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Trials of Nation Making


  • 14 b/w illus. 2 maps
  • Page extent: 318 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.57 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 980/.004/98
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: F2230.1.G68 L37 2004
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Indians of South America--Andes Region--Government relations
    • Andes Region--Politics and government--19th century
    • Andes Region--Race relations

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521561716 | ISBN-10: 052156171X)

This book offers the first interpretive synthesis of the history of Andean peasants and the challenges of nation-making in the four republics of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia during the turbulent nineteenth century. Nowhere in Latin America were postcolonial transitions more vexed or violent than in the Andes, where communal indigenous roots grew deep and where the 'Indian problem' seemed so daunting to liberalizing states. Brooke Larson paints vivid portraits of Creole ruling élites and native peasantries engaged in ongoing political and moral battles over the rightful place of the Indian majorities in these emerging nation-states. In this story, indigenous people emerge as crucial protagonists through their prosaic struggles for land, community, and 'ethnic' identity, as well as in the upheaval of war, rebellion, and repression in rural society. This book raises broader issues about the interplay of liberalism, racism, and ethnicity in the formation of exclusionary 'republics without citizens'.

• Comparative synthesis of Indians and nation-making processes in the nineteenth-century Andes • Vivid social history, focused specifically on Andean peasants and their 'rightful place' in emerging Andean republics • Engages larger 'postcolonial issues' of liberal ideology, racial exclusion, and the formation of collective 'ethnic-citizen' identities in rural Andean societies


Introduction; 1. Andean landscapes, real and imagined; 2. Colombia: assimilation or marginalization of the Indians?; 3. Ecuador: modernizing Indian servitude as the road to progress; 4. Peru: war, national sovereignty and the 'Indian problem'; 5. Bolivia: dangerous pacts, insurgent Indians; Conclusion. Postcolonial nation building and the burden of 'race'; Bibliographic essay.

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