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Indian Women of Early Colonial Quito as Seen Through Their Testaments

Author(s): Frank Salomon

Source: The Americas, Vol. 44, No. 3 (Jan., 1988), pp. 325-341
Published by: Academy of American Franciscan History
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By the turn of the seventeenth century a generation of Andean na-

tives, both Inca and aboriginal1,had made lifelong homes within
the strongholdsof the Europeaninvaders. As they enteredold age
they inhabitedan urbanlandscapewhose "Indian" sector had become very
diverse. In Quito and other colonial cities some of them dwelled in old
pre-hispanic settlements whose closeness to new Hispanic centers had
turnedthem into multiethnic "Indian" ghettos. Quito's Afiaquitoand Ma-
chingara2 are examples. Many others had settled illegally but permanently
inside the Spanish nuclear city, so much so that in the 1580s Spaniards
remarked on the growth of a "big shantytown" in its midst.3. Notarial
records show, too, that center city streets housed colonies of "Indian" ar-
tisans specializing in Europeanarts like ironworking,embroidery,and tai-
loring. Rich enclaves of Inca and aboriginalnobles lived close to Spanish
clerics and officials. Specialist tradersdelegatedby native lords, and native
entrepreneursin the Spanish economy, rented permanentworkplaces and
dwellings downtown. Finally a large contingent, especially of women,

SThe term "aboriginal" is here used to denote membersof the many local linguistic, cultural, and
political groups subjected to Inca rule but remaining distinct from the Inca elite. Aboriginal groups
differed widely among themselves. Political rivalriesoccurredboth between culturallydifferingpopula-
tions and among the various chiefdoms properto each population.In the Quito areathe chief linguistic-
culturalgroups of the non-Incamajoritywere "Cara" or "Caranqui"-speakingpeople from the region
spreadingnorthwardto the Mira river, the speakersof an obscure tongue usually called "Panzaleo,"
native to a region extending southwardtoward Ambato, membersof adjacentAmazonianand Pacific-
slope rainforest-dwellingsocieties (often called "Yumbos"), and, to a lesser extent, members of the
more distant Puruhi and Pasto peoples. Cafiariand Chachapoyacolonies were implantedby the Inca
state. See John V. Murra, "The Historic Tribes of Ecuador," in Julian Steward, ed., Handbook of
South American Indians. Vol. 2, The Andean Civilizations. (Washington: Smithsonian Institution,
1946), pp. 785-821. See also FrankSalomon:Native Lords of Quito in the Age of the Incas (New York:
CambridgeUniversity Press, 1986).
2 Robson B. Tyrer, The Demographic and Economic History of the Audiencia de Quito: Indian
Population (Berkeley: University of California, Departmentof History, 1976), pp.3-22, 349.
3 Pedro Rodriguez de Aguayo, "Descripci6n de la ciudad de Quito y vecindad de ella" (1582) in
Marcos Jimrnez de la Espada, ed., Relaciones Geogrdficasde Indias (Madrid:Ediciones Atlas, 1965),
Vol. 2 p. 203.


lived as servants or concubines in Spanish houses or had usufructof sepa-

rate urbanhouses. In 1600 therewere probablymore differentways to be an
urbanIndianthan there are today.
Paying attentionto the complexity of urbannative society helps one to
tease apartseveral historic processes which have been unjustifiablylumped
together in twentieth-centurydiscussions influencedby the tendentiousno-
tions of "westernization" and "modernization." Modern observers of
urban "Indians" tend to describe their distance from the rural Quechua
norm in terms of acculturation,that is, acquisition of Hispanic traits by
ethnic "Indians'"4, of mestizajeor miscegenation5,and of "cholification,"
the alleged emergence of a new middle ethnic category neither "Indian"
nor Hispanic.6
In social science literaturethe modem system allegedly resulting from
these processes is sometimes described as an "ethnic continuum'' on
which any person can be situated. Latentin this view is an image of history
as a unified process by which the "Indian" identity is first diluted in, and
then replaced by, a differentcategory. But the closer one gets to the histor-
ical testimony of those who lived throughthe Andean-Europeanencounter,
the clearer it becomes that such approaches mislead us. Historically viewed,
the variety of Andean lifestyles almost certainly results from a variety of
historic projects and processes. In this essay it is suggested that in early
colonial Quito the three processes of acculturation, miscegenation, and
ethnic redefinition may have been not only distinguishable but fundamen-
tally divergent in the historical projects they expressed. The evidence at
hand concemrnsIndian women and their attempts to influence future lives
through their testaments.
Most "Indian" women whose testaments appear in Quito's notarial ar-
chives toward 1600 probably grew up in native societies still strongly pat-
temrnedon prehispanic lines.8 Certain characteristics of these societies may

4 See, for example, Ralph Beals, Communityin Transition:Nay6n, Ecuador (Los Angeles: UCLA
Latin AmericanCenter, 1966).
5See, for example, Magnus Morner, Race Mixture in the History of Latin America (Boston: Little
Brown, 1967).
6 See, for example, FrancoisBourricaud:Cambiosen Puno (M6xico:InstitutoIndigenistaInterameri-
cano, 1967).
7 PierreVan den Berghe and George Primov,Inequalityin the PeruvianAndes: Class and Ethnicityin
Cuzco (Columbia:University of Missouri Press, 1977), p. 4.
8 The reason is that, prior to about 1569, Spanish dominationof native rural settlements generally
took the form of "indirect rule" ratherthan intervention.Although most Indianswere baptised, cate-
chization advanced sluggishly for several decades. Most households contributedSpanish tribute and
goods for Spanish marketsvia their local native lords.

have conditionedtheir actions in Spanishcities. One example concerns po-

lygyny. Lope de Atienza, a Spanish cleric well versed in village "Indian"
culture, noted that nobles and favored commoners had several secondary
wives,9 and this pattern is amply attested in house-to-house data.10The
tradition of legal polygyny may at first have made concubinage with
Spanish conquerorsappear less degradingthan it was later to prove. An-
other prehispanicprecedentconditioningcolonial behaviormay occur in the
field of inheritance.Like many Andean kinship systems, that of Quito ap-
pears to have inclined to paralleldescent (thatis, the assigning of rights and
duties to men according to their male or patrilineal genealogy, and to
women accordingto their female or matrilinealgeneaology).11 In Atienza's
words, "In former times, when anyone male or female got marriedwith
any male youth12whether native or foreign, if either of the spouses dies,
they attended to the partitioning of goods among the offspring in this
fashion: the male children followed the father's side, and the daughters,
togetherwith their mother, followed the other. They follow this custom and
order more rigorously today than ever before."13 This precedent is also
detectable in urban native behavior. A third prehispanicprecendentis the
"Indian" testatrices' uniform preoccupation with clothing transmission
across generations as a symbol of continuity. Like most Andean peoples
Quito natives entombedtheir dead with a wealth of clothing:
Theyadornanddress(the dead)withthe best clothingandgarmentsthey
had.Ontopof theirtunicstheyplacethreecloaksor eventhreedozen,taking
for the shroudthree chosen cloaks.'"
Colonial "Indian" women almost always included in their wills instruc-
tions for making their shroudsand disposing of their clothes.
Andean women emerge more clearly than men in the post-Incaic docu-
ment record, and women may in fact have played a largerpart in the early

9 Lope de Atienza, "Compendio Historial del Estado de los Indios del Periu" in Jacinto Jij6n y
Caamafio, ed., La religi6n del imperio de los Incas, (Quito: Escuela Tipogrifica Salesiana, 1931), p.
118. Atienza's work is thoughtto date approximately1575.
1o For example, in JuanMosqueraand Crist6balde San Martin's 1559 visita of six aboriginalvillages
close to Quito. It is conserved in a residenciaof Lic. Juande SalazarVillasante, AGI/S Justicia673.
11This tendency is summarizedin Bernd Lambert, "Bilateralityin the Andes" in Ralph Bolton and
EnriqueMayer, eds., Andean Kinshipand Marriage (Washington:AmericanAnthropologicalAssocia-
tion, 1977), p. 16-17. Lambertholds that paralleland patrilinealdescent may both have been enforced
but in different functional spheres.
12 Sic; it is possible that the seeming allusion to marriagebetween males relates to Atienza's (and

other spanish chroniclers') belief that South American natives were given to homosexuality. But a
simple erroris the likelier explanation.Atienza "Compendio Historial," p. 104-106.
13 Atienza, "Compendio Historial," p. 92-93.

14 Atienza, "Compendio Historial," p. 154.


peopling of the city. In the archives of Quito, as of Arequipa,15 Indian

women's testaments far outnumber Indian men's. Burkett argues that the
fact reflects a greater integrationof native women in Spanish urbanism,
attributing this in turn to sex ratio imbalance among Spaniards, to the
"push" factor of Toledan tribute laws, to "pull" factors of marketplace
opportunity,to disturbedgender relations within the indigenous orbit, and
to the element of coercion in Spanish-nativeconcubinage.
Among notarialrecordsleft by urban"Indians," testamentshave special
interestbecause a will, more thanother legal papers, summarizesthe whole
materialand social outcome of a lifetime. Wills give a vivid voice to people
whom history would otherwise leave mute.16 It is true that in the Andes,
unlike Mexico,"17 we lack wills in native languages, and thatwe must for the
time being18 tolerate the distortion inherent in translation. Nonetheless
Spanish wills of the period in question still possess the explicitness of reli-
gious belief and richness of personal expression characteristicof Catholic
testamentspriorto about 1760.19
Are urbanyndias who made wills a fair sample of urbanyndias in gen-
eral? With regardto civil status, class, and culturalvariablesmany kinds of
women are at least represented. In the Quito data, the high incidence of
childlessness (43 per cent) suggests that lack of heirs-apparentmade a
woman likelier to testate. But, since childlessness appearsto have occurred
with little relation to women's civil or other status, we may take our small
collection of wills (fifteen)20as being, if not a random sample, at least a

'5 Elinor C. Burkett, "Indian Women and White Society: the Case of Sixteenth-CenturyPeru." in
Asunci6n Lavrin, ed., Latin American Women:Historical Perspectives (Westport,Conn.: Greenwood
Press, 1978).
16 Asunci6n Lavrin and Edith Couturier, "Dowries and Wills: a View of Women's Socioeconomic
Role in Colonial Guadalajaraand Puebla, 1640-1790" Hispanic AmericanHistorical Review 59 (1979),
'7 For Mexican wills in Nahuatl, see, for example, S.L. Cline and M. Le6n Portilla, The Testaments
of Culhuacdn (Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center, 1984), or J. Lockhart:Nahuatl in the
Middle Years. Language Contact Phenomena in Texts of the Colonial Period (Berkeley: University of
CaliforniaPress, 1976), pp. 93-99, 117-121.
18Namely, until protocols of Andean escribanos de naturales are uncovered and published;refer-
ences to "scribes for natives" are common in 16th-centuryarchivesof the viceroyaltyof Peru. At least
one fragmentis known to survive (personalinformationof Bruce Mannheim).
19 Michel Vovelle: Pidtd baroque et dichristianisation: les attitudes devant la mort en Provence au
XVIIIasidcle (Paris:Plon, 1973).
20 The following testaments are conserved in the Archivo Nacional de la Historia, Quito, except as
BarbaraPomaticlla:Testamento. 5a Notaria, t.3 f.404r-408r. 1609.
Beatriz (Coquilago) Ango: Testamento. ia Notaria, t.3 f.371r-374r. 1596.
Beatriz, (Coquilago) Ango: Testamento. ACM/Q (Archivo de la CuraMetropolitana,Quito). Sec.
Parroquias,Caja 1. 1597.

sounding of the urban female population and the paths it followed through
the disaster-ridden postconquest era.
Statistical significance is out of reach with so small a corpus. The signifi-
cance of these wills is of another sort. First, they bring us close to Indian
women whose "portraits" the document record rarely reveals. Second,
they clarify the wide spectrum of objectives they pursued in the rapidly
diversifying urban scene. Third, they demonstrate textually the problematic
relationship between a non-European woman's objectives and the versatile
but ultimately alien European means through which she had to achieve
them. In these senses, the task of making a will neatly mirrored the testa-
trices' larger life-tasks. Reading wills, therefore, is a two-step operation:
understanding the rules of will-making as a legal and more broadly cultural
means, and understanding the uses Andean made of it.
Considered as a text, a Spanish will rests on two cultural postulates:
First, that spirit and matter can be divorced one from the other; and second,
that before a person's spiritual and material parts are divorced, he or she
should achieve equity or at least provide for it. The first postulate is re-
flected in the form of the will. A Spanish will can be understood as, among
other things, a plan for separating a person's spiritual from her material part
(including property) with a minimum of damage to her social network. The
first clause acknowledges their impending separation. The second group of
clauses dictates the disposition of one's material body and the obsequies for
one's soul. The third group concerns the assignment of material property,
and the mending of social ties disrupted by death. The last clauses guar-
antee the plan's feasibility and irrevocability.
The second postulate is that of a lifetime as a fixed term within which
equity must be achieved or at least provided for, and this largely dictates the
content filling the legal form. Behind specific legal constraints21 lies a gen-

CatalinaCafiar:Testamento. 6a Notarfa, t.5 f.750v-752r. 1598.

CatalinaCisintulli:Testamento. la Notaria, t.2 f.324v-327v. 1593.
FranciscaVilcacabra:Testamento. 6a Notaria, t.2 f.497r-501v. 1596.
Juanayndia de los Quixos: Testamento. ia Notaria, t.2 f.86r. 1588.
Lucia yndia de Chillo: Testamento. ia Notaria, t.7 f. 114r-115r. 1600.
Maria de Amores: Testamento. la Notaria, t.3 f.503v-507r. 1596.
Maria Astutilla:Testamento. ia Notaria, t.8 f.480r-482v. 1600.
Yn6s Palla: Testamento. 1a Notaria, t.4 f.51r-53r. 1594.
Yn6s yndia naturalde los Pastos Quillasingas:Testamento. ia Notaria, t.3 f.673r-675v. 1597.
Ysabel Auca Chuqui:Testamento. ia Notaria, t.3 f.638r-641r. 1596.
Ysabel Cafiaryndia naturalde Caraguro:Testamento. la Notaria, t. 1 f. 19r-20v. 1583.
Ysavel Caguascango:Testamento. 5a Notaria, t.3 f.477v-478v. 1609.
21 Asunci6n Lavrin and Edith Couturier,"Dowries and Wills," p. 286.

eral concern for the righting of imbalances, settling of debts, and achieve-
ment of equilibriumin both spiritualand materialspheres. On the spiritual
side, sins weighing against the soul must be counteractedby good works
(masses, bequests to religious corporations,charity) to aid in purgation,22
all spelled out in the second group of clauses. On the materialside, every
will must manage the calling-in of materialdebts and credits, neutralization
of balances, and equitabledistributionof goods among survivors.
But this formal view, emphasizing the task of closing vital accounts,
leaves out the activist side of a will. In leaving the world testatricessought
to change it. There were, of course, constraints:children and spouse were
mandatoryheirs, and no child could be favoredby a mejora(supplementary
bequest) of over one-third. But these constraintswere not drastic, and they
did not entirely foreclose transmittinggoods throughAndean lines. Neither
did women suffer any special burdenssuch as the mergingof wives' wealth
with husbands' estates, or the mandatoryfavoring of male heirs23(Ots de
Capdequi1930: 368-369). Andean(and other)women enjoyed considerable
leeway in deciding how their deaths would affect that local web of social
structurewhich their own lives had influenced.
In some respects the Spanish definition of dying and testatingwas, how-
ever, alien to Andeanthinking. Andeanthoughtdid not dispatchthe dead to
anotherworld, but put them squarelyand actively among the living as per-
sonages with whom goods and alliances had to be exchanged for several
generations.24A prehispanic Andean woman, or one who lived in rural
areas where the cult of ancestral mummies could still be practiced after
conquest, would have died in the expectationof enduringas a fixed feature
of social organization. On the other hand a colonial urban yndia facing
death could expect to influence social organizationdirectly only duringthe
execution of her will. Lateron, collective life would reflect her postmortem

22 It is interestingthat belief in the need for purgation,erected as Catholicdoctrineonly within the life

of the testatrices, seems to have caught on quickly among urbanyndias. Whetherthis reflects a high
degree of orthodoxyor a transformationof the prehispanicbelief in the need for living people to succor
the dead, remains to be seen. On purgation,see Michel Vovelle: La mort et l'Occident de 1300 d nos
jours (Paris: Gallimard, 1984), p. 205-210.
23 Ots Capdequi, Jos6 Maria, "El sexo como circunstanciamodificativade la capacidadjuridica en
nuestralegislaci6n de Indias," Anuario de Historia del Derecho Espariol7 (1930), 368-369.
24 For example, in most Andean societies descendentswere expected to periodicallyfeed, dress, and

parade their mummified ancestors. In some they were expected to ask the consent of ancestors for
marriagesand business enterprises. Quito-areaburials included shafts throughwhich the living could
pour drinks for the dead. CatherineJ. Allen, "Body and Soul in QuechuaThought," Journal of Latin
American Lore 8 (1982), 179-196. See also George Urioste, "Sickness and Death in PreconquestAn-
dean Cosmology: the HuarochiriOral Text," in J.W. Bastien and J.M. Donahue, eds., Health in the
Andes, (Washington:American AnthropologicalAssociation, 1981).

individuality in much more indirect ways. In doing this profoundly un-An-

dean thing, dissolving her ties of reciprocity with earth and the living, an
urban yndia had to reach varied and sometimes enigmatic compromises
with non-Andean needs and institutions. What is uniformly lacking is a
sense of simple continuity. Not one ever contemplatedfor her heirs a life
like her own. For all, dying in a biculturalsettingwas a problemdemanding
innovative ingenuity. A look at a few women from across the social gamut
reveals the variety of their responses.
Beatriz Ango, or CoquilagoAngo in her non-Quechuanative tongue, was
already a famous woman in 1590.25 Her father and brotherwere the Ango
lords of Otavalo, supremeamong the non-Incanative nobility. In 1559 she
married Topatauchi Atahualpa, also called Francisco Atahualpa "El
Auqui," son of AtahualpaInca and still a king in the eyes of Quito's Inca
nobility. From his death in 1583 to hers in 1601, her wealth and double
dynastic prestige made her at least symbolically a sovereign to the "re-
public of Indians." She testatedtwice, in 1596 and 1597, probablybecause
the earlier version, which seems to be taken almost verbatimfrom her lips,
is poorly preparedin legal terms. But for this very reason it has a special
authenticity. Lying in her great canopied bed behind the stone walls of her
husband's immense but already neglected Inca "pleasure house," she set
forth a plan to shore up, and even in some respects to restore, the Atahualpa
estate. She apparently intended for it to endure, not only as family wealth
but also as a specifically Inca power base.
A half-century after the conquest, the great lady still ruled an estate fit for
an Inca in scale as well as in mode of organization. It formed a true vertical
smorgasbord of ecologies, from high pastures in the Latacunga region,
through maize lands in Pillaro and fruit orchards in CumbayBi,down to coca
lands in Tunguragua, and hot irrigated valleys in Perucho. And it was
worked in large part by yana servitors of proven prehispanic origin. Coqui-
lago Ango had a son, Alonso, who inherited the Auqui title with a large
earnest on his inheritance in 1583, and a daughter, Juana, who was also
provided for "among the living." Thirteen years later in her will, she all
but skipped over their generation and also ignored Juana's children (if any)
by her Spanish husband. She chose to favor grandchildren born out of wed-
lock but Andean in both parental lines. The two major shares went to Carlos
Atahualpa and his sister Mencia, both children of the second Auqui, Alonso
Atahualpa. Although born out of wedlock, they were destined to inherit the

25 Udo Oberem,Notas y documentossobre miembrosde lafamilia del Inca Atahualpaen el siglo XVI
(Guayaquil:Casa de la CulturaEcuatoriana,Nicleo del Guayas, 1976), pp. 34-42.

Auqui title and perhaps an Ango title for lack of legitimate heirs. Each
received a portion of the imperial house in Quito and half of the imperial
herding lands. But the division was not equal. Mencia received the greater
share of a herd (now convertedfrom llamas to sheep) whose size Coquilago
estimated as between 600 and 800 head. Carlos' responsibilitieswere to be
more urbanand political. On reachingmajorityhe was to become patronof
the powerful chantrywhich his grandfatherthe first Auqui had endowed at
the Franciscanmonastery.It was to receive the thirdmajorshareof Coqui-
lago's wealth, namely, her agriculturalestate and its servitors. Minor be-
quests of luxury objects and animalswent to the native sodalities (cofradias
de naturales) of Quito churches and to faithful servants.
The estate plan overall suggests that Coquilago intended her grandchil-
dren to found male and female descent groups, the male lineage carrying
the Auqui title and the female perhapsher own.26 Power bases were to be
modernized:The "crown" Inca sector would rest chiefly on sheep wool
productionfor the newly booming textile sector and would be held mostly
by Mencia and her heirs. The new analogue to Inca state and church re-
source bases would be the endowment of grain lands whose commercial
revenue would support a chantry connecting the Auqui line with Quito's
powerful Franciscans.This chantrywould serve a double purpose. By dem-
onstrating status and wealth in the same fashion favored by the Spanish
elite, it would guarantee the Inca lineage's insertion into future power
structures.27 But at the same time, in housing the bodies of Topatauchi and
Coquilago, it might acquire some of the functions of a prehispanicpanaca
(corporation attached to the cult of a mummified Inca king) and become
capable of politically representing the family's dynastic interests. Coquilago
Ango's overall strategy appears to have envisioned loading Incaic post-
mortem goals onto Spanish economic vehicles, and to some extent it suc-
ceeded: The Atahualpa family in later generations repeatedly secured crown
subsidies for its members on grounds of royal birth despite its small role in
governing native populations. This is a likely reason why rich non-Inca
native nobles continued to prize Inca spouses after the conquest as they had
before.28 Coquilago's four small bequests to endow sodalities "of the na-
tives" may also have encouraged non-noble "Indians" to take an interest in
the prosperity of the Atahualpa and Ango lines.

26 Coquilago Ango's daughterJuanaseems to have had no living offspring.

27 These hopes were in large partfrustrated;Carlos was to sell off partsof his inheritanceand both he
and Mencia later confessed poverty in petitions to the Crown. Oberem, Notas y documentos sobre
miembrosde lafamilia Atahualpa, pp. 47-48, 162.
28For instance, Carlos Atahualpa'sdaughterMaria Atahualpaeventually marriedFrancisco Garcia
Ati of the powerful Latacunga-areaAti dynasty. Udo Oberem,Notas y documentossobre miembrosde
la familia del Inca Atahualpa, pp. 50.

Maria Astutilla stood at the opposite extremeof Quito's indigenoushier-

archy. She was a native of Latacungawho had married an Indian from
Panzaleo called Lorenzo de Niza Cincocartas. The family worked itself
only partwayinto the hispanic city; Maria never learned Spanish, and Lo-
renzo, though he learnedthe Spanishtradeof saddlery, sufferedreverses in
Quito. He had been tried andjailed for theft in associationwith a roughneck
known as Anton Boto al Suelo ("Anton Knock-'em-on-the-ground"),suf-
fered confiscation of his merchandise,and died impoverished.Lorenzo left
behind him an urbanplot, an uncollectabledebt from an imprisonedYumbo
(i.e. forest-dwelling) Indian, his tools, some land in Panzaleo, and two
sons. Other than her late husband's property, Maria owned nothing but a
box of clothing which would cover the cost of her burial. Faced with the
failure of her urbanadaptation,Maria Astutilla wrote a will seemingly de-
signed to protecther sons' future. She left the saddler'stools to her brother-
in-law in Panzaleo-a man who knew the trade, but who had kept his
Andean villager statusand native name-giving him responsibilityto teach
the boys. Her will gave the boys equal shares of land both in Quito and in
the country. Seemingly she expected them to retainurbanlinks, but also to
shore up their village bases. As for the cash she hoped her executors would
collect, she assigned it to Masses far more numerous than her poverty
would lead one to expect, "for my soul and those of my dead." She also
left a bequest for her sons "so they might clothe themselves." Her will
seems to express a rearrangement,but not a severance, of her urbanlinks;
in the face of a generation-longdefeat, she helped her sons use their male
descent line as a fallback base for a new initiative.
Lucia, "an Indian native to Chillo," like many urban Indian women,
had both legitimateIndianheirs (two girls) and mestizo childrenbornout of
wedlock ( a boy and a girl). We do not know who fatheredthe legitimate
children. But her story gains a certainpiquancyfrom the possibility that it
may have been Quito's "model priest,''29 the talentedhalf-Incalinguist P.
Diego Lobato, who fatheredher two otherwiseunexplained"natural"chil-
dren.30Lobato employed Lucia as a servantfrom her childhood, without,
according to her, paying any salary; this as well as the possible issue of
paternitycontributedto her evident grudge against the priest.

29 As Jose MariaVargascalls him; see "Diego Lobatode Sosa, un sacerdotemodelo del siglo XVI,"
Instituto de Historia Eclesidstica 1 (1974), 31-40.
30 The fact that her son bore his paternal and her daughterhis maternalsurname is not by itself
conclusive since it was not unusual for children born of servants to acquire their masters' surnames
irrespectiveof paternity.But in conjunctionwith Lucia's silence about these children's paternity,their
names do raise a question. Ordinarilytestatrices made sure to identify the fathers of their "natural"
children and called on them for support;Lucia's silence on this score may have been intentionally

Nonetheless Lucia was far from impoverished. She had a farmsteadin

her home village and from it she raised enough grain to sell some in Quito.
People of varied ethnicity owed her small sums on food, textiles and an-
imals, which suggest that like many servants she may have doubled as a
petty merchant. And Lucia's "natural" children were, by 1600, nicely
fixed with a herd of forty crows.
Lucia first divided her estate between her legitimate daughters, then
changed her mind in mid-sentenceto cross out one daughterand designate
her granddaughterYsabel "to help with her marriage,because she is poor
and a mestiza." For her own soul she mandatedfour Masses at each major
convent but none at any diocesan church, seemingly as a slap at Lobatowho
was a secular. She was a small patronessof two native sodalities and left
her best luxury object, her "coral" wrist beads, to one of them. Represen-
tative in all these respects (commercialinvolvement, mestizo descent, and
activity in religious societies) of a whole subclass of domestic servant
women, she showed signs of being an urbanpersonin a differentsense than
did Maria Astutilla. She was not disconnected from her ancestralvillage,
but ties of motherhood,and the failure of reciprocityin relations with Lo-
bato, forced on her a set of urbanresponsibilitieswhich led her to seek and
find opportunitiesfor wealth accumulationin the city of Quito.
Maria de Amores, whose motherbore an Inca surnameand whose father
seems to have been a non-Incanative, was one of a numberof indigenous
women who, although rigidly "Indian" in self-definition and clothing
style, circulatedamong the middle and upperstrataof SpanishQuito. Maria
twice marriedSpaniards,bearinga son to each, and also had two "natural"
sons by another Spaniard. She expressed warm affection for her second
husband, who helped her build a house, and resentmenttowardthe fatherof
her two "natural" sons for not helping to pay for their livelihood. When
she testated in 1596, she was a wealthy woman in spite of the fact that she
gives no clue to having followed any productive, commercial, or servile
m6tier. Besides her house, she owned some horses and many Spanish
luxury goods: "Chinese" porcelain, fine bedding, silver spoons and can-
dlesticks, a mirror.
But what catches the eye most in her will and those of similar women is
her spectaculartextile wealth. The contentsof her clothes chests add up to a
virtualcatalogue of fashionablenative clothing. It read in part:
a chinese lijlla (Quechua:"wide shawl")
another, white, from the Quixos country,31embroidered

31 i.e. from the Amazonian peoples dwelling between the Napo and Pastazarivers.

a woollen Goancavelica anaku

(Quechua: "wraparound skirt")32 and a woollen Guayaquil lijlla
a black cotton anaku
a large Chinese porcelain
two large tupus (Quechua: "stickpins") with their bells
one small chain with two other tupus of marked silver
one chumbi (Quechua:"woven belt or girdle"), of purple silk, in the
Roman style (al romano), with an ornamentalborder(guarnici6n)
a scarlet satin lijlla with its silver pasa (sic, for pasador, "brooch"?)
a new lijlla of light silk or linen (toca), split, with Castillian needle-
a lijlla of green Castilliandamaskwith golden edging
a lijlla of primrose colored satin with needlework and golden
an anaku of green Castillian satin with a golden edging
a new cochineal-dyed anaku bordered with fringes of golden and silver
thread, and inside it, a girdle of yellow taffeta
likewise I have a new green anaku of Castillianwoollen cloth with its
sevillaneta (?) of alquimia (false gold or silver?)
item eight varas of printed cotton cloth de frdo(?)
item a girdle of cochineal-dyed woollen cloth with a golden edging and
a green belt
item two lijllas of Castillian light silk or linen, one embroidered with
cochineal-dyed silk and the other blue
item, one Cafiar lijlla34
item, another lijlla and anaku from Caxamarca
item a new embroidered Quixos anaku
item a piece of white taffeta
item a choker of pearls and purple beads
some filigreed earrings with pinzantes (pendants?) of small pearls
some earrings with three pinzantes (pendants?) doblados (folded?)
with pearls
a choker of pearls and blue and red chakira (Quechua: "beads")35

32 The natives of the area of the Bay of Guayas, on the Ecuadoriancoast, were called Guancavilcas.

Orthographynotwithstanding,the text probablyrefers to this group and not to Huancavelicain Peru.

33 Maria de Amores donated this garment to Nuestra Sefiora de los Remedios, in the Augustinian
Convent of Quito, to become a chasuble in the care of her sodality.
34 Cafiar,roughly mdoemrn Cafiarprovince of south highlandEcuador,was the home of a culturaland
linguistic group widely scatteredthroughthe Andes by Incaic mitmaqoperations.
35 chakira in Quechuarefers to several types of small beads used as treasuresor prestigeofferings to
deities. In some partsof Ecuadorand southernColombia strandsof chakira also served as special-pur-
pose currency. Common types were beads of Spondylus(spiny oyster) shell, gold, and silver; bone is
also reported.See, for example, Jorge Marcos, "Cruisingto Acapulco and back with the thornyoyster

more chokers of baroquepearls (aljofar), silver, and bells

anotherchoker of pearls and little golden bells and coral, and another
of blue charika
item two braceletsof coral and pearls which I am wearingon my arms
an old embroidered lijlla36
Maria de Amores' luxurious style of dress belongs clearly to "Indian"
tradition;scarcely any of the garmentsor ornamentsnamed would occur in
the wardrobesof Spanish ladies, and her overall anaku and lijlla costume
ensemble resembles that of modernQuechua-speakingwomen. But the de-
tails differ widely from modern dress, and tell an unusual story. First, al-
though this is "native clothing," it certainlyis not peasantclothing; Maria
de Amores' lijllas and anakus were made of luxuriousstuff from "China,"
Spain, and possibly other partsof Europe. Evidently some of the cloth im-
ported to colonial Quito was fashioned into "Indian" styles for privileged
natives and some of the Europeantextile crafts, notably embroidery,were
by 1600 used in ostentatiousAndean garments.Second, althoughit is "na-
tive," Maria de Amores' wardrobe conforms to no single ethnic style
within the native orbit. She picked and chose excellent productsfrom native
groups as far afield as Amazonia and Cafiarin a fashion no Andean coun-
trywoman then or now would permit. This strongly suggests that she par-
took of a generically "Indian" style characteristicof urbansociety and not
of the ethnic particularismnormalin ruralsociety. In a more general way,
her devotion to fine clothing mirrorsa farflungAndeanpreoccupationwith
textiles as the very essence of wealth37;even in death Maria de Amores
made fine clothing her emblem, reserving her cotton cloaks to make her
Maria de Amores and a few other glamourouslydressed Indian ladies
(notably Yn6s Palla,38 a woman of Inca origin who owned an eclectic
luxury wardrobesurpassingeven Maria's) seem to have associated closely
with the Spanish elite of early colonial Quito. There is no reason to think
that such women were less than respectable.They marriedwell and do not
claim to have sufferedabandonment.Unwed motherslike Mariade Amores
were not stigmatizedand some, including Maria, vigorously reclaimed the
rights of their "natural" offspring. It is possible that such women were

set," Journal of the StewardAnthropologicalSociety 9 (1978), 99-132; Alison Pualsen, "The thorny
oyster and the voice of God, " AmericanAntiquity74 (1974), 597-607.
36 Testamentof Mariade Amores. ANH/Q ia Notaria, t.3 f.504r-505r. 1596.
37 See John V. Murra, "La funci6n del tejido en varios contextos
sociales y politicos" in Forma-
ciones Econdmicas y Politicas del Mundo Andino (Lima: Institutode Estudios Peruanos, 1975), pp.
38Testamentode Ynds Palla. ANH/Q ia Notariat.4 f.52r-53r.

continuing in some measurea traditionof the early conquestperiod, that of

the native noble bride or concubine whose prestige, prehispaniclegitimacy,
and exotic elegance reflected glory on her conquistadormate. They appar-
ently belonged to a stratumthat has no modern equivalent: women who
developed a hyper-estheticversion of the outer, visible, yndia identity, de-
emphasizing the restrictionsof ethnic tradition,and inventing styles attrac-
tive to eyes familiar with Europeantextile craft. Maria de Amores, para-
doxically, probablyowed her success as an urbanIndianto a shrewdrejec-
tion of the assimilativeoption. It is surely significantthather sons were not
called "mestizos," though they qualified for the term biologically.
Francisca Vilcacabra, "native of Pomasqui," comes closest of the Quito
testatricesto fitting Burkett'sidea of an adaptationancestralto the lifestyle
of modern merchantwomen. But if she representsan early "chola" group
in Quito, that group will need some restudy.
Far from being an independententrepreneur,as modern marketwomen
are thoughtto be, Vilcacabrawas deeply enmeshedin servitude.She served
one Spaniardwhom she called her "boss" or "master" (amo), and another
who was her encomendero, a tie which had sunk into insignificance for
other urbanyndias. Her "boss" was the tutor of her foster son, and her
encomenderoheld her legal documentsfor her.
Yet she was at the same time an aggressive businesswoman, wholly
committed to the cash economy. Her business appearsto have been an In-
dian tavern (chicheria) that also functionedas a pawnshop, presumablyon
drinking debts. The trade in native maize beer (Quechua aswa, Spanish
chicha), considereda "vile" occupationin Spanishcircles, may once have
appearedirregularor at least novel in aboriginaleyes as well because pre-
and non-hispanicnorms treatedmaize beer as a good reservedfor personal-
ized, nonmonetary,convivial exchange. But it was a rising form of com-
merce in Vilcacabra'stime.
Vilcacabramay have derivedthe raw materialfor her maize beer, or else
cash, from her rights to valuable "garden" (i.e. irrigated)land in her home
community of Pomasqui. She owned no livestock, and, while not poor in
clothing, was no collector of it either. What she did have in astonishing
abundance was cash, in amounts that would have been large even for a
Spaniard.She even held a 140 tostdn credit against her own "boss," com-
plete with notarizedobligation. Well-versedin commerciallaw, she clearly
reasonedin terms of investmentratherthan savings. She alone of testatrices
expressly ordered that all her belongings (except some garmentsreserved
for her mother)be liquidatedfor cash. But the most surprisingof her mone-

tary projects was a hundred-peso bribe offered to her encomendero's

"woman," of whom she was exceptionally fond, if she would marryhim
within six years. The startlingaudacityof this Indianwoman's ploy to ma-
nipulate marriageamong the Spanish elite suggests she was in no way in-
timidatedby her nominally servile position.
Unmarriedand childless, she left her largest bequest to her foster son
(parentageunknown), but like othercommerciallyactive Indianwomen she
also left a good sum to native sodalities. Native sodalities may have been
the most potent organizationsto which people detached from the country-
side belonged; they served their membersas burial societies, as health and
disability insurancefunds, as sources of dowry for impoverishedoffspring
or orphans, as benefactors of members' souls in purgatory,and as organ-
izers of a rich ceremoniallife affordingconnectionsacross intra-indigenous
boundaries of ethnic group and estate. In some periods they also loaned
capital for enterprises.39Bequests to such cofradias, or promises of be-
quests, were probablysources of influence within urbannative society.
These examples help one understandthe large, perhapspredominantrole
of women in shaping new Andean lifeways in the cities. By way of sum-
ming up, let us returnto the question of how, in the very act of ending her
life, a Quito Indian woman could shape a future-that is, literally make
history. What sort of historicalprojectsdid their wills imply?
The raw materials for their posthumous projects were wealth and
persons. Some of the wills show such scarcityof eitherfactoras to truncate
the project. But our five women all had some things to projectforwardinto
time, and some close persons eligible to use them. To make sense of their
decisions, one must consider some basic variables:
First, the kind of unions that producedheirs: ethnically endogamous,
i.e. between "Indians," or exogamous.
Second, the cultural identities attributedto heirs: noble or common,
"Indian" or mestizo, etc.
Third, the form in which wealth was transmitted.Testatrices could
assign specific objects to individuals, a "binding" form of wealth
because it would encouragethe heir to occupy the social role where
he could use them. Alternatively, they could assign money, a
"liquid" form of wealth because it functionedto increasethe recip-
ient's freedom of social maneuver.

39 Olinda Celestino and Albert Meyers, Las cofradias en el Peri: regidn central (Frankfurt/Main:
Verlag Klaus Dieter Vervuert, 1981), pp. 114-124, 147-158.

In interpreting the choices testatrices made, the first factor, ethnic

standing, helps us to understandthe ways in which native women managed
the second and third. In these respects some rough patternsdo emerge.
They become visible as one examines the five women in order from those
most closely integrated into pre-existing native groups, to those whose
unions or practices detachedthem from older ethnic ties.
The extreme of endogamy-union between membersof a single aborig-
inal or Inca ethnic group-does not occur in the record. (Presumablyit was
the majority practice but entailed succession only through traditional
nonwritten law.) By 1570 the city of Quito had become from the native
point of view a colluvies gentium' a place where people routinely married
across the prehispanic boundaries of language and culture. This process had
become common at all levels of Quito native society, producing people who
were generically rather than specifically "native" and giving some sub-
stance to the originally factitious Spanish category "Indian."
The second degree of interethnicity is represented by the richest and the
poorest, Queen Coquilago Ango and the thief's wife Astutilla. Both married
native men of a "foreign" ethnicity. Both chose as principal heirs (reli-
gious bequests aside) descendants whom they saw as unambiguously "In-
dian." Both gave their heirs what they could in the form of "binding"
wealth. Moreover they gave it in a common assembly, namely a body of
productive assets (land, animals) inside native villages, plus a body of pro-
ductive wealth (capital goods, real estate) within the Spanish city, each of
whose management would "bind" the heir into a stratum of colonial Indian
society. Clothes, universal in bequests, play a special "binding" role.
Women left their clothes not only to daughters, but also to be re-fashioned
for sons. Poor women whose clothes were few or shabby characteristically
earmarked some few pesos to help their offspring dress better in future.
When urban yndias married to native men testated, their intent seems to
have been, first, the conservation of a rural base of productivity (albeit not
necessarily through native land tenure titles); second, the cultivation of an
urban livelihood usually requiring close ties to Spanish society; and third,
the retention of a generically Indian, but not specifically ethnic, identity.
A third degree of inter-ethnicity is represented by Lucia, servant of the
"model priest" Lobato, and by the glamorous Maria de Amores. Both
lived their lives with Spanish men, and both were mothers of biological
mestizos. As such they represented a large sector of "Indian" women. But
the contrast between them suggests graphically the diversity of ethnogenetic
processes that have been swept under the term mestizaje. Lucia had origi-

nally intended to leave her mestizo children's future to the mercy of their
unacknowledged father, giving her own wealth, as a "binding" bequest, to
her legitimate "Indian" daughters. But in mid-writing she lost her nerve
and excluded one legitimate heiress in order to leave a dowry to a "natural"
granddaughter "because she is poor and a mestiza." The "binding" part of
her legacy, clothing, did go to her "Indian" daughters in equal shares. But
Lucia at the same time forebore to leave the mestiza girl without enough
"liquid" wealth to give her a choice of spouse. Born into social limbo,
such children were often favored by their mothers with Spanish-titled (i.e.
not aboriginal) land parcels, saleable goods, or any other inheritance that
might enhance maneuverability-since maneuverability was the only card
they held.
But the case of Maria de Amores suggests that mixed blood as such may
not have been, in the mother's eyes, a great handicap. She did not even
aknowledge that her four sons were mestizos. She seems to have bet on the
likelihood that, functionally, they would become Spaniards.4 At the time,
interracial parentage as such did not look drastically threatening to offspring
in the absence of sharp disadvantages of estate or wealth. Maria had no
daughters, but perhaps she was thinking in Andean parallel descent terms:
holding social level equal, her four sons would inherit their identity in their
male lines.
A fourth and final degree of inter-ethnicity-the invention of a new cul-
tural identity-is that manifested by Francisca Vilcacabra. She, like some
other native trading women,41 was unwed and childless, yet in her own
person she had contributed to the emergence of a new lifeway. She retained
her village rights and probably used them as a base for her maize beer
business. Her productive system relied in part on traditional rights, but in
carrying it on she became a genuine entrepreneur and and investor in the
most advanced European mode of the time. She used her success to manip-
ulate relationships, even marriage, among the Spanish elite which theoreti-
cally ruled her life. In doing so money, "liquid" wealth par excellence,
was the means by which she lived and worked her will after death.
In inspecting these examples, one can readily see behaviors and events
that seem to point in the direction of hispanicization. It would not be wrong
to say that, faced with the task of dying in a world no longer integrally

40 Magnus Moiner notes that early mestizos did achieve integrationinto Spanish society "insofar as
they had not been raised in isolation by their mothers"; growing up in urbansettings close to Spanish
fathers seemingly conditioned children for a different destiny than that of Spaniards'rural "natural"
offspring. The Andean Past: Land, Societies, and Conflicts (New York: Columbia, 1985), p.46.
41 e.g. BarbaraPomaticlla, also called CarguaGuaca.

Andean, urban Andean women worked many European options into the
futures of their survivors. But the examples also show that it would be a
gross error to conclude that in the aggregate this constituted a unitary trend.
On the contrary, the tendencies which have often been mentioned as adding
up to a single "westernizing" process, namely acculturation, miscegena-
tion, and ethnic redefinition, appear, when placed in historical context, as
facets of very distinct and in fact divergent historical projects.
Acculturating "Indian" families seem to have been formed and con-
tinued by endogamy within the "Indian" (i.e. pan-indigenous) category,
differing from conservative "Indians" in their areas of economic and lin-
guistic competence. By contrast the phenomenon of mestizaje, explicitly
so-called, was probably not characteristic of acculturating "Indian" fami-
lies, but either of unacculturated rural women taken in servitude and concu-
binage, or of urban-dwelling but firmly "Indian," usually noble, native
women enjoying higher status and firmer unions with Spaniards.

Finally, the emergence of a recognizable cultural type something like

what is today called "chola," that is, a woman combining cultural mediator
roles with expertise in money economy, outwardly signalled by a distinctive
insignia, seems to occur without relation to mestizaje. Its early practitioners
were emphatically yndias. Neither does it fit under the rubric of accultura-
tion, because it does not consist of appropriatingpredefineditems of Euro-
pean cultural competence. It should be regarded as a true strategy of inno-
vation, a movement by which extant relationships of both native and colo-
nial origin were reworked by women as entryways into a rapidly expanding
market economy. If, by 1600, differences among Andean ethnic groups
within the city were blurring, it should be rememberedthat the very same
unions and bequests which merged them were simultaneously replacing
them with an equally complex radiation of newly developed, and no less
truly "native," lifeways.

University of Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin FRANKSALOMON

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