Author Charles Walker gives insight into his new book

Matthew Adams

Author and professor Charles Walker discussed his new book, “The Tupac Amaru Rebellion” at an event Monday in Garrison Hall. 

Walker’s book is a nonfiction account of a Spanish and Inca man who led a rebellion against the Spanish empire. Walker, professor of history and director of the Hemispheric Institutes of America at University of California-Davis, spoke at the event hosted by The Institute for Historical Studies, the Atlantic World Speakers Series and the Teresa Lonzano Long Institute of Latin American Studies.   

“Walker is a renowned scholar of the late colonial Andes whose new book covers one of the most important rebellions to shake the Spanish in the Americas,” history professor Seth Garfield said in introducing Walker.

Walker’s new book, published in April 2014, was published years after his first book, “Smoldering Ashes.” His first book was published in 1999 and briefly mentioned Túpac Amaru. Walker said he started his research on “The Tupac Amaru Rebellion” in 2007 in Seville, Spain. 

According to Walker, the story of Túpac Amaru takes place in Cuzco, Peru. A half-Spanish and half-Incan man named José Gabriel Condorcanqui worked for the Spanish crown as a representative of the indigenous population. After seeing the Spanish oppression toward the indigenous people firsthand, Condorcanqui took the Inca royal name, Túpac Amaru, and began leading a rebellion against the Spanish empire. After Amaru’s death in 1781, his second son, a cousin and another family member continued to carry out the rebellion. More than 100,000 fatalities occurred. 

Although Amaru became a mythical figure, he would become a part of Peruvian history and is now seen as an icon around the world, according to Walker. For the present generation, Amaru’s first name is commonly associated with the rapper, Tupac Shakur.    

“There have been other good books written on the Túpac Amaru Rebellion,” Walker said. “What I wanted to avoid with my book was focusing on just one aspect of Amaru’s life. I wanted to build upon what others had done and try to show the whole story. I hope that, from my research, more people will reach out and find more details on Túpac Amaru.” 

History associate professor Susan Deans-Smith said she liked that the book gives the reader more of an insight into the life of Amaru.   

“This book really shows us how little we know about this rebellion,” Deans-Smith said. “It shows all the phases, from the beginning with Túpac Amaru, the middle with family taking over and the overall impact it had.”