Tristan Platt
The preceding chapters have offered ten perspectives on native American
writing and plural literacies under Spanish rule. They illustrate the com-
plexity and variety of colonial situations in different parts of the viceroyalties
of Peru and New Spain. They draw on a wealth of new materials emerging
from the archives. The theoretical implications are complex, but important
for our understanding of national as well as colonial and even pre- Hispanic
American societies. In conclusion, I offer an overview of some of the themes
treated, adopting a perspective from the great urban- industrial hub of the
early colonial Andes: Potosí, whose mines lay in the lands of the Aymara-
speaking federation of Qaraqara, in the old Inka province of Charcas.1
The book interweaves analyses of the two viceroyalties, and the compari-
son is intriguing. Why were so many more native languages written down,
and so much more extensively, in Mexico than in Peru? Why did so much
linguistic variety disappear from colonial Peru, while persisting in Mexico?
Regional situations differed, and Mexico was spared a viceroy like Francisco
de Toledo, whose efforts to curb indian litigiousness may have screened out
some Amerindian language texts that would otherwise have been filed by
notaries.2 But Gabriela Ramos underlines one key factor: the almost total
opacity to Europeans of Andean khipu literacy in comparison with Mexican
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