham. London: Hakluyt Society, 1883. (reissued by Cambridge University Press, 2010. ISBN 9781108011617)
  • Cieza de León, Pedro de. The Travels of Pedro de Cieza de León, AD 1532-50, Contained in the First Part of His Chronicle of Peru, translated by Clements R. Markham. London: Hakluyt Society, 1883. (reissued by Cambridge University Press, 2010. ISBN 9781108013345)
  • Cieza de León, Pedro de. The War of Las Salinas, translated by Clements R. Markham. London: Hakluyt Society, 1923 (1883).
  • Cieza de León, Pedro de. The War of Quito, translated by Clements R. Markham. London: Hakluyt Society, 1913 (1883).
  • Cieza de León, Pedro de. The War of Chupas, translated by Clements R. Markham. London: Hakluyt Society, 1917 (1883).
  • Cieza de León, Pedro de. The Incas of Pedro de Cieza de León, translated by Harriet de Onis. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1959.
  • Cieza de León, Pedro de. The Discovery and Conquest of Peru: Chronicles of the New World Encounter, edited and translated by Alexandra Parma Cook and Noble David Cook. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998.


  1. ^ Cook, Noble David. Introduction to 1998 translation of The Discovery and Conquest of Peru: Chronicles of the New World Encounter, edited and translated by Alexandra Parma Cook and Noble David Cook. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998, p. 5.
  2. ^ Cook, Noble David. Introduction to 1998 translation of The Discovery and Conquest of Peru: Chronicles of the New World Encounter, edited and translated by Alexandra Parma Cook and Noble David Cook. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998, p. 16-18.
  3. ^ Cook, Noble David. Introduction to 1998 translation of The Discovery and Conquest of Peru: Chronicles of the New World Encounter, edited and translated by Alexandra Parma Cook and Noble David Cook. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998, p. 25-26.

External links

Media related to Pedro Cieza de León at Wikimedia Commons

Crónicas del Perú.

A.D. 1532-50,
First Part of the Chronicle of Peru,

cieza cover

cieza map

cieza tianhuanaco 1

cieza tianhuanaco 2

cieza tianhuanaco 3


Of the great district which is inhabited by the Collas of the appearance of the land where their villages are built, and how Mitimaes were stationed to supply them with provisions.

The region which they call Collao appears to me to be the largest province in all Peru, and the most populous. The Collas are first met with at Ayavire, and they extend as far as Caracoto. To the east of their province are the forests of the Andes, to the west are the peaks of the snowy mountains, which descend on the other side to the South Sea. Besides the lands which the natives occupy with their fields and houses, there are vast uninhabited tracts


full of wild flocks. The land of the Collas is level in most parts, and rivers of good water flow through it.

These plains form beautiful and extensive meadows, the herbage of which is always plentiful, and at times very green, although in the spring it is parched up as in Spain. The winter begins (as I have already said) in October, and lasts until April. The days and nights are almost equal, and the cold in this district is greater than in any other part of Peru, excepting the snowy peaks, because the land is high, and comes up to the mountains. Certainly if this land of the Collao had a deep valley like those of Xauxa or Chuquiapu, which would yield maize, it would be one of the richest in all the Indies. When the wind is blowing it is hard work to travel over these plains of the Collao, but when there is no wind, and the sun is shining, it is very pleasant to see the beautiful and well-peopled meadows. But the climate is so cold that there is no maize, nor any kind of tree ; and the land is too sterile to yield any of the fruits which grow in other parts. (1) The houses in the villages are built of stone, and roofed with straw instead of tiles, and they are placed close together. This coimtry of the Collao was once very populous, and was covered with large villages, round which the Indians had their fields, where they raised crops for food. Their principal food is potatoes, which are like earth nuts, as I have before described.

1. This description of the Collao is very accurate. South of the Vilca- uota mountains the Andes separate into two distinct chains, namely the Cordillera or coast range and the Eastern Andes, which include the loftiest peaks in South America, IlHmani and Sorata. The Collao is the region between these two ranges. It contains the great lake of Titicaca, and consists of elevated plains intersected by rivers flowing into the lake.

2 The potatoe was indigenous to the Andes of Peru, and the best potatoe in the world is grown at a place called Huamantango, near Lima. I am surprised to find that Humboldt should have doubted this fact, (" La pomme de terre n'est pas indigene au Perou.'' Nouv. Espagne, ii, p. 400), seeing that there is a native word for potatoe, and that it is mentioned as the staple food of the people of the Collao, by Cieza de Leon.


They dry these potatoes in the sun, and keep them from one harvest to another. After they are dried they call these potatoes chunus, and they are highly esteemed and valued among them. (1) They have no water in channels for irrigating the fields, as in many other parts of this kingdom, so that, if the natural supply of water required for the crops fails, they would suffer from famine and want if they had not this store of dried potatoes. Many Spaniards have enriched themselves and returned prosperous to Spain by merely taking these chunvs to sell at the mines of Potosi. They have another kind of food called oca, (2) which is also profitable, but not so much so as a seed which they also raise, called qidnua, (3) a small grain like rice. When the harvest is abundant, all the inhabitants of the Collao live contented and free from want, but when there is want of water they suffer great distress.

But, in truth, the Kings Yncas who ruled over this em- pire were so wise, and such excellent governors, that they established laws and customs without which the majority of their people would have suffered great hardships, as they did before they came under the rule of the Yncas, In the Collao, and in all the parts of Peru, where, owing to the cold climate, the land is not so fertile and abundant as in the warm valleys, they ordered that, as the great forests of Leon, and other early writers. Moreover the Solanacece are the commonest plants in several parts of Peru. The ancient Quichua for potatoe is ascu or acsu, and the same word exists in the Chinchaysuyu dialect.

{Torres Rubio, p. 219.)

1. Chunus or frozen potatoes are still the ordinary food of the natives of the Collao. They dam up square shallow pools by the sides of streams, and fill them with potatoes during the cold season of June and July. The frost soon converts them into chunus which are insipid and tasteless.

2 The oca {Oxalis tuber osa Lin.) is an oval shaped root, the skin pale red, and the inside white. It is watery, has a sweetish taste, and is much liked by the Peruvians.

3. quinoa
See note at page 143.


The Andes bordered on these sterile tracts, a certain number of Indians with their wives should be taken from each village, and stationed to cultivate the land in the places where the chiefs directed them to settle. Here they sowed the things which would not grow in their own country, sending the fruits of their labours to their chiefs, and they were called Mitimaes. At the present day they serve the principal encomienderos, and cultivate the precious coca.

Thus, although no maize can be raised throughout the Colloa, the chiefs and people did not fail to obtain it by this arrangement, for the Mitimaes brought up loads of maize, coca, and fruits of all kinds, besides plenty of honey, which abounds in all parts of the forests, where it is formed in the hollows of trees in the way I have described when treating of Quinbaya.^ In the province of Charcas this honey is excellent. It is said that Francisco de Carbajal, master of the camp to Gonzalo Pizarro, always ate this honey, and though he drank it as if it had been water or wine, he always remained strong and healthy, as he was when I saw him judged in the valley of Xaquixaguana, although he was over eighty years of age according to his own account.


Of what is said concerning the origin of these Collas, of their appearance, and how they buried their dead.

Many of these Indians say that they have heard from their fathers that, in times past, there was a great deluge, in the manner described by me in the third chapter of the second part. They also declare that the origin of their ancestors was very ancient, and they relate so many sayings and fictions that I shall not stop to write them down, for some (See chapter xxv, p. 9U.)


say that their ancestors came out of a fountain, others from a rock, and others out of a lake, so that no sense can be learnt from them concerning their origin. But they all agree that their ancestors lived in a wild state before they were subjugated by the Yncas, that they had strongholds in the mountains whence they came out to fight, and that they had many vicious customs. Afterwards they learnt from the Yncas all that had been made known to the other vassals, and they built their villages in the same way as they have them now. Both men and women are clothed in woollen dresses. They say that, before marriage, the women may go loosely, but that they are punished with death if they are guilty of infidelity after they have been delivered to husbands. These people wear woollen caps called chucos on their heads. Their heads are very long, and flattened behind, because they are pressed and forced into what shape they choose during childhood. The women wear hoods on their heads, almost of the same shape as those worn by friars. Before the Yncas conquered the country, many of the Indians declare that there were two great lords in the Colloa, the one called Sapana and the other Cari, who conquered many pucaras which are their fortresses. They add that one of these chiefs entered the large island in the lake of Titicaca, and found there a white people who had beards ; that they fought with them in such a manner that all were killed; and that they also fought great battles with the Canas and Canches. After they had performed notable deeds, these tyrants, or lords, who had risen up in the Colloa, turned their arms against each other, seeking also for the friendship of the Ynca Huira-ccocha, who then reigned in Cuzco. The Ynca made a treaty of peace with Cari at Chucuito, and intrigued so skilfully that he became lord of a great part of the Collao without fighting. The principal chiefs of this country go about with a large retinue, and, when they travel, they are carried in litters, and treated with great


respect by all the Indians. They had their temples and huacas in secret places where they adored their gods^ and those who were selected for that duty conversed with the devil.

The things which to my mind are most worthy of notice in the Collao, are the tombs of the dead. When I travelled over this country I stopped to write down all that deserved mention concerning the Indians ; and I was truly astonished to see how little they cared for having large and handsome houses for the living, while they bestowed so much care on the tombs where the dead were interred, as if all happiness did not consist in something else. Thus, in the plains and meadows near their villages, the tombs were built in the form of small towers, some of stones only, and others of stones mixed with earth, some broad and others narrow, according to the rank and wealth of those who built them. (1) Some of them were roofed with straw, and others with large slabs. I observed that the doors of these towers were towards the east. When the natives of the Collao died they were mourned for during many days, the women holding staves in their hands, and putting ashes on their bodies. The relations of the deceased each con- tributed something, as well sheep, lambs, and maize, as other things, and, before they buried the corpse, they killed sheep, put the cooked meat into the rooms of their houses, and made much drink from the maize. The deceased is honoured according to the quantity of this beverage that is made. When the drink is ready, and the sheep and lambs killed, they carry the corpse to the place where the

1. The most remarkable of these tower tombs of the Collao are at a place called Sillustani, on a promontory running out into the lake of Umayu, near Puno. This promontory is literally covered with places of sepulture. Four of them are towers of finely cut masonry, with the sides of the stones dovetailing into each other. See a full description of them in my Travels in Peru and lacUa, p. Ill ; also Vigne's Travels in South America ii, p. 31 ; and Antiguedades Peruunas p. 293.


tomb is prepared, accompanied, if the deceased was a chief, by the people of the village. Then they burnt ten, twenty, or more sheep, according to the rank of the dead man, and killed the women, boys and servants who were to accompany him, according to their vain belief. All these are buried in the same tomb with the body, into which they also put some people alive. Having interred the deceased in this manner, they all return to the house whence they had taken the body, and there eat the food and drink the chicha, coming out from time to time to dance mournful dances in the appointed places near the house. This goes on for some days, at the end of which the poorest men and women are assembled, and given what remains of the food and chlcha. If the deceased was a great chief, they did not bury him immediately, but, before doing so, they practised superstitious vanities for some days, which I shall not describe. When these are finished, the women and servant- girls who have not been killed come out into the village in their mantles and hoods, some carrying the arms of the chief, others his ornamental head-dress, and others his clothes and other things. They walk along uttering sad and sorrowful words, while an Indian goes before them mourning and playing on a drum. Thus they traverse the greater part of the village, declaring, in their songs, the deeds of the dead chief, and other things concerning him. I remember that when I was going to Charcas in company with Diego de Uzeda, who now lives in the city of La Paz, we saw certain women walking in this way through the village of Nicasio,(1) and we learnt from the people of the village that they were saying what I have described in this chapter. One of the Indians added that when these women had finished their lamentations, they would be made drunk,

1. A small village of the Collao, on the banks of the river Pucara, near the point where, uniting with the Azangaro, it forms the Ramiz, which empties itself into lake Titicaca at the north-west corner.


and some of them would be killed to accompany the dead man. In many other villages I have seen them mourn for the dead during many days, and put ropes of sedge round their heads as a sign of grief.


How these Indians perform their annual ceremonies, and of the temples they had in ancient times.

In the last chapter I have declared how these people made great ado when they put their dead into the tombs. After the interment the women and servants shaved their heads, put on their commonest clothing, and took no care of their persons. Besides this, in order to show their grief, they twisted ropes of sedge round their heads, and uttered continual lamentations during a whole year if the deceased was a chief, and had no light in the house for several days. These people, by the permission of God, were, like all the others, deceived by the devil with the false and delusive apparitions of some people who were dead, dressed and adorned in the way their bodies had been put into the tombs. In order to show more care for the dead they held annual festivals, when they brought animals and killed them near the tombs, also emptying many vases of liquor over the tombs, which completed this vain and foolish ceremony.

As this nation of the Collao was so numerous, they had, in former times, great temples and superstitious rites, venerating those whom they set apart as priests, and who conversed with the devil. They held their festivals at the season when they got in their potatoes, which is their principal food, and then they killed animals as sacrifices. At the present time we do not know that they have any public


temple, but, by the will of our God and Lord, many Catholic churches have been founded, where our priests preach the holy gospel, and teach the faith to all the Indians who desire to receive the water of baptism. I verily believe that if there had been no civil wars, and if we had sincerely and earnestly endeavoured to convert these people, many would have been saved, who have now been damned. At present there are priests and friars in many parts of the Collao, appointed by those who hold encomiendas over the Indians ; and I pray to God that he will carry this work forward without weighing our sins.

The natives of the Collao say the same as all the other people of the Sierra, that the Creator of the world was called Huira-ccocha, and they know that his principal abode is in heaven; but, deceived by the devil, they adored various gods, like all the other gentiles. They have certain romances or songs in which they preserve the memory of their deeds, and prevent their being forgotten, although they have no letters.

Among the people of the Collao there are men of great intelligence, who reply to what is asked from them ; and they take account of time, and know some of the movements both of the sun and the moon. They count their years from ten months to ten months, and I learnt from them that they called the year Mari, the moon or month Ales paquexe, and the day Auro. When they submitted to the Yncas they made great temples by their order, both on the island of Titicaca and at Hatun-colla, as well as in other parts.



Of the ancient ruins at Pucara, of the former greatness of Hatun-colla, of the village called Azangaro, and of other things wliich are here related.

Now that I have related certain things that I was able to collect respecting the Collao as briefly as possible I propose to continue my writing by giving an account of the villages along the royal road as far as the city of La Paz, which is built in the valley of Chuquiapu, on the confines of the great province of the Collao.

Coming from Ayavire along the royal road, the traveller reaches Pucara (which means a strong place), four leagues from Ayavire. I remained a whole day at Pucara looking at everything. (1) It is reported by the Indians that there was formerly a large population in this place, but at present there is scarcely an inhabitant. The neighbouring Indians say that Tupac Ynca Yupanqui besieged the place during many days, for, before they could be conquered, the natives showed themselves to be so valorous, that they killed many people. When they were finally conquered, the Ynca ordered great stone pillars to be set up in memory of the victory. Whether this be really so or not I cannot say, but the Indians declare it. I saw the ruins of great edifices

1. The editor also remained a whole day at Pucara in 1860, looking at everything, but more than three centuries had elapsed since the visit of Cieza de Leon, and there is no longer a vestige of the ruins mentioned in the text. Pucara is a little town at the foot of an almost perpendicular mountain, which closely resembles the northern end of the rock of Gibraltar. The precipice is composed of a reddish sandstone, and is upwards of twelve hundred feet above the plain, the crevices and summit being clothed with long grass and shrubby quenuas {Polylepis tomentella Wedd.) Here Francisco Hernandez Giron, the rebel who led an insurrection to oppose the abohtion of personal service amongst the Indians, was finally defeated in 1554. In 1860 the aged cura, Dr. Jose Faustino Dasa, was one of the best Quichua scliolars in Peru.


in Pucara, and many pillars of stone carved in the form of men, besides other things worthy of note.

The distance from Pucara to Hatun-colla is fifteen leagues, and on the road there are some villages, such as Nicasio, Juliaca, and others. In former times Hatun-colla was the principal place in the Collao, and the natives affirm that before the Yncas conquered the country, the chief Sapana and some of his descendants ruled here, who were so powerful that they gained many spoils from the neighbouring people whom they defeated in battle. Afterwards the Yncas adorned the place with new edifices and many storehouses, where, by their order, the tribute was received from the surrounding districts. There was also a temple of the sun, with many Mama-cunas and priests for its service, and a great quantity of Mitimaes and soldiers to watch the frontier, and to prevent any tyrant from rising against him whom they held as sovereign lord. Thus it may be affirmed that Hatun-colla was a grand place, as its name implies, for Hatwi means " great " in their language. In these times all is in ruins, and most of the inhabitants have been killed in the wars. (1)

From Ayavire another road goes to Omasuyu, which leads round the other side of the great lake of which I shall treat presently, and nearer to the forests of the Andes. It passes by the large villages of Asillo, Azangaro, and others of less importance, and the country is very rich both in flocks and provisions. When the Yncas conquered this country, the people of these villages had large flocks of sheep. In the same district, in the forests of the Andes, is the famous and very rich river of Caravaya, whence, in former years, they took more than 1,700,000 pesos of gold of such fineness that it exceeded the standard; and gold is still found in the river, but it is only obtained with great

1 Hatun-colla is now a wretched little village, not far from the towers of Sillustani, already alluded to.


labour, and by the deatb of the Indians who work in it, for the climate is unhealthy, though the wealth of the river is great (1)


Of the great lake which is within the province of the Collao, of its depth, and of the temple of Titicaca.

This land of the Collao is very extensive (as I have said in former chapters), and, besides the inhabited parts, there are many deserts, snowy mountains, and grassy plains which yield sustenance to the wild flocks which wander in all directions. In the centre of the province there is the largest and broadest lake that has been found in the Indies, near which are most of the villages of the Collao. The people raise their crops on large islands in the lake, where they also keep their valuables, as being safer than in the villages along the roads. I remember that I have already said that it is so cold in this province, that not only are there no fruit trees, but they cannot raise maize. In the beds of reeds in this lake there are many kinds of birds, such as large ducks, and they kill two or three kinds of fish in the lake, which are very good, though they are held to be unwholesome.

This lake is so large that it has a circumference of eighty leagues, and so deep that the captain Juan Ladrillero told me that in some parts, when he was sailing with his brigantines, he found the depth to be seventy or eighty brazas, in some places more, in others less. In this respect, and in regard to the waves that are formed when the wind rises, it appears like some gulf of the sea. (2) If it is desired that I should say

1. See my chapter on the province of Caravaya, in Travels in Peru and India, chap, xii, p. 190.

2 A thorough survey of the great lake of Titicaca is still a desideratum in geography. The lake is about 80 miles long by 40 broad, being by far the largest in South America. It is divided into two parts by the peninsula of Copacabana. The southern division, called the lake of Huaqui, is 8 leagues long by 7, and is united to the greater lake by the strait of Tiquina. A number of rivers, which are of considerable volume during the rainy season, flow into the lake. The largest of these is the Ramiz, which is formed by the junction of the two rivers of Pucara and Azangaro, and enters the lake at its north-west corner. The Suchiz, formed by the rivers of Cavanilla and Lampa, also flows into the lake on its west side, as well as the Yllpa and Ylave ; while on the eastern side are the rivers Huarina, Escoma, and Achacache. Much of the water thus flowing in is drained off by the great river Desaguadero, which flows out of the south-west corner, and disappears in the swampy lake of Aullagas, in the south of Bolivia. Perhaps a great quantity is taken up by evaporation. On the eastern side lake Titicaca is very deep, but on parts of the west shore it is so shoal that there is only just water enough to force a balsa through the forests of rushes. The winds blow from the eastward all the year round, sometimes in strong gales, so as to raise a heavy sea. Along the western shore there are acres of tall rushes. The principal islands are those of Titicaca and Coati, near the peninsula of Copacabana, Campanario, Escoma, Soto, and Esteves.


how so much water was collected into this lake, I am unable to do so, for, though many rivers and streams fall into it, I do not think that they would suffice to make it what it is, especially as a river flows out of it into another smaller lake called Aullagas. It may be that, after the deluge, this lake remained with the water we now see in it, for if it communicated with the sea the water would be salt and not fresh; besides it is at a distance of sixty leagues from the sea. All this water flows out in a deep river which they called the Desaguadero, and falls into the lake which, as I have already said, is called Aullagas.

Another thing worthy of attention is, that we see how the water of one lake enters the other (that is, the water of the lake of the Collao flows into the Aullagas), but not how it flows out of the lake of Aullagas, although it has been examined on all sides. On this subject I have heard both Spaniards and Indians say that, in some of the valleys near the South Sea, they had seen streams of water, which flow


under the earth towards the said sea; and they believe that this may be the water of the lake, draining out and opening for itself a road through the bowels of the earth, until it reaches the place to which all waters go, which is the sea.

The great lake of the Colloa is called Titicaca, from the temple which was built on an island in it. The natives held a very vain and foolish belief, which was, that in the time of their ancestors there was no light for many days, and that, when all was wrapped in darkness and obscurity, the resplendent sun came up out of this island of Titicaca, for which reason it was considered sacred, and the Yncas erected a temple on it in honour of the sun, which was much revered and venerated among them, and which contained many virgins and priests, and great store of treasure, of which the Spaniards, at different times, have collected a great deal, but most of it is still missing. (1) If, in truth, the Indians ever really were in want of light, as they say, it must have been owing to some eclipse of the sun; and, as they are such sorcerers, they invented this fable, in which they were assisted by the illusions of the devil, God permitting it for their sins.


In which the narrative continues, and the villages are described as far as Tiahuanaco.

Returning to the road where I left it, which was at Hatun- colla, I have to say that it passes thence by Paucar-colla,

1. The temple, on the island of Titicaca, was one of the most sacred in Peru, and the ruins are still in a good state of preservation. The buildings are of hewn stone, with doorways wider below than above. But they are inferior to those on the adjacent island of Coati. See Rlvero, Antiguedades Peruanas, chap. x.


and other villages of this nation of the Collas, to Chucuito, which is one of the principal and most complete towns in any part of this great kingdom, and is the chief place of the Indians owned by his Majesty in this province. It is certain, too, that the Yncas in former times held Chucuito to be an important place, and, according to the accounts of the Indians, it is the most ancient place of any that I have yet described. Cariapasa was the chief of this place, and, for an Indian, was a very intelligent man. There are large buildings here ; and, before the chiefs were subjugated by the Yncas, they were very powerful, among whom the Indians mention two as the principal, named Cari and Yumalla. Chucuito is now, as I have said, the principal village of the Indians of his Majesty, whose other villages are Juli, Chilane, Acos, Pomata, and Zepita, in which there are chiefs who command the Indians. When I passed through these parts the corregidor was Simon Pinto, and the governor was an Indian named Gaspar, an intelligent and clever man. The natives are rich in flocks, and they have plenty of provisions. In other parts they have Mitimaes stationed to raise their maize and coca. There are fine churches in these villages founded by the reverend father friar Tomas de San Martin, principal of the Dominicans. The young men, and others who most desire it, assemble to hear the evangehcal doctrine preached by the friars and clergymen. Most of the chiefs have turned Christians. Near Zepita flows the Desaguadero, where, till the days of the Yncas, there used to be toll takers who received tribute from those who passed over the bridge, which is made of bundles of stalks, in such sort that men and horses can cross over it. In one of these villages, called Juli, the master of the camp, Francisco de Carbajal, hung the captain Hernando Bachicao. (1) This is one of the examples which

1 We first meet with Hernando Bachicao as a captain of pikemen in the army of Vaca de Castro. When Gonzalo Pizarro rose against the viceroy Blasco Nuiiez de Vela, he entrusted Bachicao with the formation of a navy. That officer took command of a brigantine at Callao, which had just arrived from Quilca, and sailed up the coast. At Tumbez he found the viceroy, who fled inland on his approach ; and Bachicao seized two vessels. Sailing northward he captured several others, and with the fleet thus formed, he got possession of the city of Panama in March 1545. Soon afterwards Gonzalo Pizarro appointed Hinojosa to command the fleet, and superseded Bachicao ; who then joined his chief with reinforce- ments from Panama, and took part in the final defeat of the viceroy at Afiaquito, where he commanded the pikemen. At the battle of Huarina, where he also commanded the pikemen, believing that the forces of Centeno were about to gain the victory, he turned traitor and deserted his colours ; but he was mistaken, for his old commander Gonzalo Pizarro won that bloody fight. Bachicao, therefore, returned to his own side, and would have been glad if his conduct had escaped observation. But the eagle eye of the fiery old master of the camp, Carbajal, was not to be deceived, and the captain Hernando Bachicao was hung by his order, a few days afterwards, in the little village of Juli, on the western shore of lake Titicaca.


show us that the civil wars and troubles in Peru were the scourges of God, for they killed each other with great cruelty, as I shall relate in the proper place.

Beyond these villages is Huaqui, where there were buildings of the Yncas, one of which is now a church, where the children may hear the Christian doctrine at the proper hours.

Of the village of Tiahuanaco, and of the great and ancient edifices which are to be seen there.

Tiahuanaco is not a very large village, but it is celebrated for the great edifices near it, which are certainly things worth seeing. (1) Near the buildings there is a hill made by

1 These ruins are in lat. 16° 42' S. long. 68" 42' W., 12,930 feet above the level of the sea, and twelve miles from the south shore of lake Titicaca. (See Mr. Bollaert's paper, in the Intellectual Observer for May 1863}


the hands of men, on great foundations of stone. (1) Beyond this hill there are two stone idols, of the human shape and figure, the features very skilfully carved, so that they appear to have been done by the hand of some great master. They are so large that they seem like small giants, and it is clear that they have on a sort of clothing different from those now worn by the natives of these parts. They seem to have some ornament on their heads. (2) Near these stone statues there is another building. Their antiquity and the want of letters, are the causes why it is not known who built such vast foundations, and how much time has since elapsed; for at present there is only a wall very well built, and which must have been standing for many ages. Some of the stones are much worn. At this part there are stones of such enormous size that it causes wonder to think of them, and to reflect how human force can have sufficed to move them to the place where we see them, being so large. Many of these stones are carved in different ways, some of them having the shape of the human body, which must have

1. It is 918 feet long, 400 broad, and 100 to 120 in height.

2 The head of one of these statues is 3 feet 6 inches long, from the point of the beard to the upper part of the ornamental head dress ; and from the nose to the back of the head it measures 2 feet 7 inches. It is adorned with a species of round cap, 1 foot 7 inches high, and 2 feet 5 inches in width. In the upper part are certain wide vertical bands, and in the lower are symbohcal figures with himian faces. From the eyes, which are large and round, two wide bands, each with three double circles, project to the chin. From the outer part of each eye a band descends, adorned with two squares terminating in a serpent. The nose is shghtly prominent, siuTounded on the lower side by a wide semicircular band, and terminating towards the inner side of the eyes in two corners. The mouth forms a transverse oval, garnished with sixteen teeth. From the imder hp projects, in the form of a beard, six bands, towards the edge of the cliin. The ear is represented by a semi-lunar figure in a square, and in the fore-part of it is a vertical band with three squares, terminating in the head of a wild beast. On the neck there are many' himian figures. The sculpture of this head is very remarkable. Antiguedades Peruanas, p. 295.


been their idols. Near the wall there are many holes and hollow places in the ground. In another, more to the westward, there are other ancient remains, among them many doorways, with their jambs, lintels, and thresholds, all of one stone. (1) But what I noted most particularly, when I wandered about over these ruins writing down what I saw, was that from these great doorways there came out other still larger stones, upon which the doorways were formed, some of them thirty feet broad, fifteen or more long, and six in thickness. The whole of this, with the doorway and its jambs and lintel, was all one single stone. The work is one of grandeur and magnificence, when well considered. For myself I fail to understand with what instruments or tools it can have been done ; for it is very certain that before these great stones could be brought to perfection and left as we see them, the tools must have been much better than those now used by the Indians. It is to be noted, from what now appears of these edifices, that they were not completed, for there is nothing but these portals, and other stones of strange big-

1. Of these huge monolithic doorways there is one block of hard trachytic rock measuring 10 feet in height by 13 wide, and another 7 feet in height. In the former block a doorway is cut, which is 6 feet 4 inches high, and 3 feet 2 inches wide. On its eastern side there is a cornice, in the centre of which a human figure is carved. The head is almost square, and there proceed from it several rays, amongst which four snakes can be discerned. The arms are extended, and each hand holds a snake with a crowned head. The body is covered with an embroidered garment, and the short feet rest upon a pedestal, also ornamented with symbolical figures. On each side of this figure there are a number of small squares on the cornice, in three rows, each containing a human figure in profile with a walking-stick in the hand. Each row has sixteen figures, the central row with birds' heads. Antiguedades Peruanas p. 296.

Acosta says that he measured one of the great stones at Tiahuanaco, and found it to be 38 feet long, 18 broad, and 6 deep, Historia Natural de las Indias, lib. vi, cap. 14, p. 419.

(In the Intellectual Observer for May 1863, there is an excellent engraving of one of the great monolithic doorways at Tiahuanaco, to illustrate a paper by Mr. Bollaert.)


ness which I saw, some of them shaped aud dressed ready to be placed on the edifice, which was a little on one side. Here there was a great idol of stone, which must have been placed there to be worshipped. It is rumoured that some gold was found near this idol ; and all round there are more stones, large and small, all dressed and fitted like those already described. (1)

1. The famous ruins of Tiahuanaco, generally considerefl to be long anterior to the time of the Yncas, appear, like those at Ollantay-tambo, to be remains of edifices which were never completed.

Garcilasso de la Vega gives the following account of Tiahuanaco. "Amongst other works in this place, one of them is a hill, made artifi- cially, and so high that the fact of its having been made by man causes astonishment ; and, that it might not be loosened, it was built upon great foundations of stone. It is not known why this edifice was made. In another part, away from the hill, there were two figures of giants carved in stone, with long robes down to the ground, and caps on their heads : all well worn by the hand of time, which proves their great antiquity. There is also an enormous wall of stones, so large that the greatest wonder is caused to imagine how human force could have raised them to the place where they now are. For there are no rocks nor quarries within a great distance, from whence they could have been brought. In other parts there are grand edifices, and what causes most astonishment are some great doorways of stone, some of them made out of one single stone. The marvel is increased by their wonderful size, for some of them were found to measure 30 feet in length, 15 in breadth, and 6 in depth. And these stones, with their doorways, are all of one single piece, so that it cannot be understood with what instruments or tools they can have been worked.

"The natives say that all these edifices were built before the time of the Yncas, and that the Yncas built the fortress of Cuzco in imitation of them. They know not who erected them, but have heard their forefathers say that all these wonderful works were completed in a single night. The ruins appear never to have been finished, but to have been merely the commencement of what the founders intended to have built. All the above is from Pedro de Cieza de Leon, in his 105th chapter ; to which I propose to add some further particular obtained from a schoolfellow of mine, a priest named Diego de Alcobasa (who I may call my brother, for we were born in the same house, and his father brought me up). Amongst other accounts, which he and others have sent me from my native laud, he says the following respecting these great edifices of Tiahuanaco. ' In Tiahuanaco, in the province of Collao, amongst other things, there are some ancient ruins worthy of immortal memory. They are near the lake called by the Spaniards Chucuito, the proper name of which is Chuquivitu. Here there are some very grand edifices, and amongst them there is a square court, 15 brazas each way, with walls two stories high. On one side of this court there is a hall 45 feet long by 22 broad, apparently once covered, in the same way as those buildings you have seen in the house of the sun at Cuzco, with a roof of straw. The walls, roofs, floor, and doorways are all of one single piece, carved out of a rock, and the walls of the court and of the hall are three-quarters of a yard in breadth. The roof of the hall, though it appears to be thatch, is really of stone. For as the Indians cover their houses with thatch, in order that this might appear like the rest, they have combed and carved the stone so that it resembles a roof of thatch. The waters of the lake wash the walls of the court. The natives say that this and the other buildings were dedicated to the Creator of the universe. There are also many other stones carved into the shape of men and women so naturally that they appear to be alive, some drinking with cups in their hands, others sitting, others standing, and others walking in the stream which flows by the walls. There are also statues of women with their infants in their laps, others with them on their backs, and in a thousand other postures. The Indians say that for the great sins of the people of those times, and because they stoned a man who was passing through the province, they were all converted into these statues."

" Thus far are the words of Diego de Alcobasa, who has been a vicar and preacher to the Indians in many provinces of this kingdom, having been sent by his superiors from one part to another : for, being a mestizo and native of Cuzco, he knows the language of the Indians better than others who are born in the country, and his labours bear more fruit."

The part of the country in which Tia-huanaco is situated, was first conquered by Mayta Ccapac, the fourth Ynca. The name is derived from a circumstance connected with the conquest. It is said that, while the Ynca was engaged in this campaign against the Aymara nation, and being encamped amongst the ruins, a Canari Indian, serving as a chasqui or courier, arrived from Cuzco in an extraordinarily short space of time. The Ynca exclaimed Tia (Be seated) Huanaco : the huanaco being the swiftest anunal in Peru. Thus, like Luxor, and so many other famous places, these wonderful ruins have received a comparatvely modern name, which has no real connection with their history.


There are other things to be said concerning Tiahuanaco, which I pass over, concluding with a statement of my belief that this ruin is the most ancient in all Peru. It is asserted that these edifices were commenced before the time of the Yncas, and I have heard some Indians affirm


that the Yncas built their grand edifices at Cuzco on the plan which they had observed at the wall near these ruins. They even say that the first Yncas thought of establishing their court at Tiahuanaco. Another remarkable thing is, that in all this district there are no quarries whence the numerous stones can have been brought, the carrying of which must have required many people. I asked the natives, in presence of Juan de Varagas (who holds them in encomienda), whether these edifices were built in the time of the Yncas, and they laughed at the question, affirming that they were made before the Yncas ever reigned, but that they could not say who made them. They added that they had heard from their fathers that all we saw was done in one night. From this, and from the fact that they also speak of bearded men on the island of Titicaca, and of others who built the edifice of Vinaque, (1) it may, perhaps, be inferred that, before the Yncas reigned, there was an intelligent race who came from some unknown part, and who did these things. Being few, and the natives many, they may all have been killed in the wars.

Seeing that all these things are hidden from us, we may well say. Blessed be the invention of letters ! by virtue of which the memory of events endures for many ages, and their fame flies through the universe. We are not ignorant of what we desire to know when we hold letters in our hands. But in this new world of the Indies, as they knew nothing of letters, we are in a state of bhndness concerning many things. Apart from these ruins there are the buildings of the Yncas, and the house where Manco Ynca, the son of Huayna Ccapac, was born. Close by are the tombs of the native chiefs of this place, as high as towers, broad and square, with doors towards the rising sun.

1. See chapter lxxxvii.



Of the founding of the city called of Our Lady of Peace, who was its founder, and of the road thence to the town of Plata.

From the village of Tiahuuanaco the road leads to Yiaclia, a distance of seven leagues, leaving the villages called Cacay- avire, Caquinhora, Mallama, and others on the left hand ; but it seems to me of little use to name them all. In the midst of them is the plain near another village called Huarina ; the place where, in the days that are passed, there was a battle between Diego Centeno and Gonzalo Pizarro. (1) It was a memorable event, as I shall show in the proper place, and many captains and knights of the King's party fell, fighting under the banner of the captain Diego Centeno, as well as some of those who were the accomplices of Gonzalo Pizarro. God was served by the rebel being the victor in this battle. To reach the city of La Paz, it is necessary to leave the royal road of the Yncas, and to go to the village of Laxa. The city is a day's journey further on, built in the narrow part of a small valley formed by the mountains. It was founded in the most level part that could be selected, for the sake of the wood and water, of which there is much in this small valley, as the climate is warmer than on the plains of the Collao, which are higher, and where there are none of the things necessary for a large city. Notwithstanding all this, the citizens have thought of moving nearer to the great lake of Titicaca, between the villages of Huaqui and Tiahuanaco. Yet the city has remained in the valley of Chuquiapu where, in former years, great quantities of gold were taken out of the

1. On the 26th of October 1547 Centeno mustered a thousand men, of whom 250 were mounted. Gonzalo Pizarro's force barely amounted to 400 infantry and 85 cavalry. Pizarro gained a complete victory, and 350 of Centeno's followers were killed.


rich mines that are there. The Yncas held this Cliuquiapu in great estimation. Near it is the valley of Oyune, where they say that there is a great treasure hidden in a temple on the summit of a snowy mountain, but it cannot be found, nor is it known where it is.

This city of La Paz was founded by the captain Alonzo de Mendoza, in the name of the Emperor our lord, when the licentiate Pedro de la Gasca was president of this kingdom, in the year of our redemption 1549. (1) In the valley formed by the mountains, where the city is built, they raise a few trees, some maize, and the pulses and garden stuffs of Spain. The Spaniards are here well supphed with provisions and with fish from the lake, as well as with plenty of fruit from the warm valleys, where they also grow a great quantity of wheat, and breed goats, cows, and other animals. This city has very rugged and difficult approaches, being, as I have said, amongst the mountains. A small river of excellent water flows near it.

The distance from this city of La Paz to the town of Plata, which is in the province of Charcas, is ninety leagues, a little more or less. I will now return to the royal road which I had left, and I have to say that it goes from Viacha to Hayohayo, where there were great buildings for the Yncas. Beyond Hayohayo is Sicasica, to which point the province of Colloa extends. On both sides of these villages there are several more. Eleven leagues beyond Sicasica is the village of Caracollo, which is built in a certain plain near the great province of Paria, which was highly esteemed by

1. The president Gasca ordered Don Alonzo de Mendoza, an officer who had come over to him from the party of Gonzalo Pizarro, to found a new city south of lake Titicaca, which was to be called " La Ciudad de Nuestra Senora de la Paz ;" to commemorate the peace which had been established, after the overthrow of the rebel Gonzalo Pizarro. It was deemed convenient that there should be a Spanish settlement between Cuzco and the rich silver-yielding province of Charcas, and thus the building of the city of La Paz was commenced. It is now one of the principal towns in the modern Republic of Bolivia.


the Yncas. The natives of this province of Paria are clothed like all the rest and they wear, as an ornamental head-dress, a small woollen cap. The chiefs were much reverenced by the Indians, and there were royal edifices and store-houses of the Yncas, and a temple of the sun. Here there are a great many lofty tombs where they buried their dead. The villages of Indians subject to Paria are Caponota and many others, some near the lake, and some in different parts of the district. Beyond Paria are the villages of Pocoata, Macha, Coracora, Moromoro, and near the Andes there are other provinces and great chiefs.

Of the founding of the town of Plata, wliich is situated in the province of Charcas.

The noble and loyal town of Plata, a settlement of Spaniards in Chuquisaca (in the province of Charcas), is very famous throughout the kingdoms of Peru, and in other parts of the world, for the great treasure which, in these latter years, has been brought thence to Spain. This town is built in the best situation that could be found, in a place, as I have abeady said, which is called Chuquisaca. (1) The climate is temperate, and well suited for the growth of fruit trees, vines, wheat and barley, and other things. At present the farms and lands are very valuable by reason of the rich mines that have been discovered at Potosi. Several rivers of very good water flow near, and many cows, mares, and goats are bred on the estates of the Spaniards. Some of the citizens of this town are among the richest and most prosperous people in the Indies, for in the years 1548 and

1. It is now known as the city of Chuquisaca, or Sucre, and is the capital of the republic of Bolivia.


1549 a repartimiento belonging to the general Pedro de Hinojosa (1) yielded a rent of more than one hundred thousand castellanos, and others yielded eighty thousand, some even more. The treasure that was found in those times was a wonderful thing. This town of Plata was settled and founded by the captain Peransurez, in the name of his Majesty the emperor and king our lord, the Adelantado Don Francisco Pizarro being his governor and captain-general of Peru, in the year 1538. Besides the villages already mentioned, this town has jurisdiction over Totora, Tapacan, Sipisipe, Cochabamba, the Carangues, Quillanca, Chayanta, Chaqui, the Chichas, and many others, all very rich, and some, like the valley of Cochabamba, suited for the growth of wheat and maize, and for breeding cattle. Beyond this town is the province of Tuquma, and the regions which were entered and discovered by the captains Felipe Gutierrez, Diego de Eojas, and Nicolas de Heredia, in which direction they discovered the river of La Plata, and reached the fortress which was built by Sebastian Cabota. Diego de Rojas died of a wound from an arrow poisoned with the herb used by the Indians, and afterwards Francisco de Mendoza seized Felipe Gutierrez, and obliged him to return to Peru. The same Francisco de Mendoza, when he returned to discover the river, was killed, together with his lieutenant

1 Pedro de Hinojosa is first heard of as fighting bravely against Almagro the younger, in the battle of Chupas. He afterwards joined the fortunes of Gonzalo Pizarro, and that ill-fated chief entrusted him with the command of Panama and of the fleet. On the arrival of the president Gasca from Spain, Hinojosa, after some months of hesitation, betrayed his trust, and handed over the fleet to the wily ecclesiastic on November 19th, 1546. He was rewarded by being appointed Gasca's general by land and sea, and commanded the troops at the final overthrow of his old commander on the plain of Xaquixaguana. Gasca granted Gonzalo Pizarro's valuable estates and mines in Charcas to Hinojosa. He was also apjiointed corregidor of Charcas, where he was assassinated two years afterwards in a mutiny headed by Sebastian de Castilla.


Ruy Sanchez de Hinojosa by Nicolas de Heredia. Thus these parts were not entirely discovered owing to the quarrels and feuds amongst the explorers, who returned to Peru. Here they met with Lope de Mendoza, the lieutenant of Diego Centeno, who was flying from the fury of Carbajal, Gonzalo Pizarro's captain ; and joined him. They were defeated by the same Carbajal at a village called Pocona, and soon afterwards Lope de Mendoza and Nicolas de Heredia fell into his power, and were put to death by him, with others. (1)

Further on is the government of Chile, of which Pedro de Valdivia is the governor, and other lands bordering on the strait which is called Magellanes. But as the affairs of Chile are important, and require a special narrative, I have only written what I saw between Uraba and Potosi, which is near this town, a road of such length that it must be (from the borders of Uraba to the further end of the town of Plata) a good two thousand two hundred leagues, as I have already stated. I shall not go further in this my first part, except to say that the Indians subject to the town of Plata have the same customs as those of other parts. After they were conquered by the Yncas, their villages were well ordered, and both men and women wore clothes. They worshipped the sun and other things, and had temples in which they performed their sacrifices. Many of them, such as the Charcas and Carangues, were very warlike. From

1. Before the defeat and death of the viceroy Blasco Nunez de Vela, near Quito in January 1546, Gonzalo Pizarro had sent his lieutenant Carbajal to reduce the province of Charcas, and put down a revolt headed by Diego Centeno and Lope de Mendoza. Centeno fled, closely pursued by Carbajal, and hid himself in a cave somewhere near Arequipa for eight months. The aged veteran Francisco de Carbajal, having run this fox to earth, then marched into Charcas, and captured Lope de Mendoza and Nicolas de Heredia, both of whom he hung. Carbajal sent the heads of his victims to Arequipa, while he busied himself in collecting silver from the rich mines of Potosi, to supply the needs of his commander.


this town captains and soldiers set out to serve his Majesty several times during the late wars, and they served loyally. With this I make an end of what I have to say touching the founding of the town of Plata.

Of the riches in Porco, and how there are large veins of silver near that town.

It appears from what the Indians now say that, in the times when the Kings Yncas governed this kingdom of Peru, they obtained a great quantity of silver from some parts of this province of Charcas, and Indians were stationed there, who gave the metal to the overseers or their deputies. (1) In the hill of Porco, which is near the town of Plata, there were mines out of which the Indians got silver for their lords. Much of the silver which was in the temple of the sun, called Ccuri-cancha, is said to have been taken from this hill, and the Spaniards have also got a great deal out of it. In the present year a mine belonging to the captain Hernando Pizarro has been cleaned out, which was worth more than two hundred thousand pesos of gold every year, Antonio Alvarez, an inhabitant of this town, showed me, in the City of the Kings, a little ore taken from this hill of Porco, which appeared to be nearly all silver. In short, Porco was in former times extremely rich, and is so still, and it may be believed that it always will be. In many neighbouring hills, within the jurisdiction of this town of Plata, rich

1. The ancient Peruvians knew of gold, silver, copper, tin, and quickilver. They took the silver from mines which were not very deep, abandoning them as soon as the hardness of the ore offered a resistance sufficient to withstand their imperfect tools. They not only knew native silver, but also its chemical combinations, such as the sulphate, antimonial silver, etc. They also knew how to extract the pure metal from these compounds by fusion, or in portable stoves.


mines of gold and silver have been found. It may be held for certain that there is so much of this metal that if there were those to seek and extract it, they would get little less than in the province of Biscay, they get iron. But as it must be got out by Indians, and as the country is too cold for Negroes, there are reasons enough why such great wealth is lost. I have also to say that in some parts of the district belonging to the town of Plata there are rivers which bring down very fine gold. In the Chichas, villages given in encomienda to Hernando Pizarro, and subject to this town, it is said that there are some silver mines ; and great rivers rise in the Andes, near which, if gold mines were sought for, I hold that they would be found.

How they discovered the mines of Potosi, whence they have taken riches such as have never been seen or heard of in other times ; and how, as the metal does not run, the Indians get it by the invention of the huayras.

The mines of Porco, and others in this kingdom, have been open since the time of the Yncas, when the veins whence they extract the metal were discovered ; but those which they have found in the hill of Potosi (concerning which I now desire to write) were never worked until the year 1546. A Spaniard named Villaroel was searching for veins of metal with some Indians, when he came upon this wealth in a high hill, being the most beautiful and best situated in all that district. As the Indians call all hills and lofty eminences Potosi, it retained that name. Although Gonzalo Pizarro was then waging war against the viceroy, and the

1. The gold mines of Tipuani, to the eastward of the Andes of BoUvia, are the richest in South America. See an account of the method of working them in Bonelli's Travels in Bolivia i, p. 268.


whole kingdom was troubled with this rebellion, the skirts of the hill were soon peopled, and many large houses were built. The Spaniards made their principal settlement in this place, the court of justice was removed to it, and the town of Plata was almost deserted. They discovered five very rich veins on the upper part of the hill, called the ''rich vein,' the "vein of tin, etc. This wealth became so famous, that Indians came from all parts to extract silver from the hill. The climate is cold, and there are no inhabited places in the vicinity. When the Spaniards had taken possession, they began to extract the silver, and he who had a mine gave each Indian who entered it a marc, or, if he was very rich, two marcs every week. So many people came to work the mines, that the place appeared like a great city. That the greatness of these mines may be known, I will say what I saw in the year of our Lord 1549 in this place, when the licentiate Polo (1) was corregidor of the town of Plata for his Majesty. Every Saturday the metal was melted down in his house, and of the royal fifths there came to his Majesty thirty thousand or twenty-five thousand pesos, and sometimes forty thousand. And while extracting such immense wealth, that the fifth of the silver, which belonged to his Majesty, came to more than one hundred and twenty thousand castellanos (2) every month, they said there was little silver, and

1. The licentiate Polo de Ondegardo was appointed corregidor of Charcas by the president Gasca, and subsequently of Cuzco, where he remained for several years. He was the author of two Relaciones, or reports to the government, the first addressed to the viceroy Marquis of Canete in 1561, and the second to the Count of Nieva. They contain an account of the laws, habits, religion, and policy of the Yncas. Unfortunately these valuable documents have never been printed, and Mr Prescott obtained copies both of them and of the equally important manuscript of Sarmiento from Lord Kingsborough's collection, through the agency of Mr Rich. Their pubhcation would be a great boon to the student of ancient South American civilisation. See Prescott's Peru, i, p. 162, etc.

2. A castellano was worth about £2 12s 6d. of our money.


that the mines were not well worked. Yet this metal, which was brought to be melted, was only what belonged to the Christians, and not even all that, for a great deal was taken in pure bits and carried off ; and it may be believed that the Indians took a great deal to their own homes. It may with truth be asserted that in no part of the world could so rich a hill be found, and that no prince receives such profits and rents as this famous town of Plata. From the year 1548 to 1551 the royal fifths were valued at more than three millions of ducats, which is more than the Spaniards got from Atahualpa, and more than was found in the city of Cuzco, when it was first occupied. (1) It appears that the silver ore cannot be made to run by the bellows, nor can it be converted into silver by means of fire at Potosi. In Porco, and in other parts of the kingdom where they extract metal, they make great plates of silver, and the metal is purified and separated from the dross by fire, in which operation large bellows are used. But in Potosi, although this plan has been tried, it has never succeeded ;

1. Acosta says that in his time there were four principal veins of silver on the hill of Potosi, called La Rica, Centeno, Estano (tin), and Mendietu. They were all on the east side, and ran in a north and south direction. There were many other smaller veins which branch off from these four, and in each vein there were several mines. In La Rica there were seventy-eight mines, which were very deep ; and to remedy the evils caused by their great depth, horizontal excavations, called socabones, were made in the sides of the hill, and continued until they met the veins. The mines of Potosi were discovered by an Indian named Hualpa, a native of Chumbivilica near Cuzco. He was clmibing up a steep part of the hill in chase of deer, and helping his ascent by catching hold of the quenua shrubs {Polylepis tomentella, Wedd.) which grow there. One of the shrubs came up by the roots, and disclosed a quantity of native silver, which was the commencement of the vein called La Rica. He secretly worked the vein himself for some time, but eventually disclosed the secret to a native of Xauxa, who told his master, a Spianiard of Porco, named Villaroel, and the latter began to work the vein in April 1545. The three other principal veins were discovered between April and August of the same year. People soon flocked from all parts to seek their fortunes at the hill of Potosi. Acosta, lib. iv, cap, 6, 7, 8.


and though great masters have endeavoured to work with bellows, their diligence has availed them nothing.

As a remedy may be found in this world for all evils, there has not been wanting an invention for extracting this metal, which is the strangest imaginable. The Indians, who were so ingenious, found that in some parts the silver could not be extracted with the aid of bellows, as was the case at Potosi. They, therefore, made certain moulds of clay, in the shape of a flower-pot in Spain, with many air- holes in all parts. Charcoal was put into these moulds, with the metal on the top, and they were then placed on the part of the hill where the wind blew strongest, and thus the metal was extracted, which was then purified and refined with small bellows. In this manner all the metal that has been taken from the hill is extracted. The Indians go to the heights with the ores to extract the silver, and they call the moulds Guayras. (1) In the night there are so many of them on all parts of the hill, that it looks like an illumination. When the wind is fresh they extract much silver, but when there is no wind they cannot by any means extract silver ; so that, as the wind is profitable in the sea for navigating, it is so here for extracting silver. As the Indians have no overseers when they carry the metal up to the heights, it must be supposed that they have enriched themselves, and taken much silver to their own homes. This is the reason that Indians have come from all parts of the kingdom to this settlement of Potosi, to take advantage of the great opportunities offered for enriching themselves. (2)

1. Huayra is "wind" or "air" in Quichua.

2. Acosta tells us that, when he wrote in 1608, most of the silver was extracted from the ore by means of quicksilver. Formerly, however, he says that there Avere more than six thousand huayras on the sides and summit of the hill of Potosi. " The huayras were small ovens in which the metal was melted, and to see them burning at night with a red heat, and throwing their light to a distance, was a pleasant spectacle. At present if the number of huayras reaches to one thousand or two thousand, it is the outside, because the melting is done on a small scale, nearly all the metal being extracted by quicksilver." Acosta, lib. iv, cap. 9, p. 218.

The hill of Potosi is in 21° 40' S. lat., and seventeen thousand feet above the level of the sea. The name is said to be derived from the Aymara word Potocsi ("he who makes a noise"), because, when Huayna Ccapac in 1462 ordered search to be made for a silver mine on the hill, a terrible voice cried out from underground that the riches it contained were reserved for other masters. O. de la Vega.

Zarate says, that in a short time after the discovery of the silver, seven thousand Indians were at work, who had to give two marcs of silver to their masters every week, which they did with such ease, that they retained more silver for themselves than they paid to their employers. Historia del Peru, lib. vi, cap. 4.

In 1563 Potosi was constituted a town, and was granted a coat of arms by Philip II ; and in 1572 the viceroy Don Francisco de Toledo went in person to this great seat of mining wealth, and established regulations for its government. This viceroy also introduced the use of quicksilver, a mine of which had been discovered at Huancavehca, by a Portuguese named Enrique Garces, in 1566. Toledo also regulated and legalised the atrocious system of mitas, or forced labour in the mines. He caused a census to be taken of Indians in Peru, between the ages of eighteen and fifty, the result of which gave a total of 1,677,697 men liable for service, who were divided into 614 ayllus or lineages. Of these he assigned a seventh part of those living in the seventeen nearest provinces, or 11,199 Indians, to work at the mines of Potosi, under certain rules for their protection, which were generally evaded. According to Toledo's law, each Mitayo, or forced labourer, would only have to serve for eighteen months during the thirty-two years that he was liable. They were to receive twenty rials a week, and half a rial for every league of distance between their native village and Potosi. In 1611 there was a population of one hundred and sixty thousand inhabitants in the town of Potosi, of whom seventy-six thousand were Indians, three thousand Spaniards, tliirty-five thousand Creoles, forty thousand Europeans, and six thousjind Negroes and Mulattoes. The riches accumulated by individuals were enormous, and a man named Sinteros, "the rich," who died in 1650, was worth twenty million dollars. Mercurio Peruano.

In 1825 there were about five thousand mouths of mines on the mountain, of which only fifty or sixty were then worked. The upper portion of the mountain, indeed, was so completely honeycombed, that it was considered as nearly worked out. The lower part, about one-third of the cone, was then hardly touched, in consequence of the number of springs which impede the working.


There was the richest market in the world at this hill of Potosi, at the time when these mines were prosperous.

In all parts of this kingdom of Peru we who have travelled over it know that there are great fairs or markets, where the natives make their bargains. Among these the greatest


and richest was formerly in the city of Cuzco, for even in the time of the Spaniards its greatness was caused by the gold which was bought and sold there, and by the other things of all kinds that were sent into the city. But this market or fair at Cuzco did not equal the superb one at Potosi where the traffic was so great that, among the Indians alone, without including Christians, twenty-five or thirty thousand golden pesos exchanged hands daily. This is wonderful, and I believe that no fair in the world can be compared to it. I saw this fair several times, and it is held in a plain near the town. In one place there were ccstos (bags) of coca, the most valuable product in these parts. In another place there were bales of cloth and fine rich shirtings. Here were heaps of maize, dried potatoes, and other provisions, there great quantities of the best meat in the country. This fair continued from early morning until dusk ; and as these Indians got silver every day, and are fond of eating and treating, especially those who have intercourse with Spaniards, they all spent what they got, so that people assembled from all parts with provisions and other necessaries for their support. Many Spaniards became rich in this settlement of Potosi by merely employing two or three Indian women to traffic in this fair. Great numbers of Yana-cuna, (1) who are free Indians with the right of serving whom they please, flocked

1. Yana in Quichua, is a "companion," and also a "servant." The word also means "black." Cuna is a particle denoting the plural number. The Yana-cuna were a class of Indians forced to labour as domestic servants, but with the power to choose their masters.


to the fair, and the prettiest girls from Cuzco and all parts of the kingdom were to be met with at the fair.

I observed that many frauds were committed, and that there was little truth spoken. The value of articles was not great, and cloths, linens, and Hollands were sold almost as cheap as in Spain. Indeed, I saw things sold for so small a price, that they would have been considered cheap in Seville. Many men, possessed of great wealth, owing to their insatiable avarice, lost it by this traffic of buying and selling, some of whom fled to Chile, Tucuman, and other parts, from fear of their debts. There were also many disputes and lawsuits among the traffickers.

The climate of Potosi is healthy, especially for the Indians, for few or none fall ill there. The silver is conveyed by the royal road to Cuzco, or to the city of Arequipa, which is near the port of Quilca. Most of it is carried by sheep, without which it would be very difficult to travel in this kingdom, owing to the great distance between the cities, and the want of other beasts.

Of the sheep, huanacus, and vicunas, which they have in most parts of the mountains of Peru.

It appears to me that in no part of the world have sheep like those of the Indies been found or heard of. They are especially met with in this kingdom and in the government of Chile, as well as in some parts of the province of the Rio de la Plata. It may be that they will also be found in parts that are still unknown. These sheep are among the most excellent creatures that God has created, and the most useful. It would seem that the Divine Majesty took care


to create these animals, that the people of this country might be able to live and sustain themselves, for by no other means could these Indians (I speak of the mountaineers of Peru) preserve their lives without these sheep, or others which would supply them with the same necessaries. In this chapter I shall relate how this is.

In the valleys on the coast, and in other warm regions, the natives sow cotton, and make their clothes from it, so that they feel no want, because the cotton cloth is suitable for their climate.

But in the mountainous parts, such as the Collao and Charcas, no tree will grow, and if the cotton was sown it would yield nothing, so that the natives, unless they obtained it by trading, could have no clothing. To supply this need, the Giver of all good things, who is God our Lord, created such vast flocks of these animals which we call sheep, that, if the Spaniards had not diminished their number in the wars, there would be no possibility of counting them, such would have been their increase in all parts. But, as I have already said, the civil wars of the Spaniards have been like a great pestilence, both to the Indians and to their flocks.

The natives call these sheep llamas, and the males urcos. Some are white, others black, and others grey. Some of them are as large as small donkeys, with long legs, broad bellies, and a neck of the length and shape of that of a camel. Their heads are large, like those of Spanish sheep. The flesh of these animals is very good when it is fat, and the lambs are better and more savoury than those of Spain. The llamas are very tame, and carry two or three arrohas weight very well. Truly it is very pleasant to see the Indians of the Collao go forth with their beasts, and return with them to their homes in the evening, laden with fuel. They feed on the herbage of the plains, and when they complain they make a noise like the groaning of camels.


There is another kind called huanacus, of the same shape and appearance, but they are very large and wander over the plains in a wild state, running and jumping with such speed that the dog which could overtake them must be very swift. Besides these, there is another sort of llamas, called vicunas. These are more swift than the huanacus, though smaller. They wander over the uninhabited wilds, and eat the herbage which Grod has created there. The wool of these vicunas is excellent, and finer than the wool of merino sheep in Spain. I know not whether cloth can be made from it, but the cloths that were made for the lords of this land are worth seeing. The flesh of these huanacus and vicunas tastes like that of wild sheep, but it is good. In the city of La Paz I ate a dinner off one of these fat huanacus, in the inn kept by the captain Alonzo de Mendoza. and it seemed to me to be the best I ever had in my life. There is yet another kind of tame llamas, which are called alpacas, but they are very ugly and woolly. They are of the shape of llamas, but smaller, and their lambs when young are very like those of Spain. Each of these llamas brings forth once in the year, and no more. (1)

1. " The domestic animals," says Padre Bias Valera, "which God has given to these Indians of Peru, are bland and gentle, like their masters, so that a child can lead them where he likes. There are two kinds, one larger than the other. The Indians call the animals llamas, and their shepherds llama-michec. They are of all colours, like the horses of Spain, when domesticated, but the wild kind, called huanacus, have only one colour, which is a washed-out chestnut. The llama stands as high as a deer of Spain, but no animal does it resemble more than a camel without a hump, and a third part of the size. The neck of the llama is long and smooth. The Indians used the skin, softened with grease, as soles for their sandals, but, as they had not the art of tanning, they took them off in crossing brooks or in rainy weather. The Spaniards make very good reins of it for their horses. The skin is also used for girths and cruppers of saddles, and for whips. Besides this, the animals are useful to both Indians and Spaniards as beasts of burden, to carry merchandise whithersoever they list, but they are generally used on the road from Cuzco to Putosi, a distance of near two hundred leagues. They carry three or four "arrobas" (75lb or 100 lbs.) weight, and only make journeys of three leagues a day. When they are tired they lie down, and nothing will induce them to stir, for if any one tries to force them to rise, they spit in his face. They have no other means of defending themselves, having no horns like a stag. That they may not be easily tired, some forty or fifty unladen animals accompany the drove, that they may take their turn with the burdens. Their flesh is the best in the woirld ; it is tender, wholesome, and savoury. The doctors order the flesh of their lambs of four or five months, for sick persons, in preference to chickens.

" The Yncas possessed enormous flocks of llamas of all colours, and each colour had a special name. The flocks were divided according to their colours, and if a lamb was born of a different colour from its parents, it was passed into the flock of its own colour. The Quipus had knots for each flock, according to the colour, and thus an account of their number was easily kept.

" There is another domestic kind, called Paco. The Pacos are not reared for carrying burdens, but for the sake of their flesh, and for their wool, which is excellent and very long. The Indians make very fine cloths of it, dotted with rich colours. The Indians do not use the milk of either of the kinds, nor do they make cheese of it. Indeed, they only have sufficient to nourish their lambs, and the Indians call the milk, the udder, and the act of sucking, by the same word nuñu.

" The wild kind was called huanacu, and these huanacus are of the same size and form as the llamas. Their flesh is good, though not so good as that of the domesticated llama. The males always remain on lofty heights, while the females come down into the plains to feed, and when the males see any one coming, they bleat like the neighing of a horse, to warn the females, and they gallop away with the females in front. Their wool is short and rough, yet it was also used by the Indians for their cloths. There is another wild kind called vicuna a delicate animal with plenty of fine wool. Tlie vicuna stands higher than a goat, and the colour of its wool is a clear chestnut. They are so fleet that no dog can overtake them, and frequent the loftiest fastnesses near the line of snow." G. de la Vega i, lib. viii, caps. 16 and 17.