Legendary Explorers: The Life and Legacy of Hernán Cortés


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Pizarro was officially named the Governor, Captain general , Adelantado and Alguacil Mayor , of New Castile for the distance of leagues along the newly discovered coast and invested with all authority and prerogatives, leaving his associates in secondary positions a fact that later incensed Almagro and would lead to eventual discord.

One of the grant conditions was that within six months, Pizarro should raise a sufficiently equipped force of men, of whom might be drawn from the colonies. This gave Pizarro time to leave for his native Trujillo and convince his brother Hernando Pizarro and other close friends to join him on his third expedition.

He was there joined by his brother Hernando and the remaining men in two vessels that would sail back to Panama. In , Pizarro once again landed in the coasts near Ecuador, the province of Coaque and the region of esmeraldas , where some gold, silver and emeralds were procured and then dispatched to Almagro. The latter had stayed in Panama to gather more recruits.

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Soon after, Hernando de Soto , another conquistador who had joined the expedition, arrived with volunteers and horses to aid Pizarro and with him sailed towards Tumbes, [4] : only to find the place deserted and destroyed. The two conquistadors expected that the settlers had disappeared or died under murky circumstances. The chiefs explained that the fierce tribes of Punians had attacked them and ransacked the place.

As Tumbes no longer afforded safe accommodations, Pizarro led an excursion into the interior in May and established the first Spanish settlement in Peru, San Miguel de Piura , and a repartimiento.

Leaving 50 men back at the settlement under the command of Antonio Navarro, Pizarro proceeded with his conquest accompanied by men on 24 September After a week, he returned with an envoy from the Inca himself, with presents and an invitation to visit the Inca ruler's camp. Arriving at Cajamarca on 15 November , Pizarro had a force of just foot soldiers, 67 cavalry, three arquebuses and two falconets.

He sent Hernando Pizarro and de Soto to meet with Atahualpa in his camp. Atahualpa agreed to meet Pizarro in his Cajamarca plaza fortress the next day.

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Fray Vincente de Valverde and native interpreter Felipillo approached Atahualpa in Cajamarca's central plaza. After the Dominican friar expounded the "true faith" and the need to pay tribute to the Emperor Charles V , Atahualpa replied, "I will be no man's tributary. Atahualpa's refusal led Pizarro and his force to attack the Inca army in what became the Battle of Cajamarca on 16 November The Spanish were successful.

Pizarro executed Atahualpa's man honor guard and took the Inca captive at the so-called Ransom Room. By February , Almagro had joined Pizarro in Cajamarca with an additional men and 50 horses. Despite fulfilling his promise of filling one room 22 by 17 feet or 7 by 5 metres [11] with gold and two with silver, Atahualpa was convicted of 12 charges, including killing his brother and plotting against Pizarro and his forces. He was executed by garrote on 29 August Francisco Pizarro and de Soto were opposed to Atahualpa's execution, but Francisco consented to the trial due to the "great agitation among the soldiers", particularly by Almagro.

De Soto was on a reconnaissance mission the day of the trial and execution and upon his return expressed his dismay, stating, "he should have been taken to Castile and judged by the emperor. Pizarro advanced with his army of Spaniards toward Cuzco, accompanied by Chalcuchimac , one of the leading Inca generals of the north and a supporter of Atahualpa, who was subsequently burned at the stake.

We can assure your Majesty that it is so beautiful and has such fine buildings that it would be remarkable even in Spain. The Spanish sealed the conquest of Peru by entering Cuzco on 15 November Pizarro founded the city of Lima on Peru's central coast on 6 January , which he considered to be one of the most important things he had created in life. After the final effort of the Inca to recover Cuzco had been defeated by Almagro, a dispute occurred between Pizarro and Almagro respecting the limits of their jurisdiction, as both claimed the city of Cuzco.

The dispute had originated from a disagreement on how to interpret the limit between the governorates. Almagro's son, also named Diego and known as El Mozo , was later stripped of his lands and left bankrupt by Pizarro.

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Atahualpa's wife, year-old Cuxirimay Ocllo Yupanqui, was with Atahualpa's army in Cajamarca and had stayed with him while he was imprisoned. Following his execution, she was taken to Cuzco and given the name Dona Angelina. By , it was known she had borne Pizarro two sons, Juan and Francisco. In Lima, on 26 June "a group of 20 heavily armed supporters of Diego de Almagro II "el mozo" stormed Pizarro's palace, assassinating him and then forcing the terrified city council to appoint young Almagro as the new governor of Peru", according to Burkholder and Johnson.

While trying to pull out his sword, he was stabbed in the throat, then fell to the floor where he was stabbed many times. He died moments after. Diego de Almagro the younger was caught and executed the following year after losing the battle of Chupas. Pizarro's remains were briefly interred in the cathedral courtyard; at some later time, his head and body were separated and buried in separate boxes underneath the floor of the cathedral.

In , 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 , 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 Castile.

William Maples , was invited to examine the two bodies and they soon determined that the body which had been honored in the glass case for nearly a century had been incorrectly identified. The skull within the lead box not only bore the marks of multiple sword blows, but the features bore a remarkable resemblance to portraits made of the man in life.

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Francisca Pizarro Yupanqui eventually married her uncle Hernando Pizarro in Spain, on 10 October ; a third son of Pizarro who was never legitimized, Francisco, by Dona Angelina, a wife of Atahualpa that he had taken as a mistress, died shortly after reaching Spain. Based on sheer numbers alone, Pizarro's military victory was one of the most improbable in recorded history.


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Pizarro is well known in Peru as the leader of the Spanish conquest. After his invasion, Pizarro destroyed [ citation needed ] the Inca state and while ruling the area for almost a decade, initiated the decline of local cultures. The Incas' polytheistic religion was replaced by Christianity and much of the local population was reduced to serfdom [ citation needed ] under the Spanish elite.

The cities of the Inca Empire were transformed into Spanish Catholic cities.

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Pizarro is also reviled for ordering Atahualpa's death despite the ransom payment which Pizarro kept, after paying the Spanish king his due. Many Peruvians, including many of mainly indigenous descent, regard him negatively, although until relatively recently Pizarro had been portrayed positively, for instance in textbooks, for imposing Catholicism and creating a privileged class of mainly Spanish descent.

In the early s, sculptor Ramsay MacDonald created three copies of an anonymous European foot soldier resembling a conquistador with a helmet, wielding a sword and riding a horse. The statue was taken to Lima in and re-purposed to represent Pizarro. One other copy of the statue resides in Wisconsin. It was presented to the city by his widow in He then set sail north for the San Juan River, arriving to find Pizarro and his men exhausted from the difficulties they had faced exploring the new territory.

Soon Almagro sailed into the port laden with supplies and a reinforcement of at least eighty recruits who had arrived at Panama from Spain with an expeditionary spirit. The findings and excellent news from Ruiz along with Almagro's new reinforcements cheered Pizarro and his tired followers. They decided to sail back to the territory already explored by Ruiz and, after a difficult voyage due to strong winds and currents, reached Atacames on the Ecuadorian coast. Here, they found a large native population recently brought under Inca rule.

Unfortunately for the conquistadores , the warlike spirit of the people they encountered seemed so defiant and dangerous in numbers that the Spanish decided not to enter the land. After much wrangling between Pizarro and Almagro, it was decided that Pizarro would stay at a safer place, the Isla de Gallo, [6] : 25—26 near the coast, while Almagro would return to Panama with Luque for more reinforcements — this time with proof of the gold they had found and the news of the discovery of the obviously wealthy land they had explored.

Fearing an unsuccessful outcome, he rejected Almagro's application for continued resources. In addition, he ordered two ships commanded by Juan Tafur to be sent immediately with the intention of bringing Pizarro and his crew back to Panama. Pizarro had no intention of returning and when Tafur arrived at Isla de Gallo, Pizarro drew a line in the sand, saying: "There lies Peru with its riches; Here, Panama and its poverty. Choose, each man, what best becomes a brave Castilian. For my part, I go to the south. Only 13 men stayed with Pizarro. They later became known as "The Famous Thirteen " Los trece de la fama , [6] : 26 while the rest of the expeditioners stayed with Tafur.

Ruiz left in one of the ships with the intention of joining Almagro and Luque in their efforts to gather reinforcements. Soon after the ships left, Pizarro and his men constructed a crude boat and journeyed 25 leagues north to La Isla Gorgona, where they would remain for seven months before the arrival of new provisions.

Almagro and Luque grasped the opportunity and left Panama this time without new recruits for La Isla Gorgona to once again join Pizarro.

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On meeting with Pizarro, the associates decided to continue sailing south on the recommendations of Ruiz's Indian interpreters. By April , they finally reached the northwestern Peruvian Tumbes Region. Tumbes became the first success the Spanish had so long desired. They were received with a warm welcome of hospitality and provisions from the Tumpis, the local inhabitants.

On subsequent days two of Pizarro's men, Alonso de Molina and Pedro de Candia , reconnoitered the territory and both, on separate accounts, reported back the riches of the land, including the decorations of silver and gold around the chief's residence and the hospitable attentions with which they were received by everyone. The Spanish also saw for the first time the Peruvian llama , [6] : 26 which Pizarro called "little camels".

The natives began calling the Spanish the "Children of the Sun" due to their fair complexions and brilliant armor. Pizarro, meanwhile, continued receiving the same accounts of a powerful monarch who ruled over the land they were exploring. These events served as evidence to convince the expedition that the wealth and power displayed at Tumbes were an example of the riches of the Peruvian territory. The conquistadors decided to return to Panama to prepare the final expedition of conquest with more recruits and provisions.

Before leaving, however, Pizarro and his followers sailed south along the coast to see if anything of interest could be found.

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Historian William H. Prescott recounts that after passing through territories they named such as Cabo Blanco, port of Payta, Sechura, Punta de Aguja, Santa Cruz and Trujillo founded by Almagro years later , they finally reached for the first time the ninth degree of the southern latitude in South America. On their return towards Panama, Pizarro briefly stopped at Tumbes, where two of his men had decided to stay to learn the customs and language of the natives.

After at least 18 months away, Pizarro and his followers anchored off the coasts of Panama to prepare for the final expedition. Pizarro sailed from Panama for Spain in the spring of , accompanied by Pedro de Candia, some natives and llamas, plus samples of fabric, gold and silver. Pizzaro reached Seville in early summer. The conquistador described the territory as rich in gold and silver that he and his followers had bravely explored "to extend the empire of Castile".

The king, who was soon to leave for Italy, was impressed at his accounts and promised his support for the conquest of Peru. Pizarro was officially named the Governor, Captain general , Adelantado and Alguacil Mayor , of New Castile for the distance of leagues along the newly discovered coast and invested with all authority and prerogatives, leaving his associates in secondary positions a fact that later incensed Almagro and would lead to eventual discord.

One of the grant conditions was that within six months, Pizarro should raise a sufficiently equipped force of men, of whom might be drawn from the colonies. This gave Pizarro time to leave for his native Trujillo and convince his brother Hernando Pizarro and other close friends to join him on his third expedition.


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  • He was there joined by his brother Hernando and the remaining men in two vessels that would sail back to Panama. In , Pizarro once again landed in the coasts near Ecuador, the province of Coaque and the region of esmeraldas , where some gold, silver and emeralds were procured and then dispatched to Almagro. The latter had stayed in Panama to gather more recruits.

    Legendary Explorers: The Life and Legacy of Hernán Cortés Legendary Explorers: The Life and Legacy of Hernán Cortés
    Legendary Explorers: The Life and Legacy of Hernán Cortés Legendary Explorers: The Life and Legacy of Hernán Cortés
    Legendary Explorers: The Life and Legacy of Hernán Cortés Legendary Explorers: The Life and Legacy of Hernán Cortés
    Legendary Explorers: The Life and Legacy of Hernán Cortés Legendary Explorers: The Life and Legacy of Hernán Cortés
    Legendary Explorers: The Life and Legacy of Hernán Cortés Legendary Explorers: The Life and Legacy of Hernán Cortés
    Legendary Explorers: The Life and Legacy of Hernán Cortés Legendary Explorers: The Life and Legacy of Hernán Cortés
    Legendary Explorers: The Life and Legacy of Hernán Cortés Legendary Explorers: The Life and Legacy of Hernán Cortés
    Legendary Explorers: The Life and Legacy of Hernán Cortés Legendary Explorers: The Life and Legacy of Hernán Cortés
    Legendary Explorers: The Life and Legacy of Hernán Cortés

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