Peru History – The Spanish Conquest Part II

By | December 21, 2021

A no less inequitable than laughable trial was set up against Atahualpa, accused of fomenting anti-Spanish movements, and condemned to death, leaving him the choice between conversion and the halter or between ancestral paganism and the stake: he naturally opted for death less cruel and, having received baptism, was strangled and buried with the greatest honors in the church of Cajamarca. Thus ended the grim prologue to the Peruvian conquest and on November 15, 1533 the Spaniards, having already risen to 500, entered Cuzco (historical and political center of the fallen Tahuantinsuyu) of which Fernando de Luque was made bishop, to strip the temples of gold. and palaces, to violate their tombs and massacre the residents. In dividing the spoils among their respective followers, adelantado (frontier governor) of New Toledo, the territory still to be occupied extending for 200 leagues south of the Peruvian border. Finally persuaded by the partner to move on this, the Almagro, with 570 Spaniards and 1500 Indians provided to him by Manco II Capac Yupanqui (the new legitimate Inca recognized by the Spaniards, but entrusted in Cuzco to the vigilant care of the ferocious brothers of Pizarro), crossed the Snowy Mountains and from the plateau of Copiapo he solemnly took possession of Chile in the name of Charles V. Disappointed, however, he and his family in the hope of finding the great treasures of Peru, at the beginning of 1537 they returned to this country, which in the meantime had risen against the Spaniards. Almagro angrily throws himself on the Spaniards and Indians, to become the only lord of the country; but in the Salinas district, near Cuzco, on 6 April 1538 he was defeated by Pizarro’s weapons: the defeat was followed by a massacre on the battlefield itself and the Almagro, taken prisoner and subjected to trial, was strangled three months later in prison and then taken to the public square to be beheaded. The struggle between the first two caudillos of Peru was over; but the one between their followers and partisans was more fierce and fierce, between pizarrism and almagrism. Victim of it fell after three years (June 26, 1541) the same Pizarro, assassinated in Lima in his palace by conspirators, who put in his place the natural son of the adelantado, Diego de Almagro el Mozo (the Younger). The rescue of the Pizarristi with Alonso de Alvarado (who relies on an investigating judge to legalize it, sent shortly before to Peru by the court to settle the disputes between the two factions, Cristoforo Vaca de Castro) triumphs in the bloody battle of Chupas (550 almagristi against more than 600 Pizarristi). Almagrism is eradicated and Almagro the Younger himself, spared at first, is then executed; but the danger for public tranquility now comes from Pizarrism and from its leader Gonzalo Pizarro, who openly silence the king of ingratitude and opposes power to his legitimate representative, Vaca de Castro. For Peru history, please check

Meanwhile, the conquest has expanded immensely. From Quito (2640 km. From Cuzco), where the Spaniards had entered since 1534, a lieutenant of Pizarro, the Belnalcázar, proceeded to Pasto and Popayán, where he founded Guayaquil, penetrated into the Cauca and Bogotá valleys. it pushed as far as the Sea of ​​the Antilles; from present Ecuador Gonzalo Pizarro had arrived on the banks of the Napo and Orellana reached the Amazon river; Upper Peru was explored as far as the borders of the Gran Chaco; in Chile Pietro di Valdivia went as far as the banks of the Mapocho and founded Santiago (1541). The tiny garrisons formed the first nuclei of the future Spanish cities, while the lands were assigned in administration and enjoyment useful at the same time to conquistadors and to adventurers of all kinds in enormous concessions called repartimientos or (when they were reconfirmed to the heirs of the first concessionaires) encomiendas, with large faculties of forced recruitment of indigenous people for work purposes (agriculture, mining, transport in particular), with (to better exploit them) to sell them goods and products of all kinds at monopoly and empire prices at the same time. Charles V, also pushed by the pressures of the ecclesiastical element worried about the rapid destruction of the indigenous people, then issued in Madrid, under the name of New Laws, ordinances (1542) intended to give order to the conquered country: with them the Viceroyalty of the Peru and measures were taken to protect theSpanish encomanderos. The first viceroy sent to Peru in 1543 to apply the new laws was Blasco Núñez Vela, who proceeded so impetuously and bloodily in the need to unleash the rebellion of the encomanderos, who, unable to draw from their Vaca de Castro, found in Gonzalo Pizarro the their worthy exponent: the viceroy, who fell prisoner in combat against this, was strangled by the will of the field master of Pizarro, the ferocious Francisco de Carvaial, “the demon of the Andes”, as he was called, of whom the viceroy had killed the brother. Then Pedro de la Gasca was sent by the court to Peru with wide powers as president of the Royal Audience of Ciudad de Los Reyes (Lima).and thus ousted the power of the Pizarro, La Gasca advances against him with the loyalist forces gathered along the coast and with those brought from Chile by Pedro de Valdivia. The strong position of Sacsahuana, on which Pizarro plans to block his way, is not maintained by the thousand of Pizarristi demoralized and defeated before fighting (April 9, 1548). The last of the Pizarro, determined to end his troubled life with dignity, goes to the La Gasca camp “to die as a Christian” (the contemporaries say) and, sentenced to death with twelve other bosses, undergoes the sentence “with great dignity, without saying a word “. Pizarrism was also over and with the exposure in the square of Lima of the head of the “traitor Gonzalo Pizarro” the anarchoid period of the conquest ended.

Peru History - The Spanish Conquest Part II