Francisco Pizarro

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Francisco Pizarro

Francisco Pizarro González, marqués de los Atabillos (1471June 26, 1541) was a Spanish conquistador. Today, he is known as the conqueror of the Inca Empire. He also founded Lima, La Ciudad de los Reyes, capital of Peru. Pizarro was born in Trujillo, Extremadura, Spain. He was an illegitimate son of Gonzalo Pizarro Rodríguez de Aguilar (senior) who as colonel of infantry served in the Italian campaigns under Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, and in Navarre, with some distinction. His mother was Francisca González Mateos, a woman of slender means from Trujillo. Through his father, Francisco was second cousin to Hernán Cortés, the famed conquistador of Mexico.

In 1502, Pizarro travelled to the New World where he joined in several expeditions to see the Pacific Ocean. In 1513 Pizarro joined the expedition of Nunez de Balboa across the Isthmus of Panama to become one of the first Europeans to see the Pacific Ocean. In 1524, after hearing stories about the exploration of Peru, he joined Diego de Almagro and Hernando de Soto. Together, they agreed to travel to Peru and look for gold. The expedition was a disaster, but Pizarro made connections with the Inca people. In 1528 he returned to Spain, where the king allowed him to conquer the new land for the sake of Spain. Pizarro himself was to be named governor of Peru. In 1531 he landed in Peru again, accompanied by not even 300 soldiers. The country was devastated by a recent civil war between Atahualpa and Huascar, the sons of the dead emperor. In November 1532, Pizarro met Atahualpa in the city of Cajamarca and managed to capture him, despite the Inca was protected by thousands of soldiers. The weapons of the Spaniards proved superior. In 1533, after paying a huge ransom for his release, Atahualpa requested to be let free but was killed anyway by Pizarro. He then continued south into Peru and captured the capital of Cuzco.

In 1535, Pizarro founded a new capital named La Ciudad the los Reyes, today known as Lima. However, some Spaniards had not been part of the capture of the Inca and therefor had not been paid any gold. Led by Almagro, the Almagristas, Almagro's men, marched south into present-day Chile to find new riches, while Pizarro stayed in Peru. The Inca were treated very ill and their riches stolen by the Spaniards, who built huge estates or travelled back to Spain. Pizarro became the richest and most powerful of them all. In 1536, the Inca tried to overthrow him in a rebellion, but failed since Pizarro managed to subdue the Incas after a year of fights. However, the Spaniards had became so weakened that when Almagro returned, he took power and expelled Pizarro to the north. Pizarro returned with an army in 1538 and defeated Almagro. Almagro was executed in the plaza of Cuzco and Pizarro was again sole ruler. However, Almagro had a son who swore revenge, and in 1541, Pizarro was killed in his palace in Lima by a number of men following Diego Almagro the younger. He was himself caught and executed the following year, so was the last brother of Pizarro struggling for power in Peru, in 1548. Then the Spanish king took personal control over the country by a personal envoy, the Viceroy.