New Book: The Five Hundred Year Rebellion

New Book: The Five Hundred Year Rebellion

Published by AK Press in 2019

Purchase from AK Press / Amazon

Book Summary

After centuries of colonial domination and a twentieth century riddled with dictatorships, indigenous peoples in Bolivia embarked upon a social and political struggle that would change the country forever. As part of that project activists took control of their own history, starting in the 1960s by reaching back to oral traditions and then forward to new forms of print and broadcast media. This book tells the fascinating story of how indigenous Bolivians recovered and popularized histories of past rebellions, political models, and leaders, using them to build movements for rights, land, autonomy, and political power. Drawing from rich archival sources and the author’s lively interviews with indigenous leaders and activist-historians, The Five Hundred Year Rebellion describes how movements tapped into centuries-old veins of oral history and memory to produce manifestos, booklets, and radio programs on histories of resistance, wielding them as tools to expand their struggles and radically transform society.

The Five Hundred Year Rebellion won a 2019 Nautilus Book Award.


“Ethnographic history at its very best! Historian, writer, and activist, Ben Dangl offers a sweeping historical narrative that explores, in fascinating detail and crystalline prose, how Bolivia’s resurgent Indian movements bundled history, myth, and memory into powerful narratives, testimonios, pedagogies, and performances of native resistance and decolonization — laying the cultural groundwork for Aymara-Quechua coalitions to arise and challenge Bolivia’s neocolonial political culture and repressive political regimes during the late twentieth century. Cliché though it is, this is a ‘must-read’ book for all scholars and students looking for a clear road map through the thickets of critical theory and political history towards a clear understanding of the cultural origins and epistemic complexities of ethnic politics and consciousness in the Bolivian Andes.” —Brooke Larson, author of Trials of Nation Making: Liberalism, Race, and Ethnicity in the Andes, 1810–1910

“Memory as a vision of the future, language as a tool of resistance, oral history as a form of struggle: Dangl gives us a brilliant, in-depth narrative of centuries of resistance grounded in culture. This is a story we should all know and learn from.” —Alessandro Portelli, author of They Say in Harlan County: An Oral History

Excerpts, Reviews, Interviews

Centuries of Fire: Rebel Memory and Andean Utopias in Bolivia, book excerpt published by Radical History Review/Abusable Past.

History at the Barricades: Evo Morales and the Power of the Past in Bolivian Politics, book excerpt published by NACLA Report on the Americas.

Remembering as resistance: decolonizing Bolivian history, an excerpt from the book’s introduction, published by Roar Magazine.

“Oral History Can Bring us Into a Longer Arc of Resistance”: Interview with Benjamin Dangl in Groundswell: Oral History for Social Change

Why Bolivian indigenous movements draw their power from oral history (Book Review in Nation of Change)

Book Review: The Five Hundred Year Rebellion (Book Review in Alborada)

The Redemptive Essence of History (Book Review in Counterpunch)

Tell History, Make History, University of Vermont

Bolivia’s Legacy of Resistance (Book review in Against the Current)

The Five Hundred Year Rebellion (Author interview on the Book with New Books Network)

Radio Interview with Ben Dangl on The Five Hundred Year Rebellion (WRUV’s Mocassin Tracks)

Table of Contents

Introduction The Five Hundred Year Rebellion

Chapter One Katari’s Return: Indigenous Resurgence in the  Shadow of the National Revolution

Chapter Two Kataristas Rising: “We Are No Longer the Peasants of 1952”

Chapter Three The Power of the Past in the CSUTCB  Indigenous Campesino Union

Chapter Four The Andean Oral History Workshop: Producing Indigenous People’s Histories in Bolivia

Chapter Five Recovering Santos Marka T’ula: The Caciques Apoderados Movement

Chapter Six The Enduring Ayllus

Conclusion “Looking Back, We Will Move Forward”

Author Bio

Benjamin Dangl has a PhD in Latin American history from McGill University and has worked as a journalist throughout Latin America for over fifteen years, covering politics and protest movements for outlets such as The GuardianAl JazeeraThe NationSalonVice, and NACLA Report on the Americas. He is the author of The Five Hundred Year Rebellion: Indigenous Movements and the Decolonization of History in Bolivia, The Price of Fire: Resource Wars and Social Movements in Bolivia and Dancing with Dynamite: Social Movements and States in Latin America, all published by AK Press. Dangl is a Lecturer in Public Communication in the Department of Community Development and Applied Economics at the University of Vermont. Email BenDangl(at)