Reconstituting Indigenous Communities in Colonial Peru

This project is ongoing.

The European invasion of the Andes (1530s) devastated a diverse array of indigenous communities living under Inca rule. After decades of warfare, disease, and population decline, the forced resettlement (reducciones) of more than a million native Andeans attempted to concentrate subject populations in Spanish-style towns where they could be more easily exploited and converted. This project looks at the aftermath of the 1570s wave of native resettlement by tracking population records across roughly 60 years. Census records reveal the failure of Spanish governing policies, and they also help to show the resilience and evolution of the ayllu, the Andean extended family unit. The goals of the project are to assemble and clean up Colonial population data, conduct additional archival research, and prepare academic articles for publication.


A strong background in Spanish is needed to work with the primary sources. A background in Latin American history would be helpful, as would knowledge of statistical analysis or GIS.

Project Timeline

This project is ongoing.


Duties would depend on the student volunteer. They might include entering or correcting published data from early Colonial population records in Peru, preparing literature reviews, etc. Students with a GIS background could work to develop regional geographical studies of the outcomes of Spanish resettlement in different ecozones. Students with a longer commitment to the project could learn Colonial paleography (handwriting) and conduct new work with archival documents. Students would be encouraged to develop independent study or honors projects, and to contribute to collaborative publications.

Typical Time Commitment
Desired Length of Commitment


The Office of Undergraduate Research recommends that you attend an info session or advising before contacting faculty members or project contacts about research opportunities. We'll cover the steps to get involved, tips for contacting faculty, funding possibilities, and options for course credit. Once you have attended an Office of Undergraduate Research info session or spoken to an advisor, you can use the "Who to contact" details for this project to get in touch with the project leader and express your interest in getting involved.

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