Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Latin American History, Colonial Peru, Indigenous population, Urban Indians, Religious Confraternity, Power, Identity

Major Advisor

Mark Healy

Associate Advisor

Karen Spalding

Associate Advisor

Blanca Silvestrini

Associate Advisor

Leo Garofalo

Associate Advisor

Melina Pappademos

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


The Copacabana Indigenous Elite: Formation, Identity and Negotiations (Lima, 1590 – 1767)

Teresa C. Vergara, PhD

University of Connecticut, 2018

This dissertation examines the indigenous elite grouped around the church of Copacabana and the Indian cabildo of Lima, from its formation in the early seventeenth century to the moment it reaches its greatest power when their members managed to control the appointment of Protector de Naturales in the Royal Audience of Lima. It does so by focus in three major thematic concerns. First, it shows that the power of the Copacabana indigenous elite stems of their membership in the confraternity of Our Lady of Copacabana. The most powerful of their members had the appointment of hermanos veinticuatro that allowed them to manage the confraternity. This veinticuatro were the real indigenous elite of Copacabana, who took decisions, asked for benefits and negotiated offices of power and authority in the eighteenth century. Second, the dissertation examines the process to establishing the Indian cabildo of Lima at the church of Copacabana at the end of the seventeenth century. The third topic that the dissertation deals with is the identity construction of Copacabana indigenous elite. This study shows that members of Copacabana indigenous elite constructed their identity as Christians in order to live in the city as citizens. Later on, when their composition changed, and the mayority of them came from towns located on the northern coast, they constructed their identity as descendants of the Chimo Capac, an ancient lord of the region.

Available for download on Sunday, April 30, 2028