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
The AttackWamán Poma

November 1532
The Slaughter

Atahuallpa arrived in great state surrounded by his officers. Great crowds of people crammed into the square. Pizarro sent one of his priests, Friar Vicente Valverde, to speak to Atahuallpa. He said he was an ambassador from a great king overseas.

Friar Vicente explained that the Spanish ruler was a friend of God and called upon the Inca to renounce their gods. Atahuallpa asked Friar Vicente what authority he had for his belief, and the friar told him it was all written in the book he was holding. The Inca then said: "Give me the book so that it can speak to me."

Atahuallpa held the book next to his ear trying to listen to its pages. At last he asked: "Why doesn't the book say anything to me?" And he threw it on to the ground with a haughty and disdainful gesture. Father Vicente shouted that the Indians were against the Christian faith and gave the order to attack. The Spanish emerged with their guns from the porticoes around the square and fired in to the massed crowds of unarmed people.

Nueva Corónica y Buen Gobierno
(Letter to a King)

Wamán Poma says that the Inca and his men were amazed at what they had heard of the Spaniards from their messengers. "Instead of sleeping, these strangers mounted guard at night. They and their horses were supposed to nourish themselves on gold and silver. Above all, it was said that all day and all night the Spaniards talked to their books and papers, which were called quilca."

Arrival of the Incan in Cajamarca
The arrival of the Inca in Cajamarca was a spectacle.
Credit: Wamán Poma, Insititute of Ethnology, Paris, 1936
Encounter at Cajamarca Ransom of Atahuallpa

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