In what year was the conquest of the Incas completed?

In what year was the conquest of the Incas completed?

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Following my other post about the Inca and Francisco Pizarro, I would like to know a simple fact: What year was the conquest of the Incas completed?

1572, with the capture and execution of Túpac Amaru, the last Inca monarch.

Túpac Amaru's execution effectively completed the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire that had started 40 years earlier with the Battle of Cajamarca (November 16, 1532) and the capture of Atahualpa.

Take your pick from the following:

16 November 1532: Pizarro captures the Inca Atahulpa at Cajamarca.

26 July 1533: Pizarro executes the Inca Atahualpa at Cajamarca.

15 November 1533: Pizarro seizes the city of Cuzco.

July 1537: Manco Inca abandons his rebellion against the Spaniards and retreats to Vilcabamba.

September 1572: The Spaniards execute the last Inca, Tupac Amaru, in Cuzco.

I don't think there's one particular year in which you could say the conquest of the Incas occurred (just as you can't say that the defeat of the Germans in WWI or WWII occurred in one particular year).

I would say that November 1532 (Atahualpa's capture) was the beginning of the end, and that September 1572 (Tupac Amaru's execution) was the end of the end.

Exploring the Early Americas Pizarro and the Incas

Francisco Pizarro (ca. 1475&ndash1541) arrived in present-day northern Peru late in 1531 with a small force of about 180 men and 30 horses. Taking advantage of a civil war, he and his compatriots toppled the ruler, Atahualpa, in 1532. Over the next several decades the Spanish suppressed several Inca rebellions, achieving complete control by 1572. Pizarro&rsquos Spanish rivals assassinated him in 1541 in Lima, the city he had founded in 1535.

Chimú Vessel Flute

The Chimú culture dominated the north coast of Peru from the thirteenth century AD until the arrival of the Incas in 1465. The Chimú peoples constructed sophisticated cities that included temples, reservoirs, and irrigation systems and created beautiful works in gold, silver, and copper, as well as distinctive pottery. In 1470 the Incas conquered the Chimú and absorbed much of their culture. This Chimú flute is part of the Library&rsquos Dayton C. Miller Collection in the Music Division.

South American Indian avian whistle vessel. Dayton C. Miller Flute Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress (077.00.00)

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The First European Chronicle of Peru

Pedro de Cieza de León left Spain at the age of thirteen for a life of uncertain adventure, first in Hispaniola and then as a soldier in Colombia and Peru. He was also involved in the re-conquest of Peru from Spanish rebel forces. With government permission, Cieza de León began interviewing local officials, Inca lords, and high officials about the Inca realm and its past. From these interviews and his own research, he produced the first European chronicle of Peru, which includes natural history, ethnography, and the history of pre-Inca and Inca civilizations.

Pedro de Cieza de León (1518?&ndash1560). Parte Primera Dela Chronica Del Peru. [Seville : Impressa en Seuilla en casa de Martín de Montesdoca], 1553. Jay I. Kislak Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (070.02.00, 070.02.01)

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Pizarro&rsquos Rejection of a Conquistador&rsquos Petition

The person (encomendero) granted a charter called an encomienda by the Spanish crown could require tribute (repartimiento) from the Indians and was required to protect them and instruct them in the Christian faith. Although encomiendas did not include land, in practice encomenderos took control of Indians&rsquo lands and forced them into low or unpaid labor for a portion of each year. Because of such abuses, the Spanish government attempted reform at various times. In this petition to Francisco Pizarro, governor of Peru, encomendero Pedro del Barco requests inspections of encomiendas before institution of reforms regarding repartimientos. The document bears the extremely rare signature of Pizarro, "El Marques Pizarro."

Francisco Pizzaro. Response to a petition by conquistador Pedro del Barco. Cusco: April 14, 1539. Facsimile. Jay I. Kislak Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (071.01.00, 071.00.01)

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Chart of the Pacific Coast

This is a portion of a sixteenth-century portolan (or sailing) chart of the Pacific Coast of Central and South America, showing the region from Guatemala to northern Peru. The names of coastal towns on the map are written in two different hands, dating the chart to the middle of the sixteenth century. This chart may be the first to represent the Galapagos Islands, shown in red just off the coast of what is present-day Ecuador.

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First Quechua-Spanish Dictionary and Grammar

This first dictionary and grammar of Quechua, the language of the Incas, and Spanish was published in Peru in 1586. Friar Domingo de Santo Tomás wrote the first study of the two languages, but that was published in Spain in 1560. This later work is of even greater importance because the Inca did not have written language prior to the Spanish Conquest. Scholars believe this work was part of a much larger group of printed materials about confessions, catechisms, and sermons no longer in existence.

Vocabulario en la lengua general del Peru llamada quichua, y en la lengua Española. El mas copioso y elegante que hasta agora se ha impresso (Vocabulary in the general language of Peru called Quechua, and in the Spanish language. . . .). Lima: 1586. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (073.00.00, 073.01.00, 073.00.03)

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Letter to Pizarro

The conqueror of Peru, Francisco Pizarro, had two children with Doña Inés Yupanqui Huaylas, an Inca woman. These children were made legitimate, and, after Pizarro married their mother off to one of his retainers, cared for by Pizarro&rsquos half brother Francisco Martín de Alcántara and his wife Doña Inés Muñoz, the first woman to be given permission to use the title &ldquodoña,&rdquo in Peru. In the letter displayed, Doña Inés, now widowed, gives her rights to Hernando Pizarro and others to plead her case for the restoration of her wealth (Indian labor), taken away from her and Pizarro&rsquos children by the enemy of the Pizarro family, Spanish Governor Vaca de Castro. Both she and Pizarro&rsquos daughter, Doña Francisca, prevailed.

Dona Inés Múñoz. Power of attorney to Hernando Pizarro, Sebastián Rodríguez, and Juan de Cáceres to petition for restoration of Indians. Lima, May 5, 1543. Peru. Harkness Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (074.00.00, 074.00.02, 074.00.03)

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Peruvian Ruins

The Inca fortress of Sacsahuamán overlooks Cusco from a hill 755 feet above the city. The huge fortifications surrounding Cusco, built to protect and to solidify Inca control, are outstanding examples of the advanced engineering techniques of Andean peoples. Stones weighing several tons were precisely cut and placed in jigsaw-like fashion, without the aid of mortar, to form massive walls. These stone structures have withstood numerous earthquakes during the intervening centuries.

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Deeds of the Castilians in the New World

Unlike many who wrote histories of the Indies, Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas was an accomplished historian. Herrera&rsquos history of the Castilians in the New World is written in exacting detail. His lengthy account, organized by decades, depicts the Spanish as guided by Providence to bring Christianity to the peoples of the Indies.

Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas (d. 1625). Historia general de los hechos de los castellanos en las Islas i Tierra Firme del Mar Oceano (General history of the deeds of the Castilians in the islands. . . .). Madrid: Emplenta Real, 1601&ndash1615. Jay I. Kislak Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (076.00.00, 076.00.02, 076.00.03)


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.


  • 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.

In what year was the conquest of the Incas completed? - History

Much of the credit for European military success in the New World can be handed to the superiority of their weapons, their literary heritage, even the fact they had unique load-bearing mammals, like horses. These factors combined, gave the conquistadors a massive advantage over the sophisticated civilisations of the Aztec and Inca empires.

But weapons alone can't account for the breathtaking speed with which the indigenous population of the New World were completely wiped out.

Within just a few generations, the continents of the Americas were virtually emptied of their native inhabitants &ndash some academics estimate that approximately 20 million people may have died in the years following the European invasion &ndash up to 95% of the population of the Americas.

No medieval force, no matter how bloodthirsty, could have achieved such enormous levels of genocide. Instead, Europeans were aided by a deadly secret weapon they weren't even aware they were carrying: Smallpox.

Smallpox acted as a form of biological weapon
Smallpox is a viral infection which usually enters the body through the nose or throat. From here the virus travels to the lungs, where it multiplies and spreads to the lymphatic system. Within a few days, large pustules begin to appear all over the victim's skin.

Starting with the hands and the face, and then spreading to cover the rest of the body, each blister is packed full of smallpox DNA. If punctured, these blisters become highly infectious, projecting fresh smallpox particles into the air and onto surrounding surfaces -such as someone else's skin. It is a disease that requires close human contact to replicate and survive.

The total incubation period lasts 12 days, at which point the patient will will either have died or survived. But throughout that period, if gone unchecked, they may have passed the disease to an enormous number of people. But the disease requires close human contact to replicate and survive.

Smallpox is a remarkably effective, and remarkably stable, infection &ndash research has shown that over the course of 10 years, as few as three individual bases may change in a strain's DNA. The disease found an effective formula thousands of years ago, and there's no reason to change it.

So where does this deadly disease come from, and why was it linked to Europeans?

For thousands of years, the people of Eurasia lived in close proximity to the largest
variety of domesticated mammals in the world &ndash eating, drinking, and breathing in the germs these animals bore. Over time, animal infections crossed species, evolving into new strains which became deadly to man. Diseases like smallpox, influenza and measles were in fact the deadly inheritance of the Eurasian farming tradition &ndash the product of thousands of years spent farming livestock.

These epidemic Eurasian diseases flourished in dense communities and tended to explode in sudden, overwhelming spates of infection and death. Transmitted via coughing, sneezing and tactile infection, they wreaked devastation throughout Eurasian history &ndash and in the era before antibiotics, thousands died.

But not everyone.

With each epidemic eruption, some people survived, acquiring antibodies and immunities which they passed on to the next generation. Over time, the population of Europe gained increased immunity, and the devastating impact of traditional infections decreased.

Yet the people of the New World had no history of prior exposure to these germs. They farmed only one large mammal &ndash the llama &ndash and even this was geographically isolated. The llama was never kept indoors, it wasn't milked and only occasionally eaten &ndash so the people of the New World were not troubled by cross-species viral infection.

When the Europeans arrived, carrying germs which thrived in dense, semi-urban populations, the indigenous people of the Americas were effectively doomed. They had never experienced smallpox, measles or flu before, and the viruses tore through the continent, killing an estimated 90% of Native Americans.

Smallpox is believed to have arrived in the Americas in 1520 on a Spanish ship sailing from Cuba, carried by an infected African slave. As soon as the party landed in Mexico, the infection began its deadly voyage through the continent. Even before the arrival of Pizarro, smallpox had already devastated the Inca Empire, killing the Emperor Huayna Capac and unleashing a bitter civil war that distracted and weakened his successor, Atahuallpa.

In the era of global conquest which followed, European colonizers were assisted around the world by the germs which they carried. A 1713 smallpox epidemic in the Cape of Good Hope decimated the South African Khoi San people, rendering them incapable of resisting the process of colonization. European germs also wreaked devastation on the aboriginal communities of Australia and New Zealand.

More victims of colonization were killed by Eurasian germs, than by either the gun or the sword, making germs the deadliest agent of conquest.

Mummy feeding

Mummification was an important part of Inca funerary rites, even for commoners.

After the Spanish conquest, a man named Guaman Poma, who spoke Quechua and was native to the Andes, published a chronicle that described November as being the &ldquomonth of carrying the dead,&rdquo a time when people would try to feed the mummies of their ancestors.

&ldquoIn this month they take their dead out of their storehouses which are called pucullo and they give them food and drink and they dress them in their richest apparel…and they sing and dance with them…and they walk with them from house to house and through the streets and the plaza,&rdquo (In translation, from the book &ldquoFood, Power and Resistance in the Andes&rdquo by Alison Krögel, Lexington Books, 2011).

Krögel noted that while the mummies of commoners were only fed on special occasions those of royalty &ldquoreceived their own specially prepared meals [including corn beer] on a daily basis.&rdquo

In what year was the conquest of the Incas completed? - History

Chronological events in the history of Peru.

7500 – First identifiable villages built in Peru. Nomads became sedentary as they discover agriculture.

ca 1200 – Chavin, the first culture developed in Peru. The people of Chavin built one of Peru’s earlier temples in Chavin de Huantar.

ca 200 – The Nazca culture thrived in the Nazca Valley. Nazca are best known for its lines and drawings of animals, know as the Nazca Lines, which cover a large area of the desert outside the towns of Nazca and Palpa.

ca 100 – The Moche culture flourished in the north of Peru in the present department of La Libertad. The Moche produced a great amount of pottery.

ca 50 – The powerful Moche ruler, Lord of Sipan was buried in a tomb that was to become one of Peru’s most famous archeological sites.

ca 500 – The Tiwanaku culture rules the highlands in the Lake Titicaca region. The Lambayeque culture rules in the north coast, they were great goldsmiths, the Tumi or ceremonial knife is the symbol of Peru and one of their creations.

ca 1000 – The Chimu became the largest empire that ruled the coast of Peru. They built the city of Chan Chan. They were absorbed by the Incas.

ca 1200 – The Incas absorbed small tribes in the Cuzco area under the leadership of Manco Capac,the first Sapa Inca.

1460 – Pachacutec built Machu Picchu in the Urubamba Valley.

1463 – Topa Inca, son of Pachacutec, continues the expansion of the empire to the east, reaching the Bolivian altiplano.

1470 – Huayna Capac, son of Topa Inca, and his sons Huascar and Atahualpa expanded empire to Quito in the north and to Chile and part of Argentina in the south.

1527 – Huayna Capac died of smallpox. Civil war begins between Huascar and Atahualpa which caused the fall of the Inca Empire.

1532 – Huascar was assassinated by Atahualpa’s forces. Arrival of Spanish forces led by Francisco Pizarro, began the conquest of Peru.

1533 – Atahualpa was charged of treason and executed by the Spaniards.

1534 – Spanish invaded Cusco.

1536 – Manco Inca and his army rebelled and took refuge in Vilcabamba where they created an Inca government. Manco Inca was assassinated and replaced by successive Spanish elected Sapa Incas.

1541 – Civil war between Spanish conquistadors leads to the killing of Francisco Pizarro.

1543 – Lima becomes the capital of the first colonial government, the Viceroyalty of Peru, which initially included Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile and part of Argentina.

1551 – San Marcos, the first university of the Americas was founded in Lima.

1572 – Tupac Amaru I, the last Inca royal, was captured and executed by orders of Viceroy Toledo.

Colonization, assimilation and Cristianization of the Indian population.

1780 – Tupac Amaru II claimed to be the last Inca royal heir, led a rebellion which ended in his execution.

1810 – War of independence that lasted until 1824.

1821 – General Jose de San Martin declared Peruvian Independence.

1824 – Peru won the battle of Ayacucho sealing its independence from Spain.

1836 – Peru and Bolivia formed a confederation which lasted less than three years.

1845 – Ramon Castilla was the first president elected by direct elections. Previous presidents were elected by indirect elections, coup d’état or by congress.

1856 – President Ramon Castilla abolished slavery.

1879 – Peru entered the War of the Pacific with Chile and Bolivia and lasted until 1884.

1911 – American explorer Hiram Bingham rediscovered Machu Picchu.

1924 – Victor Raul Haya de la Torre founded APRA.

1928- Jose Mariategui founded the Peruvian Communist Party.

1948 – A coup put General Manuel Odria and the military into power.

1963 – First government of Fernando Belaunde Terry.

1968 – Coup d’état by Juan Velasco Alvarado. Large scale nationalizations of key industries.

1975 – Coup d’état by Morales Bermudez.

1980 – Second government of Fernando Belaunde Terry.

1980 – Sendero Luminoso, a guerrilla group, began an armed struggle against the Peruvian government.

1983 – El Niño caused extensive flooding in the north of the country and drought in the interior. Large damage to the economy.

1985 – First government of Alan Garcia, an APRA candidate.

1990 – First government of Alberto Fujimori. Restored market based economy and decreased inflation from 400% to almost 0%.

1992 – Abimael Gusman, Shining Path guerrilla leader, was captured and sentenced to life in prison.

1995 – Second government of Alberto Fujimori.

2000 – Fujimori resigned following political scandals and flees the country.

2001 – Alejandro Toledo became the Amerindian president of Peru.

2005 – Fujimori was arrested in Chile and extradited to Peru facing charges of treason.

2005 – Free trade agreement with US.

2006 – Second government of Alan Garcia.

2011 – Ollanta Humala elected president in a run-off against Keiko Fujimori, daughter of Alberto Fujjimori.

2013 – President Ollanta Humala rejects a request to pardon the jailed former leader Alberto Fujimori on humanitarian grounds.

2016 – Keiko Fujimori lost second round against World Bank economist Pedro Kuczynski. Pedro Pablo Kuczynski becomes president.

Ancient Incas – modern day wonders

The discovery of Machu Picchu helped the nearly-forgotten Incas gain international recognition. Due to the fact they had no major writing system, legends and stories were passed on by professional orators and much of their history has been collated with what was discovered in ancient citadels and temples. Much of what we know originates from reports the Spanish invaders sent home. They reported on grandiose cities, more beautiful and better organized than any in Europe, and impressive systems of roads and aqueducts the likes of which they had never encountered.

Thanks to new discoveries, the history of the Incas is still very much an ongoing puzzle, one which the whole world is waiting to complete.

At Chimu Adventures, we offer a wide range of tailor-made travel options to Peru. Come face to face with some of the most awe-inspiring remnants of the ancient Inca Empire. Tackle a heart-pumping hike along the ancient Inca trail to Machu Picchu, or take a comfortable and just as mesmerizing train ride instead. Visit world-class museums and priceless temples, explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and come discover one of the most impressive ancient civilizations the world has ever known.

Author: Laura Pattara

“Laura Pattara is a modern nomad who’s been vagabonding around the world, non-stop, for the past 15 years. She’s tour-guided overland trips through South America and Africa, travelled independently through the Middle East and has completed a 6-year motorbike trip from Europe to Australia. What ticks her fancy most? Animal encounters in remote wilderness, authentic experiences off the beaten trail and spectacular Autumn colours in Patagonia.”

This Inca Idol Survived the Spanish Conquest. 500 Years Later, Archaeologists Are Unveiling Its History

As the year 1533 drew to a close, Spanish conquistador Hernando Pizarro departed Peru, full to bursting with stories of the wonders he had seen. The Inca Empire, he explained to his comrades and superiors, had readily succumbed to the four Pizarro brothers and their forces. Along the way, the Spaniards had attacked the locals, imprisoned their leaders, looted Inca valuables and desecrated places of worship.

One sacred casualty, Pizarro boasted, was an 8-foot-tall wooden idol, intricately carved with human figures and animals, once housed in the Painted Temple near what is now Lima. The Inca revered the idol, which represented one of their most important deities, as an oracle. But Pizarro quickly linked the artifact to apparent “devil” worship and ordered his followers to “undo the vault where the idol was and break him in front of everyone.”

Shortly after, Western records of the artifact dwindled, and the so-called Pachacamac Idol was presumed destroyed, as Pizarro had planned.

Researchers chemically analyzed wood samples of the Pachacamac Idol to determine its origins. (Sepúlveda et al., PLOS ONE, 2020)

Now, new research suggests the idol actually survived the Spanish conquest—and has been in the hands of archaeologists for the past 82 years, reports Laura Geggel for Live Science. Writing in a study published yesterday in the journal PLOS ONE, a team of researchers presents evidence suggesting that a Peruvian artifact first unearthed in 1938 is the original idol, not a later forgery as some suspected.

Scientists led by Marcela Sepúlveda, an archaeologist at the University of Tarapacá in Chile, decided to settle the debate once and for all. After taking a small sample of wood from the idol, she and her colleagues chemically analyzed it. Then, they stumbled across their first surprise: The material dated to roughly 800 A.D., during the time of the pre-Inca Wari people and a good 700 years before Pizarro’s arrival.

Significant effort must have gone into preserving and caring for the idol over the course of the centuries, even as it presumably changed hands, according to Aristos Georgiou of Newsweek.

Despite spending centuries underground, the Pachacamac Idol is still coated in flecks of pigment, including red cinnabar (red arrows). (Marcela Sepulveda/Rommel Angeles/Museo de sitio Pachacamac)

A Wari influence in the idol’s creation might also explain its unusual coloring—a combination of reds, whites and yellows, the researchers found. The rustier hues were the result of cinnabar, a mercury-based pigment found on other Wari artifacts. Artists likely had to travel to secure the pigment, underscoring just how valuable the idol was to its creators, says Patrick Ryan Williams, an anthropologist at Chicago’s Field Museum who wasn’t involved in the study, to Geggel.

The discovery of cinnabar also helps put another false rumor to rest: that the idol’s red hues were traces of blood, Sepúlveda tells Georgiou.

That the idol’s coloring survived this long is perhaps another testament to its preservation. Certainly the Wari considered the task well worth the effort: As Sepúlveda explains, the idol may have represented the creator of the Earth—a deity of so much importance that even the Inca emperor once paid the Painted Temple a visit.

Exploring the Early Americas Interpreting the Conquest

After Spain&rsquos conquest of Mexico and other American lands, these events inspired books, paintings, and other historical and artistic records. In this section are materials illustrating these interpretations. Some of these items highlight the efforts of Bartolomé de las Casas (1474&ndash1566), an early Spanish historian and Dominican missionary in the Americas, to persuade the Spanish Empire that indigenous peoples deserved humane treatment. Also featured are the spectacular Conquest of Mexico paintings created in the seventeenth century that capture the drama of the original encounter as imagined and interpreted by artists 150 years later.

The Fate of the Indians of the New World

This manuscript, signed by Bartolomé de las Casas, was sent to Charles V (1500&ndash1558), Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain, for presentation to the Council of the Indies as they debated the fate of the Indians of the New World. In it, Las Casas makes this plea, &ldquoIn order that the Indians may be preserved in life and liberty there are no other means save that Your Majesty should incorporate them in your royal crown as your vassals, which they are, terminating all the encomiendas which are made in all the Indies, and giving neither one nor any Indian to [a] Spaniard.&rdquo

Bartolomé de Las Casas (1474&ndash1566). Aqui si contiene una disputa, o controuersia . . . (Here is contained a dispute, or controversy . . .). Seville: Sebestian Trugillo, 1522. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (080.01.00)

Bartolomé de las Casas (1474&ndash1566). AMS to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Valladolid, Spain, ca. 1528. Jay I. Kislak Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (080.00.00, 080.00.01, 080.00.02)

Bookmark this item: //

Tovar&rsquos History of Mexico

Juan de Tovar, born in Mexico of conquistador stock, became a Jesuit missionary. He was fluent in Nahuatl, the Aztec language, and became an avid collector of Aztec codices, conferring with natives about their meaning. His studies resulted in a multi-volume work about the history and culture of pre-Hispanic Mexico (ca. 1585). The images on display are copies from Tovar&rsquos original drawings and include depictions of Aztec gods, rulers, and ceremonies of the Pre-Columbian period. The original manuscript is now at the John Carter Brown Library, Brown University.

Juan de Tovar. Historia de la benida de los yndios apoblar a México de las partes remotas de Occidente los sucessos y perigrinaçiones del camino su gouierno, ydolos y templos dellos, ritos y cirimonias . . . calandarios de los tiempos [History of the arrival of the indians that populated remote parts of western Mexico, the events and course of their government, idols, temples, rites, and ceremonies . . . calendars of the times.] Handwritten manuscript transcribed by Elizabeth, Lady Phillips, of Middle Hall, England, ca. 1862. Jay I. Kislak Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (098.00.01, 098.00.02, 098.00.03, 098.00.04)

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Rights for Indians

Conquistador-turned-Dominican friar, Bartolomé de las Casas wrote this book to inform the Spanish Crown that officials and landowners in the New World were behaving cruelly toward their indigenous subjects and to plead for redress. His book had an enormous impact, prompting Emperor Charles V to recognize the humanity of indigenous peoples and to issue the New Laws of the Indies in 1542, ending the absolute power of individual Spaniards.

Bartolomé de Las Casas (1474&ndash1566). Brevíssima Relación de la destrucción de las Indias (Very brief account of the destruction of the Indians). Seville: Sebastian Trugillo, 1552. Jay I. Kislak Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (079.00.00, 079.00.01, 079.00.02, 079.00.03)

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New Laws to Protect Indians

When Emperor Charles V (1500-1556) proclaimed important new laws for the Indies in 1542 and 1543, he was addressing Bartolomé de las Casas&rsquos charges of brutality towards indigenous peoples and trying to regain power for the crown. The New Laws were intended to ensure better treatment of the Indians, limit Spanish takeover of their lands, and above all, protect them against enslavement by the Spaniards. The Spanish crown was later forced to rescind the New Laws because colonists resisted them violently. This book is a rare facsimile reprint of the original Spanish edition with an English translation.

The New Laws of the Indies for the Good Treatment and Preservation of the Indians/ Promulgated by the Emperor Charles the Fifth, 1542-1543. A facsimile reprint of the original Spanish edition. London: Chiswick Press, 1893. Jay I. Kislak Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (082.01.01, 082.00.00)

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Tales that Inspired Conquistadors

Amadis of Gaul, the most famous romance of Spanish chivalry, may have originated as early as the mid-fourteenth century. The handsome, virtuous knight Amadis achieves incredible feats of arms, in which he is undefeated. The earliest extant printed version, from 1508, is by Garci Ordónez (or Rodríguez) de Montalvo (ca. 1450&ndashca. 1505). Montalvo&rsquos avowed purpose was to inspire Spanish youth to imitate Amadis. Numerous sequels appeared, and the work was translated into other languages. Bernal Díaz del Castillo refers to Amadis in his account of the conquest of New Spain, and the name &ldquoCalifornia&rdquo appears in another work by Montalvo.

Le troisieme livre d&rsquoAmadis de Gaule [The third book of Amadis of Gaul]. Lyon: Benoist Rigaud, 1575. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (078.03.00, 078.00.00)

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&ldquoThe Black Legend&rdquo

This English translation of Las Casas&rsquo defense of Indian humanity appeared in 1583, five years before the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. Countries hostile to Spain and its power, such as England and Holland, were quick to make use of Las Casas&rsquos words to create the &ldquoBlack Legend,&rdquo which emphasized Spanish brutality toward their subjects.

Bartolomé de Las Casas (1474&ndash1566). The Spanish colonie, or, Briefe chronicle of the acts and gestes of the Spaniardes in the West Indies, called the Newe World. London: Thomas Dawson for William Broome, 1583. Jay I. Kislak Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (081.00.00, 81.00.02, 081.00.03)

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Inspiration for the Conquest of Mexico Paintings

Antonio de Solís served King Charles II of Spain as the official historian for the American colonies. In his monumental Historia de la conquista de México, written more than 150 years after the events described, Solís relied heavily on the work of previous chroniclers, including Lopéz de Gomara, Bernal Díaz del Castillo, and Hernán Cortés himself. Written in an elegant and dramatic style, the book was immediately successful and was translated into other languages, including English. The book brought new attention to Cortés and to a heroic view of the Spanish Conquest. This work may have directly inspired the Conquest of Mexico series of paintings.

Antonio de Solís. Historia de la conquista de México. [The history of the conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards]. London: printed for T. Woodward, J. Hooke, and J. Peele, 1724. Jay I. Kislak Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (086.00.00, 086.00.02, 086.00.03)

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