Peru: heir to Tupac Amaru II comes forward

Commemorations were held in Cuzco, Peru, marking 236 years since claimant to the Inca throne Túpac Amaru II launched his indigenous uprising on Nov. 4, 1780. The ceremony, at the highland city's iconic Túpac Amaru Plaza, was attended by the fabled leader's direct descendant, Pedro Noguera Prada, who came from his home in France for the event. Loaning credence to the claim of royal Inca descent, Noguera asserted that contrary to most historical accounts, his ancestor's given name was not José Gabriel Condocarqui but José Gabriel Túpac Amaru Noguera. He asserted that the leader's 1760 marriage certificate, from when he wedded his later co-revolutionist Micaela Bastidas Puyucahua, remains on file in Canchis municipality, and shows this correct name.

The tribute was overseen by Peruvian lawmaker Manuel Dammert of the left-wing Frente Amplio, and also attended by the Venezuelan and Cuban ambassadors. Dammert is pushing a proposal to have the Cuzco provinces of Canas, Canchis, Acomayo, Chumbivilcas and Espinar, heartland of the 18th century uprising, officially declared the "Provincias Tupacamaristas." (RPP, Prensa Latina, Correo, Nov. 4)

Dutch historian Ronald Elward has been investigating the fate of the Inca nobility, or "Children of the Sun," and finds the most clues among the rural peasantry. While surnames that indicate direct descent from royal blood—such as Yupanqui, or "memorable," and Pachacutec, or "transformer of the Earth"—were proudly preserved in rural areas, indigenous names were looked down upon in urban centers.

Elward has studied all available parish records for the period from 1720 to 1920 in the Cuzco area. After identifying 25 royal Inca families, he began tracking down their descendants. Peruvian geneticist Ricardo Fujita has drawn on Elward's work to establish a DNA correlation between two groups numbering some 35 people who claim patrilineal descent from Huayna Capac, father of Atahualpa, the last Inca ruler executed by conquistador Francisco Pizzaro in 1532. (The Guardian, Oct. 25)