Doctrina Tributes and Municipal Treasuries The Indian Tributarios of by urd17793


									 Doctrina Tributes and Municipal Treasuries:
The Indian Tributarios of Tucumán, 1780-1810

                Jeremy Stahl
       Middle Tennessee State University

           Prepared for LASA2000

      Latin American Studies Association
         XXII International Congress
      Miami, Florida March 16-18, 2000

        Draft Copy: Please Do Not Cite
       Without Permission of the Author

        This paper is a discussion of tribute revenues in the Río de la Plata region of Tucumán
during the last decades of colonial rule. More specifically, it is an exploration of the importance
of tribute revenues to provincial treasuries during the 1780s and 1790s in an effort to show how
the impoverished San Salvador de Jujuy jurisdiction came to rely on the tribute obligations of
isolated Indian communities when traditional sources of income declined. A survey of various
Tucumán treasury records from the 1780s into the early 1800s indicates that tribute revenues
became increasingly important in a jurisdiction that found itself in decline as a result of changing
commercial patterns in the Río de la Plata viceroyalty. Despite a familiar colonial history of
social and economic exploitation, the Tucumán Indian communities remained viable and
productive. In San Salvador de Jujuy, the northernmost province of modern Argentina, a
concentrated Indian population living mostly outside traditional regional commercial networks
became the major productive force and source of income for municipal government. Unlike
anywhere else in the changing Tucumán region, these communities produced the bulk of treasury
revenue recorded in various treasury accounts.
        The paper begins with a discussion of the demographic characteristics of the region. It
looks first at basic population figures, then the ethnic composition of the seven component
jurisdictions of the Tucumán region in 1779. It turns next to a brief discussion of the pre-contact
Native American societies that inhabited the region prior to the arrival of Europeans in the
middle of the sixteenth century, then reviews another set of demographic statistics with the aim
of outlining the subsequent collapse of these societies. The third part of the paper is a discussion
of viceregal era tribute revenues in the region, first addressing the topic broadly then looking
more closely at tribute revenues in the “most Indian” jurisdiction in the region. By analyzing
treasury accounts and summaries from the Córdoba and Salta intendencies of the Río de la Plata
viceroyalty from the Archivo General de Indias, the paper first compares revenues between
jurisdictions, then discusses the relative importance of tribute revenues to the regional royal
treasuries. Finally it addresses the question of marginalization, arguing that although officials
continued to drain the isolated Indian pueblos of their surplus, Indian communities of the region
and were largely left outside the important regional commercial networks, they nevertheless
played an important economic role by producing crucial treasury revenue for at least one
        The Tucumán region as a unit for historical study was first proposed by the Argentine
economic historian Juan Carlos Garavaglia.1 Garavaglia builds on the work of Carlos Sempat
Assadourian who pioneered the study of economic space, regional economies and interregional
commerce in colonial Spanish South America.2 After Assadourian argued that the South
American economy, dominated by silver mining in Peru, was long marked by a vast system of
economic relationships that led to the emergence of numerous regional specializations,
Garavaglia defined three distinct regions comprising the Río de la Plata viceroyalty at the end of
the eighteenth century. Using tithe records as “indirect indicators” to measure economic
production in the viceroyalty from 1786 to 1802, he identified the Litoral/Banda Oriental as one
coherent economic region, Cuyo in the west as a second, and Tucumán to the north the third.
        The Tucumán region, in turn, consisted of seven component jurisdictions: Córdoba,
Santiago del Estero, San Miguel de Tucumán, Salta, San Salvador de Jujuy, La Rioja and
Catamarca (see Map I: The Tucumán Region). Together they comprised a regional system long
given to livestock exports to Alto Perú; both Córdoba and Salta enjoyed reputations as cattle and
mule exporters dating from the end of the sixteenth century.3 By the end of the colonial period,
however, this traditional orientation had begun breaking down as new commercial opportunities

originating in the Atlantic commercial world drew the southern jurisdictions more and more
securely into its orbit through the port of Buenos Aires.4 The northern jurisdictions, especially
San Salvador de Jujuy, grew increasingly isolated and saw most sources of municipal revenue
decline as the rest of the region decreased its livestock exports northward and turned more and
more to exports of hides and woolens to stronger markets in Buenos Aires.
        The demographic characteristics of the Tucumán region during the viceregal era
reflected, to some extent, the different economic fortunes of the various component jurisdictions.
The population of Tucumán jurisdictions varied widely, as did their ethnic compositions.
Clustered populations of Indians, of mixed-race castas and of Spanish and creole blancos tended
to give specific appearances to different jurisdictions (this study ultimately suggests that the
ethnic composition of local populations was likely associated with these local economic
conditions). The combined population of the Tucumán jurisdictions in 1779 totaled almost
126,000.5 Córdoba, with just over 40,000 people, or one-third of the regional population,
constituted the largest. San Miguel de Tucumán, with just over 20,000 residents, was the second
largest. La Rioja with only 9,700 people and Salta with 11,500 people were the smallest
jurisdictions. San Salvador de Jujuy, Catamarca and Santiago del Estero, all with around 15,000
people, each comprised roughly 12 per cent of the total regional population.
        The north and northwestern reaches of the region recorded generally smaller populations
than the southern parts. Salta and San Salvador de Jujuy combined, for instance, still had 10,000
fewer inhabitants than the Córdoba jurisdiction. Catamarca and La Rioja together were smaller
still. Well over half the regional population lived in the three jurisdictions of Córdoba, Santiago
del Estero and San Miguel de Tucumán. Table I, “Populations of Jurisdictions and Cities,
Tucumán Region, 1779,” presents the basic population figures for the entire region. Table II,
“Populations by Ethnicity, Tucumán Region, 1779,” reveals other important demographic
characteristics by providing a more specific portrait of the ethnic composition of the regional
        Table II indicates foremost that the casta category, made up of mestizos, mulattos and
free and enslaved blacks, comprised the largest part of the regional population, almost one-half
the total. The naturale, or Indian, and the blanco (those of Spanish birth or considered of Spanish
descent) populations were about equal, each comprising just less than a third of the total. San
Salvador de Jujuy in the far north was by far the most Indian jurisdiction, with four-fifths of its
inhabitants counted as naturales. La Rioja followed; with approximately just over half of its
inhabitants classified as Indian. Córdoba, with almost half of its inhabitants classified as
Spanish, and Catamarca, almost a third Spanish, proved to be the most Spanish provinces.
Santiago del Estero and San Miguel de Tucumán both counted populations that were well more
than half casta, while Córdoba counted just less than half its population as casta. Salta’s
population was the most balanced, with roughly half casta, one-quarter Indian and one-quarter
        With San Salvador de Jujuy’s large Indian population, the northern part of the Tucumán
region counted over half its inhabitants as naturales, far more than the southern or the western
parts. The southern jurisdictions of Córdoba, Santiago del Estero and San Miguel de Tucumán,
in contrast, together counted a population that was less than 20 per cent Indian – clearly distinct
from the north. In Córdoba and La Rioja, blancos outnumbered castas, and in Córdoba and
Catamarca Indians were the minority ethnic group. The western jurisdictions of Catamarca and
La Rioja together counted ethnically balanced populations – roughly 7,200 blancos, 10,000
castas and 8,000 Indians.

         Table I also reveals a decidely rural population in the Tucumán region, with only about
one-fifth of the total population residing in the cities. The remainder of the region’s population
lived widely dispersed throughout the vast territory, very seldom coming into contact with the
cities, with the church, or with royal government – what the Intendent Sobremonte called “civil
life” in 1785. 6 Sobremonte wrote at the end of a long report to the Crown that the most serious
difficulties in his Córdoba de Tucumán intendency were the lack of formal towns, the shortage of
rural priests and the persistence of rustic customs. “The perseverence of rustic customs and
ignorance of religion or a true understanding of what a vassal owes his sovereign makes the
collection of taxes and tithes very difficult,” Sobremonte complained. And if Sobremonte
attributed much of the widespread theft livestock in the countryside to the isolation and poverty
of so many rural inhabitants, he also recognized the deficient administration of these districts.
Ignorance, corruption and “a lack of zeal” too often characterized the alcaldes of the rural
districts of Tucumán.
         Several indigenous societies inhabited the Tucumán region when Europeans first arrived
in the middle of the sixteenth century. The Puneño and Humahuaca societies occupied the
northernmost reaches of what would become the San Salvador de Jujuy jurisdiction. The
Comenchigón people dominated the mountainous parts of Córdoba. The Diagüita spread
throughout the largest expanse, through Salta south into the mountainous parts of San Miguel de
Tucumán, the western part of Santiago del Estero, and most of Catamarca and La Rioja.
Population estimates for the entire region at the time of contact range from 75,000 to 270,000;
the Diagüita were probably the most numerous.7 All of these groups practiced agriculture,
growing crops of maize, quinoa, potatoes and beans, and they all kept herds of llamas that
provided wool and meat. None of them, however, developed the political centralization that
might have enabled a more successful resistance to Spanish colonization.
         In the north, the Puneño people occupied the high altiplano of northwestern Jujuy called
the Puna that averages 11,000 to 13,000 feet elevation. Surrounding mountains form a closed
basin fed by a number of streams and small rivers that empty into seasonal marshes that flood
only during the short summer. The Puna environment is especially dry; vegetation is poor,
agriculture is difficult and the only native fauna is the llama, vicuña and guanaco. This area
would later become the home to the largest concentration of Indian communities in the region.
The Humahuaca people populated the long Quebrada de Humahuaca where the climate varies
with elevation. At 13,000 feet in the north the climate resembles that of the Puna—cold and
dry—but in the south at around 4,000 feet, a much warmer, almost subtropical climate marks a
striking contrast. The entire Quebrada, at any rate, seems to have been widely settled and well
populated by numerous large and small villages that all practiced terraced and irrigated
         The Comenchigón, with many subdivisions, mainly inhabited the Sierras de Córdoba,
three parallel ranges running north-south through the heart of the Tucumán region. Because the
ranges lies transversely to the humid prevailing easterly winds, the eastern side of the area offers
much more benign conditions than the arid semi-deserts farther west. In the better areas many
small, well- watered ravines feed the lower valleys and supported many villages and their basic
agricultural economies. Villagers in these Sierras also kept their llama herds at higher
elevations, and at the heights of these ranges hunted guanaco.9 The Diagüita society included a
number of individual tribes spread throughout a large area; the Calchaquí, perhaps the best
known, occupied the western Catamarca valleys named after them. Cultivating the isolated,
watered ravines and riverbanks, the Diagüita also remained politically divided in the absence of

any central authority.10 Despite occasional, informal alliances formed between local caciques,
they too failed to stop the Spanish advance.11
         On the Chaco plains to the east of the Tucumán region, less sedentary tribes mixed
limited agricultural activity with hunting and gathering of naturally occurring foods. Originally
these groups tended to concentrate in the marshy expanses of eastern Córdoba and Santiago del
Estero, but with Spanish pressure in the sixteenth century most turned to a more mobile life that
gave them greater security from Spanish raiding. The Mocovie became the Spaniards’ primary
nemesis on the eastern frontier of the Tucumán region, and by the middle of the seventeenth
century colonists had begun mounting occasional offensives to secure their isolated settlements
from Mocovie raids. Despite the inability to launch concerted campaigns against the Spanish
settlements, the Mocovie remained enemies of the Tucumán colonists until the end of the
colonial period.12
         The earliest Spanish records about these Indian populations are vague and offer only
indirect estimates of sixteenth-century population levels. The first reliable count of the Indian
population comes from a letter to the King from Tucumán governor Juan Ramirez de Velasco,
dated 1596, which included a count of Indian population distributed in encomienda in his
jurisdiction. Velasco estimated the encomienda populations at 20,000 in La Rioja, 12,000 in
Córdoba, 8,000 in Santiago del Estero, 7,000 in San Miguel de Tucumán, 5,000 in Salta, and
2,000 in San Salvador de Jujuy. Population estimates for the seventeenth century are based on
similar encomienda counts. Not surprisingly, the records indicate a steady decline of the Indian
population through the seventeenth and into the eighteenth centuries.13 (See Table III, “Indian
Population Estimates, Tucumán Region, 1596-1779.)
         The population decline in the Tucumán region, as indicated by the limited records,
appears to have been as drastic as anywhere else in the Americas. As opposed to Governor
Velasco’s relatively high 1596 estimates, recent research places the 1673 encomienda population
for the entire Tucumán region at around 16,000 including children.14 In the Córdoba
jurisdiction, this population had dropped to only 430, in La Rioja to 1,381 in San Salvador de
Jujuy to 1,555, in Salta to 2,000, in Santiago del Estero to around 3,000 and in San Miguel de
Tucumán to 2,285. These figures, however, do not count the Indian population not in
encomienda, and other accounts from the same period suggest that the total Indian population in
the Tucumán region in the late 1600s may have been higher than 16,000 or 20,000, still much
lower than sixteenth-century figures.15 The difficulties of estimating population levels and the
differences between population estimates are attributable to various factors, including incomplete
records and ongoing campaigns in some areas that periodically relocated Indian communities
throughout the region. The Calchaquí valleys of Catamarca in particular experienced prolonged
conflict in the seventeenth century.16 One consequence was the forced removal of many
participants to other areas that included Chile, Peru and Charcas.17
         Adolfo Luis González Rodríguez attributes the decline to a variety of causes. Warfare,
the encomienda system and forced removal only partially explained the demographic collapse;
epidemic disease often accompanied by famine rates foremost among the list of causes. This list
also includes voluntary flight from the Indian villages, a fairly common response to the demands
imposed upon Indian communities by Spanish overseers.18 A substantial part of Tucumán’s
Indian population may have left their villages for the Spanish settlements; Comadrán Ruíz
estimates that Indian residents, “integrated into the urban population through encomienda
obligations, the labor draft or simply as free vassals of the Crown who chose to relocate in the
cities,” made up 15 to 25 per cent of the early population of the first settlements.19

         Despite the seventeenth-century population decline, the encomienda remained a feature
of the Tucumán economy even into the eighteenth century. Each of the Tucumán jurisdictions
counted a number of encomenderos among its residents, and although only limited numbers of
Indians lived under encomienda obligations, their distribution suggests that Tucumán’s upper
class still valued the institution. In 1702 the Córdoba jurisdiction, for example, counted 17
encomenderos among its population, with 94 indios tributarios distributed among them. Salta,
with 23 encomenderos, counted 319 tributarios. San Salvador de Jujuy, with only eight
encomenderos, counted 308 tributarios. San Miguel de Tucumán counted 21 encomenderos with
257 tributarios; Santiago del Estero, with 26 encomenderos, counted 342 tributarios, the most in
the Tucumán region. La Rioja, on the other hand, counted 30 encomenderos and only 104
tributarios. Catamarca, finally, counted only 126 tributarios under 43 different encomenderos.20
Despite the relatively small numbers of both tributarios and encomenderos (a total of 1,500
tributarios and 168 encomenderos), encomienda privileges provided both monetary income and
labor for the encomendero class. Encomienda privileges probably also remained an important
status-endowing feature of the region’s social hierarchy, bestowing a certain rank and higher
position upon the individuals who enjoyed these privileges. This was especially true of San
Salvador de Jujuy, where a number of landowners protected their encomienda rights among
communities of the Puna.21
         The 1778-1779 census of the Tucumán region indicates a recovery among the Indian
population. Officials now counted over 35,000 naturales throughout the entire region. Viceregal
period treasury records from throughout the region indicate that a large part of this population
lived in Indian pueblos where men of 19 years and older paid five pesos each year in tributes.22
Treasury records from the Tucumán jurisdictions of Córdoba, Salta and San Salvador de Jujuy
include several serial records of tribute revenues that contain enough information to permit some
tentative discussion of the tribute obligations imposed upon the Tucumán Indian population.
(See Table IV, “Tribute Revenues, Salta and Tucumán Intendencies, 1786-1805”) When
analyzed alongside other municipal hacienda records, they permit further discussion about the
overall importance of tribute revenues to different municipal treasuries. In the northern
jurisdictions especially, tribute revenues from isolated Puna communities proved the most
lucrative and important ramo in the books, and financed much of the municipal government
during otherwise difficult years.23
         Intendent Sobremonte’s Oficio of 1785 lists ten different pueblos de indios within the
jurisdiction of the Córdoba intendency: San Antonio, Nonsacate, Quilino, San Jacinto, Soto,
Pichana, Salsacate, Nono, Cozquin, La Toma and Los Ranchos, which together comprised 195
tributarios.24 From 1786 to 1805, these 195 tributarios, plus at least 200 more in La Rioja,
Mendoza, San Luis and San Juan pueblos, paid an annual average of over 2,000 pesos.25
Treasury officials expected tribute payments twice a year; collection was the responsibility of
each local cacique who received one real for each person who paid his tribute. Tributario
communities paid their tributes twice a year: the first half-year obligation, or “tercio de San
Juan,” at mid-year, and the second, or “tercio de Navidad,” at the end of the year.26 Córdoba’s
average annual tribute revenues indicate that at least 400 men usually met their obligations
throughout most of the viceregal period, a figure that would prove insignificant when compared
to tribute roles in the northern jurisdictions.
         The Salta intendency treasury, representing the northern Tucumán jurisdictions, collected
tribute revenues recorded in the treasury account summaries submitted each year that totaled
from 10,000 to 19,000 pesos a year between 1789 and 1803. The 1789 tribute total, for example,

detailed in the accounts summary, amounted to 12,529 pesos “collected from the “yndios
foraneos y originarios of the intendency, each contributing five pesos each year, of which, by
older obligations, they contribute 12 reales to the doctrina priests of each town.” These figures
included 1,459 pesos from the Salta jurisdiction, 1,052 pesos from San Miguel de Tucumán for
1788, 7,109 pesos from Jujuy, 841 pesos from Santiago del Estero for 1788 and 610 pesos from
Catamarca (a figure that 75 pesos from the doctrina of Calchaquí and 174 pesos from
Chicuana).27 Even with the deductions for doctrina priests, some 3,770 pesos, the treasury still
collected over 8,700 pesos that year. Allowing for annual fluctuations, these figures from the
other jurisdictions seem to hold fairly steady for the years from 1786 to 1805.
         The 1792 account from Salta is similar. That year officials recorded tribute revenues of
13,300 pesos, “of which only 11,232 were actually deposited, after the 346 pesos deducted for
the four per cent for the collectors, and 1,172 pesos remaining owed; plus the 215 pesos collected
for prior years.” That year caciques collected and deposited 2,789 pesos from 581 tributarios in
the Salta jurisdiction (after deductions for collectors); 548 pesos for one-half the year from 70
more tributarios in the doctrina de Calchaquí who were originally from Potosí; 7,312 pesos from
tributarios in the jurisdiction of San Salvador de Jujuy for the second half of 1790 and the first
half of 1791; 402 pesos from 75 tributarios in Catamarca and 396 pesos from tributarios in San
Miguel de Tucumán.28 The 1795 tribute revenues for the Salta intendency reached 16,395 pesos,
and the 1798 revenues reached almost 19,000 pesos, the highest total on record.29 For all these
years, the Jujuy and Salta communities listed above, led by the Puna pueblos, accounted for the
great bulk of the intendency’s tribute revenue.
         In the north, the Puna area above San Salvador de Jujuy consistently produced the largest
tribute revenues in the Tucumán region. A number of pueblos and doctrinas, representing
approximately 1,200 tributarios, averaged over 5,000 pesos in tribute payments each year for the
decade between 1789 and 1799. The largest of the communities included Yave with around 225
tributarios, Rinconada with between 300 and 350, Santa Catalina with approximately 295, and
Cochinoca with 88. Jujuy tributario pueblos outside the Puna area, including several still
surviving in the Quebrada de Humahuaca, contributed another 1,600 to 1,700 pesos to the
municipal treasury each year. These were generally much smaller than the Puna communities,
and included the pueblos of Purmamarca with seven tributarios, Tumbaia with 32, Uquia with
47, Tilcara with 20 and Humahuaca with 45.30 Altogether, the San Salvador de Jujuy jurisdiction
counted approximately 1,500 tribute-payers in the late eighteenth century who produced between
7,000 and 7,500 pesos in tribute revenue each year. These figures would prove a substantial
percentage of the jurisdiction’s total revenues.
         The figures in Table IV also point to the substantial differences between tribute revenues
in the northern jurisdictions and the southern jurisdictions. Overall, the Córdoba intendency’s
tribute revenues averaged 2,141 pesos each year while Salta intendency’s averaged 12,796 – six
times more. The next decade brought an increase in this gap; Córdoba’s average dropped to
1,988 pesos each year as Salta’s rose to 14, 527 pesos – more than seven times more. Within the
Salta intendency, the Jujuy jurisdiction, led by the Puna and Humahuaca pueblos and doctrinas,
regularly contributed anywhere from one-half to three-fourths of the total tribute revenue. From
1795 to 1799, the best years for tribute revenues, San Salvador de Jujuy’s tribute revenues
averaged over well over 7,000 pesos each year.31 These considerable revenues made the tribute
ramo the most important in the Jujuy treasury. Unlike the Córdoba and Salta jurisdictions, where
alcabala revenues surpassed tribute revenues, and constitute the largest single ramo in the
treasury, (see Table V “Alcabala, Tribute and Pulpería Revenues in Córdoba, Salta and Jujuy

Jurisdictions, 1786-1805”), San Salvador de Jujuy’s tribute revenues far surpassed alcabala
earnings.32 In neither Córdoba nor Salta were tribute revenues as locally important as in Jujuy,
nor were they as important to the Córdoba intendency as they were to the Salta intendency.
        Table V allows for some comparison of treasury ramos of the three principal cities. First,
it demonstrates clearly that Jujuy led the regions in tribute revenues. Even in years when tribute
revenues were down, Jujuy held its advantage over the others. In both Córdoba and Salta, tribute
revenues lagged far behind alcabala revenues, even through the 1790s which proved slow years
for regional commerce. Second, Table V shows that in Córdoba and Salta, alcabala revenues,
the largest in the municipal treasuries, remained a much more important source of revenue than
in Jujuy. Alcabala revenues in these two cities generally dwarfed those of Jujuy, where local
commerce seems to have been insignificant compared to the jurisdictions farther south. Again,
only Jujuy’s tribute revenues remained strong, outperforming all other ramos there. As San
Salvador de Jujuy fell farther behind both Córdoba and Salta with the reorientation of the
regional economy toward the growing commerce of Buenos Aires, tribute revenues became
increasingly important. Without them, the northernmost jurisdiction would surely have suffered
even greater hardships in the last decades of the eighteenth century as livestock exports to Alto
Perú decreased.
        The treasury records only hint at the ways various Indian communities of the Jujuy
jurisdictions met their tribute obligations. In Córdoba and La Rioja, caciques paid their
communities’ tributes in cash (dinero efectivo) or with lengths of course cotton and woolen cloth
that were then sold in the local market.33 In 1783, for instance, La Rioja communities paid 127
pesos of their tributes in cash and another 218 pesos in 437 varas of cotton lienzos. In the
northern and western Andean valleys, wool from the vicuña and guanaco was important to
meeting tribute obligations. Tributarios hunted these animals in the Calchaquí valleys and in the
Puna area, and sold the wool to merchants in Catamarca and San Salvador de Jujuy either for
manufacture into fine cloth or, more commonly, shipment to Buenos Aires.34
        This finer wool from Tucumán’s mountains sold for prices more than ten times higher
than lamb’s wool or raw cotton, and in some years large quantities reached Buenos Aires.
Consulado reports from Buenos Aires indicate that 152 arrobas of vicuña wool and 69 arrobas of
guanaco wool reached the port from Tucumán in 1790, and had increased to 498 arrobas of
vicuña wool, 129 arrobas of guanaco wool and 215 arrobas of alpaca wool a few years later.35
Ultimately, however, hacienda records are too sparse to afford any firm conclusions regarding
the economic pursuits of any specific Tucumán Indian pueblos, other than to say that in light of
the limited resources left to these communities by the end of the colonial period, tribute
obligations must have been burdensome for most of the pueblo populations.
        The tribute-paying Puna communities left few records in the Salta and Jujuy treasury
books. There is no record of them from the 1750s until the 1790s, when they suddenly begin to
appear for just a few years, including different Puna revenues more specifically. The first such
record (aside from those for tribute payments) appears in the Salta Carta Cuenta dated 1794,
recording pulpería revenues from Rinconada and Santa Catalina of 2,569 pesos for the years
from 1784 to 1792. The 1796 summary includes an entry in the alcabala ramo that notes 815
pesos collected from Puna for 1795. The 1797 summary notes a 1,121 peso alcabala revenue,
plus 104 pesos more collected as the taxes on the sale of aguardiente in the area.36 Puna’s 1797
alcabala revenue reached 1,084 pesos; aguardiente sales that year brought in another 46 pesos.
In 1798 the alcabala tax generated 999 pesos and aguardiente sales another 165 pesos; in 1801
alcabala revenue had dropped to 498 pesos and aguardiente sales added only 75 pesos, but

pulpería revenues collected that year added another 294 pesos. 1802 was the last year in which
Puna was mentioned in the treasury books, for a small 63 peso aguardiente tax. After 1802
specific notations of Puna revenues disappear again.
        The brief glimpse at Puna records, however, affords some speculation. The several
thousand people residing in Puna communities somehow generated enough income beyond their
tributes obligations to support modest commerce, at least at the very end of the colonial era.
Despite their isolation in the high, arid altiplano, these communities supported a number of small
businesses that paid pulpería fees of 10 to 15 pesos per year and generated modest sales tax
revenues – at least as much as in the city of Jujuy on at least two occasions (1796, 1797). It
seems safe to say that despite the geographic isolation of the Puna communities – a situation
enforced by local landowners who monopolized the best pastures of the jurisdiction37– and
despite their subsequent social and economic marginalization within the broader regional system,
these communities still generated enough surplus not only to meet their regular tribute
obligations, but also enough to support modest commercial activity.

    Juan Carlos Garavaglia, “Economic Growth and Regional Differentiations: The River Plate Regions of the End
    of the Eighteenth Century,” Hispanic American Historical Review, 65:1 (February, 1985), 51-89.
    See Carlos Sempat Assadourian, El sistema de la economía colonial: mercado interno, regiones y espacio
    económico (Lima, 1982). See also Assadourian, Heraclio Bonilla, Antonio Mitre and Tristan Platt, Minería y
    espacio económico en los Andes, siglos XVI-XX (Lima, 1980); Assadourian et al., Modos de producción en
    América Latina (Buenos Aires, 1973).
    “Concolorcorvo” (Alonso Carrió de la Vandera), El lazarillo: A Guide for Inexperienced Travellers between
    Buenos Aires and Lima, translated by Walter D. Kline (Bloomington, 1965) is the classic description of the
    Tucumán region’s famous mule-exporting tradition. For statistical discussions of this important trade, see
    Florencia S. Cornejo, “El comercio de mulas de Salta con el Litoral, Córdoba, Alto y Bajo Perú (1800-1810), in
    Cuarto congreso nacional y regional de historia argentina (1977), 3 volumes (Buenos Aires, 1979) volume 1,
    365-374; Nicolás Sánchez-Albornoz, “La extracción de mulas de Salta a Perú. Fuentes, volúmen y negociates,”
    in Estudios de Historia Social 1 (1965); Nicolás Sánchez-Albornoz, Patricia Ottolenghi de Frankmann, Manuel
    Urbina and Dorothy R. Webb, “La saca de mulas de Salta al Perú, 1778-1808,” in Anuario del Instituto de
    Investigaciones Históricas 8 (1965).
    Jeremy Stahl, Production, Commerce and Transportation in a Regional Economy: Tucumán, 1760-1810 (Ph.D.
    dissertation, University of Florida, 1994).
    The following figures are adapted from Jorge Comadrán Ruíz, Evolución demográfica argentina durante el
    período hispánico (1535-1810) (Buenos Aires, 1960), 80-81. Comadrán Ruíz bases his discussion of the
    Interior population on censuses and summaries produced by the bishoprics of Santiago de Chile and Tucumán
    (see page 79, footnote 3).
    See the “Oficio del gobernador-intendente de Córdoba Marqués de Sobremonte al Virrey Marqués de Loreto,”
    dated November 6, 1785 in the Archivo General de Indias (A.G.I.), Buenos Aires 50, “Correspondencia con los
    gobernadores de Tucumán, 1783-1806” (folios not numbered). This document is also transcribed in Jose Torre
    Revelo, El Marqués de Sobremonte.Gobernador Intendente de Córdoba y Virrey del Río de la Plata. Ensayo
    histórico (Buenos Aires,1946), xci-ciii.
    Comadrán Ruíz, La evolución demográfica, 20-21, summarizes pre-contact population estimates. Angel
    Rosenblat, La población indígena de America desde 1492 hasta la actualidad (Buenos Aires, 1945), estimates
    the Tucumán region population at 270,000 – an “inflated” figure according to Comadrán Ruíz. Horacio
    Difrieri, “Población indígena y colonial,” in his La Argentina. Suma de geografía, 9 volumes (Buenos Aires,
    1961), volume VII, 34-36, puts the Tucumán population at around 75,000 at the time of contact.
    Eduardo Casanova, “The Cultures of the Puna and the Quebrada de Humahuaca,” in Julian Steward, editor,
    Handbook of South American Indians (HSAI), 7 volumes, (New York, 1963), volume II, 619-631. See also
    Manuel Lizondo Borda, Historia del Tucumán. Siglo XVI (Tucumán, 1942), 33-80, and Salvador Canals Frau,

     Poblaciónes indígenas del la Argentina (Buenos Aires, 1953) and Los civilizaciones prehistóricas de America
     (Buenos Aires, 1973), 499-512.
     Francisco de Aparicio, “The Comenchigón and their Neighbors in the Sierras de Córdoba,” in HSAI 2, 673-685.
     Fernando Márquez Miranda, “The Diagüita in Argentina,” in HSAI 2, 637-654; see also Manuel Lizondo
     Borda, Tucumán indígena: Diagüitas, Lules y Tonocates, pueblos y lenguas (Tucumán, 1938), 13-29.
     For discussion of the conquest of Tucumán, see Roberto Levellier, Nueva crónica de la conquista de Tucumán
     (Buenos Aires, 1931); Manuel Lizondo Borda, Historia de la gobernación del Tucumán (siglo XVII) (Buenos
     Aires, 1928), 101-135; and Vicente Sierra, Historia de la Argentina, 7 volumes (Buenos Aires, 1956), volume I,
     1492-1600, 287-314.
     Márquez Miranda, “The Chaco-Santiago Culture,” in HSAI 2, 655-672.
     Comadrán Ruíz, La evolución demográfica, 31; Adolfo Luis González Rodríguez, La encomienda en Tucumán
     (Sevilla, 1983), 12. Both works cite the “Carta de Juan Ramírez de Velasco a Su Majestad (January 5, 1596),”
     which is published in Roberto Levillier, Gobernadores del Tucumán. Papeles de los gobernadores en el siglo
     XVI. Documentos del Archivo de Indias, 2 volumes (Madrid, 1920), volume I, 93.
     González Rodríguez, La encomienda en Tucumán, 43-44, citing Emilio Ravignani, “La población indígena de
     los regiones del Río de la Plata en la segunda mitad del siglo XVII,” in Actas y trabajos científicos del XXV
     congreso internacional de americanistas (Buenos Aires, 1934).
     See Gaston Doucet, “Introducción al estudio de la visita del Oidor don Antonio Martínez de Luján de Vargas a
     los encomiendas de Tucumán,” in Boletín del Instituto de Historia Argentina Doctor Emilio Ravignani, año 26,
     16:26 (1980), 205-247.
     See Adela Fernandez Alexander de Schorr, El segundo levantimiento Calchaquí (Tucumán, 1968); Lizondo
     Borda, “El Tucumán en los siglos XVII y XVIII,” in Levene, editor, Historia de la nación Argentina, volume
     III, 82.
     González Rodríguez, La encomienda en Tucumán, 60.
     Ibid., 54-59.
     Comadrán Ruíz, La evolución demográfica, 22.
     González Rodríguez, La encomienda en Tucumán, 60.
     See Guillermo B. Madrazo, Hacienda y encomienda en los Andes. La Puna argentina bajo el Marquesado de
     Tojo, siglos XVII a XIX (Buenos Aires, 1982).
     See the San Salvador de Jujuy “Carta Cuenta” from 1766-1767, Archivo General de Indias (A.G.I.), Buenos
     Aires 457.
     The Tucumán treasury records from the viceregal era are found in the A.G.I., Buenos Aires 460, 461, 462.
     Sobremonte, “Oficio” (1785).
     See the Córdoba hacienda records, A.G.I., Buenos Aires 464, 465, 466, 467. The Mendoza, San Luis and San
     Juan jurisdictions, although part of the Córdoba hacienda during the viceregal period, fall outside the Tucumán
     region as defined by Garavaglia. He places them instead in the Cuyo region. See Garavaglia, “Economic
     Growth and Regional Differentiations.”
     A.G.I., Buenos Aires 457, “Carta Cuenta” from San Salvador de Jujuy, 1766-1767.
     A.G.I., Buenos Aires 460, “Carta Cuenta de Salta” 1789.
     A.G.I., Buenos Aires 460, “Carta Cuenta de Salta” 1792.
     A.G.I., Buenos Aires 460, “Cartas Cuentas,” 1795, 1798.
     The Puna and San Salvador de Jujuy tribute records are found in the A.G.I., Buenos Aires 457, 458, 459, 460,
     461 and 462, “Cartas Cuentas de Salta.” Actual tributário counts from the individual pueblos sometimes differ
     from year to year and only afford approximations.
     A.G.I., Buenos Aires 460, 461, “Cartas Cuentas” 1795-1799.
     Unfortunately, the available records permit only a tentative comparison of treasury ramos for all the Tucumán
     region. They are not complete enough to allow a systematic, jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction comparison of the
     relative importance of all the ramos.
     See the A.G.I., Buenos Aires 458, “Carta Cuenta de Salta,” 1784.
     The Córdoba Nuevo Impuesto records include scattered entries for shipments of “lana de vicuña” and “lana de
     guanaco” passing through the city from the north on its way to Buenos Aires. See the Archivo Histórico de la
     Provincia de Córdoba (A.H.P.C.), Serie Hacienda, 14, 17, 43, 109, 117, 122, 130.
     See Klaus Müller, “Comercio interno y economía regional en Hispanoamérica colonial. Aproximación
     cuantitativa a la historia de San Miguel de Tucumán,” in Jahrbuch fur Geschichte von Staat, Wirtschaft und

     Gessellschaft Lateinamerikas 24 (1987), 265-334; and A.G.I., Buenos Aires 383, “Estados de las aduanas y
     comercio de virreinato,” 1789-1803, folios 158, 274.
     “Concolorcorvo,” El lazarillo, provides an excellent discussion of landowning patterns along the entire
     Tucumán livestock exporting network.
      Table I. Populations of Tucumán Jurisdictions and Cities, 1779

                                          Jurisdiction      City

      Córdoba                               39,673          7,283
      Santiago del Estero                   15,465          1,776
      San Miguel de Tucumán                 20,104          4,087
      Salta                                 11,565          4,305
      San Salvador de Jujuy                 13,519          1,707
      Catamarca                              15,315          6,441
      La Rioja                               9,723          2,172

       Total                               125,255         27,771


      Source: Comadrán Ruíz, Evolución demográfica argentina, 80-81.

      Table II. Populations by Ethnicity, Tucumán Region, 1779

      Jurisdiction          blancos          castas         naturales      totals

     Córdoba               17, 863 (45%)    17,626 (45%)    4,184 (10%)    39,673
     Santiago               2,247 (14%)      8,312 (54%)    4,897 (32%)    15,456
      del Estero
     San Miguel             3,166 (16%)    12,869 (64%)     4,069 (20%)    20,104
     de Tucumán
     Salta                  3,190 (27%)     5,305 (46%)     3,070 (27%)    11,565
     San Salvador             653 (5%)      1,785 (13%)    11,181 (82%)    13,519
     de Jujuy
     Catamarca              4,590 (30%)     7,908 (52%)     2,817 (18%)    15,315
     La Rioja               2,617 (27%)     1,906 (20%)     5,200 (53%)     9,723

        Totals             34,326 (27%)    55,711 (45%)    35,418 (28%)   125,355

      Source: Comadrán Ruíz, Evolución demográfica argentina, 80-81.
              Table III. Indian Population Estimates, Tucumán Region, 1596-1779.

                              Encomienda Population              Total Population

                                1596         1702                1673        1779

      Córdoba                 12,000          94                  430        4,804

      Santiago                8,000          342                3,368        4,897
       del Estero

      San Miguel              2,000           257                2,285       4,069
       de Tucumán

      Salta                   5,000          319                 1,996       3,070

      San Salvador            3,000           308                 1,555      11,181
       de Jujuy

      La Rioja               20,000           104                  1,381       5,200

      Catamarca               ----            126                   ----       2,817

   Sources: González Rodríguez, La encomienda en Tucumán, 6-65; Comadrán Ruíz,
            Evolución demográfica argentina, 20-21.
     Table IV. Tribute Revenues, Salta and Tucumán Intendencies, 1786-1805.

                                 Córdoba              Salta

               1786               1,273                 ---
               1787               3,281                 ---
               1788               2,907                 ---
               1789               2,259               12,529
               1790               1,625               12,039
               1791               2,234               11,389
               1792               2,119               11,447
               1793               1,725               13,607
               1794               2,034               12,165
               1795               1,956               16,395
               1796               1,615               16,237
               1797               2,328               15,285
               1798               1,624               18,995
               1799               2,113               13,798
               1800               1,635               15,352
               1801               2,321                 ---
               1802               2,634               11,910
               1803               1,770               10,155
               1804                 ---                 ---
               1805               1,855                 ---

      Totals               39,308                191,303

      Sources: Archivo General de Indias, Buenos Aires 457, 458,
               459, 460, 461, 462, 465, 466, 467.

To top