Battle of Sangarara
The Battle of Sangarara was fought on November 18, 1780 in Sangarara, Peru between rebel forces under Tupac Amaru II and Spanish colonial forces under Tiburcio Landa. Tupac Amaru II's forces won decisively.
The Battle of Sangarara took place nine days after the execution of Antonio de Arriaga, the corregidor of Tinta. Sangarara was the first major conflict between Spanish and rebel forces in the Rebellion of Tupac Amaru. Following the capture of Quiquijana, which had been abandoned by its corregidor, on November 12, 1780, meetings were held in Cuzco to establish a war council.Walker, Charles. Smoldering Ashes: Cuzco and the Creation of Republican Peru. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1999, page 36. Forces consisting of 800 from surrounding areas were combined with volunteers and militia from Cuzco and were organized under Tiburcio Landa. They arrived in Sangarara on the night of November 17 and based themselves the town's church. The expectation of the arrival of a snowstorm may have influenced the Spanish decision to fortify the church in addition to strategic reasons.
In the morning hours of November 18, the rebel forces occupied nearby hills and surrounded the church. Sympathetic historical accounts outline Tupac Amaru II's request that Creoles, women, and children be allowed to leave the church before the attack. The rebels began attacking the Spanish with slingshots until the church caught fire, either through arson by Tupac Amaru II or through the sudden spark of Spanish gunpowder. The Spanish fled the church and were routed by the surrounding forces, who were armed with only spears and slings. Spanish troops had brought cannons with, but they were rendered ineffective by the walls of the church. Historical casualty estimates for the Spanish ranged from 300 to 576. Estimates for rebel casualties number only 15 killed and 30 wounded.Means, Philip Ainsworth. "The Rebellion of Tupac-Amaru II, 1780-1781." The Hispanic American Historical Review, Feb. 1919, Vol. II, page 18.
Tupac Amaru II's decisive victory helped to boost his support among Indians and gained him Spanish arms. It also helped to create fear among the Spanish in the area. However; the Spanish colonial officials used the violent nature of the battle in propaganda against the rebels. The Bishop of Cuzco excommunicated Tupac Amaru II from the church for the destruction of the church in Sangarara. The violent, anti-religious portrayals of the rebel leadership helped to limit support from Creoles and Mestizos. Following the battle, the rebels solidified their hold on the outside areas instead of attacking Cuzco, going against the advice of fellow commander (and Tupac Amaru II's wife) Micaela Bastidas.
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