Historical Figures

Tupac Katari or Julian Apaza

Túpac Katari or Julián Apaza, Aymara leader , born around 1750 in the town of Ayo Ayo, province of Sicasica (current department of La Paz in Bolivia). He works in modest trades, given his condition as an orphan from a very young age:sacristan, miner, baker, merchant. His constant relationship with the most impoverished sectors allows him to learn about the humiliation and exploitation suffered by Indians and mestizos by the Spanish. When the rebellion of Gabriel Condorcanqui or Tupac Amaru II broke out in 1780, contact was made with him and with the cacique Tomás Catari who supported him . Combining the names of both leaders, he adopts Túpac Catari and pretends to be Viceroy of Peru. He orders the exile of the Spaniards in the territory under his command, adopts Aymara as the official language and reestablishes the cult of the Sun. Being illiterate, he is advised by the mestizo Bonifacio Chuquimamani, who is in charge of writing the proclamations and manifestos of the rebellion. . During the first six months of 1781, he led the most important uprising in the area of ​​Upper Peru, carrying out two sieges on the city of La Paz, following the orders of Diego Cristóbal Túpac Amaru, who had replaced his cousin José Gabriel Condorcanqui in the leadership of the insurgent movement.
On March 13, 1781, at the head of forty thousand Indians, he surrounded the city of La Paz demanding the delivery of the corregidores . Despite the length of the siege (more than a hundred days) and the death of no less than ten thousand Spaniards, the Indians were unable to take the city for lack of adequate weapons; having to withdraw on July 1, before the imminent arrival of a division commanded by General Ignacio Flores, then president of the Charcas audience. However, inexplicably, without having completely annihilated the rebels, General Flores leaves the city in the custody of eighty men, under the command of Sebastián Segurola. Naturally, Túpac Katari gathers new hosts, manages to tighten the siege again and, in a maneuver similar to the one used on August 5 by Túpac Amaru II in the capture of Sorata, causes a flood that almost destroys the city. However, he must withdraw again on October 17, due to the proximity of troops sent by the Viceroyalty of Buenos Aires under the command of José Reseguín. He falls back to the hills of Pampajasi, from where he continues the hostile actions. Reseguín recovers La Paz and undertakes a fierce campaign against Túpac Katari, who after a tenacious resistance is forced to take refuge in the sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de las Peñas, where the reserve forces of Miguel Bastidas were, but not before suffering the capture of his wife Bartolina Sisa.
At that moment, the orders of Diego Cristóbal Túpac Amaru arrive, from his headquarters in Azángaro (Puno), in the sense of taking advantage of the pardon granted by Viceroy Jáuregui, who had promised a general pardon through a decree. Both Miguel Bastidas and Túpac Katari agree, but the latter decides to ask Reseguín, as a sign of goodwill, for the release of his companion. Faced with the realistic refusal, he realizes that the offer of forgiveness is just a trap, so he does not accept the pardon and, instead, marches to the town of Achacachi, on the shores of Lake Titicaca, in order to reorganize the scattered rebel forces. However he is betrayed and handed over to the royalist authorities on November 10, in Chinchaya . Judged by the cruel hearer of the hearing of Chile, Francisco Tadeo Diez de Medina, he was sentenced to be dismembered by four horses, a sentence that was carried out on November 15, 1781. His head and limbs were exposed in different places as a lesson to the insurgents. His wife and his sister Gregoria are sentenced to hang and executed on September 5, 1782.

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