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Home - Peru History - Francisco Pizarro Biography Part III - Spanish Conquistadores

Francisco Pizarro and the Spanish Conquistadores

The year 1532 finds Pizarro and his Spanish conquistadores coming ashore on the coast near Ecuador, where he obtains selected gold, silver, and emeralds.  He finds success beyond all his expectaitions, but then meets his untimely end.

Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro Biography and Life

Part III 1532 - 1541

Conquering Peru - Francisco Pizarro and the Spanish Conquistadores

In the year of 1532, Pizarro and his men once more came ashore on the coast near Ecuador, where he was able to acquire selected gold, silver, and emeralds. These he sent to Almagro, who had remained in Panama in order to collect additional men.

Part I  1475-1526

  • Journey to the Americas
  • Pizarro in Panama
  • Explorations of South America

Part II  1527-1531   

  • The Famous Thirteen
  • 'Capitulacion de Toledo'

Part III  1532-1541

  • Conquering Peru
  • The Death of Pizarro

Even though Pizarro's primary goal had been to next embark for and then land at Tumbes just as he had one on his prior expedition, he ended up being compelled to deal with the Punian Indians in the Battle of Puna, resulting in three Spanish lifeless and 400 dead or badly wounded Punians.

Shortly after, Hernando de Soto, yet another of the Spanish conquistadores who had signed up with the expeditionary force, showed up to help Pizarro and together with him was finally able to get under way in the direction of Tumbes. When they arrived there, however, it was just to discover the area deserted and wrecked. The two companion adventurers, whom they had counted upon to prepare the area for their arrival, had vanished and perhaps perished in unknown conditions. The only information they could obtain was from the main chieftains in the area, who said that ferocious tribes of Punians had viciously attacked all of them and destroyed the site.

Since Tumbes no longer offered the secure living arrangements that Pizarro and his band needed at that point, he made the decision to pilot an expedition into the interior of the territory. During this point in time, Pizarro accomplished the historical landmark of founding the first Spanish colony in Peru, calling it San Miguel de Piura in July 1532.

Francisco Pizarro and the Spanish Conquistadores
Francisco Pizarro Biography and Life

Following these accomplishments, Hernando de Soto, an adventurer closely associated with many future discoveries on his own account, was sent to investigate further the new territories and so, following a number of days and nights gone, came back , accompanied by a party from the Inca (the titled ruler of the Inca Civilization) himself as well as a handful of gifts and a request for a conference with the Spanish representatives.

Soon after the conquest of his sibling, Huascar, the powerful Inca ruler Atahualpa had been recuperating in the mountains of north Peru, in the vicinity of Cajamarca, in the local hot water springs referred to now as the Baños del Inca (Incan Baths).

After forced marching for nearly two months in the direction of Cajamarca, Pizarro along with his company of Spanish soldiers, numbering only 106 armed men and 62 cavalry, showed up and opened up procedures intended for a conference with Atahualpa. Pizarro dispatched Hernando de Soto, priest Vicente de Valverde as well as indigenous translator Felipillo to address Atahualpa at Cajamarca's main plaza.

Atahualpa, nonetheless, rejected the presence of the Spanish conquistadores in his country by declaring he would "be no man's tributary." His lack of alarm, considering that there were less than 200 Spanish conquistadores ascompared to his 80,000 warriors, resulted in his capitulation and that of the Incan empire.

Francisco Pizarro and the Spanish Conquistadores
Francisco Pizarro Biography and Life

Atahualpa's rejection encouraged Pizarro and his men to confront the Incan forces in what became known as Battle of Cajamarca on November 16, 1532. The Spanish conquistadores were victorious and Pizarro gave the death sentence to Atahualpa's 12-man personal guard and captured the Inca in the so-called ransom room.

Atahualpa's unwillingness to submit resulted in Pizarro along with his men to assault the Incan forces in what came to be called Battle of Cajamarca on November 16, 1532.

The Spanish conquistadores ended up being victorious and Pizarro condemned to death Atahualpa's 12-man personal guard and captured the Inca at the ransom room. In spite of living up to his guarantee of filling up one room with gold and two with silver, Atahualpa was found guilty of eliminating his brother and scheming against Pizarro and his troops, and was condemned to death by garrote on July 26, 1533. Pizarro wanted to get hold of grounds for killing Atahualpa while not inflaming the people he was trying to conquer.

Twelve months afterwards, Pizarro and his Spanish conquistadores occupied Cuzco using local soldiers and by means of this completed the conquest of Peru. It is contended by a few historical commentators that this increasing opposition coming from a different Inca, Manco Inca Yupanqui, extended theconquest. Manco Inca Yupanqui was the brother of the figurehead king, Tupac Huallpa.
Francisco Pizarro and the Spanish Conquistadores
Francisco Pizarro Biography and Life

In the course of the survey of Cuzco, Pizarro was astounded; and by means of his representatives authored a letter to King Charles I of Spain, stating: "This city is the finest and the most magnificent ever before seen in this land or any place in the Indies... We are able to guarantee your Majesty that it is so gorgeous and possesses such excellent structures that it would be impressive even in Spain."

Once the Spanish conquistadores had completed the domination of Peru by conquering Cuzco in the year 1533, Jauja, a town within the very productive Mantaro Valley, was set up as Peru's temporary capital in April of the year 1534. However it ended up being too high in the Andes as well as too distant from the ocean to function as the Spanish capital of Peru. Pizarro therefore established the metropolis of Lima on Peru's central coastline on January 18, 1535, an accomplishment which he regarded as one of the greatest successes of his life, the high point of Francisco Pizarro's biography.

After the ultimate attempt of the Inca to regain Cuzco had been nixed by Almagro and other Spanish conquistadores, a disagreement took place between him and Pizarro regarding the boundaries of their authorities. This resulted in divisions between the Pizarro family and Almagro, who was ultimately brought down in the course of the Battle of Las Salinas (1538) and put to death. Almagro's son, likewise called Diego and referred to as "El Mozo", ended up being later divested of his properties and left broken financially by Pizarro.

Francisco Pizarro and the Spanish Conquistadores
Francisco Pizarro Biography and Life

The Death of Pizarro - Francisco Pizarro and the Spanish Conquistadores

On June 26, 1541, in Lima, Peru, "a band of 20 heavily armed followers of Diego Almagro II, son of one of the earlier leaders of the Spanish conquistadores, assaulted Pizarro's luxurious official residence, murdering him, after which it compelled the terrorized city council to name the youthful Almagro the new high commander of Peru.

As outlined by Burkholder and Johnson, "Most of Pizarro's guests fled, but a few fought the intruders, numbered variously between seven and 25. While Pizarro struggled to buckle on his breastplate, his defenders, including his half-brother Alcantara, were killed. For his part Pizarro killed two attackers and ran through a third. While trying to pull out his sword, he was stabbed in the throat, then fell to the floor where he was stabbed many times."

Pizarro, who now was somewhere between 62 and 70 years old, fell to the ground, alone, painted a cross in his own blood and called out to Jesus Christ. According to accounts, he called out: "Come my faithful sword, companion of all my deeds." He passed away minutes later. Diego de Almagro junior ended up being captured and put to death the next year following the loss of the conflict of Chupas.

Pizarro's body was for a short period of time buried inside the cathedral courtyard; at a later date, his head and body ended up separated and laid to rest in different containers beneath the ground of the large church. In the year of 1892, in getting ready for the yearly celebration of Columbus' discovery of the Americas, a body thought to be Pizarro's was dug up and placed on exhibit inside a glass coffin.

On the other hand, in 1977 workers repairing the cathedral's foundation found a lead container in a tightly-closed cell that had the words engraved on it, "Here is the head of Don Francisco Pizarro, Don Francisco Pizarro who discovered Peru and presented it to the sovereignty of Castile." A crew of forensic scientists hailing from the United States, directed by Dr. William Maples, was asked to analyze the two bodies, and they shortly established that the corpse which usually had been honored in the glass case for almost a hundred years had been wrongly identified. The skull inside the lead container not only showed the scrapes of numerous sword blows, but the features showed an outstanding likeness to paintings done of the man in his lifetime.
Francisco Pizarro and the Spanish Conquistadores
Francisco Pizarro Biography and Life

The biography of Francisco Pizarro and the Spanish Conquistadores of Peru, although marked by political manipulation, self-promotion, and even deception and ruthless killings when they would further his ambitions, the life and historical accomplishments of Francisco Pizarro, accompanied by his Spanish conquistadores, certainly established him as a leader and courageous adventure and firmly place him as one of the leading figures in the establishment of Peru and the history of the Pacific Coast of South America.

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