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
Horses and Guns
November 1532
Andean Diplomacy

According to the Inca account, dictated later by the King's nephew, Titu Cusi, there was an immediate failure of communication over the traditional guest rituals of Andean diplomacy: "My uncle received them well according to our custom," said Titu Cusi. "He offered them the customary welcome of chicha, maize beer, in gold cups. But they poured it away on the floor. Which much angered my uncle."

Atahuallpa told the Spanish to wait for him in Cajamarca, where they would be given lodging in one of the royal enclosures facing the square. The Spanish spent a nervous night waiting for Atahuallpa and his army to meet them the next day.

Nueva Corónica y Buen Gobierno
(Letter to a King)

The Spanish noted that many of the Inca's entourage were frightened of their horses. Hernando de Soto rode right up, spurring his horse so close to Atahuallpa's face that its breath tousled the crimson tassels on the Inca's royal headband. Atahuallpa, however, was unmoved and unblinking, and ordered the killing of those who had panicked. That was demeaning behavior for the staff of a great king.

Atahuallpa Meets Hernando de Soto
Atahuallpa meets Hernando de Soto and his horse.
Credit: Wamán Poma, Insititute of Ethnology, Paris, 1936
Pizarro Enters Tawantinsuyo Arrest of Atahuallpa

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