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Witness to the Age of Revolution

The Odyssey of Juan Bautista Tupac Amaru

Charles F. Walker and Liz Clarke

Publication Date - 01 September 2020

ISBN: 9780190941154

192 pages
7 x 10 inches

In Stock


The Tupac Amaru rebellion of 1780-1783 began as a local revolt against colonial authorities and grew into the largest rebellion in the history of Spain's American empire-more widespread and deadlier than the American Revolution. An official collector of tribute for the imperial crown, José Gabriel Condorcanqui had seen firsthand what oppressive Spanish rule meant for Peru's Indian population and, under the Inca royal name Tupac Amaru, he set events in motion that would transform him into one of Latin America's most iconic revolutionary figures. While he and the rebellion's leaders were put to death, his half-brother, Juan Bautista Tupac Amaru, survived but paid a high price for his participation in the uprising.

This work in the Graphic History series is based on the memoir written by Juan Bautista about his odyssey as a prisoner of Spain. He endured forty years in jails, dungeons, and presidios on both sides of the Atlantic. Juan Bautista spent two years in jail in Cusco, was freed, rearrested, and then marched 700 miles in chains over the Andes to Lima. He spent two years aboard a ship travelling around Cape Horn to Spain. Subsequently, he endured over thirty years imprisoned in Ceuta, Spain's much-feared garrison city on the northern tip of Africa. In 1822, priest Marcos Durán Martel and Maltese-Argentine naval hero Juan Bautista Azopardo arranged to have him freed and sent to the newly independent Argentina, where he became a symbol of Argentina's short-lived romance with the Incan Empire. There he penned his memoirs, but died without fulfilling his dream of returning to Peru.

This stunning graphic history relates the life and legacy of Juan Bautista Tupac Amaru, enhanced by a selection of primary sources, and chronicles the harrowing and extraordinary life of a firsthand witness to the Age of Revolution.


  • Part of the acclaimed Graphic History Series
  • Based on research in Peru, Argentina, Spain, and Ceuta, this book tells the story of Juan Bautista Tupac Amaru (1747-1827), the forgotten half-brother of the Andean revolutionary leader
  • Gives insight through one life into Tupac Amaru Rebellion (1780-1783) and Spain's trans-Atlantic penal system

About the Author(s)

Charles F. Walker is Professor of History and the Director of the Hemispheric Institute on the Americas at the University of California, Davis. He is the author of The Tupac Amaru Rebellion, named one of the best books of the year by the Financial Times, among other works on Latin American history.

Liz Clarke is a professional illustrator based in Cape Town, South Africa.


"a formidable teaching tool" -- José Carlos de la Puente, Early American Literature

"An engaging text that will be of particular value to teachers who want to convey the human aspect of a tumultuous era as well as how it has been interpreted through history....Walker and Clarke should be applauded for their research and attention to detail....Perhaps the most important value of this genre is that it brings into stark relief the human experiences and suffering of the era of Atlantic Revolution in ways that traditional historical narratives simply cannot convey It is a very good example of the pedagogical value of graphic history. The book should also serve as a call to revisit the historical and pedagogical value of biography. Witness to the Age of Revolution shows how they can not only weave multiple historical themes into one narrative but also put a very human face on these events." -- Mark Rice, The Americas

"A formidable teaching tool....The graphics are well crafted and their rich, comic-like aesthetics, truly powerful. Maps, family trees, primary documents, and other visual resources effectively condense large amounts of information and vividly convey Juan Bautista's plea, making the story easy to follow, even for students with little to no knowledge of the subject....Juan Bautista's experiences...put a human face to...epochal transformations....As he reminisced about his forty-year ordeal...[He] did not merely recount the recent colonial past, he also helped to resignify it, rendering it useful to the nascent Latin American nations struggling to gain (and legitimize) their independence from Spain." -- José Carole de la Puente, Early American Literature

"This book manages to rescue one of the most elusive figures in Peruvian history and is a persuasive invitation to take his sources as a starting point to relocate his historical legacy in the debates about the past, present and future of the Peruvian republican project in its bicentennial.... The appearance of Witness to the Age of Revolution contributes to revitalizing the subgenre of graphic adaptations of central documents of Peruvian historiography, which in Peru has very little precedent." -- Fernando Aguirre Perez, La Vaca Multicolor

"Part action comic, part historical biography: an attempt to correct the record and give a pivotal figure the prominence he deserves... [Witness to the Age of Revolution is] an educational hybrid, with vivid illustrations backed by scholarly context." -- Kirkus

"Some stories, like the incredible odyssey of Juan Bautista Tupac Amaru, have to be seen to be believed. From his youth in the heart of the Incan Andes, where his half-brother led the massive indigenous struggle that nearly dislodged the Spanish Empire, to his decades-long exile in Spain and Morocco, where he befriended veterans of late-eighteenth and early nineteenth-century revolutions and wars of independence, and, finally, to his liberation in Argentina, where he was cast as a hero and encouraged to write his memoirs, this beautifully rendered graphic account of Juan Bautista's amazing journey is a vivid reminder that history offers epic dramas as riveting as any we might imagine." -- Vincent Brown, author of Tacky's Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War

"From unlikely protagonists, off-center pathways, and the most forgotten corners of the late colonial Spanish world, Walker and Clarke draw a vivid and compelling story." -- Kenneth Mills, University of Michigan

"The life and times of an Inca 'Papillon,' witness to, and participant in the Age of Revolutions and the creation of modern Latin America. This beautifully illustrated and historically accurate graphic history of Tupac Amaru's brother and his controversial book makes this tragic history come alive." -- Stuart B. Schwartz, Yale University

"Witness to the Age of Revolution is a perfect text to allow students and scholars to engage with Juan Bautista Tupac Amaru's harrowing journey. This colorful graphic edition brings alive a forgotten piece of history and will allow the reader to see and feel the towering peaks of the Andes, the violence of the revolution, and the cruelty of forty years in captivity." -- Sarah E. Owens, author of Nuns Navigating the Spanish Empire

"In this riveting, original, and sumptuously illustrated book, the remarkable and surprising transatlantic life of Juan Bautista Tupac Amaru is vividly reconstructed for students and scholars alike. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the Age of Revolutions." -- Gabriel Paquette, University of Oregon

"Juan Bautista's compelling story of resistance and survival is re-told by a master historian and illustrated in an active and energetic style that draws the reader and the viewer deep into the world of people who fought long and hard to topple a powerful empire that once spanned the globe. Students and teachers of rebellion and revolution and anyone with an interest in Latin American and Spanish history and culture will want to follow the gripping account of this rebel and the travails that he endured attempting to free his people from imperialism. This is history as the story of action and the triumph of hope." -- Leo J. Garofalo, co-author of Documenting Latin America: Gender, Race, and Empire

"Part action comic, part historical biography: an attempt to correct the record and give a pivotal figure the prominence he deserves... [Witness to the Age of Revolution is] an educational hybrid, with vivid illustrations backed by scholarly context."--Kirkus

Table of Contents


    Part I: The Graphic History

    Part II: Context

    Part III: The Primary Sources
    a. Diary
    b. Commander Córdoba report, 1784
    c. Cádiz petition, 1814
    d. Indiferente petition, 1814
    e. Duran Martel letter, 1814
    f. Legajo 1023, 1821
    g. Diario Constitucional, Barcelona, 1821
    h. Algeciras--amnesty rejected, 1822
    i. Tupac Amaru to Rivadavia, 1822
    j. Letter to Simón Bolívar, 1825
    k. Angelis, "imposter," 1836
    l. Clements Markham, 1862

    Further Reading and Sources



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