This study ocuses on the transition from colonialism to nationalism and seeks to explore how identities and relations of race and gender inherited from the colonial period were challenged and re-elaborated in the years following Independence when the Latin American nation state was established. By taking the case of Peru in the nineteenth century, the study will explore how the post colonial state approached issues of race and gender and will illustrate continuity and change from the his tory of one small Andean town where women and men as Indians, mestizos and whites, might stake out new identities, relations and collectivities but might also fight to shore up the old social order.