Inca Garcilaso de la Vega

Garcilaso de la Vega, (b. Gómez Suárez de Figueroa, April 12, 1539 in Cuzco, Peru, d. 1616) was an illustrious Peruvian historian and acclaimed writer who is recognized primarily for his contributions to Inca history, culture, and society. Although not all scholars agree, many consider Garcilaso's accounts the most complete and accurate available. Because of the fact that there was also a Spanish author named Garcilaso de la Vega, he is more commonly known as "El Inca" Garcilaso de la Vega, or simply "El Inca Garcilaso".


Early life

Garcilaso de la Vega was born of Spanish aristocratic and royal Inca roots in Cusco, Peru on April 12, 1539. [ Libros Peruanos. "Inca Garcilaso de la Vega."] ] Garcilaso was the illegitimate son of Spanish captain and conquistador Sebastián Garcilaso de la Vega y Vargas (d. 1559). Garcilaso's mother, Inca princess Palla Chimpu Ocllo, baptized as Isabel Suárez Chimpu Ocllo, was descended from Inca nobility, a daughter of Tupac Huallpa and a granddaughter (not a niece) of the powerful Inca Tupac Yupanqui. [] Garcilaso lived with his mother the first ten years of his life and learned to speak both Quechua and Spanish. [ Cervantes Virtual. "Inca Garcilaso de la Vega" by José Carlos Rovira and Remedios Mataix.] ] Garcilaso received an inheritance of 4,000 pesos when his father died and in 1560 decided to travel to Spain.

After his father abandoned his mother for a younger Spanish woman, his mother was married again to Juan de Pedroche and had two daughters, Ana Ruíz, who was married to her cousin Martín de Bustinza, and Luisa de Herrera, married to Pedro Márquez de Galeoto (the parents of Alonso Márquez de Figueroa).Fact|date=October 2007 A native Quechua speaker born in Cuzco, Garcilaso wrote accounts of Inca life, history, and the conquest by the Spanish. His writings were published as the "Comentarios Reales de los Incas" (translated complete into English in 1961 as "The Incas"). It is recorded that he died in Cordoba, Spain, on April 23, 1616, but the date could also be the 22 or the 21, given the inaccuracy of the existing documents.

Travel to Spain

Garcilaso arrived in Spain in 1561 and traveled to Montilla where he met his father's brother, Alonso de Vargas, who became Garcilaso's protector. Garcilaso soon traveled to Madrid to seek recognition for the rights of his father.

Garcilaso was educated in Spain after his father's death in 1560. At the time, marriages between the Spanish and native people of the Americas were not recognized in Spain. Garcilaso had to present his case in the Spanish courts in order to receive payment for his service to the crown. Embittered by his illegitimacy in Spain and proud of his Inca heritage, Garcilaso took on the name "El Inca" (in this context, "Inca" refers to the old ruling lineage group, not the general people).

He remained in Spain and did not return to his native country (now Peru) due to the danger his royal Inca lineage presented in uncertain times.

Military service

He entered Spanish military service in 1570 and fought in the Alpujarra mountains against the Moors after the Morisco Revolt. He received the rank of captain for his services to the crown.

Personal life

He lived in the town of Montilla until 1591, when he moved to Cordoba until his death. Apparently, he had a first son in 1570, who might have died at a very young age. He then had a second son, Diego de Vargas, in 1590, who helped him copy the "Royal Commentaries" and survived him until at least 1651. The mothers of both children were two of Garcilaso's servants.


He received a first-rate, by informal European education in Spain after he relocated there at age 21. His works have enormous literary value, and shouldn't be considered mere historical chronicles. His maternal family were the ruling Inca, and as such, he portrays the Inca as benevolent rulers who governed a country where everybody was well-fed and happy. (Subsequent research has contradicted this idealized view.Who|date=July 2008) Nonetheless, he received first-hand accounts of daily Inca life from his maternal relatives, much of which he conveyed in his writings, and he gives accurate information about the system of tribute and labor enforced by the Incas. Unfortunately, his depiction of Incan religion and gradual expansion is nurtured by his Christianized view of the indigenous past Fact|date=July 2008; as an example, no mention is made of human sacrifices in Inca times. Whether this was a deliberate attempt to portray his Inca ancestors in a good light, or mere ignorance given that he lived most of his life in Spain, is not known.

Comentarios Reales de los Incas

It was in Spain that Garcilaso wrote his famous "Comentarios Reales de los Incas", published in Lisbon in 1609, and based on stories he had been told by his Inca relatives when he was a child in Cusco. The "Comentarios" contained two parts: the first about Inca life, and the second about the Spanish conquest of Peru, published in 1617. Many years later (1780), when the uprising against colonial oppression led by Tupac Amaru II gained traction, a royal edict by Carlos III of Spain banned the "Comentarios" from being published or distributed in Lima due to its "dangerous" content. The book was not printed again in the Americas until 1918, but copies continued to be circulated.

Historia de la Florida

Even before the "Comentarios Reales", Garcilaso had also written his popular "La Florida del Inca", an account of Hernando de Soto's expedition and journey of Florida. The work was published in Lisbon in 1605. It contains the chronicles of de Sotos's expedition according to information Garcilaso gathered during various years, and defends the legitimacy of imposing the Spanish sovereignty in conquered territories and submit them to Christian jurisdiction. He also defends the dignity, courage and rationality of the native Americans.


Cusco's main stadium, Estadio Garcilaso de la Vega, was named after him in 1950.

ee also

*Fray Martín de Murua
*Guaman Poma
*Diego Fernández


External links

* [ Universidad Inca Garcilaso de la Vega] - Peruvian University named in his honor

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Inca Garcilaso De La Vega — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Garcilaso de la Vega. Inca Garcilaso de la Vega Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (12 avril 1539 à Cuzco …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Inca Garcilaso de la Vega — Garcilaso de la Vega, llamado El Inca; Cuzco, actual Perú, 1539 Córdoba, España, 1616) Escritor e historiador peruano. Era hijo del conquistador español Sebastián Garcilaso de la Vega y de la princesa incaica Isabel Chimpo Ocllo. Gracias a la… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Inca Garcilaso de la Vega — Existen desacuerdos sobre la neutralidad en el punto de vista de la versión actual de este artículo o sección. En la página de discusión puedes consultar el debate al respecto …   Wikipedia Español

  • Inca Garcilaso de la Vega — El Inca Garcilaso de la Vega Garcilaso Inca de la Vega (auch: El Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, „El Inca“; geboren als Gómez Suárez de Figueroa; * 1539 in Cusco, Peru; † 23. April 1616 in Córdoba (Spanien)) war ein berühmter peruanischer Dichter und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Inca Garcilaso de la Vega — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Garcilaso de la Vega. Inca Garcilaso de la Vega Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, ou El Inca Garcilaso, de son vrai nom Gómez Suárez de Figueroa …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Congreso Internacional 1609-2009: IV Centenario de los Comentarios Reales del Inca Garcilaso de la Vega — El Congreso Internacional 1609 2009: IV Centenario de los Comentarios Reales de los Incas es un evento académico que se realizó en la ciudad del Cusco (Perú) del 19 al 21 de agosto de 2009. Fue organizado por la Universidad Nacional Mayor de San… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Estadio Inca Garcilaso de la Vega — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Estadio Inca Garcilaso de la Vega Localización Cusco, Perú …   Wikipedia Español

  • Avenida Inca Garcilaso de la Vega — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Avenida Inca Garcilaso de la Vega Lima, Perú Historial de nombres El Sol Wilson …   Wikipedia Español

  • Universidad Inca Garcilaso de la Vega — Este artículo o sección necesita referencias que aparezcan en una publicación acreditada, como revistas especializadas, monografías, prensa diaria o páginas de Internet fidedignas. Puedes añadirlas así o avisar …   Wikipedia Español

  • GARCILASO DE LA VEGA dit L’INCA — (1539 1616) Fils naturel du conquistador Sebastián Garcilaso de la Vega et de la princesse inca Isabel Chimpu Ocllo, Garcilaso naquit au Cuzco, ancienne capitale de l’Empire inca. Baptisé sous le patronyme de Gómez Suárez de Figueroa, il n’adopta …   Encyclopédie Universelle

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.