Vertical Empire

The General Resettlement of Indians in the Colonial Andes

Vertical Empire

Book Pages: 312 Illustrations: 8 photographs, 3 maps, 3 figures Published: November 2012

Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, History > European History, Latin American Studies > Andes

In 1569 the Spanish viceroy Francisco de Toledo ordered more than one million native people of the central Andes to move to newly founded Spanish-style towns called reducciones. This campaign, known as the General Resettlement of Indians, represented a turning point in the history of European colonialism: a state forcing an entire conquered society to change its way of life overnight. But while this radical restructuring destroyed certain aspects of indigenous society, Jeremy Ravi Mumford's Vertical Empire reveals the ways that it preserved others. The campaign drew on colonial ethnographic inquiries into indigenous culture and strengthened the place of native lords in colonial society. In the end, rather than destroying the web of Andean communities, the General Resettlement added another layer to indigenous culture, a culture that the Spaniards glimpsed and that Andeans defended fiercely.


"Vertical Empire is a fine, much-needed study…. Jeremy Ravi Mumford makes clear the resettlement’s importance, both to Andean society and as an early move toward the practice of governmentality charted by Michel Foucault.” — David T. Garrett, American Historical Review

“Mumford’s crisscrossing through critical political events in the sixteenth-century Andes is much appreciated as he draws together innovative conclusions regarding the process of colonial policy that included ecclesiastical and Crown officials, local colonizers, and Andean elites.” — Rachel Sarah O’Toole, A Contracorriente

“Considering the quality and innovation of both its historical narrative and its methodology, as well as its clear and synthetic style Vertical Empire should interest specialists and general readers alike. Andeanists will be especially interested in Munford’s comparisons between Peru, Spain, Mexico, and New Granada, in his ideas about imperial thinking and empire building, and in his creative combination of micro and macro analyses.”  — Julian Diaz Torres, Itinerario

"Mumford’s book adds considerably to our understanding of the history of Spanish/native interactions in the Andes and is a significant addition to the literature." — William P. Mitchell, Historical Archeology

"Mumford's approach persuasively guides readers from a general analysis to a local, archival-based perspective. He uses such a strategy to portray the complexities of a major turning point in Andean history. In short, this is a well-planned, skillfully crafted study that should further shape our understanding of colonialism in the Americas." — Maria N. Marsilli, Colonial Latin American Historical Review

"Overall, Vertical Empire contributes a valuable chapter to the history of Spanish imperial formation, in a period in which the Spanish attempted to make an orderly and productive colony out of scattered Andean ayllus already permeated by overlays of Inca custom." — Alcira Duenas, Hispanic American Historical Review

“This ethnohistorical study is an addition to a growing literature on ‘daily politics on the ground’ at an interesting and challenging moment: the decades after conquistador Francisco Pizarro and his men had touched Andean territory. Uncovering new sources and reinterpreting old ones, the author illustrates multilayered processes underlying and resulting from the resettlement of the ‘Andeans.’” — Christine Hunefeldt, The Historian

"Mumford offers comparisons between remote and recent times that freshen perception without pushing too much toward presentism...His sleek translations from Spanish also bring the reader—and especially the novice, whom Mumford bears very much in mind—close to the action." — Frank Salomon, Ethnohistory

“In complementary ways, Mumford’s and Wernke’s volumes lay a strong foundation for future research not simply on reducción in the Andes, but also studies of colonial administration and of landscape throughout the Spanish Americas. Mumford’s illustration of the countervailing forces of governmentality and indirect rule in Toledo’s administration provides a framework for examining the emergence of colonial political institutions throughout the Spanish empire, and it should be of interest to scholars of early modern political and intellectual history working beyond Latin America as well.” — Parker VanValkenburgh, Colonial Latin American Review

Vertical Empire offers stimulating insights and comparisons, and don Francisco de Toledo has yet to exhaust our curiosity.” — Caterina Pizzigoni, Comparative Studies in Society and History

“A quick read for teachers and students alike. Those looking to revisit their early colonial lectures will find plenty in this book worth integrating, especially Toledo’s vision of the Andean past and its bearing on his governing path. The concise writing, along with Mumford’s ability to blend narrative storytelling and analysis, will make this a palatable, and likely enjoyable, read for undergraduates in Latin American history/studies courses. Likewise, the short chapters, some as few as ten pages, make it easy to split it up into a semester’s schedule. The comparative work found in the epilogue could even make the book useful in broader thematic courses at the undergraduate and graduate level.” — Alexander L. Wisnoski III, Bulletin of Latin American Research

"Jeremy Ravi Mumford's gracefully written study is a major contribution not only to the history of the Andes and colonial Latin America, but also to the history of colonialism. The most detailed examination of the project to date, Vertical Empire adds new depth and dimension to what many regard as one of the greatest feats of social engineering in modern history: the resettlement of the Andean population ordered by Francisco de Toledo, fifth viceroy of Peru." — Karen Spalding, author of Huarochirí: An Andean Society under Inca and Spanish Rule

"This is a work of superior scholarship, and it will have a major impact in the field of Andean studies. Scholars and non-specialists alike have long seen the General Resettlement of Indians ordered in 1569 as a crushing blow landed on Andeans by their Spanish colonizers. Yet Jeremy Ravi Mumford shows a much more nuanced, ambivalent process. Vertical Empire joins a fast-growing secondary literature that emphasizes Andeans' agency." — Kathryn Burns, author of Into the Archive: Writing and Power in Colonial Peru


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Jeremy Ravi Mumford is Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Brown University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

Part I. Ethnography

1. The Cities 13

2. The Mountains 27

3. The Grid 41

4. Lords 53

Part II. Resettlement

5. "That So-Qualified Assembly" 75

6. The Viceroy 85

7. Tyrants 99

8. On the Ground 119

Part III. After

9. In and Out of the Reducciones 143

10. Four Hundred Years 157

Epilogue 175

Appendix 187

Notes 197

Glossary 255

Bibliography 259

Index 285
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5310-2 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5296-9
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