The Plundering in Machu Picchu
Posted on : 13 August 2021
The Plundering in Machu Picchu it’s an issue that is not very well known, the famous Yale professor Hiram Bingham was the explorer who made it Known the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu to the World, but before this German maps in the National Library of Peru dating earlier than the American expedition, A German map shows the exact location of the Inca citadel as well details of lootings of the place by a German business man named Augusto Berns, who plundered Machu Picchu and other places with sole purpose of a personal economic gain, with the shameful help of the Peruvian government.
The Real discoverer of Machu Picchu
This is something that needs to be said and that many already know, it’s a story that might get lost in the informality. The history books tells us that the first discoverer of the great citadel of Machu Picchu was the American explorer Hiram Bingham, a professor from Yale but new research of the American Paolo Greer reveal that it was actually discovered 44 years before in 1867 when a German businessman named Augusto Berns came to Cusco to do diggings for the new railway project and he stumbled over the archaeological site of this Inca citadel.
The investigation, where the Peruvian historian Carlos Carcelen, the French archaeologist Alain Gioda and the British historian Alex Chepstow-Lusty participated, began with the discovery of a German map from the XIX century in the archives of the National Library of Lima that among the descriptions had the exact location of the sanctuary. Additionally, the team managed to find various items of evidence among which there are documents and historic testimonies that reflect the dark deals that existed behind the findings, having as a sole purpose to enrich the persons that were involved, including them high members of the Peruvian government.
The plundering in Machu Picchu made by Berns
According to the registers from that time, in 1867 the German businessman Augusto Berns came to Peru to do works linked with the construction of the railway in Cusco. The investigator Paolo Greer tells that in this era the merchant bought around 45 kilometers of land in front of Machu Picchu with the the purpose of selling wood to the railway. It was thanks to this deforestation that Machu Picchu was discovered, Berns remained there for three years to explore. After this time he created a mining company called “Mining Company of the Incan Gold and Silver mines, the same that was registered in the USA. Both projects, equally the railway as the mine, failed.
The bad luck of Berns didn’t last for long, after leaving Peru in 1870 due to the Pacific war between Peru and Chile (1879-1883) he returned in 1880 with plans to benefit the most from the gold and the immense amount of archeological sites that had been found in Cusco, the Incan treasure whom he was the only one that knew about.
It was then that he founded the “Compañía Anonima Explotadora de las Huacas del Inca”, a Company that had as a sole purpose to exploit the archeological findings of Machu Picchu to sell them abroad.
The shameful pact with the government
Greer reveals that it’s from this point when the appalling events are revealed that the Peruvian government helped the project (or business) of Berns in an excessive way and many members of the government and even the ex-president benefitted from this. In an agreement, that today is embarrassing, the state promised to allow the German merchant to remove, rob and export all of the archeological material that he could find during his diggings if he promised to give 10% of the sales to the government.
The partner – Ricardo Palma
However, like this wasn’t enough, the investigations made by the team found more and accomplished to determine that far from the government there were also important intellectual people from Lima and Cusco involved in this scandal. One of them was the conservative Don Ricardo Palma who was considered a local cultural hero due to the fact that he regained various works that were taken by the Chilean troops during the occupation.
Thereon Greer tells us “There are many facts of the Company with many partners from Lima, Cusco and even foreigners that were already here. One of them is Ricardo Palma, this is already confirmed, even if Ricardo Palma never went to Machu Picchu, he was the director of the National Library and helped the Peruvian president with historical issues and for that reason he is considered a partner.”
There were several famous intellectuals, including a professor in pathology from a university in Lima that became the vice president of the university, which collaborated with the company.
The missing traces of the plundering in Machu Picchu
While it is true, to this day they have found a list of 57 names of various nationalities that probably were clients of Berns, the investigations haven’t been able to determine the quantity or type of objects that were removed from Machu Picchu due to the fact that Peru never asked the German to make an official list of the objects he found in the diggings. For that reason the money that the German businessman made is still unknown.
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Machu Picchu was made known to the world thanks to the Yale Professor Hiram Bingham, but before he made it known to the world, Machu Picchu was known to some people actually was a German business man named Augusto Berns found Machu Picchu 44 years before Hiram Bingham (1867), after buying land in the area to provide wood for the rail way project, he found the Inca citadel, after this he develop a company to plunder it, with the shameful help of the government to benefit those who knew about it, as some German maps in the National Library of Lima shows the exact location of the Inca citadel, the German business man looted Machu Picchu with the permission of the government, about this business was well inform even intellectual Ricardo Palma, considered a local cultural hero, it’s not know where or who were the buyers of the archeological pieces.
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