Superior weaponry, psychological warfare, a perfectly timed arrival and native allies certainly helped Pizarro. But remember the Spaniard arrived in the Andes with fewer than men. Even with these advantages, he wouldn't have been successful had it not been for another weapon, unexpected by both sides. Biological warfare in the form of smallpox allowed Pizarro to conquer the Inca.
Smallpox spread quickly through the Americas prior to Pizarro's arrival. Having lived alongside livestock for millennia gave much of Europe immunity to the worst ravages of smallpox. But the indigenous tribes of the Americas had no such advantage. Smallpox unexpectedly killed Incan emperor Huayna Cupac, leaving the empire in civil unrest and war.
The disease decimated the Incan population, paving the way for Pizarro's paltry troops to conquer a once-vast nation. Ultimately, the diseases the Europeans brought with them did more damage than guns or greed. Within the years following Columbus an estimated 95 percent of the Americas' inhabitants died [source: Mann ].
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The Sapa Inca was curious about these bearded strangers — and about the beasts and weapons they brought with them. His nobles made disparaging comments as to the Spaniards capacity to inflict any damage, but just in case two were dispatched to study the horses and muskets prior to allowing the Spaniards to meet their emperor.
Pizarro and his companions played the wide-eyed buffoons — large men out of their depth in an unfamiliar terrain and oh, so eager to pay their respects to Atahualpa. Some dithering back and forth, and Atahualpa decided to meet the Spanish in Cajamarca. The town at the time was deserted — except for the Spanish. But it must have been quite impressive to see and was escorted by five or six thousand unarmed soldiers — a show of splendour.
The Spanish hid in the buildings surrounding the main square, and when Atahualpa arrived he was met by the Spanish priest and the interpreter.
Valverde, the priest, spoke about the Catholic religion. Atahualpa probably suppressed a yawn before demanding where the Spanish leader was — he wanted compensation for all the stuff the Spanish had been stealing since they landed. The priest tried to redirect the conversation to God and handed the Inca a breviary. The Inca looked at it, shrugged, and threw it to the ground. Upon which the Spanish attacked, erupting out of the surrounding buildings like fiends from hell. Later on, the fact that Atahualpa threw the breviary to the ground would be cited as the reason behind the Spanish attack — so incensed were they by this insult to their religion.
Pizarro's gold Crossword Clue Answers
Double hmm. Pizarro led the charge that captured Atahualpa — after more or less chopping through the eighty men surrounding their emperor. At the end of the skirmish, hundreds of Indians were dead. Did Atahualpa put up a fight? Not that the Sapa Inca would be much of a challenge for a man used to grabbing what he wanted — besides, Pizarro was a fighting man through and through. Did Atahualpa understand just how definitely his capture would seal the fate of his empire? Or did he assume his armies would save him?
If so, he thought wrong. Next morning the Spaniards looted the abandoned Inca camp at leisure, finding it devoid of soldiers.
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They had all fled, frightened of these hairy foreigners in their metal clothes and with weapons that spewed fire. Unfortunately for Atahualpa, he remained a rallying point for the Inca resistance. Atahualpa was a king — yes, a captured king, but still a king — and should be treated with some sort of basic respect, which included keeping him alive.
Pizarro waved away their protests and presided over a mock trial at which Atahualpa was accused of murdering his brother, the true Sapa Inca, and of rising in rebellion against Spain. When verdict was pronounced, Atahualpa was shocked.
Clue: Pizarro's gold
He was condemned to be burned at the stake, which, according to his faith, effectively killed his chances of making it to the afterlife. This is when Valverde, the Spanish priest stepped in, offering a solution to this little dilemma.
If Atahualpa agreed to baptise himself a Catholic, the verdict would be commuted. Francisco Pizarro made out best of all. His share from Atahualpa's ransom alone was pounds of gold, 1, pounds of silver, and odds-and-ends such as Atahualpa's throne — a chair made of 15 karat gold which weighed pounds. Most of the conquistadors were cruel, violent men who did not flinch from torture, mayhem, murder, and rape and Francisco Pizarro was no exception.
Although he did not fall into the sadist category — as some other conquistadors did — Pizarro had his moments of great cruelty. After his puppet Emperor Manco Inca went into open rebellion , Pizarro ordered that Manco's wife Cura Ocllo be tied to a stake and shot with arrows: her body was floated down a river where Manco would find it. Later, Pizarro ordered the murder of 16 captured Inca chieftains. One of them was burned alive. In the s, Francisco and fellow conquistador Diego de Almagro had a partnership and twice explored the Pacific coast of South America.
In , Pizarro went to Spain to get royal permission for a third trip. The crown granted Pizarro a title, a position of governor of the lands he discovered, and other lucrative positions: Almagro was given the governorship of the small town of Tumbes. Back in Panama, Almagro was furious and was only convinced to participate after given the promise of the governorship of as-yet undiscovered lands. Almagro never forgave Pizarro for this double-cross. As an investor, Almagro became very wealthy after the sacking of the Inca Empire, but he never quite shook the feeling most likely correct that the Pizarro brothers were ripping him off.
A vague royal decree on the subject gave the northern half of the Inca Empire to Pizarro and the southern half to Almagro, but it was unclear in which half the city of Cuzco belonged. In , Almagro seized the city, leading to a civil war among the conquistadors.