Wealth, Authority, and Prestige in the Ica Valley, Peru

By Eugene A. Hammel | Go to book overview

AGRICULTURE AND HUSBANDRY

THE PRE-CONQUEST PERIOD (to 1533)

Archaeological excavations in the Ica Valley and in the culturally similar region of the Nasca drainage offer some evidence on the food-growing practices of the early inhabitants. A variety of plants was cultivated, including maize, peanuts, sweet manioc, achira (Canna edulis, a sweet root), jíquima (Pachyrhizus erosus, tuber bean), lima beans, kidney beans, canavalia beans, cotton, squash, and gourds. Some trees with edible fruit were probably also planted: lúcuma (Lucuma obovata), avocado, and pacay (Inga feuilles) ( Dawson Ms.). Remains of domestic animals are less abundant; dogs, guinea pigs, and llamas were probably the only species.

The physical environment seems to have been more varied and permissive in the pre-conquest period than at present. Wild species of plants and animals were more abundant, and water, in particular, seems to have been more evenly distributed as a consequence of less intensive cultivation. The area cultivated was more extensive than it is today, stretching from the narrow gorge of the upper river as far south as Zamaca, instead of terminating effectively at Ocucaje.


THE COLONIAL PERIOD (1533-1820)

The Spaniards effected revolutionary changes in the roster of crops and domestic animals, as well as in techniques of cultivation. Some new crops were introduced from Europe or Africa, and some were brought from other areas by the Spaniards or perhaps the Incas before them (see Valdizán and Maldonado, 1922, vol. 2; Weberbauer, 1945; Cobo, 1956). The cultivated plants in Ica in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, in addition to those cited for the pre-conquest period, were as follows: wheat, alfalfa, chick pea, melon, grape, blackberry (mora), cherry (guinda), fig, apple, quince, pomegranate, pepino (Solanum muricata), hot pepper, sugar cane, cabbage, eggplant, and possibly coconut, coca, and the date. (See Ms. Anon.,; Sánchez Elías, 1957, pp. 48-50; Vázquez de Espinosa , 1948, pp. 449-452.) The animals introduced by the Spaniards included the horse, donkey (and thus the mule), cattle, sheep, goats, and swine. European techniques of plowing and caring for the grape vine were introduced at the same time.

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Wealth, Authority, and Prestige in the Ica Valley, Peru
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Preface 7
  • Introduction 9
  • General Description 13
  • Agriculture and Husbandry 19
  • Industry 32
  • Transportation and Trade 41
  • Social Class: the Formal Aspect 47
  • Social Class: Correlates of Formal Position 56
  • Conclusions 88
  • Bibliography 99
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