ConquistadorsThe Conquest of the Incas



Cabeza de Vaca
Riches in TawantinsuyoConquistadors in TumbesSmallpox and Civil War
To Discover and ConquerPizarro Enters TawantinsuyoEncounter at Cajamarca
Arrest of AtahuallpaRansom of AtahuallpaExecution of Atahuallpa
More on Pizarro in the Learning Adventure

March to Cajamarca

A year later, Pizarro returned to Tumbes to find it in ruins — a burned-out, ransacked victim of the civil war raging in the empire. Pizarro and his small army marched into the interior.

All the way, "every day, every hour" almost, Atahuallpa received reports about their progress, but the war with his brother Huascar occupied all his attention. Although he debated with his leaders whether they should divert to attack the foreigners, all judged Huascar the greater threat. The Spaniards, after all, were only 160 men.

It is, indeed, astonishing to think how small Pizarro's army was: 62 horsemen and 102 infantry, to attack an empire of at least five million. But he had deadly weapons — the latest technology: guns and mechanical crossbows. Along the way, like Cortés, Pizarro recruited Indians hostile to Atahuallpa.

Nueva Corónica y Buen Gobierno
(Letter to a King)

According to Wamán Poma, Atahuallpa sent gifts to the Spanish when he heard of their arrival in Tumbes. He writes, "The presents consisted of male servants and sacred virgins. Some of the virgins were also offered to the Spaniards' horses, because, seeing them eating maize, the Peruvians took them for a kind of human being. Until that time, horses were unknown to our people and it seemed advisable to treat them with respect."

Spaniard on Horseback
The Inca had never seen horses before the Spaniards came to Tawantinsuyo.
Credit: Wamán Poma, Insititute of Ethnology, Paris, 1936
To Discover & Conquer Encounter at Cajamarca

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