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Comentarios Reales de los Incas

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Title: Comentarios Reales de los Incas  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Peruvian literature, Viceroyalty of Peru, Education in Peru, La Canela
Collection: 1609 Books, 1609 Works, 1617 Books, 17Th-Century Books, Colonial Peru, Inca, Peruvian Literature, Viceroyalty of Peru
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Comentarios Reales de los Incas

The Comentarios Reales de los Incas is a book written by Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, the first mestizo writer of colonial Andean South America. The Comentarios Reales de los Incas [1] is considered by most to be the unquestionable masterpiece of Inca Garcilaso de la Vega and arguably the best prose of the colonial period in Peru.

A direct blood descendant of the royal Inca rulers of prehispanic Peru [2] and with equal parts of Spanish blood, Garcilaso Inca writes these chronicles as a first hand account of the Inca traditions and customs. However, Garcilaso Inca was taught within the Spanish system of his father and for the most part, "Garcilaso interpreted Inca and Andean religion from the European and Christian point of view that he had been taught to adopt from infancy and that provided him with most of his historical and philosophical terminology." [3]

The son of Captain Sebastián Garcilaso de la Vega y Vargas and the Inca princess Isabel Suárez Chimpu Ocllo (or Palla Chimpu Ocllo), he received the best education of both worlds. Written from memory while he was in Spain, the first edition was published in 1609 in Lisbon (Portugal) in the printshop of Pedro Crasbeeck.

Garcilaso had previously published a Spanish translation of the Dialogos de Amor and had written La Florida del Inca, and both works had earned him recognition as a writer.

The first part of the Comentarios deals with Inca life, and the second part is about the Spanish conquest of Peru. The second part of the Comentarios was only published posthumously, one year after the author's death, in 1617, and published under the title of Historia General del Peru.

Most experts agree the Comentarios Reales are a scholarly chronicle of the culture, economics, and politics of the Inca empire, based on oral tradition as handed down to Garcilaso by relatives and other amauta during his childhood and teenage years.

Garcilaso's commentaries have to be understood as representing a mixed worldview of the Inca empire, from the point of view of a member of the royal family of Cuzco, and that of Spanish-Catholic theology. [4]

Many years later, when the native uprising led by Tupac Amaru II gained traction, Charles III of Spain banned the "Comentarios" from being published in Lima due to its "dangerous" content.

The first English translation was by Sir Paul Rycaut in 1685 titled The royal commentaries of Peru[5]

The book was not printed again in the Americas until 1918, but copies continued to be circulated. In 1961, an English translation by Maria Jolas, titled The Incas was published.


  1. ^ de la Vega, Garcilaso, Inca, (1918). "Comentarios Reales de los Incas" summarized web version available as "El Reino de los Incas del Peru" edited by James Bardin, Professor of Romance Languages, U.VA. summarized web version available as "El Reino de los Incas del Peru" by James Bardin: Allyn and Bacon. 
  2. ^ Markham, Clements (1920). Los Incas del Peru. 
  3. ^ MacCormack, Sabine (1991). Religion in the Andes: Vision and Imagination in Early Colonial Peru. Princeton University Press. pp. 333–334. 
  4. ^ MacCormack, Sabine (1991). Religion in the Andes: Vision and Imagination in Early Colonial Peru. Princeton University Press. pp. 332–382. 
  5. ^ Rycaut, Paul (1685). The royal commentaries of Peru. Miles Flesher/Christopher Wilkinson. 
  • José Antonio Mazzotti, Coros mestizos del Inca Garcilaso: resonancias andinas (Lima: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1996).
  • Margarita Zamora, Language, Authority, and Indigenous History in the Comentarios reales de los Incas, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988).
  • MacCormack, Sabine. 1991. Religion in the Andes: Vision and Imagination in Early Colonial Peru. Princeton: Princeton University Press.


Linkgua US, 2006, ISBN 84-96428-70-2

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