The myth of Inkarri: resurrection of the Incas

 The Inkarri myth was transmitted by oral tradition for more than four centuries until it was compiled in the Q’ero community, Cusco region, in 1955. Then, after hard work by many scholars on the subject, up to fifteen versions of the myth were discovered. this myth. That says? The fall of the Inca empire from an indigenous perspective, in which the hope of a resurrection or reconstitution of the Inca empire is raised. Learn more!

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This is the myth of Inkarri

The Inkarri myth has several versions, however, the most widespread version is more or less like this:

  • The Inca emperor Atahualpa was beheaded by the Spanish whose limbs were buried in the four regions of the Inca empire. The head was buried in the city of Cusco, capital of Tahuantinsuyo. This secretly grows underground seeking to meet with arms and legs. When they finally unite, they will form a unit, an Andean god named Inkarri, who will achieve the restitution of the Inca empire. Inkarri means ‘Inka king’. This Andean god was tricked and killed by Españarri ‘España rey’. When Inkarri returns to life, he will defeat Españarri and the Andean order of the world will be restored.
myth of Inkarri

Main characters

These are the main characters according to the most widespread version of the Inkarri myth:

  • Atahualpa – The Inca emperor who was tricked by the Spanish into being assassinated. They beheaded and dismembered him, throwing his limbs to different points of the Inca empire. Atahualpa’s head remains buried in the city of Cusco.
  • Inkarri – The mythical Andean god with messianic qualities who awaits the reconstitution of Atahualpa’s head and limbs in order to resurrect and restore the Andean order of the world. Inkarri means ‘Inka king’.
  • Españarri – A mythical being with malevolent characteristics who, with deceit, assassinated and dismembered the Inca Atahualpa, managing to change the course of the world. At Inkarri’s resurrection he will be defeated. Españarri means ‘Spain King’.

Other versions of the Inkarri myth

The myth of Inkarri according to Mateo Garriaso in Puquio, Ayacucho – Inkarri is the son of a wild woman and the sun god. Ordering the stones with a whip, he founded the city of Cusco. Then the so-called Inca of the Spanish captured Inkarri. After killing him, only the head remains buried somewhere. The myth points out that Inkarri’s body is growing again. The day it is completed, with the acceptance of God, the kingdom of the Incas will be restored again.

The myth of Inkarri according to Viviano Wamancha in Puquio, Ayacucho – Inkarri is the son of the sun and at the same time creator of the wamanís or second gods of the mountains. He is the creator of everything that exists. It has the power to appear and disappear gold and silver. He lives in Cusco where his head is, which is growing underground. When Inkarri died, he made the world’s gold and silver disappear. Maybe the Spanish murdered him.

The myth of Inkarri according to Nieves Quispe in Puquio, Ayacucho – Inkarri is an all-powerful god who orders the world. In the Quelqata pampas, brandy, wine and chicha boil by order of Inkarri. He was a great man, good thing he died, we don’t know how or by whom. His head is in Lima. After his death he does not reign. Now things are done by God’s order.

The myth of Inkarri according to the Chanqaray shepherd – Inkarri was an all-powerful man, son of the moon and the sun. However, Pizarro assassinated him by taking his head to Spain and leaving his body in the towns of Peru. In Spain Inkarrí’s head is still alive, his beard grows by shaving every month. After the death of Inkarri, Jesus Christ arrived to order the world. When the order of things changes, Inkarri will return. The mountains and high snow peaks know that.

The myth of Inkarri according to Doña Baseliza de Pacapauza (Ayacucho) – Inkarri was an Inca who came to Pacapauza (Ayacucho) from the province of Cotahuasi (Arequipa). He brought many things for his livelihood and business. However, before continuing on his way, another man (his name or origin is not specified) blocked his way by turning his belongings into stones. Until then the stones are there and they belong to Inkarri.

Symbolism: studies on the Inkarri myth

The myth of Inkarri is, by all accounts, a myth with messianic and revengeful influences that surely began to germinate during the colonial era (17th and 18th centuries).

For the researcher Alejandro Ortiz Rescaniere, “it responds to a common search: Andean culture, its society, defined in the face of this long historical tragedy that began with the European invasion.”

That is, the myth represents the suffering, resistance and struggle for the vindication of the Andean peoples subjected and defeated in the tragic events that occurred in Peru in the 16th century (the Spanish invasion).

It is presumed that the myth could germinate with the capture of Atahualpa on November 16, 1532 (Inkarri would be the captured Inca emperor).

However, it could also represent the Inca rebel Túpac Amaru I, also assassinated by the Spanish in 1572. Furthermore, other versions indicate that Inkarri would represent the leader Túpac Amaru II, assassinated by the Spanish in 1781 (in the famous dismemberment in Plaza of Arms of Cusco).

myth of Inkarri
myth of Inkarri

More information

The first versions of the Inkarri myth were recorded in the fifties. These versions are those of José María Arguedas in 1956, Núñez del Prado in 1957 and Morote in 1958.

The first version of the Inkarri myth was compiled from the indigenous people of Quero in Cusco, considered a living Inca people, due to their distance from modern civilization.

Most of the versions of the Inkarri myth were recorded in Puquio, Ayacucho. Even there was the compilation achieved by the famous Peruvian writer José María Arguedas in 1956.

By 1972, fifteen versions of the already famous myth of Inkarri had already been compiled. It is striking that even in the Amazonian Asháninca towns a different version was recorded.

The Peruvian historian Franklin Pease says that the myth of Inkarri has been spreading via oral tradition since the 18th century, mainly throughout the Peruvian Andean region.

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