Francisco Pizarro Biography

Francisco Pizarro (Trujillo, Spain, circa 1476 – Lima, Peru, June 26, 1541). Spanish military leader, explorer and conqueror, recognized for accompanying Vasco Núñez de Balboa in the first sighting, by Europe, of the Pacific Ocean, as well as for his foray into the Peruvian territory.

He commanded the invasion of the Inca Empire, the subjugation of his people and the execution of his emperor Atahualpa.

Early life

It is believed that he was born on March 16 between 1471 and 1476, in a very humble family, being the son of a nobleman named Gonzalo Pizarro Rodríguez de Aguilar and Francisca González Mateos, who was a lady of the chamber that his sister.

However, Pizarro was born outside the marriage union, so he did not enjoy the rights of a legitimate son. When he reached his youth he decided to enlist as a soldier, and follow in the footsteps of his father, who had served in the wars of Italy. Wonderful with the stories that came from the New World, determined to embark on an expedition.

Journeys to the New World

In 1502, he finally left for the Americas, as part of the crew under Nicolas de Ovando, who had been appointed by the New Governor of Hispan. Very little is known about his early years on the Continent.

In 1508, he undertook an expedition with Alonso de Hojeda, which led him to San Sebastián de Urabá, located in present-day Colombia. However, the Spaniards encountered strong resistance from the indigenous people, who confronted them, producing significant casualties.

In 1510, when men and resources were not sufficient, the same Hojeda moved to Santo Domingo, in search of reinforcements. However, he did not return. After 50 days, Pizarro and the other men decided to take the journey to Santo Domingo themselves.

On the way back, they met Vasco Núñez de Balboa, joining him on his quest to conquer and subdue the Darrién region, located in present-day Panama. Pizarro assumed power as second-in-command of the expedition.

Incursion into the Inca territory

For the next few years, Pizarro accompanied Vasco Núñez de Balboa through the isthmus of Panama, and was with it when he first saw the Pacific Ocean. After Pedro Arias de Avila’s arrest of its leader, Pizarro remained in Panama, where he was appointed mayor and managed to make a small fortune.

Enthusiastic about the legends about gold and riches that Hernán Cortés had found in the Aztec territories, Pizarro partnered in 1524 with Diego de Almagro and the priest Fernando de Luque, in order to depart on a new expedition to the southern territories of the Continent.

Enthusiastic about the legends about gold and riches that Hernán Cortés had found in the Aztec territories, Pizarro partnered in 1524 with Diego de Almagro and the priest Fernando de Luque, in order to depart on a new expedition to the southern territories of the Continent.

They explored the banks of the San Juan River and continued to explore the west coast of South America. The second expedition departed in 1526, this time, Pizarro and his men arrived in the Inca city of Tumbes.

The conquerors were astonished at the gold they found in this city, where they heard its inhabitants refer to a powerful emperor, who ruled in a city located in the mountains. Believing it to be a powerful Aztec metropolis, Pizarro decided to venture into his quest.

Aware that he would need more men and resources, Pizarro set out for Spain, to meet him personally with King Charles, to ask for his support. The sovereign granted him the position of Governor on the lands he conquered and the help he requested. In 1530, under the command of some 160 men, he undertook his third expedition, reaching the territory near Guayaquil.

In 1532, they gained access to Tumbes, which they found destroyed, as a result of the Inca Civil War, which led to the clash between the forces of Huáscar and Atahualpa, sons of Emperor Huayna Cápac, who clashed for power, after the death of this one. The Incas did not consider the Spaniards a threat. Without facing them, they continued on their way.

Conquest of Cusco

In 1532, during the month of November, Pizarro and his men arrived in Cajamarca, where Atahualpa reigned, who had won the war and power of his brother Huáscar. On November 16, Atahualpa and Pizarro gathered to meet.

However, in the face of Atahualpa’s refusal to accept the Catholic religion and the King’s authority, the Spaniards attacked the Incas, in what turned out to be a trap, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of indigenous people.

Atahualpa was taken hostage, and despite giving the Spaniards the amount of gold and silver requested, he was sentenced to death, being hanged on August 29, 1533, resulting in the surrender of the Incas of this city.

Pizarro continued on his way to Cuzco, the main city of the Inca empire, which he was able to easily invade in November 1533. From that moment, he devoted his work to accumulating wealth for the Crown and for his own profit.

Final years and legacy

On June 26, 1541, Pizarro was killed, during the uprising of the followers of his partner Diego de Almagro, with whom he had broken relationships because of differences in the wealth to be distributed. Some historians point out that before he died, Pizarro drew with his blood a cross on the ground, which he kissed, before expiring.

As for his legacy, as with the other conquerors, there is an ambiguity, because if on the one hand he is responsible for producing the encounter of Spanish culture with the Inca, one cannot fail to take into account the hundreds of original inhabitants killed and enslaved, as well as the massive extraction of natural resources.

However, in general terms, Pizarro is considered one of the most influential men in history, due to the great economic, cultural and social implications of his expedition.

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Francisco Pizarro Biography
Source: Education  
July 27, 2019

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