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Report from the General Inspection of the Chupaychu


This is a report from a Spanish inspector dating from 1549, written by a European scribe, based on an Andean’s reading of a khipu, the collections of cords on which Incas recorded information. It comes from the Huallaga Valley, an area that had put up strong resistance to Spanish rule and had been conquered only in 1542. Spanish authorities wished to know about the obligations imposed by the Incas on the Chupaychu, the main ethnic group in this area, whom the Incas deemed to have consisted of 4000 households.

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


[Cord 1] They were asked what full time services did [the Chupaychu] give to the Inca in Cuzco and they said that 400 Indian men and women remained in Cuzco full time to build walls and if one died they gave another.

[Cord 2] They also gave 400 Indians to plant the fields in Cuzco so people could eat

[Cord 3] They also gave 150 Indians full time as personal attendants to Guayna Capac [the Inca king who ruled from 1493 to 1527]

[Cord 4] 150 more to guard the body of Topa Ynga Yupanqui [the Inca king who ruled from 1471 to 1493] after he died.

[Cord 5] 10 attendants more to guard his weapons

[Cord 6] 200 Indians more to guard the Chachapoya [a region of the Inca empire on the edge of the jungle, now northeastern Peru]

[Cord 7] 200 Indians more to guard Quito

[Cord 8] 20 Indians more for the guard of the body of Guana Capac after his death

[Cord 9] 120 Indians more to make feathers

[Cord 10] 60 more to extract honey

[Cord 11] 400 Indians to weave fine cloth

[Cord 12] 40 Indians to make more dyes and colors

[Cord 13] 240 Indians to guard the sheep [camelids]

[Cord 14] 40 Indians to guard the fields which they had throughout this valley; the maize grown was mostly taken to Cuzco and the rest to the warehouses [at Huanuco Pampa].

[Cord 15] 40 additional Indians to plant hot peppers which were taken to Cuzco

[Cord 16] and they also gave 60 Indians and sometimes 45 to make salt

[Cord 17] 60 Indians to make [raise] the coca leaf which they took to Cuzco and to the warehouses of Huanuco [Pampa] and sometimes they hauled 200 sacks and at others 40

[Cord 18] 40 Indians to accompany the Inca in person to hunt deer

[Cord 19] and 40 Indians more to make soles and they took them to Cuzco and to the storehouses

[Cord 20] 40 more carpenters [woodworkers] to make plates and bowls and other things for the Inca and they took them to Cuzco

[Cord 21] 40 more potters to make pots and they took them to Huanuco [Pampa]

[Cord 22] and 68 more Indians to guard the tampu [a small way station along the Inca highways] at Huanuco

[Cord 23] 80 more to carry loads from the tampu to Pumpu [some five to six days’ march] and from Sutun Cancha to Tambo [one day’s, coming back]

[Cord 24] 40 more Indians to guard the women of the Inca

[Cord 25] 500 to go with the person of the Inca to war, to carry him to hammocks, and they went to Quito and to other places

[Cord 26] 500 more Indians, to plant and [do] other things without leaving their territory.


Murra, John V. “The Mit’a Obligations of Ethnic Groups to the Inka State,” in The Inca and Aztec States 1400–1800: Anthropology and History, ed. George A. Collier, Renato Rosaldo, and John D. Wirth (New York: Academic Press, 1982), pp. 240–243.

How to Cite This Source

"Report from the General Inspection of the Chupaychu," in World History Commons, [accessed December 9, 2023]