Inca Civilization

The Inca civilization was the largest Pre-Columbian civilization in the Americas and Cusco was its capital. The best kept example of its architecture is Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu

The Sacred City is one of the most significant archeological sites left by the Incas


Fascinating culture and Inca heritage of this beautiful country

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world. It occupies an important place in Inca mythology.

Animals of Peru

Animals in Peru have specialized and adapted to the conditions of its geography. At higher altitude levels, few animals and plants can survive because of the lack of oxygen.

Home » Conquest and Colony

In search of gold

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During the fifteenth century the Portuguese, and later the Spanish, sailed the seas searching for alternative routes to the Mediterranean. In 1492 the Spanish arrived to America under the command of Christopher Columbus. His voyages were financed by the Spanish crown and other private investors looking to profit from the natural resources in these new lands. The Catholic Church also participated as they were interested in converting the local population to Christianity.

The conquistadores first set ashore in the islands of Cuba and Haiti, the former was called Juana and the latter La Española. From Juana departed Hernan Cortes to conquer the Aztec Empire and from La Española, Vasco Nuñez de Balboa and Francisco Pizarro in an expedition that took them to Panama and the Pacific Ocean.

It was known that a rich land where gold and silver were abundant lied south of the continent. Francisco Pizarro, Diego de Almagro and Francisco de Luque obtained the funds to finance their exploration however, it was Pizarro who obtained the right to be named governor of the new lands to be discovered and conquered. In 1532 a group commanded by Francisco Pizarro set foot in a city now known as Tumbes. They initially settled in the north coast and founded the first Spanish city in Peruvian territory, San Miguel de Piura. They found a debilitated Inca government that was going through a civil war where brothers Huascar and Atahualpa were seeking to control the empire. Later, he would take advantage of the situation.

In 1532 Pizarro led his troops to Cajamarca in order to meet Atahualpa but the Inca was in the outskirts of the city carrying out a religious ceremony. Pizarro sent a messenger to invite Atahualpa to meet him and because the Inca was considered a deity he did not see the danger and attended the meeting without any military protection. Once in the plaza a priest named Valverde handed Atahualpa a Bible and asked him to swear loyalty to the Pope and to the King of Spain. When Atahualpa refused, Spanish soldiers who were scattered around the plaza surrounded the Inca and took him prisoner, killing thousands of his loyal followers.

Atahualpa was aware that the Spanish were interested in precious metals such as gold and silver, and in exchange for his freedom he offered them two rooms full of silver and one of gold up to his arms length. The deal was never fulfilled; the conquerors executed Atahualpa and appropriated the ransom.

Meanwhile Pizarro taking advantage of the conflict between the two brothers Atahualpa and Huascar, both of them dead, allied himself with the Huascar party and named Tupac Hualpa as the new Sapa Inca. The Spanish established alliances and got the support of local tribes that were subdued by the Inca power. Pizarro and his troops headed to Cusco but when they reached Jauja, Tupac Hualpa was assassinated and and Pizarro named Manco Inca new Sapa Inca.  It did not take long for Manco Inca to notice the abuses that the conquerors committed against the native people. In 1536 Manco Inca and his army rebelled and took refuge in Vilcabamba where they created an Inca government. Manco Inca was assassinated and replaced by successive Sapa Incas until Tupac Amaru I was captured and executed by Viceroy Toledo. This was the last native resistance during the colony.

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