On This Day In History: Last Inca Emperor Atahualpa Captured By Francisco Pizarro – On Nov 16, 1532

On Nov 16, 1532, Francisco Pizarro captured Atahualpa, the Last Emperor of the Inca Empire in the town of Cajamarca, Peru.

When he arrived in Cajamarca, the town itself was almost empty except. Pizarro sent an embassy to the Inca, led by Hernando de Soto, consisting of 15 horsemen and an interpreter; shortly thereafter he sent 20 more horsemen as reinforcements in case of an Inca attack.

The Spaniards invited Atahualpa to visit Cajamarca to meet Pizarro, which he decided to do the following day.

Meanwhile, Pizarro was preparing an ambush to trap the Inca.

The day after one of his men told Inca Emperor Atahualpa that the Spanish had arrived in peace, arriving in the agreed-upon square with 7,000 lightly-armed men and servants.

Atahualpa refused to take orders from King Charles I, prompting the Pizarro’s men to unleash an ambush and overpower the Inca.

The fall of the empire would soon follow.

Early in the afternoon of November 16, 1532, Atahualpa followed a long procession of his men — warriors in fine dress with weapons hid beneath their clothes — through the jungle and into the center of Cajamarca.

The Inca found no Spaniards in the plaza, as they were all inside the buildings; the only one to come out was the Dominican friar Vincente de Valverde with an interpreter.

Although there are different accounts as to what Valverde said, most agree that he invited the Inca to come inside to talk and dine with Pizarro. Atahualpa instead demanded the return of every single thing the Spaniards had taken since they landed.

The fateful moment arrived when Atahualpa received a copy of the Bible from Valverde.

Taking it in his hand after being told he could hear God, the Inca shook the book to listen for a sound — he had never seen such an object before. Hearing nothing, he threw it on the ground.

Distressed, Valverde ran back to Pizarro, who launched the onslaught. Spanish soldiers, sweeping down out of the hills firing rifles and cannons, scattered the terrified Inca warriors. Those who were not killed fled into the mountains.

Atahualpa’s servants, attempting to carry their leader to safety, fought through severe wounds in attempt to defend him. As the Spanish advanced on the procession in an attempt to kill the Inca Emperor, Pizarro intervened to take him hostage.

Nearly a year later, after Atahualpa filled a room with gold and silver to ransom himself, Pizarro had the native leader executed on August 29, 1533.

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