The high region of the modern province of Caylloma was inhabited by the Collaguas people who lived in ayllos, divided in two moieties. The Collaguas were divided into Yanque Collaguas and Lari Collaguas, each in turn divided into the moieties Hanansaya and Hurinsaya. The people lived dispersed in the wide spaces of the high mountains, living as shepherds of local camelids. There were also small hamlets. During the Inca period, the administrative center was the present town of Coporaque in the Colca Valley proper, where the Inca representative lived in a palace with walls sheeted in copper from the mines in Tisco.

After the Spanish conquest, the Marquis Francisco Pizarro gave his half-brother Gonzalo Pizarro the Yanque Collaguas encomienda (fief) including both moieties; and gave the Lari Collaguas encomienda divided by moieties, Hanansaya to Marcos Retamoso and Hurinsaya to Alonso Rodriguez Picado (January 22, 1540). The area which is now occupied by Callalli pertained to Yanque Collaguas Hanansaya. The modern province of Caylloma was the vice regal corregimiento of Collaguas and was the richest and most populated of Arequipa.

After the rebellion of Gonzalo Pizarro against the authority of the Spanish Crown, all the Yanque Collaguas area was taken over by the Spanish Crown, while Lari Collaguas continued divided by moieties.
The first Franciscan friars arrived during the 1540s to the Colca Valley; it is believed that the first of them was Friar Juan de Monzón, who after strenuous labor of evangelization went to the Mission in Africa where he was killed. He may have been joined by Friar Juan de Cháves. The Franciscan friars went also to the highland and began to visit the people in their hamlets and cattle farms. In the few places where they found a cluster of huts, they built chapels, each with a Patron Saint, where they said Mass on feast days and administered the Sacraments. To this day there still stand the ruins of these early churches, constructed in a mixed style, i.e. rectangular according to occidental architecture, but with the typical Collaguas stone walls. Examples are to be found in Paraqra, the early town of Sibayo, and in Mauqa Caylloma, near to the anexo of Cuchucapilla in the District of Caylloma. It is interesting that to this day people call these constructions in ruins “Cathedrals.” The lodgings or convents of the friars were built next to them.

Little is known of this period which I would like to call “of transition,” because it refers to the time between the Spanish conquest and the formation of reducciones or Indian villages in the 1570s. In the region of Callalli some places of early Collaguas villages are known: Ingles Inglis, that pertained to the Hurinsaya moiety and had a chapel dedicated to Saint Michael; and Quena of Hanansaya with a chapel dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua. At this time one can still see a side wall of the latter chapel and ruins of the old village, which needs to be protected since it is a first class tourist attraction. Up river from Sibayo, in the place called Paraqra, stand the ruins of the old town with the remains of the “Cathedral.” Above Caylloma we find the ruins of a big Collaguas village, “Mauqa Caylloma”, near Cuchucapilla. In many places there are still remains of houses and of chulpas (circular constructions), where they buried their dead.

Because of the civil wars between the Spaniards, and of the difficult situation of the country, there was little change and development during 30 years. The Spaniards had no time to populate the area or to work the land or the mines, their presence was mostly spontaneous. Only the Franciscan friars lived with the people and worked in the labor of evangelization.

Change came with the foundation of reducciones ordered by Viceroy Francisco de Toledo in 1571 to 1674. His idea was to gather the people who lived dispersed in these wide reaches, in well organized villages so as to exert better control of tribute, a head tax in money or species for all native men between the ages of 18 and 50, and for indoctrination of the Catholic religion. Lope de Suazo was the visitor in charge, appointed by the Viceroy himself. He exerted force on many occasions, and coaxed local authorities and their people to move away from their hamlets and pastures to take up permanent abode in the villages.

In this way, the town of “Alcántara de Callalli” was founded in the location of present day Callalli, under the invocation of Saint Anthony of Padua, whose image was probably brought from Quena. This supposition is based on a legend that says that the image of Saint Anthony was taken from Quena to Callalli, and when it was taken back to the original chapel, it reappeared in Callalli the following day. Hence it was understood that the saint himself wanted to be in Callalli. The “historical source” of this legend show that the Patron Saint and the people of the village proceeded from Quena, which was their original site. The name of one of the 1591 ayllos is known to have been Cayao and its chieftain was Don Juan Hallo aged 53.

Clearly, the reducciones were planned as a check board, and the style was colonial, i.e. Spanish. In the highland of Yanque-Collaguas one finds Alcántara de Callalli with its patron San Antonio de Padua, Utrera de Sibayo with its patron San Juan Bautista, Oropesa de Tisco with its patron San Pedro Apóstol, and in Lari-Collaguas the village of San Francisco de Asís de Caylloma with its patron San Francisco de Asís. The date of foundation of these villages is not documented, and the protocols of foundations have not been found, but it is surmised that the year was 1573 because of the Visitador Lope de Suazo, who is known to have been in the region that year.
The parishes in this area and also in the Colca Valley were in the care of the friars of the Franciscan Order of the San Francisco monastery of Cusco, except for the parish of “La Purísima Concepción” of Lari, which was in the care of secular clergy. The province of Collaguas’ center was located in the monastery of Yanque. Fray Luis Jerónimo de Oré, born in 1554 in Ayacucho must be mentioned: he was fluent in Quechua and in Aymara, a specialist in native languages, and was appointed by Saint Toribio de Mogrovejo to compose and translate the books of the 1583 Third Council of Lima. He preached in the Jauja Valley and among the Collaguas in the parish of “Santiago” of Coporaque. In 1620 he was named Bishop in the Imperial Bishopric of Chile, (at present, Santiago of Chile). He died January 30, 1630. In 1598 his book “Symbolo Catholico Indiano”, containing information about the Colca Valley, was published in Spanish and Quechua. Another friar who deserves to be mentioned was Father Egydio Roldán de Deza, who was Parish Priest in Tisco during 35 years (1791-1826).

Franciscan friars are to be found in the Collaguas parishes until 1750, after which date they were replaced by the clergy of the Arequipa diocese created by Pope Paul V’s Bull “In Super” of July 20, 1609. However, even after this date, occasionally Franciscan Fathers served in the Collaguas Parishes.

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