The production of the colonial landscape of the Lower Chillón River Valley during the curacazgo of Hernando Nacara (1570-1606)

PhD Project

The Lower Chillón River Valley is located in the central Andes, just north of present-day Lima, Peru. During the period of European colonial expansion, which ended the Inca rule, this area was inhabited by a number of ethnic groups, including the Collique, whose cacique (local chief) controlled large areas of agricultural and water resources. The last known cacique of this ethnic group was Don Hernando Nacara (ca. 1548-1606). During his rule, he had to contend with a number of changes brought about by the colonial power that affected both the inhabitants and spatial configuration of that part of the valley: the general resettlement of the indigenous population, a restructuring of lands, demographic catastrophes and land dispossessions.

Understanding ‘landscape’ as a dynamic concept – one produced via the continuous processes of agreements and disputes over the organisation and location of goods and living beings in a given place – the main purpose of this research project is to show how cacique Nacara’s interactions with the other inhabitants of this part of the valley, whether aborigines, African and Afro-descendant slaves, or Spaniards, produced the landscape of the Lower Chillón River Valley between 1570 and 1606. To this end, the methodology is eminently inductive, as the sources are mainly empirical materials collected in the Archivo General de Indias and local archives in Lima. This information makes it possible to comprehensively reconstruct not only the contexts in which Nacara and his contemporaries interacted but also the local dynamics that arose from these encounters. In this way, the aim is to contribute to the historical study of the production of landscapes in colonial contexts.

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