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The Defense of Community in Peru's Central Highlands

The Defense of Community in Peru's Central Highlands: Peasant Struggle and Capitalist Transition, 1860-1940

Copyright Date: 1983
Pages: 400
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  • Book Info
    The Defense of Community in Peru's Central Highlands
    Book Description:

    Florencia E. Mallon examines the development of capitalism in Peru's central highlands, depicting its impact on peasant village economy and society. She shows that the region's peasantry divided into an agrarian bourgeoisie and a rural proletariat during the period under discussion, although the surviving peasant ideology, village kinship networks, and the communality inspired by economic insecurity have sometimes obscured this division.

    Originally published in 1983.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5604-6
    Subjects: Economics, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. List of Maps and Appendixes
    (pp. viii-viii)
  4. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-ix)
  5. [Map]
    (pp. x-x)
  6. Preface
    (pp. xi-2)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 3-12)

    When Mariano Castillo traveled to Jauja from the Yanamarca Valley to dictate his last will and testament in 1914, he was one hundred and twenty years old.¹ Born in 1794, he was a mature young man during the Wars of Independence, sixty years old when Ramón Castilla abolished Indian tribute and freed the slaves, and eighty-seven when the Chilean army invaded Peruvian territory during the War of the Pacific. And yet Mariano Castillo lived on, witnessing the first attempts at national industrialization, the spread ofenganche² and labor migrations, the beginning of U.S. investment in mining, and the arrival of...

  8. Part I. The Peasants Confront Commerce, 1860–1900

    • CHAPTER ONE The Human Geography
      (pp. 15-41)

      From the colonial period on, the central highlands were considered an especially prosperous and well-endowed region of Peru. Certainly nature had been generous with the area. In the Mantaro Valley, at the center of the region, flat, fertile lands extended out from the river in both directions, and even in dry season, the fields were shaded by luxuriant vegetation. North from Jauja, one of the valley’s important commercial centers, one passed through the more jagged, yet still productive, Yanamarca Valley and then descended into Tarma, another area of agricultural abundance. Further east was theceja de selva, literally “eyebrow of...

    • CHAPTER TWO The Background of Change and Conflict, 1780–1879
      (pp. 42-79)

      In the second half of the eighteenth century, a new group of mineowners and merchants began to profit from the commercial and mining boom in the central highlands and rose to challenge the dominance of the colonial landowning class. Chafing under the limitations of the colonial system of privilege and monopolies, they supported the move toward independence. Once the wars were over, this new group’s ambitions were realized when it became possible to buy up haciendas, at a fraction of their original cost, from a colonial elite facing economic ruin. Yet during the first half of the nineteenth century, the...

    • CHAPTER THREE The War of the Pacific and the Problem of Internal Pacification
      (pp. 80-122)

      On the morning of April 15, 1881, Andrés Cáceres, colonel in the defeated Peruvian army, surreptitiously boarded the train at Viterbo, near Lima, and headed for the central highlands.² He left behind him an occupied city, and the memory of a two-year military campaign during which the Peruvian forces had been slowly, almost inexorably, pushed back from the sandy wastes of the Atacama Desert to the very doors of Lima. Fought over the huge nitrate deposits discovered in this desert in the mid-nineteenth century,³ the War of the Pacific had ended in complete disaster for Bolivia and Peru. Unable to...

  9. Part II. The Peasants Confront Industry, 1895–1930

    • CHAPTER FOUR The Piérola Years: A National Attempt at Modernization
      (pp. 125-167)

      Writing about the War of the Pacific in 1882, the Peravian intellectual Luis Esteves called it a costly experience that “has shown us, perhaps, that each nation is solely responsible for its failures,”² Only through hard work, imagination and investment, he argued, would it be possible to redeem the country from past mistakes and move forward to meet the future. There were markets in Europe just waiting for Peruvian goods—it was a question of knowing how to take advantage of them, and how to make Peru’s negotiating position stronger. By developing an independent system of commerce, elevating the price...

    • CHAPTER FIVE The Penetration of Foreign Capital: The Manufacturing Period
      (pp. 168-213)

      As he made his way up the hillside that divided the Jauja Valley from the Yanamarca Valley, Luis Salazar, Jauja’s most prominent notary, must have wiped his brow in frustration. Although he was on horseback and it was still too early for the sun to spoil the freshness of the August morning, Salazar certainly had a right to complain. Squinting his eyes through the dust of the road, he considered the problem of theprotesto de letra vencida.² Whether it was he or his secretary who made the trip to the various villages, it still took several hours out of...

    • CHAPTER SIX The Penetration of Foreign Capital: The Industrial Period
      (pp. 214-244)

      Around six-thirty on the moonlit night of August 19, 1918, eight men came out of Gonzalo Lino’s house to join another group already waiting for them on the pampa of Marco. Dressed in motley military gear and armed with rifles, revolvers, and shotguns, the men conferred briefly, then separated into two bands of approximately a dozen each. One band began to move stealthily along the village’s tree-lined avenue toward the plaza. The other group took the road from Tragadero to Marco and moved in the same direction. As both bands approached the town square, their guns glistening in the moonlight,...

  10. Part III. The Peasants Confront Poverty:: The 1930s and Beyond

    • CHAPTER SEVEN Migration and the Peasant Community
      (pp. 247-267)

      At any point after 1870, a traveler entering the Mantaro or Yanamarca Valleys would have probably been hard pressed to find a village where people did not migrate for at least a few weeks out of the year. Especially during the slow points in the agricultural cycle, men worked as miners, muledrivers, herders, or at whatever occupation they could find. When they were not busy with additional household tasks, such as spinning, knitting, or caring for the animals, women might engage in commerce, selling surplus agricultural produce or small amounts of handicraft in the nearby towns. Significant variation existed between...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT Crisis in the Villages
      (pp. 268-307)

      In Peru, as in other parts of Latin America, the world crisis of the 1930s raised painful questions about the nature of dependency and development. In August 1930, Lieutenant Colonel Luis M. Sánchez Cerro organized a victorious revolution in Arequipa that finally brought down the eleven-year-old dictatorship of Augusto B. Leguía, a government increasingly corrupt and compromised by foreign capital. Because it tended to throw the economy back on its own resources, the precipitous and generalized decline in export demand and direct foreign investment only emphasized how important foreign involvement had become to Peruvian prosperity. As the state and the...

    • CHAPTER NINE Peasants Become Farmers: Capitalist Agriculture and the Peasant Entrepreneur
      (pp. 308-333)

      In the late 1930s Eleuterio Geronimo, former miner, part-time photographer, and native of Acolla, posed for a historic photograph with his wife and children. Smiling broadly, the Gerónimo family stood with their hoes and shovels, surrounded by piles of the money they had made planting onion for sale on the Lima market. Even though Gerónimo was the first to record his success in black and white, he was not the pioneer of commercial onion production in the Yanamarca Valley. That honor belonged to Victor Colca, a distant cousin from Marco, who stood behind Geronimo’s camera and snapped the picture.¹


  11. CONCLUSIONS Proletarians in a Village Society: The Peasant Community Revisited
    (pp. 334-348)

    Entering Acolla’s plaza very early on a December or January morning, just as the sun begins to climb over the brilliantly green hills, the village seems to have that timeless quality associated with agricultural communities all over the world. The recent arrival of the rains has washed down the dusty storefronts, and encouraged the cactus to grow ever taller on the adobe walls. A small group of men has gathered near the municipal building to discuss the most recent or pressing district issues. A peasant woman, her clothes mud-spattered and threadbare, picks her way through the puddles as she coaxes...

  12. Appendixes
    (pp. 349-352)
  13. Glossary
    (pp. 353-358)
  14. Bibliographical Essay
    (pp. 359-370)
  15. Index
    (pp. 371-384)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 385-385)