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Kamayuq in the Service of Capac and Crown

Lisa DeLeonardis, Johns Hopkins University, Summer Fellow 2009

A remarkable case of the movements and activities of Inca occupational specialists or kamayuq is evidenced by the Cachicamayos of the Pisco Valley, Peru. Sixteenth-century documents reference the group, and they are acknowledged by Fernández de Palencia in his account of the rebellion of Francisco Hernández Girón (ca. 1554). Long after they were relocated to the reducciones of urban Pisco, and their presence erased from colonial maps, they continued to be named in administrative records well into the eighteenth century.

My research examined the Cachicamayos within the critical context of the Inca-Colonial transition and probed the nature of kamayuq organization. I evaluated the role of salt (cachi) and documented the interplay between indigenous strategies and viceregal protocol that led to the Cachicamayos's success and eventual demise. This inquiry contributes to the foundations of the regional history of Pisco and enhances our understanding of local social interactions—what Ramírez (2005) alludes are the small traditions of Inca provincial peoples that survived into the eighteenth century. On a broader scale, it speaks to the question of historical memory of the Pre-Columbian past and to the Incaic principles that survived for centuries thereafter.