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Cecilia Escalera Túpac Amaru

Other names/titles:
Gender: F
Ethnic origin: Mestizo/a

Biographical details

She was presumed to be a mestiza, from Surimana, Tinta, born around 1761. She married Pedro Mendigure and, at the age of 21, was sentenced to 10 years exile in Mexico for her part in the Túpac Amaru rebellion. (O'Phelan, 305)

The sister of José Gabriel Túpac Amaru, who "instigated and abetted" the Túpac Amaru uprising. She was either whipped or sentenced to death. (Knaster, 468.) She was married to Pedro Mendigure, a muleteer from Pomacanchis. She took the name Túpac Amaru because she was brought up by Marcos Túpac Amaru who married her mother. (O'Phelan, 217, 235)

She was imprisoned and on 17 July 1781 was taken out and, desnuda, atada sobre un borrico, para vergüenza y baldón. She was flogged and taken through the main streets of Cuzco y de trecho a trecho, el verdugo descargaba sobre el cuerpo de la víctima, los duros y fuertes latigazos que reventaban las carnes and made her wounds bleed copiously. She cried, “esta es la justicia del Rey”. She was left codiga by her hands and feet on the wet ground at the prison gate. She died in prison sometime before 6 August 1783. (Cornejo Bournocle, 152-155)

She was married to Pedro Mendigure , a Spaniard. On 17 July 1781 she was sentenced to 200 lashes, and to ride the streets naked on a mule, then 10 years exile in Mexico. She died during her physical punishment. (Guardia, 45)

The cousin of Túpac Amaru, she was arrested in Tinta in 1783 and charged with taking part in the Picchu, Cuzco expedition and sentenced to ten years exile in a Mexican convent. She was stripped to the waist, mounted on a burro which she rode through the streets while 200 lashes were given to her. She was sent to prison in Lima where she died in April 1793. (Campbell, 189, 193-195)

Fisher maintains that her role in the rebellion is "hazy" as no letters written by her have been found. She was accused of having incited the indigenous to kill Spaniards. (Fisher, 1966, 192, 211)

When she was arrested, she gave her name as Escalera and showed surprise at being arreste, she assumed it was because she had been found in Túpac Amaru's house, but claimed that Bastidas had maltreated her. In her trial she claimed not to understand the questions she was being asked. Her defence emphasised her frailty and small stature maintaining that she could not have played much of a role in the rebellion. She was ordered to be given 200 lashes and was sent to a Mexican convent for 10 years. She was detained in Callao awaiting a ship to Mexico, but her exile was pardoned in 1781. She died in early 1783. (Fisher, 1966, 234-235, 239).

Life Events

Born 1760She was born around 1760.
Other 1780She took part in the Túpac Amaru rebellion.
Other 1781On 17 July 1781, she was sentenced to ten years in exile in Mexico.
Died 1783She died in a Cuzco prison around 1783.


Knaster, Meri, (1977), Women in Spanish America: An Annotated Bibliography from Pre-Conquest to Contemporary Times

O'Phelan Godoy, Scarlett, (1985), Rebellions and Revolts in Eighteenth Century Peru and Upper Peru

Cornejo Bouroncle, Jorge, (1949), Sangre Andina, Diéz mujeres cuzqueñas

Guardia, Sara Beatriz, (1985), Mujeres peruanas: El otro lado de la historia

Campbell, Leon, (1985), Women and the Great Rebellion in Peru, 1780-1783

Fisher, Lillian Estelle, (1966), The Last Inca Revolt

Davies, Catherine, Brewster, Claire and Owen, Hilary, (2006), South American Independence. Gender, Politics, Text


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