Antonio de Arriaga, as Spain’s man in Tungasuca, had as part of his job description forcing curacas to extract the crown’s tribute from the natives. This put some tension between him and the likes of the strong-willed Tupac Amaru, who advocated fiercely enough for his people’s rights that Arriaga threatened him with death.
It also made Arriaga’s death an invitingly emblematic scene to open the indigenous revolt.
On Nov. 4, 1780, Tupac Amaru kidnapped Arriaga returning from a dinner party, then forced him to sign letters summoning Spaniards and curacas alike to Tungasuca.
There, he mustered his own force of armed natives and performed for them a “carefully staged public ceremony.”
According to a primary source excerpted in The Tupac Amaru and Catarista Rebellions
Account of the Most Horrible Crime Committed by Jose Gabriel Tupac Amaru, Cacique of Pampamarca
On the morning of Friday, November 10th, Tupac Amaru ordered that three columns … be organized from all the people from his Province that were already there. Two were composed of Spaniards and Mestizos armed with muskets, sabers, and sticks; and one of Indians with slings. In the middle of this, he brought out the Corregidor, dressed in his military uniform, and publicly started taking his uniform off, stripping him of his rank following the rituals he had understood and seen in other occasions, until he was left in his shirt. He then put a shroud on him … that had the title of La Caridad on it. He then gave the order to take him to the gallows, accompanied by the Priest and two other clergymen, where he went with a resignation and patience worthy of somebody who was already touching the portals of eternity.
Once on the gallows the Corregidor was forced by the tyrant to publicly declare that he deserved to die in that way. A black slave of the Corregidor [named Antonio Oblitas -ed.] served as his executioner, but the ropes snapped and both fell to the ground. But they suspended them again with a lariat around their necks, and thus they completed the execution in clear sight and tolerance of all his Province. [“they” is as rendered in the book; I have no indication that more than one person was executed. -ed.] Not one voice was raised that would disturb the operation. And most surprising of all was that those same Collectors and those close to the Corregidor were the ones who (oh, what an awful spectacle of perfidy!) sped his way to the ignominious place of execution, and who pulled on his feet so he could die even more violently.
The rebellion, needless to say, was on.