Would Francisco Pizarro be considered a war criminal today?
Francisco Pizarro, born c. 1471-1478 in Trujillo, Spain, was a Spanish conquistador. He is known as the conqueror of the Inca Empire, and founder of Lima, the capital of Peru. Not only did he participate in the Vasco Nunez de Balboa expedition to Panama that discovered the Pacific Ocean, but he also claimed most of South America for Spain and opened the way for Spanish culture and religion to dominate South America. In doing so, Pizarro conquered the largest amount of territory of any military leader and delivered the most riches to his country with the smallest cost of men and resources. Daring, cruel, ruthless, and corrupt are a few of the adjectives that accurately describe Francisco Pizarro, and he is often regarded as a war criminal for his acts during the conquering of the Inca Empire. (http://www.mundoandino.com/Peru/Francisco-Pizarro)
Atahualpa was the last free reigning emperor of the Inca Empire. Pizarro, when reaching the Inca town of Cajamarca, invited Atahualpa to a feast in his honor, but secretly had an ambush attack planned. When Atahualpa arrived at the meeting place with an unarmed escort of several thousand men, Pizarro sent a priest to attempt to convince the Inca emperor to accept the sovereignty of Christianity, but he instead flung a bible handed to him in disgust. An attack was immediately ordered and Pizarro’s men slaughtered thousands of Incas, capturing the emperor in the process. Atahualpa offered to fill a room with treasure as ransom for his release, and Pizarro accepted. Although Atahualpa provided 24 tons of silver and gold from throughout the Inca Empire, Pizarro treacherously put him on trial for plotting to overthrow the Spanish, having his half brother murdered, and for several other lesser charges. A Spanish tribunal sentenced him to die, and when the emperor refused a last time to convert to Christianity, an iron collar was tightened around his neck...
Cited: "Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War." Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. 15 Mar 2008 .
"War Crimes." Cornell University Law School. 15 Mar 2008 .
"Pizarro Executes Last Inca Emperor." History.com. 15 Mar 2008
"Francisco Pizarro." The Andean World. 15 Mar 2008 .
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