Spanish conquistador and eventual Governor of Peru Francisco Pizarro acquired wealth through kidnapping, ransom, and murder. Find out more about his violent rise to power in this video.
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Pizarro Francisco, Spanish conquistador: biography, interesting facts
The Inca Empire with its way of life and beliefs up tois still a mystery for researchers. The biography of Francisco Pizarro - the man who conquered Peru and initiated the destruction of one of the oldest and most developed civilizations of the New World - is no less important. Learn this detail will help this article.
Francisco Pizarro was born out of wedlockcommunication son of the Spanish military, who had a high rank captain of the third. Don Gonzalo Pizarro de Aguilar married his cousin Francisca de Vargas and had many children from her. After the death of his wife, he also had several bastards from maids. At the same time, the most famous of his offspring, Francisco, who was born long before Don Gonzalo's marriage, was never recognized by the captain as his son.
A boy who was awaited by an amazingfate, was born after Pizarro Sr. seduced his mother Francisco. After the death of her father, the girl was forced to engage a servant in one of the monasteries of Trujillo. Pregnant Francisco was kicked out of the monastery, but later she was able to marry Juan Casco. In the house of this man, the future great conquistador Francisco Pizarro was born.
The following are additional timeline facts about the life and history of Francisco Pizarro:
- 1471: Born in Trujillo, Estremadura, Spain
- 1509: 10 November, Pizarro set sail from Spain with Alonzo de Ojeda where Ojeda
founded the city of San Sebastian
- 1513: Pizarro joined the expedition of Nunez de Balboa across the Isthmus of Panama
to discover the Pacific Ocean (29 September, 1513)
- 1515: Trades with the natives along the Pacific coast
- 1520: Joins Espinosa on his expedition into the present Republic of Costa Rica
- 1522: Pizarro receives funding to make his own expedition and explore the land south of Panama
- 1522: Pizarro only reaches the coast of Colombia but finds a small quantity of gold
- 1528: Pizarro received the backing of Spanish investors to make further explorations into South America and search for treasure. He received two ships for the voyage
- 1529: Pizarro explored the South of Columbia as far as Equador reaching Peru
- 1529: Pizarro returned to the court of Spain to give an account of his expeditions
- 1529: Emperor Charles of Spain granted Pizarro permission to make further expeditions. He was given the title Governor and Captain General which carried absolute authority in all the territories he might discover
- 1530, January 18 he sailed from Seville in Spain to Panama
- 1531, January he sailed from the port of Panama with 3 ships and over 200 men, including Hernando De Soto
- 1532: Pizarro landed at San Mateo Bay and started to explore the land
- 1532,15 November: Pizarro reaches Cajamarca and captures Atahuallpa, the emperor of the Incas. Thousands of Incas were killed
- 1533: Atahuallpa offers a massive ransom for his release. The Inca Emperor offered his captives enough gold to fill the 22 foot room, as high as he could reach, in which he was held captive
- 1534: The treasure ransom was collected. Pizarro and the Spanish took the treasure and then had the last of the Incan Emperors strangled
- 1535 6 January: Pizarro founded Lima, Peru which he called Ciudad de los Reyes meaning 'City of the Kings'
- 1535: Francisco Pizarro destroyed the Incan capital of Cusco
- Pizarro built a palace in Lima. He became extremely arrogant and unpopular with his fellow Spanish
- 1541: Pizarro was assassinated by followers of Pedro de Almagro (Cortes' captain) who wanted to seize Lima for its wealth
- 1541: Francisco Pizarro died at Lima, Peru, 26 June, 1541
Interesting Facts, Timeline and Information about Francisco Pizarro
Some interesting facts and biography information about the History, Life & Times of Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro Expeditions to Peru
Rumours of the wealthy city of the Inca Empire were circulating and Pizarro was restless. He wanted to explore and set out for Peru on September 13, 1524, with 80 men and 4 horses.
The expedition was a failure due to various hardships like extreme weather conditions, lack of food and resistant from the natives which forced Pizarro to return back to Panama.
Francisco Pizzaro journal
Just 2 years after Pizarro along with two of his associates Almagro and Luque took permission from then-Governor Pedro Arias Dávilla and set out for their second expedition.
The Francisco Pizarro explorers now set out with two ships with 160 men and several horses.
The Pizarro ships reached San Juan River. One of the ships were sent back to Panama for reinforcements.
The Francisco Pizarro voyage headed by Bartolomé Ruiz, the main captain headed towards South and reached the natives of Tumbes. There they acquired great loads of textiles, gold, silver, emeralds, and ceramic objects.
On their way back, Ruiz’s ship met the natives of the Inca empire. The crew of the ship was so tired that they decided to return back.
For their third and final expedition, Pizarro travelled to Spain and convinced Charles V, King of Spain of the riches they have acquired from their expeditions and that they should probably explore more and set out for the conquest of Peru.
Pizarro and the conquest of Peru
Francisco Pizarro: Spanish Conquistador - Fast Facts
Francisco Pizarro was a Spanish explorer and conqueror who is credited with bringing down the Inca Empire in the 1530s, becoming rich from the gold and silver he took on his plunders. He was born into poverty in 1476 in Trujillo, Spain, to Captain Gonzalo Pizarro Rodriquez de Aguilar, an infantry colonel, and Francisca Gonzales Mateos. Take a look below for 30 more bizarre and interesting facts about Francisco Pizarro.
1. In 1509, Pizarro set sail with Alonzo de Ojeda, departing from Spain for the New World.
2. Over the next several years, Pizarro would establish himself in the New World as Panama City’s mayor, and eventually conquering the Incan Empire.
3. In 1513, in Cartagena, he joined Martin Fernandez de Encisco’s crew, and later that year, he joined Vasco Nunez de Balboa on the way to the Pacific Ocean.
4. Pizarro arrested Balboa under the order of Pedrarias, a tyrant who awarded Pizarro for his loyalty, making him the mayor of Panama City.
5. Pizarro served as Panama City’s mayor from 1519 to 1523.
6. After hearing stories about the rich territory in South America from Pascual de Andagoya, Pizarro set off with Hernando de Luque and Diego de Almagro in 1524. The trip was short lived and they returned to Panama.
7. In 1526, he set off again and he reached the Colombian shore.
8. After sending a few trips back to Panama for supplies, Pizarro and his men continued to explore.
9. Pizarro returned to Panama and was sent to Spain to request the King’s permission to continue his expeditions in South America.
10. The King granted Pizarro’s request and he set sail with Hernando Pizarro, his brother, and continued to explore South America.
11. In 1532, Pizarro and his men overthrew Atahualpa, the Inca leader, claiming Peru.
12. Pizarro became very rich after overthrowing Atahualpa. He walked away with 1260 pounds of silver, 630 pounds of gold, and a 15 karat gold throne, Atahualpa’s throne, weighing 183 pounds.
13. Lima was founded by Pizarro three years after conquering Peru.
14. Pizarro served as the governor of Peru for 10 years, from 1535 to 1545.
15. In 1538, Pizarro had a fight with Diego Almagro, an expedition partner that he had known for many years. Pizarro had Almagro killed.
16. Pizarro, along with many of the conquistadors, was known to be very cruel. He once had a rebel leader’s wife tied to a stake and shot at with arrows, later sending her body down a river for the rebel leader to find.
17. In 1541, the son of Diego Almagro, accompanied by supporters of the murdered former expedition partner of Pizarro, attacked Pizarro and killed him in his home.
18. People in Peru don’t have a favorable opinion of Pizarro, considering that he murdered most of the Native Peruvian ancestors.
19. In 2005, a statue of Pizarro in Lima was moved from its original place in Lima’s central square to a park outside of the city.
20. When he was brutally stabbed to death, Pizarro made a cross with his own blood.
21. By his marriage to N de Trujillo, Pizarro had a son named Francisco, who married his relative Ines Pizarro.
22. After Pizarro’s death, Ines Yupanqui, whom he took as a mistress, favorite sister of Atahualpa, who had been given to Francisco in marriage by her brother, married a Spanish cavalier named Ampuero and left for Spain, taking her daughter who would later be legitimized by imperial decree.
23. Historians have often compared the conquests of Pizarro and Cortes in North and South America as very similar in style and career. However, Pizarro faced the Incas with a smaller army and fewer resources than Cortes, at a much greater distance from the Spanish Caribbean outposts that could easily support him.
24. By sheer numbers alone, Pizarro’s military victory was one of the most improbably in recorded history.
25. After his invasion, Pizarro destroyed the Inca state and, while ruling the area for almost a decade, initiated the decline of local cultures.
26. He replaced the Incas’ polytheistic religion with Christianity and much of the local population was reduced to serfdom under the Spanish elite.
27. Pizarro was reviled for ordering Atahualpa’s death despite the ransom payment, which Pizarro kept, after paying the Spanish King his due.
28. After returning from Peru extremely wealthy, the Pizarro family erected a plasteresque-style palace on the corner of the Plaza Mayor in Trujillo.
29. After his death, Pizarro’s remains were briefly interred in the cathedral courtyard. Some time later, his head and body were separated and buried in separate boxes underneath the floor of the cathedral.
30. In 1892, in preparation for the anniversary of Columbus‘ discovery of the Americas, a body believed to be that of Pizarro was exhumed and put on display in a glass coffin. However, in 1977, men working on the cathedral’s foundation discovered a lead box in a sealed niche, which bore the inscription, “Here is the head of Don Francisco Pizarro Demarkes, Don Francisco Pizarro who discovered Peru and presented it to the crown of the Castile.”
When Spain undertook the expansion of European civilization into the New World, the conquistadores were her agents. They were not just military conquerors, although military conquest was part of their work. They were explorers, governors, exploiters, Christianizers men with a mission to spread their faith men with a desire to gain wealth and position men with a curiosity that led them into a gigantic project for which their means were quite inadequate. Some were illiterate some were trained lawyers. They flourished during the first half of the 16th century and for perhaps another half-century or so on the frontier. When a settled society was achieved, the work of the conquistador was done. He had not only lost his place in the New World, but often the respect of the society he had helped to make possible. Few were the conquistadores who lived a long life, enjoying wealth, position, and honor. Columbus was only the first of the founders of the Spanish American empire to see his titles, positions, and prestige dwindle. Death by assassination or murder was a commonplace end for a conquistador.
Mexico and Peru, the centers of population and wealth, attracted the conquistadores. There men such as Hern á n Cort é s and Francisco Pizarro gained their fame. These adventurers, however, were not limited by geography.
They spread throughout the islands of the Caribbean, into the southern part of North America, and across the mountains, deserts, and jungles of South America.
Mexico. The conquest of Mexico was achieved by the prototype of the conquistadores, Cort é s. Contemporary documents such as Cort é s's own letters to Emperor Charles V, the authorized history by G ó mara, and the story told by the veteran soldier (in his own words one of the first conquistadores of New Spain) Bernal D í az del Castillo, give a vivid account of the project.
Cort é s was born in Medell í n, a small town in Extremadura, the province in Spain from which so many conquistadores came. He spent some time at the University of Salamanca but was in Espa ñ ola by 1504. He went to Cuba with the Vel á zquez expedition of 1511. Cort é s had already gained a reputation for audacity when, at about the age of 33, he was put in charge of the third expedition to Yucat á n, being prepared by the governor of Cuba, Diego Vel á zquez. The governor, prompted by his distrust of the dynamic Cort é s and by pressures from relatives, shortly withdrew the appointment. Cort é s had anticipated this and sailed before the order could be made effective. Agents of the governor sent after him usually were inveigled by Cort é s into joining him instead of arresting him. Ultimately, with fewer than 700 Spaniards, 16 horses, a few cannons and muskets, but supported by thousands of Native American allies he had cultivated or conquered or both, Cort é s led an expedition toward Tenochtitl á n, the capital of the Aztec Empire. Before marching inland Cort é s founded the city of Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz and the new municipality elected him governor of the area, subject only to the king of Spain.
The Spaniards entered Tenochtitl á n peacefully on Nov. 8, 1519. But the conquest was not so easily achieved. While Pedro de Alvarado was in charge of the Spanish forces in the city, their wanton massacres of Aztec nobles during a festival endangered the entire undertaking. Even with reinforcements Cort é s could not hold the city. On la noche triste, June 20, 1520, the Spaniards tried to fight their way across the causeways and out of the city. Across the water that was gorged with bodies of dead Spaniards, dead Native Americans, dead horses, and baggage of all sorts, the bedraggled remains of Cort é s's forces made their way. Muskets and crossbows were lost in the melee. Through it all, "Cort é s showed himself very much a man, as he always was," reported Bernal D í az.
Six months later Cort é s had his troops, sheltered during that time by their allies, the Tlaxcalans, ready to return. He had only 550 Spaniards but many Tlaxcalans were trained to fight with them. When siege did not bring the surrender of the Aztecs, Cort é s decided that the only way to achieve victory was to level the city. House by house, temple by temple, the Spaniards moved in. D í az says the siege lasted 93 days in August 1520 it ended. Tenochtitl á n was gone and with it the treasures of the Aztec king.
Cort é s immediately set to work establishing the Spanish dominion. He built Mexico City on the site of the old Aztec capital. He sent his captains out in all directions to command the allegiance of the surrounding tribes. He apparently tried to preserve native institutions and to maintain the caciques in their political roles, but these aims, even though supported by royal order, were unsuccessful in the face of demands by his men for vassals. In October 1522 Cort é s was appointed governor and captain general of New Spain. While he was away on an expedition to Honduras, however, the Spaniards in Mexico City began to challenge his rule. In 1529 Cort é s went to Spain and got his titles and authority confirmed by the emperor. On his return to Mexico he found established there an audiencia, even though a venal one, also with royal authority. When the audiencia failed to establish order, Charles V appointed a viceroy. Cort é s was reduced to conducting exploratory expeditions on the Pacific and to developing his own estates. When he again took his claims to the Spanish court, he was coldly received. He died in Spain in 1547.
In the conquest of Mexico Cort é s met the best organized resistance the Europeans ever encountered in America. He multiplied his meager resources by cunning, diplomacy, and force. His men followed him even on vain expeditions such as the one into Central America. W. H. Prescott says of him:
If he was indebted for his success to the cooperation of the Indian tribes, it was the force of his genius that obtained command of such materials. He arrested the arm that was lifted to smite him, and made it do battle in his behalf … . He broughttogether the most miscellaneous collection of mercenaries who ever fought under one standard … this motley congregation was assembled in one camp, compelled to bend to the will of one man … . It is in this wonderful power over the discordant masses thus gathered under his banner, that we recognize the genius of the great commander no less than in the skill of his military operations.
But Cort é s did not stop there. Under his direction a political entity was established that preserved organized society and prepared an empire for Spain.
Peru and Chile. The Spanish American empire gained another valuable area in the empire of the Incas. No letters from the conqueror of Peru to the emperor tell us the details of the conquest. Pizarro never even learned to sign his name. His birth date is unknown, but he was born in Extremadura and was an illegitimate son of a military man. He had no inheritance and no education. The New World could offer nothing but an improvement in his station. He was there in Espa ñ ola by 1509 or 1510 and was a member of the unsuccessful expedition led by Alonso de Ojeda. Subsequently he associated himself with Vasco N ú ñ ez de Balboa and was with the group that first sighted the South Sea. As an encomendero in Panama, Pizarro started a business partnership with Diego de Almagro, another soldier of fortune, and Fernando de Luque, a canon of the cathedral. After having undertaken a number of successful business ventures, the three partners obtained permission from Governor Pedr á rias to search for the rich lands reputed to be to the south. Pizarro and Almagro were probably men in their 50s when the first attempt was made in December 1524. In 1528 – 29 Pizarro went to Spain and got full authorization from the king to continue the planned conquest. He brought back with him his four brothers and a cousin.
It was 1530 before an expedition actually invaded the Inca empire. By then a civil war was in progress there over the succession to the throne. The Spaniards entered the fray when Pizarro and his men seized the Inca Atahualpa, at a meeting in Cajamarca. The Inca's attendants had come unarmed to the ceremonial encounter and thousands, unable to defend themselves, were killed. While Atahualpa's ransom was being collected all over the land (and much of the artistic work of the Incas was being melted into gold ingots by the Spaniards), Almagro arrived with reinforcements. The other claimant to the Inca throne, Huascar, was killed in the south by Atahualpa's orders. Shortly after the Spaniards accused Atahualpa of treason and executed him. Thus the Spaniards lost the key to political control of the highly organized Inca empire. They pushed on with military force. In November they took Cuzco and the men immediately set to work plundering the city. Pizarro left his brothers Juan and Gonzalo in charge there and headed for the sea. Near the harbor he founded Lima, the City of the Kings (1535). Attempts to set up Spanish authority on a regular basis, however, foundered on the revolt of Inca Manco (1536) and on dissension among the Spaniards. As a result of wounds received in the suppression of the Inca revolt, the first of the Pizarro brothers, Juan, died.
Almagro and Francisco Pizarro grew more and more apart. Almagro felt ill-treated in the division of titles and wealth, particularly after his profitless expedition to Chile. On his return he captured Cuzco and imprisoned Hernando and Gonzalo Pizarro. The civil wars among the Spaniards were underway. Almagro was persuaded by Francisco Pizarro to release Hernando, supposedly to go to Spain. Instead the Pizarros joined forces Hernando captured Almagro and had him strangled in 1538. The next year Hernando went to Spain bearing the great treasures of Cuzco. Almagro's supporters, however, were already there to accuse him of murder. Hernando spent the next 22 years in prison. The prisons evidently were of varying degrees of rigor for he was married during that time. Imprisonment may have saved his life supposedly he lived to the age of 100. None of his brothers did. Francisco Pizarro was assassinated June 26, 1541, by the Almagristas Almagro's son Diego was captured and beheaded in September 1542. When Gonzalo Pizarro assumed control of Peru, he protested against the enforcement of the New Laws of 1542 and led a rebellion against royal authority represented by Viceroy Blasco N ú ñ ez de la Vela. In a battle in January 1546, the viceroy was unhorsed and beheaded.
In another attempt to restore order in Peru, Charles V dispatched the priest Pedro de la Gasca. He was given unlimited authority to do whatever should be necessary. The emissary worked slowly and finally persuaded most of the rebellious group to join the royal forces. Gonzalo Pizarro's army deserted him and he had to surrender without a battle. He was beheaded in 1548. Only then could Spain establish a regular administration in Peru and take advantage of the riches that were hers as a result of the work of the indomitable, if bloody, conquistador Francisco Pizarro.
Just before Gonzalo Pizarro's capture, one of his supporters, Francisco de Carvajal, viewing the military force ranged against them, was reported to have said that it must be led by Pedro de Valdivia or the devil. Valdivia was another native of Extremadura. He was probably of a poor noble family and was somewhat unusual among the conquistadores because he had regular military training. He entered the army in 1520 or 1521 and served Charles V both in Italy and Flanders. He was also an educated man. After the battle of Pavia (1525) he returned to Extremadura, married, and lived as a country squire for 10 years. He went to America in 1535, first to Venezuela, and then to Peru the next year with reinforcements for Pizarro. For three years Valdivia supported Pizarro and received position, property, and wealth as a reward. He did not remain on his land long. In April 1539 Valdivia asked permission from Pizarro to explore and conquer Chile. There the enemy were the intractable Araucan people. Valdivia's attempts to colonize Chile ended with his capture by the Araucan at the end of 1553. The rumors about the manner of his death cannot be verified, but they all included torture and the eating of the body by his captors.
Colombia. The conquest of the home of the Chibcha involved no such bloody siege as that of Tenochtitl á n or civil war such as that in Peru. The lives lost in the expedition of Gonzalo Jim é nez de Quesada were not lost in battle.
Jim é nez de Quesada was born in C ó rdoba about the beginning of the 16th century. He was a lawyer and went to America in 1535 as a magistrate in the company of Pedro de Lugo, the newly appointed governor of Santa Marta. He was in his mid-30s when the governor put him in charge of an expedition of about 900 men to explore and conquer a rich country rumored to be south of Santa Marta, high in the mountains. The expedition started up the Magdalena River in 1536. Nature and indigenous tribes, concealed by the jungle and armed with poisoned arrows, made it a harrowing trip. Almost a year elapsed before the expedition reached the upland plains inhabited by the Chibchas. Only about 166 of the Spaniards were still alive. Jim é nez de Quesada gave strict orders that peaceful methods must be used for the conquest and that anyone who violated this policy would be punished by death. By the end of 1538 he had established his authority over the numerous population in the Chibcha country. It was challenged early in 1539 by other groups of Spaniards coming in first from Venezuela and later from Peru. Quesada by judicious use of gifts of gold averted civil war and maintained control.
Out of the 166 who had arrived on the plateau, three or four died on exploring expeditions. One man was hanged on a charge of looting the natives. Jim é nez de Quesada had received no reinforcements, but with these few men, almost all preserved through his care, he had conquered the area. Leaving the new city of Santaf é de Bogot á in 1539, he went to Spain but did not receive the appointment as governor of the territory. With an honorary title, Jim é nez de Quesada returned to the New Kingdom of Granada, where he served in minor offices until his death at about 80.
Other Areas. One of the distinctive conquistadores in the Caribbean and in Panama was Balboa, who moved from being a stowaway into the leadership of the expedition supposedly commanded by lawyer Martin Fern á ndez de Enciso. Balboa gained enough authority and power to arrest Enciso and send him back to Spain and then ensured his position by fairness and consideration in dealing with his men. After he discovered the South Sea and was preparing ships to embark on it in search of the rich lands to the south, Governor Pedr á rias sent Francisco Pizarro to arrest him. Balboa was accused of treason and beheaded it was Pizarro who then went on to the rich lands of the Inca.
The search for the fountain of youth was made by a knight. Juan Ponce de Le ó n was a member of the Spanish nobility. He was born about 1460 and went through the training of a page and a squire before going to America. On a return trip to Spain he was knighted by King Ferdinand. Before that he had founded a settlement on the island of Puerto Rico and subjugated the native peoples. Rivalry with Diego Columbus cost Ponce de Le ó n the governorship, but the Crown authorized him to undertake other explorations if he wished. On March 3, 1513, he set out from Puerto Rico on the expedition associated with the search for the fountain of youth. Most of the early Spanish American chroniclers mention this as a possible reason for the expedition but only in addition to the desire for economic gain. Bartolom é de las casas simply states that Ponce de Le ó n went for slaves and pearls. The expedition was unsuccessful: 16th-century Florida had no fountains of youth, good slaves, or pearls. In 1521 Ponce de Le ó n tried again. He outfitted a colonizing expedition and sailed up the west coast of Florida. The Native Americans attacked, Ponce de Le ó n was wounded, and he died in Havana.
The names of many more conquistadores could be added: Pedro de Alvarado in Guatemala, the licentiate Lucas V á zquez de Ayll ó n in the Carolinas, P á nfilo Narv á ez in the Floridas, Francisco V á squez de Coronado in the southwest of the present United States, Hernando de Soto in Florida and the lower Mississippi basin, Á lvar N ú ñ ez Cabeza de Vaca and Domingo Mart í nez de Irala in La Plata, and probably hundreds of lesser men who assumed the role of the conquistador in a small area. With them came the priests who served as missionaries but often also as explorers, secretaries, and chroniclers. When the age of the conquistadores was past, the missionaries themselves expanded the empire, particularly from northwest Mexico up into California. But the shadows of the conquistadores seem to reach all the way to the caudillos of independent Spanish America.
- Famous:Spanish Men
- Died At Age:63
- Sun Sign:Cancer
- Also Known As:Francisco Pizarro GonzÃ¡lez
- Born In:Trujillo, CÃ¡ceres
- Famous As:Spanish Conquistador
- Spouse/Ex-:N De Trujillo
- Father:Gonzalo Pizarro Y RodrÃ­guez
- Mother:Francisca GonzÃ¡lez Mateos
- Siblings:Francisco MartÃ­n De AlcÃ¡ntara, Gonzalo Pizarro, Hernando Pizarro, Ines Pizarro Y De Vargas, Isabel Pizarro Y De Vargas, Juan Pizarro
- Died On:June 26, 1541
- Place Of Death:Lima
- Cause Of Death:Assassination
- Bio:Francisco Pizarro Was A Spanish Conquistador Who Is Known For His Expeditions To Peru. This Biography Of Francisco Pizarro Provides Detailed Information About His Childhood, Life, Achievements, Works & Timeline
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Facts about Conquistadors 7: the death of Pizarro
One of the Cortes’ captains killed Pizarro since he wanted to take his treasures and gold in Peru. On the other hand, Hernando De Soto and Francisco de Cordoba were enemies. Find facts about Colonial Maryland here.
Facts about Conquistadors 8: the native places of Conquistadors
Many Conquistadors came from the similar places. Do you know that De Soto, Cortes and Pizarro were from in Extremadura, Spain?
Inca Expansion & The Conquistadors
The history of Ecuador is better known from the point of the Inca expansion than during the Pre-Columbian era, though even after the Inca conquered Ecuador many holes remain because of the limited recorded history they kept. In 1463 the Inca warrior Pachacuti and his son Topa Yupanqui began conquering Ecuador. By the end of 15th century, despite fierce resistance by several Ecuadorian tribes, Huayna Capac, Topa Yupanqui’s son, conquered all of Ecuador.
The Inca ruled the Ecuadorian Kingdoms until the arrival of Francisco Pizarro, Diego de Almargo and a force of Spanish conquistadors in 1532. During the period of Inca control, the Ecuadorian tribesmen assimilated agricultural practices and the social organization of the Inca, but they maintained their traditional religious beliefs and many customs. Ecuador’s indigenous population would suffer far worse under Spanish rule than it did under the Inca.
Arrival of the Conquistadors
Pizarro set out in the final months of 1531 from Panama on the expedition that would end in the defeat of the Inca Empire and the Spanish domination of Ecuador. He began the campaign with less than two hundred men while his partner, Almargo, remained in Panama to gather more troops. After landing, Pizarro was forced to spend several months on the Ecuadorian coast and in northern Peru building a base of operations and collecting jewels and gold to finance reinforcements.
When Pizarro’s expedition finally arrived in the recently founded Inca capital of Cajamarca, the new Inca king, Atahualpa Capac, was resting at nearby thermal baths after prevailing in a bitter civil war with his brother. The familial war for their father’s throne ignited because of a deep hatred fueled by Huascar’s, Atahualpa’s half brother, insistence that Atahualpa, borne by one of their father’s (the Emperor Huayna Capac) lesser wives, was a bastard and held no legitimate claim to the Empire.
Atahualpa, reluctantly returned to Cajamarca amongst thousands of his best troops to greet to Pizarro. When he went to Cajamarca’s central plaza to meet the Conquistador, instead of Pizarro he found a pompous Fray Vicente de Valverde waiting for him. Promptly after the Inca Emperor refused to submit to the Catholic God and Spanish Crown, concealed Spanish soldiers and mercenaries slaughtered thousands of the Inca defenders and took Atahualpa prisoner. Within a year of his capture, Atahualpa was executed.
By mid-1534 the Spaniards had taken Quito and effectively defeated the Inca armies. Weakened by civil war and leaderless, the Inca empire collapsed swiftly though the jungle lowlands in both the coastal region of Esmeraldas and the Oriente remained unconquered until late in the seventeenth century. The Spanish conquest of Ecuador can be described as nothing less than brutal looting, pillaging, and torture were standard tools of the conquistadors.
Though the Inca were defeated, it took Spain almost two decades before it established a continuous, undivided system of colonial rule. After the Inca were subdued and several native rebellions put down, the dislike between Almargo and Pizarro that had been smoldering since the inception of their partnership, exploded. Almargo initiated open rebellion against Pizarro and was subsequently tried and executed for treason. Almargo’s followers then assassinated Pizarro. After several more power shifts Spain tethered the remaining conquistadors and Ecuador began more than two and a half centuries of relatively peaceful colonial rule.
Early Life of Francisco Pizarro
- As stated earlier, Francisco Pizarro was the bastard son of a well-known infantry colonel in Spain. His mother was a beautiful woman, but of poor standing in the community.
- He probably grew up illiterate and had to learn much of his skill through trial and error. He showed tremendous leadership skills at a young age as well as a healthy ambition.
- During his early 20s, Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama opened up new trades that would make Spain and Portugal world powers. He participated in the expedition to the Pacific with Vasco de Nunez Balboa and gained notoriety when he arrested Balboa who was then executed.