Francisco Pizarro • He was an illiterate, impoverished soldier, of who little is known. • Before his expedition to Peru, Pizarro went to Spain to obtain royal authorization for the enterprise of Peru. • In December 1531, Pizarro sailed again from Panama for the south with a force of two hundred men and landed several months later on the Peruvian coast.
Arrival to Peru Atahualpa Huascar
Arrival to Peru • The Spaniards learned that civil war was raging in the Inca Empire • Atahualpa, son of the late emperor Huayna Capac, had risen against another claimant of the throne; his half brother, Huascar. • Atahualpa defeaded Huascar in a war marked by great slaughter and made him prisoner. • Atahualpa was advancing toward the imperial capital of Cuzco when messengers brought him news of the arrival of white strangers. • After an exchange of messages and gifts between leaders, the two armies advanced to a meeting at the town of Cajamarca, high in the mountains.
The meeting between Pizarro and Atahualpa Pizarro proposed to win a quick and relatively bloodless victory by seizing the Inca Atahualpa, through whom he may have hoped to rule the country (similar to how Cortes had done with Moctezuma). Unlike Moctezuma who believed that Cortes and his men were gods, Atahualpa’s mistake was to underestimate the striking power of the small Spanish force. • He had been led to believe that the swords were no more dangerous than women’s weaving battens. • Also, that the firearms were capable of firing only two shots, and that the horses were powerless at night.
When Atahualpa and his escort appeared in the square of Cajamarca, he founded deserted, for Pizarro had concealed his men in some large buildings that opened onto the square. • Note: Atahualpa delayed his entry into Cajamarca at sunset, instead of noon, as Pizarro had been told to expect (Because of Atahualpa’s belief that the horses were powerless at night). Priest Vicente de Valverde came forward, accompanied by an interpreter; he began to lecture Atahualpa about his obligations to the Christian God and the Spanish king. The angry Atahualpa threw down a Bible that Valverde had handed him. At a signal from Pizarro, his soldiers, supported by cavalry and artillery, rushed forward to kill hundreds and take the Inca (Atahualpa) prisoner.
Atahualpa begged for his freedom by offering to fill his spacious cell higher than a man can reach with gold objects as the price for his ransom. Pizarro accepted the offer and hundreds of llama-loads of gold arrived from all parts of the empire until the room had been filled. But Pizarro had no intention of letting the emperor go, he remained in “protective custody,” a puppet ruler who was to endure popular acceptance of the new order.
Atahualpa’s death However, the Spaniards began to suspect that Atahualpa was becoming the focal point of a widespread conspiracy against them and decided that he must die. Atahualpa was charged with treason and condemned to death by burning.
After Atahualpa’s death • After the death of the Inca, the Spaniards marched on the Inca capital of Cuzco, which was captured in November 1533. • A major factor in the success of this and later Spanish campaigns was the military and other assistance given by the late Huascar’s branch of the Inca royal family, who seeing an opportunity to regain their lost independence and power, rallied to the Spanish side after the capture of Atahualpa. • The gold and silver looted from Cuzco, together with Atahualpa’s enormous ransom of gold, was melted down and divided among the soldiers. • Francisco’s brother was sent to Spain with Emperor Charles’ share of the gold. • His brother’s arrival with his load of gold and silver caused excitement, and a new wave of Spanish fortune hunters sailed for the New World. • Meanwhile, Pizarro began the construction of an entirely new Spanish capital, Lima, the City of the Kings.