Inca Garcilaso de la Vega

Inca Garcilaso de la Vega

Overview
Garcilaso de la Vega born Gómez Suárez de Figueroa, was a historian and writer from the Spanish
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 Viceroyalty of Peru
Viceroyalty of Peru
Created in 1542, the Viceroyalty of Peru was a Spanish colonial administrative district that originally contained most of Spanish-ruled South America, governed from the capital of Lima...

. The son of a Spanish conquistador and an Inca noblewoman, he is recognized primarily for his contributions to Inca history, culture, and society. Although not all scholars agree, many consider Garcilaso's accounts the most complete and accurate available. Because there was also a Spanish author named Garcilaso de la Vega
Garcilaso de la Vega
Garcilaso de la Vega was a Spanish soldier and poet. He was the most influential poet to introduce Italian Renaissance verse forms, poetic techniques and themes to Spain.-Biography:...

, he is more commonly known as El Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, or simply El Inca Garcilaso.

Garcilaso de la Vega was born of Spanish aristocratic and royal Inca roots in Cusco
Cusco
Cusco , often spelled Cuzco , is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cusco Region as well as the Cuzco Province. In 2007, the city had a population of 358,935 which was triple the figure of 20 years ago...

, Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

.
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Encyclopedia
Garcilaso de la Vega born Gómez Suárez de Figueroa, was a historian and writer from the Spanish
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 Viceroyalty of Peru
Viceroyalty of Peru
Created in 1542, the Viceroyalty of Peru was a Spanish colonial administrative district that originally contained most of Spanish-ruled South America, governed from the capital of Lima...

. The son of a Spanish conquistador and an Inca noblewoman, he is recognized primarily for his contributions to Inca history, culture, and society. Although not all scholars agree, many consider Garcilaso's accounts the most complete and accurate available. Because there was also a Spanish author named Garcilaso de la Vega
Garcilaso de la Vega
Garcilaso de la Vega was a Spanish soldier and poet. He was the most influential poet to introduce Italian Renaissance verse forms, poetic techniques and themes to Spain.-Biography:...

, he is more commonly known as El Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, or simply El Inca Garcilaso.

Early life


Garcilaso de la Vega was born of Spanish aristocratic and royal Inca roots in Cusco
Cusco
Cusco , often spelled Cuzco , is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cusco Region as well as the Cuzco Province. In 2007, the city had a population of 358,935 which was triple the figure of 20 years ago...

, Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

. Garcilaso was the illegitimate son of Spanish captain and conquistador
Conquistador
Conquistadors were Spanish soldiers, explorers, and adventurers who brought much of the Americas under the control of Spain in the 15th to 16th centuries, following Europe's discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492...

 Sebastián Garcilaso de la Vega y Vargas (d. 1559). Garcilaso's mother, Inca princess Palla Chimpu Ocllo, baptized as Isabel Suárez Chimpu Ocllo, was descended from Inca nobility, a daughter of Túpac Huallpa
Tupac Huallpa
Túpac Huallpa , original name Auqui Huallpa Túpac, was a puppet Inca Emperor of the conquistadors in 1533, during the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire led by Francisco Pizarro.-Life:...

 and a granddaughter (not a niece) of the powerful Inca Tupac Yupanqui. Garcilaso lived with his mother the first ten years of his life and learned to speak both Quechua and Spanish. Garcilaso received an inheritance of 4,000 pesos when his father died and in 1560 decided to travel to Spain.

After his father abandoned his mother for a younger Spanish woman, his mother was married again to Juan de Pedroche and had two daughters, Ana Ruíz, who was married to her cousin Martín de Bustinza, and Luisa de Herrera, married to Pedro Márquez de Galeoto (the parents of Alonso Márquez de Figueroa). A native Quechua
Quechua languages
Quechua is a Native South American language family and dialect cluster spoken primarily in the Andes of South America, derived from an original common ancestor language, Proto-Quechua. It is the most widely spoken language family of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, with a total of probably...

 speaker born in Cuzco
Cusco
Cusco , often spelled Cuzco , is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cusco Region as well as the Cuzco Province. In 2007, the city had a population of 358,935 which was triple the figure of 20 years ago...

, Garcilaso wrote accounts of Inca life, history, and the conquest by the Spanish. His writings were published as the Comentarios Reales de los Incas
Comentarios Reales de los Incas
The Comentarios Reales de los Incas is a book written by Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, the first mestizo writer of colonial Andean South America...

(translated complete into English in 1961 as The Incas). It is recorded that he died in Córdoba, Spain on April 23, 1616, but the date could also be the 22 or the 21, given the inaccuracy of the existing documents.

Travel to Spain


Garcilaso arrived in Spain in 1561 and traveled to Montilla where he met his father's brother, Alonso de Vargas, who became Garcilaso's protector. Garcilaso soon traveled to Madrid to seek recognition for the rights of his father.

Garcilaso was educated in Spain after his father's death in 1560. At the time, marriages between the Spanish and native people of the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 were not recognized in Spain. Garcilaso had to present his case in the Spanish courts in order to receive payment for his service to the crown. Embittered by his illegitimacy in Spain and proud of his Inca heritage, Garcilaso took on the name "El Inca" (in this context, "Inca" refers to the old ruling lineage group, not the general people).

He remained in Spain and did not return to his native country (now Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

) because of the danger his royal Inca lineage presented in uncertain times.

Military service


He entered Spanish military service in 1570 and fought in the Alpujarra mountains
Alpujarras
thumb|250px|A typical Alpujarran village, [[Busquístar]].La Alpujarra is a landlocked historical region in Southern Spain, which stretches south from the Sierra Nevada mountains near Granada in the autonomous community of Andalusia. The western part of the region lies in the province of Granada...

 against the Moors
Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

 after the Morisco Revolt
Morisco Revolt
The Morisco Revolt , also known as War of Las Alpujarras or Revolt of Las Alpujarras, in what is now Andalusia in southern Spain, was a rebellion against the Crown of Castile by the remaining Muslim converts to Christianity from the Kingdom of Granada.-The defeat of Muslim Spain:In the wake of the...

. He received the rank of captain for his services to the crown.

Personal life


He lived in the town of Montilla until 1591, when he moved to Córdoba until his death. Apparently, he had a first son in 1570, who might have died at a very young age. He then had a second son, Diego de Vargas, in 1590, who helped him copy the Royal Commentaries and survived him until at least 1651. The mothers of both children were two of Garcilaso's servants.

Writings


He received a first-rate, but informal European education in Spain after he relocated there at age 21. His works have enormous literary value, and are not mere historical chronicles. His maternal family were the ruling Inca, and as such, he portrays the Inca as benevolent rulers who governed a country where everybody was well-fed and happy.Nonetheless, he received first-hand accounts of daily Inca life from his maternal relatives, much of which he conveyed in his writings, and he gives accurate information about the system of tribute and labor enforced by the Incas. His depiction of Incan religion and gradual expansion is nurtured by his Christianized view of the indigenous past ; no mention is made of human sacrifices in Inca times. Whether this was a deliberate attempt to portray his Inca ancestors in a good light, or mere ignorance given that he lived most of his life in Spain, is not known.

Comentarios Reales de los Incas


It was in Spain that Garcilaso wrote his famous Comentarios Reales de los Incas, published in Lisbon in 1609, and based on stories he had been told by his Inca relatives when he was a child in Cusco. The Comentarios contained two parts: the first about Inca life, and the second about the Spanish conquest of Peru, published in 1617. Many years later (1780), when the uprising against colonial oppression led by Tupac Amaru II
Túpac Amaru II
Túpac Amaru II was a leader of an indigenous uprising in 1780 against the Spanish in Peru...

 gained traction, a royal edict by Charles III of Spain
Charles III of Spain
Charles III was the King of Spain and the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788. He was the eldest son of Philip V of Spain and his second wife, the Princess Elisabeth Farnese...

 banned the Comentarios from being published or distributed in Lima
Lima
Lima is the capital and the largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, in the central part of the country, on a desert coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Together with the seaport of Callao, it forms a contiguous urban area known as the Lima...

 due to its "dangerous" content. The book was not printed again in the Americas until 1918, but copies continued to be circulated.

Historia de la Florida


Even before the Comentarios Reales, Garcilaso had also written his popular La Florida del Inca, an account of Hernando de Soto
Hernando de Soto (explorer)
Hernando de Soto was a Spanish explorer and conquistador who, while leading the first European expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States, was the first European documented to have crossed the Mississippi River....

's expedition and journey of Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

. The work was published in Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

 in 1605. It contains the chronicles of de Sotos's expedition according to information Garcilaso gathered during various years, and defends the legitimacy of imposing the Spanish sovereignty in conquered territories and submit them to Christian jurisdiction. He also defends the dignity, courage and rationality of the Native Americans
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

.


Further reading

  • Garcilaso de la Vega, The Florida of the Inca, trans. John and Jeannette Varner. 1951. ISBN 978-0-292-72434-1
  • Garcilaso de la Vega, Royal Commentaries of the Incas, trans. Harold V. Livermore. 1965. ISBN 978-0-292-77038-6

External links