The abolition of the indigenous contribution: Ramón Castilla and nineteenth-century populism

Cartoon that shows Ramon Castillas as the savior of the indigenous and the slave | Drawn by Williez and found in "Historia de la PCM del Perú" | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

On July 5, 1854, Ramón Castilla had just taken control over the Peruvian Andean village of Ayacucho in the midst of his “Liberal Revolution,” aimed at deposing then-president José Rufino Echenique. That day, El Libertador—as he was called—proclaimed a famous decree in which he abolished the tribute for indigenous people. The decree took into consideration that “Independence conquered with so many sacrifices is a vain name for the majority of Peruvians who live in the greatest debasement, [and] that the prime cause for this deplorable phenomenon, and what causes so much harm to the Republic, is the indigenous contribution.”1 Popular support for the revolution grew among indigenous peoples, and Castilla took over the government in January 1855. Thenceforth, he became a paternal figure for the rural populace, and a pro-indigenous leader within certain historical speeches and texts.2 By 1956, former colonel Felipe de La Barra wrote in a pamphlet on the indigenous tribute that Castilla was the “people’s predestined genius,” who had in him the “hopes of a race subjugated for more than three-hundred years.”3 In that sense, time turned Castilla into a sort of myth in the popular Peruvian mindset.4 However, what did such an event really implicate for late-1850s Peru? And most importantly, was Castilla’s measure actually a first step toward the liberation of the indigenous from oppression, or was it a populist measure and an instrument for victory during a violent revolution?

Illustration of Castilla after his victorious revolution | Found in Biografía del Exmo. e ilustre señor Ramón Castilla…, by Atanasio Fuentes | Courtesy of HathiTrust

The indigenous tribute was established in 1523 by order of the Spanish king Carlos I, and it continued on into the early nineteenth century largely exempt of any critics. The Cadiz Courts abolished the tribute in the hope of finding a possible agreement with the Hispanic-American colonies on a Project of Constitutional Monarchy. The Courts came to an end for several political reasons, and the indigenous tribute was reestablished in 1815, but this time renamed as an indigenous “contribution.” According to reports of the time, the tribute gave an annual seven-hundred-thousand pesos for the Spanish hacienda. José de San Martín, as soon as he established the Republic of Peru, had no hesitation abolishing the indigenous contribution, which—for several reasons—turned out to be more of a symbolic decision than anything else. However, when liberty became a reality and centralization became a multidimensional task (in which the fiscal capacity of the state was included), political ambiguity followed. Simón Bolívar’s dictatorship declared, through an 1825 decree written by José Faustino Sánchez Carrión, “it would be a crime to consent in that the indigenous remain under the moral degradation to which they were reduced by the Spanish Government, and that they continue paying the shaming levy that with the name of tribute was imposed by tyranny as a sign of manorialism.”5 Nonetheless, “the external debt acquired during Independence demanded imperatively its soon consolidation,” and there was no other recourse than to return to the indigenous contribution at the 1820 levels, said a decree published a year later.6 According to José Manuel Rodríguez, the indigenous contribution represented an annual rent of 1.2 million pesos for the state during the 1821-1846 period, a valuable amount for a time of fiscal instability—as it was the nineteenth century for Peru—and, surely, a relevant figure if we were to compare it, for example, to the patents contribution, which represented an annual income flow of 2.625 million pesos for the State in the 1825-1846 period, or 125 thousand per year (that is, 9.6 times less than the indigenous contribution).7 In general, the indigenous contribution remained untouched throughout the 1826-1854 period, while other contributions seemed to fall apart or remain fragile. Guitiérrez De La Fuente referred to the inutility—which “experience has proven for the span of two years”—of the castes and industry contributions (mainly applicable to non-indigenous population), and a decree of 1833 argued—with no reasonable support—in favor of diminishing transparency in the recollection process of the indigenous contribution.8

The indigenous contribution gained relevance during the intellectual debate of the late 1840s, when Manuel Del Río presented his Memoria de Hacienda and pointed out the fiscal problem of the indigenous. According to the minister, a great number of them had no private land due to an 1828 law that allowed for the sale of their land, while others remained part of a system of communitarian land ownership, an unfamiliar concept for the legislation of the time.9 Thus, the indigenous were unlikely candidates for something as a land contribution, but were also direct targets for a contribution on his work, which Del Río wished to reduce in its fixed amount.10 In one of his books, congressman González De Vigil responded to the information presented by Del Río by demanding better treatment for the indigenous, reminding “[the indigenous] that they themselves are men; making them conscious of their dignity, with which their distrust and other defects will cease to exist.”11 Vigil lamented that Del Río had not presented any project for increasing other contributions or reducing the indigenous tribute. Intellectuals such as Pedro Gálvez (the most relevant figure within the liberal movement in Peru during the mid-nineteenth century) and Manuel De Vivanco (one of the few military leaders who embraced the liberalism part of his political stand in the nineteenth century) expressed similar concerns for the indigenous problem. The former defended in heated debates the indigenous people’s and rural peasants’ right to vote, despite their illiteracy, and the latter proposed the abolition of the indigenous tribute as part of his electoral proposal for the 1850s elections. According to Jorge Basadre, a congressman presented an abolitionist project by 1853, but it did not gain enough acceptance among legislators.12

In this political turmoil (but not due to it), Ramón Castilla began his revolt against the regime of Rufino Echenique.13 He reached Ayacucho on July 5, “day of justice, of equality and of liberty for the poor indian,” and paid, “the debt that Independence acquired with the indigenous,” in order to “turn them into men in the heart of the nation,” as he said to the National Convention of 1855 in a public speech.14

The aforementioned speech was a revealing piece for many, mainly because of the line in which Castilla explains the relevance of the abolition:

“The revolution was already sanctified: the greater part of our brothers was redeemed forever: the will of the people was invincible.”15

Since those lines, one can correlate the abolition of the indigenous contribution with the outcome of the revolution. For had the tribute not been abolished, there would not have been such a curious report as that given by Rufino Echenique when he set off to the Andes, spearheading what seemed to be the last resistance to the peasants’ outrage after the abolition. Echenique, in his military memoirs, laments the indigenous people’s unwillingness to share any information regarding the enemy’s movements or to give his army a hand but “through great efforts.”16 Such great efforts, as it can be inferred, implied cruel violence against the populace.

According to some reports of the time, the indigenous peoples, right after the abolition, started believing that they would forever be free from any contribution, and, naturally excited and filled with gratitude, they gave their people and all that they had for serving Castilla’s revolution, which, in theory, had brought so much good to them.17 The abolition had such a psychological impact that even a decade later, indigenous peoples from the village of Huantané, in the midst of a sudden revolt against the implementation of a personal contribution for financing a civil war, took up arms after shouting, “Long live Castilla!”18

Ramón Castilla began his rule in a state of post-civil war, and it did not take long for him to realize the immediate responsibilities of the republic after achieving a relative state of peace. The 1855 budget of the treasury, calculated before the abolition by the past government, expected an indigenous contribution of 1.66 million pesos, and despite only collecting 1 million, such an amount still represented one-sixth of state revenue, as the chart below shows.19

 

Report of the 1855 Ministry of Treasury Budget Real Income
Total 9’941,404 19’101,404
Indigenous contribution 1.66 million 1 million
Income guano trade 4.3 million 13.2 million
Total revenue without guano trade 5.641 million 5.9 million
Indigenous contribution (%) 29.4% 16.9%

 

Just six years before, the indigenous contribution had represented 29.6% of the effective state income, and 57.3% of all the recollected contributions.20

Thus, since the abolition in 1855, the tax system seemed constantly on the brink of collapse, for a long period of almost forty years. The chart below shows the percentage of contributions within the total interior income of the state (that is, disregarding income from guano trade) before the Pacific War in 1879. As the data shows, fluctuations were common for the treasury’s budget, and taxes tended to remain as a reduced portion of the state revenue. Such situations derived from not only the political and military unrest of the country, but also from politicians’ unwillingness to build a cohesive taxing system and from civilian opposition to personal contributions.21

1858 1862 1871 1876 1877 1879
Interior Income (in pesos) Taxes Industry and patents 55133 12000  

 

0.58 mill

 

2 mill

 

 

315200

 

 

234640

On rustic and urban properties 39930 0.16 mill
Others 2461 0.8 mill 1 mill
Total 3.35 mill 4.4 mill 8.7 mill 13 mill 7.65 mill 4 mill
Taxes (%) 2.903% 2.174% 6.627% 23.077% 4.119% 5.810%

 

The aforementioned scenario, then, can be linked to Ramón Castilla’s sudden decision on July 5, 1854, when he abolished the tribute. It was sudden because it initially had no backup plan, and the implications of such an action led Castilla himself to refer to the “deficit caused by the suppression of the indigenous tribute.”22 When Pedro Gálvez wrote his famous decree, he deemed the “natural effect of civilization” the great solution to the aftermath, and had no doubt that without the tribute “Peru would gain a numerous and productive population that, undoubtedly, would offer a much richer contribution and not made out of the tears and the blood of the contributor.”23

Nonetheless, these words would be naïve, if the declarations of a congressman from Cusco are to be taken as true. Herencio Zevallos, around the late 1860s, said that the indigenous contribution had never stopped being required. For example, the army asked for a 5-pesos contribution per head for the war in 1857 and 1859. During 1867, he added, the tribute served as a requirement for voting.24 Therefore, after the abolition, the indigenous met not only indifference from the elites but also abuse from brutal oppressors, who used the tribute as a medium of mistreatment, reinforcing the tyranny behind the symbolism of the indigenous contribution.

Illustration of Castilla | Found in Biografía del Exmo. e ilustre señor Ramón Castilla…, by Atanasio Fuentes, aka. “El Murciélago” | Courtesy of HathiTrust

Thus, it is rational to ponder how radical it was for Castilla to suddenly abolish a centuries-long contribution, tell the contributors that such a “tax” is unjust and cruel, and ask them to support his military uprising. Encouraging the people to despise the personal contribution, without any instruction on the topic of contributions, was nothing but a danger for the whole economy. Additionally, a year after the revolution, one intellectual of the time would write:

If it was just and necessary to fix the contributions system of the indigenous, in such a manner that it may satisfy equality […], it is not [just…] giving an ephemeral exemption with the object of calling him [the indian] to the revolutionary cause, and get from him a prepayment of the next semester. These two purposes had the decree that abolished all the contributions; and once fulfilled, Castilla himself, without any power or any faculty for exercise his power, created a new taxing system, and he created it when the National Convention already existed, only body that in the representative governments has the power to create, modify and suppress taxes and contributions.25

It is also logical to ponder how necessary it was to accompany such a decision with a cohesive taxing system, one that may have looked at the core deficiencies of the economy and aimed at improving it in the long term. As Basadre—and Mariátegui—would say, the indigenous problem is not only a fiscal problem, but also a sociological and an educational issue.26

Domingo Elías, Castilla’s minister of treasury, when presenting the new taxing plan to the National Convention of 1855, pointed at the great problems of the present and then proposed no solution to them. According to Elías, equity in the repartition of any production tax could not be found because there were no cadastres (an official register of the quantity, value, and ownership of real estate used in apportioning taxes); there were no “certain, general or local news” for the industry contribution; and there were no census for the personal contribution. He then proposed taxing the rent derived from public credit, eliminating any value-floor for exempting certain citizens from the property contribution, and bringing back a fixed personal contribution.27

Afterwards, the 1855 National Convention had a heated debate on personal contributions and agreed on writing down in the 1856 Constitution that personal contributions could not be imposed for more than one year. One congressman did not hesitate to propose the rejection of the project proposed by Domingo Elías in the hopes of coming up with a better and more egalitarian proposal for the future, in case, he remarked, the fiscal entries were not enough, that is, in case the guano’s trade did not pay off.28

Illustration of Castilla | Found in Biografía del Exmo. e ilustre señor Ramón Castilla…, by Atanasio Fuentes | Courtesy of HathiTrust

Ramón Castilla’s opinion on the contributions issue did not differ much from those of the political and economic elite of the time. He treated the abolition of the indigenous tribute as an instrument for victory, and did not look at the whole picture when making his decision. The political elite had reached a low point of stagnation and did not seem to consider the future needs of the country. In the upcoming years, Peru would face several problems. The mismanagement of the guano trade would create a downward spiral for public debt; violence would take over the country for a whole decade; and a great percentage of the treasury’s budget would go toward financing bloody internal wars. It would take years for Peruvian politicians to publicly address the need to solidify the contribution system for the future. However, despite all of their efforts, Fernando Tola would still declare in his magnificent book on the tax system of 1914 Peru that its personal contribution structure was nothing but an unfortunate disaster.29

  1. Manuel Labarthe González, Pedro Gálvez Y La Abolición Del Tributo Indígena : Discurso Pronunciado En Homenaje A La Memoria Del Doctor Pedro Gálvez, Ex-Decano Del Colegio De Abogados De Lima, En El Cementerio General, El Día Del Abogado, 1st ed. (repr., Lima, 1954), 10; All translations of texts are those of the author; “La independencia conquistada con tantos sacrificios es un vano nombre para la mayoría de peruanos que viven en el más completo envilecimiento; que la causa primordial de este fenómeno deplorable y que tantos daños causa a la República es la contribución de indígenas.”
  2. Juan Oviedo, Colección De Leyes, Decretos Y Órdenes Publicadas En El Perú Desde El Año De 1821 Hasta 31 De Diciembre De 1859. Tomo 15. 1st ed. (repr., Lima: Felipe Bailly, 1872), 494. After the aforementioned decree, he abolished slavery.
  3. Felipe De La Barra, Abolición del tributo por Castilla y su repercusión en el problema del indio peruano, 1st ed. (repr. Lima: Ministerio de Guerra, Servicios de Prensa, Propaganda y Publicaciones Militares, 1956), 25.
  4. Jan Rottenbacher and Agustín Espinosa, “Identidad Nacional Y Memoria Histórica Colectiva En El Perú. Un Estudio Exploratorio,” Revista De Psicología 28, no. 1 (2010): 147-174. As of 2010, a survey tested Peruvian historical memory and found out that many characters from the nineteenth century received mainly positive opinions. As for Ramón Castilla, he had a 22% remembrance rate, but scored with a 17.89 out of a 20-points scale in terms of the opinion the citizens held towards him.
  5. Juan Oviedo, Colección De Leyes, Decretos Y Órdenes Publicadas En El Perú Desde El Año De 1821 Hasta 31 De Diciembre De 1859. Tomo 15. 1st ed. (repr., Lima: Felipe Bailly, 1872), 300; All translations of texts are those of the author; “Sería un crimen consentir que los aborígenes permaneciesen sumidos en la degradación moral a que los tenía reducidos el Gobierno Español, y continuasen pagando la vergonzosa exacción que con el nombre de tributo fue impuesta por la tiranía como signo de señorío.” In a strike of eloquence, as well, the decree stated that since then on the indigenous should not be deemed as “Indians,” but as “Peruvians.”
  6. Juan Oviedo, Colección De Leyes, Decretos Y Órdenes Publicadas En El Perú Desde El Año De 1821 Hasta 31 De Diciembre De 1859. Tomo 15. 1st ed. (repr., Lima: Felipe Bailly, 1872), 301. Two months after, the contribution would be reduced by one peso. Such a measure, however, lasted until the military regime of Gutiérrez De La Fuente, who abolished the reduction on July 9, 1829.
  7. José Manuel Rodríguez, Estudios Económicos Y Financieros Y Ojeada Sobre La Hacienda Pública Del Perú Y La Necesidad De Su Reforma. 1st ed. (repr., Lima: Librería, Imprenta y Encuadernación Gil, 1895), 196, 221.
  8. Juan Oviedo, Colección De Leyes, Decretos Y Órdenes Publicadas En El Perú Desde El Año De 1821 Hasta 31 De Diciembre De 1859. Tomo 15. 1st ed. (repr., Lima: Felipe Bailly, 1872), 315. Due to numerous complaints presented to city councils, the Government had decided to ask the tax collectors for a signed certificate in which the process would be detailed.
  9. It was assumed that the indigenous’ lack of education led to other upper and richer classes to take advantage of them.
  10. Jorge Basadre, Historia De La República Del Perú. Tomo V, 7th ed. (repr., Lima: Editorial Universitaria, 1983), 18.
  11. Francisco de Paula González Vigil, Opúsculos Sociales Y Políticos Dedicados A La Juventud Americana, 1st ed. (repr., Lima: Impresiones del Pueblo, 1860). Cited by Jorge Basadre, Historia De La República Del Perú. Tomo V, 7th ed. (repr., Lima: Editorial Universitaria, 1983), 19.
  12. Jorge Basadre, Historia De La República Del Perú. Tomo V, 7th ed. (repr., Lima: Editorial Universitaria, 1983), 303.
  13. Víctor Peralta Ruiz, “La Guerra Civil Peruana De 1854. Los Entresijos De Una Revolución,” Anuario De Estudios Americanos 70, no. 1 (2013): 195-219. doi:10.3989/aeamer.2013.1.07. The reasons for the uprising are said to have been numerous.
  14.   Ramón Castilla, Pedro Gálvez, Elías Domingo, Juan Manuel Del Mar, and Francisco Carassa, Mensage Del Libertador : Presidente Provisorio De La República A La Convención Nacional, 1st ed. (repr., Lima: Impresión de la Dirección General de Estudios, 1855), 10.
  15. Ramón Castilla, Pedro Gálvez, Elías Domingo, Juan Manuel Del Mar, and Francisco Carassa, Mensage Del Libertador : Presidente Provisorio De La República A La Convención Nacional, 1st ed. (repr., Lima: Impresión de la Dirección General de Estudios, 1855), 10.
  16. Jorge Basadre, Historia De La República Del Perú. Tomo III, 7th ed. (repr., Lima: Editorial Universitaria, 1983), 155.
  17. Felipe Barriga Álvarez, “Timoleon”, El Peru, y los gobiernos del general Echenique y de la revolución, 1st. ed. (repr. Lima: J.M. Monterola, 1855), 46.
  18. Jorge Basadre, Historia De La República Del Perú. Tomo V, 7th ed. (repr., Lima: Editorial Universitaria, 1983), 68. The incident is named the Revolt of Huantané, and it took place on November 1866.
  19. It is important to point out that since the mid-1840s, the Peruvian government was in a state of economic boom because of the exportation of a natural fertilizer called guano. The fertilizer was the dung of several coastal birds (such as the Cormorán Guanay, the Cormorán Gris, El Piquero Peruano, etc.), all located in distinct islands of the Peruvian waters. The guano took a larger and larger share in the nation’s revenue throughout various years, thus inflating the state revenue to unprecedented levels. Jorge Basadre, Historia De La República Del Perú. Tomo II. 7th ed. (repr., Lima: Editorial Universitaria, 1983); & Alfonso W. Quiroz, and Javier Flores Espinoza, Historia De La Corrupción En El Perú, 1st ed. (repr., Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 2013).
  20. Jorge Basadre, Historia De La República Del Perú. Tomo III, 7th ed. (repr., Lima: Editorial Universitaria, 1983).
  21. Carlos Contreras, “El impuesto de la contribución personal en el Perú del siglo XIX,” Histórica 29, no. 2(2005): 67-106. Retrieved from http://revistas.pucp.edu.pe/index.php/historica/article/view/1299.
  22. Ramón Castilla, Pedro Gálvez, Elías Domingo, Juan Manuel Del Mar, and Francisco Carassa, Mensage Del Libertador : Presidente Provisorio De La República A La Convención Nacional, 1st ed. (repr., Lima: Impresión de la Dirección General de Estudios, 1855), 20.
  23.  Juan Oviedo, Colección De Leyes, Decretos Y Órdenes Publicadas En El Perú Desde El Año De 1821 Hasta 31 De Diciembre De 1859. Tomo 15. 1st ed. (repr., Lima: Felipe Bailly, 1872), 365; All translations of texts are those of the author; “El Perú ganaría una población numerosa y productora, que indudablemente le ofrecería una contribución más rica y no bañada en las lágrimas y la sangre del contribuyente.”
  24. Jorge Basadre, Historia De La República Del Perú. Tomo V, 7th ed. (repr., Lima: Editorial Universitaria, 1983), 69.
  25. Manuel Atanasio Fuentes, Biografía del Exmo. e ilustre señor Ramón Castilla, libertador del Peru, 1st. ed. (repr. Valparaiso: Impr. del Mercurio, 1856), 106; All translations of texts are those of the author; “Si era justo y necesario arreglar el sistema de contribuciones de indígenas, de tal manera que conciliara la igualdad, y que correspondiera al origen de su establecimiento, no es ni ha podido serlo darle una exención efímera con el objeto de plegarlo a la causa revolucionaria, y sacarle adelantado el pago de un semestre. Estos dos propósitos tuvo el decreto que abolió las contribuciones; y una vez conseguidos, el mismo general Castilla, sin poder ni facultades para ello, crea un nuevo sistema de impuestos, y lo crea cuando ya funcionaba la Representación Nacional, único cuerpo que en los gobiernos representativos tiene el poder de crear, modificar y suprimir los impuestos y contribuciones.”
  26. José Carlos Mariátegui, 7 Ensayos De Interpretación De La Realidad Peruana, 1st ed. (repr. Caracas: Biblioteca Ayacucho, 1995).
  27. Juan Oviedo, Colección De Leyes, Decretos Y Órdenes Publicadas En El Perú Desde El Año De 1821 Hasta 31 De Diciembre De 1859. Tomo 15. 1st ed. (repr., Lima: Felipe Bailly, 1872), 367.
  28. CONGRESO 1855-1857 (CONVENCION NACIONAL), Actas oficiales y extractos de las sesiones en que fue discutida la Constitución de 1860, 1st. ed. (repr. Lima: Emp. Tip. Unión, 1911), 70.
  29. Fernando Tola, Los Impuestos En El Perú : Ensayo Sobre Nuestra Legislación Tributaria, 1st ed. (repr., Lima: Lib. e Impr. Gil, 1914).

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10 Responses

  1. Hey, Francisco.

    This was a very in-depth and informative article. As others have mentioned, I wish that Indigenous history comprised a broader bulk of the history which we are taught in our schools. So much of their struggle and empowerment threatens to be lost to its annals — and as outline in this article, is integral to the histories of entire nations. Peru continues to suffer the ramifications of colonialism and the maltreatment of its Indigenous populations today. Hopefully, this can be rectified.

  2. Such an informative and interesting article! Very captivating. Honestly I am unfamiliar with this side of Peruvian history and wish I knew more. I knew that Peru had indigenous people yet did not know about the freedom of them due to Castilla. This article gave such great information about freedom and finance. As well as the transition of a country during financial instability. Because of this article it gave great insight into Peru’s history. I loved reading your article. Great job!

  3. I grew up in an area that had a 10% indigenous population (mayan) and i have always heard from older people there stories from the fathers and grandfathers about the taxes and slavery and maltreatment they had to endure with during Spanish and later Mexican rule. This exploit of the native population is not an isolated case and many indigenous people in the americas had to endure this throughout many decades and generations. This well written highly detailed article both showed the financial reason for the conflict with a moral issue, and the suffering that endured. This is seen with many other naive and wish-full thinking in politics and policy in many nations and all through history were a just and well best intention action is then brutally slapped by reality as the financial burden or social pressure created by the solution created more misery and harm to the benefiting party or opposing party than the actual problem they tried to fix.

  4. Indigenous history is probably the most underrated that history books fail to recount. So the fact that this article was so in depth and informative over the Peruvian indigenous people is amazing. The initial image of Ramon Castillas freeing both the indigenous and the african slaves is heart warming at first because we get this sense of him wanting to free slaves. However, he failed to balance out certain issues and ultimately the financial situation became a problem.

  5. Often in the history books, the indigenous peoples of America are relegated to either slaves of the encomienda system or a people who were pushed out. Too often is there never any sign of their social condition getting better nor a reform in their favor. However, in this scenario, we see the push and pull of these conflicts of interest between the economic side effects of colonnial rule and the financial well being of the country.

  6. In the moments of victory and success, anything seems possible and its waves may bring about ideas and changes that are to benefit the benefactors of such a cause. But reality sets in and not everything can be accomplished with naïve thinking. With the abolishment of the indigenous contribution, it may have seemed to be a great course of action morally, but fiscally put Peru towards its path of unrest. And with fiscal problems, political and social situations arise, bringing about an end to the peace that Castilla had managed to obtain for a short while, only to be upended in the future due to the lack of planning and coordination.

  7. I haven’t come across this particular topic before, so it was a quite fascinating and well-explained article to read. Castilla, after he took over the government, abolished the longstanding contribution, which resulted many problems for the finance part of the country, such as debt, violence, and most of the spending going towards wars. Castilla didn’t think of the long-term effects his abolishment would have on the country, and managing the nation’s money must have been his biggest challenge.

  8. This was a very well written informative article! There was a lot of information to take in but I think that just shows how complicated it was to create a fair taxing system for the country. Face financial ruin or run the contributions system. It is hard to create change within such an important part of running a country when there is political leverage at stake. I think that Castilla did not take many things into consideration when abolishing the tax and the fact that he would have to find the money from somewhere to replace the loss. Great article!

  9. Although I had never really heard of this before I found it very interesting. I think when trying to establish a good economic al country one of the toughest and most essential things to consider is money. It was interesting to read how the mismanagement of the guano trade would create a down ward spiral for public debt. Very well written article, very informative. Great job.

  10. I really enjoyed reading this article, and the subject of Peruvian indigenous contributions was a subject I had never heard of before. One of the most difficult things to when running a country is to determine where you will get your money from. It’s likely even more difficult to sever off a form of taxation that makes up a sizable amount of the country’s income. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been for Castilla to determine how he wanted to handle this predicament between the rights of people and the financial well being of his country.

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