The Red True Story Book
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But his triumph was not to be for long.

We left Pizarro preparing to leave Puna and cross to Tumbez. His surprise when he did so was great, for he found only the ruins of what had been a flourishing town; moreover, some of his men were treacherously attacked by the natives, whom he had supposed to be quite friendly to him. The Spaniards were much disappointed, as they had looked forward confidently to securing the golden treasures of Tumbez of which they had heard so much; nor could Pizarro believe the explanation of this state of affairs given by the Curaca, who was caught lurking in the woods. However, it was his policy to remain friendly with the natives if possible, so no further notice was taken. No true account could be gathered of the fate of the two men who had been left there from the last expedition, though it was evident that both had perished. An Indian gave Pizarro a scroll left by one of them, upon which was written: 'Know, whoever you may be that may chance to set foot in this country, that it contains more silver and gold than there is iron in Biscay.' But when this was shown to the soldiers they only thought it was a device of their captain to give them fresh hope. Pizarro, seeing that nothing but incessant activity could keep down the rising spirit of discontent, now spent some weeks in exploring the country, and finally assembling all his men at a spot some thirty leagues south of Tumbez, he built there a considerable town, which he named San Miguel. The site afterwards proved to be unhealthy, and was abandoned for another on the banks of the river Piura, where a town still stands. Presently the news reached San Miguel that Atahuallpa was encamped within twelve days' journey, and Pizarro after much consideration resolved to present himself in his camp, trusting doubtless that when he got there circumstances would arise which he could turn to his own advantage.


Placing himself at the head of his troops, he struck boldly into the heart of the country, received everywhere by the natives with confiding hospitality. The Spaniards were careful to give no offence, being aware that their best chance of success lay in conciliating the people by whom they were surrounded. After five days' marching, Pizarro halted in a pleasant valley to rest his company, and finding that some few among them showed discontent and were unwilling to proceed, he called them all together, and told them that they had now reached a crisis which it would require all their courage to meet, and no man should go forward who had any misgivings as to the success of the expedition. He added that the garrison left in San Miguel was by no means as strong as he would like it to be, and that if any of them wished to return there instead of going forward with him they were quite free to do so, and their share in the profits of the expedition should be just the same as that of the men originally left there. Nine of the soldiers availed themselves of this permission to turn back, and having thus got rid of the elements of discontent, which might have become dangerous, Pizarro resumed his march, halting again at Zaran while he sent an officer forward to obtain more certain tidings of the position of Atahuallpa. After eight days the cavalier returned, bringing with him an envoy from the Inca, who bore a present for the Spanish commander, and invited him to visit Atahuallpa's camp among the mountains. Pizarro quite understood that the Inca's object was to learn the strength and condition of the white men, but he hospitably entertained his guest, giving him all the information he demanded by means of the two interpreters, who had by his forethought been taught Castilian, and were now of inestimable service. When the Peruvian departed, Pizarro presented him with a few trifling gifts, and bade him tell Atahuallpa that he would meet him as soon as possible. After sending an account of their proceedings back to San Miguel the adventurers continued their journey towards Caxamalca, and having crossed a deep and rapid river, fell in with some natives, who gave such contrary reports of Atahuallpa's position and intentions that Pizarro sent one of the Indians who accompanied him ostensibly to bear a friendly greeting to the Inca, but really to find out all he could of the state of affairs.

After a further march of three days the little army reached the foot of the huge mountain barrier, and entered upon the labyrinth of passes which were to lead them to Atahuallpa's camp. The difficulties of the way were enough to have appalled the stoutest heart. The path was in many places so steep that the men had to dismount and scramble up as best they could, dragging their horses after them; often some huge crag so overhung the track that they could scarcely creep round the narrow ledge of rock, while a false step would have plunged them into a fearful precipice. In several of the passes huge stone fortresses had been built, and places abounded where a handful of men might have barred the way successfully against an army, but to the relief of the Spaniards they found all quiet and deserted, the only living things visible being an occasional condor or vicuna. Finding that their passage was not to be disputed, Pizarro, who had led the way with one detachment, encamped for the night, sending word back to his brother to bring up the remainder of the force without delay. Another toilful day brought him to the crest of the Cordillera, a bleak tract where the only vegetation was a dry, yellow grass which grew up to the snow-line. Here he was met by one of his Indian messengers, who reported that the path was clear, and an envoy from the Inca was on his way to the Castilian camp. Very soon the Peruvians appeared, bringing a welcome present of llamas and a message from their master, who desired to know when the Spaniards would reach Caxamalca, that he might provide suitably for their reception. The ambassador vaunted the power and the triumphs of Atahuallpa; but Pizarro was not to be outdone, and did not hesitate to declare that the Inca was as much inferior to the King of Spain as the petty chiefs of the country were to the Inca. After another march of two days the Spaniards began the descent of the eastern side of the Cordillera, meeting by the way another and more important envoy, and seven days later the valley of Caxamalca lay before them, the vapour of its hot springs rising in the still air, and the slope of the further hillside white with the tents of the Inca's encampment for a space of several miles—a sight which filled the Spaniards with a dismay they could hardly conceal. Putting on a bold front they marched into the town, which was quite deserted, but seemed large enough to hold ten thousand people, and then Pizarro despatched an embassy consisting of his brother Hernando, another cavalier, and thirty-five horsemen, to the camp of Atahuallpa. The party galloped along the causeway, and, fording a shallow stream, made their way through a guard of Indians to the open courtyard in the midst of which the Inca's pavilion stood. The buildings were covered with a shining plaster, both white and coloured, and there was a spacious stone reservoir in the courtyard, which remains to this day, and is called 'The Inca's Bath.' The Court was filled with Indian nobles, and Atahuallpa himself sat upon a low stool, distinguished from the rest by the crimson fringe upon his forehead, which he had worn since the defeat of his brother Huascar. Hernando Pizarro rode up to him and, addressing him ceremoniously, informed him by the aid of Felipillo that he came as an ambassador from his brother to acquaint the Inca with the arrival of the white men in Caxamalca, and to explain that they were the subjects of a mighty prince across the waters, who, attracted by the report of his great victories, had come to offer their services, and to impart to him the doctrines of the true faith which they professed, and he brought an invitation from the general to beg Atahuallpa to visit them in their present quarters. To all this the Inca listened with his eyes fixed upon the ground, and answered never a word, but one of the nobles standing by said, 'It is well.' Hernando Pizarro then respectfully begged the Inca to speak to them himself and inform them of his pleasure, upon which Atahuallpa smiled faintly and replied: 'Tell your captain that I am keeping a fast, which will end to-morrow morning; I will then visit him. In the meantime let him occupy the public buildings on the square, and no other, till I come and order what shall be done.'


One of the cavaliers who was mounted upon a fiery steed, seeing that Atahuallpa looked at it with some interest, caused it to rear and curvet, and then dashed out over the plain in a wild gallop, and returning checked it in full career close beside the Inca. But the face of Atahuallpa never for an instant lost its marble composure, though several of his soldiers shrank back in manifest terror as the strange creature passed them; and it is said that they paid dearly for their timidity, as Atahuallpa caused them to be put to death for thus showing fear in the presence of the strangers. Wine was now brought, and offered to the Spaniards in golden goblets of extraordinary size, and then they took their leave and rode gloomily back to Caxamalca. Pizarro alone was not discouraged by the news they brought. He saw that matters had now come to a climax, and determined upon making a bold stroke. To encounter the Inca in the open field was manifestly impossible, but could his person be secured when he entered the city with comparatively few of his followers the rest might be intimidated, and all might yet be well. To this end, therefore, he laid his plans. The building in which the Spaniards were encamped occupied three sides of a square, and consisted of spacious halls opening upon it with wide doors. In these halls the general stationed his men, and there they were to remain under cover till the Inca should have entered the square, when at a given signal, the firing of a gun, they were to rush out uttering their battle-cries, and, putting the Peruvians to the sword, possess themselves of the person of Atahuallpa. After a quiet night and a careful inspection of their arms and equipments, the Spaniards took up their respective positions, but it was late in the day before a great stir was visible in the Peruvian camp. The Inca sent word to Pizarro that he was coming armed, as the Spaniards had come to him. To which the general replied that, come as he might, he would be received as a friend and a brother. At last the procession was seen approaching. First came a large body of attendants, sweeping every particle of rubbish from the road. Then high above the crowd the Inca appeared, carried in a gorgeous litter and surrounded by his nobles, who wore such quantities of golden ornaments that they blazed like the sun. The road was lined with Peruvian troops, who also covered the level meadows as far as the eye could reach. When the company had arrived within half a mile of the city gate Pizarro observed with dismay that they halted, and seemed to be preparing to encamp, and word was brought him that the Inca would enter the city on the following morning. This was far from suiting the general's plans; his men had been under arms since daylight, and to prolong the suspense at this critical moment would he felt be fatal. He returned an answer, therefore, to Atahuallpa, deprecating his change of purpose, and saying that everything was provided for his entertainment and he expected him that night to sup with him. This message turned the Inca from his purpose, his tents were struck again, and the procession re-formed. Only he sent Pizarro word that he should prefer to pass the night at Caxamalca, and so would bring into the town with him only a few unarmed men. It was near sunset when the Peruvians, chanting their triumphant songs, entered the city gate. According to their different ranks their robes were of various colours, some chequered in white and red, some pure white, while the guards and attendants of the Inca were distinguished by their gay blue uniform and the profusion of their ornaments. Atahuallpa sat in an open litter, lined with the brilliantly coloured plumes of tropical birds and studded with burnished plates of gold and silver. His dress was far richer than on the preceding evening; round his neck hung a collar of large and brilliant emeralds, and his short hair was decorated with golden ornaments. He was at this time about thirty years old, and was taller and stronger than most of his countrymen. His head was large, and he might have been called handsome but for his fierce and bloodshot eyes. His bearing was calm and dignified, and he gazed upon the multitudes about him like one accustomed to command. Not a Spaniard was to be seen as the procession, in admirable order, entered the great square of the building that had been assigned to them, and when the place was occupied by some six thousand of his people Atahuallpa halted, and asked, 'Where are the strangers?' Upon this Father Valverde, Pizarro's chaplain, came forward Bible in hand, and proceeded to expound to him the doctrines of his faith, declaring finally that the Pope had commissioned the Spanish Emperor to conquer and convert the inhabitants of the western world, and beseeching the Inca to embrace the Christian faith and acknowledge himself a tributary of the Emperor Charles, who would aid and protect him as a loyal vassal. The eyes of Atahuallpa flashed fire as he answered: 'I will be no man's tributary; I am greater than any prince upon earth. Your Emperor may be a great prince. I do not doubt it when I see that he has sent his subjects so far across the waters, and I am willing to hold him as a brother. As for the Pope of whom you speak, he must be crazy to talk of giving away countries which do not belong to him. For my faith, I will not change it. Your own God, you say, was put to death by the very men whom he created, but mine'—and here he pointed to the setting sun—'my god still lives in the heavens and looks down upon his children.' He then demanded of Valverde by what authority he had said these things. The friar pointed to the book he held. Atahuallpa took it, looked at it for an instant, and then threw it violently down, exclaiming: 'Tell your comrades they shall give an account of their doings in my land. I will not go from here till they have made me full satisfaction for all the wrongs they have committed.'

The friar thereupon rushed to Pizarro crying: 'Do you not see that while we stand here wasting our breath in talking with this dog—full of pride as he is—the fields are filling with Indians? Set on at once; I absolve you.'

Pizarro saw that the hour had come. He waved a white scarf, the fatal gun was fired, and from every opening the Spaniards poured into the great square, sword in hand, shouting their old battle-cry, 'St. Jago, and at them!' The Indians, unarmed, taken by surprise, stunned by the noise of the artillery, and blinded with smoke, knew not which way to fly. Nobles and soldiers were ruthlessly cut down, or trampled underfoot by the horses, the entrance to the square was choked with the fallen bodies of men, but the desperate struggles of the masses of natives driven together by their fierce assailants actually broke down the wall of clay and stone for a space of a hundred paces, through which the wretched fugitives endeavoured to reach the open country, hotly pursued by the cavalry and struck down in all directions.


Meanwhile, a desperate struggle was going on for the person of the Inca. His nobles surrounded and faithfully strove to defend him; as fast as one was cut down another took his place, and with their dying grasp they clung to the bridles of the cavaliers, trying to force them back. Atahuallpa sat as one stunned in his swaying litter, forced this way and that by the pressure of the throng. The Spaniards grew tired at last of the work of destruction, and, fearing that in the gathering darkness the Inca might after all escape them, they made an attempt to end the fray at once by taking his life. But Pizarro, seeing this, cried out in a mighty voice, 'Let no man who values his life strike at the Inca,' and, stretching out his arm to shield him, received a wound on the hand from one of his own men—the only wound received by any Spaniard in the action. The strife now became fiercer round the litter, and several of the nobles who bore it having been slain, it was overturned, and the Inca would have come violently to the ground had not Pizarro and some of his men caught him in their arms. A soldier instantly snatched the crimson fringe from his forehead, and the unhappy monarch was taken into the nearest building and carefully guarded. All attempt at resistance now ceased. The news of the Inca's fate spread over town and country, and the only thing which had held them together being gone, each man thought only of his own safety. The Spaniards pursued the fugitives till night fell and the sound of the trumpet recalled them to the square of Caxamalca. That night the Inca supped with Pizarro as he had said, while ten thousand of his faithful followers lay dead about the city.

He seemed like one in a dream, not understanding the calamity that had fallen upon him. He even commended the adroit way in which the Spaniards had entrapped him, adding that since the landing of the white men he had been made aware of all their doings, but had felt sure of being easily able to overpower them as soon as he thought fit to do so, and had allowed them to reach Caxamalca unmolested because he desired to see them for himself, and to obtain possession of their arms and horses. This, at least, was the interpretation of what the Inca said given by Felipillo; but he was a malicious youth, who bore Atahuallpa no good will, and the Spaniards were only too ready to believe anything that seemed to justify their cruel deeds. Pizarro replied that the fate of the Inca was the lot that fell to all who resisted the white men, but he bade Atahuallpa take courage, for the Spaniards were a generous race, warring only against those who would not submit themselves. That same night the general reviewed his men, congratulating them upon the success of their stratagem, but warning them to be strictly upon their guard, since they were but a handful of strangers in the heart of a mighty kingdom, encompassed by foes who were deeply attached to their own sovereign. Next morning, the prisoners, of whom there were many in the camp, were employed in burying the dead and removing all traces of the massacre, while a troop of Spaniards was despatched to spoil the camp of Atahuallpa and scatter the remnant of the Peruvian forces. At noon this party returned, bringing the wives and attendants of the Inca, and a rich booty in gold, silver, emeralds, and other treasures, beside droves of llamas.

Pizarro would now have liked to march directly upon the capital, but the distance was great and his force was small. So after sending a message to San Miguel for reinforcements, he set his men to work at rebuilding the walls of Caxamalca, and fitting up a church, in which mass was celebrated daily. Atahuallpa soon discovered that gold was what the Spaniards chiefly coveted, and he determined to try and buy his freedom, for he greatly feared that Huascar might win back his liberty and his kingdom if the news once reached him of his brother's captivity. So he one day promised Pizarro to fill with gold the room in which they stood, not merely covering the floor, but piling it up to a line drawn round the walls as high as he could reach, if he would in return set him free. The general hardly knew how to answer. All he had seen confirmed the rumours of the wealth of the country, and if it could be collected thus by the Inca's order, he might really hope to secure it, whereas if he trusted to being able to seize it for himself the chances were that most of it would disappear for ever, hidden by the natives beyond recovery. At all events he decided it would be safe to agree to Atahuallpa's proposal; when the gold was collected it would be time enough to think about setting the captive at liberty. The room to be filled was seventeen feet broad by twenty-two feet long, and the line upon the wall was drawn nine feet from the ground. A smaller room which adjoined it the Inca offered to fill with silver twice over, and he demanded two months' time to accomplish all this.

As soon as the arrangement was made, Atahuallpa sent couriers to Cuzco and all the other chief places in the kingdom, with orders to strip the royal palaces of their treasures and send them without delay to Caxamalca. Meanwhile he lived in the Spanish quarters, treated with consideration, and allowed to see his subjects freely, but at the same time strictly guarded.


The news of Atahuallpa's capture and the immense ransom he had offered soon reached the ears of Huascar, who was encouraged by the tidings to make vigorous efforts to regain his own liberty, and sent a message to the Spanish commander saying that he would pay a much larger ransom than that promised by Atahuallpa, who, never having lived in Cuzco, could not know the quantity of treasure there, or where it was stored. This was told to Atahuallpa, who also knew that Pizarro had said that Huascar should be brought to Caxamalca, that he himself might determine which of the two brothers had the better right to the sceptre of the Incas. Furiously jealous, and fearing that the decision would surely be in favour of the more docile Huascar, Atahuallpa ordered secretly that he should be put to death by his guards, and he was accordingly drowned in the river of Andamarca, declaring with his dying breath that the white men would avenge his murder, and that his rival would not long survive him. Week by week the treasure poured in from all quarters of the realm, borne on the shoulders of the Indian porters, and consisting mainly of massive pieces of plate, some of them weighing seventy-five pounds; but as the distances were great, and the progress necessarily slow, the Spaniards became impatient, and believed, or pretended to believe, that the Inca was planning some treachery, and wilfully delaying till he could arrange a general rising of the Peruvians against the white men. This charge the Inca indignantly denied, and to prove his good faith offered to give a safe-conduct to a party of Spaniards, that they might visit Cuzco for themselves and see that the work of collecting the treasure was really going on. Pizarro gladly accepted this offer, and three cavaliers started for the capital. Meanwhile, Hernando Pizarro with a small troop had set out to make sure that the country round was really quiet, and, finding that it was, he continued his march to the town of Pachacamac, to secure the treasures of its famous temple before they could be hidden by its priests. The city was a hundred leagues from Caxamalca, and the way lay across the tableland of the Cordilleras; but after weeks of severe labour the Spaniards reached it, and, breaking into the temple, in spite of the remonstrances of the priests, they dragged forth and destroyed the hideous idol it contained, and secured the greater part of the treasure of gold and jewels, though the priests, having had warning of his approach, had managed to conceal a good deal, some of which the Spaniards afterwards discovered buried in the surrounding land. The people, seeing that their god was unable to defend himself against the wonderful strangers, now came and tendered their homage, and Hernando Pizarro, hearing that one of the Inca's two great generals, a chief named Challcuchima, was lying with a considerable force in the town of Xanxa, resolved to march there and attack him in his own quarters. The road across the mountains was even rougher and more difficult than the one by which he had come, and, to add to his troubles, the shoes of the horses were all worn out, and they suffered severely on the rough and stony ground. Iron there was none, but silver and gold abounded, so Pizarro ordered the Indian smiths to make horseshoes of silver, with which the horses of the troop were shod. On reaching Xanxa the Spaniards found it a large and populous place, and the Indian general with five-and-thirty thousand men was encamped at a distance of a few miles; but, nothing daunted, Hernando Pizarro sent messages to him, and when he at last consented to an interview, informed him that the Inca demanded his presence in Caxamalca. Having been utterly bewildered since the capture of the Inca, and uncertain as to what course to take, Challcuchima obeyed at once, and accompanied by a numerous retinue journeyed back with the Spaniards. He was everywhere received by the natives with the deepest respect, yet he entered the presence of the Inca barefooted and with a burden laid upon his back, and kneeling before his master he kissed his hands and feet, exclaiming, 'Would that I had been here! This would not then have happened.'

Atahuallpa himself showed no emotion, only coldly bade him welcome: even in his present state of captivity he was immeasurably above the proudest of his vassals. The Spaniards still treated him with all respect, and with his own people he kept up his usual state and ceremony, being attended upon by his wives, while a number of Indian nobles waited always in the antechamber, but never entered his presence unless sent for, and then only with every mark of humility. His dress, which he often changed, was sometimes made of vicuna wool, sometimes of bats' skins, sleek as velvet. Nothing which he had worn could be used by another; when he laid it aside it was burned. To while away the time the Spaniards taught him to play chess, at which he became expert, spending upon it many of the tedious hours of his imprisonment. Soon after the return of Hernando Pizarro the three cavaliers came back from Cuzco. They had travelled six hundred miles in the greatest luxury, carried in litters by the natives, and received everywhere with awe and respect. Their accounts of the wealth of the capital confirmed all that Pizarro had heard, and though they had stayed a week there, they had not seen all. They had seen the royal mummies in their golden chairs, and had left them untouched by the Inca's orders; but they had caused the plates of pure gold to be stripped from the Temple of the Sun—seven hundred of them, compared in size to the lid of a chest ten or twelve inches wide. The cornice was so firmly embedded in the stonework that it defied their efforts to remove it. But they brought with them full two hundred loads of gold, beside much silver, all hastily collected, for the arrogant behaviour of the emissaries had greatly exasperated the people of Cuzco, who were glad to get rid of them as soon as possible. About this time Almagro reached San Miguel, having, after many difficulties, succeeded in collecting a few more adventurers, and heard with amazement of Pizarro's successes and of the change in his fortunes. In spite of the feelings of rivalry and distrust that existed between himself and his old comrade, Pizarro was delighted to hear of his arrival, as the additional troops he brought with him made it possible to go forward with the conquest of the country. So when Almagro reached Caxamalca in the middle of February 1533, he and his men were received with every mark of joy. Only Atahuallpa looked on sadly, seeing the chances of regaining his freedom, or maintaining it if he did regain it, lessened by the increased number of his enemies, and to add to his dejection a comet just then made its appearance in the heavens. As one had been seen shortly before the death of the Inca's father, Huayna Capac, he looked upon it as a warning of evil to come, and a dread of the future took possession of him.

The Spaniards now began to clamour for a division of the gold which had been already collected: several of them were disposed to return home with the share that would fall to them, but by far the greater number only wished to make sure of the spoil and then hurry on to Cuzco, where they believed as much more awaited them. For various reasons Pizarro agreed to their demands; the gold—all but a few particularly beautiful specimens of the Indian goldsmith's work, which were sent to Castile as part of the royal fifth—was melted down into solid bars, and when weighed was found to be worth nearly three and a half millions of pounds sterling. This was divided amongst Pizarro and his men, the followers of Almagro not being considered to be entitled to a share, though a small sum was handed over to them to induce them to give up their claim. The division being completed, there seemed to be no further obstacle to their resuming active operations; but then the question arose what was to become of Atahuallpa, who was loudly demanding his freedom. He had not, indeed, paid the whole of his promised ransom; but an immense amount had been received, and it would have been more, as he urged, but for the impatience of the Spaniards. Pizarro, telling no one of the dark purposes he was brooding over in his own mind, issued a proclamation to the effect that the ransom was considered to be completely paid, but that the safety of the Spaniards required that the Inca should be held captive until they were still further reinforced. Soon rumours began to be spread, probably by Felipillo, who hated the Inca, that an immense army was mustering at Quito, and that thirty thousand Caribs, of whom the Spaniards had a peculiar horror, were on their way to join it. Both Atahuallpa and his general Challcuchima denied all knowledge of any rising, but their protestations of innocence did them little good. The soldiers clamoured against the unhappy Inca, and Pizarro, taking advantage of the temporary absence of some of the cavaliers who would have defended him, ordered him to be brought to instant trial. The evidence of Indian witnesses, as interpreted by Felipillo, sealed his doom, and in spite of the efforts of a few Spaniards he was found guilty by the majority on the charge, among other things, of having assassinated his brother Huascar and raised up insurrection against the Spaniards, and was sentenced to be burnt alive. When Atahuallpa was told of his approaching fate his courage gave way for a moment. 'What have I or my children done,' he said to Pizarro, 'that I should meet such a doom? And from your hands, too!—you who have met with nothing but friendship and kindness from my people, with whom I have shared my treasures, who have received nothing but benefits from my hands.' Then in most piteous tones he begged that his life might be spared, offering to answer for the safety of every Spaniard, and promising to pay double the ransom he had already given. But it was all of no avail. He was not, however, burnt to death; for at the last moment, on his consenting to abjure his own religion and be baptized, he was executed in the usual Spanish manner—by strangulation.

A day or two after, the other cavaliers returned, and found Pizarro making a show of great sorrow for what had happened. They reproached and blamed him, saying that there was no truth in the story of treachery—all was quiet, and the people showed nothing but goodwill. Then Pizarro accused his treasurer and Father Valverde of having deceived him in the matter and brought about the catastrophe; and they in their turn exculpated themselves, and upbraided Pizarro as the only one responsible for the deed, and the quarrel was fierce between them. Meanwhile, the death of the Inca, whose power over his people had been so great, caused the breaking-up of all the ancient institutions. The Indians broke out into great excesses; villages were burnt and temples plundered; gold and silver acquired a new importance in their eyes, and were eagerly seized and hidden in caves and forests; the remote provinces threw off their allegiance to the Incas; the great captains at the head of distant armies set up for themselves—one named Ruminavi sought to detach Quito from the Peruvian Empire and assert its independence. Pizarro, still in Caxamalca, looked round for a successor to Atahuallpa, and chose his young brother Toparca, who was crowned with the usual ceremonies; and then the Spaniards set out for Cuzco, taking the new Inca with them, and after a toilful journey and more than one encounter with hostile natives reached Xanxa in safety. Here Pizarro remained for a time, sending one of his captains, named Hernando de Soto, forward with a small body of men to reconnoitre. This cavalier found villages burnt, bridges destroyed, and heavy rocks and trees placed in the path to impede his cavalry, and realised at length that the natives had risen to resistance. As he neared the Sierra of Vilcaconga he heard that a considerable body of Indians lay in wait for him in its dangerous passes; but though his men and horses were weary, he rashly determined to push on and pass it before nightfall if possible. No sooner had they fairly entered the narrow way than he was attacked by a multitude of armed warriors, who seemed to spring from every bush and cavern, and rushed down like a mountain torrent upon the Spaniards as they struggled up the steep and rocky pathway. Men and horses were overthrown, and it was only after a severe struggle that they succeeded in reaching a level spot upon which it was possible to face the enemy. Night fell while the issue of the fight was still uncertain, but fortunately Pizarro, when he heard of the unsettled state of the country, had despatched Almagro to the support of De Soto. He, hearing that there was the chance of a fight, had pushed on hastily, and now advanced under cover of the darkness, sounding his trumpets, which were joyfully answered by the bugles of De Soto.

When morning broke and the Peruvians saw that their white enemies had been mysteriously reinforced in the night, they hastily retreated, leaving the passes open, and the two cavaliers continued their march through the mountains, and took up a secure position in the open country beyond, to await Pizarro. Their losses had not been very great, but they were quite unprepared to meet with any resistance; and as this seemed a well-organised attack, suspicion fell upon Challcuchima, who was accused by Pizarro of conspiring with Quizquiz, the other great general, against the young Inca, and was told that if he did not at once compel the Peruvians to lay down their arms he should be burnt alive. Challcuchima denied the charge, and declared that, captive as he was, he had no power to bring his countrymen to submission. Nevertheless, he was put in irons and strongly guarded. Unfortunately for him, the young Toparca died just at this time, and suspicion at once fell on the hapless general, who, after the mockery of a trial, was burnt to death as soon as Pizarro reached Almagro's camp—his own followers piling up the faggots. Soon after this Pizarro was surprised by a friendly visit from the young brother of Huascar, Manco Capac, and seeing that this prince was likely to be a useful instrument in his hands, Pizarro acknowledged his claim to be the Inca, and, keeping him with him, resumed the march to Cuzco, which they entered on November 15, 1533. The suburbs were thronged with people, who came from far and near to gaze upon the white faces and the shining armour of the 'Children of the Sun.' The Spaniards rode directly to the great square, and took up their quarters in the palaces of the Incas. They were greatly struck by the beauty and order of the city, and though Pizarro on entering it had issued an order that the dwellings of the inhabitants were not to be plundered or injured, the soldiers soon stripped the palaces and temples of the valuables they contained, even taking the golden ornaments of the royal mummies and rifling the Peruvian graves, which often contained precious treasures. Believing that the natives had buried their wealth, they put some of them to the torture, to induce them to disclose their hiding-places, and by seeking everywhere they occasionally stumbled upon mines of wealth. In one cave near the city the soldiers found a number of vases of pure gold, embossed with figures of animals, serpents, and locusts. Also there were four life-sized figures of llamas, and ten or twelve statues of women, some of gold and some of silver. The magazines were stored with robes of cotton and featherwork, gold sandals and slippers, and dresses composed entirely of beads of gold. The stores of grain and other food the conquerors utterly despised, though the time was to come when they would have been of far greater value to them than all the treasure. On the whole, the riches of the capital did not come up to the expectation of the Spaniards, but they had collected much plunder on the way to it, securing in one place ten bars of solid silver, each twenty feet in length, one foot in breadth, and two or three inches thick.

The natural consequence followed the sudden acquisition of so much wealth. The soldiers, as soon as they had received their share, squandered it recklessly, or lost it over dice or cards. A man who had for his portion one of the great golden images of the Sun taken from the chief temple, lost it in a single night's gaming, whence came the proverb common to this day in Spain, 'He plays away the sun before sunrise.' Another effect of such a superfluity of gold and silver was the instant rise in the prices of all ordinary things, till gold and silver seemed to be the only things in Cuzco that were not wealth. Yet very few indeed of the Spaniards were wise enough to be contented and return to enjoy their spoils in their native country. After the division of the treasure, Pizarro's first care was to place the Inca Manco upon the throne, and demand for him the recognition of his countrymen. All the coronation ceremonies were duly observed. The people acquiesced readily, and there were the usual feastings and rejoicings, at which the royal mummies were paraded according to custom, decked with such ornaments as remained to them. Pizarro then organised a government for the city of Cuzco after the fashion of his own country, and turned the temples into churches and monasteries. He himself was henceforward styled the Governor. Having heard that Atahuallpa's general Quizquiz was stationed not far from Cuzco with a large force of the men of Quito, Pizarro sent Almagro and the Inca Manco to dislodge him, which they did after some sharp fighting. The general fled to the plains of Quito, where, after holding out gallantly for a long time, he was massacred by his own soldiers, weary of the ineffectual struggle.

About this time, Don Pedro de Alvarado, with five hundred well-equipped men, landed at the Bay of Caraques and marched upon Quito, affecting to believe that it was a separate kingdom, and not part of that conquered by Pizarro. This Alvarado was the celebrated cavalier who had been with Cortes in the conquest of Mexico, and earned from the Aztecs the title of 'Tonatiuh,' or 'Child of the Sun.' He had been made Governor of Guatemala, but his avarice being aroused by the reports of Pizarro's conquests, he turned in the direction of Quito a large fleet which he had intended for the Spice Islands. The Governor was much disturbed by the news of his landing, but as matters turned out he need not have been, for Alvarado, having set out to cross the sierra in the direction of Quito, was deserted in the midst of the snowy passes by his Indian guide. His unhappy followers, fresh from the warm climate of Guatemala, were perished with the cold, and still further distressed by suffocating clouds of dust and ashes from the volcano of Cotopaxi. After days of incredible suffering they emerged at last, but leaving behind them at least a fourth of their number, beside two thousand Indians, who had died of cold and hunger. When, after all, he did reach Quito, he found it in the hands of Benalcazah, a cavalier who had been left by Pizarro at San Miguel, and who had deserted his post in order to take possession of Quito, tempted by the reports of the treasure it contained, which, however, he failed to find. Almagro, too, had reached the city before Alvarado got there; moreover, his men had heard so much of the riches of Cuzco that they were inclined to desert him and join Pizarro. On the whole, Alvarado judged it expedient to give up all claim to Quito, and for a sum of money which, though large, did not cover his expenses, to hand over to the Governor his fleet, forces, stores, and munitions. This being settled, he went to Pachacamac to meet Pizarro, who had left his brother Juan in charge of Cuzco, and was inspecting the defences of the coast. There being now no question of rivalry, the two cavaliers met in all courtesy, and Alvarado was hospitably entertained by the Governor, after which he sailed for Guatemala. Peru might now in a manner be considered as conquered; some of the tribes in the interior still held out, but an able officer had been told off to subdue them. Quito and Cuzco had submitted, the army of Atahuallpa had been beaten and dispersed, the Inca was the mere shadow of a king, ruled by the conqueror.

The Governor now turned his attention to building a city which should be the capital of this new colonial empire. Cuzco lay too far inland, San Miguel too far to the north. Pizarro fixed upon a spot near the mouth of a wide river which flowed through the Valley of Rimac, and here soon arose what was then called the 'City of the Kings,' but is now known as Lima. Meanwhile, Hernando Pizarro returned to Castile with the royal fifth, as the Spanish Emperor's share of the treasure was called; he also took with him all the Spaniards who had had enough of the life of adventure and wished to settle in their native land to enjoy their ill-gotten spoils. Pizarro judged rightly that the sight of the gold would bring him ten recruits for every one who thus returned. And so it was, for when he again sailed for Peru it was at the head of the most numerous and the best-appointed fleet that had yet set out. But as so often happened, disaster pursued him, and only a broken remnant finally reached the Peruvian shore. Quarrels now arose between Almagro and Pizarro, the former claiming to be Governor of Cuzco; and when after many difficulties peace was again made, and Almagro, withdrawing his claim, had led his partisans off to conquer Chili, a new trouble began. The Inca Manco, under pretext of showing Hernando Pizarro a hidden treasure, managed to make his escape; the Peruvians flocked to his banner, and the party of Spaniards under Juan Pizarro who were sent out to recapture him returned to Cuzco weary and wounded after many unsuccessful struggles with the enemy, only to find the city closely surrounded by a mighty host of Indians. They were, however, allowed to enter the capital, and then began a terrible siege which lasted for more than five months. Day and night the Spaniards were harassed by showers of missiles. Sometimes the flights of burning arrows or red-hot stones wrapped in some inflammable substance would cause fearful fires in all quarters of the town at once; three times in one day did the flames attack the very building which sheltered the Spaniards, but fortunately they were extinguished without doing much harm. In vain did the besieged make desperate sallies; the Indians planted stakes to entangle their horses, and took the riders prisoners by means of the lasso, which they used with great skill. To add to their distress the great citadel which dominated the town had fallen into the hands of the enemy, and though after a gallant struggle it was retaken, yet it was at the cost of Juan Pizarro's life. As for the Inca noble who defended it, when he saw that the citadel must fall, he cast away his war-club, and, folding his mantle about him, threw himself headlong from the battlements. Famine now began to be felt sharply, and it added horror to the situation of the besieged when, after they had heard no tidings of their countrymen for months, the blood-stained heads of eight or ten Spaniards were one day rolled into the market place, leading them to believe that the rising of the Indians had been simultaneous all over the country, and that their friends were faring no better than themselves. Things were not, however, quite so desperate as they imagined, for Francisco Pizarro when attacked in the City of the Kings had sallied forth and inflicted such a severe chastisement upon the Peruvians that they afterwards kept their distance from him, contenting themselves with cutting off his communication with the interior. Several detachments of soldiers whom he sent to the relief of his brothers in Cuzco were, however, enticed by the natives into the mountain passes and there slain, as also were some solitary settlers on their own estates.

At last, in the month of August, the Inca drew off his forces, and intrenching himself in Tambo, not far from Cuzco, with a considerable body of men, and posting another force to keep watch upon Cuzco and intercept supplies, he dismissed the remainder to the cultivation of their lands. The Spaniards thereupon made frequent forays, and on one occasion the starving soldiers joyfully secured two thousand Peruvian sheep, which saved them from hunger for a time. Once Pizarro desperately attacked Tambo itself, but was driven off with heavy loss, and hunted back ignominiously into Cuzco; but this was the last triumph of the Inca. Soon afterwards Almagro appeared upon the scene, and sent an embassy to the Inca, with whom he had formerly been friendly. Manco received him well, but his suspicions being aroused by a secret conference between Almagro's men and the Spaniards in Cuzco, he fell suddenly upon the former, and a great battle ensued in which the Peruvians were decidedly beaten and the power of the Inca was broken. He died some few years later, leaving the Spaniards still fighting among themselves for the possession of the country. Almagro after some years of strife and adventure was put to death by Hernando Pizarro when he was nearly seventy years old. His son, a gallant and well-beloved youth, who succeeded him, met the same fate in the same place—the great square of Cuzco—a few years later. Hernando himself suffered a long imprisonment in Spain for the murder of Almagro, with serene courage, and even lived some time after his release, being a hundred years old when he died. Gonzola Pizarro was beheaded in Peru, at the age of forty-two, for rebelling against the authority of the Spanish Emperor. Francisco Pizarro was murdered in his own house in the City of the Kings, in the month of June 1541, by the desperate adherents of the young Almagro, or the 'Men of Chili' as they were called, and was buried hastily and secretly by a few faithful servants in an obscure corner of the cathedral. Such was the miserable end of the conqueror of Peru. 'There was none even,' says an old chronicler, 'to cry "God forgive him!"'


* * * * *

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors corrected.

Illustrations were moved outside of paragraphs. Due to this movement, some of the original page numbers in the list of illustrations may not match the actual location.

Many and varied were the hyphenations in this text due to the different stories. Examples are: cocoa-nuts and cocoanuts, and head-quarters and headquarters. These variations were retained.

Page 12, "36 " was changed to "362"

Page 12, the final illustrations page number was obscurred. The number was added.

Page 21, "litttle" changed to "little" (or very little later)

Page 30, "bele" changed to "belle" (France la belle)

Page 54, "gainst" changed to "against" (led a sally against)

Page 87, Footnote, "litt e" changed to "little" (a little fancy)

Page 270, "Kinlock-moidart" changed to "Kinloch Moidart" to match rest of usage in text. (Macdonald of Kinloch Moidart)

Page 272, "thec aves" changed to "the caves" (in the caves of)

Page 298, the second digit in "29th" was presumed as the number was only faintly visible on the original. (the 29th of October)


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