Definitions

Charcas

Charcas

[kahr-kuhs]
Charcas, Spanish colonial audiencia and presidency in South America, known also as Upper Peru and Chuquisaca. Charcas roughly corresponded to modern Bolivia but included parts of present Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Paraguay, encompassing a territorial expanse that led to disputes and wars after independence had been won. It was established in 1559 and was attached to the viceroyalty of Peru until joined (1776) to the newly created viceroyalty of La Plata. The prosecutor of Charcas, José de Antequera y Castro, led (1721) the first major creole uprising against viceregal authority. The city of Sucre was sometimes called Charcas.

Judicial capital (pop., 2001: 193,873), Bolivia. Founded by the Spanish (circa 1539) on the site of a Charcas Indian village, it became the capital of the Charcas territory of Upper Peru in 1561 and in 1609 the seat of an archdiocese. Many of its colonial churches survive. It was an early scene (1809) of the revolt against Spain. The Bolivian declaration of independence was signed there in 1825, and it became the capital in 1839. An effort to move the capital to La Paz in 1898 precipitated a civil war, which left the two cities sharing capital status. Sucre is also the seat of the national supreme court. It is a growing commercial centre. The University of San Francisco Xavier, one of the oldest universities in South America, was founded there in 1624.

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