Don Quixote de la Mancha, since he had no money to pay
his squire Sancho Panza, paid him with promises. One day,
he said, he would make Sancho the governor of an island,
which he expected some monarch to reward him with for his
noble deeds. Panza, an impoverished peasant in a remote,
arid village, knew the real world’s limitations. He was usu-
ally skeptical of Quixote’s fantasies, and would have scorned
as impossible an offer to make him alcalde of his own vil-
lage. Yet the prospect of a far- off island offered him a larger
vision of who he might be. Panza agreed to serve Quixote
for free, assuring him: “I have taken my own pulse and find
myself in good health for ruling kingdoms and governing
islands. . . . Be it ever so big, I feel in myself the strength to
know how to govern it just as well as anyone else in the world
who has governed islands.”1 Miguel de Cervantes wrote Don
Quixote a little over a century after Spaniards first set foot on
the islands of the Caribbean. Cervantes, who himself hoped
for a government position in Upper Peru, may have used
Panza’s delusions of grandeur to satirize the new ambitions
for what a state could do and be for what governing might
accomplish that New World empire inspired in Old World
hearts.2
The General Resettlement was no delusion, but to a
modern reader Viceroy don Francisco de Toledo can appear
quixotic. While visiting the shores of Lake Titicaca during
the General Inspection, he was informed that the people of
ePiloGue
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