When the Saints Come Marching In: Colony, Church and Change in the Andes (1480–1615)

Author(s): Kevin Lane

Year: 2018


Spanish conquest of the Andes commenced in 1532 and, for all intents and purposes, was over by 1572. Yet, this somewhat simplifies the story. Throughout the Andean region, but especially away from the early strongholds of Spanish power, such as the towns and cities, conquest was a mixture of appropriation and negotiation. Drawing on research from the Ica Highlands (South-central Peru) and the Cordillera Negra (North-central Peru) this paper examines how Spanish religious orders initially occupied sacred indigenous sites, linking them directly to local cosmological landscapes. With time, the contradiction between an externalized (Andean – animated landscape) and an internalized (Christian – church) system of worship amid growing Spanish hegemony called for a renegotiation of this earlier modos operandi. In turn, this lead to the abandonment of early church sites, in favor of churches in new town reducciones – imperial settlements which concentrated a declining indigenous population in more accessible areas – that led to a disconnect with the earlier Andean landscape. Nevertheless, the resulting Andean church was always syncretic, for instance, combining Christian saints with Andean deities, and local pilgrimage routes that directly evoked earlier indigenous sacred sites. Here we analyze the changing nature of this emergent syncretism.

Cite this Record

When the Saints Come Marching In: Colony, Church and Change in the Andes (1480–1615). Kevin Lane. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443574)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -82.441; min lat: -56.17 ; max long: -64.863; max lat: 16.636 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17687