Aftershocks and Echoes
There is no doubt that Peru, more than a country of fiction,
of legend, or of comedy, as some would have it, is a country
filled with history. The past awaits and speaks to us, from
every corner: from pre-Hispanic ruins, from the colonial
temples and the republican battlegrounds, from the fables
about towering mountains or Cyclopean walls as well as from
romantic narrow streets or the crossroads of forgotten paths.
Perspectiva y panorama, 40–41
n the Conde de Superunda requested that he
relieved of his position as viceroy of Peru. Almost
seventy years old, he yearned to retire in Spain. Carlos
III granted his request two years later, and on October
27, 1761, a day shy of the earthquake’s fifteenth anni-
versary, he sailed from Callao for the return to Spain.
Yet a calm retirement did not await the count. In Lima,
the official review of his tenure as viceroy, the juicio de
residencia, cited many accusations. Critics charged the
viceroy and his aides with favoritism and with collect-
ing millions of pesos of silver, gold, and other trea-
sures that the tsunami had washed away. His defenders
coyly and correctly answered that heavy metal doesn’t
float—the sea had swallowed it, and lucky treasure-
seekers and ransackers had taken the rest. Manso was
ultimately exonerated of these and other charges, but
the long trial proved humiliating and costly.¹
More troubles awaited him on his return voyage. His
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