Tales_Claudia_de_Witch - 1 17 ~ 1674 . Claudia the Witch E...

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1674 . Claudia the Witch ET us now relate the strange exploits or diabol- ical deeds of ~ whose crimes were dis- covered in the year I67~ when they came to an end. But before recounting them I wish to declare the un- happiness and great evil that, among so many felicities, this kingdom of Peru e!periences in possessing the coca herb (which is taken by those ministers of thedevil for diCir a60minable vices and execrable evil-doing), although I will first set forth some of its good properties. 21 In his Chronicle of Peru Pedro Oeza de Leon,22 referring to the value placed on this herb in his time, writes: "In all pans of the Indies where I have traveled I have obse.rVea that ttle natIve IndIans take greatpleasnre iii holding in their __ mouths roots, branches, or herbs. And thus, in the district of Antioquia some are accustomed to use a small coca leaf and in the provinces of Arma other herbs; in the provinces of Quimbaya and Ancerma they employ small soft trees that are atlways very green, cutting twigs from them, which they hold between their teeth and n~r tire of chewing; in most of the Indian villages of Cali and Popayan theylreep the small coca leaf I have already mentioned in their mouths and extract from small gourds a certain mixture or preparation that they make and put in their mouths and hold there; and they do the same with a kind of earth resembling lime. Everywhere in Peru," continues this author, "it was the custom, and is the custom today, to hold this coca in the mouth; and they keep it there from early morning until they go to bed without re- moving it. Inquiring of some Indians why they always have this herb in their mouths (which they do not eat or do any- thing with except to hold it between their teeth) they said that with it they feeUitde hunger ;;u;.J.d ,bat it gives them great ~h(alld uigor. I believe," he continues, "that there must be some cause for this, though it seeIDS to me to be a vicious custom and appropriate for such folk as these Indians are. "This coca is planted in the Andes from Huamanga to the Villa de Plata" (this is the city that was later named La Plata); 1 17 ~ Claudia the Witch "it grows into small trees, and tQs Indians cultivate it and care for it assiduously so that it will produce the leaf they call coca, WhIch resembles myrtle" (and, indeed, there is some resem- blance, but the leaf is twice as large as that of myrtle and more slender), "and they dry it in the sun and then place it in long narrow baskets, each of which holds somewhat more than an arroba. 23 And this herb or coca was so much esteemed in Peru in 1548, 1549, 1550, and 155' that there has never been any herb or root in the world, nor anything produced from a tree, that is cultivated and produced each year (apart from spices, which are a different matter) that is so highly valued as this; repartimientos were valued in those years-that is, most of those in Cuzco, the city of La Paz, and the Villa de Plata-at eighty thousand pesos of income and at sixty and at forty and
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This note was uploaded on 08/30/2011 for the course LAH 2020 taught by Professor Victoruribe during the Fall '11 term at FIU.

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Tales_Claudia_de_Witch - 1 17 ~ 1674 . Claudia the Witch E...

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