Pizarro Conquers the Incas - History

Pizarro Conquers the Incas - History

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Pizzaro Conquers the Incas

The Inca were the largest civilization in the Americas. They had large cities and were organized as an Empire. Their land was also rich in gold and silver. The Incas

Francisco Pizarro was a Spanish Conquistadors who had been on Balboa's expedition when it found the Pacific. Pizarro heard rumors that there was a wealthy empire in South America. Pizarro convinced the Spanish government to sponsor expeditions to explore the western coast of the South America. He made a number of expeditions to find the empire. Finally, in 1526, he came across an Incan trading ship full of silver and gold. He captured the ship and trained some of its crew to be his interpreters. Pizzaro Bio

In 1531, Pizzaro led a small group of 180 Spanish soldiers down the Pacific coast, to the coastal city of Cajamarco. There, he learned that the Incan ruler Atahalupa was vulnerable, after fighting a civil war. He headed to his summer home. When Atahalupa refused to submit to Pizarro, he seized him. The Incas offered an incredible ransom of gold and silver, if they would free their leader. Pizzaro agreed. The Incas filled a room with gold. Despite his promise to let Atahalupa go free, once he had received the ransom, Pizarro executed Athalupa. Pizarro went on to capture the Inca capital and end the Incan Empire

n 1531, Pizzaro led a small group of 180 Spanish soldiers down the Pacific coast, to the coastal city of Cajamarco. Pizarro went on to capture the Inca capital and end the Incan Empire

Learn about Francisco Pizarro conquest of the Incas and the death of Atahuallpa marking the end of the Inca Empire

NARRATOR: It's 1532 and Francisco Pizarro's band of conquistadors are crossing the Andes to conquer the Inca Empire. Inca scouts monitor the Spanish advance and send updates to their emperor, Atahualpa, using signaling mirrors. For the moment, however, all is calm.

PROFESSOR JOSÉ ANTONIO DEL BUSTO: "Atahualpa waited patiently. He was curious to know what was going on and his scouts reported back to him that the invaders looked like Gods. Atahualpa believed, that Pizarro was the white God of Inca legend and that he was coming to pay his respects to this mighty Inca emperor."

NARRATOR: Suddenly, the Incas appear on the surrounding hills. Pizarro estimates their number at 12,000. As the Spanish watch, Atahualpa is carried out on a throne made from pure gold into the middle of a grand square. This is the first time the Spanish see for themselves the legendary riches of the Inca Empire. Pizarro's priest approaches the Inca Emperor armed with a crucifix and Bible. He pleads with Atahualpa to renounce his heretical beliefs and swear allegiance to the Spanish throne. Unable to read the Bible, Atahualpa holds it to his ear like an ancient Indian oracle. When he hears nothing, he throws it to the ground. This act of sacrilege is the excuse the conquistadors need to open fire. Atahualpa is taken captive. During his imprisonment, Atahualpa learns to read and write under the instruction of Pizarro. To the Spanish soldiers, Pizarro's leniency towards Atahualpa is incomprehensible.

DEL BUSTO: "It's said that there was an interdependent relationship between Pizarro and Atahualpa. And it's true. Atahualpa wanted to save his own life and regain his freedom, while Pizarro was desperate to get his hands on the Inca treasure and gain glory. Both had very different interests, but really they complemented one another. They needed one another."

NARRATOR: In an attempt to save the life of their emperor, the Incas pay the Spanish a ransom. It's the largest treasure haul the new world has yet provided. But it's no guarantee and Pizarro sentences Atahualpa to death, possibly under pressure from his soldiers. Atahualpa's death marks the end of Peru's once mighty Inca Empire. On this night, thousands of Incas slit their wrists to be reunited with their God in the afterlife. Meanwhile, Pizarro orders the Inca gold to be melted down into ingots. It takes 34 days and nights until all the Inca riches have been destroyed.


  • 1526–1529 – Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro make first contact with the Inca Empire at Tumbes, the northernmost Inca stronghold along the coast
  • c. 1528 – The Inca Emperor Huayna Capac dies from European-introduced smallpox. Death sets off a civil war between his sons: Atahualpa and Huáscar
  • 1528–1529 – Pizarro returns to Spain where he is granted by the Queen of Spain the license to conquer Peru
  • 1531–1532 – Pizarro's third voyage to Peru. Spaniards form a bond with the Natives (Huancas, Chankas, Cañaris and Chachapoyas) who were under the oppression of the Inca Empire, and Pizarro includes them among his troops to face the Incas. Atahualpa is captured by Spanish.
  • 1533 – Atahualpa is executed after he orders Huáscar to be killed De Almagro arrives Pizarro submits Cuzco and installs seventeen-year-old Manco Inca as new Inca Emperor
  • 1535 – Pizarro founds the city of Lima De Almagro leaves for present-day Chile
  • 1536 – Gonzalo Pizarro steals Manco Inca's wife, Cura Olcollo. Manco rebels and surrounds Cuzco. Juan Pizarro is killed, and Inca general Quizo Yupanqui attacks Lima
  • 1537 – Almagro seizes Cuzco from Hernando and Gonzalo Pizarro. Rodrigo Orgóñez sacks Vitcos and captures Manco Inca's son, Titu Cusi. Manco escapes and flees to Vilcabamba, which became the capital of the Neo-Inca State
  • 1538 – Hernando Pizarro executes Diego de Almagro
  • 1539 – Gonzalo Pizarro invades and sacks Vilcabamba Manco Inca escapes but Francisco Pizarro executes Manco's wife, Cura Olcollo
  • 1541 – Francisco Pizarro is murdered by Diego de Almagro II and other supporters of De Almagro
  • 1544 – Manco Inca is murdered by supporters of Diego de Almagro. The Inca do not stop their revolt
  • 1572 – Viceroy of Peru, Francisco Toledo, declares war on the Neo-Inca State Vilcabamba is sacked and Túpac Amaru, the last Inca Emperor, is captured and executed in Cuzco. The Neo-Inca capital of Vilcabamba is abandoned the Spanish remove inhabitants and relocate them to the newly established Christian town of San Francisco de la Victoria de Vilcabamba[8] : xiii–xv

The civil war between Atahualpa and Huascar weakened the empire immediately prior to its struggle with the Spanish. Historians are unsure of whether a united Inca Empire could have defeated the Spanish in the long term due to factors such as the high mortality from disease and its related social disruption, and the superior military technology of the conquistadors, who possessed horses, dogs, metal armor, swords, cannons, and primitive, but effective, firearms. [9] Atahualpa appeared to be more popular with the people than his brother, and he was certainly more valued by the army, the core of which was based in the recently conquered northern province of Quito.

At the outset of the conflict, each brother controlled his respective domains, with Atahualpa secure in the north, and Huáscar controlling the capital of Cuzco and the large territory to the south, including the area around Lake Titicaca. This region had supplied large numbers of troops for Huáscar's forces. After a period of diplomatic posturing and jockeying for position, open warfare broke out. Huáscar seemed poised to bring the war to a rapid conclusion, as troops loyal to him took Atahualpa prisoner, while he was attending a festival in the city of Tumibamba. However, Atahualpa quickly escaped and returned to Quitu. There, he was able to amass what is estimated to be at least 30,000 soldiers. While Huáscar managed to muster about the same number of soldiers, they were less experienced.

Atahualpa sent his forces south under the command of two of his leading generals, Challcuchima and Quisquis, who won an uninterrupted series of victories that soon brought them to the very gates of Cuzco. On the first day of the battle for Cuzco, the forces loyal to Huáscar gained an early advantage. However, on the second day, Huáscar personally led an ill-advised "surprise" attack, of which the generals Challcuchima and Quisquis had advanced knowledge. In the ensuing battle, Huáscar was captured, and resistance completely collapsed. The victorious generals sent word north by charqui messenger to Atahualpa, who had moved south from Quite to the royal resort springs outside Cajamarca. The messenger arrived with news of the final victory on the same day that Pizarro and his small band of adventurers, together with some indigenous allies, descended from the Andes into the town of Cajamarca.

Francisco Pizarro and his brothers (Gonzalo, Juan, and Hernando) were attracted by the news of a rich and fabulous kingdom. They had left the then impoverished Extremadura, like many migrants after them. [7] : 136

There lies Peru with its riches
Here, Panama and its poverty.
Choose, each man, what best becomes a brave Castilian.

In 1529, Francisco Pizarro obtained permission from the Spanish Monarchy to conquer the land they called Peru. [7] : 133

According to historian Raúl Porras Barrenechea, Peru is not a Quechuan nor Caribbean word, but Indo-Hispanic or hybrid. Unknown to Pizarro, as he was lobbying for permission to mount an expedition, his proposed enemy was being devastated by the diseases brought to the American continents during earlier Spanish contacts.

When Pizarro arrived in Peru in 1532, he found it vastly different from when he had been there just five years before. Amid the ruins of the city of Tumbes, he tried to piece together the situation before him. From two young local boys whom he had taught how to speak Spanish in order to translate for him, Pizarro learned of the civil war and of the disease that was destroying the Inca Empire. [8]

After four long expeditions, Pizarro established the first Spanish settlement in northern Peru, calling it San Miguel de Piura. [7] : 153–154

When first spotted by the natives, Pizarro and his men were thought to be Viracocha Cuna or "gods". The Natives described Pizarro's men to the Inca. They said that capito was tall with a full beard and was completely wrapped in clothing. The Natives described the men's swords and how they killed sheep with them. The men did not eat human flesh, but rather sheep, lamb, duck, pigeons, and deer, and cooked the meat. Atahualpa was fearful of what the white men were capable of. If they were runa quicachac or "destroyers of peoples," then he should flee. If they were Viracocha Cuna Runa allichac or "gods who are benefactors of the people," then he should not flee, but welcome them. [ citation needed ] The messengers went back to Tangarala, and Atahualpa sent Cinquinchara, an Orejon warrior, to the Spanish to serve as an interpreter.

After traveling with the Spanish, Cinquinchara returned to Atahualpa they discussed whether or not the Spanish men were gods. Cinquinchara decided they were men because he saw them eat, drink, dress, and have relations with women. He saw them produce no miracles. Cinquinchara informed Atahualpa that they were small in number, about 170–180 men, and had bound the Native captives with "iron ropes". When Atahualpa asked what to do about the strangers, Cinquinchara said that they should be killed because they were evil thieves who took whatever they wanted, and were supai cuna or "devils". He recommended trapping the men inside of their sleeping quarters and burning them to death. [10]

After his victory and the capture of his brother Huáscar, Atahualpa was fasting in the Inca baths outside Cajamarca. Pizarro and his men reached that city on 15 November 1532.

Pizarro sent Hernando de Soto to the Inca leader's camp. Soto rode to meet Atahualpa on his horse, an animal that Atahualpa had never seen before. With one of his young interpreters, Soto read a prepared speech to Atahualpa telling him that they had come as servants of God to teach them the truth about God's word. [11] He said he was speaking to them so that they might

"lay the foundation of concord, brotherhood, and perpetual peace that should exist between us, so that you may receive us under your protection and hear the divine law from us and all your people may learn and receive it, for it will be the greatest honor, advantage, and salvation to them all."

Additionally, they invited the Incan leader to visit Pizarro at his quarters along the Cajamarca plaza. When De Soto noticed Atahualpa's interest in his horse, he put on a display of "excellent horsemanship" in close proximity. Atahualpa displayed hospitality by serving refreshments. [7] : 166–170 [12]

Atahualpa responded only after Francisco Pizarro's brother, Hernando Pizarro, arrived. He replied with what he had heard from his scouts, saying that Spanish were killing and enslaving countless numbers on the coast. Pizarro denied the report and Atahualpa, with limited information, reluctantly let the matter go. At the end of their meeting, the men agreed to meet the next day at Cajamarca. [8]

The next morning, on 16 November 1532, Pizarro had arranged an ambuscade around the Cajamarca plaza, where they were to meet. At this point, Pizarro had in total 168 men under his command: 106 on foot and 62 on horses. When Atahualpa arrived with about 6,000 unarmed followers, Friar Vincente de Valverde and the interpreter Felipillo met them and proceeded to "expound the doctrines of the true faith" (requerimiento) and seek his tribute as a vassal of King Charles. The unskilled translator likely contributed to problems in communication. The friar offered Atahualpa the Bible as the authority of what he had just stated. Atahualpa stated, "I will be no man's tributary." [7] : 173–177

Pizarro urged attack, starting the Battle of Cajamarca. The battle began with a shot from a cannon and the battle cry "Santiago!" [12] The Spaniards unleashed volleys of gunfire at the vulnerable mass of Incas and surged forward in a concerted action. Pizarro also used cavalry charges against the Inca forces, which stunned them in combination with gunfire. [7] : 177–179 Many of the guns used by the Spaniards were however hard to use in close combat. The effect was devastating, the shocked Incas offered such feeble resistance that the battle has often been labeled a massacre, with the Inca losing 2,000 dead and Spanish having just 1 soldier wounded.

The majority of Atahualpa's troops were in the Cuzco region along with Quisquis and Challcuchima, the two generals he trusted the most. This was a major disadvantage for the Inca. Their undoing also resulted from a lack of self-confidence, and a desire to make public demonstration of fearlessness and godlike command of situation. [12] The main view is that the Inca were eventually defeated due to inferior weapons, 'open battle' tactics, disease, internal unrest, the bold tactics of the Spanish, and the capture of their emperor. While Spanish armour was very effective against most of the Andean weapons, it was not impenetrable to maces, clubs, or slings. [13] [14] Later, most natives adapted in 'guerrilla fashion' by only shooting at the legs of the conquistadors if they happened to be unarmored. [15] However, ensuing hostilities such as the Mixtón Rebellion, Chichimeca War, and Arauco War would require that the conquistadors ally with friendly tribes in these later expeditions.

Though the historical accounts relating to the circumstances vary, the true Spanish motives for the attack seemed to be a desire for loot and flat-out impatience. The Inca likely did not adequately understand the conquistadors' demands. [16] And, of course, Pizarro knew they did not have the slightest chance against the Inca army unless they captured the Emperor.

By February 1533, Almagro had joined Pizarro in Cajamarca with an additional 150 men with 50 horses. [7] : 186–194

After Atahualpa was captured at the massacre at Cajamarca, he was treated with respect, allowed his wives to join him, and the Spanish soldiers taught him the game of chess. [17] : 215,234 During Atahualpa's captivity, the Spanish, although greatly outnumbered, forced him to order his generals to back down by threatening to kill him if he did not. According to the Spanish envoy's demands, Atahualpa offered to fill a large room with gold and promised twice that amount in silver. While Pizarro ostensibly accepted this offer and allowed the gold to pile up, he had no intention of releasing the Inca he needed Atahualpa's influence over his generals and the people in order to maintain the peace. The treasure began to be delivered from Cuzco on 20 December 1532 and flowed steadily from then on. By 3 May 1533 Pizarro received all the treasure he had requested it was melted, refined, and made into bars. [12] Hernando Pizarro went to gather gold and silver from the temples in Pachacamac in January 1533, and on his return in March, [17] : 237 captured Chalcuchimac in the Jauja Valley. Francisco Pizzaro sent a similar expedition to Cuzco, bringing back many gold plates from the Temple of the Sun.

The question eventually came up of what to do with Atahualpa both Pizarro and Soto were against killing him, but the other Spaniards were loud in their demands for death. False interpretations from the interpreter Felipillo made the Spaniards paranoid. They were told that Atahualpa had ordered secret attacks and his warriors were hidden in the surrounding area. Soto went with a small force to scout for the hidden army, but the trial of Atahualpa was held in his absence. Among the charges were polygamy, incestuous marriage, and idolatry, all frowned upon in Catholicism but common in Inca culture and religion.

The men who were against Atahualpa's conviction and murder argued that he should be judged by King Charles since he was the sovereign prince. Atahualpa agreed to accept baptism to avoid being burned at the stake and in the hopes of one day rejoining his army and killing the Spanish he was baptized as Francisco. On 29 August 1533 Atahualpa was garrotted and died a Christian. He was buried with Christian rites in the church of San Francisco at Cajamarca, but was soon disinterred. His body was taken, probably at his prior request, to its final resting place in Quito. Upon de Soto's return, he was furious he had found no evidence of any secret gathering of Atahualpa's warriors. [12]

Pizarro advanced with his army of 500 Spaniards toward Cuzco, accompanied by Chalcuchimac. The latter was burned alive in the Jauja Valley, accused of secret communication with Quizquiz, and organizing resistance. Manco Inca Yupanqui joined Pizarro after the death of Túpac Huallpa. Pizarro's force entered the heart of the Tawantinsuyu on 15 November 1533. [7] : 191,210,216

Benalcázar, Pizarro's lieutenant and fellow Extremaduran, had already departed from San Miguel with 140 foot soldiers and a few horses on his conquering mission to Ecuador. At the foot of Mount Chimborazo, near the modern city of Riobamba (Ecuador) he met and defeated the forces of the great Inca warrior Rumiñawi with the aid of Cañari tribesmen who served as guides and allies to the conquering Spaniards. Rumiñahui fell back to Quito, and, while in pursuit of the Inca army, Benalcázar was joined by five hundred men led by Guatemalan Governor Pedro de Alvarado. Greedy for gold, Alvarado had set sail for the south without the crown's authorization, landed on the Ecuadorian coast, and marched inland to the Sierra. Finding Quito empty of its treasures, Alvarado soon joined the combined Spanish force. Alvarado agreed to sell his fleet of twelve ships, his forces, plus arms and ammunition, and returned to Guatemala. [7] : 224–227 [17] : 268–284

After Atahualpa's execution, Pizarro installed Atahualpa's brother, Túpac Huallpa, as a puppet Inca ruler, but he soon died unexpectedly, leaving Manco Inca Yupanqui in power. He began his rule as an ally of the Spanish and was respected in the southern regions of the empire, but there was still much unrest in the north near Quito where Atahualpa's generals were amassing troops. Atahualpa's death meant that there was no hostage left to deter these northern armies from attacking the invaders. Led by Atahualpa's generals Rumiñahui, Zope-Zupahua and Quisquis, the native armies were finally defeated, effectively ending any organized rebellion in the north of the empire. [7] : 221–223,226

Manco Inca initially had good relations with Francisco Pizarro and several other Spanish conquistadors. However, in 1535 he was left in Cuzco under the control of Pizarro's brothers, Juan and Gonzalo, who so mistreated Manco Inca that he ultimately rebelled. Under the pretense of recovering a statue of pure gold in the nearby Yucay valley, Manco was able to escape Cuzco. [7] : 235–237

Manco Inca hoped to use the disagreement between Almagro and Pizarro to his advantage and attempted the recapture of Cuzco starting in April 1536. The siege of Cuzco was waged until the following spring, and during that time Manco's armies managed to wipe out four relief columns sent from Lima, but was ultimately unsuccessful in its goal of routing the Spaniards from the city. The Inca leadership did not have the full support of all its subject peoples and furthermore, the degrading state of Inca morale coupled with the superior Spanish siege weapons soon made Manco Inca realize his hope of recapturing Cuzco was failing. Manco Inca eventually withdrew to Tambo. [7] : 239–247

Archaeological evidence of the rebellion incident exists. The remains of about 70 men, women, and adolescents were found in the path of a planned expressway near Lima in 2007. Forensic evidence suggests that the natives were killed by European weapons, probably during the uprising in 1536. [18]

After the Spanish regained control of Cuzco, Manco Inca and his armies retreated to the fortress at Ollantaytambo where he, for a time, successfully launched attacks against Pizarro based at Cuzco and even managed to defeat the Spanish in an open battle. [7] : 247–249

When it became clear that defeat was imminent, Manco Inca retreated further to the mountainous region [7] : 259 of Vilcabamba and established the small Neo-Inca State, where Manco Inca and his successors continued to hold some power for several more decades. His sun, Túpac Amaru, was the last Inca. After deadly confrontations, he was murdered by the Spanish in 1572.

In total, the conquest took about forty years to complete. Many Inca attempts to regain the empire had occurred, but none had been successful. Thus the Spanish conquest was achieved through relentless force, and deception, aided by factors like smallpox and a great communication and cultural divide. The Spaniards destroyed much of the Incan culture and introduced the Spanish culture to the native population.

A struggle for power resulted in a long civil war between Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro in which Almagro was killed. Almagro's loyal followers and his descendants later avenged his death by killing Pizarro in 1541. This was done inside the palace of Francisco Pizarro in a fight to the death by these assassins, most of which were former soldiers of Diego de Almagro who were stripped of title and belongings after his death. [19]

Despite the war, the Spaniards did not neglect the colonizing process. Spanish royal authority on these territories was consolidated by the creation of an Audiencia Real, a type of appellate court. In January 1535, Lima was founded, from which the political and administrative institutions were to be organized. In 1542, the Spanish created the Viceroyalty of New Castile, that shortly after would be called Viceroyalty of Peru. Nevertheless, the Viceroyalty of Peru was not organized until the arrival of a later Viceroy Francisco de Toledo in 1572. Toledo ended the indigenous Neo-Inca State in Vilcabamba, executing the Inca Túpac Amaru. He promoted economic development using commercial monopoly and built up the extraction from the silver mines of Potosí, using slavery based on the Inca institution of forced labor for mandatory public service called mita.

The integration of Spanish culture into Peru was carried out not only by Pizarro and his other captains, but also by the many Spanish who also came to Peru to exploit its riches and inhabit its land. These included many different kinds of immigrants such as Spanish merchants, peasants, artisans, and Spanish women. Another element that the Spanish brought with them were African slaves to work alongside captive Incas for use in labor with things such as agriculture and mining for silver. [20] These people all brought with them their own pieces of Spanish culture to integrate into Peruvian society.

The arrival of the Spanish also had an unexpected impact on the land itself, recent research points out that Spanish conquest of the Inca altered Peru's shoreline. [21] Before the Spaniards arrived, inhabitants of the arid northern Peruvian coast clad massive sand dune–like ridges with a -likely- accidental form of “armor”, millions of discarded mollusk shells, which protected the ridges from erosion for nearly 4700 years prior to the Spanish arrival, and produced a vast corrugated landscape that is visible from space. This incidental landscape protection came to a swift end, however, after diseases brought by Spanish colonists decimated the local population and after colonial officials resettled the survivors inland, without humans to create the protective covering, newly formed beach ridges simply eroded and vanished. [22] According to Archaeologist Torben Rick, parts of the northern coast of Peru may look completely natural and pristine, “but if you rewind the clock a couple of millennia, you see that people were actively shaping this land by creating beach ridge systems". [23]

Effects of the conquest on the people of Peru Edit

The long-term effects of the arrival of the Spanish on the population of South America were simply catastrophic. While this was the case for every group of Native-Americans invaded by Europeans during this time period, the Incan population suffered an exceptionally dramatic and rapid decline following contact. It is estimated that parts of the empire, notably the Central Andes, suffered a population decline ratio of 58:1 during the years of 1520–1571. [24]

The single greatest cause of the decimation of native populations was Old World infectious diseases, carried by colonists and conquistadors. As these were new to the natives, they had no acquired immunity and suffered very high rates of death. More died of disease than any army or armed conflict. [25] As the Inca did not have as strong a writing tradition as the Aztec or Maya, it is difficult for historians to estimate population decline or any events after conquest. But, it is sometimes argued, and equally disputed among scholars. that the Inca began to contract these diseases several years before the Spanish appeared in the region, as it was possibly carried to their empire by traders and travelers. The outbreak, argued to be hemorrhagic smallpox, reached the Andes in 1524. While numbers are unavailable, Spanish records indicate that the population was so devastated by disease that they could hardly resist the foreign forces.

Historians differ as to whether the illness of the 1520s was smallpox a minority of scholars claim that the epidemic was due to an indigenous illness called Carrion's disease. In any case, a 1981 study by N. D. Cook the shows that the Andes suffered from three separate population declines during colonization. The first was of 30–50 percent during the first outbreak of smallpox. When a measles outbreak occurred, there was another decline of 25–30 percent. Finally, when smallpox and measles epidemics occurred together, which occurred from 1585 to 1591, a decline of 30–60 percent occurred. Collectively these declines amounted to a decline of 93 percent from the pre-contact population in the Andes region. [26] Mortality was particularly high among children, ensuring that the impact of the epidemics would extend to the next generation. [4]

Beyond the devastation of the local populations by disease, they suffered considerable enslavement, pillaging and destruction from warfare. The Spanish took thousands of women from the local natives to use as servants and concubines. As Pizarro and his men took over portions of South America, they plundered and enslaved countless people. Some local populations entered into vassalage willingly, to defeat the Inca. Native groups such as the Huanca, Cañari, Chanka and Chachapoya fought alongside the Spanish as they opposed Inca rule. The basic policy of the Spanish towards local populations was that voluntary vassalage would yield safety and coexistence, while continued resistance would result in more deaths and destruction. [27]

Another significant effect on the people in South America was the spread of Christianity. As Pizarro and the Spanish subdued the continent and brought it under their control, they forcefully converted many to Christianity, claiming to have educated them in the ways of the "one true religion." [28] [29] With the depopulation of the local populations along with the capitulation of the Inca Empire, the Spanish missionary work after colonization began was able to continue unimpeded. It took just a generation for the entire continent to be under Christian influence. [6]

Peter Shaffer's play The Royal Hunt of the Sun (1964) dramatizes the conquest of the Incas. In the play, Pizarro, Atahualpa, Valverde and other historical figures appear as characters.

The conquest is also used as a starting point for the Matthew Reilly novel Temple, where the siege of Cusco is used. Many historical figures are mentioned, especially Pizarro who is mentioned as the pursuer of the protagonist.

The Inca are featured in the third Campaign in Age of Empires 3, having a Lost City hidden in the Andes. They are also in the Multiplayer, found primarily in the areas making up Chile and Argentina.

The conquest is parodied in The Simpsons TV series, in the episode "Lost Verizon", written by John Frink. [30]

Pizarro and his fellow conquistadors feature as antagonists in the 1982 animated serial The Mysterious Cities of Gold.

I wish Your Majesty to understand the motive that moves me to make this statement is the peace of my conscience and because of the guilt I share. For we have destroyed by our evil behaviour such a government as was enjoyed by these natives. They were so free of crime and greed, both men and women, that they could leave gold or silver worth a hundred thousand pesos in their open house. So that when they discovered that we were thieves and men who sought to force their wives and daughters to commit sin with them, they despised us. But now things have come to such a pass in offence of God, owing to the bad example we have set them in all things, that these natives from doing no evil have turned into people who can do no good.. I beg God to pardon me, for I am moved to say this, seeing that I am the last to die of the Conquistadors."

When has it ever happened, either in ancient or modern times, that such amazing exploits have been achieved? Over so many climes, across so many seas, over such distances by land, to subdue the unseen and unknown? Whose deeds can be compared with those of Spain? Not even the ancient Greeks and Romans.

When I set out to write for the people of today and of the future, about the conquest and discovery that our Spaniards made here in Peru, I could not but reflect that I was dealing with the greatest matters one could possibly write about in all of creation as far as secular history goes. Where have men ever seen the things they have seen here? And to think that God should have permitted something so great to remain hidden from the world for so long in history, unknown to men, and then let it be found, discovered and won all in our own time!

The houses are more than two hundred paces in length, and very well built, being surrounded by strong walls, three times the height of a man. The roofs are covered with straw and wood, resting on the walls. The interiors are divided into eight rooms, much better built than any we had seen before. Their walls are of very well cut stones and each lodging is surrounded by its masonry wall with doorways, and has its fountain of water in an open court, conveyed from a distance by pipes, for the supply of the house. In front of the plaza, towards the open country, a stone fortress is connected with it by a staircase leading from the square to the fort. Towards the open country there is another small door, with a narrow staircase, all within the outer wall of the plaza. Above the town, on the mountain side, where the houses commence, there is another fort on a hill, the greater part of which is hewn out of the rock. This is larger than the other, and surrounded by three walls, rising spirally.

Juan Pizarro was the illegitimate son of Captain Gonzalo Pizarro y Rodríguez de Aguilar (senior) (1446–1522) and María Alonso, from Trujillo. His father was a colonel of infantry who had served with distinction in the Italian campaigns under Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, and in Navarre. Juan Pizarro was the half brother of Francisco and Hernando Pizarro, and full brother to Gonzalo Pizarro.

Juan and his brothers, led by Francisco and friend Diego de Almagro, conquered the mighty Inca Empire in 1533. [2] : 27 Juan, and Gonzalo Pizarro, were then appointed regidores on 24 March 1534, and garrisoned the city of Cuzco with ninety men, while Francisco Pizarro departed for Jauja. [1] : 222,227

In early Feb. 1536, two hundred thousand Incan warriors laid siege to the two hundred Spaniards in Cuzco. Hernando, Gonzalo and Juan led the defense with counterattacks on the fortress overlooking the city. Juan led the attack to recover the citadel. Unable to wear a helmet (his jaw was swollen after being hit by a slingshot), Juan was struck in the head by a large stone and died a fortnight later. [1] : 237–239,242–245

His Share of Loot Was Staggering

The Inca Empire was rich in gold and silver, and Pizarro and his conquistadors all became very rich. Francisco Pizarro made out best of all. His share from Atahualpa's ransom alone was 630 pounds of gold, 1,260 pounds of silver, and odds-and-ends such as Atahualpa's throne — a chair made of 15 karat gold which weighed 183 pounds. At today's rate, the gold alone was worth over $8 million dollars, and this does not include the silver or any of the loot from subsequent endeavors such as the sacking of Cuzco, which certainly at least doubled Pizarro's take.


Francisco Pizarro was born in Trujillo, Cáceres, Spain (then in the Crown of Castile) in modern-day Extremadura, Spain. He was the illegitimate son of infantry colonel Gonzalo Pizarro (1446–1522) and Francisca González, a woman of poor means. His date of birth is uncertain, but it is believed to be sometime in the 1470s, probably 1475. Little attention was paid to his education and he grew up illiterate. [2]

His father was a colonel of infantry who served in Navarre and in the Italian campaigns under Córdoba. His mother married late in life and had a son Francisco Martín de Alcántara, who was at the conquest of Peru with his half-brother from its inception. [3] Through his father, Francisco was a second cousin, once removed, of Hernán Cortés. [4]

On 10 November 1509, Pizarro sailed from Spain to the New World with Alonso de Ojeda on an expedition to Gulf of Urabá in Tierra Firme. Pizarro became a participant in Ojeda's failed colony, commanding the remnants until he abandoned it with the survivors. [5] : 93 He sailed to Cartagena and joined the fleet of Martín Fernández de Enciso in 1513.

On 10 November 1509, Pizarro sailed from Spain to the New World with Alonso de Ojeda on an expedition to Urabá. [6] He sailed to Cartagena and joined the fleet of Martín Fernández de Enciso and, in 1513, accompanied Balboa in his crossing of the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific. [2] [7] The following year, Pedro Arias Dávila became the newly appointed governor of Castilla de Oro and succeeded Balboa. During the next five years, Pizarro became a close associate of Dávila and the governor assigned him a repartimiento of natives and cattle. [5] : 93 When Dávila decided to get rid of Balboa out of distrust, he instructed Pizarro to personally arrest him and bring him to stand trial. Balboa was beheaded in January 1519. For his loyalty to Dávila, Pizarro was rewarded with the positions of mayor (Alcalde) and magistrate of the then recently founded Panama City from 1519 to 1523. [8]

The first attempt to explore western South America was undertaken in 1522 by Pascual de Andagoya. The native South Americans he encountered told him about a gold-rich territory called Virú, which was on a river called Pirú (later evolving to Perú). [7] : 24 These reports were relayed by the Spanish-Inca mestizo writer Garcilaso de la Vega in Comentarios Reales de los Incas (1609).

Andagoya eventually established contact with several Native American curacas (chiefs), some of whom he later claimed were sorcerers and witches. Having reached as far as the San Juan River (part of the present boundary between Ecuador and Colombia) Andagoya fell ill and returned to Panama. He spread the news and stories about "Pirú" – a great land to the south rich with gold (the legendary El Dorado). These revelations, along with the accounts for Cortés' success in Mexico, caught the attention of Pizarro, prompting a series of expeditions to the south.

In 1524, while still in Panama, Pizarro formed a partnership with a priest, Hernando de Luque and a soldier, Diego de Almagro, to explore and conquer the South. Pizarro, Almagro and Luque later explicitly renewed their compact, [7] : 24 agreeing to conquer and divide equally among themselves the empire they hoped to vanquish. While their accord was strictly oral, they dubbed their enterprise the Empresa del Levante and determined that Pizarro would command the expedition, Almagro would provide military and food supplies and Luque would be in charge of finances and additional provisions. [5] : 95

First expedition (1524) Edit

In November 1524, the first of three expeditions left Panama for the conquest of Peru with about 80 men and 40 horses. [7] : 24 Juan de Salcedo was the standard bearer, Nicolás de Ribera was the treasurer and Juan Carvallo was the inspector. [9] : 45, 47

Diego de Almagro was left behind because he was to recruit men, gather additional supplies and join Pizarro later. The Governor of Panama, Pedro Arias Dávila, at first approved in principle of exploring South America. Pizarro's first expedition, however, turned out to be a failure as his conquistadores, sailing down the Pacific coast, reached no farther than Colombia before succumbing to bad weather, lack of food and skirmishes with hostile natives, one of which caused Almagro to lose an eye by arrow-shot. The place names the Spanish bestowed along their route, including Puerto Deseado (desired port), Puerto del Hambre (port of hunger) and Punta Quemado or Puebla Quemado (burned port), confirmed their difficulties. Fearing subsequent hostile encounters like the one the expedition endured at the Battle of Punta Quemada, Pizarro ended his first expedition and returned to Panama. [5] : 94–102

Second expedition (1526) Edit

Two years later Pizarro, Almagro and Luque started the arrangements for a second expedition with permission from Pedrarias Dávila. The governor, who himself was preparing an expedition north to Nicaragua, was reluctant to permit another expedition, having lost confidence in Pizarro. The three associates eventually won his trust and he acquiesced. By this time, a new governor was to arrive and succeed Dávila. Pedro de los Ríos took charge in July 1526 and initially approved Pizarro's expeditions (he would join him several years later in Peru). [5] : 103–04

On 10 March 1526 Pizarro left Panama with two ships with 160 men and several horses, reaching as far as the Colombian San Juan River. Soon after arriving the party separated, with Pizarro staying to explore the new and often perilous territory off the swampy Colombian coasts, while the expedition's co-commander, Almagro, returned to Panama for reinforcements. Pizarro's Piloto Mayor (main pilot), Bartolomé Ruiz, continued sailing south and, after crossing the equator, found and captured a balsa (raft) under sail, with natives from Tumbes. To everyone's surprise, these carried textiles, ceramic objects and some pieces of gold, silver and emeralds, making Ruiz's findings the central focus of this second expedition. Some natives were taken aboard Ruiz's ship to serve as interpreters. [5] : 105–09 [7] : 24–25

He then set sail north for the San Juan River, arriving to find Pizarro and his men exhausted from the difficulties they had faced exploring the new territory. Soon Almagro sailed into the port laden with supplies and a reinforcement of at least eighty recruits who had arrived at Panama from Spain with an expeditionary spirit. The findings and excellent news from Ruiz along with Almagro's new reinforcements cheered Pizarro and his tired followers. They decided to sail back to the territory already explored by Ruiz and, after a difficult voyage due to strong winds and currents, reached Atacames on the Ecuadorian coast. Here, they found a large native population recently brought under Inca rule. Unfortunately for the conquistadores, the warlike spirit of the people they encountered seemed so defiant and dangerous in numbers that the Spanish decided not to enter the land. [5] : 110–12

The Famous Thirteen Edit

After much wrangling between Pizarro and Almagro, it was decided that Pizarro would stay at a safer place, the Isla de Gallo, [7] : 25–26 near the coast, while Almagro would return to Panama with Luque for more reinforcements – this time with proof of the gold they had found and the news of the discovery of the obviously wealthy land they had explored. The new governor of Panama, Pedro de los Ríos, had learned of the mishaps of Pizarro's expeditions and the deaths of various settlers who had gone with him. Fearing an unsuccessful outcome, he rejected Almagro's application for continued resources. In addition, he ordered two ships commanded by Juan Tafur to be sent immediately with the intention of bringing Pizarro and his crew back to Panama. [5] : 112–15

Pizarro had no intention of returning and when Tafur arrived at Isla de Gallo, Pizarro drew a line in the sand, saying: "There lies Peru with its riches Here, Panama and its poverty. Choose, each man, what best becomes a brave Castilian. For my part, I go to the south." [5] : 116

Only 13 men stayed with Pizarro. They later became known as "The Famous Thirteen" (Los trece de la fama), [7] : 26 while the rest of the expeditioners stayed with Tafur. Ruiz left in one of the ships with the intention of joining Almagro and Luque in their efforts to gather reinforcements. Soon after the ships left, Pizarro and his men constructed a crude boat and journeyed 25 leagues north to La Isla Gorgona, where they would remain for seven months before the arrival of new provisions. [5] : 117–18

Back in Panama, Pedro de los Ríos (after much convincing by Luque) had finally acquiesced to the requests for another ship, but only to bring Pizarro back within six months and completely abandon the expedition. Almagro and Luque grasped the opportunity and left Panama (this time without new recruits) for La Isla Gorgona to once again join Pizarro. On meeting with Pizarro, the associates decided to continue sailing south on the recommendations of Ruiz's Indian interpreters. [5] : 118

By April 1528, they finally reached the northwestern Peruvian Tumbes Region. Tumbes became the first success the Spanish had so long desired. They were received with a warm welcome of hospitality and provisions from the Tumpis, the local inhabitants. On subsequent days two of Pizarro's men, Alonso de Molina and Pedro de Candia, reconnoitered the territory and both, on separate accounts, reported back the riches of the land, including the decorations of silver and gold around the chief's residence and the hospitable attentions with which they were received by everyone. The Spanish also saw for the first time the Peruvian llama, [7] : 26 which Pizarro called "little camels". Pizarro continued receiving the same accounts of a powerful monarch who ruled over the land they were exploring. These events served as evidence to convince the expedition that the wealth and power displayed at Tumbes were an example of the riches of the Peruvian territory. The conquistadors decided to return to Panama to prepare the final expedition of conquest with more recruits and provisions. Before leaving, however, Pizarro and his followers sailed south along the coast to see if anything of interest could be found. Historian William H. Prescott recounts that after passing through territories they named such as Cabo Blanco, port of Payta, Sechura, Punta de Aguja, Santa Cruz and Trujillo (founded by Almagro years later), they finally reached for the first time the ninth degree of the southern latitude in South America.

On their return towards Panama, Pizarro briefly stopped at Tumbes, where two of his men had decided to stay to learn the customs and language of the natives. Pizarro was also given two Peruvian boys to learn Spanish, one of whom was later baptized as Felipillo and served as an important interpreter, the equivalent of Cortés' La Malinche of Mexico, and another called Martinillo. [9] : 126, 128 Their final stop was at La Isla Gorgona, where two of his ill men (one had died) had stayed. After at least 18 months away, Pizarro and his followers anchored off the coasts of Panama to prepare for the final expedition. [5] : 119–26

Capitulación de Toledo Edit

When the new governor of Panama, Pedro de los Ríos, refused to allow for a third expedition to the south, the associates resolved for Pizarro to leave for Spain and appeal to the sovereign in person. Pizarro sailed from Panama for Spain in the spring of 1528, accompanied by Pedro de Candia, some natives and llamas, plus samples of fabric, gold and silver. [5] : 127–28

Pizarro reached Seville in early summer. King Charles I, who was at Toledo, had an interview with Pizarro and heard of his expeditions in South America. The conquistador described the territory as rich in gold and silver that he and his followers had bravely explored "to extend the empire of Castile". The king, who was soon to leave for Italy, was impressed at his accounts and promised his support for the conquest of Peru. Queen Isabel, though, in the absence of the king, signed the Capitulación de Toledo on 6 July 1529, [10] a license document that authorized Pizarro to proceed with the conquest of Peru. Pizarro was officially named the Governor, Captain general, Adelantado and Alguacil Mayor, of New Castile for the distance of 200 leagues along the newly discovered coast and invested with all authority and prerogatives, leaving his associates in secondary positions (a fact that later incensed Almagro and would lead to eventual discord). One of the grant conditions was that within six months, Pizarro should raise a sufficiently equipped force of 250 men, of whom 100 might be drawn from the colonies. [5] : 132–34, 137

This gave Pizarro time to leave for his native Trujillo and convince his brother Hernando Pizarro and other close friends to join him on his third expedition. [5] : 136 Francisco de Orellana joined the group and would later discover and explore the length of the Amazon River. Two half-brothers from his father, Juan Pizarro and Gonzalo Pizarro, [7] : 27 and a half-brother from his mother, Francisco Martín de Alcántara, [5] : 136 later also decided to join him, as well as his cousin Pedro Pizarro, who served as his page. [11] : 13 When the expedition left the following year, it numbered three ships, 180 men and 27 horses. [5] : 138

Pizarro could not raise the number of men the Capitulación required and sailed clandestinely from the port of Sanlúcar de Barrameda for the Canary Island of La Gomera in January 1530. He was there joined by his brother Hernando and the remaining men in two vessels that would sail back to Panama. [5] : 137 Pizarro's third and final expedition left Panama for Peru on 27 December 1530. [7] : 27

Conquest of Peru (1532) Edit

In 1531, Pizarro once again landed in the coasts near Ecuador, the province of Coaque and the region of esmeraldas, where some gold, silver and emeralds were procured and then dispatched to Almagro. The latter had stayed in Panama to gather more recruits. [5] : 139–40 Sebastián de Belalcázar soon arrived with 30 men. [5] : 141 Though Pizarro's main objective was then to set sail and dock at Tumbes like his previous expedition, he was forced to confront the Punian natives in the Battle of Puná, leaving three or four Spaniards dead and many wounded. Soon after, Hernando de Soto, another conquistador who had joined the expedition, arrived with 100 volunteers and horses to aid Pizarro and with him sailed towards Tumbes, [5] : 143 only to find the place deserted and destroyed. The two conquistadors expected that the settlers had disappeared or died under murky circumstances. The chiefs explained that the fierce tribes of Punians had attacked them and ransacked the place. [5] : 152–53

As Tumbes no longer afforded safe accommodations, Pizarro led an excursion into the interior in May 1532 and established the first Spanish settlement in Peru, San Miguel de Piura, and a repartimiento. [5] : 153–54

Leaving 50 men back at the settlement under the command of Antonio Navarro, Pizarro proceeded with his conquest accompanied by 200 men on 24 September 1532. [5] : 155–56 After arriving at Zaran, de Soto was dispatched to a Peruvian garrison at Caxas. After a week, he returned with an envoy from the Inca himself, with presents and an invitation to visit the Inca ruler's camp. [5] : 156–58

Following the defeat of his brother, Huáscar, Atahualpa had been resting in the Sierra of northern Peru, near Cajamarca, in the nearby thermal baths known today as the Inca Baths. Arriving at Cajamarca on 15 November 1532, Pizarro had a force of just 110-foot soldiers, 67 cavalry, three arquebuses and two falconets. He sent Hernando Pizarro and de Soto to meet with Atahualpa in his camp. Atahualpa agreed to meet Pizarro in his Cajamarca plaza fortress the next day. Fray Vincente de Valverde and native interpreter Felipillo approached Atahualpa in Cajamarca's central plaza. After the Dominican friar expounded the "true faith" and the need to pay tribute to the Emperor Charles V, Atahualpa replied, "I will be no man's tributary." His complacency, because fewer than 200 Spanish remained, as opposed to his 50,000-man army, of which 6,000 accompanied him to Cajamarca, sealed his fate and that of the Inca empire. [5] : 157, 161, 166–77

Atahualpa's refusal led Pizarro and his force to attack the Inca army in what became the Battle of Cajamarca on 16 November 1532. The Spanish were successful. Pizarro executed Atahualpa's 12-man honor guard and took the Inca captive at the so-called Ransom Room. By February 1533, Almagro had joined Pizarro in Cajamarca with an additional 150 men and 50 horses. [5] : 186–94

Despite fulfilling his promise of filling one room (22 by 17 feet or 7 by 5 metres) [12] with gold and two with silver, Atahualpa was convicted of 12 charges, including killing his brother and plotting against Pizarro and his forces. He was executed by garrote on 29 August 1533. Francisco Pizarro and de Soto were opposed to Atahualpa's execution, but Francisco consented to the trial due to the "great agitation among the soldiers", particularly by Almagro. De Soto was on a reconnaissance mission the day of the trial and execution and upon his return expressed his dismay, stating, "he should have been taken to Castile and judged by the emperor." [5] : 202–04, 206 [13] King Charles later wrote to Pizarro: "We have been displeased by the death of Atahualpa, since he was a monarch and particularly as it was done in the name of justice."

Pizarro advanced with his army of 500 Spaniards toward Cuzco, accompanied by Chalcuchimac, one of the leading Inca generals of the north and a supporter of Atahualpa, who was subsequently burned at the stake. Manco Inca Yupanqui joined Pizarro after the death of Túpac Huallpa. [5] : 191, 210, 216 During the exploration of Cuzco, Pizarro was impressed and through his officers wrote back to King Charles I of Spain, saying: "This city is the greatest and the finest ever seen in this country or anywhere in the Indies. We can assure your Majesty that it is so beautiful and has such fine buildings that it would be remarkable even in Spain."

The Spanish sealed the conquest of Peru by entering Cuzco on 15 November 1533. [5] : 216 Jauja, in the fertile Mantaro Valley, was established as Peru's provisional capital in April 1534, [9] : 286 but it was high up in the mountains and too distant from the sea to serve as the capital. Pizarro founded the city of Lima on Peru's central coast on 6 January 1535, which he considered to be one of the most important things he had created in life. [5] : 227–29

After the final effort of the Inca to recover Cuzco had been defeated by Almagro, a dispute occurred between Pizarro and Almagro respecting the limits of their jurisdiction, as both claimed the city of Cuzco. The king of Spain had awarded the Governorate of New Toledo to Almagro and the Governorate of New Castile to Pizarro. The dispute had originated from a disagreement on how to interpret the limit between the governorates. [5] : 254–56 This led to confrontations between the Pizarro brothers and Almagro, who was eventually defeated during the Battle of Las Salinas (1538) and executed. Almagro's son, also named Diego and known as El Mozo, was later stripped of his lands and left bankrupt by Pizarro.

Atahualpa's wife, 10-year-old Cuxirimay Ocllo Yupanqui, was with Atahualpa's army in Cajamarca and had stayed with him while he was imprisoned. Following his execution, she was taken to Cuzco and given the name Dona Angelina. By 1538, it was known she had borne Pizarro two sons, Juan and Francisco. [14]

In Lima, on 26 June 1541 "a group of 20 heavily armed supporters of Diego de Almagro II "el mozo" stormed Pizarro's palace, assassinating him and then forcing the terrified city council to appoint young Almagro as the new governor of Peru", according to Burkholder and Johnson. [15] "Most of Pizarro's guests fled, but a few fought the intruders, numbered variously between seven and 25. While Pizarro struggled to buckle on his breastplate, his defenders, including his half-brother Martín de Alcántara, were killed". [9] : 143 For his part, Pizarro killed two attackers and ran through a third. While trying to pull out his sword, he was stabbed in the throat, then fell to the floor where he was stabbed many times." [16] Pizarro (who now was maybe as old as 70 years and at least 62), collapsed on the floor, alone, painted a cross in his own blood and cried for Jesus Christ. He died moments after. Diego de Almagro the younger was caught and executed the following year after losing the battle of Chupas.

Pizarro's remains were briefly interred in the cathedral courtyard at some later time, his head and body were separated and buried in separate boxes underneath the floor of the cathedral. In 1892, in preparation for the anniversary of Columbus' discovery of the Americas, a body believed to be that of Pizarro was exhumed and put on display in a glass coffin. However, in 1977, men working on the cathedral's foundation discovered a lead box in a sealed niche, which bore the inscription "Here is the head of Don Francisco Pizarro Demarkes, Don Francisco Pizarro who discovered Peru and presented it to the crown of Castile." A team of forensic scientists from the United States, led by William R. Maples, was invited to examine the two bodies and they soon determined that the body which had been honored in the glass case for nearly a century had been incorrectly identified. The skull within the lead box not only bore the marks of multiple sword blows, but the features bore a remarkable resemblance to portraits made of the man in life. [17] [18]

By his marriage to N de Trujillo, Pizarro had a son also named Francisco, who married his relative Inés Pizarro, without issue. After Pizarro's death, Inés Yupanqui, whom he took as a mistress, favourite sister of Atahualpa, who had been given to Francisco in marriage by her brother, married a Spanish cavalier named Ampuero and left for Spain, taking her daughter who would later be legitimized by imperial decree. Francisca Pizarro Yupanqui eventually married her uncle Hernando Pizarro in Spain, on 10 October 1537 a third son of Pizarro who was never legitimized, Francisco, by Dona Angelina, a wife of Atahualpa that he had taken as a mistress, died shortly after reaching Spain. [19]

Historians have often compared the conquests of Pizarro and Cortés in North and South America as very similar in style and career. Pizarro, however, faced the Incas with a smaller army and fewer resources than Cortés, at a much greater distance from the Spanish Caribbean outposts that could easily support him, which has led some to rank Pizarro slightly ahead of Cortés in their battles for conquest. Based on sheer numbers alone, Pizarro's military victory was one of the most improbable in recorded history. [ citation needed ]

Pizarro is well known in Peru as the leader of the Spanish conquest. After his invasion, Pizarro destroyed the Inca state and while ruling the area for almost a decade, initiated the decline of local cultures. The Incas' polytheistic religion was replaced by Christianity and much of the local population was reduced to serfdom [ citation needed ] under the Spanish elite. The cities of the Inca Empire were transformed into Spanish Catholic cities. Pizarro is also reviled for ordering Atahualpa's death despite the ransom payment (which Pizarro kept, after paying the Spanish king his due). Many Peruvians, including many of mainly indigenous descent, regard him negatively, although until relatively recently Pizarro had been portrayed positively, for instance in textbooks, for imposing Catholicism and creating a privileged class of mainly Spanish descent. [ citation needed ]

Sculptures Edit

In the early 1930s, sculptor Ramsay MacDonald created three copies of an anonymous European foot soldier resembling a conquistador with a helmet, wielding a sword and riding a horse. The first copy was offered to Mexico to represent Cortés, though it was rejected. The statue was taken to Lima in 1934 and re-purposed to represent Pizarro. One other copy of the statue resides in Wisconsin. (The mounted statue of Pizarro in the Plaza Mayor in Trujillo, Spain, was created by American sculptor Charles Rumsey. It was presented to the city by his widow in 1926.)

The statue long stood an adjacent square to Peru's Government Palace. In 2003, after years of requests for the statue to be removed, the mayor of Lima, Luis Castañeda Lossio, approved the transfer of the statue to another location. Since 2004, however, Pizarro's statue has been in a park surrounded by the recently restored 17th-century walls in the Rímac District. The statue faces the Rímac River and the Government Palace.

Palace of the Conquest Edit

After returning from Peru extremely wealthy, the Pizarro family erected a plateresque-style palace on the corner of the Plaza Mayor in Trujillo. Francisca Pizarro Yupanqui and her uncle/husband Hernando Pizarro ordered the building of the palace it features busts of them and others. [20] It instantly became a recognizable symbol of the plaza.

The opulent palace is structured in four stands, giving it the significance of the coat of arms of the Pizarro family, which is situated at one of its corner balconies displaying its iconographic content. The building's decor includes plateresque ornaments and balustrades.

There Was Some Collusion

A.Skromnitsky / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Although many of the Indigenous people fought back fiercely, others allied themselves with the Spanish. The Inca were not universally loved by the neighboring tribes they had subjugated over the centuries, and vassal tribes such as the Cañari hated the Inca so much that they allied themselves with the Spanish. By the time they realized that the Spanish were an even bigger threat, it was too late. Members of the Inca royal family practically fell over one another to gain the favor of the Spanish, who put a series of puppet rulers on the throne. The Spanish also co-opted a servant class called the yanaconas. The yanaconas attached themselves to the Spaniards and were valuable informants.

Pizarro Conquers the Incan Empire

This series has eight easy 5 minute installments. This first installment: The Conquistadors’ Journey Into the Mountain Fastness.

Of the Spanish Conquistadors, Francisco Pizzaro is one of those historical persons who was both good and bad. These people lived large. They had large egos, large ambitions, and large intelligence. When this kind of people were doing good deeds, those were very good deeds. And when these people turned bad, they were very bad.

When the “South Sea,” as the Spaniards called the Pacific Ocean, had been discovered by Balboa, and the first conquests on the mainland secured, another Spanish soldier, Francisco Pizarro, who had accompanied Balboa, settled in the new city of Panama. While living there in repose, he longed to perform further and greater services for the Spanish sovereign. He therefore obtained permission from the colonial governor to explore the Pacific coast toward the south. After an unsuccessful voyage in 1524-1526, he set out again in the latter year, and sailed for Peru, reaching that country through many hardships, the surmounting of which places him fairly among the great discoverers.

Having collected much information concerning the empire of the Incas, Pizarro went to Spain and received authority to conquer Peru. Returning to Panama, he sailed from there in December, 1531, with three ships, one hundred eighty-three men, and thirty-seven horses. He first landed at the island of Puna, where he was joined by Hernando de Soto, and then, crossing to Tumbez, marched inland and reached Cajamarca, the city of the Incas, in November, 1532.

The circumstantial account of what followed, written by Hernando Pizarro, half-brother and companion of Francisco, is fitly supplemented by the narrative of Prescott, whose story of the last of the Incas is so widely known.

  • a letter in Reports on the Discovery of Peru by Hernando Pizarro published in dictated to his brother..
  • The Conquest of Peru by William H. Prescott published in 1847.

For works benefiting from the latest research see the “More information” section at the bottom of these pages. There’s 5 installments by Hernando Pizarro and 3 installments by William H. Prescott.

We begin with Hernando Pizarro (-1578). He was Francisco’s brother who accompanied him on the expedition and reported on it to the Spanish Court. This is his report.

Time: 1532
Place: Cajamarca, Peru

Pizarro Founding Lima, Peru
Fair use image from Wikipedia

To the Magnificent Lords, the Judges of the Royal Audience of his Majesty, who reside in the city of Santo Domingo.

MAGNIFICENT LORDS: I arrived in this port of Yaguana on my way to Spain, by order of the governor Francisco Pizarro, to inform his majesty of what has happened in that government of Peru, to give an account of the country and of its present condition and, as I believe that those who come to this city give your worships inconsistent accounts, it has seemed well to me to write a summary of what has taken place, that you may be informed of the truth.

The Governor, in the name of his majesty, founded a town near the sea-coast, which was called San Miguel. It is twenty-five leagues from that point of Tumbez. Having left citizens there, and assigned the Indians in the district to them, he set out, with sixty horse and ninety foot, in search of the town of Cajamarca, at which place he was informed that Atahualpa then was brother of him who is now lord of that land. Between the two brothers there had been a very fierce war, and this Atahualpa had conquered the land as far as he then was, which, from the point whence he started, was a hundred fifty leagues. After seven or eight marches, a captain of Atahualpa came to the Governor and said that his lord had heard of his arrival and rejoiced greatly at it, having a strong desire to see the Christians and when he had been two days with the Governor he said that he wished to go forward and tell the news to his lord, and that another would soon be on the road with a present as a token of peace.

The Governor continued his march until he came to a town called La Ramada. Up to that point all the land was flat, while all beyond was very rugged and obstructed by very difficult passes. When he saw that the messenger from Atahualpa did not return, he wished to obtain intelligence from some Indians who had come from Cajamarca so they were tortured, and they then said that they had heard that Atahualpa was waiting for the Governor in the mountains to give him battle. The Governor then ordered the troops to advance, leaving the rear-guard in the plain. The rest ascended, and the road was so bad that, in truth, if they had been waiting for us, either in this pass or in another that we came to on the road to Cajamarca, they could very easily have stopped us for, even by exerting all our skill, we could not have taken our horses by the roads and neither horse nor foot can cross those mountains except by the roads. The distance across them to Cajamarca is full twenty leagues. When we were half-way, messengers arrived from Atahualpa and brought provisions to the Governor. They said that Atahualpa was waiting for him at Cajamarca, wishing to be his friend and that he wished the Governor to know that his captains had taken his brother prisoner, that they would reach Cajamarca within two days, and that all the territory of his father now belonged to him. The Governor sent back to say that he rejoiced greatly at this news, and that, if there was any lord who refused to submit, he would give assistance and subjugate him. Two days afterward the Governor came in sight of Cajamarca, and he met Indians with food. He put the troops in order and marched to the town. Atahualpa was not there, but was encamped on the plain, at a distance of a league, with all his people in tents. When the Governor saw that Atahualpa did not come, he sent a captain, with fifteen horsemen, to speak to Atahualpa, saying that he would not assign quarters to the Christians until he knew where it was the pleasure of Atahualpa that they should lodge, and he desired him to come that they might be friends. Just then I went to speak to the Governor, touching the orders in case the Indians made a night attack. He told me that he had sent men to seek an interview with Atahualpa. I told him that, out of the sixty cavalry we had, there might be some men who were not dexterous on horseback, and some unsound horses, and that it seemed a mistake to pick out fifteen of the best for, if Atahualpa should attack them, their numbers were insufficient for defense, and any reverse might lead to a great disaster. He therefore ordered me to follow with other twenty horsemen, and to act according to circumstances.

When I arrived I found the other horsemen near the camp of Atahualpa, and that their officer had gone to speak with him. I left my men there also, and advanced with two horsemen to the lodging of Atahualpa, and the captain announced my approach and who I was. I then told Atahualpa that the Governor had sent me to visit him and to ask him to come, that they might be friends. He replied that a cacique of the town of San Miguel had sent to tell him that we were bad people and not good for war, and that he himself had killed some of us, both men and horses. I answered that those people of San Miguel were like women, and that one horse was enough for the whole of them that, when he saw us fight, he would know what we were like that the Governor had a great regard for him that if he had any enemy he had only to say so, and that the Governor would send to conquer him. He said that, four marches from that spot, there were some very rebellious Indians who would not submit to him, and that the Christians might go there to help his troops. I said that the Governor would send ten horsemen, who would suffice for the whole country, and that his Indians were unnecessary, except to search for those who concealed themselves. He smiled like a man who did not think so much of us

Pizarro Conquers the Incas - History

The Inca first appeared in the Andes region during the 12th century A.D. and gradually built a massive kingdom through the military strength of their emperors. Known as Tawantinsuyu, the Inca state spanned the distance of northern Ecuador to central Chile and consisted of 12 million inhabitants from more than 100 different ethnic groups at its peak. Well-devised agricultural and roadway systems, along with a centralized religion and language, helped maintain a cohesive state. Despite their power, the Inca were quickly overwhelmed by the diseases and superior weaponry of Spanish invaders, the last bastion of their immense empire overtaken in 1572.

Listen to HISTORY This Week Podcast: The Inca&aposs Last Stand

The Inca first appeared in what is today southeastern Peru during the 12th century A.D. According to some versions of their origin myths, they were created by the sun god, Inti, who sent his son Manco Capac to Earth through the middle of three caves in the village of Paccari Tampu. After killing his brothers, Manco Capac led his sisters and their followers through the wilderness before settling in the fertile valley near Cusco circa 1200.

The Inca began expanding their land holdings by the reign of their fourth emperor, Mayta Capac. However, they did not truly become an expansive power until the eighth emperor, Viracocha Inca, took control in the early 15th century. Bolstered by the military capabilities of two uncles, Viracocha Inca defeated the Ayarmaca kingdom to the south and took over the Urubamba Valley. He also established the Inca practice of leaving military garrisons to maintain peace in conquered lands.

When the rival Chancas attacked circa 1438, Viracocha Inca retreated to a military outpost while his son, Cusi Inca Yupanqui, successfully defended Cusco. Taking the title of Pachacuti, Inca Yupanqui became one of the Inca’s most influential rulers. His military campaigns extended the kingdom to the southern end of the Titicaca Basin, and hundreds of miles north to subject the Cajamarca and Chimu kingdoms.

The expanding reach of the Inca state, Tawantinsuyu, prompted strategic logistical considerations. Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui is believed to have been the first Inca emperor to order forced resettlement to squash the possibility of an uprising from one ethnic group. In addition, he established the practice in which rulers were prevented from inheriting the possessions of their predecessors, thereby ensuring that successive leaders would conquer new lands and accumulate new wealth.

Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui also focused his efforts on strengthening Cusco, the center of the empire. He expanded Sacsahuaman, the massive fortress that guarded the city, and embarked on an expansive irrigation project by channeling rivers and creating intricate agricultural terraces.

Although Tawantinsuyu was comprised of more than 100 distinct ethnic groups among its 12 million inhabitants, a well-developed societal structure kept the empire running smoothly. There was no written language, but a form of Quechua became the primary dialect, and knotted cords known as quipu were used to keep track of historical and accounting records. Most subjects were self-sufficient farmers who tended to corn, potatoes, squash, llamas, alpacas and dogs, and paid taxes through public labor. A system of roadways adding up to approximately 15,000 miles crisscrossed the kingdom, with relay runners capable of advancing messages at the rate of 150 miles per day.

The Inca religion centered on a pantheon of gods that included Inti a creator god named Viracocha and Apu Illapu, the rain god. Impressive shrines were built throughout the kingdom, including a massive Sun Temple in Cusco that measured more than 1,200 feet in circumference. Powerful priests depended on divination to diagnose illness, solve crimes and predict the outcomes of warfare, in many cases requiring animal sacrifice. The mummified remains of previous emperors were also treated as sacred figures and paraded around at ceremonies with their stores of gold and silver.

Upon ascending to the throne in 1471, Topa Inca Yupanqui pushed the southern border of the empire to the Maule River in modern-day Chile, and instituted a tribute system in which each province provided women to serve as temple maidens or brides for celebrated soldiers. His successor, Huayna Capac, embarked on successful northern campaigns that carried to the Ancasmayo River, the current boundary between Ecuador and Colombia.

Meanwhile, the arrival of Spanish explorers had already triggered the collapse of the state. The Spanish carried such alien diseases as smallpox, which wiped out a huge chunk of the population before killing Huayna Capac and his chosen successor around 1525. That sparked a civil war as would-be emperors battled for power, with Atahualpa eventually outlasting his half-brother, Huascar, to grab the throne.

Enamored by the stories of Inca wealth, Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro lured Atahualpa to meeting for a supposed dinner in his honor and kidnapped the emperor in November 1532. Atahualpa was executed the following summer, and although the Spanish were far outnumbered by the locals, they easily sacked Cusco in late 1533 with their superior weaponry.

Attempting to keep the peace, the Spanish installed a young prince named Manco Inca Yupanqui as a puppet king, a move that backfired during a spirited rebellion in 1536. However, Manco Inca Yupanqui and his men were eventually forced to retreat to the jungle village of Vilcabamba, which remained the last stronghold of the empire until 1572.

As the only written accounts of the Inca were composed by outsiders, its mythology and culture passed to successive generations by trained storytellers. Traces of its existence were mainly found in the ruins of cities and temples, but in 1911 archaeologist Hiram Bingham discovered the intact 15th century mountaintop citadel of Machu Picchu, its magnificent stone structures reflecting the power and capabilities of this massive Pre-Colombian state.


The Inca have four types of origin

In one, Tici Viracocha of Colina de las Ventanas in Paqariq Tampu sent forth his four sons and four daughters to establish a village. Along the way, Sinchi Roca was born to Manco and Ocllo, and Sinchi Roca is the person who finally led them to the valley of Cuzco where they founded their new village. There Manco became their leader and became known as Manco Cápac. [1] In another origin myth, the sun god Inti ordered Manco Cápac and Mama Ocllo to emerge from the depths of Lake Titicaca and found the city of Cuzco. They traveled through caves until reaching Cuzco where they established Hurin Cuzco, or the first dynasty of the Kingdom of Cuzco. In a third origin myth, an Inca sun god told his wife that he was lonely. She proposed that he create a civilization to worship him and keep him company. He saw this as a wise plan and carried it out. The Inca were born from Lake Cusco and populated the Andes and worshiped their sun god. In the last origin myth, Manco Cápac, who was the son of the sun, and his sister Mama Occlo, the daughter of the moon, were sent by the sun to look for a place to build an empire. They were to tell when they were at the right place by carrying a special rod with them at all times. Wherever the rod sank into the ground, this was where they were to create a new city. The rod sank into the ground in Cuzco.

The knowledge of these myths is due to oral tradition since the Incas did not have writing. Manco Cápac, who became the leader of his tribe, probably did exist, despite lack of solid evidence. The archeological evidence seems to indicate that the Inca were a relatively unimportant tribe until the time of Sinchi Roca, also called Cinchi Roca, who is the first figure in Inca mythology whose existence can be supported historically.

The Inca people began as a tribe in the Cusco area around the 12th century. Under the leadership of Manco Cápac, they formed the small city-state of Cusco Quechua Qosqo.

In 1438, under the command of Sapa Inca (paramount leader) Pachacuti, whose name meant "world-shaker", they began a far-reaching expansion. The land Pachacuti conquered was about half the Andes mountain range.

Pachacuti reorganized the kingdom of Cusco into an empire, the Tahuantinsuyu, a federalist system which consisted of a central government with the Inca at its head and four provincial governments with strong leaders: Chinchasuyu (NW), Antisuyu (NE), Kuntisuyu (SW), and Qullasuyu (SE). Pachacuti is also thought to have built Machu Picchu, either as a family home or retreat. [ citation needed ]

Pachacuti would send spies to regions he wanted in his empire who would report back on their political organization, military might and wealth. He would then send messages to the leaders of these lands extolling the benefits of joining his empire, offering them presents of luxury goods such as high-quality textiles, and promising that they would be materially richer as subject rulers of the Inca. Most accepted the rule of the Inca as a fait accompli and acquiesced peacefully. The ruler's children would then be brought to Cuzco to be taught about Inca administration systems, then return to rule their native lands. This allowed the Inca to indoctrinate the former ruler's children into the Inca nobility, and, with luck, marry their daughters into families at various corners of the empire.

It was traditional for the Inca's son to lead the army Pachacuti's son Túpac Inca began conquests to the north in 1463 and continued them as Inca after Pachucuti's death in 1471. His most important conquest was the Kingdom of Chimor, the Inca's only serious rival for the coast of Peru. Túpac Inca's empire stretched north into modern-day Ecuador and Colombia.

Túpac Inca's son Huayna Cápac added significant territory to the south. At its height, Tahuantinsuyu included Peru, southwest Ecuador, western and south central Bolivia, northwest Argentina, northern Chile and a small part of southwest Colombia.

Tahuantinsuyu was a patchwork of languages, cultures, and peoples. The components of the empire were not all uniformly loyal, nor were the local cultures all fully integrated. The portions of the Chachapoya that had been conquered were almost openly hostile to the Inca, and the Inca nobles rejected an offer of refuge in their kingdom after their troubles with the Spanish. For instance, the Chimú used money in their commerce, while the Inca empire as a whole had an economy based on exchange and taxation of luxury goods and labour (it is said that Inca tax collectors would take the head lice of the lame and old as a symbolic tribute).

Economic productivity was based on collective labor which was organized in order to benefit the whole community. The ayni was used to help individual members of the community in need, such as a sick member of the community. The Minka or teamwork represented community service and the Mita was the tax paid to the Inca in the form of labor. The Inca did not use currency, economic exchanges were by reciprocity and took place in markets called catus.

Spanish conquistadors led by Francisco Pizarro explored south from Panama, reaching Inca territory by 1526. It was clear that they had reached a wealthy land with prospects of great treasure, and after one more expedition (1529), Pizarro traveled to Spain and received royal approval to conquer the region and be its viceroy.

At the time the Spanish returned to Peru, in 1532, a war of succession between Huayna Capac's sons Huáscar and Atahualpa and unrest among newly conquered territories—and perhaps more they were said to have hidden a city or gold in a vault. Significantly, smallpox, which had spread from Central America—had considerably weakened the empire.

Pizarro did not have a formidable force with just 170 men, 1 cannon and only 27 horses, he often needed to talk his way out of potential confrontations that could have easily wiped out his party. Their first engagement was the battle of Puná, near present-day Guayaquil, Ecuador Pizarro then founded the city of Piura in July 1532. Hernando de Soto was sent inland to explore the interior, and returned with an invitation to meet the Inca, Atahualpa, who had defeated his brother in the civil war and was resting at Cajamarca with his army of 80,000 troops.

Pizarro met with the Inca, who had brought only a small retinue, and through interpreters demanded that he convert to Christianity. A widely disputed legend claims that Atahualpa was handed a Bible and threw it on the floor, the Spanish supposedly interpreted this action as adequate reason for war. Though some chroniclers suggest that Atahualpa simply didn't understand the notion of a book, others portray Atahualpa as being genuinely curious and inquisitive in the situation. Regardless, the Spanish attacked the Inca's retinue (see Battle of Cajamarca), capturing Atahualpa.

Thereby, the victory of the comparatively small Spanish force can be attributed to the presence of Spanish horses, which were unknown to the Inca before the arrival of Pizarro, as well as to the usage of guns and cannons by the Spanish men. Furthermore, the local educational investments, which had an impact on economic growth and development, did not equal those of the Spaniards, with the numeracy level of Peruvian Inca Indios amounting to half the numeracy level of Spanish invaders. [2]

Pizarro used the capture of Atahualpa to gain gold as a ransom. Atahualpa offered the Spaniards enough gold to fill the room he was imprisoned in, and twice that amount of silver. The Incas fulfilled this ransom. Over four months, almost 8 tons of gold was collected. Pizarro was supposed to let the ruler of the Incas free once the ransom was paid, but he refused to release the Inca after that and instead had him strangled in public. During Atahualpa's imprisonment Huáscar was assassinated. The Spanish maintained that this was at Atahualpa's orders this was one of the charges used against Atahualpa when the Spanish finally decided to put him to death, in August 1533.

The Spanish installed his brother Manco Inca Yupanqui in power for some time Manco cooperated with the Spanish, while the Spanish fought to put down resistance in the north. Meanwhile, an associate of Pizarro's, Diego de Almagro, attempted to claim Cusco for himself. Manco tried to use this intra-Spanish feud to his advantage, recapturing Cusco (1536), but the Spanish retook the city.

Manco Inca then retreated to the mountains of Vilcabamba and founded the Neo-Inca State, where he and his successors ruled for another 36 years, sometimes raiding the Spanish or inciting revolts against them. In 1572 the last Inca stronghold was discovered, and the last ruler, Túpac Amaru, Manco's son, was captured and executed, bringing the Inca empire to an end.

After the fall of Tahuantinsuyu, the new Spanish rulers repressed the people and their traditions. Many aspects of Inca culture were systematically destroyed, including their sophisticated farming system. The Spanish used the Inca mita (mandatory public service) system to get labourers for mines and plantations. One member of each family was forced to work in the gold and silver mines, the foremost of which was the silver mine at Potosí. When one family member died, which would usually happen within a year or two, the family would be required to send a replacement.

The major languages of the empire, Quechua and Aymara, were employed by the Catholic Church to evangelize in the Andean region. In some cases, these languages were taught to peoples who had originally spoken other indigenous languages. Today, Quechua and Aymara remain the most widespread Amerindian languages.

The legend of the Inca has served as inspiration for resistance movements in the region. These include the 1780 rebellion led by Tupac Amaru II against the Spanish, as well as contemporary the guerrilla movements Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) and Sendero Luminoso in Peru and Tupamaros in Uruguay.

Honduras gained independence from Spain in 1821 and was a part of the First Mexican Empire until 1823, when it became part of the United Provinces of Central America. It has been an independent republic and has held regular elections since 1838.

Honduras was ruled by military governments from 1963 until the election of Ramón Ernesto Cruz (1971–72). Cruz’s election resulted from the Soccer War, which Honduras had lost militarily. But López, chief of the armed forces, retained real power, and in December 1972 he removed Cruz from office.

Watch the video: Documentary The Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire