Historical background of the Huasquiña community
The town of Huasquiña is a human settlement located on the north bank of the homonymous ravine in the Tarapacá region. This sector has a water course that is discharged annually into the Pampa del Tamarugal. Given the evidence previously exposed in the archaeological section, we can affirm that this area of the Huasquiña ravine has been inhabited by humans since pre-Hispanic periods. However, the conformation of the town in the shape and space it currently occupies, refers to the installation of Hispanic domination which began towards the end of the 16th century, where several other towns are created as a result of royal orders to group in certain sectors. to the indigenous locals16, who until then had inhabited the local Tarapacán geography under other forms of occupation.
In this regard, we can cite F. Pease, who, when analyzing the period of installation of Spanish rule over the Andean territory, points out the following:
“A last problem related to the social organization of the first colonial times is the one referring to the appearance of the indigenous communities, originated in the reductions carried out since the decade
from 1550, but completed in 1570. They responded to the concept already in force in Europe that identified civilization with urban residence. Until the Spanish invasion, the most outstanding characteristic of the
Andean society was related to the frequent mobility of the population (whether they were mittani or mitmaccuna), which included even the administrative centers that the Spanish mistook for cities. Today it is known that such centers housed mainly mittani, which changed frequently, and mitmaccuna, which rotated more slowly. The stable population was small; some chroniclers such as Cieza de León came to report that Cuzco itself was a unit populated by mitimaes”
The Indian reductions, as they were called, were intended to regroup the many scattered pre-Hispanic human settlements and bring them to a town where they could be administered the so-called “spiritual pasture”18 by the hands of the priest, and in turn enumerate them in order to to know the production of the land or use labor for different tasks, mainly in mining, in the Huantajaya area. Through this administrative form, the Spanish authority recognized a curaca or cacique leader for each town, which included the nearby towns (called annexes), interacting among the members.
local and Hispanic authorities.
We must add that in the beginning the Spanish authority created divisions of territory called "encomiendas". The encomienda consisted of the allocation by the crown of a certain number of aborigines in its territory to a Spanish subject, called an encomendero, in compensation for the services rendered in the early days of the so-called conquest. After this, the encomendero became responsible for the natives under his charge: he evangelized them, paid the taxes and received the benefits obtained from the work carried out by the natives.
The area of the Tarapacá ravine, Pica, the Camiña ravine, Pisagua, the Huasquiña ravine and others in the region in general, were assigned to the encomendero Lucas Martínez de Vegazo in 1540, the first encomendero of Tarapacá. Martinez de Vegazo, was a conqueror who came to America in the year 1529, entering South America from Panama. He would participate together with Francisco Pizarro in the conquest of the Inca empire and for his merits he would be recognized by the King as encomendero of the vast area that included the regions of Tacna, Moquegua, Arica and Tarapacá.
During this period the documentation agrees with a territory administratively dependent on the city of Cusco and later on the city of Arequipa. It indicates the existence of 28 reductions, among which mention is made of the reduction of Indians from Tarapacá, Arica and San Pedro de Tacna (Barriga 1952; Bermúdez 1987; Urbina 2014).
The towns, in addition to being grouped under the political administration of the encomendero, were controlled by the ecclesiastical administration of the Catholic Church through the creation of spaces for evangelization called Doctrinas, Curatos or Curacazgos. The document that refers to the creation of the "Doctrine of Tarapacá" corresponds to the "Autoepiscopal de Cuzco of April 24, 1571", which determined the division into two Curazgos, Camiña in the Carviesa valley and Tarapacá in the valley of Cato (Barriga 1952 in Urbina 2014) The distribution and name of the towns that made them up are also specified:
“First Curazgo: Tarapaca with its subjects, Alamina; Guanina with its subjects, Limasina, Guanina La Chica, Lancana, Noasa, Cuchaya, Sibaya, Mocha, Puchurca, Pica, Puerto de Loa, Puerto de Xeque Xeque and its terms.
Second Curazgo de Camiña: Chiapa with its subjects, Cayña, Hylaya; Sotoca with his subjects, Sipisa, Guasquiña; Camiña and its subjects, Tritama, Soga, Guallaca, Minita, -roto-, Cara, the port of Camarones and the port of Pisagua”
As it is possible to appreciate in the documentation of 1571, Huasquiña is mentioned as a permanently inhabited space already reduced. This apparently is the earliest document that tells us about the existence of a town called Huasquiña.
After a few years, in 1578 Huasquiña was included in a list of towns where the possibility of building a church in each town would be considered (Advis 1990). In this sense, in 1618 a priest of the Carmelite order, Antonio Vásquez de Espinoza (1618)20, made a visit to the different Andean towns, to evaluate the catechetical process of the indigenous people. In his tour, he describes the state of evangelization, as well as the towns that had temples, chapels or oratories. The chronicler information is described as follows:
Tarapacá Church (San Lorenzo Mártir)*
Guavina, Santa Maria *
Guaviña, the girl
Mocha, San Antonio *
Curate of Camiña
Church of Camiña, Santo Tomás*
Mini – Mini
*Indicates the presence of temples for this year
At that time (1629) Huasquiña was contained in the doctrine of Camiña and it was the job of the priest to teach the Christian doctrine, for this it was necessary that whoever taught knew the native language, this could be Quechua or Aymara according to the antecedents.
Analyzing the parish life of Camiña and in the entire Tarapacá region during the last years of the 17th century, it is possible to notice, in the opinion of Hidalgo (2016) that the chiefs and main Indians had cultivated an indisputable closeness with the colonial Church. The parish records show the deference that the priests had towards the ethnic authorities and there are indications of the mutual collaboration between these leaders and the clergy, it being usual for the main Indians of the towns to collaborate in pastoral work. For example, Licenciado Martín de Moscoso y Buitrón received the help of the Hilacatas Diego Cata Cata and Lorenzo Huyomayo and two sacristan Indians, Balthasar Tinta and Juan Jachura, to officiate native or foreigner weddings in towns and ayllus of Mocha, Sotoca, Sibaya and Huaviña between 1672-1680. These hilacatas and sacristans were the witnesses of faith that the parish protocol demanded and were possibly a guarantee for the spouses themselves, their families and the community. It should be noted that the sacristans who
The people who acted in these weddings coincide with the names of the main Indians of Sibaya and Sotoca who positively judged the clergy of Camiña in 1681. The important thing to underline is that the deployment of Catholic rituals meant proximity and/or complicity between the clergy and the hilacatas and sacristans.
Added to the above, local priests helped to overcome epidemic crises. Thus, it can be observed in the documents that the assistant priests of the Camiña parish also contributed to the well-being of the Indians by performing curative functions.
Caciques and Andean leaders of all the towns of the doctrine agreed that the province had suffered intense plagues. Indigenous groups from Sibaya noted that the priests brought remedies at their expense and stayed with them until the plagues subsided. Main Indians and caciques were emphatic in pointing out that the plagues never affected a single town and that is why the priests went to each church and parish annex helping with medicines and giving confessions to the sick peasants who were in the thresholds of death. Frequent in the Andean zone throughout the century
In the 17th century, these epidemics apparently kept the life of the Tarapacan towns in suspense, a crisis situation in which the priests would have assumed a parallel role to the native healer or yatiri.
The belonging of the town of Huasquiña to the doctrine of Camiña in the first stage of the period of Spanish rule, is evident mainly in the baptismal records and other sacraments applied by priests of the time. Although there was no definitive church in Huasquiña, the Mocha church, the Camiña church and the Tarapacá church were used to fulfill such sacramental purposes.
In the last decades of the 17th century, the Spanish administration faced the difficulties of sustaining its political-ecclesiastical divisions in the Tarapaque region. The distances between one town and another, added to the dry climate and dangerous roads, made the work very sporadic and difficult for the priests of the area. To correct that, some ideas are proposed. The heads of doctrines were already established, which were towns with the largest population and where the doctrine priest would finally reside. Until then Tarapacá, Camiña and Pica appeared as
only centers of doctrines with neighboring towns subject to their administration.
In this sense, the documents indicate that around the 1690s, the gospel could not yet be well administered in the towns of the Tarapaque ravines. That is why a redistribution of population and localities is proposed so that priests can improve their work.
It is then so, that by opinion of the priest Diego de Tebes, priest of Camiña, the parish of Camiña and Tarapacá is divided. A new parish is established with a seat in the town of San Nicolás de Sibaya. This would be inserted in the border zone of the old Curates of Tarapacá and Camiña, taking five towns and hamlets in its interior (Mocha, Guasquiña, Sipiza, Limaxiña and Usmagama) which previously belonged to these two doctrines. However, the town of San Juan Bautista de Huaviña will continue within the doctrine of the town of
Tarapacá, being discontinued on the way through the ravine, since between the trip from San Lorenzo de Tarapacá to Huaviña itself, it was necessary to pass through Mocha, a town that would belong from that moment to the priest of Sibaya according to the new division and where according to The priest of Camiña states that in 1698 many people from other nearby towns inhabited it, as this was an early reduction.
In that year then, we see how the town of Huasquiña remains in the hands of the Priest of Sibaya, this Huasquiñano annex being the furthest away of the 5 towns that said prelate had to visit.
Regarding the people who lived in Huasquiña, we can find parish records from the 1700s, where some associated surnames are recorded to this day in the area. In this regard, it was common for priests to receive visits from envoys from the Bishop of Arequipa to verify ecclesiastical work. One of them was the verification of the entry of baptisms and other sacraments in the respective books. In addition, it was verified that the birth certificates were properly registered. This was vitally important to better control the population and accentuate the new Catholic religion among the
indigenous people of the area.
As the parishes of the Tarapacá region were isolated, the faults or negligence of the indoctrinators were recurrent. The priest in charge of the Indians of a doctrine had to, from the main town (Sibaya), continuously visit all the annexes of his jurisdiction, ideally 7 times a year and especially during the patron saint festivities, to administer sacraments, check the material condition of the churches, brotherhoods, and schools, and the spiritual condition of indigenous parishioners (Díaz and Ponce 2013). Sibaya, Camiña, Pica and Tarapacá
they presented a particular way of imparting Christian doctrine. Díaz and Ponce (2013) and Lavalle (1998) have detected that they did not have a sufficient number of priests to attend permanently to the towns distributed in their territory, being also recurrent negligence and abandonment of their parishioners on the part of the pastor, as well as the cohabitations with women from the area, violating the vow of chastity. This led the Tarapacan parishes to do without a priest on many occasions to practice their
One of the characteristics of the Andean population and especially of the Tarapacá desert and its valleys was mobility. When Sibaya became a parish, parties of people who were in the same town as Sibaya or in some of its annexes (Mocha, Guasquiña, Sipiza, Limaxiña and Usmagama) were registered, even when they were foreigners.
The annex of Huasquiña and its doctrine in the context of the S. XVIII
Towards the 18th century, the Tarapacá area and all its towns experienced changes. One of them has to do with the administrative structure, due to the new royal house that would sustain power in the Spanish-dominated territories from the year 1700. The Bourbons, a royal family with French roots, transformed the order established by the Habsburgs with based on different political and economic models, mainly taking as a pattern the administrative reforms carried out in France.
In this context, Tarapacá and its inland towns would slowly become involved in the changes, mainly attracted by the possibility of increasing the production of the rich hills of Huantajaya in the coastal mountain range. Spanish investments increased in a short time, betting on finding the main vein. However, great physical effort was required to carry out these tasks. This is how the Andean male populations of the foothills are attracted to commercial mining activities, having to leave their farms and their families to dedicate themselves to extracting the so-called "silver potatoes" from the interior of the coastal massifs. In the year 1771 the towns of Limaxiña, Mocha, Usmagama, Sipisa, Guaviña and Guasquiña opposed the ruling that said they should go to work in the mining works of José Basilio de la Fuente, encomendero and prosperous businessman, owner of a large part of Huantajaya and numerous plots in Tarapacá, Huarasiña, Camiña and in the Tamarugal pampa (Villalobos, 1979: 212-223; Mukerjee 2008, Moraga, Aguilar and Diaz, 2010).
The indigenous towns of the Tarapacá area towards the middle of the 18th century will be registered in a magazine, the way in which the review of towns and their counting was known. It can be observed in this annotation process, the existence of the so-called "ayllus" or extended family units, in which only Sotoca had two ayllus, while Sipiza and Guasquiña would have only one Ayllu. This may be due to the historical weight that Sotoca always had as the political center of the area, while the other two towns had less population and were known for other characteristics. Sipiza was an important meeting center related to the pilgrimage and adoration of the Crucified Christ, and Huasquiña stood out as a relaxation area for priests where there was a better climate and its inhabitants were calm, according to the documents of the time.
Bourbon Spain brings with it the creation of the municipalities, which bring together all the administrative powers. This undoubtedly represents an important centralizing step, eliminating the old parcels. These officials (mayors) were a key piece as representatives of the new order that was sought to be imposed. It was a French institution that was applied in all regions of Spain and America. With them, the aim was to reduce the jurisdictions territorially and increase the possibility of controlling tax collection. This is how in 1784, the Municipality of Arequipa was created, which grouped other
minor territories called Parties. One of them, the southernmost one that bordered the Audiencia de Charcas, was that of Tarapacá.
Part of the characteristic of the Bourbon administration was to apply concepts of the Enlightenment and apply reason according to the authority agreed. This is how the visitor sent by the Mayor and the Viceroy, Antonio O'Brien, arrived in 1765, who described the Tarapacá ravine, noting that it was made up of the Asiento de San Joseph de Guarasiña, Tilivilca, Tarapacá, Mocha, Guabiña and Sibaya. Its population reached three hundred and thirty-two tributary Indians who lived in the towns or dispersed in the places that had available land to plant corn or wheat. Some of the places were – according to the place names used in the text – Amalo, Quillaguasa, Caygua, Carora, Pasaquiña, Pachica, el Molino, Lamsana (Laonzana?), Puchurca, Mancaguasiña and Limaxsiña. O'Brien noticed the difficulty that the Indians had in that year to pay the royal tributes due to the scourge of a plague, being difficult – he thought – to replace the deceased tributaries. It also indicated that the lands and waters were extremely salty, for which reason
the agricultural products that could be extracted were basically wheat, corn, alfalfa and, to a lesser extent, some garlic, onions and cabbages, products that supplied the Huantajaya mineral (Hidalgo, J., 2009: 29-30, Moraga, Aguilar y Diaz, 2010)
To reach the town of Huasquiña was not an easy task, even more so when in those years of the 18th century the road was carried out on the back of a beast (mule or horse), therefore moving from Sibaya to Huasquiña, as can be seen in the document before, it was an arduous task.
The interesting thing about the previous certificate issued by O'Brien is that it reveals the actions of a priest in the region, who while in Sibaya, Iquique or Huantajaya, seeks to fulfill his duties, where interaction with the miners' benefactors is also added. It must be understood that the region and its dynamics during this period of history have to do with Huantajaya and its existence, the regional dynamics could not be understood without the mining that existed since before the arrival of the Spanish in this territory.
Around 1774, an "indian register" of the Sibaya doctrine is recorded in ecclesiastical documents. The work of the priests had been vital in trying to impose some Hispanic model, although on many occasions the local curia did not have the necessary training in different aspects of religion, which were requested to serve the indigenous population of the area. One of them was the knowledge of the Aymara language, essential to preach the faith. The calls to language experts were recurrent to achieve a greater
Indian understanding of Hispanic Christian teachings.
To the above we must add that since the 17th century the priests sent to evangelize the remote area of Tarapacá, had not been fully fulfilling their duties as priests of the Catholic faith (Diaz and Ponce, 2013). Among the main non-compliances were: not visiting the towns, abandoning the parish and living in cohabitation. However, the figure of the cleric is key to get closer to the local population of Sibaya and other towns.
The parish priest could have adjutores, who were fellow assistant priests, who were sent to visit towns, mainly during the holidays. In them they used to register sacraments such as baptisms, marriages, communions and confirmations. These records, kept in a private book, were the basis with which the priests made population registers, where they grouped the inhabitants of each town and classified them according to the criteria of the time.
Huasquiña in the long and intense 19th century
Source: HISTORICAL OCCUPATION BACKGROUND INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY OF HUASQUIÑA; CONADI, University of Tarapacá Year 2019