The story

Incas (continued)


The Spanish conquest

When Huayna Capac became the Inca emperor, there was a succession war that some sources maintain lasted about twelve years. The alleged cause of the war is that Huayna had been very cruel to the people.

Rumors spread throughout the Inca Empire like fire over a strange 'bearded man' who 'lived in a house at sea' and had 'lightning and thunder in his hands'. This strange man was beginning to kill many of the sick Incan soldiers he had brought.

When Huayna Capac died, the empire was worn out and a dispute broke out between his two sons. Cuzco, who was the capital, had been given to the alleged new emperor Huascar, who was considered a horrible, violent and almost insane person who attributed to him the murder of his own mother and sister who had forced him to marry him.

Atahualpa claimed to be Huayna Capac's favorite son, given that he had been given the territory north of Quito (modern city of Ecuador) which is why Huascar would have been very angry.
The civil war of succession took place between the two brothers, called the War of the Two Brothers, in which about one hundred thousand people perished.

After much struggle, Atahualpa defeated Huascar and then, it is said, it was Atahualpa who was mad and violent, treating the losers horribly. Many were stoned (in the back) to be incapacitated, unborn children were torn from their mothers' wombs, approximately 1,500 members of the royal family, including the sons of Huascar, were beheaded and their bodies hung on stakes for display. The commoners were tortured.

Atahualpa paid a terrible price to become emperor. His empire was now shaken and weakened. It was at this critical moment that the 'bearded man' and his strangers arrived, the final scene of the Inca Empire.

This strange bearded man became Francisco Pizarro and his Spanish "Castilla de Oro" who captured Atahualpa and his nobles on November 16, 1532.

The real achievement

Atahualpa was traveling when Francisco Pizarro and his men found their camp. Pizarro sent a messenger to Atahualpa asking if they could meet. Atahualpa nodded and headed to the place where they were supposed to talk, and when it arrived, the place looked deserted. A man from Pizarro, Vicente de Valverde challenged Atahualpa so that he and all the Incas would convert to Christianity, and if he refused, he would be considered an enemy of the Church and Spain.

As expected, Atahualpa disagreed, which was considered sufficient reason for Francisco Pizarro to attack the Incas. The Spanish army opened fire and killed the soldiers of Atahualpa's entourage and, although it intended to kill the Inca, imprisoned it, as it had its own plans.

Once taken prisoner, Atahualpa was not mistreated by the Spaniards, who allowed him to stay in contact with his entourage. The Inca emperor, who wanted to break free, made a deal with Pizarro. He agreed to fill one room with gold and one with silver in exchange for his freedom. Pizzaro did not intend to release Atahualpa even after the ransom was paid because he needed his influence at that moment to maintain order and not provoke a greater reaction from the Incas who had just learned of the Spaniards.

In addition, Huáscar was still alive and Atahualpa, realizing that he could represent a more convenient puppet government for Pizarro's domination, ordered Huáscar's execution. With this, Pizarro felt the frustration of his plans and accused Atahualpa of twelve crimes, the main ones being the murder of Huáscar, practice of idolatry and conspiracy against the Kingdom of Spain, being judged guilty for all crimes sentenced to die burned.

It was high night when Francisco Pizarro decided to execute Atahualpa. After being led to the place of execution, Atahualpa begged for his life. Valverde, the priest who had presided over the case, proposed that if Atahualpa converted to Christianity, he would reduce his sentence. Atahualpa agreed to be baptized and, instead of being burned at the stake, was strangled to death on August 29, 1533. With his death also ended the "independent existence of a noble race."

Atahualpa's death was the beginning of the end of the Inca Empire.

The instability occurred quickly. Francisco Pizarro named Toparca, Atahualpa's brother, as puppet ruler until his unexpected death. The Inca organization then fell apart. Remote parts of the empire rebelled and in some cases formed alliances with the Spaniards to fight the resistant Incas. The lands and cultures were neglected and the Incas experienced a food shortage they had never known. Now the Incas had learned from the Spaniards the value of gold and silver and the utility they had not known before, and they plundered, plundered, and concealed such symbols of wealth and power. The proliferation of common European diseases for which the Incas had no defense spread and played their part in the killing of hundreds of thousands of people.

The gold and silver so desired by Pizarro and his men was everywhere and in the hands of many people, subverting the economy with huge inflation. A good horse cost $ 7,000 until eventually the grains and food were more valuable than the precious gold of the Spaniards. The great Inca civilization, as it was known, no longer existed.

After the Spanish conquest

The Inca Empire was overthrown by less than two hundred men and twenty-seven horses, but also by thousands of Amerindians who joined the Spanish troops out of discontent over the treatment of the Inca Empire. Francisco Pizarro and the Spaniards who followed him overwhelmed the Incas both materially and culturally, not only by exploiting them through the working system of "Mitas" for Potosí silver extraction, but by repressing their ancient traditions and knowledge. As far as agriculture is concerned, for example, the abandonment of the advanced Inca farming technique eventually led to a persistent era of food shortages in the region.

Part of the cultural heritage was retained in the Quechua and Aymara languages, because the Catholic Church chose these native languages ​​as a vehicle for the evangelization of the Incas. Inca Empire, setting them as the most widely spoken languages ​​among the Amerindians.

Later, oppressive exploitation was the subject of a rebellion whose leader Tupac Amaru, considered the last Inca, eventually inspired the name of the 20th-century Peruvian revolutionary movement, the MRTA, and the Uruguayan movement of the Tupamaros. The history of Inca economic planning and good doses of Maoism are also the revolutionary inspiration of the current movement. Shining Path in Peru.