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Honoring Túpac Amaru II

March 19, 2012

I’m not sure what curse words would have come out of the mouth of Túpac Amaru II, born on this day in 1742 as José Gabriel Condorcanqui Noguera, but surely he was a man that needed to utilize expressions of rage. Claiming direct lineage to the last Incan chief whose name he took on, Amaru II began a widespread insurrection that ignited the whole region: “South of Cuzco, Túpac Amaru goes about freeing Indians tied to the looms. The winds of the great rebellion deprive viceroys of their sleep in Lima, Buenos Aires, and Bogotá.” (Eduardo Galeano, Faces & Masks). He was successful at stirring up feelings of fear in the hearts of those in power, and determination in the hearts of the oppressed, but Amaru’s own story did not end well. After being betrayed by his officers, the Spanish unsuccessfully tried to quarter him with horses. Yo, that means they tied each limb to a horse and pulled. Since that didn’t work, they cut his head off. Damn!
Shout out to Chris Stain, who managed to make an illustration of this man which there is no preserved image of for Firebrands: Portraits From the Americas.

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