The spanish invasion of peru, which began in1532, and the resulting collapse of the Inca empire, initiated a long process of still continuing political, religious, and cultural transformation. Equally long lasting has been the process of reflection and questioning by both the conquered peoples of the Andes and the conquering Spaniards concerning the rationale and the import of this transformation. Having mastered their complex natural environment and created a series of advanced civilizations without contact or interference from the outside world, Andeans were for the first time in their long history exposed to ideas and styles of action entirely new and alien. The Spanish newcomers on their side had become aware of the sharp contrast between themselves and the peoples of America during their earlier occupation of the Caribbean and invasion of Mexico. Yet, in the Andes, they found forms of religious expression and political organization for which neither the Caribbean nor Mexico had prepared them. Within a century of the invasion, however, the newcomers in Peru had acquired a knowledge of Andean thought and conduct that enabled them to exercise effective political control. Andeans, for their part, had not only adjusted to the new dominant culture but had also taken initiatives in adapting many of its elements for their own use. 1