Inca Land - Explorations in the Highlands of Peru
by Hiram Bingham
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The methods of warfare and the weapons used by Manco and his followers at this time are thus described by Guzman. He says the Indians had no defensive arms such as helmets, shields, and armor, but used "lances, arrows, dubs, axes, halberds, darts, and slings, and another weapon which they call ayllas (the bolas), consisting of three round stones sewn up in leather, and each fastened to a cord a cubit long. They throw these at the horses, and thus bind their legs together; and sometimes they will fasten a man's arms to his sides in the same way. These Indians are so expert in the use of this weapon that they will bring down a deer with it in the chase. Their principal weapon, however, is the sling .... With it, they will hurl a huge stone with such force that it will kill a horse; in truth, the effect is little less great than that of an arquebus; and I have seen a stone, thus hurled from a sling, break a sword in two pieces which was held in a man's hand at a distance of thirty paces."

Manco's raids finally became so annoying that Pizarro sent a small force from Cuzco under Captain Villadiego to attack the Inca. Captain Villadiego found it impossible to use horses, although he realized that cavalry was the "important arm against these Indians." Confident in his strength and in the efficacy of his firearms, and anxious to enjoy the spoils of a successful raid against a chief reported to be traveling surrounded by his family "and with rich treasure," he pressed eagerly on, up through a lofty valley toward a defile in the mountains, probably the Pass of Panticalla. Here, fatigued and exhausted by their difficult march and suffering from the effects of the altitude (16,000 ft.), his men found themselves ambushed by the Inca, who with a small party, "little more than eighty Indians," "attacked the Christians, who numbered twenty-eight or thirty, and killed Captain Villadiego and all his men except two or three." To any one who has clambered over the passes of the Cordillera Uilcapampa it is not surprising that this military expedition was a failure or that the Inca, warned by keen-sighted Indians posted on appropriate vantage points, could have succeeded in defeating a small force of weary soldiers armed with the heavy blunderbuss of the seventeenth century. In a rocky pass, protected by huge boulders, and surrounded by quantities of natural ammunition for their slings, it must have been relatively simple for eighty Quichuas, who could "hurl a huge stone with such force that it would kill a horse," to have literally stoned to death Captain Villadiego's little company before they could have prepared their clumsy weapons for firing.


The Urubamba Canyon

A reason for the safety of the Incas in Uilcapampa. ———

The fugitives returned to Cuzco and reported their misfortune. The importance of the reverse will be better appreciated if one remembers that the size of the force with which Pizarro conquered Peru was less than two hundred, only a few times larger than Captain Villadiego's company which had been wiped out by Manco. Its significance is further increased by the fact that the contemporary Spanish writers, with all their tendency to exaggerate, placed Manco's force at only "a little more than eighty Indians." Probably there were not even that many. The wonder is that the Inca's army was not reported as being several thousand.

Francisco Pizarro himself now hastily set out with a body of soldiers determined to punish this young Inca who had inflicted such a blow on the prestige of Spanish arms, "but this attempt also failed," for the Inca had withdrawn across the rivers and mountains of Uilcapampa to Uiticos, where, according to Cieza de Leon, he cheered his followers with the sight of the heads of his enemies. Unfortunately for accuracy, the custom of displaying on the ends of pikes the heads of one's enemies was European and not Peruvian. To be sure, the savage Indians of some of the Amazonian jungles do sometimes decapitate their enemies, remove the bones of the skull, dry the shrunken scalp and face, and wear the trophy as a mark of prowess just as the North American Indians did the scalps of their enemies. Such customs had no place among the peace-loving Inca agriculturists of central Peru. There were no Spaniards living with Manco at that time to report any such outrage on the bodies of Captain Villadiego's unfortunate men. Probably the conquistadores supposed that Manco did what the Spaniards would have done under similar circumstances.

Following the failure of Francisco Pizarro to penetrate to Uiticos, his brother, Gonzalo, "undertook the pursuit of the Inca and occupied some of his passes and bridges," but was unsuccessful in penetrating the mountain labyrinth. Being less foolhardy than Captain Villadiego, he did not come into actual conflict with Manco. Unable to subdue the young Inca or prevent his raids on travelers from Cuzco to Lima, Francisco Pizarro, "with the assent of the royal officers who were with him," established the city of Ayacucho at a convenient point on the road, so as to make it secure for travelers. Nevertheless, according to Montesinos, Manco caused the good people of Ayacucho quite a little trouble. Finally, Francisco Pizarro, "having taken one of Manco's wives prisoner with other Indians, stripped and flogged her, and then shot her to death with arrows."

Accounts of what happened in Uiticos under the rule of Manco are not very satisfactory. Father Calancha, who published in 1639 his "Coronica Moralizada," or "pious account of the missionary activities of the Augustinians" in Peru, says that the Inca Manco was obeyed by all the Indians who lived in a region extending "for two hundred leagues and more toward the east and toward the south, where there were innumerable Indians in various provinces." With customary monastic zeal and proper religious fervor, Father Calancha accuses the Inca of compelling the baptized Indians who fled to him from the Spaniards to abandon their new faith, torturing those who would no longer worship the old Inca "idols." This story need not be taken too literally, although undoubtedly the escaped Indians acted as though they had never been baptized.

Besides Indians fleeing from harsh masters, there came to Uilcapampa, in 1542, Gomez Perez, Diego Mendez, and half a dozen other Spanish fugitives, adherents of Almagro, "rascals," says Calancha, "worthy of Manco's favor." Obliged by the civil wars of the conquistadores to flee from the Pizarros, they were glad enough to find a welcome in Uiticos. To while away the time they played games and taught the Inca checkers and chess, as well as bowling-on-the-green and quoits. Montesinos says they also taught him to ride horseback and shoot an arquebus. They took their games very seriously and occasionally violent disputes arose, one of which, as we shall see, was to have fatal consequences. They were kept informed by Manco of what was going on in the viceroyalty. Although "encompassed within craggy and lofty mountains," the Inca was thoroughly cognizant of all those "revolutions" which might be of benefit to him.

Perhaps the most exciting news that reached Uiticos in 1544 was in regard to the arrival of the first Spanish viceroy. He brought the New Laws, a result of the efforts of the good Bishop Las Casas to alleviate the sufferings of the Indians. The New Laws provided, among other things, that all the officers of the crown were to renounce their repartimientos or holdings of Indian serfs, and that compulsory personal service was to be entirely abolished. Repartimientos given to the conquerors were not to pass to their heirs, but were to revert to the king. In other words, the New Laws gave evidence that the Spanish crown wished to be kind to the Indians and did not approve of the Pizarros. This was good news for Manco and highly pleasing to the refugees. They persuaded the Inca to write a letter to the new viceroy, asking permission to appear before him and offer his services to the king. The Spanish refugees told the Inca that by this means he might some day recover his empire, "or at least the best part of it." Their object in persuading the Inca to send such a message to the viceroy becomes apparent when we learn that they "also wrote as from themselves desiring a pardon for what was past" and permission to return to Spanish dominions.

Gomez Perez, who seems to have been the active leader of the little group, was selected to be the bearer of the letters from the Inca and the refugees. Attended by a dozen Indians whom the Inca instructed to act as his servants and bodyguard, he left Uilcapampa, presented his letters to the viceroy, and gave him "a large relation of the State and Condition of the Inca, and of his true and real designs to doe him service." "The Vice-king joyfully received the news, and granted a full and ample pardon of all crimes, as desired. And as to the Inca, he made many kind expressions of love and respect, truly considering that the Interest of the Inca might be advantageous to him, both in War and Peace. And with this satisfactory answer Gomez Perez returned both to the Inca and to his companions." The refugees were delighted with the news and got ready to return to king and country. Their departure from Uiticos was prevented by a tragic accident, thus described by Garcilasso.

"The Inca, to humour the Spaniards and entertain himself with them, had given directions for making a bowling-green; where playing one day with Gomez Perez, he came to have some quarrel and difference with this Perez about the measure of a Cast, which often happened between them; for this Perez, being a person of a hot and fiery brain, without any judgment or understanding, would take the least occasion in the world to contend with and provoke the Inca .... Being no longer able to endure his rudeness, the Inca punched him on the breast, and bid him to consider with whom he talked. Perez, not considering in his heat and passion either his own safety or the safety of his Companions, lifted up his hand, and with the bowl struck the Inca so violently on the head, that he knocked him down. [He died three days later.] The Indians hereupon, being enraged by the death of their Prince, joined together against Gomez and the Spaniards, who fled into a house, and with their Swords in their hands defended the door; the Indians set fire to the house, which being too hot for them, they sallied out into the Marketplace, where the Indians assaulted them and shot them with their Arrows until they had killed every man of them; and then afterwards, out of mere rage and fury they designed either to eat them raw as their custome was, or to burn them and cast their ashes into the river, that no sign or appearance might remain of them; but at length, after some consultation, they agreed to cast their bodies into the open fields, to be devoured by vulters and birds of the air, which they supposed to be the highest indignity and dishonour that they could show to their Corps." Garcilasso concludes: "I informed myself very perfectly from those chiefs and nobles who were present and eye-witnesses of the unparalleled piece of madness of that rash and hair-brained fool; and heard them tell this story to my mother and parents with tears in their eyes." There are many versions of the tragedy. [4] They all agree that a Spaniard murdered the Inca.

Thus, in 1545, the reign of an attractive and vigorous personality was brought to an abrupt close. Manco left three young sons, Sayri Tupac, Titu Cusi, and Tupac Amaru. Sayri Tupac, although he had not yet reached his majority, became Inca in his father's stead, and with the aid of regents reigned for ten years without disturbing his Spanish neighbors or being annoyed by them, unless the reference in Montesinos to a proposed burning of bridges near Abancay, under date of 1555, is correct. By a curious lapse Montesinos ascribes this attempt to the Inca Manco, who had been dead for ten years. In 1555 there came to Lima a new viceroy, who decided that it would be safer if young Sayri Tupac were within reach instead of living in the inaccessible wilds of Uilcapampa. The viceroy wisely undertook to accomplish this difficult matter through the Princess Beatrix Coya, an aunt of the Inca, who was living in Cuzco. She took kindly to the suggestion and dispatched to Uiticos a messenger, of the blood royal, attended by Indian servants. The journey was a dangerous one; bridges were down and the treacherous trails were well-nigh impassable. Sayri Tupac's regents permitted the messenger to enter Uilcapampa and deliver the viceroy's invitation, but were not inclined to believe that it was quite so attractive as appeared on the surface, even though brought to them by a kinsman. Accordingly, they kept the visitor as a hostage and sent a messenger of their own to Cuzco to see if any foul play could be discovered, and also to request that one John Sierra, a more trusted cousin, be sent to treat in this matter. All this took time.

In 1558 the viceroy, becoming impatient, dispatched from Lima Friar Melchior and one John Betanzos, who had married the daughter of the unfortunate Inca Atahualpa and pretended to be very learned in his wife's language. Montesinos says he was a "great linguist." They started off quite confidently for Uiticos, taking with them several pieces of velvet and damask, and two cups of gilded silver as presents. Anxious to secure the honor of being the first to reach the Inca, they traveled as fast as they could to the Chuquichaca bridge, "the key to the valley of Uiticos." Here they were detained by the soldiers of the regents. A day or so later John Sierra, the Inca's cousin from Cuzco, arrived at the bridge and was allowed to proceed, while the friar and Betanzos were still detained. John Sierra was welcomed by the Inca and his nobles, and did his best to encourage Sayri Tupac to accept the viceroy's offer. Finally John Betanzos and the friar were also sent for and admitted to the presence of the Inca, with the presents which the viceroy had sent. Sayri Tupac's first idea was to remain free and independent as he had hitherto done, so he requested the ambassadors to depart immediately with their silver gilt cups. They were sent back by one of the western routes across the Apurimac. A few days later, however, after John Sierra had told him some interesting stories of life in Cuzco, the Inca decided to reconsider the matter. His regents had a long debate, observed the flying of birds and the nature of the weather, but according to Garcilasso "made no inquiries of the devil." The omens were favorable and the regents finally decided to allow the Inca to accept the invitation of the viceroy.

Sayri Tupac, anxious to see something of the world, went directly to Lima, traveling in a litter made of rich materials, carried by relays chosen from the three hundred Indians who attended him. He was kindly received by the viceroy, and then went to Cuzco, where he lodged in his aunt's house. Here his relatives went to welcome him. "I, myself," says Garcilasso, "went in the name of my Father. I found him then playing a certain game used amongst the Indians .... I kissed his hands, and delivered my Message; he commanded me to sit down, and presently they brought two gilded cups of that Liquor, made of Mayz [chicha] which scarce contained four ounces of Drink; he took them both, and with his own Hand he gave one of them to me; he drank, and I pledged him, which as we have said, is the custom of Civility amongst them. This Ceremony being past, he asked me, Why I did not meet him at Uillcapampa. I answered him, 'Inca, as I am but a Youngman, the Governours make no account of me, to place me in such Ceremonies as these!' 'How,' replied the Inca, 'I would rather have seen you than all the Friers and Fathers in Town.' As I was going away I made him a submissive bow and reverence, after the manner of the Indians, who are of his Alliance and Kindred, at which he was so much pleased, that he embraced me heartily, and with much affection, as appeared by his Countenance."

Sayri Tupac now received the sacred Red Fringe of Inca sovereignty, was married to a princess of the blood royal, joined her in baptism, and took up his abode in the beautiful valley of Yucay, a day's journey northeast of Cuzco, and never returned to Uiticos. His only daughter finally married a certain Captain Garcia, of whom more anon. Sayri Tupac died in 1560, leaving two brothers; the older, Titu Cusi Yupanqui, illegitimate, and the younger, Tupac Amaru, his rightful successor, an inexperienced youth.


Yucay, Last Home of Sayri Tupac ———

The throne of Uiticos was seized by Titu Cusi. The new Inca seems to have been suspicious of the untimely death of Sayri Tupac, and to have felt that the Spaniards were capable of more foul play. So with his half-brother he stayed quietly in Uilcapampa. Their first visitor, so far as we know, was Diego Rodriguez de Figueroa, who wrote an interesting account of Uiticos and says he gave the Inca a pair of scissors. He was unsuccessful in his efforts to get Titu Cusi to go to Cuzco. In time there came an Augustinian missionary, Friar Marcos Garcia, who, six years after the death of Sayri Tupac, entered the rough country of Uilcapampa, "a land of moderate wealth, large rivers, and the usual rains," whose "forested mountains," says Father Calancha, "are magnificent." Friar Marcos had a hard journey. The bridges were down, the roads had been destroyed, and the passes blocked up. The few Indians who did occasionally appear in Cuzco from Uilcapampa said the friar could not get there "unless he should be able to change himself into a bird." However, with that courage and pertinacity which have marked so many missionary enterprises, Friar Marcos finally overcame all difficulties and reached Uiticos.

The missionary chronicler says that Titu Cusi was far from glad to see him and received him angrily. It worried him to find that a Spaniard had succeeded in penetrating his retreat. Besides, the Inca was annoyed to have any one preach against his "idolatries." Titu Cusi's own story, as written down by Friar Marcos, does not agree with Calancha's. Anyhow, Friar Marcos built a little church in a place called Puquiura, where many of the Inca's people were then living. "He planted crosses in the fields and on the mountains, these being the best things to frighten off devils." He "suffered many insults at the hands of the chiefs and principal followers of the Inca. Some of them did it to please the Devil, others to flatter the Inca, and many because they disliked his sermons, in which he scolded them for their vices and abominated among his converts the possession of four or six wives. So they punished him in the matter of food, and forced him to send to Cuzco for victuals. The Convent sent him hard-tack, which was for him a most delicious banquet."

Within a year or so another Augustinian missionary, Friar Diego Ortiz, left Cuzco alone for Uilcapampa. He suffered much on the road, but finally reached the retreat of the Inca and entered his presence in company with Friar Marcos. "Although the Inca was not too happy to see a new preacher, he was willing to grant him an entrance because the Inca ... thought Friar Diego would not vex him nor take the trouble to reprove him. So the Inca gave him a license. They selected the town of Huarancalla, which was populous and well located in the midst of a number of other little towns and villages. There was a distance of two or three days journey from one Convent to the other. Leaving Friar Marcos in Puquiura, Friar Diego went to his new establishment and in a short time built a church, a house for himself, and a hospital,—all poor buildings made in a short time." He also started a school for children, and became very popular as he went about healing and teaching. He had an easier time than Friar Marcos, who, with less tact and no skill as a physician, was located nearer the center of the Inca cult.

The principal shrine of the Inca is described by Father Calancha as follows: "Close to Vitcos [or Uiticos] in a village called Chuquipalpa, is a House of the Sun, and in it a white rock over a spring of water where the Devil appears as a visible manifestation and was worshipped by those idolators. This was the principal mochadero of those forested mountains. The word 'mochadero' [5] is the common name which the Indians apply to their places of worship. In other words it is the only place where they practice the sacred ceremony of kissing. The origin of this, the principal part of their ceremonial, is that very practice which Job abominates when he solemnly clears himself of all offences before God and says to Him: 'Lord, all these punishments and even greater burdens would I have deserved had I done that which the blind Gentiles do when the sun rises resplendent or the moon shines clear and they exult in their hearts and extend their hands toward the sun and throw kisses to it,' an act of very grave iniquity which is equivalent to denying the true God."

Thus does the ecclesiastical chronicler refer to the practice in Peru of that particular form of worship of the heavenly bodies which was also widely spread in the East, in Arabia, and Palestine and was inveighed against by Mohammed as well as the ancient Hebrew prophets. Apparently this ceremony "of the most profound resignation and reverence" was practiced in Chuquipalpa, close to Uiticos, in the reign of the Inca Titu Cusi.

Calancha goes on to say: "In this white stone of the aforesaid House of the Sun, which is called Yurac Rumi [meaning, in Quichua, a white rock], there attends a Devil who is Captain of a legion. He and his legionaries show great kindness to the Indian idolators, but great terrors to the Catholics. They abuse with hideous cruelties the baptized ones who now no longer worship them with kisses, and many of the Indians have died from the horrible frights these devils have given them."

One day, when the Inca and his mother and their principal chiefs and counselors were away from Uiticos on a visit to some of their outlying estates, Friar Marcos and Friar Diego decided to make a spectacular attack on this particular Devil, who was at the great "white rock over a spring of water." The two monks summoned all their converts to gather at Puquiura, in the church or the neighboring plaza, and asked each to bring a stick of firewood in order that they might burn up this Devil who had tormented them. "An innumerable multitude" came together on the day appointed. The converted Indians were most anxious to get even with this Devil who had slain their friends and inflicted wounds on themselves; the doubters were curious to see the result; the Inca priests were there to see their god defeat the Christians'; while, as may readily be imagined, the rest of the population came to see the excitement. Starting out from Pucyura they marched to "the Temple of the Sun, in the village of Chuquipalpa, close to Uiticos."

Arrived at the sacred palisade, the monks raised the standard of the cross, recited their orisons, surrounded the spring, the white rock and the Temple of the Sun, and piled high the firewood. Then, having exorcised the locality, they called the Devil by all the vile names they could think of, to show their lack of respect, and finally commanded him never to return to this vicinity. Calling on Christ and the Virgin, they applied fire to the wood. "The poor Devil then fled roaring in a fury, and making the mountains to tremble."

It took remarkable courage on the part of the two lone monks thus to desecrate the chief shrine of the people among whom they were dwelling. It is almost incredible that in this remote valley, separated from their friends and far from the protecting hand of the Spanish viceroy, they should have dared to commit such an insult to the religion of their hosts. Of course, as soon as the Inca Titu Cusi heard of it, he was greatly annoyed. His mother was furious. They returned immediately to Pucyura. The chiefs wished to "slay the monks and tear them into small pieces," and undoubtedly would have done so had it not been for the regard in which Friar Diego was held. His skill in curing disease had so endeared him to the Indians that even the Inca himself dared not punish him for the attack on the Temple of the Sun. Friar Marcos, however, who probably originated the plan, and had done little to gain the good will of the Indians, did not fare so well. Calancha says he was stoned out of the province and the Inca threatened to kill him if he ever should return. Friar Diego, particularly beloved by those Indians who came from the fever-stricken jungles in the lower valleys, was allowed to remain, and finally became a trusted friend and adviser of Titu Cusi.

One day a Spaniard named Romero, an adventurous prospector for gold, was found penetrating the mountain valleys, and succeeded in getting permission from the Inca to see what minerals were there. He was too successful. Both gold and silver were found among the hills and he showed enthusiastic delight at his good fortune. The Inca, fearing that his reports might encourage others to enter Uilcapampa, put the unfortunate prospector to death, notwithstanding the protestations of Friar Diego. Foreigners were not wanted in Uilcapampa.

In the year 1570, ten years after the accession of Titu Cusi to the Inca throne in Uiticos, a new Spanish viceroy came to Cuzco. Unfortunately for the Incas, Don Francisco de Toledo, an indefatigable soldier and administrator, was excessively bigoted, narrow-minded, cruel, and pitiless. Furthermore, Philip II and his Council of the Indies had decided that it would be worth while to make every effort to get the Inca out of Uiticos. For thirty-five years the Spanish conquerors had occupied Cuzco and the major portion of Peru without having been able to secure the submission of the Indians who lived in the province of Uilcapampa. It would be a great feather in the cap of Toledo if he could induce Titu Cusi to come and live where he would always be accessible to Spanish authority.

During the ensuing rainy season, after an unusually lively party, the Inca got soaked, had a chill, and was laid low. In the meantime the viceroy had picked out a Cuzco soldier, one Tilano de Anaya, who was well liked by the Inca, to try to persuade Titu Cusi to come to Cuzco. Tilano was instructed to go by way of Ollantaytambo and the Chuquichaca bridge. Luck was against him. Titu Cusi's illness was very serious. Friar Diego, his physician, had prescribed the usual remedies. Unfortunately, all the monk's skill was unavailing and his royal patient died. The "remedies" were held by Titu Cusi's mother and her counselors to be responsible. The poor friar had to suffer the penalty of death "for having caused the death of the Inca."

The third son of Manco, Tupac Amaru, brought up as a playfellow of the Virgins of the Sun in the Temple near Uiticos, and now happily married, was selected to rule the little kingdom. His brows were decked with the Scarlet Fringe of Sovereignty, but, thanks to the jealous fear of his powerful illegitimate brother, his training had not been that of a soldier. He was destined to have a brief, unhappy existence. When the young Inca's counselors heard that a messenger was coming from the viceroy, seven warriors were sent to meet him on the road. Tilano was preparing to spend the night at the Chuquichaca bridge when he was attacked and killed.

The viceroy heard of the murder of his ambassador at the same time that he learned of the martyrdom of Friar Diego. A blow had been struck at the very heart of Spanish domination; if the representatives of the Vice-Regent of Heaven and the messengers of the viceroy of Philip II were not inviolable, then who was safe? On Palm Sunday the energetic Toledo, surrounded by his council, determined to make war on the unfortunate young Tupac Amaru and give a reward to the soldier who would effect his capture. The council was of the opinion that "many Insurrections might be raised in that Empire by this young Heir." "Moreover it was alledged," says Garcilasso .... "That by the Imprisonment of the Inca, all that Treasure might be discovered, which appertained to former kings, together with that Chain of Gold, which Huayna Capac commanded to be made for himself to wear on the great and solemn days of their Festival"! Furthermore, the "Chain of Gold with the remaining Treasure belong'd to his Catholic Majesty by right of Conquest"! Excuses were not wanting. The Incas must be exterminated.

The expedition was divided into two parts. One company was sent by way of Limatambo to Curahuasi, to head off the Inca in case he should cross the Apurimac and try to escape by one of the routes which had formerly been used by his father, Manco, in his marauding expeditions. The other company, under General Martin Hurtado and Captain Garcia, marched from Cuzco by way of Yucay and Ollantaytambo. They were more fortunate than Captain Villadiego whose force, thirty-five years before, had been met and destroyed at the pass of Panticalla. That was in the days of the active Inca Manco. Now there was no force defending this important pass. They descended the Lucumayo to its junction with the Urubamba and came to the bridge of Chuquichaca.

The narrow suspension bridge, built of native fibers, sagged deeply in the middle and swayed so threateningly over the gorge of the Urubamba that only one man could pass it at a time. The rapid river was too deep to be forded. There were no canoes. It would have been a difficult matter to have constructed rafts, for most of the trees that grow here are of hard wood and do not float. On the other side of the Urubamba was young Tupac Amaru, surrounded by his councilors, chiefs, and soldiers. The first hostile forces which in Pizarro's time had endeavored to fight their way into Uilcapampa had never been allowed by Manco to get as far as this. His youngest son, Tupac Amaru, had had no experience in these matters. The chiefs and nobles had failed to defend the pass; and they now failed to destroy the Chuquichaca bridge, apparently relying on their ability to take care of one Spanish soldier at a time and prevent the Spaniards from crossing the narrow, swaying structure. General Hurtado was not taking any such chances. He had brought with him one or two light mountain field pieces, with which the raw troops of the Inca were little acquainted. The sides of the valley at this point rise steeply from the river and the reverberations caused by gun fire would be fairly terrifying to those who had never heard anything like it before. A few volleys from the guns and the arquebuses, and the Indians fled pellmell in every direction, leaving the bridge undefended.

Captain Garcia, who had married the daughter of Sayri Tupac, was sent in pursuit of the Inca. His men found the road "narrow in the ascent, with forest on the right, and on the left a ravine of great depth." It was only a footpath, barely wide enough for two men to pass. Garcia, with customary Spanish bravery, marched at the head of his company. Suddenly out of the thick forest an Inca chieftain named Hualpa, endeavoring to protect the flight of Tupac Amaru, sprang on Garcia, held him so that he could not get at his sword and endeavored to hurl him over the cliff. The captain's life was saved by a faithful Indian servant who was following immediately behind him, carrying his sword. Drawing it from the scabbard "with much dexterity and animation," the Indian killed Hualpa and saved his master's life.

Garcia fought several battles, took some forts and succeeded in capturing many prisoners. From them it was learned that the Inca had "gone inland toward the valley of Simaponte; and that he was flying to the country of the Manaries Indians, a warlike tribe and his friends, where balsas and canoes were posted to save him and enable him to escape." Nothing daunted by the dangers of the jungle nor the rapids of the river, Garcia finally managed to construct five rafts, on which he put some of his soldiers. Accompanying them himself, he descended the rapids, escaping death many times by swimming, and finally arrived at a place called Momori, only to find that the Inca, learning of their approach, had gone farther into the woods. Garcia followed hard after, although he and his men were by this time barefooted and suffering from want of food. They finally captured the Inca. Garcilasso says that Tupac Amaru, "considering that he had not People to make resistance, and that he was not conscious to himself of any Crime, or disturbance he had done or raised, suffered himself to be taken; choosing rather to entrust himself in the hands of the Spaniards, than to perish in those Mountains with Famine, or be drowned in those great Rivers .... The Spaniards in this manner seizing on the Inca, and on all the Indian Men and Women, who were in Company with him, amongst which was his Wife, two Sons, and a Daughter, returned with them in Triumph to Cuzco; to which place the Vice-King went, so soon as he was informed of the imprisonment of the poor Prince." A mock trial was held. The captured chiefs were tortured to death with fiendish brutality. Tupac Amaru's wife was mangled before his eyes. His own head was cut off and placed on a pole in the Cuzco Plaza. His little boys did not long survive. So perished the last of the Incas, descendants of the wisest Indian rulers America has ever seen.

Brief Summary of the Last Four Incas

1534. The Inca Manco ascends the throne of his fathers.

1536. Manco flees from Cuzco to Uiticos and Uilcapampa.

1542. Promulgation of the "New Laws."

1545. Murder of Manco and accession of his son Sayri Tupac. 1555. Sayri Tupac goes to Cuzco and Yucay.

1560. Death of Sayri Tupac. His half brother Titu Cusi becomes Inca.

1566. Friar Marcos reaches Uiticos. Settles in Puquiura.

1566. Friar Diego joins him.

1568-9 (?). They burn the House of the Sun at Yurac Rumi in Chuquipalpa.

1571. Titu Cusi dies. Friar Diego suffers martyrdom. Tupac Amaru becomes Inca.

1572. Expedition of General Martin Hurtado and Captain Garcia de Loyola. Execution of Tupac Amaru.


Searching for the Last Inca Capital

The events described in the preceding chapter happened, for the most part, in Uiticos [6] and Uilcapampa, northwest of Ollantaytambo, about one hundred miles away from the Cuzco palace of the Spanish viceroy, in what Prescott calls "the remote fastnesses of the Andes." One looks in vain for Uiticos on modern maps of Peru, although several of the older maps give it. In 1625 "Viticos" is marked on de Laet's map of Peru as a mountainous province northeast of Lima and three hundred and fifty miles northwest of Vilcabamba! This error was copied by some later cartographers, including Mercator, until about 1740, when "Viticos" disappeared from all maps of Peru. The map makers had learned that there was no such place in that vicinity. Its real location was lost about three hundred years ago. A map published at Nuremberg in 1599 gives "Pincos" in the "Andes" mountains, a small range west of "Cusco." This does not seem to have been adopted by other cartographers; although a Palls map of 1739 gives "Picos" in about the same place. Nearly all the cartographers of the eighteenth century who give "Viticos" supposed it to be the name of a tribe, e.g., "Los Viticos" or "Les Viticos."


Part of the Nuremberg Map of 1599, Showing Pincos and the Andes Mountains ———

The largest official map of Peru, the work of that remarkable explorer, Raimondi, who spent his life crossing and recrossing Peru, does not contain the word Uiticos nor any of its numerous spellings, Viticos, Vitcos, Pitcos, or Biticos. Incidentally, it may seem strange that Uiticos could ever be written "Biticos." The Quichua language has no sound of V. The early Spanish writers, however, wrote the capital letter U exactly like a capital V. In official documents and letters Uiticos became Viticos. The official readers, who had never heard the word pronounced, naturally used the V sound instead of the U sound. Both V and P easily become B. So Uiticos became Biticos and Uilcapampa became Vilcabamba.

Raimondi's marvelous energy led him to penetrate to more out-of-the-way Peruvian villages than any one had ever done before or is likely to do again. He stopped at nothing in the way of natural obstacles. In 1865 he went deep into the heart of Uilcapampa; yet found no Uiticos. He believed that the ruins of Choqquequirau represented the residence of the last Incas. This view had been held by the French explorer, Count de Sartiges, in 1834, who believed that Choqquequirau was abandoned when Sayri Tupac, Manco's oldest son, went to live in Yucay. Raimondi's view was also held by the leading Peruvian geographers, including Paz Soldan in 1877, and by Prefect Nunez and his friends in 1909, at the time of my visit to Choqquequirau. [7] The only dissenter was the learned Peruvian historian, Don Carlos Romero, who insisted that the last Inca capital must be found elsewhere. He urged the importance of searching for Uiticos in the valleys of the rivers now called Vilcabamba and Urubamba. It was to be the work of the Yale Peruvian Expedition of 1911 to collect the geographical evidence which would meet the requirements of the chronicles and establish the whereabouts of the long-lost Inca capital.

That there were undescribed and unidentified ruins to be found in the Urubamba Valley was known to a few people in Cuzco, mostly wealthy planters who had large estates in the province of Convencion. One told us that he went to Santa Ana every year and was acquainted with a muleteer who had told him of some interesting ruins near the San Miguel bridge. Knowing the propensity of his countrymen to exaggerate, however, he placed little confidence in the story and, shrugging his shoulders, had crossed the bridge a score of times without taking the trouble to look into the matter. Another, Senor Pancorbo, whose plantation was in the Vilcabamba Valley, said that he had heard vague rumors of ruins in the valley above his plantation, particularly near Pucyura. If his story should prove to be correct, then it was likely that this might be the very Puquiura where Friar Marcos had established the first church in the "province of Uilcapampa." But that was "near" Uiticos and near a village called Chuquipalpa, where should be found the ruins of a Temple of the Sun, and in these ruins a "white rock over a spring of water." Yet neither these friendly planters nor the friends among whom they inquired had ever heard of Uiticos or a place called Chuquipalpa, or of such an interesting rock; nor had they themselves seen the ruins of which they had heard.

One of Senor Lomellini's friends, a talkative old fellow who had spent a large part of his life in prospecting for mines in the department of Cuzco, said that he had seen ruins "finer than Choqquequirau" at a place called Huayna Picchu; but he had never been to Choqquequirau. Those who knew him best shrugged their shoulders and did not seem to place much confidence in his word. Too often he had been over-enthusiastic about mines which did not "pan out." Yet his report resembled that of Charles Wiener, a French explorer, who, about 1875, in the course of his wanderings in the Andes, visited Ollantaytambo. While there he was told that there were fine ruins down the Urubamba Valley at a place called "Huaina-Picchu or Matcho-Picchu." He decided to go down the valley and look for these ruins. According to his text he crossed the Pass of Panticalla, descended the Lucumayo River to the bridge of Choqquechacca, and visited the lower Urubamba, returning by the same route. He published a detailed map of the valley. To one of its peaks he gives the name "Huaynapicchu, ele. 1815 m." and to another "Matchopicchu, ele. 1720 m." His interest in Inca ruins was very keen. He devotes pages to Ollantaytambo. He failed to reach Machu Picchu or to find any ruins of importance in the Urubamba or Vilcabamba valleys. Could we hope to be any more successful? Would the rumors that had reached us "pan out" as badly as those to which Wiener had listened so eagerly? Since his day, to be sure, the Peruvian Government had actually finished a road which led past Machu Picchu. On the other hand, a Harvard Anthropological Expedition, under the leadership of Dr. William C. Farrabee, had recently been over this road without reporting any ruins of importance. They were looking for savages and not ruins. Nevertheless, if Machu Picchu was "finer than Choqquequirau" why had no one pointed it out to them?


Peruvian Expedition of 1915 ———

To most of our friends in Cuzco the idea that there could be anything finer than Choqquequirau seemed, absurd. They regarded that "cradle of gold" as "the most remarkable archeological discovery of recent times." They assured us there was nothing half so good. They even assumed that we were secretly planning to return thither to dig for buried treasure! Denials were of no avail. To a people whose ancestors made fortunes out of lucky "strikes," and who themselves have been brought up on stories of enormous wealth still remaining to be discovered by some fortunate excavator, the question of tesoro—treasure, wealth, riches—is an ever-present source of conversation. Even the prefect of Cuzco was quite unable to conceive of my doing anything for the love of discovery. He was convinced that I should find great riches at Choqquequirau—and that I was in receipt of a very large salary! He refused to believe that the members of the Expedition received no more than their expenses. He told me confidentially that Professor Foote would sell his collection of insects for at least $10,000! Peruvians have not been accustomed to see any one do scientific work except as he was paid by the government or employed by a railroad or mining company. We have frequently found our work misunderstood and regarded with suspicion, even by the Cuzco Historical Society.

The valley of the Urubamba, or Uilcamayu, as it used to be called, may be reached from Cuzco in several ways. The usual route for those going to Yucay is northwest from the city, over the great Andean highway, past the slopes of Mt. Sencca. At Ttica-Ttica (12,000 ft.) the road crosses the lowest pass at the western end of the Cuzco Basin. At the last point from which one can see the city of Cuzco, all true Indians, whether on their way out of the valley or into it, pause, turn toward the east, facing the city, remove their hats and mutter a prayer. I believe that the words they use now are those of the "Ave Maria," or some other familiar orison of the Catholic Church. Nevertheless, the custom undoubtedly goes far back of the advent of the first Spanish missionaries. It is probably a relic of the ancient habit of worshiping the rising sun. During the centuries immediately preceding the conquest, the city of Cuzco was the residence of the Inca himself, that divine individual who was at once the head of Church and State. Nothing would have been more natural than for persons coming in sight of his residence to perform an act of veneration. This in turn might have led those leaving the city to fall into the same habit at the same point in the road. I have watched hundreds of travelers pass this point. None of those whose European costume proclaimed a white or mixed ancestry stopped to pray or make obeisance. On the other hand, all those, without exception, who were clothed in a native costume, which betokened that they considered themselves to be Indians rather than whites, paused for a moment, gazing at the ancient city, removed their hats, and said a short prayer.

Leaving Ttica-Ttica, we went northward for several leagues, passed the town of Chincheros, with its old Inca walls, and came at length to the edge of the wonderful valley of Yucay. In its bottom are great level terraces rescued from the Urubamba River by the untiring energy of the ancient folk. On both sides of the valley the steep slopes bear many remains of narrow terraces, some of which are still in use. Above them are "temporales," fields of grain, resting like a patch-work quilt on slopes so steep it seems incredible they could be cultivated. Still higher up, their heads above the clouds, are the jagged snow-capped peaks. The whole offers a marvelous picture, rich in contrast, majestic in proportion. In Yucay once dwelt the Inca Manco's oldest son, Sayri Tupac, after he had accepted the viceroy's invitation to come under Spanish protection. Here he lived three years and here, in 1560, he died an untimely death under circumstances which led his brothers, Titu Cusi and Tupac Amaru, to think that they would be safer in Uiticos. We spent the night in Urubamba, the modern capital of the province, much favored by Peruvians of to-day because of its abundant water supply, delightful climate, and rich fruits. Cuzco, 11,000 feet, is too high to have charming surroundings, but two thousand feet lower, in the Urubamba Valley, there is everything to please the eye and delight the horticulturist.

Speaking of horticulturists reminds me of their enemies. Uru is the Quichua word for caterpillars or grubs, pampa means flat land. Urubamba is "flat-land-where-there-are-grubs-or-caterpillars." Had it been named by people who came up from a warm region where insects abound, it would hardly have been so denominated. Only people not accustomed to land where caterpillars and grubs flourished would have been struck by such a circumstance. Consequently, the valley was probably named by plateau dwellers who were working their way down into a warm region where butterflies and moths are more common. Notwithstanding its celebrated caterpillars, Urubamba's gardens of to-day are full of roses, lilies, and other brilliant flowers. There are orchards of peaches, pears, and apples; there are fields where luscious strawberries are raised for the Cuzco market. Apparently, the grubs do not get everything.

The next day down the valley brought us to romantic Ollantaytambo, described in glowing terms by Castelnau, Marcou, Wiener, and Squier many years ago. It has lost none of its charm, even though Marcou's drawings are imaginary and Squier's are exaggerated. Here, as at Urubamba, there are flower gardens and highly cultivated green fields. The brooks are shaded by willows and poplars. Above them are magnificent precipices crowned by snow-capped peaks. The village itself was once the capital of an ancient principality whose history is shrouded in mystery. There are ruins of curious gabled buildings, storehouses, "prisons," or "monasteries," perched here and there on well-nigh inaccessible crags above the village. Below are broad terraces of unbelievable extent where abundant crops are still harvested; terraces which will stand for ages to come as monuments to the energy and skill of a bygone race. The "fortress" is on a little hill, surrounded by steep cliffs, high walls, and hanging gardens so as to be difficult of access. Centuries ago, when the tribe which cultivated the rich fields in this valley lived in fear and terror of their savage neighbors, this hill offered a place of refuge to which they could retire. It may have been fortified at that time. As centuries passed in which the land came under the control of the Incas, whose chief interest was the peaceful promotion of agriculture, it is likely that this fortress became a royal garden. The six great ashlars of reddish granite weighing fifteen or twenty tons each, and placed in line on the summit of the hill, were brought from a quarry several miles away with an immense amount of labor and pains. They were probably intended to be a record of the magnificence of an able ruler. Not only could he command the services of a sufficient number of men to extract these rocks from the quarry and carry them up an inclined plane from the bottom of the valley to the summit of the hill; he had to supply the men with food. The building of such a monument meant taking five hundred Indians away from their ordinary occupations as agriculturists. He must have been a very good administrator. To his people the magnificent megaliths were doubtless a source of pride. To his enemies they were a symbol of his power and might.


Mt. Veronica and Salapunco, the Gateway to Uilcapampa ———

A league below Ollantaytambo the road forks. The right branch ascends a steep valley and crosses the pass of Panticalla near snow-covered Mt. Veronica. Near the pass are two groups of ruins. One of them, extravagantly referred to by Wiener as a "granite palace, whose appearance [appareil] resembles the more beautiful parts of Ollantaytambo," was only a storehouse. The other was probably a tampu, or inn, for the benefit of official travelers. All travelers in Inca times, even the bearers of burdens, were acting under official orders. Commercial business was unknown. The rights of personal property were not understood. No one had anything to sell; no one had any money to buy it with. On the other hand, the Incas had an elaborate system of tax collecting. Two thirds of the produce raised by their subjects was claimed by the civil and religious rulers. It was a reasonable provision of the benevolent despotism of the Incas that inhospitable regions like the Panticalla Pass near Mt. Veronica should be provided with suitable rest houses and storehouses. Polo de Ondegardo, an able and accomplished statesman, who was in office in Cuzco in 1560, says that the food of the chasquis, Inca post runners, was provided from official storehouses; "those who worked for the Inca's service, or for religion, never ate at their own expense." In Manco's day these buildings at Havaspampa probably sheltered the outpost which defeated Captain Villadiego.

Before the completion of the river road, about 1895, travelers from Cuzco to the lower Urubamba had a choice of two routes, one by way of the pass of Panticalla, followed by Captain Garcia in 1571, by General Miller in 1835, Castelnau in 1842, and Wiener in 1875; and one by way of the pass between Mts. Salcantay and Soray, along the Salcantay River to Huadquina, followed by the Count de Sartiges in 1834 and Raimondi in 1865. Both of these routes avoid the highlands between Mt. Salcantay and Mt. Veronica and the lowlands between the villages of Piri and Huadquina. This region was in 1911 undescribed in the geographical literature of southern Peru. We decided not to use either pass, but to go straight down the Urubamba river road. It led us into a fascinating country.

Two leagues beyond Piri, at Salapunco, the road skirts the base of precipitous cliffs, the beginnings of a wonderful mass of granite mountains which have made Uilcapampa more difficult of access than the surrounding highlands which are composed of schists, conglomerates, and limestone. Salapunco is the natural gateway to the ancient province, but it was closed for centuries by the combined efforts of nature and man. The Urubamba River, in cutting its way through the granite range, forms rapids too dangerous to be passable and precipices which can be scaled only with great effort and considerable peril. At one time a footpath probably ran near the river, where the Indians, by crawling along the face of the cliff and sometimes swinging from one ledge to another on hanging vines, were able to make their way to any of the alluvial terraces down the valley. Another path may have gone over the cliffs above the fortress, where we noticed, in various inaccessible places, the remains of walls built on narrow ledges. They were too narrow and too irregular to have been intended to support agricultural terraces. They may have been built to make the cliff more precipitous. They probably represent the foundations of an old trail. To defend these ancient paths we found that prehistoric man had built, at the foot of the precipices, close to the river, a small but powerful fortress whose ruins now pass by the name of Salapunco; sala = ruins; punco = gateway. Fashioned after famous Sacsahuaman and resembling it in the irregular character of the large ashlars and also by reason of the salients and reentrant angles which enabled its defenders to prevent the walls being successfully scaled, it presents an interesting problem.

Commanding as it does the entrance to the valley of Torontoy, Salapunco may have been built by some ancient chief to enable him to levy tribute on all who passed. My first impression was that the fortress was placed here, at the end of the temperate zone, to defend the valleys of Urubamba and Ollantaytambo against savage enemies coming up from the forests of the Amazon. On the other hand, it is possible that Salapunco was built by the tribes occupying the fastnesses of Uilcapampa as an outpost to defend them against enemies coming down the valley from the direction of Ollantaytambo. They could easily have held it against a considerable force, for it is powerfully built and constructed with skill. Supplies from the plantations of Torontoy, lower down the river, might have reached it along the path which antedated the present government road. Salapunco may have been occupied by the troops of the Inca Manco when he established himself in Uiticos and ruled over Uilcapampa. He could hardly, however, have built a megalithic work of this kind. It is more likely that he would have destroyed the narrow trails than have attempted to hold the fort against the soldiers of Pizarro. Furthermore, its style and character seem to date it with the well-known megalithic structures of Cuzco and Ollantaytambo. This makes it seem all the more extraordinary that Salapunco could ever have been built as a defense against Ollantaytambo, unless it was built by folk who once occupied Cuzco and who later found a retreat in the canyons below here.


Grosvenor Glacier and Mt. Salcantay ———

When we first visited Salapunco no megalithic remains had been reported as far down the valley as this. It never occurred to us that, in hunting for the remains of such comparatively recent structures as the Inca Manco had the force and time to build, we were to discover remains of a far more remote past. Yet we were soon to find ruins enough to explain why such a fortress as Salapunco might possibly have been built so as to defend Uilcapampa against Ollantaytambo and Cuzco and not those well-known Inca cities against the savages of the Amazon jungles.

Passing Salapunco, we skirted granite cliffs and precipices and entered a most interesting region, where we were surprised and charmed by the extent of the ancient terraces, their length and height, the presence of many Inca ruins, the beauty of the deep, narrow valleys, and the grandeur of the snow-clad mountains which towered above them. Across the river, near Qquente, on top of a series of terraces, we saw the extensive ruins of Patallacta (pata = height or terrace; llacta = town or city), an Inca town of great importance. It was not known to Raimondi or Paz Soldan, but is indicated on Wiener's map, although he does not appear to have visited it. We have been unable to find any reference to it in the chronicles. We spent several months here in 1915 excavating and determining the character of the ruins. In another volume I hope to tell more of the antiquities of this region. At present it must suffice to remark that our explorations near Patallacta disclosed no "white rock over a spring of water." None of the place names in this vicinity fit in with the accounts of Uiticos. Their identity remains a puzzle, although the symmetry of the buildings, their architectural idiosyncrasies such as niches, stone roof-pegs, bar-holds, and eye-bonders, indicate an Inca origin. At what date these towns and villages flourished, who built them, why they were deserted, we do not yet know; and the Indians who live hereabouts are ignorant, or silent, as to their history.

At Torontoy, the end of the cultivated temperate valley, we found another group of interesting ruins, possibly once the residence of an Inca chief. In a cave near by we secured some mummies. The ancient wrappings had been consumed by the natives in an effort to smoke out the vampire bats that lived in the cave. On the opposite side of the river are extensive terraces and above them, on a hilltop, other ruins first visited by Messrs. Tucker and Hendriksen in 1911. One of their Indian bearers, attempting to ford the rapids here with a large surveying instrument, was carried off his feet, swept away by the strong current, and drowned before help could reach him.

Near Torontoy is a densely wooded valley called the Pampa Ccahua. In 1915 rumors of Andean or "spectacled" bears having been seen here and of damage having been done by them to some of the higher crops, led us to go and investigate. We found no bears, but at an elevation of 12,000 feet were some very old trees, heavily covered with flowering moss not hitherto known to science. Above them I was so fortunate as to find a wild potato plant, the source from which the early Peruvians first developed many varieties of what we incorrectly call the Irish potato. The tubers were as large as peas.

Mr. Heller found here a strange little cousin of the kangaroo, a near relative of the coenolestes. It turned out to be new to science. To find a new genus of mammalian quadrupeds was an event which delighted Mr. Heller far more than shooting a dozen bears. [8]

Torontoy is at the beginning of the Grand Canyon of the Urubamba, and such a canyon! The river "road" runs recklessly up and down rock stairways, blasts its way beneath overhanging precipices, spans chasms on frail bridges propped on rustic brackets against granite cliffs. Under dense forests, wherever the encroaching precipices permitted it, the land between them and the river was once terraced and cultivated. We found ourselves unexpectedly in a veritable wonderland. Emotions came thick and fast. We marveled at the exquisite pains with which the ancient folk had rescued incredibly narrow strips of arable land from the tumbling rapids. How could they ever have managed to build a retaining wall of heavy stones along the very edge of the dangerous river, which it is death to attempt to cross! On one sightly bend near a foaming waterfall some Inca chief built a temple, whose walls tantalize the traveler. He must pass by within pistol shot of the interesting ruins, unable to ford the intervening rapids. High up on the side of the canyon, five thousand feet above this temple, are the ruins of Corihuayrachina (kori = "gold"; huayara = "wind"; huayrachina = "a threshing-floor where winnowing takes place." Possibly this was an ancient gold mine of the Incas. Half a mile above us on another steep slope, some modern pioneer had recently cleared the jungle from a fine series of ancient artificial terraces.

On the afternoon of July 23d we reached a hut called "La Maquina," where travelers frequently stop for the night. The name comes from the presence here of some large iron wheels, parts of a "machine" destined never to overcome the difficulties of being transported all the way to a sugar estate in the lower valley, and years ago left here to rust in the jungle. There was little fodder, and there was no good place for us to pitch our camp, so we pushed on over the very difficult road, which had been carved out of the face of a great granite cliff. Part of the cliff had slid off into the river and the breach thus made in the road had been repaired by means of a frail-looking rustic bridge built on a bracket composed of rough logs, branches, and reeds, tied together and surmounted by a few inches of earth and pebbles to make it seem sufficiently safe to the cautious cargo mules who picked their way gingerly across it. No wonder "the machine" rested where it did and gave its name to that part of the valley.

Dusk falls early in this deep canyon, the sides of which are considerably over a mile in height. It was almost dark when we passed a little sandy plain two or three acres in extent, which in this land of steep mountains is called a pampa. Were the dwellers on the pampas of Argentina—where a railroad can go for 250 miles in a straight line, except for the curvature of the earth—to see this little bit of flood-plain called Mandor Pampa, they would think some one had been joking or else grossly misusing a word which means to them illimitable space with not a hill in sight. However, to the ancient dwellers in this valley, where level land was so scarce that it was worth while to build high stone-faced terraces so as to enable two rows of corn to grow where none grew before, any little natural breathing space in the bottom of the canyon is called a pampa.


The Road Between Maquina and Mandor Pampa Near Machu Picchu ———

We passed an ill-kept, grass-thatched hut, turned off the road through a tiny clearing, and made our camp at the edge of the river Urubamba on a sandy beach. Opposite us, beyond the huge granite boulders which interfered with the progress of the surging stream, was a steep mountain clothed with thick jungle. It was an ideal spot for a camp, near the road and yet secluded. Our actions, however, aroused the suspicions of the owner of the hut, Melchor Arteaga, who leases the lands of Mandor Pampa. He was anxious to know why we did not stay at his hut like respectable travelers. Our gendarme, Sergeant Carrasco, reassured him. They had quite a long conversation. When Arteaga learned that we were interested in the architectural remains of the Incas, he said there were some very good ruins in this vicinity—in fact, some excellent ones on top of the opposite mountain, called Huayna Picchu, and also on a ridge called Machu Picchu. These were the very places Charles Wiener heard of at Ollantaytambo in 1875 and had been unable to reach. The story of my experiences on the following day will be found in a later chapter. Suffice it to say at this point that the ruins of Huayna Picchu turned out to be of very little importance, while those of Machu Picchu, familiar to readers of the "National Geographic Magazine," are as interesting as any ever found in the Andes.

When I first saw the remarkable citadel of Machu Picchu perched on a narrow ridge two thousand feet above the river, I wondered if it could be the place to which that old soldier, Baltasar de Ocampo, a member of Captain Garcia's expedition, was referring when he said: "The Inca Tupac Amaru was there in the fortress of Pitcos [Uiticos], which is on a very high mountain, whence the view commanded a great part of the province of Uilcapampa. Here there was an extensive level space, with very sumptuous and majestic buildings, erected with great skill and art, all the lintels of the doors, the principal as well as the ordinary ones, being of marble, elaborately carved." Could it be that "Picchu" was the modern variant of "Pitcos"? To be sure, the white granite of which the temples and palaces of Machu Picchu are constructed might easily pass for marble. The difficulty about fitting Ocampo's description to Machu Picchu, however, was that there was no difference between the lintels of the doors and the walls themselves. Furthermore, there is no "white rock over a spring of water" which Calancha says was "near Uiticos." There is no Pucyura in this neighborhood. In fact, the canyon of the Urubamba does not satisfy the geographical requirements of Uiticos. Although containing ruins of surpassing interest, Machu Picchu did not represent that last Inca capital for which we were searching. We had not yet found Manco's palace.


The Search Continued

Machu Picchu is on the border-line between the temperate zone and the tropics. Camping near the bridge of San Miguel, below the ruins, both Mr. Heller and Mr. Cook found interesting evidences of this fact in the flora and fauna. From the point of view of historical geography, Mr. Cook's most important discovery was the presence here of huilca, a tree which does not grow in cold climates. The Quichua dictionaries tell us huilca is a "medicine, a purgative." An infusion made from the seeds of the tree is used as an enema. I am indebted to Mr. Cook for calling my attention to two articles by Mr. W. E. Safford in which it is also shown that from seeds of the huilca a powder is prepared, sometimes called cohoba. This powder, says Mr. Safford, is a narcotic snuff "inhaled through the nostrils by means of a bifurcated tube." "All writers unite in declaring that it induced a kind of intoxication or hypnotic state, accompanied by visions which were regarded by the natives as supernatural. While under its influence the necromancers, or priests, were supposed to hold communication with unseen powers, and their incoherent mutterings were regarded as prophecies or revelations of hidden things. In treating the sick the physicians made use of it to discover the cause of the malady or the person or spirit by whom the patient was bewitched." Mr. Safford quotes Las Casas as saying: "It was an interesting spectacle to witness how they took it and what they spake. The chief began the ceremony and while he was engaged all remained silent .... When he had snuffed up the powder through his nostrils, he remained silent for a while with his head inclined to one side and his arms placed on his knees. Then he raised his face heavenward, uttering certain words which must have been his prayer to the true God, or to him whom he held as God; after which all responded, almost as we do when we say amen; and this they did with a loud voice or sound. Then they gave thanks and said to him certain complimentary things, entreating his benevolence and begging him to reveal to them what he had seen. He described to them his vision, saying that the Cemi [spirits] had spoken to him and had predicted good times or the contrary, or that children were to be born, or to die, or that there was to be some dispute with their neighbors, and other things which might come to his imagination, all disturbed with that intoxication." [9]

Clearly, from the point of view of priests and soothsayers, the place where huilca was first found and used in their incantations would be important. It is not strange to find therefore that the Inca name of this river was Uilca-mayu: the "huilca river." The pampa on this river where the trees grew would likely receive the name Uilca pampa. If it became an important city, then the surrounding region might be named Uilcapampa after it. This seems to me to be the most probable origin of the name of the province. Anyhow it is worth noting the fact that denizens of Cuzco and Ollantaytambo, coming down the river in search of this highly prized narcotic, must have found the first trees not far from Machu Picchu.

Leaving the ruins of Machu Picchu for later investigation, we now pushed on down the Urubamba Valley, crossed the bridge of San Miguel, passed the house of Senor Lizarraga, first of modern Peruvians to write his name on the granite walls of Machu Picchu, and came to the sugar-cane fields of Huadquina. We had now left the temperate zone and entered the tropics.

At Huadquina we were so fortunate as to find that the proprietress of the plantation, Senora Carmen Vargas, and her children, were spending the season here. During the rainy winter months they live in Cuzco, but when summer brings fine weather they come to Huadquina to enjoy the free-and-easy life of the country. They made us welcome, not only with that hospitality to passing travelers which is common to sugar estates all over the world, but gave us real assistance in our explorations. Senora Carmen's estate covers more than two hundred square miles. Huadquina is a splendid example of the ancient patriarchal system. The Indians who come from other parts of Peru to work on the plantation enjoy perquisites and wages unknown elsewhere. Those whose home is on the estate regard Senora Carmen with an affectionate reverence which she well deserves. All are welcome to bring her their troubles. The system goes back to the days when the spiritual, moral, and material welfare of the Indians was entrusted in encomienda to the lords of the repartimiento or allotted territory.

Huadquina once belonged to the Jesuits. They planted the first sugar cane and established the mill. After their expulsion from the Spanish colonies at the end of the eighteenth century, Huadquina was bought by a Peruvian. It was first described in geographical literature by the Count de Sartiges, who stayed here for several weeks in 1834 when on his way to Choqquequirau. He says that the owner of Huadquina "is perhaps the only landed proprietor in the entire world who possesses on his estates all the products of the four parts of the globe. In the different regions of his domain he has wool, hides, horsehair, potatoes, wheat, corn, sugar, coffee, chocolate, coca, many mines of silver-bearing lead, and placers of gold." Truly a royal principality.


Huadquina ———

Incidentally it is interesting to note that although Sartiges was an enthusiastic explorer, eager to visit undescribed Inca ruins, he makes no mention whatever of Machu Picchu. Yet from Huadquina one can reach Machu Picchu on foot in half a day without crossing the Urubamba River. Apparently the ruins were unknown to his hosts in 1834. They were equally unknown to our kind hosts in 1911. They scarcely believed the story I told them of the beauty and extent of the Inca edifices. [10] When my photographs were developed, however, and they saw with their own eyes the marvelous stonework of the principal temples, Senora Carmen and her family were struck dumb with wonder and astonishment. They could not understand how it was possible that they should have passed so close to Machu Picchu every year of their lives since the river road was opened without knowing what was there. They had seen a single little building on the crest of the ridge, but supposed that it was an isolated tower of no great interest or importance. Their neighbor, Lizarraga, near the bridge of San Miguel, had reported the presence of the ruins which he first visited in 1904, but, like our friends in Cuzco, they had paid little attention to his stories. We were soon to have a demonstration of the causes of such skepticism.

Our new friends read with interest my copy of those paragraphs of Calaucha's "Chronicle" which referred to the location of the last Inca capital. Learning that we were anxious to discover Uiticos, a place of which they had never heard, they ordered the most intelligent tenants on the estate to come in and be questioned. The best informed of all was a sturdy mestizo, a trusted foreman, who said that in a little valley called Ccllumayu, a few hours' journey down the Urubamba, there were "important ruins" which had been seen by some of Senora Carmen's Indians. Even more interesting and thrilling was his statement that on a ridge up the Salcantay Valley was a place called Yurak Rumi (yurak = "white"; rumi = "stone") where some very interesting ruins had been found by his workmen when cutting trees for firewood. We all became excited over this, for among the paragraphs which I had copied from Calancha's "Chronicle" was the statement that "close to Uiticos" is the "white stone of the aforesaid house of the Sun which is called Yurak Rumi." Our hosts assured us that this must be the place, since no one hereabouts had ever heard of any other Yurak Rumi. The foreman, on being closely questioned, said that he had seen the ruins once or twice, that he had also been up the Urubamba Valley and seen the great ruins at Ollantaytambo, and that those which he had seen at Yurak Rumi were "as good as those at Ollantaytambo." Here was a definite statement made by an eyewitness. Apparently we were about to see that interesting rock where the last Incas worshiped. However, the foreman said that the trail thither was at present impassable, although a small gang of Indians could open it in less than a week. Our hosts, excited by the pictures we had shown them of Machu Picchu, and now believing that even finer ruins might be found on their own property, immediately gave orders to have the path to Yurak Rumi cleared for our benefit.

While this was being done, Senora Carmen's son, the manager of the plantation, offered to accompany us himself to Ccllumayu, where other "important ruins" had been found, which could be reached in a few hours without cutting any new trails. Acting on his assurance that we should not need tent or cots, we left our camping outfit behind and followed him to a small valley on the south side of the Urubamba. We found Ccllumayu to consist of two huts in a small clearing. Densely wooded slopes rose on all sides. The manager requested two of the Indian tenants to act as guides. With them, we plunged into the thick jungle and spent a long and fatiguing day searching in vain for ruins. That night the manager returned to Huadquina, but Professor Foote and I preferred to remain in Ccllumayu and prosecute a more vigorous search on the next day. We shared a little thatched hut with our Indian hosts and a score of fat cuys (guinea pigs), the chief source of the Ccllumayu meat supply. The hut was built of rough wattles which admitted plenty of fresh air and gave us comfortable ventilation. Primitive little sleeping-platforms, also of wattles, constructed for the needs of short, stocky Indians, kept us from being overrun by inquisitive cuys, but could hardly be called as comfortable as our own folding cots which we had left at Huadquina.

The next day our guides were able to point out in the woods a few piles of stones, the foundations of oval or circular huts which probably were built by some primitive savage tribe in prehistoric times. Nothing further could be found here of ruins, "important" or otherwise, although we spent three days at Ccllumayu. Such was our first disillusionment.

On our return to Huadquina, we learned that the trail to Yurak Rumi would be ready "in a day or two." In the meantime our hosts became much interested in Professor Foote's collection of insects. They brought an unnamed scorpion and informed us that an orange orchard surrounded by high walls in a secluded place back of the house was "a great place for spiders." We found that their statement was not exaggerated and immediately engaged in an enthusiastic spider hunt. When these Huadquina spiders were studied at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zooelogy, Dr. Chamberlain found among them the representatives of four new genera and nineteen species hitherto unknown to science. As a reward of merit, he gave Professor Foote's name to the scorpion!


Ruins of Yurak Rumi near Huadquina. Probably an Inca Storehouse, well ventilated and well drained. Drawn by A. H. Bumstead from measurements and photographs by Hiram Bingham and H. W. Foote. ———

Finally the trail to Yurak Rumi was reported finished. It was with feelings of keen anticipation that I started out with the foreman to see those ruins which he had just revisited and now declared were "better than those of Ollantaytambo." It was to be presumed that in the pride of discovery he might have exaggerated their importance. Still it never entered my head what I was actually to find. After several hours spent in clearing away the dense forest growth which surrounded the walls I learned that this Yurak Rumi consisted of the ruins of a single little rectangular Inca storehouse. No effort had been made at beauty of construction. The walls were of rough, unfashioned stones laid in clay. The building was without a doorway, although it had several small windows and a series of ventilating shafts under the house. The lintels of the windows and of the small apertures leading into the subterranean shafts were of stone. There were no windows on the sunny north side or on the ends, but there were four on the south side through which it would have been possible to secure access to the stores of maize, potatoes, or other provisions placed here for safe-keeping. It will be recalled that the Incas maintained an extensive system of public storehouses, not only in the centers of population, but also at strategic points on the principal trails. Yurak Rumi is on top of the ridge between the Salcantay and Huadquina valleys, probably on an ancient road which crossed the province of Uilcapampa. As such it was interesting; but to compare it with Ollantaytambo, as the foreman had done, was to liken a cottage to a palace or a mouse to an elephant. It seems incredible that anybody having actually seen both places could have thought for a moment that one was "as good as the other." To be sure, the foreman was not a trained observer and his interest in Inca buildings was probably of the slightest. Yet the ruins of Ollantaytambo are so well known and so impressive that even the most casual traveler is struck by them and the natives themselves are enormously proud of them. The real cause of the foreman's inaccuracy was probably his desire to please. To give an answer which will satisfy the questioner is a common trait in Peru as well as in many other parts of the world. Anyhow, the lessons of the past few days were not lost on us. We now understood the skepticism which had prevailed regarding Lizarraga's discoveries. It is small wonder that the occasional stories about Machu Picchu which had drifted into Cuzco had never elicited any enthusiasm nor even provoked investigation on the part of those professors and students in the University of Cuzco who were interested in visiting the remains of Inca civilization. They knew only too well the fondness of their countrymen for exaggeration and their inability to report facts accurately.

Obviously, we had not yet found Uiticos. So, bidding farewell to Senora Carmen, we crossed the Urubamba on the bridge of Colpani and proceeded down the valley past the mouth of the Lucumayo and the road from Panticalla, to the hamlet of Chauillay, where the Urubamba is joined by the Vilcabamba River. [11] Both rivers are restricted here to narrow gorges, through which their waters rush and roar on their way to the lower valley. A few rods from Chauillay was a fine bridge. The natives call it Chuquichaca! Steel and iron have superseded the old suspension bridge of huge cables made of vegetable fiber, with its narrow roadway of wattles supported by a network of vines. Yet here it was that in 1572 the military force sent by the viceroy, Francisco de Toledo, under the command of General Martin Hurtado and Captain Garcia, found the forces of the young Inca drawn up to defend Uiticos. It will be remembered that after a brief preliminary fire the forces of Tupac Amaru were routed without having destroyed the bridge and thus Captain Garcia was enabled to accomplish that which had proved too much for the famous Gonzalo Pizarro. Our inspection of the surroundings showed that Captain Garcia's companion, Baltasar de Ocampo, was correct when he said that the occupation of the bridge of Chuquichaca "was a measure of no small importance for the royal force." It certainly would have caused the Spaniards "great trouble" if they had had to rebuild it.

We might now have proceeded to follow Garcia's tracks up the Vilcabamba had we not been anxious to see the proprietor of the plantation of Santa Ana, Don Pedro Duque, reputed to be the wisest and ablest man in this whole province. We felt he would be able to offer us advice of prime importance in our search. So leaving the bridge of Chuquichaca, we continued down the Urubamba River which here meanders through a broad, fertile valley, green with tropical plantations. We passed groves of bananas and oranges, waving fields of green sugar cane, the hospitable dwellings of prosperous planters, and the huts of Indians fortunate enough to dwell in this tropical "Garden of Eden." The day was hot and thirst-provoking, so I stopped near some large orange trees loaded with ripe fruit and asked the Indian proprietress to sell me ten cents' worth. In exchange for the tiny silver real she dragged out a sack containing more than fifty oranges! I was fain to request her to permit us to take only as many as our pockets could hold; but she seemed so surprised and pained, we had to fill our saddle-bags as well.

At the end of the day we crossed the Urubamba River on a fine steel bridge and found ourselves in the prosperous little town of Quillabamba, the provincial capital. Its main street was lined with well-filled shops, evidence of the fact that this is one of the principal gateways to the Peruvian rubber country which, with the high price of rubber then prevailing, 1911, was the scene of unusual activity. Passing through Quillabamba and up a slight hill beyond it, we came to the long colonnades of the celebrated sugar estate of Santa Ana founded by the Jesuits, where all explorers who have passed this way since the days of Charles Wiener have been entertained. He says that he was received here "with a thousand signs of friendship" ("mille temoignages d'amitie"). We were received the same way. Even in a region where we had repeatedly received valuable assistance from government officials and generous hospitality from private individuals, our reception at Santa Ana stands out as particularly delightful.

Don Pedro Duque took great interest in enabling us to get all possible information about the little-known region into which we proposed to penetrate. Born in Colombia, but long resident in Peru, he was a gentleman of the old school, keenly interested, not only in the administration and economic progress of his plantation, but also in the intellectual movements of the outside world. He entered with zest into our historical-geographical studies. The name Uiticos was new to him, but after reading over with us our extracts from the Spanish chronicles he was sure that he could help us find it. And help us he did. Santa Ana is less than thirteen degrees south of the equator; the elevation is barely 2000 feet; the "winter" nights are cool; but the heat in the middle of the day is intense. Nevertheless, our host was so energetic that as a result of his efforts a number of the best-informed residents were brought to the conferences at the great plantation house. They told all they knew of the towns and valleys where the last four Incas had found a refuge, but that was not much. They all agreed that "if only Senor Lopez Torres were alive he could have been of great service" to us, as "he had prospected for mines and rubber in those parts more than any one else, and had once seen some Inca ruins in the forest!" Of Uiticos and Chuquipalpa and most of the places mentioned in the chronicles, none of Don Pedro's friends had ever heard. It was all rather discouraging, until one day, by the greatest good fortune, there arrived at Santa Ana another friend of Don Pedro's, the teniente gobernador of the village of Lucma in the valley of Vilcabamba—a crusty old fellow named Evaristo Mogrovejo. His brother, Pio Mogrovejo, had been a member of the party of energetic Peruvians who, in 1884, had searched for buried treasure at Choqquequirau and had left their names on its walls. Evaristo Mogrovejo could understand searching for buried treasure, but he was totally unable otherwise to comprehend our desire to find the ruins of the places mentioned by Father Calancha and the contemporaries of Captain Garcia. Had we first met Mogrovejo in Lucma he would undoubtedly have received us with suspicion and done nothing to further our quest. Fortunately for us, his official superior was the sub-prefect of the province of Convencion, lived at Quillabamba near Santa Ana, and was a friend of Don Pedro's. The sub-prefect had received orders from his own official superior, the prefect of Cuzco, to take a personal interest in our undertaking, and accordingly gave particular orders to Mogrovejo to see to it that we were given every facility for finding the ancient ruins and identifying the places of historic interest. Although Mogrovejo declined to risk his skin in the savage wilderness of Conservidayoc, he carried out his orders faithfully and was ultimately of great assistance to us.

Extremely gratified with the result of our conferences in Santa Ana, yet reluctant to leave the delightful hospitality and charming conversation of our gracious host, we decided to go at once to Lucma, taking the road on the southwest side of the Urubamba and using the route followed by the pack animals which carry the precious cargoes of coca and aguardiente from Santa Ana to Ollantaytambo and Cuzco. Thanks to Don Pedro's energy, we made an excellent start; not one of those meant-to-be-early but really late-in-the-morning departures so customary in the Andes.

We passed through a region which originally had been heavily forested, had long since been cleared, and was now covered with bushes and second growth. Near the roadside I noticed a considerable number of land shells grouped on the under-side of overhanging rocks. As a boy in the Hawaiian Islands I had spent too many Saturdays collecting those beautiful and fascinating mollusks, which usually prefer the trees of upland valleys, to enable me to resist the temptation of gathering a large number of such as could easily be secured. None of the snails were moving. The dry season appears to be their resting period. Some weeks later Professor Foote and I passed through Maras and were interested to notice thousands of land shells, mostly white in color, on small bushes, where they seemed to be quietly sleeping. They were fairly "glued to their resting places"; clustered so closely in some cases as to give the stems of the bushes a ghostly appearance.

Our present objective was the valley of the river Vilcabamba. So far as we have been able to learn, only one other explorer had preceded us—the distinguished scientist Raimondi. His map of the Vilcabamba is fairly accurate. He reports the presence here of mines and minerals, but with the exception of an "abandoned tampu" at Maracnyoc ("the place which possesses a millstone"), he makes no mention of any ruins. Accordingly, although it seemed from the story of Baltasar de Ocampo and Captain Garcia's other contemporaries that we were now entering the valley of Uiticos, it was with feel-hags of considerable uncertainty that we proceeded on our quest. It may seem strange that we should have been in any doubt. Yet before our visit nearly all the Peruvian historians and geographers except Don Carlos Romero still believed that when the Inca Manco fled from Pizarro he took up his residence at Choqquequirau in the Apurimac Valley. The word choqquequirau means "cradle of gold" and this lent color to the legend that Manco had carried off with him from Cuzco great quantities of gold utensils and much treasure, which he deposited in his new capital. Raimondi, knowing that Manco had "retired to Uilcapampa," visited both the present villages of Vilcabamba and Pucyura and saw nothing of any ruins. He was satisfied that Choqquequirau was Manco's refuge because it was far enough from Pucyura to answer the requirements of Calancha that it was "two or three days' journey" from Uilcapampa to Puquiura.

A new road had recently been built along the river bank by the owner of the sugar estate at Paltaybamba, to enable his pack animals to travel more rapidly. Much of it had to be carved out of the face of a solid rock precipice and in places it pierces the cliffs in a series of little tunnels. My gendarme missed this road and took the steep old trail over the cliffs. As Ocampo said in his story of Captain Garcia's expedition, "the road was narrow in the ascent with forest on the fight, and on the left a ravine of great depth." We reached Paltaybamba about dusk. The owner, Senor Jose S. Pancorbo, was absent, attending to the affairs of a rubber estate in the jungles of the river San Miguel. The plantation of Paltaybamba occupies the best lands in the lower Vilcabamba Valley, but lying, as it does, well off the main highway, visitors are rare and our arrival was the occasion for considerable excitement. We were not unexpected, however. It was Senor Pancorbo who had assured us in Cuzco that we should find ruins near Pucyura and he had told his major-domo to be on the look-out for us. We had a long talk with the manager of the plantation and his friends that evening. They had heard little of any ruins in this vicinity, but repeated one of the stories we had heard in Santa Ana, that way off somewhere in the montana there was "an Inca city." All agreed that it was a very difficult place to reach; and none of them had ever been there. In the morning the manager gave us a guide to the next house up the valley, with orders that the man at that house should relay us to the next, and so on. These people, all tenants of the plantation, obligingly carried out their orders, although at considerable inconvenience to themselves.

The Vilcabamba Valley above Paltaybamba is very picturesque. There are high mountains on either side, covered with dense jungle and dark green foliage, in pleasing contrast to the light green of the fields of waving sugar cane. The valley is steep, the road is very winding, and the torrent of the Vilcabamba roars loudly, even in July. What it must be like in February, the rainy season, we could only surmise. About two leagues above Paltaybamba, at or near the spot called by Raimondi "Maracnyoc," an "abandoned tampu," we came to some old stone walls, the ruins of a place now called Huayara or "Hoyara." I believe them to be the ruins of the first Spanish settlement in this region, a place referred to by Ocampo, who says that the fugitives of Tupac Amaru's army were "brought back to the valley of Hoyara," where they were "settled in a large village, and a city of Spaniards was founded .... This city was founded on an extensive plain near a river, with an admirable climate. From the river channels of water were taken for the service of the city, the water being very good." The water here is excellent, far better than any in the Cuzco Basin. On the plain near the river are some of the last cane fields of the plantation of Paltaybamba. "Hoyara" was abandoned after the discovery of gold mines several leagues farther up the valley, and the Spanish "city" was moved to the village now called Vilcabamba.

Our next stop was at Lucma, the home of Teniente Gobernador Mogrovejo. The village of Lucma is an irregular cluster of about thirty thatched-roofed huts. It enjoys a moderate amount of prosperity due to the fact of its being located near one of the gateways to the interior, the pass to the rubber estates in the San Miguel Valley. Here are "houses of refreshment" and two shops, the only ones in the region. One can buy cotton cloth, sugar, canned goods and candles. A picturesque belfry and a small church, old and somewhat out of repair, crown the small hill back of the village. There is little level land, but the slopes are gentle, and permit a considerable amount of agriculture.

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