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The History Of The Conquest Of Peru by William H. Prescott

Part 6 out of 17

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famished condition, a large quantity of gold and silver wrought
into clumsy ornaments, together with many precious stones; for
this was the region of the esmeraldas, or emeralds, where that
valuable gem was most abundant. One of these jewels that fell
into the hands of Pizarro, in this neighbourhood, was as large as
a pigeon's egg. Unluckily, his rude followers did not know the
value of their prize; and they broke many of them in pieces by
pounding them with hammers. *16 They were led to this
extraordinary proceeding, it is said, by one of the Dominican
missionaries, Fray Reginaldo de Pedraza, who assured them that
this was the way to prove the true emerald, which could not be
broken. It was observed that the good father did not subject his
own jewels to this wise experiment; but, as the stones, in
consequence of it, fell in value, being regarded merely as
colored glass, he carried back a consider able store of them to
Panama. *17

[Footnote 16: Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms. - Zarate, Conq.
del Peru, lib. 1, cap. 4.

"A lo que se ha entendido en las esmeraldas ovo gran hierro y
torpedad en algunas Personas por no conoscellas. Aunque quieren
decir que algunos que las conoscieron las guardaron. Pero
ffinalmente muchos vbieron esmeraldas de mucho valor; vnos las
provavan en yunques, dandolas con martillos, diziendo que si hera
esmeralda no se quebraria; otros las despreciaban, diziendo que
era vidrio." Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms.]

[Footnote 17: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Herrera,
Hist. General, dec. 4, lib. 7, cap. 9.]

The gold and silver ornaments rifled from the dwellings were
brought together and deposited in a common heap; when a fifth was
deducted for the Crown, and Pizarro distributed the remainder in
due proportions among the officers and privates of his company.
This was the usage invariably observed on the like occasions
throughout the Conquest. The invaders had embarked in a common
adventure. Their interest was common, and to have allowed every
one to plunder on his own account would only have led to
insubordination and perpetual broils. All were required,
therefore, on pain of death, to contribute whatever they
obtained, whether by bargain or by rapine, to the general stock;
and all were too much interested in the execution of the penalty
to allow the unhappy culprit, who violated the law, any chance of
escape. *18

[Footnote 18: "Los Espanoles las rrecoxeron y juntaron el oro y
la plata, porque asi estava mandado y hordenado sopena de la vida
el que otra cossa hiziese, porque todos lo avian de traet a
monton para que de alli el governador lo rrepartiese, dando a
cada uno confforme a su persona y meritos de servicios; y esta
horden se guardo en toda esta tierra en la conquista della, y al
que se le hallara oro o plata escondido muriera por ello, y deste
medio nadie oso escondello." Pedro Pizarro, Descub y Conq., Ms.]
Pizarro, with his usual policy, sent back to Panama a large
quantity of the gold, no less than twenty thousand castellanos in
value, in the belief that the sight of so much treasure, thus
speedily acquired, would settle the doubts of the wavering, and
decide them on joining his banner. *19 He judged right. As one
of the Conquerors piously expresses it, "It pleased the Lord that
we should fall in with the town of Coaque, that the riches of the
land might find credit with the people, and that they should
flock to it." *20

[Footnote 19: The booty was great, indeed, if, as Pedro Pizarro,
one of the Conquerors present, says, it amounted in value to
200,000 gold castellanos. "Aqui se hallo mucha chaquira de oro y
de plata, muchas coronas hechas de oro a manera de imperiales, y
otras muchas piezas en que se avaleo montar mas de dozientos mill
castellanos." (Descub. y Conq., Ms.) Naharro, Montesinos, and
Herrera content themselves with stating that he sent back 20,000
castellanos in the vessels to Panama.]

[Footnote 20: "Fueron a dar en vn pueblo que se dezia Coaque que
fue nuestro Senor servido tapasen con el, porque con lo que en el
se hallo se acredito la tierra y vino gente a ella." Pedro
Pizarro, Descub y Conq., Ms.]

Pizarro, having refreshed his men, continued his march along the
coast, but no longer accompanied by the vessels, which had
returned for recruits to Panama. The road, as he advanced, was
checkered with strips of sandy waste, which, drifted about by the
winds, blinded the soldiers, and afforded only treacherous
footing for man and beast. The glare was intense; and the rays
of a vertical sun beat fiercely on the iron mail and the thick
quilted doublets of cotton, till the fainting troops were almost
suffocated with the heat. To add to their distresses, a strange
epidemic broke out in the little army. It took the form of
ulcers, or rather hideous warts of great size, which covered the
body, and when lanced, as was the case with some, discharged such
a quantity of blood as proved fatal to the sufferer. Several
died of this frightful disorder, which was so sudden in its
attack, and attended with such prostration of strength, that
those who lay down well at night were unable to lift their hands
to their heads in the morning. *21 The epidemic, which made its
first appearance during this invasion, and which did not long
survive it, spread over the country, sparing neither native nor
white man. *22 It was one of those plagues from the vial of
wrath, which the destroying angel, who follows in the path of the
conqueror, pours out on the devoted nations.

[Footnote 21: Naharro, Relacion Sumaria, Ms. - Pedro Pizarro,
Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1530.]

[Footnote 22: Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 1, cap. 15.]
The Spaniards rarely experienced on their march either resistance
or annoyance from the inhabitants, who, instructed by the example
of Coaque, fled with their effects into the woods and
neighbouring mountains. No one came out to welcome the strangers
and offer the rites of hospitality, as on their last visit to the
land. For the white men were no longer regarded as good beings
that had come from heaven, but as ruthless destroyers, who,
invulnerable to the assaults of the Indians, were borne along on
the backs of fierce animals, swifter than the wind, with weapons
in their hands, that scattered fire and desolation as they went.
Such were the stories now circulated of the invaders, which,
preceding them everywhere on their march, closed the hearts, if
not the doors, of the natives against them. Exhausted by the
fatigue of travel and by disease, and grievously disappointed at
the poverty of the land, which now offered no compensation for
their toils, the soldiers of Pizarro cursed the hour in which
they had enlisted under his standard, and the men of Nicaragua,
in particular, says the old chronicler, calling to mind their
pleasant quarters in their luxurious land, sighed only to return
to their Mahometan paradise. *23

[Footnote 23: Aunque ellos no ninguno por aver venido, porque
como avian dexado el paraiso de mahoma que hera Nicaragua y
hallaron la isla alzada y falta de comidas y la mayor parte de la
gente enfferma y no oro ni plata como atras avian hallado,
algunos y todos se holgaran de volver de adonde avian venido."
Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms.]

At this juncture the army was gladdened by the sight of a vessel
from Panama, which brought some supplies, together with the royal
treasurer, the veedor or inspector, the comptroller, and other
high officers appointed by the Crown to attend the expedition.
They had been left in Spain by Pizarro, in consequence of his
abrupt departure from the country; and the Council of the Indies,
on learning the circumstance, had sent instructions to Panama to
prevent the sailing of his squadron from that port. But the
Spanish government, with more wisdom, countermanded the order,
only requiring the functionaries to quicken their own departure,
and take their place without loss of time in the expedition.

The Spaniards in their march along the coast had now advanced as
far as Puerto Viejo. Here they were soon after joined by another
small reinforcement of about thirty men, under an officer named
Belalcazar, who subsequently rose to high distinction in this
service. Many of the followers of Pizarro would now have halted
at this spot and established a colony there. But that chief
thought more of conquering than of colonizing, at least for the
present; and he proposed, as his first step, to get possession of
Tumbez, which he regarded as the gate of the Peruvian empire.
Continuing his march, therefore, to the shores of what is now
called the Gulf of Guayaquil, he arrived off the little island of
Puna, lying at no great distance from the Bay of Tumbez. This
island, he thought, would afford him a convenient place to encamp
until he was prepared to make his descent on the Indian city.

The dispositions of the islanders seemed to favor his purpose.
He had not been long in their neighbourhood, before a deputation
of the natives, with their cacique at their head, crossed over in
their balsas to the main land to welcome the Spaniards to their
residence. But the Indian interpreters of Tumbez, who had
returned with Pizarro from Spain, and continued with the camp,
put their master on his guard against the meditated treachery of
the islanders, whom they accused of designing to destroy the
Spaniards by cutting the ropes that held together the floats, and
leaving those upon them to perish in the waters. Yet the
cacique, when charged by Pizarro with this perfidious scheme,
denied it with such an air of conscious innocence, that the
Spanish commander trusted himself and his followers, without
further hesitation, to his conveyance, and was transported in
safety to the shores of Puna.
Here he was received in a hospitable manner, and his troops were
provided with comfortable quarters. Well satisfied with his
present position, Pizarro resolved to occupy it until the
violence of the rainy season was passed, when the arrival of the
reinforcements he expected would put him in better condition for
marching into the country of the Inca.
The island, which lies in the mouth of the river of Guayaquil,
and is about eight leagues in length by four in breadth, at the
widest part, was at that time partially covered with a noble
growth of timber. But a large portion of it was subjected to
cultivation, and bloomed with plantations of cacao, of the sweet
potato, and the different products of a tropical clime, evincing
agricultural knowledge as well as industry in the population.
They were a warlike race; but had received from their Peruvian
foes the appellation of "perfidious." It was the brand fastened
by the Roman historians on their Carthaginian enemies, - with
perhaps no better reason. The bold and independent islanders
opposed a stubborn resistance to the arms of the Incas; and,
though they had finally yielded, they had been ever since at
feud, and often in deadly hostility, with their neighbours of
The latter no sooner heard of Pizarro's arrival on the island,
than, trusting, probably, to their former friendly relations with
him, they came over in some number to the Spanish quarters. The
presence of their detested rivals was by no means grateful to the
jealous inhabitants of Puna, and the prolonged residence of the
white men on their island could not be otherwise than burdensome.
In their outward demeanour they still maintained the same show of
amity; but Pizarro's interpreters again put him on his guard
against the proverbial perfidy of their hosts. With his
suspicions thus roused, the Spanish commander was informed that a
number of the chiefs had met together to deliberate on a plan of
insurrection. Not caring to wait for the springing of the mine,
he surrounded the place of meeting with his soldiers and made
prisoners of the suspected chieftains. According to one
authority, they confessed their guilt. *24 This is by no means
certain. Nor is it certain that they meditated an insurrection.
Yet the fact is not improbable in itself; though it derives
little additional probability from the assertion of the hostile
interpreters. It is certain, however, that Pizarro was satisfied
of the existence of a conspiracy; and, without further
hesitation, he abandoned his wretched prisoners, ten or twelve in
number, to the tender mercies of their rivals of Tumbez, who
instantly massacred them before his eyes. *25

[Footnote 24: Xeres, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p.

[Footnote 25: "Y el marques don Francisco Picarro, por tenellos
por amigos y estuviesen de paz quando alla passasen, les dio
algunos principales los quales ellos matavan en presencia de los
espanoles, cortandoles las cavezas por el cogote." Pedro Pizarro,
Descub. y Conq., Ms.]

Maddened by this outrage, the people of Puna sprang to arms, and
threw themselves at once, with fearful yells and the wildest
menaces of despair, on the Spanish camp. The odds of numbers
were greatly in their favor, for they mustered several thousand
warriors. But the more decisive odds of arms and discipline were
on the side of their antagonists; and, as the Indians rushed
forward in a confused mass to the assault, the Castilians coolly
received them on their long pikes, or swept them down by the
volleys of their musketry. Their ill-protected bodies were easily
cut to pieces by the sharp sword of the Spaniard; and Hernando
Pizarro, putting himself at the head of the cavalry, charged
boldly into the midst, and scattered them far and wide over the
field, until, panic-struck by the terrible array of steel-clad
horsemen, and the stunning reports and the flash of fire-arms,
the fugitives sought shelter in the depths of their forests. Yet
the victory was owing, in some degree, at least, - if we may
credit the Conquerors, - to the interposition of Heaven; for St.
Michael and his legions were seen high in the air above the
combatants, contending with the arch-enemy of man, and cheering
on the Christians by their example! *26

[Footnote 26: The city of San Miguel was so named by Pizarro to
commemorate the event, - and the existence of such a city may be
considered by some as establishing the truth of the miracle. -
"En la batalla de Puna vieron muchos, ya de los Indios, ya de los
nuestros, que habia en el aire otros dos campos, uno acaudillado
por el Arcangel Sn Miguel con espada y rodela, y otro por Luzbel
y sus secuaces; mas apenas cantaron los Castellanos la victoria
huyeron los diablos, y formando un gran torvellino de viento se
oyeron en el aire unas terribles voces que decian, Vencistenos!
Miguel vencistenos! De aqui torno Dn Francisco Pizarro tanta
devocion al sto Arcangel, que prometio llamar la primera ciudad
que fundase de su nombre; cumpliolo asi como veremos adelante."
Montesinos, Annales, Ms., ano 1530.]

Not more than three or four Spaniards fell in the fight; but many
were wounded, and among them Hernando Pizarro, who received a
severe injury in the leg from a javelin. Nor did the war end
here; for the implacable islanders, taking advantage of the cover
of night, or of any remissness on the part of the invaders, were
ever ready to steal out of their fastnesses and spring on their
enemy's camp, while, by cutting off his straggling parties, and
destroying his provisions, they kept him in perpetual alarm.
In this uncomfortable situation, the Spanish commander was
gladdened by the appearance of two vessels off the island. They
brought a reinforcement consisting of a hundred volunteers
besides horses for the cavalry. It was commanded by Hernando de
Soto, a captain afterwards famous as the discoverer of the
Mississippi, which still rolls its majestic current over the
place of his burial, - a fitting monument for his remains, as it
is of his renown. *27
[See Fernando de Soto: A Captain famous as the discoverer of

[Footnote 27: The transactions in Puna are given at more or less
length by Naharro, Relacion Sumaria, Ms. - Conq. i Pob. del Peru,
Ms. - Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Montesinos, Annales,
Ms., ubi supra. - Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms. - Xerez,
Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. pp. 182, 183.]

This reinforcement was most welcome to Pizarro, who had been long
discontented with his position on an island, where he found
nothing to compensate the life of unintermitting hostility which
he was compelled to lead. With these recruits, he felt himself
in sufficient strength to cross over to the continent, and resume
military operations on the proper theatre for discovery and
conquest. From the Indians of Tumbez he learned that the country
had been for some time distracted by a civil war between two sons
of the late monarch, competitors for the throne. This
intelligence he regarded as of the utmost importance, for he
remembered the use which Cortes had made of similar dissensions
among the tribes of Anahuac. Indeed, Pizarro seems to have had
the example of his great predecessor before his eyes on more
occasions than this. But he fell far short of his model; for,
notwithstanding the restraint he sometimes put upon himself, his
coarser nature and more ferocious temper often betrayed him into
acts most repugnant to sound policy, which would never have been
countenanced by the Conqueror of Mexico.

Chapter II

Peru At The Time Of The Conquest. - Reign Of Huayna Capac. - The
Inca Brothers. - Contest For The Empire. - Triumph And Cruelties
Of Atahuallpa.

Before accompanying the march of Pizarro and his followers into
the country of the Incas, it is necessary to make the reader
acquainted with the critical situation of the kingdom at that
time. For the Spaniards arrived just at the consummation of an
important revolution, - at a crisis most favorable to their views
of conquest, and but for which, indeed, the conquest, with such a
handful of soldiers, could never have been achieved.
In the latter part of the fifteenth century died Tupac Inca
Yupanqui, one of the most renowned of the "Children of the Sun,"
who, carrying the Peruvian arms across the burning sands of
Atacama, penetrated to the remote borders of Chili, while in the
opposite direction he enlarged the limits of the empire by the
acquisition of the southern provinces of Quito. The war in this
quarter was conducted by his son Huayna Capac, who succeeded his
father on the throne, and fully equalled him in military daring
and in capacity for government.
Under this prince, the whole of the powerful state of Quito,
which rivalled that of Peru itself in wealth and refinement, was
brought under the sceptre of the Incas; whose empire received, by
this conquest, the most important accession yet made to it since
the foundation of the dynasty of Manco Capac. The remaining days
of the victorious monarch were passed in reducing the independent
tribes on the remote limits of his territory, and, still more, in
cementing his conquests by the introduction of the Peruvian
polity. He was actively engaged in completing the great works of
his father, especially the high-roads which led from Quito to the
capital. He perfected the establishment of posts, took great
pains to introduce the Quichua dialect throughout the empire,
promoted a better system of agriculture, and in fine, encouraged
the different branches of domestic industry and the various
enlightened plans of his predecessors for the improvement of his
people. Under his sway, the Peruvian monarchy reached its most
palmy state; and under both him and his illustrious father it was
advancing with such rapid strides in the march of civilization as
would soon have carried it to a level with the more refined
despotisms of Asia, furnishing the world, perhaps, with higher
evidence of the capabilities of the American Indian than is
elsewhere to be found on the great western continent. - But other
and gloomier destinies were in reserve for the Indian races.

The first arrival of the white men on the South American shores
of the Pacific was about ten years before the death of Huayna
Capac, when Balboa crossed the Gulf of St. Michael, and obtained
the first clear report of the empire of the Incas. Whether
tidings of these adventurers reached the Indian monarch's ears is
doubtful. There is no doubt, however, that he obtained the news
of the first expedition under Pizarro and Almagro, when the
latter commander penetrated as far as the Rio de San Juan, about
the fourth degree north. The accounts which he received made a
strong impression on the mind of Huayna Capac. He discerned in
the formidable prowess and weapons of the invaders proofs of a
civilization far superior to that of his own people. He intimated
his apprehension that they would return, and that at some day,
not far distant, perhaps, the throne of the Incas might be shaken
by these strangers, endowed with such incomprehensible powers. *1
To the vulgar eye, it was a little speck on the verge of the
horizon; but that of the sagacious monarch seemed to descry in it
the dark thunder-cloud, that was to spread wider and wider till
it burst in fury on his nation!

[Footnote 1: Sarmiento, an honest authority, tells us he had this
from some of the Inca lords who heard it, Relacion, Ms., cap.

There is some ground for believing thus much. But other
accounts, which have obtained a popular currency, not content
with this, connect the first tidings of the white men with
predictions long extant in the country, and with supernatural
appearances, which filled the hearts of the whole nation with
dismay. Comets were seen flaming athwart the heavens.
Earthquakes shook the land; the moon was girdled with rings of
fire of many colors; a thunderbolt fell on one of the royal
palaces and consumed it to ashes; and an eagle, chased by several
hawks, was seen, screaming in the air, to hover above the great
square of Cuzco, when, pierced by the talons of his tormentors,
the king of birds fell lifeless in the presence of many of the
Inca nobles, who read in this an augury of their own destruction!
Huayna Capac himself, calling his great officers around him, as
he found he was drawing near his end, announced the subversion of
his empire by the race of white and bearded strangers, as the
consummation predicted by the oracles after the reign of the
twelfth Inca, and he enjoined it on his vassals not to resist the
decrees of Heaven, but to yield obedience to its messengers. *2

[Footnote 2: A minute relation of these supernatural occurrences
is given by the Inca Garcilasso de la Vega, (Com. Real., Parte 1,
lib. 9, cap. 14,) whose situation opened to him the very best
sources of information, which is more than counterbalanced by the
defects in his own character as an historian, - his childish
credulity, and his desire to magnify and mystify every thing
relating to his own order, and, indeed, his nation. His work is
the source of most of the facts - and the falsehoods - that have
obtained circulation in respect to the ancient Peruvians.
Unfortunately, at this distance of time, it is not always easy to
distinguish the one from the other.]
Such is the report of the impressions made by the appearance of
the Spaniards in the country, reminding one of the similar
feelings of superstitious terror occasioned by their appearance
in Mexico. But the traditions of the latter land rest on much
higher authority than those of the Peruvians, which, unsupported
by contemporary testimony, rest almost wholly on the naked
assertion of one of their own nation, who thought to find,
doubtless, in the inevitable decrees of Heaven, the best apology
for the supineness of his countrymen.

It is not improbable that rumors of the advent of a strange and
mysterious race should have spread gradually among the Indian
tribes along the great table-land of the Cordilleras, and should
have shaken the hearts of the stoutest warriors with feelings of
undefined dread, as of some impending calamity. In this state of
mind, it was natural that physical convulsions, to which that
volcanic country is peculiarly subject, should have made an
unwonted impression on their minds; and that the phenomena, which
might have been regarded only as extraordinary, in the usual
seasons of political security, should now be interpreted by the
superstitious soothsayer as the handwriting on the heavens, by
which the God of the Incas proclaimed the approaching downfall of
their empire.

Huayna Capac had, as usual with the Peruvian princes, a multitude
of concubines, by whom he left a numerous posterity. The heir to
the crown, the son of his lawful wife and sister, was named
Huascar. *3 At the period of the history at which we are now
arrived, he was about thirty years of age. Next to the
heir-apparent, by another wife, a cousin of the monarch's, came
Manco Capac, a young prince who will occupy an important place in
our subsequent story. But the best-beloved of the Inca's
children was Atahuallpa. His mother was the daughter of the last
Scyri of Quito, who had died of grief, it was said, not long
after the subversion of his kingdom by Huayna Capac. The princess
was beautiful, and the Inca, whether to gratify his passion, or,
as the Peruvians say, willing to make amends for the ruin of her
parents, received her among his concubines. The historians of
Quito assert that she was his lawful wife; but this dignity,
according to the usages of the empire, was reserved for maidens
of the Inca blood.

[Footnote 3: Huascar, in the Quichua dialect, signifies "a
cable." The reason of its being given to the heir apparent is
remarkable. Huayna Capac celebrated the birth of the prince by a
festival, in which he introduced a massive gold chain for the
nobles to hold in their hands as they performed their national
dances. The chain was seven hundred feet in length, and the
links nearly as big round as a man's wrist! (See Zarate, Conq.
del Peru, lib. 1, cap. 14. - Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1,
lib. 9, cap. 1.) The latter writer had the particulars, he tells
us, from his old Inca uncle, - who seems to have dealt largely in
the marvellous; not too largely for his audience, however, as the
story has been greedily circulated by most of the Castilian
writers, both of that and of the succeeding age.]
The latter years of Huayna Capac were passed in his new kingdom
of Quito. Atahuallpa was accordingly brought up under his own
eye, accompanied him, while in his tender years, in his
campaigns, slept in the same tent with his royal father, and ate
from the same plate. *4 The vivacity of the boy, his courage and
generous nature, won the affections of the old monarch to such a
degree, that he resolved to depart from the established usages of
the realm, and divide his empire between him and his elder
brother Huascar. On his death-bed, he called the great officers
of the crown around him, and declared it to be his will that the
ancient kingdom of Quito should pass to Atahuallpa, who might be
considered as having a natural claim on it, as the dominion of
his ancestors. The rest of the empire he settled on Huascar; and
he enjoined it on the two brothers to acquiesce in this
arrangement, and to live in amity with each other. This was the
last act of the heroic monarch; doubtless, the most impolitic of
his whole life. With his dying breath he subverted the
fundamental laws of the empire; and, while he recommended harmony
between the successors to his authority, he left in this very
division of it the seeds of inevitable discord. *5

[Footnote 4: "Atabalipa era bien quisto de los Capitanes viejos
de su Padre y de los Soldados, porque andubo en la guerra en su
ninez y porque andubo en la guerra en su niez porque el en vida
le mostro tanto amor que no le dejaba comer otra cosa que lo que
el le daba de su plato." Sarmiento, Relacion, Ms., cap. 66.]

[Footnote 5: Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 1, lib. 8,
cap. 9. - Zarate, Conq. del Peru, lib. 1, cap. 12. - Sarmiento,
Relacion, Ms., cap. 65. - Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom.
III. p. 201.]

His death took place, as seems probable, at the close of 1525,
not quite seven years before Pizarro's arrival at Puna. *6 The
tidings of his decease spread sorrow and consternation throughout
the land; for, though stern and even inexorable to the rebel and
the long-resisting foe, he was a brave and magnanimous monarch,
and legislated with the enlarged views of a prince who regarded
every part of his dominions as equally his concern. The people
of Quito, flattered by the proofs which he had given of
preference for them by his permanent residence in that country,
and his embellishment of their capital, manifested unfeigned
sorrow at his loss; and his subjects at Cuzco, proud of the glory
which his arms and his abilities had secured for his native land,
held him in no less admiration; *7 while the more thoughtful and
the more timid, in both countries, looked with apprehension to
the future, when the sceptre of the vast empire, instead of being
swayed by an old and experienced hand, was to be consigned to
rival princes, naturally jealous of one another, and, from their
age, necessarily exposed to the unwholesome influence of crafty
and ambitious counsellors. The people testified their regret by
the unwonted honors paid to the memory of the deceased Inca. His
heart was retained in Quinto, and his body, embalmed after the
fashion of the country, was transported to Cuzco, to take its
place in the great temple of the Sun, by the side of the remains
of his royal ancestors. His obsequies were celebrated with
sanguinary splendor in both the capitals of his far-extended
empire; and several thousand of the imperial concubines, with
numerous pages and officers of the palace, are said to have
proved their sorrow, or their superstition, by offering up their
own lives, that they might accompany their departed lord to the
bright mansions of the Sun. *8.

[Footnote 6: The precise date of this event, though so near the
time of the Conquest, is matter of doubt. Balboa, a contemporary
with the Conquerors, and who wrote at Quito, where the Inca died,
fixes it at 1525. (Hist. du Perou, chap. 14.) Velasco, another
inhabitant of the same place, after an investigation of the
different accounts, comes to the like conclusion. (Hist. de
Quito, tom. I. p. 232.) Dr. Robertson, after telling us that
Huayna Capac died in 1529, speaks again of this event as having
happened in 1527. (Conf. America, vol. III. pp. 25, 381.) Any
one, who has been bewildered by the chronological snarl of the
ancient chronicles, will not be surprised at meeting occasionally
with such inconsistencies in a writer who is obliged to take them
as his guides.]

[Footnote 7: One cannot doubt this monarch's popularity with the
female part of his subjects, at least, if, as the historian of
the Incas tells us, "he was never known to refuse a woman, of
whatever age or degree she might be, any favor that she asked of
him"! Com. Real. Parte 1, lib. 8, cap. 7.]

[Footnote 8: Sarmiento, Relacion, Ms., cap. 65. - Herrera, Hist.
General dec. 5, lib. 3, cap. 17.]

For nearly five years after the death of Huayna Capac, the royal
brothers reigned, each over his allotted portion of the empire,
without distrust of one another, or, at least, without collision.
It seemed as if the wish of their father was to be completely
realized, and that the two states were to maintain their
respective integrity and independence as much as if they had
never been united into one. But, with the manifold causes for
jealousy and discontent, and the swarms of courtly sycophants,
who would find their account in fomenting these feelings, it was
easy to see that this tranquil state of things could not long
endure. Nor would it have endured so long, bur for the more
gentle temper of Huascar, the only party who had ground for
complaint. He was four or five years older than his brother, and
was possessed of courage not to be doubted; but he was a prince
of a generous and easy nature, and perhaps, if left to himself,
might have acquiesced in an arrangement which, however
unpalatable, was the will of his deified father. But Atahuallpa
was of a different temper. Warlike, ambitious, and daring, he
was constantly engaged in enterprises for the enlargement of his
own territory, though his crafty policy was scrupulous not to aim
at extending his acquisitions in the direction of his royal
brother. His restless spirit, however, excited some alarm at the
court of Cuzco, and Huascar, at length, sent an envoy to
Atahuallpa, to remonstrate with him on his ambitious enterprises,
and to require him to render him homage for his kingdom of Quito.

This is one statement. Other accounts pretend that the immediate
cause of rupture was a claim instituted by Huascar for the
territory of Tumebamba, held by his brother as part of his
patrimonial inheritance. It matters little what was the
ostensible ground of collision between persons placed by
circumstances in so false a position in regard to one another,
that collision must, at some time or other, inevitably occur.

The commencement, and, indeed, the whole course, of hostilities
which soon broke out between the rival brothers are stated with
irreconcilable, and, considering the period was so near to that
of the Spanish invasion, with unaccountable discrepancy. By some
it is said, that, in Atahuallpa's first encounter with the troops
of Cuzco, he was defeated and made prisoner near Tumebamba, a
favorite residence of his father in the ancient territory of
Quito, and in the district of Canaris. From this disaster he
recovered by a fortunate escape from confinement, when, regaining
his capital, he soon found himself at the head of a numerous
army, led by the most able and experienced captains in the
empire. The liberal manners of the young Atahuallpa had endeared
him to the soldiers, with whom, as we have seen, he served more
than one campaign in his father's lifetime. These troops were
the flower of the great army of the Inca, and some of them had
grown gray in his long military career, which had left them at
the north, where they readily transferred their allegiance to the
young sovereign of Quito. They were commanded by two officers of
great consideration, both possessed of large experience in
military affairs, and high in the confidence of the late Inca.
One of them was named Quizquiz; the other, who was the maternal
uncle of Atahuallpa, was called Chalicuchima.

With these practised warriors to guide him, the young monarch put
himself at the head of his martial array, and directed his march
towards the south. He had not advanced farther than Ambato,
about sixty miles distant from his capital, when he fell in with
a numerous host, which had been sent against him by his brother,
under the command of a distinguished chieftain, of the Inca
family. A bloody battle followed, which lasted the greater part
of the day; and the theatre of combat was the skirts of the
mighty Chimborazo. *9

[Footnote 9: Garcilasso denies that anything but insignificant
skirmishes took place before the decisive action fought on the
plains of Cusco, But the Licentiate Sarmiento, who gathered his
accounts of these events, as he tells us, from the actors in
them, walked over the field of battle at Ambato, when the ground
was still covered with the bones of the slain. "Yo he pasado por
este Pueblo y he visto el Lugar donde dicen que esta Batalla se
dio y cierto segun hay la osamenta devienon aun de morir mas
gente de la que cuentan." Relacion, Ms., cap. 69.]

The battle ended favorably for Atahuallpa, and the Peruvians were
routed with great slaughter, and the loss of their commander.
The prince of Quito availed himself of his advantage to push
forward his march until he arrived before the gates of Tumebamba,
which city, as well as the whole district of Canaris, though an
ancient dependency of Quito, had sided with his rival in the
contest. Entering the captive city like a conqueror, he put the
inhabitants to the sword, and razed it with all its stately
edifices, some of which had been reared by his own father, to the
ground. He carried on the same war of extermination, as he
marched through the offending district of Canaris. In some
places, it is said, the women and children came out, with green
branches in their hands, in melancholy procession, to deprecate
his wrath; but the vindictive conqueror, deaf to their
entreaties, laid the country waste with fire and sword, sparing
no man capable of bearing arms who fell into his hands. *10

[Footnote 10: "Cuentan muchos Indios a quien yo lo oi, que por
amansar su ira, mandaron a un escuadron grande de ninos y a otro
de hombres de toda edad, que saliesen hasta las ricas andas donde
venia con gran pompa, llevando en las manos ramos verdes y ojas
de palma, y que le pidiesen la gracia y amistad suya para el
pueblo, sin mirar la injuria pasada, y que en tantos clamores se
lo suplicaron, y con tanta humildad, que bastara quebrantar
corazones de piedra, mas poca impresion hicieron en el cruel de
Atabalipa, porque dicen que mando a sus capitanes y gentes que
matasen a todos aquellos que habian venido, lo cual fue hecho, no
perdonando sino a algunos ninos y a las mugeres sagradas del
Templo." Sarmiento, Relacion Ms. cap. 70.]
The fate of Canaris struck terror into the hearts of his enemies,
and one place after another opened its gates to the victor, who
held on his triumphant march towards the Peruvian capital. His
arms experienced a temporary check before the island of Puna,
whose bold warriors maintained the cause of his brother. After
some days lost before this place, Atahuallpa left the contest to
their old enemies, the people of Tumbez, who had early given in
their adhesion to him, while he resumed his march and advanced as
far as Caxamalca, about seven degrees south. Here he halted with
a detachment of the army, sending forward the main body under the
command of his two generals, with orders to move straight upon
Cuzco. He preferred not to trust himself farther in the enemy's
country, where a defeat might be fatal. By establishing his
quarters at Caxamalca, he would be able to support his generals,
in case of a reverse, or, at worst, to secure his retreat on
Quito, until he was again in condition to renew hostilities.
The two commanders, advancing by rapid marches, at length crossed
the Apurimac river, and arrived within a short distance of the
Peruvian capital. - Meanwhile, Huascar had not been idle. On
receiving tidings of the discomfiture of his army at Ambato, he
made every exertion to raise levies throughout the country. By
the advice, it is said, of his priests - the most incompetent
advisers in times of danger - he chose to await the approach of
the enemy in his own capital; and it was not till the latter had
arrived within a few leagues of Cuzco, that the Inca, taking
counsel of the same ghostly monitors, sallied forth to give him

The two armies met on the plains of Quipaypan, in the
neighbourhood of the Indian metropolis. Their numbers are stated
with the usual discrepancy; but Atahuallpa's troops had
considerably the advantage in discipline and experience, for many
of Huascar's levies had been drawn hastily together from the
surrounding country. Both fought, however, with the desperation
of men who felt that everything was at stake. It was no longer a
contest for a province, but for the possession of an empire.
Atahuallpa's troops, flushed with recent success, fought with the
confidence of those who relied on their superior prowess; while
the loyal vassals of the Inca displayed all the self-devotion of
men who held their own lives cheap in the service of their

The fight raged with the greatest obstinacy from sunrise to
sunset; and the ground was covered with heaps of the dying and
the dead, whose bones lay bleaching on the battle-field long
after the conquest by the Spaniards. At length, fortune declared
in favor of Atahuallpa; or rather, the usual result of superior
discipline and military practice followed. The ranks of the Inca
were thrown into irretrievable disorder, and gave way in all
directions. The conquerors followed close on the heels of the
flying. Huascar himself, among the latter, endeavoured to make
his escape with about a thousand men who remained round his
person. But the royal fugitive was discovered before he had left
the field; his little party was enveloped by clouds of the enemy,
and nearly every one of the devoted band perished in defence of
their Inca. Huascar was made prisoner, and the victorious chiefs
marched at once on his capital, which they occupied in the name
of their sovereign. *11

[Footnote 11: Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 77. - Oviedo, Hist. de
las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 9. - Xerez, Conq. del
Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 202. - Zarate. Conq. del Peru,
lib. 1, cap. 12. - Sarmiento, Relacion, Ms., cap. 70. - Pedro
Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms.]

These events occurred in the spring of 1532, a few months before
the landing of the Spaniards. The tidings of the success of his
arms and the capture of his unfortunate brother reached
Atahuallpa at Caxamalca. He instantly gave orders that Huascar
should be treated with the respect due to his rank, but that he
should be removed to the strong fortress of Xauxa, and held there
in strict confinement. His orders did not stop here, - if we are
to receive the accounts of Garcilasso de la Vega, himself of the
Inca race, and by his mother's side nephew of the great Huayna
According to this authority, Atahuallpa invited the Inca nobles
throughout the country to assemble at Cuzco, in order to
deliberate on the best means of partitioning the empire between
him and his brother. When they had met in the capital, they were
surrounded by the soldiery of Quito, and butchered without mercy.
The motive for this perfidious act was to exterminate the whole
of the royal family, who might each one of them show a better
title to the crown than the illegitimate Atahuallpa. But the
massacre did not end here. The illegitimate offspring, like
himself, half-brothers of the monster, ali, in short, who had any
of the Inca blood in their veins, were involved in it; and with
an appetite for carnage unparalleled in the annals of the Roman
Empire or of the French Republic, Atahuallpa ordered all the
females of the blood royal, his aunts, nieces, and cousins, to be
put to death, and that, too, with the most refined and lingering
tortures. To give greater zest to his revenge, many of the
executions took place in the presence of Huascar himself, who was
thus compelled to witness the butchery of his own wives and
sisters, while, in the extremity of anguish, they in vain called
on him to protect them! *12

[Footnote 12: Garcilasso, Com. Real., Parte 1, lib. 9, cap. 35 -

"A las Mugeres, Hermanas, Tias, Sobrinas, Primas Hermanas, y
Madrastras de Atahuallpa, colgavan de los Arboles, y de muchas
Horcas mui altas que hicieron: a unas colgaron de los cabellos, a
otras por debajo de los bracos, y a otras de otras maneras feas,
que por la honestidad se callan: davanles sus hijuelos, que los
tuviesen en bracos, tenianlos hasta que se les caian, y se
aporreavan" (Ibid., cap. 37.) The variety of torture shows some
invention in the writer, or, more probably, in the writer's
uncle, the ancient Inca, the raconteur of these Blue beard

Such is the tale told by the historian of the Incas, and received
by him, as he assures us, from his mother and uncle, who, being
children at the time, were so fortunate as to be among the few
that escaped the massacre of their house. *13 And such is the
account repeated by many a Castilian writer since, without any
symptom of distrust. But a tissue of unprovoked atrocities like
these is too repugnant to the principles of human nature, - and,
indeed, to common sense, to warrant our belief in them on
ordinary testimony.

[Footnote 13: "Las crueldades, que Atahuallpa en los de la Sangre
Real hico, dire de Relacion de mi Madre, y de un Hermano suio,
que se llamo Don Fernando Huallpa Tupac Inca Yupanqui, que
entonces eran Ninos de menos de diez Anos." Ibid., Parte 1, lib.
9, cap. 14.]

The annals of semi-civilized nations unhappily show that there
have been instances of similar attempts to extinguish the whole
of a noxious race, which had become the object of a tyrant's
jealousy; though such an attempt is about as chimerical as it
would be to extirpate any particular species of plant, the seeds
of which had been borne on every wind over the country. But, if
the attempt to exterminate the Inca race was actually made by
Atahuallpa, how comes it that so many of the pure descendants of
the blood royal - nearly six hundred in number - are admitted by
the historian to have been in existence seventy years after the
imputed massacre? *14 Why was the massacre, instead of being
limited to the legitimate members of the royal stock, who could
show a better title to the crown than the usurper, extended to
all, however remotely, or in whatever way, connected with the
race? Why were aged women and young maidens involved in the
proscription, and why were they subjected to such refined and
superfluous tortures, when it is obvious that beings so impotent
could have done nothing to provoke the jealousy of the tyrant?
Why, when so many were sacrificed from some vague apprehension of
distant danger, was his rival Huascar, together with his younger
brother Manco Capac, the two men from whom the conqueror had most
to fear, suffered to live? Why, in short, is the wonderful tale
not recorded by others before the time of Garcilasso, and nearer
by half a century to the events themselves? *15

[Footnote 14: This appears from a petition for certain
immunities, forwarded to Spain in 1603, and signed by five
hundred and sixty-seven Indians of the royal Inca race. (Ibid.,
Parte 3, lib. 9, cap. 40.) Oviedo says that Huayna Capac left a
hundred sons and daughters, and that most of them were alive at
the time of his writing. "Tubo cien hijos y hijas, y la mayor
parte de ellos son vivos." Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3,
lib. 8, cap. 9.]

[Footnote 15: I have looked in vain for some confirmation of this
story in Oviedo, Sarmiento, Xerez, Cieza de Leon, Zarate, Pedro
Pizarro, Gomara, - all living at the time, and having access to
the best sources of information; and all, it may be added,
disposed to do stern justice to the evil qualities of the Indian

That Atahuallpa may have been guilty of excesses, and abused the
rights of conquest by some gratuitous acts of cruelty, may be
readily believed; for no one, who calls to mind his treatment of
the Canaris, - which his own apologists do not affect to deny,
*16 - will doubt that he had a full measure of the vindictive
temper which belongs to

'Those souls of fire, and Children of the Sun,
With whom revenge was virtue."

But there is a wide difference between this and the monstrous and
most unprovoked atrocities imputed to him; implying a diabolical
nature not to be admitted on the evidence of an Indian partisan,
the sworn foe of his house, and repeated by Castilian
chroniclers, who may naturally seek, by blazoning the enormities
of Atahuallpa, to find some apology for the cruelty of their
countrymen towards him.

[Footnote 16: No one of the apologists of Atahuallpa goes quite
so far as Father Velasco, who, in the over-flowings of his
loyalty for a Quito monarch, regards his massacre of the Canares
as a very fair retribution for their offences. "Si les auteurs
dont je viens de parler sietaient trouves dans les memes
circonstances qu'Atahuallpa et avaient eprouve autant d'offenses
graves et de trahisons, je ne croirai jamais qu'ils eussent agi
autrement"! Hist. de Quito, tom. I p. 253.]

The news of the great victory was borne on the wings of the wind
to Caxamalca; and loud and long was the rejoicing, not only in
the camp of Atahuallpa, but in the town and surrounding country;
for all now came in, eager to offer their congratulations to the
victor, and do him homage. The prince of Quito no longer
hesitated to assume the scarlet borla, the diadem of the Incas.
His triumph was complete. He had beaten his enemies on their own
ground; had taken their capital; had set his foot on the neck of
his rival, and won for himself the ancient sceptre of the
Children of the Sun. But the hour of triumph was destined to be
that of his deepest humiliation. Atahuallpa was not one of those
to whom, in the language of the Grecian bard, "the Gods are
willing to reveal themselves." *17 He had not read the
handwriting on the heavens. The small speck, which the
clear-sighted eye of his father had discerned on the distant
verge of the horizon, though little noticed by Atahuallpa, intent
on the deadly strife with his brother, had now risen high towards
the zenith, spreading wider and wider, till it wrapped the skies
in darkness, and was ready to burst in thunders on the devoted
[Footnote 17: v. 161.]

Chapter III

The Spaniards Land At Tumbez. - Pizarro Reconnoitres The Country.
- Foundation Of San Miguel. - March Into The Interior. - Embassy
From The Inca. - Adventures On The March - Reach The Foot Of The


We left the Spaniards at the island of Puna, preparing to make
their descent on the neighbouring continent at Tumbez. This port
was but a few leagues distant, and Pizarro, with the greater part
of his followers, passed over in the ships, while a few others
were to transport the commander's baggage and the military stores
on some of the Indian balsas. One of the latter vessels which
first touched the shore was surrounded, and three persons who
were on the raft were carried off by the natives to the adjacent
woods and there massacred. The Indians then got possession of
another of the balsas, containing Pizarro's wardrobe; but, as the
men who defended it raised loud cries for help, they reached the
ears of Hernando Pizarro, who, with a small body of horse, had
effected a landing some way farther down the shore. A broad tract
of miry ground, overflowed at high water, lay between him and the
party thus rudely assailed by the natives. The tide was out, and
the bottom was soft and dangerous. With little regard to the
danger, however, the bold cavalier spurred his horse into the
slimy depths, and followed by his men, with the mud up to their
saddle-girths, they plunged forward until they came into the
midst of the marauders, who, terrified by the strange apparition
of the horsemen, fled precipitately, without show of fight, to
the neighbouring forests.

This conduct of the natives of Tumbez is not easy to be
explained; considering the friendly relations maintained with the
Spaniards on their preceding visit, and lately renewed in the
island of Puna. But Pizarro was still more astonished, on
entering their town, to find it not only deserted, but, with the
exception of a few buildings, entirely demolished. Four or five
of the most substantial private dwellings, the great temple, and
the fortress - and these greatly damaged, and wholly despoiled of
their interior decorations - alone survived to mark the site of
the city, and attest its former splendor. *1 The scene of
desolation filled the conquerors with dismay; for even the raw
recruits, who had never visited the coast before, had heard the
marvelous stories of the golden treasures of Tumbez, and they had
confidently looked forward to them as an easy spoil after all
their fatigues. But the gold of Peru seemed only like a deceitful
phantom, which, after beckoning them on through toil and danger,
vanished the moment they attempted to grasp it.

[Footnote 1: Xerez, Conq del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 185.
"Aunque lo del templo del Sol en quien ellos adoran era cosa de
ver, porque tenian grandes edificios, y todo el por de dentro y
de fuera pintado de grandes pinturas y ricos matizes de colores,
porque los hay en aquella tierra." Relacion del Primer. Descub.,

Pizarro despatched a small body of troops in pursuit of the
fugitives; and, after some slight skirmishing, they got
possession of several of the natives, and among them, as it
chanced, the curaca of the place. When brought before the
Spanish commander, he exonerated himself from any share in the
violence offered to the white men, saying that it was done by a
lawless party of his people, without his knowledge at the time;
and he expressed his willingness to deliver them up to
punishment, if they could be detected. He explained the
dilapidated condition of the town by the long wars carried on
with the fierce tribes of Puna, who had at length succeeded in
getting possession of the place, and driving the inhabitants into
the neighbouring woods and mountains. The Inca, to whose cause
they were attached, was too much occupied with his own feuds to
protect them against their enemies.

Whether Pizarro gave any credit to the cacique's exculpation of
himself may be doubted. He dissembled his suspicions, however,
and, as the Indian lord promised obedience in his own name, and
that of his vassals, the Spanish general consented to take no
further notice of the affair. He seems now to have felt for the
first time, in its full force, that it was his policy to gain the
good-will of the people among whom he had thrown himself in the
face of such tremendous odds. It was, perhaps, the excesses of
which his men had been guilty in the earlier stages of the
expedition that had shaken the confidence of the people of
Tumbez, and incited them to this treacherous retaliation.

Pizarro inquired of the natives who now, under promise of
impunity, came into the camp, what had become of his two
followers that remained with them in the former expedition. The
answers they gave were obscure and contradictory. Some said,
they had died of an epidemic; others, that they had died of an
epidemic; others, that they had perished in the war with Puna;
and others intimated, that they had lost their lives in
consequence of some outrage attempted on the Indian women. It
was impossible to arrive at the truth. The last account was not
the least probable. But, whatever might be the cause, there was
no doubt they had both perished.

This intelligence spread an additional gloom over the Spaniards;
which was not dispelled by the flaming pictures now given by the
natives of the riches of the land, and of the state and
magnificence of the monarch in his distant capital among the
mountains. Nor did they credit the authenticity of a scroll of
paper, which Pizarro had obtained from an Indian, to whom it had
been delivered by one of the white men left in the country.
"Know, whoever you may be," said the writing, "that may chance to
set foot in this country, that it contains more gold and silver
than there is iron in Biscay." This paper, when shown to the
soldiers, excited only their ridicule, as a device of their
captain to keep alive their chimerical hopes. *2

[Footnote 2: For the account of the transactions in Tumbez, see
Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Oviedo, Hist. de las
Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 1. - Relacion del Primer.
Descub., Ms. - Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 4, lib. 9 cap. 1, 2.
- Xerez, Conq. de Peru, ap Barcia tom. III. p. 185.]

Pizarro now saw that it was not politic to protract his stay in
his present quarters, where a spirit of disaffection would soon
creep into the ranks of his followers, unless their spirits were
stimulated by novelty or a life of incessant action. Yet he felt
deeply anxious to obtain more particulars than he had hitherto
gathered of the actual condition of the Peruvian empire, of its
strength and resources, of the monarch who ruled over it, and of
his present situation. He was also desirous, before taking any
decisive step for penetrating the country, to seek out some
commodious place for a settlement, which might afford him the
means of a regular communication with the colonies, and a place
of strength, on which he himself might retreat in case of

[See Peruvian Settlement: pizarro was desirous of seeking out
some commodius place for a settlement.]

He decided, therefore, to leave part of his company at Tumbez,
including those who, from the state of their health, were least
able to take the field, and with the remainder to make an
excursion into the interior, and reconnoitre the land, before
deciding on any plan of operations. He set out early in May,
1532; and, keeping along the more level regions himself, sent a
small detachment under the command of Hernando de Soto to explore
the skirts of the vast sierra.

He maintained a rigid discipline on the march, commanding his
soldiers to abstain from all acts of violence, and punishing
disobedience in the most prompt and resolute manner. *3 The
natives rarely offered resistance. When they did so, they were
soon reduced, and Pizarro, far from vindictive measures, was open
to the first demonstrations of submission. By this lenient and
liberal policy, he soon acquired a name among the inhabitants
which effaced the unfavorable impressions made of him in the
earlier part of the campaign. The natives, as he marched through
the thick-settled hamlets which sprinkled the level region of
between the Cordilleras and the ocean, welcomed him with rustic
hospitality, providing good quarters for his troops, and abundant
supplies, which cost but little in the prolific soil of the
tierra caliente. Everywhere Pizarro made proclamation that he
came in the name of the Holy Vicar of God and of the sovereign of
Spain, requiring the obedience of the inhabitants as true
children of the Church, and vassals of his lord and master. And
as the simple people made no opposition to a formula, of which
they could not comprehend a syllable, they were admitted as good
subjects of the Crown of Castile, and their act of homage - or
what was readily interpreted as such - was duly recorded and
attested by the notary. *4

[Footnote 3: "Mando el Gobernador por eregon e so graves penas
que no le fuese hecha fuerza ni descortesia e que se les hiciese
muv buen tratamiento por los Espanoles e sus criados." Oviedo,
Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 2.]

[Footnote 4: "E mandabales notificar o dar a entender con las
lenguas el requerimiento que su Magestad manda que se les haga a
los Indios para traellos en conocimiento de nuestra Santa fe
catolica, y requiriendoles con la paz, e que obedezcan a la
Iglesia e Apostolica de Roma, e en lo temporal den la obediencia
a su Magestad e a los Reyes sus succesores en los regnos de
Castilla i de Leon; respondieron que asi lo querian e harian,
guardarian e cumplirian enteramente; e el Gobernador los recibio
por tales vasallos de sus Magestades por auto publico de
notarios.' Ibid., Ms., ubi supra.]
At the expiration of some three or four weeks spent in
reconnoitring the country, Pizarro came to the conclusion that
the most eligible site for his new settlement was in the rich
valley of Tangarala, thirty leagues south of Tumbez, traversed by
more than one stream that opens a communication with the ocean.
To this spot, accordingly, he ordered the men left at Tumbez to
repair at once in their vessels; and no sooner had they arrived,
than busy preparations were made for building up the town in a
manner suited to the wants of the colony. Timber was procured
from the neighbouring woods. Stones were dragged from their
quarries, and edifices gradually rose, some of which made
pretensions to strength, if not to elegance. Among them were a
church, a magazine for public stores, a hall of justice, and a
fortress. A municipal government was organized, consisting of
regidores, alcaldes, and the usual civic functionaries. The
adjacent territory was parcelled out among the residents, and
each colonist had a certain number of the natives allotted to
assist him in his labors; for, as Pizarro's secretary remarks,
"it being evident that the colonists could not support themselves
without the services of the Indians, the ecclesiastics and the
leaders of the expedition all agreed that a repartimiento of the
natives would serve the cause of religion, and tend greatly to
their spiritual welfare, since they would thus have the
opportunity of being initiated in the true faith." *5

[Footnote 5: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y. Conq., Ms. - Conq. i. Pob.
del Peru, Ms. - Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 55. - Relacion del
Primer. Descub., Ms.

"Porque los Vecinos, sin aiuda i servicios de los Naturales no se
podian sostener, ni poblarse el Pueblo . . . . . . A esta causa,
con acuerdo de el Religioso, i de los Oficiales que les parecio
convenir asi al servicio de Dios, i bien de los Naturales, el
Governador deposito los Caciques, i Indios en los Vecinos de este
Pueblo, porque los aiudasen a sostener, i los Christianos los
doctrinasen en nuestra Santa Fe, conforme a los Mandamientos de
su Magestad." Xerez Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p.
Having made these arrangements with such conscientious regard to
the welfare of the benighted heathen, Pizarro gave his infant
city the name of San Miguel, in acknowledgment of the service
rendered him by that saint in his battles with the Indians of
Puna. The site originally occupied by the settlement was
afterward found to be so unhealthy, that it was abandoned for
another on the banks of the beautiful Piura. The town is still
of some note for its manufactures, though dwindled from its
ancient importance; but the name of San Miguel de Piura, which it
bears, still commemorates the foundation of the first European
colony in the empire of the Incas.
Before quitting the new settlement, Pizarro caused the gold and
silver ornaments which he had obtained in different parts of the
country to be melted down into one mass, and a fifth to be
deducted for the Crown. The remainder, which belonged to the
troops, he persuaded them to relinquish for the present; under
the assurance of being repaid from the first spoils that fell
into their hands. *6 With these funds, and other articles
collected in the course of the campaign, he sent back the vessels
to Panama. The gold was applied to paying off the ship-owners,
and those who had furnished the stores for the expedition. That
he should so easily have persuaded his men to resign present
possession for a future contingency is proof that the spirit of
enterprise was renewed in their bosoms in all its former vigor,
and that they looked forward with the same buoyant confidence to
the results.

[Footnote 6: "E sacado el quinto para su Magestad, lo restante
que pertenecio al Egercito de la Conquista, el Gobernador le tomo
prestado de los companeros para se lo pagal del primer oro que se
obiese." Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms. Parte 3, lib. 8, cap.

In his late tour of observation, the Spanish commander had
gathered much important intelligence in regard to the state of
the kingdom. He had ascertained the result of the struggle
between the Inca brothers, and that the victor now lay with his
army encamped at the distance of only ten or twelve days' journey
from San Miguel. The accounts he heard of the opulence and power
of that monarch, and of his great southern capital, perfectly
corresponded with the general rumors before received; and
contained, therefore, something to stagger the confidence, as
well as to stimulate the cupidity, of the invaders.

Pizarro would gladly have seen his little army strengthened by
reinforcements, however small the amount; and on that account
postponed his departure for several weeks. But no reinforcement
arrived; and, as he received no further tidings from his
associates, he judged that longer delay would, probably, be
attended with evils greater than those to be encountered on the
march; that discontents would inevitably spring up in a life of
inaction, and the strength and spirits of the soldier sink under
the enervating influence of a tropical climate. Yet the force at
his command, amounting to less than two hundred soldiers in all,
after reserving fifty for the protection of the new settlement,
seemed but a small one for the conquest of an empire. He might,
indeed, instead of marching against the Inca, take a southerly
direction towards the rich capital of Cuzco. But this would only
be to postpone the hour of reckoning. For in what quarter of the
empire could he hope to set his foot, where the arm of its master
would not reach him? By such a course, moreover, he would show
his own distrust of himself. He would shake that opinion of his
invincible prowess, which he had hitherto endeavoured to impress
on the natives, and which constituted a great secret of his
strength; which, in short, held sterner sway over the mind than
the display of numbers and mere physical force. Worse than all,
such a course would impair the confidence of his troops in
themselves and their reliance on himself. This would be to palsy
the arm of enterprise at once. It was not to be thought of.

But while Pizarro decided to march into the interior, it is
doubtful whether he had formed any more definite plan of action.
We have no means of knowing his intentions, at this distance of
time, otherwise than as they are shown by his actions.
Unfortunately, he could not write, and he has left no record,
like the inestimable Commentaries of Cortes, to enlighten us as
to his motives. His secretary, and some of his companions in
arms, have recited his actions in detail; but the motives which
led to them they were not always so competent to disclose.

It is possible that the Spanish general, even so early as the
period of his residence at San Miguel, may have meditated some
daring stroke, some effective coup-de-main, which, like that of
Cortes, when he carried off the Aztec monarch to his quarters,
might strike terror into the hearts of the people, and at once
decide the fortunes of the day. It is more probable, however,
that he now only proposed to present himself before the Inca, as
the peaceful representative of a brother monarch, and, by these
friendly demonstrations, disarm any feeling of hostility, or even
of suspicion. When once in communication with the Indian prince,
he could regulate his future course by circumstances.

On the 24th of September, 1532, five months after landing at
Tumbez, Pizarro marched out at the head of his little body of
adventurers from the gates of San Miguel, having enjoined it on
the colonists to treat their Indian vassals with humanity, and to
conduct themselves in such a manner as would secure the good-will
of the surrounding tribes. Their own existence, and with it the
safety of the army and the success of the undertaking, depended
on this course. In the place were to remain the royal treasurer,
the veedor, or inspector of metals, and other officers of the
crown; and the command of the garrison was intrusted to the
contador, Antonio Navarro. *7 Then putting himself at the head of
his troops, the chief struck boldly into the heart of the country
in the direction where, as he was informed, lay the camp of the
Inca. It was a daring enterprise, thus to venture with a handful
of followers into the heart of a powerful empire, to present
himself, face to face, before the Indian monarch in his own camp,
encompassed by the flower of his victorious army! Pizarro had
already experienced more than once the difficulty of maintaining
his ground against the rude tribes of the north, so much inferior
in strength and numbers to the warlike legions of Peru. But the
hazard of the game, as I have already more than once had occasion
to remark, constituted its great charm with the Spaniard. The
brilliant achievements of his countrymen, on the like occasions,
with means so inadequate, inspired him with confidence in his own
good star, and this confidence was one source of his success.
Had he faltered for a moment, had he stopped to calculate
chances, he must inevitably have failed; for the odds were too
great to be combated by sober reason. They were only to be met
triumphantly by the spirit of the knight-errant.

[Footnote 7: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Oviedo, Hist. de las
Indias, Ms., Barcia, tom. III. p. 187. - Pedro Parte 3, lib. 8,
cap. 10. Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - ]

After crossing the smooth waters of the Piura, the little army
continued to advance over a level district intersected by streams
that descended from the neighbouring Cordilleras. The face of
the country was shagged over with forests of gigantic growth, and
occasionally traversed by ridges of barren land, that seemed like
shoots of the adjacent Andes, breaking up the surface of the
region into little sequestered valleys of singular loveliness.
The soil, though rarely watered by the rains of heaven, was
naturally rich, and wherever it was refreshed with moisture, as
on the margins of the streams, it was enamelled with the
brightest verdure. The industry of the inhabitants, moreover,
had turned these streams to the best account, and canals and
aqueducts were seen crossing the low lands in all directions, and
spreading over the country, like a vast network, diffusing
fertility and beauty around them. The air was scented with the
sweet odors of flowers, and everywhere the eye was refreshed by
the sight of orchards laden with unknown fruits, and of fields
waving with yellow grain and rich in luscious vegetables of every
description that teem in the sunny clime of the equator. The
Spaniards were among a people who had carried the refinements of
husbandry to a greater extent than any yet found on the American
continent; and, as they journeyed through this paradise of
plenty, their condition formed a pleasing contrast to what they
had before endured in the dreary wilderness of the mangroves.

Everywhere, too, they were received with confiding hospitality by
the simple people; for which they were no doubt indebted, in a
great measure, to their own inoffensive deportment. Every
Spaniard seemed to be aware, that his only chance of success lay
in conciliating the good opinion of the inhabitants, among whom
he had so recklessly cast his fortunes. In most of the hamlets,
and in every place of considerable size, some fortress was to be
found, or royal caravansary, destined for the Inca on his
progresses, the ample halls of which furnished abundant
accommodations for the Spaniards; who were thus provided with
quarters along their route at the charge of the very government
which they were preparing to overturn. *8

[Footnote 8: Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8,
cap. 4. - Naharro, Relacion Sumaria, Ms. - Conq. i Pob. del Piru,
Ms. - Relacion del Primer. Descub., Ms.]

On the fifth day after leaving San Miguel, Pizarro halted in one
of these delicious valleys, to give his troops repose, and to
make a more complete inspection of them. Their number amounted
in all to one hundred and seventy-seven, of which sixty-seven
were cavalry. He mustered only three arquebusiers in his whole
company, and a few crossbow-men, altogether not exceeding twenty.
*9 The troops were tolerably well equipped, and in good
condition. But the watchful eye of their commander noticed with
uneasiness, that, notwithstanding the general heartiness in the
cause manifested by his followers, there were some among them
whose countenances lowered with discontent, and who, although
they did not give vent to it in open murmurs, were far from
moving with their wonted alacrity. He was aware, that, if this
spirit became contagious, it would be the ruin of the enterprise;
and he thought it best to exterminate the gangrene at once, and
at whatever cost, than to wait until it had infected the whole
system. He came to an extraordinary resolution.

[Footnote 9: There is less discrepancy in the estimate of the
Spanish force here than usual. The paucity of numbers gave less
room for it. No account carries them as high as two hundred. I
have adopted that of the Secretary Xerez, (Conq. del Peru, ap.
Barcia, tom. III. p. 187,) who has been followed by Oviedo,
(Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 1, cap 3,) and by the
judicious Herrera, Hist. General, dec. 5, lib. 1, cap 2.]

Calling his men together, he told them that "a crisis had now
arrived in their affairs, which it demanded all their courage to
meet. No man should think of going forward in the expedition,
who could not do so with his whole heart, or who had the least
misgiving as to its success. If any repented of his share in it,
it was not too late to turn back. San Miguel was but poorly
garrisoned, and he should be glad to see it in greater strength.
Those who chose might return to this place, and they should be
entitled to the same proportion of lands and Indian vassals as
the present residents. With the rest, were they few or many, who
chose to take their chance with him, he should pursue the
adventure to the end." *10

[Footnote 10: "Que todos los que quiriesen bolverse a la ciudad
de San Miguel y avecindarse alli demas de los vecinos que alli
quedaban el los depositaria repartimientos de Indios con que se
sortubiesen como lo habia hecho con los otros vecinos; e que con
los Espanoles quedasen, pocos o muchos, iria a conquistar e
pacificar la tierra en demanda y persecucion del camino que
llevaba." Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias. Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8,
cap. 3.]

It was certainly a remarkable proposal for a commander, who was
ignorant of the amount of disaffection in his ranks, and who
could not safely spare a single man from his force, already far
too feeble for the undertaking. Yet, by insisting on the wants of
the little colony of San Miguel, he afforded a decent pretext for
the secession of the malecontents, and swept away the barrier of
shame which might have still held them in the camp.
Notwithstanding the fair opening thus afforded, there were but
few, nine in all, who availed themselves of the general's
permission. Four of these belonged to the infantry, and five to
the horse. The rest loudly declared their resolve to go forward
with their brave leader; and, if there were some whose voices
were faint amidst the general acclamation, they, at least,
relinquished the right of complaining hereafter, since they had
voluntarily rejected the permission to return. *11 This stroke of
policy in their sagacious captain was attended with the best
effects. He had winnowed out the few grains of discontent,
which, if left to themselves, might have fermented in secret till
the whole mass had swelled into mutiny. Cortes had compelled his
men to go forward heartily in his enterprise, by burning their
vessels, and thus cutting off the only means of retreat.
Pizarro, on the other hand, threw open the gates to the
disaffected and facilitated their departure. Both judged right,
under their peculiar circumstances, and both were perfectly

[Footnote 11: Ibid., Ms., loc. cit. - Herrera, Hist. General,
dec. 5, lib. 1. cap. 2. - Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom.
III. p. 187.]

Feeling himself strengthened, instead of weakened, by his loss,
Pizarro now resumed his march, and, on the second day, arrived
before a place called Zaran, situated in a fruitful valley among
the mountains. Some of the inhabitants had been drawn off to
swell the levies of Atahuallpa. The Spaniards had repeated
experience on their march of the oppressive exactions of the
Inca, who had almost depopulated some of the valleys to obtain
reinforcements for his army. The curaca of the Indian town,
where Pizarro now arrived, received him with kindness and
hospitality, and the troops were quartered as usual in one of the
royal tambos or caravansaries, which were found in all the
principal places. *12

[Footnote 12: Conq. i Pob. del Piru, Ms.]

Yet the Spaniards saw no signs of their approach to the royal
encampment, though more time had already elapsed than was
originally allowed for reaching it. Shortly before entering
Zaran, Pizarro had heard that a Peruvian garrison was established
in a place called Caxas, lying among the hills, at no great
distance from his present quarters. He immediately despatched a
small party under Hernando de Soto in that direction, to
reconnoitre the ground, and bring him intelligence of the actual
state of things, at Zaran, where he would halt until his
officer's return.

Day after day passed on, and a week had elapsed before tidings
were received of his companions, and Pizarro was becoming
seriously alarmed for their fate, when on the eighth morning Soto
appeared, bringing with him an envoy from the Inca himself. He
was a person of rank, and was attended by several followers of
inferior condition. He had met the Spaniards at Caxas, and now
accompanied them on their return, to deliver his sovereign's
message, with a present to the Spanish commander. The present
consisted of two fountains, made of stone, in the form of
fortresses; some fine stuffs of woollen embroidered with gold and
silver; and a quantity of goose-flesh, dried and seasoned in a
peculiar manner, and much used as a perfume, in a pulverized
state, by the Peruvian nobles. *13 The Indian ambassador came
charged also with his master's greeting to the strangers, whom
Atahu allpa welcomed to his country, and invited to visit him in
his camp among the mountains. *14

[Footnote 13: "Dos Fortalecas a manera de Fuente, figuradas en
Piedra, con que beba, i dos cargas de Patos secos, desollados,
para que hechos polvos, se sahume con ellos, porque asi se usa
entre los Senores de su Tierra: i que le embiaba a decir, que el
tiene voluntad de ser su Amigo, i esperalle de Paz en Caxamalca."
Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 189.]

[Footnote 14: Pedro Pizarro, Descub. y Conq., Ms. - Oviedo, Hist.
de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 3. - Relacion del
Primer. Descub., Ms. - Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom.
III. p. 189.

Garcilasso de la Vega tells us that Atahuallpa's envoy addressed
the Spanish commander in the most humble and deprecatory manner,
as Son of the Sun and of the great God Viracocha. He adds, that
he was loaded with a prodigious present of all kinds of game,
living and dead, gold and silver vases, emeralds, turquoises,
&c., &c, enough to furnish out the finest chapter of the Arabian
Nights. (Com. Real., Parte 2, lib. 1, cap. 19.) It is
extraordinary that none of the Conquerors who had a quick eye for
these dainties, should allude to them. One cannot but suspect
that the "old uncle" was amusing himself at his young nephew's
expense; and, as it has proved, at the expense of most of his
readers, who receive the Inca's fairy tales as historic facts.]

Pizarro well understood that the Inca's object in this diplomatic
visit was less to do him courtesy, than to inform himself of the
strength and condition of the invaders. But he was well pleased
with the embassy, and dissembled his consciousness of its real
purpose. He caused the Peruvian to be entertained in the best
manner the camp could afford, and paid him the respect, says one
of the Conquerors, due to the ambassador of so great a monarch.
*15 Pizarro urged him to prolong his visit for some days, which
the Indian envoy declined, but made the most of his time while
there, by gleaning all the information he could in respect to the
uses of every strange article which he saw, as well as the object
of the white men's visit to the land, and the quarter whence they

[Footnote 15: "I mando, que le diesen de comer a el, i a los que
con el venian, i todo lo que huviesen menester, i fuesen bien
aposentados, como Embajadores de tan Gran Senor." Xerez, Conq.
del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 189.]

The Spanish captain satisfied his curiosity in all these
particulars. The intercourse with the natives, it may be here
remarked, was maintained by means of two of the youths who had
accompanied the Conquerors on their return home from their
preceding voyage. They had been taken by Pizarro to Spain, and,
as much pains had been bestowed on teaching them the Castilian,
they now filled the office of interpreters, and opened an easy
communication with their countrymen. It was of inestimable
service; and well did the Spanish commander reap the fruits of
his forecast. *16

[Footnote 16: "Los Indios de la tierra se entendian muy bien con
los Espanoles, porque aquellos mochachos Indios que en el
decubrimiento de la tierra Pizarro truxo a Espana, entendian muy
bien nuestra lengua, y los tenia alli, con los cuales se entendia
muy bien con todos los naturales de la tierra. (Relacion del
Primer. Descub., Ms.) Yet it is a proof of the ludicrous
blunders into which the Conquerors were perpetually falling, that
Pizarro's secretary constantly confounds the Inca's name with
that of his capital. Huayna Capac, he always styles "old Cuzco,"
and his son Huasca. "young Cuzco."]

On the departure of the Peruvian messenger, Pizarro presented him
with a cap of crimson cloth, some cheap but showy ornaments of
glass, and other toys, which he had brought for the purpose from
Castile. He charged the envoy to tell his master, that the
Spaniards came from a powerful prince, who dwelt far beyond the
waters; that they had heard much of the fame of Atahuallpa's
victories, and were come to pay their respects to him, and to
offer their services by aiding him with their arms against his
enemies; and he might be assured, they would not halt on the
road, longer than was necessary, before presenting themselves
before him.

Pizarro now received from Soto a full account of his late
expedition. That chief, on entering Caxas, found the inhabitants
mustered in hostile array, as if to dispute his passage. But the
cavalier soon convinced them of his pacific intentions, and,
laying aside their menacing attitude, they received the Spaniards
with the same courtesy which had been shown them in most places
on their march.

Here Soto found one of the royal officers, employed in collecting
the tribute for the government. From this functionary he learned
that the Inca was quartered with a large army at Caxamalca, a
place of considerable size on the other side of the Cordillera,
where he was enjoying the luxury of the warm baths, supplied by
natural springs, for which it was then famous, as it is at the
present day. The cavalier gathered, also, much important
information in regard to the resources and the general policy of
government, the state maintained by the Inca, and the stern
severity with which obedience to the law was everywhere enforced.
He had some opportunity of observing this for himself, as, on
entering the village, he saw several Indians hanging dead by
their heels, having been executed for some violence offered to
the Virgins of the Sun, of whom there was a convent in the
neighbourhood. *17

[Footnote 17: "A la entrada del Pueblo havia ciertos Indios
ahorcados de los pies: i supo de este Principal, que Atabalipa
los mando matar, porque uno de ellos entro en la Casa de las
Mugeres a dormir con una: al qual, i a todos los Porteros que
consintieron, ahorco." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, ton.
III. p. 188.]

From Caxas, De Soto had passed to the adjacent town of
Guancabamba, much larger, more populous, and better built than
the preceding. The houses, instead of being made of clay baked
in the sun, were many of them constructed of solid stone, so
nicely put together, that it was impossible to detect the line of
junction. A river, which passed through the town, was traversed
by a bridge, and the high road of the Incas, which crossed this
district, was far superior to that which the Spaniards had seen
on the sea-board. It was raised in many places, like a causeway,
paved with heavy stone flags, and bordered by trees that afforded
a grateful shade to the passenger, while streams of water were
conducted through aqueducts along the sides to slake his thirst.
At certain distances, also, they noticed small houses, which,
they were told, were for the accommodation of the traveller, who
might thus pass, without inconvenience, from one end of the
kingdom to the other. *18 In another quarter they beheld one of
those magazines destined for the army, filled with grain, and
with articles of clothing; and at the entrance of the town was a
stone building, occupied by a public officer, whose business it
was to collect the tolls or duties on various commodities brought
into the place, or carried out of it. *19 - These accounts of De
Soto not only confirmed all that the Spaniards had heard of the
Indian empire, but greatly raised their ideas of its resources
and domestic policy. They might well have shaken the confidence
of hearts less courageous.

[Footnote 18: "Van por este camino canos de agua de donde los
caminantes beben, traidos de sus nacimientos de otras partes, y a
cada jornada una Casa a manera de Venta donde se aposentan los
que van e vienen.' Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms. Parte 3, lib.
8, cap. 3.]

[Footnote 19: "A la entrada de este Camino en el Pueblo de Cajas
esta una casa al principio de una puente donde reside una guarda
que recibe el Portazgo de todos los que van e vienen, e paganlo
en la misma cosa que llevan, y ninguno puede sacar carga del
Pueblo sino la mete, y esta costumbre es alli antigua." Oviedo,
Hist. de las Indias, Ms, ubi supra.]

Pizarro, before leaving his present quarters, despatched a
messenger to San Miguel with particulars of his movements,
sending, at the same time, the articles received from the Inca,
as well as those obtained at different places on the route. The
skill shown in the execution of some of these fabrics excited
great admiration, when sent to Castile. The fine woollen cloths,
especially, with their rich embroidery, were pronounced equal to
silk, from which it was not easy to distinguish them. It was
probably the delicate wool of the vicuna, none of which had then
been seen in Europe. *20

[Footnote 20: "Piezas de lana de la tierra, que era cosa mucho de
ver segun su primer e gentileza, e no se sabian determinar si era
seda o lana segun su fineza con muchas labores i figuras de oro
de martillo de tal manera asentado en la ropa que era cosa de
marabillar." Oviendo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3 lib. 8,
cap. 4.]

Pizarro, having now acquainted himself with the most direct route
to Caxamalca, - the Caxamalca of the present day, - resumed his
march, taking a direction nearly south. The first place of any
size at which he halted was Motupe, pleasantly situated in a
fruitful valley, among hills of no great elevation, which cluster
round the base of the Cordilleras. The place was deserted by its
curaca, who, with three hundred of its warriors, had gone to join
the standard of their Inca. Here the general, notwithstanding
his avowed purpose to push forward without delay, halted four
days. The tardiness of his movements can be explained only by
the hope, which he may have still entertained, of being joined by
further reinforcements before crossing the Cordilleras. None
such appeared, however; and advancing across a country in which
tracts of sandy plain were occasionally relieved by a broad
expanse of verdant meadow, watered by natural streams and still
more abundantly by those brought through artificial channels, the
troops at length arrived at the borders of a river. It was broad
and deep, and the rapidity of the current opposed more than
ordinary difficulty to the passage. Pizarro, apprehensive lest
this might be disputed by the natives on the opposite bank,
ordered his brother Hernando to cross over with a small
detachment under cover of night, and secure a safe landing for
the rest of the troops. At break of day Pizarro made
preparations for his own passage, by hewing timber in the
neighboring woods, and constructing a sort of floating bridge, on
which before nightfall the whole company passed in safety, the
horses swimming, being led by the bridle. It was a day of severe
labor, and Pizarro took his own share in it freely, like a common
soldier, having ever a word of encouragement to say to his
On reaching the opposite side, they learned from their comrades
that the people of the country, instead of offering resistance,
had fled in dismay. One of them, having been taken and brought
before Hernando Pizarro, refused to answer the questions put to
him respecting the Inca and his army; till, being put to the
torture, he stated that Atahuallpa was encamped, with his whole
force, in three separate divisions, occupying the high grounds
and plains of Caxamalca. He further stated, that the Inca was
aware of the approach of the white men and of their small number,
and that he was purposely decoying them into his own quarters,
that he might have them more completely in his power.

This account, when reported by Hernando to his brother, caused
the latter much anxiety. As the timidity of the peasantry,
however, gradually wore off, some of them mingled with the
troops, and among them the curaca or principal person of the
village. He had himself visited the royal camp, and he informed
the general that Atahuallpa lay at the strong town of
Guamachucho, twenty leagues or more south of Caxamalca, with an
army of at least fifty thousand men.

These contradictory statements greatly perplexed the chieftain;
and he proposed to one of the Indians who had borne him company
during a great part of the march, to go as a spy into the Inca's
quarters, and bring him intelligence of his actual position, and,
as far as he could learn them, of his intentions towards the
Spaniards. But the man positively declined this dangerous
service, though he professed his willingness to go as an
authorized messenger of the Spanish commander.

Pizarro acquiesced in this proposal, and instructed his envoy to
assure the Inca that he was advancing with all convenient speed
to meet him. He was to acquaint the monarch with the uniformly
considerate monarch with the uniformly considerate conduct of the
Spaniards towards his subjects, in their progress through the
land, and to assure him that they were now coming in full
confidence of finding in him the same amicable feelings towards
themselves. The emissary was particularly instructed to observe
if the strong passes on the road were defended, or if any
preparations of a hostile character were to be discerned. This
last intelligence he was to communicate to the general by means
of two or three nimble-footed attendants, who were to accompany
him on his mission. *21

[Footnote 21: Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms. Parte 3, lib. 8,
cap. 4. - Conq. i Pob. del Piru, Ms. - Relacion del Primer,
Descub., Ms. - Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap Barcia, tom. III. p.

Having taken this precaution, the wary commander again resumed
his march, and at the end of three days reached the base of the
mountain rampart, behind which lay the ancient town of Caxamalca.
Before him rose the stupendous Andes, rock piled upon rock, their
skirts below dark with evergreen forests, varied here and there
by terraced patches of cultivated garden, with the peasant's
cottage clinging to their shaggy sides, and their crests of snow
glittering high in the heavens, - presenting altogether such a
wild chaos of magnificence and beauty as no other mountain
scenery in the world can show. Across this tremendous rampart,
through a labyrinth of passes, easily capable of defence by a
handful of men against an army, the troops were now to march. To
the right ran a broad and level road, with its border of friendly
shades, and wide enough for two carriages to pass abreast. It was
one of the great routes leading to Cuzco, and seemed by its
pleasant and easy access to invite the wayworn soldier to choose
it in preference to the dangerous mountain defiles. Many were
accordingly of opinion that the army should take this course, and
abandon the original destination of Caxamalca. But such was not
the decision of Pizarro.

The Spaniards had everywhere proclaimed their purpose, he said,
to visit the Inca in his camp. This purpose had been
communicated to the Inca himself. To take an opposite direction
now would only be to draw on them the imputation of cowardice,
and to incur Atahuallpa's contempt. No alternative remained but
to march straight across the sierra to his quarters. "Let every
one of you," said the bold cavalier, "take heart and go forward
like a good soldier, nothing daunted by the smallness of your
numbers. For in the greatest extremity God ever fights for his
own; and doubt not he will humble the pride of the heathen, and
bring him to the knowledge of the true faith, the great end and
object of the Conquest." *22

[Footnote 22: "Que todos se animasen y esforzasen a hacer como de
ellos esperaba y como buenos espanoles lo suelen hacer, e que no
les pusiese temor la multitud que se decia que habia de gente ni
el poco numero de los cristianos, que aunque menos fuesen e mayor
el egercito contrario, la ayuda de Dios es mucho mayor, y en las
mayores necesidades socorre y faborece a los suyos para
desbaratar y abajar la soberbia de los infieles e traerlos en
conocimiento de nuestra Sta fe catolica." Ovieda, Hist. de las
Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 4.]

Pizarro, like Cortes, possessed a good share of that frank and
manly eloquence which touches the heart of the soldier more than
the parade of rhetoric or the finest flow of elocution. He was a
soldier himself, and partook in all the feelings of the soldier,
his joys, his hopes, and his disappointments. He was not raised
by rank and education above sympathy with the humblest of his
followers. Every chord in their bosoms vibrated with the same
pulsations as his own, and the conviction of this gave him a
mastery over them. "Lead on," they shouted, as he finished his
brief but animating address, "lead on wherever you think best.
We will follow with good-will, and you shall see that we can do
our duty in the cause of God and the King!" *23 There was no
longer hesitation. All thoughts were now bent on the instant
passage of the Cordilleras.

[Footnote 23: 'Todos digeron que fuese por el Camino que quisiese
i viese que mas convenia, que todos le seguirian con buena
voluntad e obra al tiempo del efecto, y veria lo que cada uno de
ellos haria en servicio de Dios e de su Magestad." Ibid., Ms,
loc. cit.]

Chapter IV

Severe Passage Of The Andes. - Embassies From Atahuallpa. - The
Spaniards Reach Caxamalca. - Embassy To The Inca. - Interview
With The Inca. - Despondency Of The Spaniards


That night Pizarro held a council of his principal officers, and
it was determined that he should lead the advance, consisting of
forty horse and sixty foot, and reconnoitre the ground; while the
rest of the company, under his brother Hernando, should occupy
their present position till they received further orders.

At early dawn the Spanish general and his detachment were under
arms, and prepared to breast the difficulties of the sierra.
These proved even greater than had been foreseen. The path had
been conducted in the most judicious manner round the rugged and
precipitous sides of the mountains, so as best to avoid the
natural impediments presented by the ground. But it was
necessarily so steep, in many places, that the cavalry were
obliged to dismount, and, scrambling up as they could, to lead
their horses by the bridle. In many places too, where some huge
crag or eminence overhung the road, this was driven to the very
verge of the precipice; and the traveller was compelled to wind
along the narrow ledge of rock, scarcely wide enough for his
single steed, where a misstep would precipitate him hundreds,
nay, thousands, of feet into the dreadful abyss! The wild passes
of the sierra, practicable for the half-naked Indian, and even
for the sure and circumspect mule, - an animal that seems to have
been created for the roads of the Cordilleras, - were formidable
to the man-at-arms encumbered with his panoply of mail. The
tremendous fissures or quebradas, so frightful in this mountain
chain, yawned open, as if the Andes had been split asunder by
some terrible convulsion, showing a broad expanse of the
primitive rock on their sides, partially mantled over with the
spontaneous vegetation of ages; while their obscure depths
furnished a channel for the torrents, that, rising in the heart
of the sierra, worked their way gradually into light, and spread
over the savannas and green valleys of the tierra caliente on
their way to the great ocean.

Many of these passes afforded obvious points of defence; and the
Spaniards, as they entered the rocky defiles, looked with
apprehension lest they might rouse some foe from his ambush.
This apprehension was heightened, as, at the summit of a steep
and narrow gorge, in which they were engaged, they beheld a
strong work, rising like a fortress, and frowning, as it were, in
gloomy defiance on the invaders. As they drew near this building
which was of solid stone, commanding an angle of the road, they
almost expected to see the dusky forms of the warriors rise over
the battlements, and to receive their tempest of missiles on
their bucklers; for it was in so strong a position, that a few
resolute men might easily have held there an army at bay. But
they had the satisfaction to find the place untenanted, and their
spirits were greatly raised by the conviction that the Indian
monarch did not intend to dispute their passage, when it would
have been easy to do so with success.

Pizarro now sent orders to his brother to follow without delay;
and, after refreshing his men, continued his toilsome ascent, and
before nightfall reached an eminence crowned by another fortress,
of even greater strength than the preceding. It was built of
solid masonry, the lower part excavated from the living rock, and
the whole work executed with skill not inferior to that of the
European architect. *1

[Footnote 1: "Tan ancha la Cerca como qualquier Fortaleca de
Espana, con sus Puertas: que si en esta Tierra oviese los
Maestros, i Herramientas de Espana, no pudiera ser mejor labrada
la Cerca." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 192.]

Here Pizarro took up his quarters for the night. Without waiting
for the arrival of the rear, on the following morning he resumed
his march, leading still deeper into the intricate gorges of the
sierra. The climate had gradually changed, and the men and
horses, especially the latter, suffered severely from the cold,
so long accustomed as they had been to the sultry climate of the
tropics. *2 The vegetation also had changed its character; and
the magnificent timber which covered the lower level of the
country had gradually given way to the funereal forest of pine,
and, as they rose still higher, to the stunted growth of
numberless Alpine plants, whose hardy natures found a congenial
temperature in the icy atmosphere of the more elevated regions.
These dreary solitudes seemed to be nearly abandoned by the brute
creation as well as by man. The light-footed vicuna, roaming in
its native state, might be sometimes seen looking down from some
airy cliff, where the foot of the hunter dared not venture. But
instead of the feathered tribes whose gay plumage sparkled in the
deep glooms of the tropical forests, the adventurers now beheld
only the great bird of the Andes, the loathsome condor, who,
sailing high above the clouds, followed with doleful cries in the
track of the army, as if guided by instinct in the path of blood
and carnage.

[Footnote 2: "Es tanto el frio que hace en esta Sierra, que como
los Caballos venian hechos al calor, que en los Valles hacia,
algunos de ellos se resfriaron." Ibid., p. 191.]

At length they reached the crest of the Cordillera, where it
spreads out into a bold and bleak expanse, with scarce the
vestige of vegetation, except what is afforded by the pajonal, a
dried yellow grass, which, as it is seen from below, encircling
the base of the snow-covered peaks, looks, with its brilliant
straw-color lighted up in the rays of an ardent sun, like a
setting of gold round pinnacles of burnished silver. The land
was sterile, as usual in mining districts, and they were drawing
near the once famous gold quarries on the way to Caxamalca;

"Rocks rich in gems, and mountains big with mines,
That on the high equator ridgy rise."

Here Pizarro halted for the coming up of the rear. The air was
sharp and frosty; and the soldiers, spreading their tents,
lighted fires, and, huddling round them, endeavoured to find some
repose after their laborious march. *3

[Footnote 3: "E aposentaronse los Espanoles en sus toldos o
pabellones de algodon de la tierra que llevaban, e haciendo
fuegos para defenderse del mucho frio que en aquella Sierra
hacen, porque sin ellos no se pudieron valer sin padecer mucho
trabajo; y segun a los cristianos les parecio, y aun como era lo
cierto, no podia haber mas frio en parte de Espana en invierno.
Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 4.]

They had not been long in these quarters, when a messenger
arrived, one of those who had accompanied the Indian envoy sent
by Pizarro to Atahuallpa. He informed the general that the road
was free from enemies, and that an embassy from the Inca was on
its way to the Castilian camp. Pizarro now sent back to quicken
the march of the rear, as he was unwilling that the Peruvian
envoy should find him with his present diminished numbers. The
rest of the army were not far distant, and not long after reached
the encampment.
In a short time the Indian embassy also arrived, which consisted
of one of the Inca nobles and several attendants, bringing a
welcome present of llamas to the Spanish commander. The Peruvian
bore, also, the greetings of his master, who wished to know when
the Spaniards would arrive at Caxamalca, that he might provide
suitable refreshments for them. Pizarro learned that the Inca
had left Guamachucho, and was now lying with a small force in the
neighbourhood of Caxamalca, at a place celebrated for its natural
springs of warm water. The Peruvian was an intelligent person,
and the Spanish commander gathered from him many particulars
respecting the late contests which had distracted the empire.

As the envoy vaunted in lofty terms the military prowess and
resources of his sovereign, Pizarro thought it politic to show
that it had no power to overawe him. He expressed his
satisfaction at the triumphs of Atahuallpa, who, he acknowledged,
had raised himself high in the rank of Indian warriors. But he
was as inferior, he added with more policy than politeness, to
the monarch who ruled over the white men, as the petty curacas of
the country were inferior to him. This was evident from the ease
with which a few Spaniards had overrun this great continent,
subduing one nation after another, that had offered resistance to
their arms. He had been led by the fame of Atahuallpa to visit
his dominions, and to offer him his services in his wars; and, if
he were received by the Inca in the same friendly spirit with
which he came, he was willing, for the aid he could render him,
to postpone awhile his passage across the country to the opposite
seas. The Indian, according to the Castilian accounts, listened
with awe to this strain of glorification from the Spanish
commander. Yet it is possible that the envoy was a better
diplomatist than they imagined; and that he understood it was
only the game of brag at which he was playing with his more
civilized antagonist. *4

[Footnote 4: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 193.
- Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., Parte 3, lib. 8, cap. 5.]

On the succeeding morning, at an early hour, the troops were
again on their march, and for two days were occupied in threading
the airy defiles of the Cordilleras. Soon after beginning their
descent on the eastern side, another emissary arrived from the
Inca, bearing a message of similar import to the preceding, and a
present, in like manner, of Peruvian sheep. This was the same
noble that had visited Pizarro in the valley. He now came in
more state, quaffing chicha - the fermented juice of the maize -
from golden goblets borne by his attendants, which sparkled in
the eyes of the rapacious adventurers. *5

[Footnote 5: "Este Embajardor traia servicio de Senor, i cinco, o
seis Vasos de Oro fino, con que bebia, i con ellos daba a beber a
los Espanoles de la Chicha que traia." Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap.
Barcia, tom III. p 193. - Oviedo, Hist. de las Indias, Ms., ubi

The latter author, in this part of his work, has done little more
than make a transcript of that of Xerez. His indorsement of
Pizarro's secretary, however, is of value, from the fact that,
with less temptation to misstate or overstate, he enjoyed
excellent opportunities for information.]
While he was in the camp, the Indian messenger, originally sent
by Pizarro to the Inca, returned, and no sooner did he behold the
Peruvian, and the honorable reception which he met with from the
Spaniards, than he was filled with wrath, which would have vented
itself in personal violence, but for the interposition of the
by-standers. It was hard, he said, that this Peruvian dog should
be thus courteously treated, when he himself had nearly lost his
life on a similar mission among his countrymen. On reaching the
Inca's camp, he had been refused admission to his presence, on
the ground that he was keeping a fast and could not be seen.
They had paid no respect to his assertion that he came as an
envoy from the white men, and would, probably, not have suffered
him to escape with life, if he had not assured them that any
violence offered to him would be retaliated in full measure on
the persons of the Peruvian envoys, now in the Spanish quarters.
There was no doubt, he continued, of the hostile intentions of
Atahuallpa; for he was surrounded with a powerful army, strongly
encamped about a league from Caxamalca, while that city was
entirely evacuated by its inhabitants.
To all this the Inca's envoy coolly replied, that Pizarro's
messenger might have reckoned on such a reception as he had
found, since he seemed to have taken with him no credentials of
his mission. As to the Inca's fast, that was true; and, although
he would doubtless have seen the messenger, had he known there
was one from the strangers, yet it was not safe to disturb him at
these solemn seasons, when engaged in his religious duties. The
troops by whom he was surrounded were not numerous, considering
that the Inca was at that time carrying on an important war; and
as to Caxamalca, it was abandoned by the inhabitants in order to
make room for the white men, who were so soon to occupy it. *6

[Footnote 6: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p. 194.
- Oviedo Hist. de las Indias, Ms., ubi supra.]

This explanation, however plausible, did not altogether satisfy
the general; for he had too deep a conviction of the cunning of
Atahuallpa, whose intentions towards the Spaniards he had long
greatly distrusted. As he proposed, however, to keep on friendly
relations with the monarch for the present, it was obviously not
his cue to manifest suspicion. Affecting, therefore, to give
full credit to the explanation of the envoy, he dismissed him
with reiterated assurances of speedily presenting himself before
the Inca.

The descent of the sierra, though the Andes are less precipitous
on their eastern side than towards the west, was attended with
difficulties almost equal to those of the upward march; and the
Spaniards felt no little satisfaction, when, on the seventh day,
they arrived in view of the valley of Caxamalca, which, enamelled
with all the beauties of cultivation, lay unrolled like a rich
and variegated carpet of verdure, in strong contrast with the
dark forms of the Andes, that rose up everywhere around it. The
valley is of an oval shape, extending about five leagues in
length by three in breadth. It was inhabited by a population of
a superior character to any which the Spaniards had met on the
other side of the mountains, as was argued by the superior style
of their attire, and the greater cleanliness and comfort visible
both in their persons and dwellings. *7 As far as the eye could
reach, the level tract exhibited the show of a diligent and
thrifty husbandry. A broad river rolled through the meadows,
supplying facilities for copious irrigation by means of the usual
canals and subterraneous aqueducts. The land, intersected by
verdant hedge-rows, was checkered with patches of various
cultivation; for the soil was rich, and the climate, if less
stimulating than that of the sultry regions of the coast, was
more favorable to the hardy products of the temperate latitudes.
Below the adventurers, with its white houses glittering in the
sun, lay the little city of Caxamalca, like a sparkling gem on
the dark skirts of the sierra. At the distance of about a league
farther, across the valley, might be seen columns of vapor rising
up towards the heavens, indicating the place of the famous hot
baths, much frequented by the Peruvian princes. And here, too,
was a spectacle less grateful to the eyes of the Spaniards; for
along the slope of the hills a white cloud of pavilions was seen
covering the ground, as thick as snow-flakes, for the space,
apparently, of several miles. "It filled us all with amazement,"
exclaims one of the Conquerors, "to behold the Indians occupying
so proud a position! So many tents, so well appointed, as were
never seen in the Indies till now The spectacle caused something
like confusion and even fear in the stoutest bosom. But it was
too late to turn back, or to betray the least sign of weakness,
since the natives in our own company would, in such case, have
been the first to rise upon us. So, with as bold a countenance
as we could, after coolly surveying the ground, we prepared for
our entrance into Caxamalca." *8

[Footnote 7: Xerez, Conq. del Peru, ap. Barcia, tom. III. p.

[Footnote 8: "Y eran tantas las tiendas que parecian, que cierto
nos puso harto espanto, porque no pensabamos que Indios pudiesen
tener tan soberbia estancia, ni tantas tiendas, ni tan a punto,
lo cual hasta alli en las Indias nunca se vio, que nos causo a
todos los Espanoles harta confusion y temor; aunque no convenia
mostrarse, ni menos volver atras, porque si alguna flaqueza en
nosotros sintieran, los mismos Indios que llevabamos nos mataran,
y ansi con animoso semblante, despues de haber muy bien atalayado
el pueblo y tiendas que he dicho, abajamos por el valle abajo, y
entramos en el pueblo de Cajamalca." Relacion del Primer.
Descub., Ms.]

What were the feelings of the Peruvian monarch we are not
informed, when he gazed on the martial cavalcade of the
Christians, as, with banners streaming, and bright panoplies
glistening in the rays of the evening sun, it emerged from the
dark depths of the sierra, and advanced in hostile array over the
fair domain, which, to this period, had never been trodden by
other foot than that of the red man. It might be, as several of
the reports had stated, that the Inca had purposely decoyed the
adventurers into the heart of his populous empire, that he might
envelope them with his legions, and the more easily become master
of their property and persons. *9 Or was it from a natural
feeling of curiosity, and relying on their professions of
friendship, that he had thus allowed them, without any attempt at
resistance, to come into his presence? At all events, he could

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