The Encounter of People and Languages

In 1532 the Spaniards landed in North Peru and, in a time of political division in Peru, seized power very fast. They killed the Inca Atahualpa and had the support of a number of indigenous groups who were glad to help them in disposing of their own conqueror, the Inca. (Further reading: Hemming 1972 Conquest.)

The Incas confront the Spaniards (Guaman Poma de Ayala [ca. 1615] Adorno & Boserup 2001, p. 384);
from the manuscript in the Royal Library, Copenhagen, Denmark.

The Spanish conquest was accompanied, if not justified and legitimised, by the introduction of the Christian religion to a continent whose peoples – according to the Spaniards – were victims of the Devil and manipulated by him.


The viewpoint of the Spaniards: The indigenous people communicate with the Devil (Cieza de León 1553 Chronica del Peru, fol. 17r) From the copy of the John Carter Brown Library, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.

(Further reading: Dussel 1995 Invention of the Americas; Dedenbach-Salazar Sáenz 2007 Andine traditionelle Kulturen; Durston 2007 Pastoral Quechua; Itier 1994-95 Littérature quechuaTaylor 2003 El sol, la luna y las estrellas.)