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His defense of the Indians and of their ability to accept the true faith is well known. " It seems as though Las Casas dreamed about setting up an ideal Christendom on the New World's paradisallands, based on a union between Indians and Spanish farmers: "with both groups united through the bonds of marriage, these two republics could be turned into a single one, one of the best, one of the most Christian and one of the most peaceful in the world" (History of the Indies, book 3, chap. 102). This Brother Bartolome wrote around 1560 when referring to his 1518 agrarian colonization projects.

Likewise, the matters of the millennium and the New Jerusalem were raised by Gregorio Lopez (1542-1596), the mysterious Madrilenian hidalgo who left the mother country in 1562 to lead the life of a hermit in New Spain until his death in 1596. His actions at first raised considerable suspicion, then curiosity, and finally veneration. But the eschatological concerns of his very orthodox Treatise on the Apocalypse, even if not millennial, do reveal a deep obsidional feeling: Roman Catholic countries are a fortress besieged by Turks and heretics.

The gods were truly dead and left the Indians as orphans. Ancient Peruvians also believed that they belonged to a fifth humanity. Less prone to anguish than their Mexican counterparts, the Inca lords and their subjects did suffer from a combination of fear and hope-anxiety concerning the upcoming prospect of a pachacuti, the Quechua word for an upheaval of world, time, and space; hope for the return of the civilizing godhero Viracocha. The events that took place were indeed illustrative of the pachacuti: the capture and execution of Atahualpa, the Inca who ruled the northern half of the empire (1532/1533); the plundering of Cuzco, the holy city and center of the world (1533/1534); and the capture and execution of T upac Amaru, the descendant of the Inca dynasty's rebel branch, which had kept up a dissident power center for thirty-five years in the remote regions of the Vileabamba Andes.

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Apocalypticism in the Modern Period and the Contemporary Age by Stephen J. Stein


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