George M. (George Makepeace) Towle.

Pizarro : his adventures and conquests online

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to their aid.


No sooner did the Peruvians see the increased
force of the strangers than they availed them-
selves of a thick fog which hung over the hills to
make their escape.

De Soto and Almagro then leisurely advanced
over the plain, ensconced their soldiers in a good
defensive position, and sent word to Pizarro that
they would wait for him where they were.

Pizarro was greatly incensed when he heard of
the attack made upon De Soto's party. He had
hoped to reach Cuzco without resistance ; and he
at once suspected the old general Challcuchima,
who was still with him, of having secretly insti-
gated the assault upon De Soto.

Ordering Challcuchima before him, he sternly
charged him with this, and added,

" If you do not cause the Peruvians to lay down
their arms at once, you shall be burned alive."

The aged chief sullenly replied that he was
innocent of the charge ; but Pizarro put him under
a strong guard.

A new misfortune now occurred. The young
Inca, Toparca, suddenly died. Pizarro was thus
deprived of the authority over the Peruvians
which he hoped to exercise through this royal


On setting out from Xauxa, he left his treasure
in that town, and a garrison of forty soldiers to
guard it, and to hold the place against the hostile
Peruvians. After a brief march, the main body
rejoined De Soto, whom they found perfectly safe
where he had posted himself.

Pizarro now thought it prudent to get rid of the
old chief Challcuchima. He brought him to trial,
and, after a hasty hearing, condemned him to be
burned alive. A friar named Valverde then at-
tempted to convert the condemned man to Chris-
tianity ; but the veteran quietly shook his head,

" I do not understand the religion of the white


He was then led out, and tied to the fatal stake.
No appearance of emotion altered his wrinkled
features. He was calm and silent ; and, as the
flames glided up and enveloped his venerable
form, he cast his eyes heavenward, as if appealing
to the sun, which shone brightly down, to reward
him for his sufferings with heavenly joys.

Thus was the career of Pizarro stained with one
more act of barbarous cruelty. Not long after
Challcuchima's execution, a brilliant array of


Peruvians was seen approaching the Spanish
camp. As they came nearer, it was evident that
they were persons of high rank. They were
attired in fine cloths, and gold and jewels glittered
on their persons. There was no sign, moreover,
that they were advancing with a hostile intention.

Pizarro, with several of his officers, went
promptly forward to meet them. A fine-looking
young man, with large, dark eyes, more richly
dressed than the others, stepped out of the group,
and, bowing to Pizarro, addressed him.

"I am Manco," said he, "the brother of the
murdered Huascar, and the true Inca of Peru. I
come to you, not as an enemy, but as a friend, to
seek your aid and protection in my attempt to
regain my rightful throne."

" You are right- welcome," returned Pizarro
heartily, rejoiced to find once more an Inca in his
power. " Go with us, and you shall obtain your
royal rights."

The young prince and his attendants at once
joined the train of the Spaniards, and together
they marched rapidly forward towards Cuzco.
The greater part of the way had now been trav-
ersed ; and one afternoon Pizarro, riding at the


head of his little army, came suddenly, by a turn
in the road, in full sight of the noble capital of the
Incas. At last the goal of his weary journey was
before him : it only remained to enter, and take
possession of the ancient and beautiful city
founded by the Children of the Sun.

It was so near dark, that Pizarro thought it wise
to defer his entrance into Cuzco until morning.


His troops, therefore, bivouacked in a field a mile
or more from the city. There seemed little reason
to fear an attack during the dark hours. There
were no vestiges of a hostile preparation : the
people round about seeming dazed and wonder-
stricken, rather than incensed, by the arrival of
the Spaniards. A strict guard was kept, never-
theless, throughout the camp ; while the soldiers,
full of high spirits and eager expectation, slum-
bered soundly on their arms.

The sun had just risen, bright and glorious,
over the city devoted to his worship, when the
army of adventurers was formed, in disciplined
order, to enter its gates. Pizarro divided his
forces in three bodies, the cavalry under De Soto
forming the van. The centre division was led by
the commander himself, and the rear by one of his


brothers. - In this order the command was given
to march ; and the troops, their armor glistening
in the sunlight, their plumes waving in the fresh
morning air, their banners flying and flapping, and
their trumpets sending clear, loud blasts among
the hills, advanced with sturdy step into the
streets of Cuzco.

The streets were crowded with an immense
crowd of Peruvians, attired in the most brilliant
variety of color ; their curious head-gear, indicat-
ing the province from which each came, espe-
cially attracting the attention of the Spaniards.
The multitude seemed dazed at the appearance of
the strangers, but not at all disposed to resent their
entrance. The young prince Manco was carried
at Pizarro's side on a litter ; and, as he passed, he
was greeted with the shouts of the people, who
hailed him as their sovereign.

Pizarro marched directly to the great public
square in the centre of the city. On the way,
the Spaniards were exceedingly struck by the
noble edifices, the towers and temples, the pal-
aces and vast private residences, the well-built
streets crossing each other at right angles, the
blooming gardens, the brightly-painted walls, the
















sparkling river which ran directly through the
city, spanned by handsome stone bridges, and,
looming on a crag high above the houses, the
frowning fortress of the Incas.

The square itself was surrounded by a number
of low buildings, and by several palaces. In these
Pizarro lodged his officers ; while the troops en-
camped in their tents in the broad open space,
which they found to be neatly paved with small

Pizarro lost no time in taking full possession of
Cuzco, and surmounting the fortress, the palaces,
and the great Temple of the Sun, with the royal
banner of Spain. His occupation of this great
city had been achieved without the shedding of a
drop of blood ; and, as the days passed, he found
no obstacle in the hostility of the natives.

The soldiers were eager to discover and seize
the enormous treasures, which, as they rightly
guessed, were gathered in the capital. Pizarro
forbade them to invade the private dwellings of
the people ; but they freely entered the temples
and palaces, without scruple tore down the golden
plates and ornaments that glittered on the walls,
and (to their shame be it said), in their greed for


gold; invaded the tombs of the dead, and robbed
the corpses of their adornments. Hid away in
caverns, and stored in the public magazines, they
found a bewildering mass of golden vases and
other utensils, fine cloths, golden sandals, and a
superabundance of grain and other food.

All the treasure thus found was brought into
the square, melted down, and divided, as before,
proportionately among the officers and men ; and,
when this had been done, the humblest and most
obscure Spaniard among them might count him-
self a rich man. The soldiers found themselves
so rich, indeed, that they began to gamble furi-
ously ; and many a soldier thus played away in a
week the fortune he had won by long hardship and
suffering, and found himself a beggar again.

One of the first things that Pizarro did, after
gaining full possession of Cuzco, was to cause the
young prince Manco to be crowned, with all state
and pageantry, as Inca of Peru.

All the ancient ceremonies attending the coro-
nation of an Inca were scrupulously performed.
Manco's brow was encircled with the-"borla," or
red fringe ; his nobles and soldiers paid him the
wonted homage ; his accession was loudly pro-


claimed by the royal heralds ; and Manco and his
real master Pizarro pledged each other's health
in brimming golden goblets of Peruvian wine.
Meanwhile the light-hearted people of Cuzco
feasted, sang, and danced as of old, forgetting that
they were thus celebrating the conquest and servi-
tude of their native land.

Pizarro's energies were indefatigable. No
sooner did he thus find himself in full and undis-
puted possession of Cuzco than he began to estab-
lish himself and his comrades as the rulers of
Peru. He set up a new government in Cuzco, of
which two of his brothers were members. He
retained a show of the ancient customs and in-
stitutions of the empire ; but he secured the real
power for the Spaniards. He took for himself
the title of "governor;" and feeling that much of
his power over his soldiers was due to their reli-
gious enthusiasm, and that the belief that it was
a pious work to convert the heathen even by force
of arms had done much to achieve the conquest,
he caused a cathedral to be built upon the public
square, and turned the " House of the Virgins of
the Sun" into a Catholic nunnery.

It was while he was thus engaged in trans-


forming Cuzco into a Spanish city that he heard
rumors of the approach of a hostile force of
Peruvians, under the command of Quizquiz, one
of Atahualpa's ablest generals.

He at once despatched Almagro with some cav-
alry, and the young Inca Manco with some native
troops, to oppose him. Almagro surprised Quiz-
quiz in his camp. The encounter was short
and sharp. Quizquiz retreated hastily to Xauxa,
whither he was pursued by Almagro. The Peru-
vian was there so utterly defeated, that his soldiers,
enraged at his failure, killed him with their own
hands. Almagro and the Inca then returned in
triumph to Cuzco.

But meanwhile Pizarro heard of a far more
formidable attempt to contest his newly-obtained
power. His conquest, though so magnificent, and
seemingly so complete, was destined to be perpet-
ually disturbed by turmoil and conflict. Hence-
forth the conqueror was to know no rest except
in the grave. The news which he had received
might well alarm him ; for he would now probably
have to contend, not with hordes of semi-civil-
ized Peruvians, but with hardy and disciplined
troops of his own countrymen.




EDRO DE ALVARADO was a cavalier
of renown, who had been one of the lieu-
tenants of Cortez in his conquest of
Mexico, and had distinguished himself by many
deeds of daring and valor. At the time of
Pizarro's conquest he was Governor of Guatemala,
in Central America. It was with glistening eyes
and beating heart that this Alvarado heard the
stories of Pizarro's fortune, of the fabulous wealth
he had found and seized, and of the ease with
which, once across the Cordilleras, he had com-
pleted the conquest of the Peruvians.

These stories fired Alvarado's ambition, and
lust of gold. He hastened to recruit a force of
five hundred men, got together a fleet of twelve
large ships, and embarked for the southern coast.


He knew that Pizarro had royal authority to take
possession of Peru ; but he pretended to think
that this authority did not give Pizarro the right
to conquer the northern kingdom of Quito. This
he proposed to conquer himself.

Alvarado and his forces landed at the Bay of
Caraques, and at once took their march across the
mountains. And now they began to suffer the
same miseries which Pizarro and his men had
undergone. The intense cold froze them ; their
provisions gave out, and many of them died of
hunger by the dreary roadside ; and they were
suffocated by the ashes and cinders vomited up by
the volcanoes near which they passed.

When the Spanish chief emerged into a milder
climate, he found that he had but a fourth of his
once valiant little army left. He had managed to
persuade a large body of natives to follow his for-
tunes ; of these, too, many had perished in the
snowy passes ; while only a few of his horses had
survived the terrible journey.

It was soon after Alvarado had thus with great
difficulty crossed the Cordilleras that Pizarro
learned of his approach. No time was to be lost.
It was clear that Alvarado had come for no


friendly purpose. He must be met and repulsed
without delay. So Almagro, in whose military
skill Pizarro greatly trusted, set out at once with a
small force, and directed his way rapidly to the
little colony of St. Michael, where he expected
that additional troops would join him in his expe-
dition against Alvarado.

On reaching St. Michael, however, Almagro
was extremely surprised and enraged to hear that
Benalcazar, the cavalier whom Pizarro had left in
command of the colony, had gone off on an expe-
dition on his own account. Almagro was now -in
a sad dilemma. The few men he had brought with
him comprised too feeble a force with which to
contend with the presumptuous Alvarado. But the
intrepid little Almagro was not easily discouraged
by an unforeseen obstacle. Though now growing
old, he was still full of pluck and vigor. He set
out promptly in the direction whither Benalcazar
had gone, and, after a long march, found him at
last with his troops at a town called Riobamba,
which Benalcazar had attacked and taken in the
hope of seizing some golden treasure for himself.
Benalcazar had no thought of resisting Almagro ;
and, joining their forces on some table-lands near


Riobamba which lay directly in Alvarado's path,
they awaited his coming.

It was not long before Alvarado and his soldiers
made their appearance. Both armies were drawn
up, and confronted each other in battle-array.
But, before the conflict began, the two chiefs
thought it wise to meet, and attempt a reconcilia-
tion. While Almagro was talking with Alvarado
in his tent, the soldiers on both sides mingled
freely together ; and Alvarado's followers, dazzled
by the stories told by the others, were eager
rather to go with them to Cuzco as friends, and
share their good luck, than to fight them as foes.

Alvarado, too, was persuaded that it was not for
his interest to defy Pizarro. Almagro offered him
a sum of money that was in itself a large fortune
if he would give up his enterprise, and make over
to Pizarro his ships, stores, and troops. The
invader at last accepted the offer : the two little
armies joined ranks, and marched southward to-
gether in the friendliest manner possible.

Pizarro had meanwhile left Cuzco with a consid-
erable force, and, taking the young Inca with him,
had marched to the sea-coast to defend it from
Alvarado's ships. To his brother Juan he con-


fided the rule of the capital during his absence.
On reaching Pachacamac, he learned with joy
that Alvarado had yielded to Almagro ; and he
sent to Alvarado to come and visit him. Ere
long the expedition arrived at Pachacamac. The
two cavaliers heartily embraced each other ; and
Pizarro ordered a brilliant series of festivities
to be prepared in honor of their reconciliation.
There were great banquets and brave tourna-
ments, and the rejoicings continued for many
days. Then Alvarado, full of friendship for
Pizarro, departed for Guatamala, there to live
luxuriously on his newly-gotten wealth.

All seemed once more fair before Pizarro. The
Peruvians still remained submissive to him ; the
young Inca was his obedient puppet ; no storm
seemed to be brewing for him in any part of the
horizon. He now had leisure to turn his thoughts
to a project he had conceived from the time he
had first reached Cuzco. This was, to transfer
the capital from that city to some site nearer the
sea-coast. Cuzco, hemmed in among the moun-
tains, was too remote, and difficult of access,
Pizarro needed a capital easily to be approached,
and capable of nourishing the commerce which he
hoped to build up between Peru and Panama.


The spot which he chose for the new city was
in the lovely valley of the River Rimac, about
twenty-five miles from its mouth. Here, on one
bank of the picturesque stream, whence the lower
spurs of the Cordilleras could be seen on the
north and east, amid a soft, even, and temperate
climate, refreshed by gentle south-west breezes
from the Pacific, and cooler currents from the
snowy mountain-crests, Pizarro founded, in Janu-
ary, 1535, what he named as "The City of the
Kings;" but we now know it as Lima, still the
most beautiful city on the Pacific coast of South
America. An army of Spanish soldiers and Peru-
vian artisans was set to work laying the founda-
tions, and building up the new capital. The whole
country round about was alive with the busy labor
of the builders. Streets crossing each other at
right angles, wide and straight, quickly grew up
on the sunny plain ; a noble public square was
laid out, on the sides of which rose a lofty cathe-
dral, a palace for Pizarro himself, and many other
public edifices. The city was surrounded by a
massive wall, twelve feet high and ten thick, made
of dried clay, to resist not only hostile attacks, but
the throes of earthquakes ; and a v bridge of five


arches, with seats on the piers for the people to
sit upon, spanned the Rimac.

Pizarro remained on the spot to overlook the
building of his new capital. He went every day
through the fast-growing streets, inspected the
ramparts and buildings as they rose higher and
higher, and always had a pleasant and encouraging
word for the groups of workmen as they toiled.

Meanwhile he was puzzled to know what to do
with his friend Almagro. He knew well that he
had agreed to share his conquest with that valiant
little cavalier, and that he had not by any means
done him justice. So he sent Almagro back to
Cuzco, and gave him authority to fit out an ex-
pedition, and to invade the regions south of the
Peruvian capital, assuring him that whatever con-
quests he should make in that direction should be
secured to him.

Almagro accordingly hastened to Cuzco, where
he assumed command until Pizarro should return,
and until his own plans for further conquest should
be ripe for execution.

After dividing the treasure taken from Ata-
hualpa's camp at Caxamalca, Pizarro had sent his
brother Hernando, with the fifth of it due to the

252 PIZARRO : ,

emperor Charles the Fifth, back to Spain. Her-
nando was received at home with the utmost
cordiality. The emperor welcomed him with
great honor, was delighted to receive so much
gold, and listened with admiration to his tale ;
and, when he had finished, the monarch conferred
on Pizarro the governorship of Peru, granted him
power to make conquests two hundred miles
farther southward, and created Hernando himself
a knight and an officer of his royal court.

The emperor's favors did not stop here. He
further gave Hernando leave to raise and equip a
new force, and ordered his officers to aid him in
this task. Besides these favors to the Pizarros,
the emperor granted to Almagro the right to
make conquests for six hundred miles south of
Pizarro's government. The gold that Hernando
had brought, and the thrilling stories he told of
the riches of Peru, caused a great excitement in
Spain ; and large numbers eagerly flocked to his
standard. Hernando put to sea with his new
armament, and, after a very tempestuous voyage,
reached Nombre de Dios. There terrible priva-
tions and sufferings awaited his company. They
found no food on their arrival ; and, before food


could reach them, large numbers died of actual
starvation. Many of them returned to Spain :
others struggled on, and finally reached Peru ;
and among the latter was a friend of Almagro,
who carried him the tidings of the grant which
the emperor had made to him.

Almagro, though he had professed the strongest
friendship for Pizarro ever since his arrival at
Caxamalca, really felt aggrieved that Pizarro, in-
stead of dividing equally with him the territory
and riches of Peru, took the lion's share of both.
His disappointment and anger at this bad treat-
ment had all along rankled in his breast. When,
therefore, he learned that the emperor had given
him the right to conquer and govern the country
south of that ruled by Pizarro, he resolved to show
his temper and independence. Being now in
command at Cuzco, he claimed that that city
itself lay within the territory conceded to him by
the emperor ; and this brought about a bitter
quarrel between him and Pizarro's two brothers
Juan and Gonzalo, who were at Cuzco, and who
had commanded the city until Almagro's arrival.

Pizarro heard of Almagro's new pretensions
with great alarm. He sent to his brothers in all


haste, and told them to resume their command of
the city; and, learning that the dispute became
more fierce every day, he soon followed his mes-
senger, and himself hurried to Cuzco.

The governor was received with joy both by
bis brothers and by the natives. He treated Al-
magro with all the warmth of an old friend, and,
by his persuasive words and manner, soon suc-
ceeded in patching up the quarrel. Once more
Almagro yielded to the wishes of his old comrade.
Pizarro prevailed on him to abandon, or at least
postpone, his claim to Cuzco, and told him that he
would aid him in raising an expedition to invade
the southern country ; and, ere many weeks had
passed, Pizarro was relieved to see his rival march
away at the head of a considerable force, leaving
him to enjoy his power in Peru without moles-

Pizarro, having set matters to rights at Cuzco,
returned eagerly to the coast to watch the build-
ing of the City of the Kings. He delighted in
this change from the din and turmoil of war to the
more quiet task of founding cities, and making
ready for the peaceful commerce which he hoped
to establish. After all his wanderings, the trials


of his marches, and the fierce excitements of his
conquest, he welcomed the repose and gentler
cares which now absorbed him. Not only did he
found and build Lima, but several other cities and
towns along the coast, one of which he named
Truxillo, after his native place, and which is to-
day a flourishing seaport. He was suddenly star-
tled from these pleasant occupations by an event,
which, almost without warning, threatened all that
he had with so much difficulty, valor, and blood-
shed won.

The young Inca Manco, whom Pizarro had left
at Cuzco under the care of his two brothers, had
up to this time submitted patiently to the con-
queror's superior power. He had quietly con-
sented to serve him, while appearing to enjoy the
dignity and authority of his royal ancestors. But
Manco was really a proud and courageous youth.
In secret he repined at his abject condition. He
mourned the humiliation and oppression of his
mild and thrifty people. He rebelled at heart
against the arrogant despotism of the stranger.
He could not see without rage and horror the
temples desecrated, the palaces pillaged, and the
riches of his country carried away by the cargo to


a foreign land. During Pizarro's absence on the
coast, Manco formed the bold resolution to escape
from his Spanish masters, to summon the down-
trodden Peruvians to his standard, and to lead
them himself against the oppressors. For some
time he sent secret messages to the chiefs in dif-
ferent parts of the empire, with whom he planned
a great revolt. When this plan was ripe, Manco
made ready to fly from Cuzco.

One night he disguised himself as a peasant,
and at a favorable moment slipped out of the
palace, and made his way rapidly through by-
streets into the suburbs. This he was able to do
the more easily, as Juan and Gonzalo Pizarro, his
guardians, had grown careless in watching him,
and were busy looking after the plunder they
were constantly collecting in the city.

Manco, with one or two faithful attendants, has-
tened to a thicket of low brush two or three miles
from Cuzco, where he intended to remain con-
cealed until his chiefs could join him. He had
scarcely reached this shelter, however, when the

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Online LibraryGeorge M. (George Makepeace) TowlePizarro : his adventures and conquests → online text (page 12 of 16)