History of South America

Bolívar and San Martín designed a country based on the marginalization of the indigenous

Mark Thurner, American historian, investigated the origins of bicentennial Peru. Bolívar and San Martín, in their republican vision, excluded and underestimated the Indian in the formation of a country that continues to discriminate against them. The subject named “indigenous” enters the Peruvian scene with the Bourbons. It is an effort to displace the “Indian” subject from the Austrian Indian Laws, through a Frenchified and modernizing fiscal project, which seeks to redefine it as a taxpayer and no longer as a tributary. Between the decades of 1790-1810, both "indians" and "indigenous" appear in official records. As of the Cortes of Cádiz, "The Yndica Nation" is abolished, and every "Indian" or "indigenous" is now a "Spaniard". However, the documents of the time suggest that the majority of the Indians in Peru would have preferred to be named “tributary Indians” by the State, in order to maintain access to their lands and other privileges. In 1821, San Martín declared that the "Indians or natives" would be named "Peruvian". Later, Bolívar reintroduces the Bourbon name of “indigenous” –especially for fiscal and political reasons-, in order to displace the “Peruvian”, declared by San Martín. This is because Bolívar considers the Indians as infantilized beings, incapable of governing themselves. According to him, the Indians require tutelary protection legislation as "indigenous." For Bolívar, the "Indian" is the good savage come to less. In summary, “indigenous” is a French colonialist notion, then Bolivarian and, finally, naturalist or indigenist.

The Postcolonial Creole Predicament The Ibero-American republics were not a political derivative of the struggles of a middle class against the ruling aristocratic classes. Instead, they were states created from above by colonial landowning elites seeking to free themselves from a decaying metropolis, whose representatives continued to monopolize political and economic privileges in the colonies. But disgruntled Creole elites were at the same time spurred on to independence "by fear of 'lower class' mobilizations, namely Indian or black slave uprisings." In short, "the perennial contradiction of the (Creole) position was to always be caught between the intrusive authority of the European metropolis and the explosive discontent of the native masses."
The fissures of the Creole nation For Bolívar and his Bonapartist republicanism with which he trafficked, "America had no useful history," be it European or Indian, colonial or pre-colonial. It happened that she was on one side "separated both culturally and geographically from Europe", and "inhabited by peoples whose cultural heritage had been obliterated by the conquest" on the other. For Bolívar, "no Indian could be the bearer of a significant past or the spiritual leader of a future republican, no matter how fictitious”. Bolívar generally thought of the Indians, when he did, as an essentially docile and non-politicizable mass that "only wants rest and solitude." Bolívar seems to have viewed what remained of Peru's Indian nobility with similar contempt. She had been an accomplice of the “despotic” Hispanic rule.
The post-colonial Andean predicament But how could the "Peruvian" be read by the "Indian" majority? The analysis of the political-legal discourse reveals unanticipated subaltern translations of the Creole nationalist discourse. In Huaylas, “ex-Indians” or “Peruvians” would interpret the republican national project in ways that San Martín and the Peruvian Creole elite would not have imagined. logically it implied in theory the denial or displacement of the different viceroyalty "rights" or "privileges" and the status derived from belonging to the Republic of Indians, in favor of the unitary civil model of liberal nationality in the Peruvian Republic.
Between colonial dual nationality and postcolonial unitary nationality In his most famous decree, San Martín declared that all “Indians” or “naturals” would henceforth be known as “Peruvians.” But at least in postcolonial Huaylas, his proclamation seems to have been taken more literally and in a more exclusive way than the Liberator had expected. There, "Peruanos" was originally applied to the Indian community members and not to citizenship in general.
Taken from the book:Republicanos Andinos
Mark Thurner
American historian.