Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures


Raquel Chang-Rodríguez

Committee Members

José Miguel Martínez Torrejón

Juan Carlos Mercado

Subject Categories

Latin American History | Latin American Languages and Societies | Latin American Literature | Spanish Literature


Francisco de Toledo, Peru, Cuzco, Inca Empire History, Andean History, Sarmiento de Gamboa


Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa’s History of the Incas (1572). A Critical Study and Annotated Edition.

by Aleksín H. Ortega

Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa wrote his polemic and undoubtedly political History of the Incas at the request of Francisco de Toledo (Viceroy of Peru, 1569-1581). Toledo wanted to deliver to the Spanish King a version of Incan history which could subsequently be used as an ideological tool in the search of legal and moral arguments to defend the Andean colonization by the Spanish monarchy. Since his arrival to the Peruvian territories, Toledo embarked on a long personal visit to the lands under his control, in which he intended to learn as much as possible about the government of the Incas. Sarmiento de Gamboa’s chronicle is presented as the final product in the Viceroy’s project, as this text depicts a heavily ideologically charged version of Incan history with the underlying purpose to discredit the ancient rulers of Tawantinsuyu and therefore to excuse the presence and reign of the Spanish Crown. The Spanish historiographer used Andean sources in the construction of his text to later depict the former Inca lords as cruel tyrants.

The annotated edition of Sarmiento’s chronicle introduced in this dissertation is preambled by a critical study. A brief biographical glimpse on the chronicler is offered, followed by a metatextual analysis of the chronicle. Specifically, I focus on its historical references, which studies the sociopolitical climate in which the text germinated, thus explaining its position among the cultural and ideological influences of its time. This critical study was guided by the theoretical frame on colonial and imperial policies as proposed by A. Padgen, Jürgen Osterhammel, Eduardo Subirats, Frantz Fanon, Jeremy Munford, Pierre Duviols, and additionally by Walter Mignolo’s ideas on the Colonization of History. Consequently, it is concluded that Sarmiento’s chronicle came to be the product of the final stage of Spanish colonial ideological rhetoric. Ever since the first denouncements of abuse in the new territories by the conquistadors emerged, the Spanish Crown summoned jurists and theologians to discuss the legality and humanity of the conquest and colonization. By the second half of the sixteenth century these intellectuals, disposed of rhetorical arguments to validate Spanish presence and dominium of the American territories, concluded that the evidence of tyranny of the ancient rulers of the Inca Empire would constitute their only and most powerful justification. It is under this ideological perspective that Sarmiento de Gamboa’s chronicle is read. Additionally, this study also includes an analysis of its formal aspect.

An annotated edition of the chronicle, whose text is presented in a modernized way, comprises the main part of this dissertation. The annotations were accomplished under a multidisciplinary approach, using the most current works on history, ethnography, archeology and anthropology of ancient Peru. Additionally, the textual analysis is guided by a philological methodology which included the latest research on Hispanic, Quechua, Puquina and Aymaran linguistics. A thorough explanation of the lexicon of Andean languages used by the chronicler enriches this edition. The basis is a transcription of the Manuscript of Göttingen—the only known handwritten copy of the chronicle—task accomplished with the goal to establish a definite accurate copy of the text.

This edition of Sarmiento’s History of the Incas, thanks to its modernized text, numerous explanations, references and its extensive bibliography will aid both the scholarly and non-academic reader to a well-informed view into of this early Spanish version of Andean historiography. Moreover, it constitutes an important reference for a class of Spanish Colonial Literature and History.