The Conquest of the Aztec and Inca Empire

Topics: Francisco Pizarro, 16th-century Spanish people, Inca Empire Pages: 24 (9193 words) Published: October 8, 2010
Captain Francisco Pizarro formed a partnership in Panama with Diego de Almagro and the priest Hernando de Luque in order to explore the Pacific coast, looking for a Biru tribe that became the name Peru. His first expedition began in November 1524 with eighty men and four horses; but they suffered starvation, and Almagro lost an eye fighting natives. In 1526 they took two ships and captured a balsa raft with rich ornaments of silver and gold. Pizarro kept three captured natives to learn Spanish and be interpreters. The next year only thirteen men stayed with Pizarro on the Isla del Gallo; but in 1528 Pizarro discovered the Inca city of Tumbez. He went to Spain and at Toledo persuaded the Queen to appoint him governor and captain-general of Peru; Almagro was named commandant of Tumbez and Luque protector of the Indians. In 1532 Pizarro explored the coast of Ecuador but found Tumbez in ruins because of the Inca civil war. He killed the local chief Amotape, left sixty Spaniards in a new town called San Miguel, and invaded the Inca empire with only 168 men and 62 horses.

An envoy invited Pizarro to come to Cajamarca to meet the dominant Inca emperor Atahualpa. Hernando de Soto found five hundred women from a convent in a square and gave many of them to his men. Pizarro sent Soto and his brother Hernando Pizarro ahead with fifteen horseman and the interpreter Martin; Atahualpa complained that they had treated chiefs badly by chaining them but offered them houses on the square. When Francisco Pizarro arrived and planned a treacherous attack, Atahualpa asked the Spaniards to return what they had stolen and threw down a prayer book that Friar Vicente de Valverde gave him. The Dominican shouted it was an outrage, and Pizarro ordered the cannons fired. Horseman rode out and slaughtered the unarmed Incas, as Pizarro tried to grab Atahualpa, who was captured. In two hours about 7,000 natives were killed in Cajamarca. Pizarro had Atahualpa instruct the Incas to surrender, and Soto gathered men, women, llamas, gold, silver, and clothing. Governor Pizarro said they wanted only gold, and so Atahualpa promised to fill a room with gold in exchange for his freedom. Some caciques came and obeyed their captive Inca emperor. His rival brother Huascar was killed on the road, and Atahualpa also had two half-brothers murdered.

In 1533 Hernando Pizarro led an expedition that searched for gold at Pachacamac. Atahualpa had the general Quisquis at Cuzco, Chalcuchima at Jauja, and Rumiñavi at Quito. Hernando Pizarro persuaded Chalcuchima to accompany him to Cajamarca. To learn of gold, Soto tortured Chalcuchima with fire in front of Atahualpa. In April 1533 Almagro arrived at Cajamarca with 153 Spaniards. Francisco Pizarro ordered gold and silver ornaments melted down, and his brother Hernando left with 100,000 castellanos for the king of Spain. The furnaces at Cajamarca turned out 13,420 pounds of "good gold" and 26,000 pounds of good silver. The Cajamarca chief told Governor Pizarro that Atahualpa had ordered his men from Quito to attack. Pizarro and royal officials condemned the Inca emperor to be burned; but because he agreed to be baptized, Atahualpa was strangled. Then Soto's reconnaissance patrol learned that there was no threat after all. Many caciques accepted Huascar's younger brother Tupac Huallpa as the next Inca emperor. Governor Pizarro proclaimed the Requirement of capitulation, and the Incas celebrated Tupac Huallpa's coronation.

In August 1533 Governor Francisco Pizarro, Almagro, and Soto marched out of Cajamarca with the captive Chalcuchima, who was blamed for the empty storehouses along the way. Spaniards entered Jauja, as it was burning, and slaughtered fleeing warriors. Inca Tupac Huallpa died of illness at Jauja in October. Leaving a garrison, Pizarro left for Cuzco with 130 men and a hundred horses. By killing Atahualpa, the Spaniards had taken the side of the late Huascar in the Inca civil war, and many natives attacked...
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