Cover image for The Chankas and the Priest: A Tale of Murder and Exile in Highland Peru By Sabine Hyland

The Chankas and the Priest

A Tale of Murder and Exile in Highland Peru

Sabine Hyland


$64.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-07122-0

$28.95 | Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-07123-7

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224 pages
6" × 9"
27 b&w illustrations/2 maps

The Chankas and the Priest

A Tale of Murder and Exile in Highland Peru

Sabine Hyland

“Based on remarkable archival materials and written in a style that general readers, historians, and anthropologists will appreciate, this book belongs in academic and large public libraries.”


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How does society deal with a serial killer in its midst? What if the murderer is a Catholic priest living among native villagers in colonial Peru?

In The Chankas and the Priest, Sabine Hyland chronicles the horrifying story of Father Juan Bautista de Albadán, a Spanish priest to the Chanka people of Pampachiri in Peru from 1601 to 1611. During his reign of terror over his Andean parish, Albadán was guilty of murder, sexual abuse, sadistic torture, and theft from his parishioners, amassing a personal fortune at their expense. For ten years, he escaped punishment for these crimes by deceiving and outwitting his superiors in the colonial government and church administration.

Drawing on a remarkable collection of documents found in archives in the Americas and Europe, including a rare cache of Albadán’s candid family letters, Hyland reveals what life was like for the Chankas under this corrupt and brutal priest, and how his actions sparked the instability that would characterize Chanka political and social history for the next 123 years. Through this tale, she vividly portrays the colonial church and state of Peru as well as the history of Chanka ethnicity, the nature of Spanish colonialism, and the changing nature of Chanka politics and kinship from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century.

“Based on remarkable archival materials and written in a style that general readers, historians, and anthropologists will appreciate, this book belongs in academic and large public libraries.”
“The result of Hyland’s research and alluring writing style is a mesmerizing microhistory that skillfully connects with, and informs, a broad set of topics focused on the European-American contact experience. . . . The book stands as an inspiration to historians, both new and well-seasoned, who face the excruciating task of bringing order to disparate information scattered across hundreds of pages of colonial documents. It also represents an excellent example of how scholarship can be presented in a personalized voice within a gripping narrative.”
“Sabine Hyland’s engaging, highly readable microhistory focuses on Pampachiri, a town in highland Peru that many readers will never have heard of. Though the place is obscure, Hyland’s tale manages, like any good microhistory, to make the particular seem universal—or at least broadly pertinent in its representativeness.”
“A riveting work that successfully illustrates in great and accurate detail the legacies of abuse that change cultural patterns, personal memories, and social structures, but at the same time resist them. By crafting what she calls a ‘microhistory’ of egregious abuses committed between 1601 and 1611 by a Seville born priest who attempted to recreate, in a remote part of Andahuaylas, the Spanish life from which he had been exiled, Hyland unravels key elements of life in the colonial southern Andes that otherwise might seem dry and irrelevant to the modern reader.”
“Based on an amazing wealth of documentation gleaned from archives and private collections on three continents, this marvelous microhistory brings to life the world of the Andean villagers of Pampachiri as they fall under the ruthless exploitation of a sadistic priest. Beginning with a series of events in this small village during the late sixteenth century, Sabine Hyland weaves a vivid story of the foundations and persistence of Chanka ethnicity, the role of the church and its clergy, and the nature of Spanish colonialism. In so doing, she provides a more balanced evaluation of the construction of a new social order.”
“In this gripping, excitingly narrated history, Sabine Hyland tells the story of a Spanish priest who for a decade abused and bedeviled his parishioners—the Chankas of the village of Pampachiri, in the high Andes of southern Peru. From her extensive research in archives in Spain and Peru, Hyland breathes life into sixteenth- and seventeenth-century documents, producing a remarkable story of priestly depravity met by the staunch resistance of Andean villagers. This is a groundbreaking microhistory of the highest order, deeply informing our understanding of people and events in a remote corner of the colonial Andean world.”
“Four hundred years ago, the psychopathic curate Juan Bautista de Albadán afflicted a whole Quechua town with sexual and financial abuse. Do colonial situations give psychopathy special scope and power? In finding Albadán’s family letters, Sabine Hyland opens a new perspective on trauma and survival among early modern communities.”
“A masterful example of how to narrate and analyze at the same time. Sabine Hyland tells a tale that centers on a larger-than-life villain (as all good stories do), reveals a village of victims who struggle against him, and builds to a mysterious denouement—while reconstructing a past society and exploring its complex development over centuries. The result makes for grim and gripping reading.”
“By exploring and analyzing the role of cruelty of Albadán in the context of the Chanka social structure, Hyland offers a detailed history of a singular moment in the history of European colonization in Latin America.”

Sabine Hyland is Reader in Anthropology at the University of St. Andrews. She is the author of Gods of the Andes: An Early Jesuit Account of Inca Religion and Andean Christianity, also published by Penn State University Press.


List of Illustrations


1 Setting Out

Part I

2 The Crimes

3 The Priest

4 The Library

5 The Dinner Party

6 The Funeral

Part II

7 The Kuraka

8 The Rivalry

Conclusion: The Aftermath

Appendix: The Chankas Prior to the Spanish Invasion





This is the story of terrible crimes. Four hundred years ago, in a remote corner of the Peruvian Andes, a sadistic Catholic priest tortured, sexually abused, and murdered native peoples from the southern region of Andahuaylas, where the ethnic group known as the Chankas lived. During the ten years (1601–11) he ministered to the Chankas around the town of Pampachiri, Father Juan Bautista de Albadán not only amassed a personal fortune but also unleashed a reign of terror that permanently altered daily life for the Chanka people; the effects of this decade of madness would last well into the eighteenth century. Despite efforts to bring Albadán to justice, he managed to subvert any investigation into his crimes. However, his sudden and unexplained death in 1611 raises the possibility that local peoples may well have taken matters into their own hands and finally eliminated him with the help of the local administrator, the corregidor Don Alonso de Mendoza Ponce de León.

Although the Spanish Church in colonial Peru is often criticized, many Catholic priests and missionaries were honest, caring individuals who did their best for their native parishioners. Catholic priests in the Andes loaned money to native leaders and petitioned the government for the alleviation of tribute abuses against the native peoples. Many priests in colonial Andahuaylas left substantial sums of money to their Andean parishioners and absolved native chiefs (kurakas) of any debts. A typical example of this is Father Joseph Nuñes de Guevara, the priest of Talavera and Huancarama in the late 1600s. In his will, Nuñes allocated all of the rental income from his estate to the purchase of wine, candles, hosts, and other items for the church, so that the Indians would not have to provide them, “resulting in the universal alleviation of them all.” In honor of his patron saint, Saint Joseph, he also left money to pay the choirmaster to teach young Indian boys how to be cantors, thereby enabling the youths to earn a living and avoid labor in the mines. Finally, he willed the paintings and tabernacle from his bedroom to the parish church, with the provision that no future priest could remove them for his personal use.

Some priests were even willing to fight for native rights. For example, on a summer evening in 1656, Father Antonio de Aponte, priest of the Chanka parish of Ocobamba, burst into the bedroom of the local hacienda owner Joseph Gutiérrez with a drawn pistol in one hand and a naked sword in the other. Aponte threatened to kill Gutiérrez and his wife as they lay in bed unless Gutiérrez turned over the title to a cornfield and signed new papers that granted possession of the field to the Indian community of Ocobamba. Aponte maintained that Gutiérrez had obtained the cornfield fraudulently and therefore must return the land to the native community to whom it rightfully belonged. Fearing for his life, Gutiérrez signed the requisite papers, and the Indians repossessed their field.

Aponte’s concern for the Indians was by no means unique among the clergy in colonial Peru and serves to highlight the depravity of Father Albadán by contrast. As the following chapters will reveal, Albadán tortured and abused members of the native Chanka population virtually unchecked. This true tale of crime reveals the very real sufferings of the Chanka people and the lasting effects of Albadán’s evil activities. It also sheds light on the important question of how these crimes were allowed to happen. Given all of the safeguards against corruption that the Spanish had put in place, how could a priest get away with committing brutal and public acts of torture and sexual abuse for ten years? What does this story reveal about daily life in this rural region of the South American Andes in the early seventeenth century?

Historians and anthropologists have repeatedly analyzed crimes for the insights that such deviant activities provide into the nature of the society under investigation. In the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, the most successful works of “microhistory”—the intensive study of small communities at one point of time in the past—focused on crimes and deviance and plumbed archives for the personal insights afforded by witness testimony and confessions. Two of the most acclaimed microhistories ever written—Carlo Ginzburg’s The Cheese and the Worms and Natalie Zemon Davis’s The Return of Martin Guerre—recount specific crimes as a means of gaining unique insights into past periods in European society. Good Faith and Truthful Ignorance by Alexandra and Noble David Cook, a highly regarded work of South American microhistory, carefully depicts the world of Spanish conquistadors in sixteenth-century Peru by examining the records of a transatlantic bigamy trial. Such studies of criminal testimony can provide a unique form of social realism in which the underlying themes and contradictions of daily life are revealed through episodes of destructive deviance. By focusing on a specific crime, an author is able to reveal not only the character of the criminal and of his or her victims, but also the nature of the society that gave rise to the atrocities committed. This tale about an evil priest—Juan Bautista de Albadán—and his victims is a window through which we can view life in a highland village in colonial Peru in the early 1600s. Understanding the world of the native chief who unsuccessfully tried to stop Albadán is as important to this story as the description of the mad priest’s personality and upbringing. Who was the native Chanka lord Don León Apu Guasco, and how was he destroyed in his attempt to bring Albadán to justice? Who were the Indian women subjected to Albadán’s lust, and how were their lives affected by his actions? How did Albadán’s counterattack on Don León affect Chanka political and social history for the next 123 years?

The microhistory format typically focuses on one slice of time, projecting the “ethnographic present,” as it were, onto an episode in the past. This work attempts to bring the analysis of Chanka society into a more holistic ethnohistorical perspective by placing Albadán’s atrocities in the context of the changing nature of Chanka politics and kinship from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. Virtually nothing has been known until now about the intrigues among Chanka elites from the Inka period to the late Spanish colonial period. Based on unpublished documents in archives in Spain and Peru, I analyze how Albadán’s actions affected Chanka political life for generations after the priest’s death. The revenge that Albadán exacted against the Chanka lord who accused him of abuse exploited an instability in the Chanka political structure dating to when the Chankas were incorporated into the Inka Empire. Thus, this story begins in the fifteenth century, when the Chankas were defeated by Inka troops and made part of the Inka state.

Part I of this book will tell its story through vignettes focused on different aspects of Albadán’s life and crimes. During his years in the Chanka town of Pampachiri, as he acquired more and more wealth, Albadán put together the largest library in the entire region. His collection of sixty-three volumes outshone all of the libraries of other priests and hacienda owners throughout the province. Amid the tomes of moral theology and canon law in his library were classical gems such as the Roman satires of Juvenal and Horace. In biting, ribald, and outspoken essays on various topics, Juvenal condemned the corruption and hypocrisy of Roman society in his time. Horace’s writings, while gentler, likewise regarded Roman life with a critical eye. Both writers described the world around them through essays on a kaleidoscope of different topics, such as dining with a corrupt patron or the abuses committed by cruel slave owners. In some ways, the essays by Horace and Juvenal serve as inspiration for this work; the troubling story of Albadán’s crimes will be narrated through chapters exploring facets of daily life in the highlands of colonial Peru, including hospitality and the circulation of books.

In part II, the narrative turns to focus on the Chankas and their history from the Spanish conquest to the mid-eighteenth century. These chapters examine how Albadán’s actions disrupted the Chanka social structure for generations. Most important, in chapter 8 this history is analyzed through the Chankas’ own concepts of lineage—the ayllu—and of the Andean binary political structure—the saya (moieties) of hanan (upper) and urin (lower). Focusing on these Chanka ethnocategories, rather than on the more familiar Western notions of class division and economic development, provides new insights into change in Andean society throughout the Spanish colonial era. Part II reveals that, contrary to previous assumptions, ayllu and moiety rivalries continued to dominate the politics of indigenous Chanka elites well into the eighteenth century, drawing creole landowners, with whom the Chankas had intermarried, into these native feuds on the eve of the “Age of Andean Insurrection.” Because Part II is diachronic, covering hundreds of years of indigenous history, this study goes well beyond the normal temporal limits of microhistory; its longue durée spans Chanka kinship and politics from the Inka period to the late eighteenth century.

Throughout this work I have tried to adopt a more discursive, narrative style so as to engage a wider audience of readers than is usual for academic monographs on Andean ethnohistory. I found the story of Albadán, of Don León Apu Guasco, and of the subsequent rivalries and intrigues to be riveting, and I hope to convey this interest to the reader. Long discussions of anthropological and postcolonial theory have been left out of this work intentionally, although such theory naturally informs the arguments presented here. I want this text to be accessible to a diverse readership, from the villagers of modern-day Pampachiri to specialists in South American anthropology and history. The book takes a form that is unconventional for anthropology—a narrative spanning centuries—as a way to balance the personal, individual stories of Albadán, Don León Apu Guasco, Don Diego Quino Guaraca, and others against a consideration of broader economic, political, and demographic factors. One of the challenges for recent anthropology has been to discover new ways to represent individual choices within the frameworks of tradition and history. The Chankas and the Priest attempts to achieve such a balance by delving into a narrative of crime that changed Chanka life for many decades, a story that elucidates aspects of power and knowledge in the seventeenth-century Andes while showing how older forms of Andean kinship and society evolved within the colonial state. The emphasis on marriage patterns and on the indigenous categories of ayllu and moiety reflect the anthropological concerns that lie at the heart of this study of the Chankas. The use of a narrative style is less common in anthropological monographs. Nonetheless, by focusing on a microhistoric view of how Chanka elites negotiated their changing circumstances over generations, the book reveals the process of cultural change.

<1>The Kingdom of the Chankas

For me, the story of Albadán and the Chankas first began decades ago, when People magazine published an article about the exploits of a young American archaeologist in Peru. The cover of the October 20, 1980, issue was graced by a smiling Liz Taylor, wearing an orange chiffon dress, dangling diamond earrings, and a diamond brooch. Inside the issue, whose pages are now crinkling and brittle, was one of the first articles written in English about the quest to understand the Chankas: “An American Woman Discovers an Ancient Empire Lost in the Mountains of Peru.”

This multipage article describes the work of American archaeologist Monica Barnes in a remote region of the Peruvian Andes. In 1978, while working in another part of the Andes, Barnes heard rumors about the existence of “a pre-Inca kingdom standing virtually intact in a remote valley high in the central Andes.” She set out to learn more: “For three weeks she explored the valley by horse, burro and on foot, stunned by the sheer quantity of plainly ancient artifacts. In one set of tombs she found skeletons, mummy bindings and shards of pottery she believed to be more than 1,200 years old; at another she was astonished to find a town full of circular stone walls—ruins whose architecture certified that they were erected before the Inca empire (1425–1534). But by whom?” Monica soon realized that the ruins she was seeing had belonged to the ancient people known as the Chankas. In Inka legends, the Chankas were famed as great warriors who nearly overthrew the Inka capital of Cusco, yet scholars in the 1970s knew little about them. Together with Frank Meddens, a fellow student from the University of London, Monica and fourteen crew members (including the fiancés of both principal investigators) settled into the town of Pampachiri as their base (fig. 1), at an altitude of almost twelve thousand feet, and began a grueling period of systematic excavations to uncover the mysteries of this past civilization. The research was not easy:


The only place for anyone to sleep was on the stone floor of the marketplace. Bedrolls did little to protect the researchers from the subfreezing temperatures at night; during the day they baked in 100-plus degree heat. The closest outpost of civilization was a seven-hour drive away, and their truck was rarely in working order. They often had to walk to sites several miles from Pampachiri carrying equipment on their backs. Their diet contributed to regular outbreaks of a particularly virulent diarrhea they called “the Inca two-step.” The staple meat was guinea pig, and Barnes still hasn’t recovered from eating a cat one night.

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Monica and Frank eventually discovered the ruins of ten Chanka settlements scattered around Pampachiri, and they uncovered more than twenty thousand artifacts, including ceramic shards, ornate textile fragments, and musical instruments such as lutes, flutes, and drums. Numerous mummified human remains, occasionally with wads of chewed coca leaf still nestled tightly in their skeletal jaws, were found in the course of their investigations. Amid the excitement of these discoveries, the work was not all hardship—close to Pampachiri were regionally celebrated hot springs, and the crew occasionally took breaks to soak in the warmth of the healing waters. The People magazine article included a shot of a sexy, blond Monica wearing a swimsuit in a steaming hot spring bath, accompanied by her fiancé, David Fleming, clad only in his swimming trunks.

Yet, after the fieldwork was completed, the investigators turned to other projects. Monica wound up as a Ph.D. student in anthropology at Cornell University, pursuing a related but different topic. It was there, at Cornell, that I met Monica and David and first heard their stories about Pampachiri and the Chankas. In 1985, I was an undergraduate at Cornell, starry-eyed and filled with dreams of becoming an anthropologist in the Andes. Monica was always a very spirited presence in our seminars and drew upon her years of field research during class discussions. Her stories about Pampachiri, where she witnessed exotic rituals such as the Yawar Fiesta (“Blood Festival”), in which a condor, representing the Indians, is tied to the back of a Spanish bull and slowly wounds the bull with its talons, were utterly engrossing. Her photos of the ruined circular buildings of the Chankas haunted me. Who were these ancient people? What had happened to them after their double conquest, first by the Inkas and then by the Spanish?

The years passed, and I became involved in other Andean research projects, eventually earning my Ph.D. As I made my way professionally, I never quite forgot Monica’s tales about the enigmatic Chankas. So, in 2000, when the Chicago archaeologist Brian Bauer asked me whether I would be willing to work with him on a project to research the history of the Chankas, I was intrigued. Brian had received grants from the National Science Foundation and the John Heinz III Charitable Trust for a five-year, multidisciplinary project to uncover the history and prehistory of the Chanka ethnic group. The Chankas today—for they still exist in a high-altitude Andean landscape dotted with overgrown agricultural terraces and ruined stone buildings from their former kingdom—are centered in the Peruvian city of Andahuaylas (fig. 2), in the department of Apurimac, west of the ancient Inka capital of Cusco (map 1). Brian’s project had two parts. He would be in charge of the archaeological survey of the Andahuaylas valley, systematically recording all of the archaeological remains in the area. I would be responsible for searching for Spanish colonial documents about the Chankas in archives in Spain and Peru.

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From 2000 to 2004, Brian, a tall, lanky man with a trim brown beard and a baseball cap glued to his head, shading his blue eyes, led a team into Andahuaylas every summer. He was accompanied on his long walks along archaelogical survey lines by a Peruvian codirector, Miriam Aráoz Silva, a native-born Cusqueña with green eyes, curly hair, and a merry smile; two graduate students, Lucas Kellet and Carlos Socualaya; and a changing band of local assistants. For the summers that I joined them, I remember seemingly endless days of walking through a sun-drenched countryside, starting from the bottom of river valleys, where tropical oranges and lemons grew. Up the dirt roads that climbed the valleys, we encountered typical Andean landscapes featuring adobe houses and potato fields, which culminated in cold, high grasslands (puna) with snow-capped mountain peaks looming above. Sometimes, in the evenings, Brian would treat the crew to the favorite local drink—hot tea with rum, cloves, and sugar—at Garabatos, a pub on the main plaza of Andahuaylas. In Garabatos, where the walls were lined with jaguar, bear, and skunk pelts, the tables were tree trunks, and the benches were padded with raw wool, we would gossip for hours.

Most of my time on the project, however, was spent working in archives, such as that of the Ministry of Agriculture in Andahuaylas, which housed copies of colonial documents from the region’s indigenous communities. Donato Amado Gonzalez, a Cusco-born historian, served as my assistant in Peru as well as in Spain. Altogether, Donato and I found more than six hundred sixteenth-, seventeenth-, and eighteenth-century documents about the Chankas, allowing us to gain an intimate understanding of what life was like for them in colonial Peru. In Spain, in the Archive of the Indies in Seville, Donato found the set of unpublished manuscripts that forms one of the foundations for this study. Among them was a five-hundred-page document detailing the great wealth of the Spanish priest Juan Bautista de Albadán, who died suddenly and without a will in the town of Pampachiri in 1611. What was truly extraordinary about this set of manuscripts was that it also included over one hundred pages of personal letters to Albadán from his friends and family members, such as his two older brothers—one in Potosí, in what is now Bolivia, and the other back home in Spain. No one had ever found an equivalent cache of personal letters from the Andean countryside in the early seventeenth century. One of the many revelations contained in these letters is that Albadán’s maternal uncle, Fray Francisco de Prado, who was like a father to him and to whom he confessed his evil activities, was a close colleague of the great playwright Tirso de Molina (Fray Gabriel Téllez). Tirso probably heard stories about Albadán, who may have even inspired the accursed cleric in Tirso’s famous drama Damned by Doubt (Condenado por desconfiado).

Albadán’s name was familiar to us even before Donato found these documents. In the early seventeenth century, a Peruvian Indian named Don Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala wrote a 1,189-page letter to the king of Spain in which he described Inka society and narrated both the positive actions of the Spaniards in Peru—such as the holy works performed by many Catholic priests—and the abuses committed against the Indians by their European conquerors. This text, housed in the Danish Royal Library, contains nearly four hundred line drawings, which remain some of our best visual representations of Andean life during the late Inka Empire. Guaman Poma singled out Albadán as a particularly evil Catholic priest who sexually assaulted the young Indian women under his care and publicly and sadistically tortured Indians who opposed him. He described how Albadán manipulated the juridical and political systems in his favor so that he avoided any prosecution for his crimes against the native peoples of Pampachiri and the surrounding region. The colonial documents uncovered during the course of our project, along with the personal letters written to Albadán by his relatives during his lifetime, reveal plentiful evidence that Guaman Poma was writing the truth about the Spanish priest. The letters provide us with an unprecedented and uniquely intimate glimpse into the personal life of a seventeenth-century psychopath. The documents that accompany the inventory of Albadán’s wealth also raise the question of whether he died a natural death or was poisoned by the local people.

Moreover, the archival materials reveal that in his effort to avoid justice, Albadán attacked the Chanka leader who accused him of abuse and, in so doing, profoundly altered the Chanka political and kinship structure. Unfortunately for the people of Pampachiri, Albadán had a lasting impact on the Chankas; their history would not be complete without consideration of his actions. By telling Albadán’s story, I hope to answer—at least partially—Monica’s questions from so long ago: Who were the Chankas, and what happened to them under Spanish rule?

<1>The Chanka Lords

When Albadán arrived in Chanka territory in the late 1500s, he entered an ethnic region that had been conquered by the Inkas at the beginning of the latter’s expansion throughout the Andes. According to Inka history, the Chankas, led by two self-styled “brothers,” Astoy Guaraca and Tomay Guaraca, besieged the city of Cusco in the early 1400s, during the reign of the eighth Inka emperor, Viracocha. The Inka army, under the command of Prince Inka Yupanki (later Emperor Pachakuti), repulsed the Chankas, killed both Chanka leaders, and eventually overran and conquered the entire Chanka region, located about two hundred miles northwest of Cusco.

Once the Chankas had been incorporated into the Inka state, they were forced to accept communities of outsiders into their territory. Throughout their empire, the Inkas broke up ethnic groups and resettled their members elsewhere. Within Andahuaylas, the Chankas were joined by communities of Aymaraes (who lived nearby to the southeast), Yungas (lowlanders), and Chachapoyans (an ethnic group from the cloud forests to the north). These colonists—mitimaes, as they were called in Quechua—were given land and served as the government’s eyes and ears, should the Chankas think of insurrection. Likewise, the Chankas were divided; some were sent to Andahuaylilas, near Cusco, others to Lucanas, near Ayacucho, while still others were made to work in the quicksilver mines of Huancavelica.

Colonial documents can provide us with some hints as to which members of the Chanka confederacy were sent away as colonists. Chanka society, like most Andean groups, divided itself politically, socially, and ritually into two halves, or moieties: an upper half and a lower half. The relationship between the two halves can be thought of as that between an older brother and a younger brother. Thus, the Chanka leaders were spoken of as brothers, although it is unlikely that they were actual siblings. Such was the case with Astoy Guaraca, the leader of the upper half of the Chankas, and Tomay Guaraca, the leader of the lower half. Each was the chief (or kuraka, in Quechua) of a type of family group/lineage known as an ayllu. Grasping the concept of the ayllu is fundamental to understanding Andean history. Ayllus are malleable, nested social formations that can be considered as groups of individuals joined by real and imagined kinship; as people who share the same mythical origin place and ancestor; and as people who form corporate groups with rights to communal landholdings. They could be thought of as lineages, but lineages that confer political and ritual duties as well as access to land and water rights. Ayllus can have property rights across a broad stretch of landscape, spanning many villages and settlements.

Under the Inkas, the Chankas comprised ten ayllus; of these, five ayllus belonged to the Upper Chankas and five ayllus belonged to the Lower Chankas. Both the upper half and the lower half possessed a chief who was installed by the Inka authorities. When we look at a listing of ayllus of the Upper Chankas from 1570, we see that the lineage of Astoy Guaraca simply disappears, and that the leader of the Guasco ayllu was made the chief (kuraka) for the entire upper half: “Ayllus of the Upper Chanka: Guasco; Malma; Apes; Moros; Pachacaruas.” The chronicler Cieza de Leon tells us that the leader of the Guasco ayllu was the head (“cacique principal” or “apu kuraka”) of all the Chankas in the 1540s; the Guascos would remain the head of the Upper Chankas until the late eighteenth century. During the Inka period, the head of the upper half was considered the leader of the entire group, although the chief of the lower half wielded considerable power over the ayllus in his half. It is not known what happened to the ayllu of Astoy Guaraca after the Chankas’ defeat. Presumably the members of this ayllu were moved to various locations as colonists, where they no longer had any rights to their ancestral lands.

During the Inka period, the political structure of the Lower Chankas was altered as well. In the ayllus of the lower half, the Tomay Guaracas still existed, but they were no longer in charge. The Inkas appointed the leader of the Guachaca ayllu as the head of all of the ayllus of the lower half, demoting the Tomay Guaracas: “Ayllus of the Lower Chanka: Guachaca, Tomay Guaraca, Quichua, Caha, Yana.” The Tomay Guaracas would not forget that they had once ruled over all of the ayllus of the Lower Chankas. Under Spanish rule, their leaders would retain the name “Tomay,” which once distinguished them from the Guaracas of the Upper Chankas. Moreover, as we shall see in chapter 8, the Tomay Guaracas would not continue to accept the Guachacas’ authority over the Lower Chankas throughout the Spanish colonial epoch. Albadán’s interference in the Chanka political structure—an interference that came about as he tried to evade the legal case that the leader of the Chankas, Don León Apu Guasco, brought against him—would greatly intensify the rivalry between the Tomay Guaracas and Guachacas for dominance over all the Chankas, a power struggle that would last for over a century after Albadán, but that had its roots in the Inka reorganization of Chanka political power.

<1>Pampachiri, the “Cold Plain”

Albadán’s domain was centered on the town of Pampachiri, located in the southern part of Chanka territory in the Chicha Valley (see map 1). He also ministered to the populations of the nearby communities of Umamarca and Pomacocha, which were part of the doctrina (parish). The Chicha Valley marked the southernmost limit of Chanka territory. Pampachiri lay within the portion of the valley that was under the authority of the Chanka kurakas, and that formed part of the repartimiento of the Chankas during the Spanish colonial period. The Soras ethnic group inhabited the valley on the other side of the Chicha River. When the Spanish arrived in this area, they found that the Sivi Paucars, who were ethnically “Inka,” were the governing dynasty in Umamarca, Pampachiri, and Pomacocha (see chapter 5). However, during the centuries of the Spanish viceroyalty, the Sivi Paucars were under the authority of the Chanka kurakas.

In Quechua, “Pampachiri” means “the cold plain” (fig. 3). Located at a height of almost 12,000 feet above sea level, the air is thin and the nights are cold. The unpaved highway from Andahuaylas to Pampachiri crosses a plain over 13,000 feet high, where flocks of vicuña, the slender cousins of the llama, roam freely, feeding on the tufted ichu grass. According to ancient folklore, nests of deadly, mystical snakes had lived on the icy heights overlooking the community of Pampachiri since primordial times. The colonial chronicler Don Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala recounted that when the snakes saw a person, they emitted an earsplitting sound like the thunder of an arquebus. Then one of the snakes would fly through the air and sink its poisonous fangs deep into the person’s skin, burrowing through layers of clothing, if necessary. The only possible cure was through one of the primeval snake’s own eggs, which of course was impossible to obtain without being fatally bitten. Therefore, anyone attacked by these extraordinary shooting snakes would die. Guaman Poma’s legend of the primordial serpents is an example of the supernatural myths that were embedded in the Chanka landscape, as elsewhere in the Andes.

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Fortunately, we saw no flying serpents; our time in Pampachiri was golden. The sun gilded the village with a special high-altitude intensity that gave beauty to the humble mud-brick and plaster buildings. Just as Monica had described, there were plentiful ruins of circular, non-Inka stone structures throughout the surrounding countryside. During the Wari Empire (A.D. 550–1100), Pampachiri was a wealthy center of llama and alpaca herding; now, however, its farmers barely eke out a living by herding and by growing potatoes, alfalfa, and the prickly pear cactus fruit called tuna. When we were there, the facade of the colonial church in the heart of the village was being repaired, but the women in charge of the church allowed us to climb the adobe church tower, which gave us a panoramic view of the main square. Albadán’s artists had decorated the outside of the church with strange relief sculptures of life-size naked women, which remain (fig. 4). We did find a nearby colonial home with an old stone lintel upon which a cross had been carved; it is possible that this was the rectory where Albadán lived when he was in Pampachiri.

<insert fig. 4 about here>

Our crew was among the first teams of researchers in the area since Monica and Frank’s expedition decades earlier. In the intervening years, the Chanka heartland around Andahuaylas, including Pampachiri, had become a “red zone” due to the terrorist activities of the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) and was closed to outsiders. The Shining Path, a Maoist guerrilla insurgent organization founded by Abimael Guzmán, initiated armed conflict with the Peruvian state in 1980; by the time Guzmán was captured in 1992, it controlled the Andean regions of Apurimac, Ayacucho, and Huancavelica, and carried out successful terrorist attacks as far away as Lima, where it bombed government offices, electricity transmission towers, and shopping malls, resulting in many deaths. Guzmán’s capture significantly weakened the insurgency, but hostilities continued in the red zone until 2000 and beyond. In the countryside, the Shining Path’s brutality toward landowners, peasants, and popular leaders was matched by the violent abuses of the military forces sent to eliminate the insurgents. The Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission estimated that 69,280 people died or disappeared between 1980 and 2000 as a result of the conflict. The Shining Path massacred roughly half that number; the armed forces killed about a third; and smaller guerilla groups and local peasant militias committed the rest of the slayings.

Pampachiri did not escape the violence unscathed. For example, the Shining Path murdered 12 community members on July 16, 1984, in a massacre known as the “Express Bus to Death.” Prior to the killings, peasants from 25 indigenous communities, including Pampachiri, had formed an alliance against the Shining Path. In revenge, insurgents disguised themselves as Peruvian soldiers, set up a roadblock along a major highway in the red zone, and stopped a public bus filled with passengers. They then executed 102 passengers whom they suspected of being from the communities in question. The families of the Pampachiri victims brought their bodies home for burial; they were exhumed and examined years later by the Peruvian Human Rights Commission.

The civil war isolated the Indian communities in the red zone from the outside world for almost twenty years. This seclusion from the rest of Peruvian society was expressed to us forcefully one afternoon by Filomeno Guaman, a farmer from Uranmarca, a Chanka community northwest of Pampachiri. Only one road ran through Uranmarca, once an important stop on the Inka road from Cusco, crossing the Pampas River and leading to the Inka temple of Vilcashuaman. Brian and I had agreed to sponsor a rutuchicuy—a traditional Andean ritual in which a child receives his or her first haircut—for Filomeno’s five-year-old daughter, Yenifer. On the day before the ceremony, Brian, Filomeno, and I chatted on the banks of the Pampas River, where Brian had organized a picnic. Suddenly, Filomeno looked at us and said,


Y’know, during the Sendero years, we would have a kid guard each entrance to the village. Whenever an outsider approached, the kid would signal and all of us would flee into the caves in the mountains, and hide there, even for days, until the outsiders left. If the visitors were Sendero, they would put a gun to your head and make you give them food. Then a week later the military would come through. Someone would say to them, oh, that person is a Senderista, he gave them food. And then the military would take you out and shoot you.

<end ext>

Understandably excited by the possibilities that peace had brought, Filomeno was brimming with plans for improving his fields and growing cash crops that could now be sold to the outside. Yet I found it difficult to comprehend how, in the same years that I was getting married, having children, traveling, and enjoying a middle-class American life, the people in the rural Chanka communities were hiding in caves at the approach of any outsider.

The Chanka people have been no strangers to violence. Sadly, violence disrupted their daily lives in the early seventeenth century, when a Spanish priest appeared in their village with empty pockets and the ambition to live as a rich gentleman, and settled into the rectory near the Pampachiri church. This is his story and that of his victims.

<PN>Part I


<CT>The Crimes

<1>The Chronicler Guaman Poma

The fullest description of Father Albadán’s crimes comes from the pen of Don Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, otherwise known as Guaman Poma, a provincial nobleman from the Lucanas province, next to the Chanka homeland of Andahuaylas. Born in Lucanas around 1535, he spent most of his life there and in the nearby city of Huamanga (Ayacucho), where he learned to write Spanish, although his grammar in this foreign tongue was never perfect. In the 1570s, he served as an assistant to the Spanish priest Cristobal de Albornos, who was trying to eradicate native Andean religious practices from the communities in the region. Guaman Poma’s work with Spanish clerics continued when he assisted the Mercedarian chronicler Martín de Murúa in the late 1580s and 1590s. Murúa authored a chronicle about the Inka past; it is now known that Guaman Poma painted many of the colored illustrations for Murúa’s work.

By the mid-1590s, Guaman Poma found employment with the Spanish judge of Huamanga in charge of land titles. Unfortunately, Guaman Poma, who seems to have been an irascible character, made enemies while he worked for the judge. In 1600, all of his property was confiscated and he was banished from the city of Huamanga. It was at this point that he began wandering through the Andes for the next fifteen years, until his death in 1615, describing the glories of the Inka Empire as well as the suffering of the Andean Indians under Spanish rule. In instances where scholars have been able to investigate the truth of his accusations against corrupt officials, they have found Guaman Poma’s charges to be abundantly supported by evidence.

In his 1,189-page letter to the king of Spain, lavishly illustrated with hundreds of line drawings, Guaman Poma left us an iconic image of himself (fig. 5). In this drawing, we see the chronicler walking with his son to Lima, where he intended to inform His Majesty, King Philip III, about the crimes committed against Andean peoples by the king’s officials, Catholic priests, and creole landowners in the kingdom of Peru. Accompanying them are Guaman Poma’s two dogs, one (next to the horse) named Amigo (Friend) and the other (frisking in the lead) called Lautaro, after the heroic Mapuche Indian rebel of the sixteenth-century epic La Araucana.

<insert fig. 5 about here>

Guaman Poma’s letter to the king condemned evil Spaniards—“jaguars,” “lions,” “foxes,” and “rats” who “devour the impoverished Indians in this kingdom.” Yet the chronicler also praised those righteous Spaniards who strove to live holy lives and to serve the poor and downtrodden. For example, he lauded the life of the humble Catholic priest Diego de Avendaño:


Oh Christian Father Avendaño! Thirty years you were in your Indian parish without grief, and you died serving God and the poor Indians! . . . You didn’t want to see an unmarried woman in your house, nor did you order the young ladies gathered together [for your pleasure]. You served the old women and the sick, while you ministered to strangers and “baptized” them with alms . . . you died in a very Christian manner and very poor; in your house no one could find money or any belongings, just all [holy] poverty. And the poor Indians and all of the province are weeping for their Father.

<end ext>

By contrast, Guaman Poma was not afraid to catalogue the sins of other Catholic clergy in the Andes. He described priests in Indian parishes who seduced young women, who forced women to work without pay in textile sweatshops, and who beat and mistreated their parishioners. For the most part, with certain exceptions, the accusations are general; Guaman Poma usually did not single out particular priests for criticism. Yet, in the case of Juan Bautista de Albadán of Pamapchiri, Guaman Poma could not be silent. “Father Albadán,” he wrote, “was a very tyrannical, cruel Father; the things that this priest used to do cannot be described.” Addressing Albadán, he proclaimed, “Look here, proud Father! If you proud and tyrannical lords punish rebels [i.e., Indians] unjustly, they will complain afterwards to the judge [i.e., to God]. And thus the lords will be given terrible punishments!” In other words, the cries of the abused Indians will be heard by the heavenly judge, who will one day mete out horrific punishments to tyrants like Albadán—if not in this life, then in the next. Many of Albadán’s atrocities, the chronicler stated, were too horrible to commit to paper; nonetheless, those that Guaman Poma could bring himself to describe were chilling.

<1>Albadán’s Crimes

The story of Albadán’s depravities begins with his sexual abuse of the young Indian girls in his pastoral care. Every morning, he would select some of the attractive young girls in his parish and order them to come to his house. There, he would strip them naked and examine their buttocks and their vaginas. As part of this daily ritual, he would thrust his fingers into their vaginas; then he pushed his fingers four times into each girl’s anus. Guaman Poma described it thus: “Father Albadán stripped them naked and looked at their asses and their cunts and stuck in his fingers, and he gave four little thrusts into their anuses; each morning he did this to all the unmarried women.”

Among the young women who received his unwanted attentions were the unmarried daughters of an Indian named Don Juan Uacrau. These women complained about Albadán’s assaults to the artist who had been hired to decorate the church in Pampachiri. It is not clear whether the artist protested against the women’s treatment to outside authorities or simply to Albadán himself. In any event, Albadán had his own unique technique for dealing with anyone who possessed the temerity to criticize him.

The priest ordered his assistants to set up a Saint Andrew’s cross—that is, a cross that looked like an “X”—in the town plaza. The artist was stripped naked and tied with leather thongs upside down on the cross. Albadán beat him and then broke out his stockpile of tallow candles; apparently, he went through a large number of them in what was to follow. With the lit candles, Albadán burned the artist’s testicles and penis, and then, ripping open the man’s anus with his bare hands, continuously thrust the lit candles “up his ass.” Guaman Poma emphasized that Albadán burned many candles in his torture of this unfortunate artist.

At the time of Albadán’s death in 1611, he possessed more than 180 tallow candles in his house in Umamarca alone. A tallow candle made of sheep’s fat has a melting point of around 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Ten minutes of uninterrupted exposure to this temperature will result in third-degree burns, the most severe degree of burn, implying irreversible damage to the skin. The tallow candles used for Mass —the kind that would have been most readily available to Albadán—would have each burned for at least one hour, if not longer. Presumably, Albadán moved the flame from area to area on the victim’s body; nonetheless, if the priest were burning these specific areas of flesh for hours, there would have been third-degree burns across the artist’s rectum, anus, and genitals.

Tallow candles are notorious for the large amounts of hot wax that they release compared to beeswax or modern paraffin or soy candles. So, in addition to the injuries caused by exposure to the flame itself, Albadán’s victim would have suffered hot-wax burns, particularly in the rectum. While suffering through this torture, he would almost certainly have gone into hypovolemic shock (“burn shock”) due to loss of fluids; he may also have suffered multiple organ failures from perfusion and inflammatory mediators. If the artist were still alive when he was cut down from the cross, he did not live long. Not only would there have been a near certainty of severe infection throughout the damaged tissues, but the inability to urinate or to defecate due to the location of the burns would have proved fatal in the seventeenth century.

Clouds of black smoke are released by tallow candles, in contrast to beeswax or paraffin candles. Tallow candles also have an unpleasantly acrid odor, particularly if they have become rancid while stored in the candle boxes used to keep pests from eating them. The image of Albadán sexually torturing this poor man in the Pampachiri town plaza—the clouds of black, sooty smoke, the scent of burned flesh mingling with the foul tallow smell, the screams of his victim as the villagers watch in horror—is truly infernal. It is also quite public, which speaks to the power that Albadán was able to wield over the Indians of his parish. Guaman Poma insisted that the artist was not Albadán’s only victim. For example, Albadán performed the same sadistic and public tortures on a Pampachiri Indian named Diego Caruas, who had refused to hand his livestock over to the priest. And these atrocities were carried out on other Indians in even crueler ways; as Guaman Poma wrote, “They say that he did other things, much worse, that cannot be written; only God knows them and the other very many injuries and evils that he used to do.”

Such public acts of violence traumatize not only the victims, but the entire community of people who witness the brutality and are powerless to stop it. The Indians of Pampachiri would all have known about Albadán’s habitual sexual abuse of the young women, whether it occurred in public or in the privacy of his home. Kristine Hagan and Sophie Yohani, who have studied contemporary war rape, note that such publicly known acts of sexual assault are intended to torture the men of the community, who can do nothing as their sisters, daughters, and nieces are being assaulted. The female victims of such offenses frequently suffer long-term psychological consequences, as their sense of control over their bodies and of their personal safety and trust are shattered. Public acts of great brutality, such as Albadán’s sadistic torture of the men on the Saint Andrew’s cross, create a collective trauma of humiliation and pain for the community. As Hagen and Yohani write, “the [person] lying bleeding . . . is no longer a human being but a symbolic body to inflict hatred, violence and pain upon.” The psychological effects of witnessing violence can be similar to those experienced by the victims, including shame and long-lasting psychological distress. Albadán’s unpunished brutalities would have reinforced for the people of Pampachiri how complete their subjugation was under Spanish rule.

News of Albadán’s acts of horror spread throughout the Andes. In a letter dated March 1, 1609, Albadán’s brother Gerónimo, who was a scribe in Potosí, over nine hundred miles away, wrote that Albadán’s evil deeds were the subject of gossip there (fols. 84r–87r). Gerónimo proposed an ingenious solution to counter this gossip. He suggested that Albadán buy the office of scribe for Alonso Herrera, Gerónimo’s friend, so that Herrera could refute the rumors, telling everyone what a wonderful priest Albadán was. It is worth noting that Gerónimo did not question the truth of the rumors concerning his older brother, but merely devised a way for Albadán to escape any negative consequences. In fact, before Albadán’s death, Gerónimo wrote repeatedly to his brother, explaining that he was deeply enmeshed in corrupt behavior himself, especially in activities with women and other vices “that would shock you.” Gerónimo begged to be allowed to join Albadán in Pampachiri, where he promised to help him and to “follow your will even in extremely difficult things, at your pleasure.” Rather than surround himself with and show favor to strangers, Gerónimo wrote, Albadán should accept his brother’s assistance: “You are rich and can do me good, as you do for strangers and for whomever; you will be very pleased if you favor me thus.”

The rumors that Gerónimo heard about his brother’s new wealth were quite correct. Albadán had received nothing of his inheritance from his parents (see chapter 3) and possessed no business or factory that might have produced wealth. He was quite poor when he entered his doctrina in 1601, where his salary was only 40 pesos annually, roughly equivalent to 7,400 U.S. dollars today. Yet, upon his death in 1611, his estate, including the large gifts that he sent to his family members, was worth over 10,000 pesos, or about 1,850,000 U.S. dollars today (see chapter 3). His extraordinary wealth indicates the scale of his theft from the natives of Pampachiri and its environs, as well as the level of terror that he must have used to compel people to hand over such a large quantity of livestock and other goods.

<1>How Did Albadán Evade Punishment?

Had Pampachiri still been under Inka colonial rule, the families of the murder victims would have presented their cases against the accused to the local chief, or kuraka. While the Inkas allowed local elites considerable latitude in adjudicating crimes within their own ethnic group, a case of homicide had to be brought before an Inka magistrate, called a tocricoc—“he who sees.” In the provinces, there was no separate system of legal courts; instead, these magistrates, who were generally responsible for all aspects of local Inka administration, heard criminal cases. The kuraka took a case before the tocricoc, who then listened to evidence from witnesses and from the accused before rendering a verdict. Justice was swift, and a homicide conviction merited the death penalty. Had Albadán’s acts of public depravity been committed under Inka rule, the head Chanka kuraka, together with the families of the victims, would have denounced the cleric before the local tocricoc, and Albadán’s reign of terror would have come to a quick and bloody end.

Of course, the Spanish colonial government in Peru set up a full administrative system throughout the Andes that was supposed to have been able to punish a Spaniard guilty of torturing Indians to death. How did the system fail so spectacularly in the case of Albadán? A lack of ecclesiastical oversight in remote regions of the highlands, combined with Albadán’s own cunning in outwitting the Spanish and ecclesiastical legal systems, allowed his atrocities to go unchecked for ten years. Moreover, as Albadán quickly became one of the richest men in the entire province, his increased wealth enabled him to pay bribes to evade justice.

In the region around the city of Andahuaylas, in the territory of the colonial Chanka ethnic group, there were no settlements of religious orders. In other words, except for occasional Jesuits who passed through on temporary missions, there were no monks or friars in Chanka territory throughout most of the colonial era. It is quite possible that if there had been a religious house near Pampachiri, the local friars would have ensured that Albadán was brought to justice, but such was not the case. All of the Catholic priests in the area were secular clergy, who answered directly to the bishop. Initially, Andahuaylas and its environs formed part of the Cusco diocese, under the jurisdiction of the bishop of the ancient Inka capital. In 1614, however, when it became clear that the diocese of Cusco was too large to govern properly, the province of Andahuaylas was added to the newly formed diocese of Guamanga. Thus, Albadán was the priest in Pampachiri when it was still part of the extremely large Cusco diocese; had his parish been closer to the episcopal seat of power, it is possible that the bishop might have decided to investigate the rumors about Albadán’s atrocities.

As secular priests, the Andahuaylas clergy experienced less scrutiny than did members of religious orders. Regular priests, such as Dominicans, Augustinians, and Mercedarians, who had taken vows to follow a regula, or rule, not only lived in community, where their actions were closely observed by their brothers, but were frequently inspected in formal visitations sponsored by the heads of their orders. According to the canons of the Council of Trent, bishops were required to inspect their diocese every two years. In practice, however, episcopal visitations were much less frequent. Very few ecclesiastical visitations of Andahuaylas are recorded from the period when the region was part of the Cusco diocese. Of these, most were not concerned with examining the conduct of doctrina priests. For example, one early visitation was called by the viceroy to settle a dispute between the priests and the corregidor of Andahuaylas, while almost all of the others focused exclusively on whether the native Andeans were still worshipping their ancient gods.

A continuing problem in Andahuaylas, and throughout the Spanish Empire more generally, in the colonial period was governing the diocese during the frequent periods when the episcopal see was vacant. The appointment of a bishop was a lengthy process. News of the death or retirement of an Andean bishop had to be sent by ship to Spain; the appointment of a new bishop had to be recommended in Spain and confirmed in Rome, and then the individual had to be sent to Peru. Given the slow communications, especially between Peru and Europe, it was quite common for there to be no sitting bishop in Cusco. At such times, the cathedral chapter tried to respond to the needs of the larger diocese; however, given the limited scope of its responsibilities, the chapter was poorly equipped to cope on a regular basis with issues such as diocesan visitations. The two ecclesiastical visitations of Andahuaylas in the sixteenth century called by the cathedral chapter of Cusco were both later accused of serious irregularities. Out of the ten years that Albadán was in power in Pampachiri, there was no bishop at all in Cusco for about three of them, from July 1606 until late 1609.

Likewise, the most important ecclesiastical institution for disciplining clergy, the Inquisition Tribunal, was located in Lima, far from Andahuaylas. Inquisitors argued that bishops, in the interest of avoiding scandal, might fail to punish wayward clergy; therefore, an independent institution such as the Inquisition was necessary to oversee the behavior of priests. John Chuchiak has shown how native Mayans in colonial Mexico repeatedly filed complaints against local priests with the Holy Office of the Inquisition Tribunal. Although these charges did not always result in convictions, they initiated lengthy investigations into the clergy’s conduct, often with negative results for the priests in question. In the Andes, branches of the Lima Inquisition Tribunal were established in large cities such as Potosí. Native peoples in these urban areas occasionally filed accusations against priests with the Holy Office. For example, in Potosí in 1580, two Indian women and one mestizo accused the Mercedarian friar Melchior Hernández of sexual abuse. Although Hernández was eventually acquitted on a legal technicality, his order removed him from his ministerial position in Potosí and transferred him far away to Panama as a result of the affair. However, Andahuaylas’s remoteness in the Spanish viceroyalty seems to have insulated its priests from the attention of the Inquisition. When the head Chanka kuraka, Don León Apu Guasco, lodged a formal complaint about Albadán’s illegal activities, he did so with the royal authorities—the viceroy and his court, the Audiencia—not with church officials.

In general, the secular clergy of Andahuaylas experienced virtually no interference in their daily management of their doctrina. While Catholic priests in Indian parishes had little influence outside of their jurisdiction, they ruled as autocrats within its confines. Most had been trained to hold their clerical authority in high regard, as was common at this time. The famous Peruvian writer Fernando de Avendaño expressed a typical view of sacerdotal authority when he wrote that priests were “messengers of God” whom the Indians must obey at all times. Avendaño, a member of the cathedral chapter of Lima and a professor of theology at the University of San Marcos, knew important churchmen in Andahuaylas and had taught some of the region’s priests, such as Francisco de Aldana, the vicar of Pampachiri, in 1621. His beliefs on the absolute nature of clerical authority, along with his unwillingness to acknowledge even the possibility of priestly shortcomings, held wide sway throughout seventeenth-century Peru.

If the Church in seventeenth-century Andahuaylas was ill equipped to deal with Albadán, what about the royal officials? Why didn’t the local corregidor or one of the periodic governmental investigators charge Albadán for his crimes? Unfortunately, the colonial system was notoriously susceptible to corruption, and that seems to have been the case for Albadán. The priest was able to evade royal investigations in part through a well-run system of bribes. From Guaman Poma, we know that Albadán regularly ordered the Indians to hand over llamas, handwoven textiles, and fishing nets so that he could give these goods to the local corregidor. He also demanded other items from the Indians: money for the local scribe; lead llamas and carrying sacks for the local lieutenant; and chicken eggs for the Spaniard who ran the local inn. Alabadán exacted these items as he addressed the Indians during Mass, adding the following admonishment: “Suc garrotillauan padre canca! Alli oyariuay!” (The Father is ready with the noose! Listen well!). Through this system of bribes, Albadán preempted any Spaniard who might have considered lodging a complaint against him. The list of those who needed to be bribed is interesting—the corregidor, the scribe, the lieutenant, and the innkeeper, each with his own ability to influence events. For these men to be bribable, of course, they had to possess a certain level of indifference to the sufferings of Albadán’s Indian victims.

Another way in which Albadán consolidated power was through giving loans. A new corregidor, Don Alonso de Mendoza Ponce de León, arrived in Andahuaylas at the beginning of 1609. On January 18 of that year, Don Alonso took out two very large loans from Albadán, one for 250 pesos and another for 1,128 pesos (fols. 37v–39r), totaling an enormous amount equivalent to over 254,900 U.S. dollars today. As yet unaware of the degree of Albadán’s abuses of the native peoples, it is unlikely that the new corregidor completely realized the implications of taking out such large loans from the priest. Any subsequent efforts to bring Albadán to justice would be thwarted by the fact that Albadán could insist on repayment of the loans; if Don Alonso were unable to repay them, he could be sent to jail. At the time of the priest’s death in 1611, Don Alonso still owed him this money.

One of the men Albadán bribed must have warned him that an official Church inspector (or “visitor”) was going to pass through Pampachiri on a routine investigation into conditions throughout the diocese. In 1607, Father Juan de López de Quintanilla, the “general ecclesiastical visitor” for the diocese of Cusco (fig. 6), arrived in Pampachiri with the intention of questioning the priest and the inhabitants about conditions in the doctrina. This was the only ecclesiastical visitation to occur in the Cusco diocese during Albadán’s ten years in Pampachiri. Forewarned about the visitor, Albadán made sure that all of the Indians in the community were far off in the countryside when Quintanilla passed through. In his official report, Quintanilla noted that there was no one to be found in the entire village of Pampachiri when he visited—everyone was absent. He was not able to question anyone, and so he moved on to the next doctrina. Guaman Poma likewise described how Quintanilla—a good and honest man, according to the chronicler—found Pampachiri empty. “In the said pueblo,” Guaman Poma wrote, Quintanilla “did not find a living soul, and the said church was locked, all of the Indians hidden in the puna; he did not even find a jar of water.” By hiding the Indians, Albadán ensured that none of them could complain to Quintanilla.

<insert fig. 6 about here>

The governor and head kuraka over all the Chankas, Don León Apu Guasco, did not stand idly by while Albadán established his reign of terror in Pampachiri. As we shall see in chapter 7, Don León worked tirelessly on behalf of the natives under his jurisdiction. According to Guaman Poma, Don León protested Albadán’s abuses, speaking out particularly against Albadán’s sexual assaults on young women. Don León lived in the city of Andahuaylas, and there is no evidence that he ever visited Pampachiri, which was located in the southernmost part of his jurisdiction. However, he must have heard numerous complaints against the Spanish priest and believed that an investigation into Albadán’s activities would lead to his just punishment and removal from office. According to Guaman Poma, Albadán retaliated against Don León by officially complaining about the kuraka, “saying that [Don León] had hidden Indians from the visitation.” The chronicler wrote that Don León was found guilty of hiding potential tributaries, was exiled, and later died of grief.

Archival documents confirm Guaman Poma’s account of Albadán’s retaliation against Don León. Early in 1606, the viceroy received intelligence from Albadán that Don León had hidden Indians from the 1604 census. A new inspector, a lawyer from the Audiencia, was dispatched to investigate the situation. He found an additional 641 tributary Indians who had been hidden by Don León from the tribute rolls (temporarily saving these men from working in the mercury mines of Huancavelica). In 1607, Don León was deposed, and leadership over all the Chankas was given to the head of the lower moiety (Urinsaya), Luis Tomay Guaraca.

Unfortunately, Don León’s efforts to defend his people against Albadán did not have the results he had wished. Instead of seeing Albadán removed from Pampachiri, the kuraka was himself dismissed and his office given to his lineage rival; no action was ever taken on Don León’s accusation. In an effort to destroy his opponent, Albadán initiated an inquiry into the Chanka leader’s own hiding of Indians from government tribute agents. The ensuing investigation not only led to Don León’s downfall, exile, and death, but also kick-started an era of political instability for the Chanka leadership that would last fo