Dubbed the ‘Andean Storm’ by historian Luis E. Valcárcel, the rebellion didn’t stop with Micaela and Tupac’s deaths. It was continued by Tupac’s cousin Diego Cristóbal Tupac Amaru and it spread far and wide. Charles Walker calls it the “largest uprising in colonial Spanish-American history”. Even people in Argentina and Chile began to join in with the ultimately unsuccessful movement. From 1780 to the year in which it ended (1782), the death toll from the armed rebellion is estimated to be around a hundred thousand, mainly made up of indigenous people accused of being rebels.
After the rebellion, Inca Garcilaso’s book was deemed dangerous for having inspired Tupac. It was banned and all copies of it were confiscated. Other more drastic consequences were that it was from then on forbidden to teach Quechua, baptise children with Quechua names, wearing indigenous clothing.
Despite this repression and movement’s lack of success, it inspired people in Peru to continue the fight to gain independence, which was achieved in full in 1826, as well as firing up people in Mexico and all over Latin America to battle for their independence.
Whether they liked it or not, the Spaniards’ grip on their colonies was loosening and it was the beginning of the end.
In terms of how the leaders have been remembered, it’s a shame that while Tupac Amaru II is a household name in South America, Micaela is not. Having said that, she hasn’t been totally overlooked. There is a scattering of streets, primary and secondary schools, parks and health centres named after her in South America. In addition, a white statue of her stands proudly in the city of Lima, where we see one arm lifted high, the other clenched in a fist and her mouth open wide as if she is crying out for justice to all passers-by.
Books and Articles
El mestizaje racial y cultural en el Perú by Hernán Amat Olazával
Women and the Great Rebellion in Peru, 1780–1783 by Leon G Campbell
Mujeres andinas antes de la conquista española by Sara Beatriz Guardia
Reflections of Tupac Amaru by Charles Walker
Sucedió en el Perú with Norma Martínez (various episodes)
Micaela Bastidas — Ella la mitad de la historia by Ministerio de Cultura Cusco