Doña Maria Teresa Choquehuanca

Eighteenth-century map of Peru. Image Credit: WikiCommons.

By Gabby Storey

Daughter of the cacique Diego Choquehuanca, it was originally expected that one of her brothers would inherit the chiefdom of Muñani. After the death of one in an accident in 1764, and the other received the prebend of the cathedral of Charcas, Maria Teresa was left to inherit.

She was married to sergeant major Nicolás de la Camana. Cacica of the village of Muñani, the principal members of the tribe appealed to the royal court in Cusco in October 1797 asking for her to be removed on grounds of her sex and her incompetence.

Although such rulership was apparently against the tradition of those residing in Muñani, Doña Maria Teresa had ruled for 5 years prior to this appeal. It appears Doña Maria Teresa was one of only two cacicas who had their power challenged because of their sex (Garrett, 2008).

Other than the challenge to her rule, we know very little about her life or tenure as cacica itself. The conflict between the ideals of democratic office in the Peruvian villages and the power in the cacicazgo have been highlighted by Garrett as a principal tension in the new Indian republics.

Recommended Reading

David T. Garrett, “In Spite of Her Sex”: The Cacica and the Politics of the Pueblo in Late Colonial Cusco,” The Americas 64.4 (2008) 547-581

Monique Alaperrine-Bouyer, La educación de las elites indígenas en el Perú colonial. New edition [online]. Lima: Institut français d’études andines, 2007.

%d bloggers like this: