9 Nov 2022


Andean Lives: A Journey Through the Mountains of Peru

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Archival of indispensable information about the past has allowed the recreation of the life of the past in an unimaginable way. History never dies. History lives among the individuals who are keen on its preservation. The early history of indigenous lives of the people of Peru is also one of the indispensable information that history provides of the ancient people who lived in the Peru land. Just as today’s normal society, the indigenous Peru individuals had social aspects inherent in their ways of lives. The hacienda, for example, was one of the most recognized institutions of the time. Besides the above, labor provision in the factories, land ownership and the view of the male and female gender were aspects that are comparable to different systems that are present in present day Peru, only in the present day there are various ways in which lives have been transformed. Although today’s societal aspects might have been influenced by different inventions, the life of indigenous Peru citizens is still reflected in the different aspects of its society, In-depth analysis of the Andeans present plausible evidence of the ways of lives of indigenous Peru citizens, including economic, socioeconomic and political factors that were in effect in the community during those ancient times. The lives of a few individuals such as Gregorio and Asunta can act as a mirror through which the lives of the other Peru indigenous people can be viewed. 

Just like any other society, the Peru people have had economic activities, most of which they depended on for a living. The most dominant survival undertakings included in the past were hunting, fishing, pottery as well as gathering. Given the geography of the land, the above activities were mostly inclined at by the indigenous people. Although there were a few farmers who supplemented food gotten from other means, very few were originated from the Andean area. Colonization hence was a force that forced many individuals into farming. The above can be viewed as a way of life way before civilization. However, later on, the domestication of animals, must have also been one of the activities common among the individuals. The above can be proved by Gregorio Condori Mamani testimony of being forced into jail for eating stolen cow meat .later on, as recounted by Gregorio, pottery become one of the socioeconomic activities in which individuals engaged in for a living. Through all of the above undertakings, as a result of less civilizational this part of the world, human beings did most of the work manually, an undertaking recounted by Gregorio to be strenuous. He says that in his pottery work, he toiled in the transportation of the finished products across streets of Cuzco. 

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Although inhabitants mainly dwelled in the two distinct places, that is the villages and cities; life was not any better in either place. In the villages, people mainly provided labor, on plantations, an undertaking that was against their will. In some cities such as Cusco, the individuals who were not favored by circumstances, such as those who lived near the Inca wall hard felt the filth that was in the streets, among the modern urban cities that were sprawling. Those who lived in the cities were not an exemption from labor. To process the materials from the plantations, there had to be big factories. Individuals in the cities hence worked in the factories, not willingly but they were forced. In most cases, those who were responsible for supervision did not take much consideration on the gender either the age of the individuals to work in the factories. It was a system that suppressed the old and young equally, making it barbaric. 

The female gender was despised among the Andean people, and most women did not have a say over their lives. An account of Asunta’s life acts as a testimony of what women used to be viewed at in those days. In most circumstances, women were despised and were not given a chance to make some substantial decisions in a family. Just as Asunta recounts of her suffering on the hands of immediate family, her story is not different from that of other indigenous women, most of which share her fate. Domestic violence was a common occurrence in different families, and it was not denounced as the way it is an abomination today. The above undertakings made the male gender to be viewed as superior in relation to the female sex. Although husbands were at the forefront of propagating violence in the homestead, several other individuals were responsible for the barbarous act. Employees and families were also a big contributory factor to violence related activities that were geared towards the female gender. The above had not only physical effect on the women involved, but they also extended to include mental and emotional wounds. Some incidences such as those of Asunta losing her children as a result of some of the afflictions inflicted on her are likely to haunt her and many other indigenous Peru women who have undergone such traumatic experiences. The above can be viewed as typical life experience of a woman in the Andean indigenous community. 

In light of the presence of different colonies on the land, all of which were the ruling powers, the life of an average man was not any better. Some were kidnapped and forced to work in factories for long hours on end. The above also shows in-depth of life quality that an individual who had a free will but circumstances under society did not allow him or her to live. The governance among the native individuals was in the form of colonies, in which different hierarchies for the leaders concerned existed. Under the settlements, individuals were forced to live according to the rules set by the colonial masters 

The ruling system, although hierarchical was biased in that power was mainly held by the colonizing individuals such as the Spanish. These are the people who made the lives of the Peru individuals harder than they anticipated. Haciendas were an important aspect of the colonies that were built by the colonists. They were big firms that were created so that the natives could work on and by doing so generate food for themselves under the rule of the colonists. Haciendas become one of the common places for the natives to be found. Under this large estates, the individuals provided labor on cash crops grown in such firms such as coffee and cotton. Hacienda, besides being large estates where Native Americans worked on had a big effect on the indigenous people. Essentially, it became a system in which land division was done in such a biased way as it resulted in the putting power in the hands of a few, a factor that created a monopoly of power. The above in turn resulted to various biases among the native Peru individuals. The above land control system that intruded into the society automatically had dire effects. It made the Peru Individual citizens slaves in their land as they did not have enough fields to plant their food crops. The colonist claimed almost all the arable land. 

Land control by the hacienda system had a huge significance. It had the biggest effect among the individuals. Given that land was under the control of a few individuals, the natives were forced to depend on their masters for survival. The above made them vulnerable in the face of those who colonized them. Provision of labor in the factories and the plantations hence was never an option for the indigenous people. It was an order they could not refute. In light of the above, the effects experienced in these times can be viewed as to have had a long-lasting impact, since the development of Peru has been slow over time. 

One of the most significant social institutions in the lives of the Native Peru was the indigenous religion that had always existed among the natives. There were believes that had taken root among the people. Some believed in magic while others related some indicators with a bad omen. The presence of a snake, for example, could be taken to indicate the impending death. With the coming in of the colonists, they perceived the above as backwardness. They tried to do away with the cultures and religion of the indigenous people as they tried to teach them about Christianity. The above did not resonate with the people, especially because the people preaching the new faith did not act as good examples to the indigenous population. Priests, for example, condoned forceful labor. 

Race played a significant role among the Peru individuals. In the colonies, for instance, people of the Spanish race were the only ones who held important leadership positions. Just like many other settlements, discrimination and oppression of people existed. Racial discrimination, especially in leadership positions, reinforced the hard felt results of colonization as there were no indigenous Peru individuals to present grievances in the top leadership levels. 

Although Peru can be viewed as a poor mountainous country with little to offer, History shows the opposite. Just like other ancient societies, Peru had all its systems running for them, making it not any different from most of the ancient cultures. Systems such as haciendas were responsible for the division of land most of who depended on farming at the time. The way of life of the people was also elaborate in that individuals lived in territories. Colonization is one of the factors that has had an impact in these segregated communities. In the viewing of the life the women lived under their husbands and families, an indirect form of colonization existed in which women suffered under the powers of those thought to have been higher in social and cultural community hierarchies. Besides, the power exerted by external individuals on other members of the community such as depicted by Gregorio and Asunta had effects that reflected in the social, economic and political levels of the society. 


Mamani, G. C., & Gelles, P. H. (1996).    Andean lives . University of Texas Press. 

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