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Making Inca History: Authors and Artists in the Murua Manuscripts on the History of Peru, 1588-1616


The dissertation examines the participation of Indigenous intellectuals and Andean elites in two illustrated manuscript versions of Historia general del Per� (1616), an early colonial chronicle on Inca history and Spanish colonization. The Basque Mercedarian friar Mart�n de Murua (1566? - 1615) compiled the manuscripts in Spanish and Quechua (Inca imperial language) during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries while living in the southern Andes and Spain. One Andean collaborator and artist of the manuscripts, don Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, later produced his own history. Murua's and Guaman Poma's works are the only three extensively illustrated manuscripts from early colonial Peru. Murua's project produced two heavily manipulated and unfinished palimpsests that preserve the physical, visual, and textual traces of Andean and Iberian voices, hands, and influences. However, aside from Guaman Poma, we know little about the additional Quechua-speaking Andeans and their communities who contributed to the composition of the two manuscripts, despite several excellent studies. Most manuscripts involving the collaboration of friars and Indigenous elites in colonial Spanish America are attributed to a friar and do not mention the names of Indigenous participants. My dissertation addresses this knowledge gap by introducing new and original archival information on the named Andean contributors to the Murua project and examines how their backgrounds, activities, experiences, and concerns influenced the content of the manuscripts on which they worked as authors, artists, translators, and informants.

My analysis shows that male Andean elites perpetuated and adapted their descent and memory traditions to the introduced medium of the Spanish chronicle in an attempt to validate, defend, and protect their once privileged but now threatened status under Spanish rule. Murua and the Indigenous actors engaged in a multi-directional and heterogenous process of cultural translation, creative innovation, and transculturation. My study combines archival research with a textual, visual, and material analysis of Murua's and Guaman Poma's manuscripts to detect and analyze Indigenous contributions and influences. The dissertation contributes to a rich historiography on the Murua and Guaman Poma manuscripts, Inca history, early colonial Peru, Indigenous agency in Spanish America, and early modern history-making in the trans-Atlantic world.

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