Spanish Conquest of the Incan Empire

Kings and Generals
7 Jun 201813:02
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TLDRIn 1532, the Inca Empire faced a pivotal moment as Spanish conquistadors led by Francisco Pizarro clashed with the native forces of Atahualpa. Pizarro, armed with royal permission and driven by tales of unimaginable treasures, sought to conquer the Andean empire. The Incas, already weakened by the devastating effects of smallpox and internal power struggles, were ill-prepared for the invaders. A strategic ambush in Cajamarca resulted in Atahualpa's capture, leading to a high-stakes hostage situation. Despite fulfilling a massive ransom in gold and silver, Atahualpa was ultimately executed, signaling the beginning of the end for the once-mighty Inca civilization.

  • 🏰 The script narrates the historical conflict between the Conquistadors led by Francisco Pizarro and the Inca Empire under Sapa Inca Atahualpa.
  • 🌟 The encounter between the two empires occurred in the Andes, a region that was not yet fully mapped and was thousands of meters above sea level.
  • 🎖️ Hernán Cortés had returned from Mexico with tales of conquest and unimaginable treasures, inspiring Francisco Pizarro to seek similar glory in Peru.
  • 👑 Pizarro was granted a royal license by the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain Charles V to conquer Peru and was named Governor.
  • 🛡️ The Inca Empire was already weakened by the introduction of smallpox, a disease unknown to them, which resulted in the death of Sapa Inca Huayna Capac and his heir, along with millions of subjects.
  • 🗡️ Pizarro and his men, numbering only 168, used the element of surprise and superior weaponry to capture Atahualpa in Cajamarca.
  • 📜 The Requerimiento was read to Atahualpa, a document claiming Spain's divine right to conquer in the name of God, which he rejected.
  • 💰 Atahualpa offered to fill a room with gold and twice over with silver in exchange for his freedom, a promise he fulfilled.
  • 🔪 Despite the payment of the ransom, Atahualpa was eventually executed by the Spaniards, who saw him as a liability to their conquest.
  • 🏹 The fall of Atahualpa did not signify the end of the conquest of the Inca Empire; the struggle continued as the Spanish aimed to solidify their control.
  • 📚 The video is part of a series on Pre-Columbian Civilizations, with the next episode to cover the Collapse of the Inca Empire.
Q & A
  • What significant historical collision is referred to at the beginning of the script?

    -The significant historical collision referred to is the encounter between the Conquistadors, led by Francisco Pizarro, and the Sapa Inca, the ruler of the Inca Empire, which took place in the Andes Mountains in South America.

  • Who was Hernán Cortés and what was his connection to the events described in the script?

    -Hernán Cortés was a Spanish Conquistador who had just returned from Mexico with tales of conquest and unimaginable treasures in 1528. His success inspired Francisco Pizarro, his second cousin, who also sought to impress the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain, Charles the 5th, with tales of a new land to conquer.

  • What was the impact of smallpox on the Inca Empire prior to Pizarro's arrival?

    -Smallpox, an Eurasian disease, arrived in the Inca Empire slightly before Pizarro and had a devastating impact. It is estimated that up to 90% of the Empire's population succumbed to the disease, including the Sapa Inca Huayna Capac and his heir, which led to a power struggle and chaos within the empire.

  • What was the significance of the Battle of Cajamarca in the fall of the Inca Empire?

    -The Battle of Cajamarca was significant because it led to the capture of Atahualpa, the Sapa Inca, by Pizarro and his men. This effectively decapitated the Inca leadership, paralyzing the empire and setting the stage for its eventual conquest by the Spanish.

  • How did Pizarro plan to conquer the Inca Empire?

    -Pizarro planned to conquer the Inca Empire by capturing Atahualpa, the Sapa Inca, thereby cutting off the head of the empire and paralyzing it. He hid his men in the buildings surrounding the central plaza of Cajamarca and used the element of surprise to seize Atahualpa.

  • What was the Requerimiento and why was it read to Atahualpa?

    -The Requerimiento was a document read aloud to the native peoples of the New World, informing them of Spain's divine right to conquer these lands in the name of God. It was read to Atahualpa to legitimize the Spanish claim over the Inca Empire and to demand his submission to the Church and the Spanish Crown.

  • Why did Atahualpa decide to meet Pizarro and his men instead of having them killed?

    -Atahualpa was curious about the foreigners and their strange 'llamas' (horses), and he underestimated their threat, believing that what could 168 men do against his 50,000 soldiers. He decided to meet them in a ceremonial meeting, expecting no battle.

  • What was Atahualpa's response to the Requerimiento and why was it significant?

    -Atahualpa responded to the Requerimiento by scolding Valverde and the Spanish for their disrespect and for stealing from warehouses and killing Inca chiefs. He then tossed the Bible aside, which Valverde perceived as an act of blasphemy. This act led to the massacre and his eventual capture.

  • What was the ransom that Atahualpa offered to Pizarro in exchange for his freedom?

    -Atahualpa offered to fill the room he was held in with gold and twice over with silver in exchange for his life and freedom. He delivered on this promise, providing an immense amount of gold and silver to the Spanish.

  • Why was Atahualpa ultimately executed despite fulfilling the ransom?

    -Despite fulfilling the ransom, Atahualpa was executed because Pizarro and his men realized that he had outlived his usefulness and posed a liability. They feared that if he were rescued, he would organize resistance against them.

  • What was the fate of the Inca Empire after Atahualpa's capture and execution?

    -After Atahualpa's capture and execution, the Inca Empire was left leaderless and in disarray. The Spanish continued their conquest, eventually leading to the collapse of the once-mighty empire.

🏰 The Collision of Empires: Prelude to Conquest

This paragraph sets the stage for a historical clash between the Spanish Conquistadors and the Inca Empire. It describes the encounter between Hernán Cortés, fresh from his conquest of Mexico, and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Cortés impresses the court with tales of his conquest and unimaginable treasures. Meanwhile, Francisco Pizarro, Cortés' second cousin, arrives in Toledo with exotic gifts from the Andes, aiming to impress the King and secure permission to conquer the land of Peru. Pizarro is granted a royal license and sets off to recruit conquistadors, including his four brothers, and sails for the Americas in January 1530. The Sapa Inca, Huayna Capac, has been expanding the Inca Empire but is now faced with the devastating effects of smallpox, a disease unknown to the Incas, which has already begun to ravage the population before Pizarro's arrival. The disease, which arrived from North and Central America, would eventually claim up to 90% of the Empire's population, including Huayna Capac and his heir, plunging the empire into chaos as his sons fight for succession.

🛡️ The Tipping Point: Atahualpa's Capture and the Inca's Downfall

The narrative shifts to the Inca civil war, where Atahualpa, despite controlling less territory, uses his father's veteran legions to push towards Cuzco. In 1532, after a brutal war, Atahualpa's generals capture his rival brother Huascar. Atahualpa, camped in Cajamarca, plans his coronation as the supreme ruler of the Inca world. However, he is alerted to a small band of foreigners, the Spaniards, causing havoc on the coast and marching towards Cajamarca. Atahualpa, curious rather than threatened, decides to meet them. On November 16, 1532, Atahualpa enters the square at Cajamarca with 6,000 barely armed men for a ceremonial meeting. Unbeknownst to him, Pizarro and his men, emulating Cortés' strategy, have planned to capture Atahualpa to paralyse the Inca Empire. Pizarro's men are hidden, ready to spring an ambush. The Inca troops, crowded into the square with only two narrow exits, are unaware of the impending attack. The Spaniards' fear is palpable as they prepare to confront the vast Inca force, which they believe they can overcome with the element of surprise and their superior weaponry.

🗝️ The Ransom and Betrayal: Atahualpa's Downfall

Following the ambush and capture of Atahualpa, the Inca Empire is thrown into disarray. Atahualpa, believing the Spaniards to be pirates interested in gold, offers them a ransom in exchange for his life and freedom. He promises to fill a room with gold and twice that with silver. True to his word, Atahualpa delivers an immense treasure, which is melted down into ingots, explaining the rarity of Inca gold and silver artifacts today. The ransom amounts to 1.3 million pesos de oro, equivalent to around 400 million 2018 US Dollars, to be divided among the 168 men and the King of Spain. However, with the arrival of more Spanish troops, it becomes clear that the Spaniards are not temporary pirates but an invasion force intent on conquest. After fulfilling the ransom, Atahualpa outlives his usefulness to the Spaniards and becomes a liability. On July 26th, 1533, he is executed in the main square of Cajamarca, first being baptized to avoid the worse fate of being burned alive. His death, witnessed by the native population who viewed him as a god, must have been a profound shock to their worldview. The conquistadors, now confident of their hold on the wealthy Inca Empire, continue their conquest towards Cuzco, unaware that the battle for the Inca Empire is far from over.

Conquistadors were Spanish knights, soldiers, and adventurers who played a key role in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. In the context of this video, the term specifically refers to Hernán Cortés and Francisco Pizarro, who were instrumental in the conquest of the Aztec and Inca empires, respectively. The script mentions Pizarro as a 'veteran of the New World' and his quest to impress the King of Spain with tales of conquest and unimaginable treasures.
💡Sapa Inca
The Sapa Inca was the title given to the ruler of the Inca Empire. The term translates to 'the only Inca' or 'the unique Inca' and was used to emphasize the singular authority of the emperor. In the video, the Sapa Inca Huayna Capac is mentioned as having recently subdued much of what is now Ecuador before the arrival of the Spanish, and his son Atahualpa is a central figure in the narrative of the Spanish conquest.
Tawantinsuyu was the Quechua term for the Inca Empire, which translates to 'the land of the four parts together' or 'the four regions together.' It signifies the unity of the diverse regions that made up the empire. The script refers to the impending undoing of this unity due to the clash between the Inca Empire and the Spanish conquistadors.
Smallpox is a contagious and often deadly disease caused by the variola virus. Historically, it has had a significant impact on populations that had no previous exposure to it, as was the case with the indigenous peoples of the Americas. In the video, smallpox is described as a devastating disease that arrived in the Inca Empire before Pizarro, contributing to the weakening of the empire and facilitating the Spanish conquest.
Chasquis were messengers or runners in the Inca Empire who were responsible for communication and transportation across the vast empire. They were known for their speed and endurance. The script mentions chasquis runners arriving daily to inform the Sapa Inca about the strange men and the disease affecting the northern regions.
Atahualpa was the last Sapa Inca of the Inca Empire before the Spanish conquest. He is a central figure in the video, as he was captured by Pizarro and his men during a ceremonial meeting in Cajamarca. His capture and subsequent execution were pivotal events leading to the fall of the Inca Empire.
Cajamarca is a city in Peru where a significant historical event took place: the capture of Atahualpa by the Spanish conquistadors. The script describes how Pizarro and his men used the element of surprise to seize Atahualpa in the central plaza of Cajamarca, which led to a massacre of the Inca forces and the eventual fall of the empire.
In the context of the video, ransom refers to the payment demanded by the Spanish conquistadors in exchange for Atahualpa's life and freedom. Atahualpa agreed to fill a room with gold and twice over with silver, which he fulfilled, leading to a massive transfer of Inca wealth to the Spanish.
The Requerimiento was a proclamation read by the Spanish to the indigenous peoples they encountered, asserting Spain's claim to the land and demanding the natives' allegiance to the Spanish Crown and the Catholic Church. In the script, the Dominican friar Vincente de Valverde reads the Requerimiento to Atahualpa, which he rejects, leading to the conflict.
Baptism is a Christian sacrament that symbolizes the cleansing of sins and admission into the Christian faith. In the video, Atahualpa is offered baptism by Valverde as a condition to avoid being burned alive. He accepts, is baptized quickly, and then executed, which was a significant event as it denied him the traditional Inca burial rites.
Cuzco was the capital of the Inca Empire and a city of great historical and cultural significance. The video script mentions that after the capture and execution of Atahualpa, the conquistadors left Cajamarca and began their journey to Cuzco, indicating their intent to take control of the heart of the Inca Empire.

500 years ago, two new empires clashed in the Andes, a historical collision with modern-day reverberations.

In 1528, Hernán Cortes returned from Mexico with tales of conquest and unimaginable treasures.

Charles the 5th received Cortes in Toledo, impressed by his conquests and wealth.

Francisco Pizarro, Cortés' second cousin, arrived in Toledo with gifts to impress the King.

Pizarro was issued a royal license to conquer Peru and named Governor on July 26, 1529.

Pizarro recruited conquistadors and set sail for the Americas in January 1530.

Sapa Inca Huayna Capac faced reports of strange men trading in Tumbez and a devastating disease.

Smallpox, an unknown disease to the Inca, ravaged the population, killing Huayna Capac and his heir.

The Inca Empire fell into chaos with the death of Huayna Capac and a devastating plague.

Atahualpa and Huascar, sons of Huayna Capac, fought for the throne, leading to a civil war.

Atahualpa captured Cuzco and imprisoned his brother Huascar in 1532.

Atahualpa was in Cajamarca, planning his coronation, unaware of the approaching Spanish.

Pizarro and his 168 men planned to capture Atahualpa to paralyze the Inca Empire.

The Spanish hid in Cajamarca, preparing an ambush for Atahualpa and his men.

The Requerimiento was read to Atahualpa, a declaration of Spain's divine right to conquer.

Atahualpa rejected the Bible, leading to a massacre and his capture by the Spanish.

Atahualpa offered a room filled with gold and twice with silver for his release.

The Inca treasures were melted into ingots, making original artifacts rare today.

Atahualpa was baptized and then executed, shaking the Inca people's worldview.

The conquistadors continued to Cuzco, believing the empire was already theirs.

The conquest of the Inca was not yet over, with more challenges ahead.

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