Primary Source

Illustrations from Guaman Poma, El Primer Nueva Coránica y Buen Gobierno

Drawing shows two people harvesting grain and and one carrying it away in bushels
Drawing shows an individual weaving on a loom.


These two illustrations come from El Primer Nueva Coránica y Buen Gobierno [The First New Chronicle and Good Government] (1615), a history of the Inca Empire and the Spanish conquest of the Andes written and illustrated by Filipe Guaman Poma y Ayala, an indigenous Peruvian Christian noble. The book is written primarily in Spanish, with some Quecha words. Guaman Poma addressed his huge text with its hundreds of line drawings to King Philip III of Spain, pointing out the injustices of the colonial regime and suggesting that a “good government” would blend Inca practices and Christian teachings. Philip never received the book. Since the seventeenth century it was in the Danish Royal Library, but it only became widely known in the twentieth century. Guaman Poma’s drawings are one of the best sources we have for indigenous Andean lifeways, including the types of work mentioned in descriptions of labor tribute. Here men and women are harvesting potatoes and a woman is weaving on a backstrap loom.

This source is a part of the Long Teaching Module: Inca Society teaching module.

How to Cite This Source

"Illustrations from Guaman Poma, El Primer Nueva Coránica y Buen Gobierno," in World History Commons, [accessed May 28, 2024]