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
CuzcoManco, the Puppet KingGreat Revolt

Spring 1534
Death of the Inca

When it came time for Pizarro to fulfill his side of the bargain and release Atahuallpa, news came from Quito that one of the Inca's generals had assassinated Huascar. Pizarro accused Atahuallpa of plotting against him, and put him on trial for treason. Atahuallpa was found guilty and executed. Pizarro marched on to Cuzco and appointed Manco — a young son of Wayna Capac and half-brother of Atahuallpa — the new Inca.

The Inca revolt of 1536-37 — along with the Aztec's defense of Tenochtitlán were among of the greatest wars of resistance waged by natives against colonial powers in the Americas.

Unfortunately for the Inca, they had too few European weapons, and too few warriors who could use them effectively. Although they were at a disadvantage, they resisted with a heroic tenacity.

Nueva Corónica y Buen Gobierno
(Letter to a King)

The Inca cult of the ancestors required the mummy to be carefully preserved in the house of its lineage, to be brought out at festivals, paraded in the streets and cosseted like a living person. To be burned was to be denied an afterlife. And, so in the end, fearing the loss of his soul, Atahuallpa agreed to be baptised in exchange for death by garrotting — the death that Montezuma had suffered.

Execution of Atahuallpa
The execution of Atahuallpa
Credit: Wamán Poma, Insititute of Ethnology, Paris, 1936
Ransom of Atahuallpa Orellana

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