Physical Peculiarities of the Quichuas, Aymaras, Atacamas, and Changos
The Peruvian and Araucanian races alone, among the South American aborigines, present subjects of interest to the historian. The other tribes of that great portion of the western continent are at an infinite remove from these in the scale of civilization, and can scarce be said to have any separate national history. We shall describe their habits and physical appearance, much as we should enter upon the duties of the writer upon natural history: an attempt to arrange a serial narrative of events, as connected with them would be useless.
Nature Of The Country
Widely contrasted with the wild and savage tribes of the interior, and of the eastern coast, the Peruvians offer, in their character and history, a fruitful theme for the attention and research of the historian and the philosopher. As a nation, they were, when discovered by Europeans, perfectly unique. Such refinements in government, such unity of purpose, and such perfect system, as were observable in all their customs and usages, have never been even attempted, much less accomplished, by any other community throughout the globe.
The physical conformation of the Quichua race, the most prominent among the ancient inhabitants of Peru, is somewhat singular. The effects of living at such an immense elevation as that of many of their cities, and of the great plateaus which they inhabit among the Andes, cause a remarkable development of the chest. The rarity of the air in mountainous districts render a much greater volume of it necessary in respiration. The Quichuas have there fore, according to M. d’Orbigny, “very large, square shoulders, a broad chest, very voluminous, highly arched, and longer than usual, which increases the size of the trunk. The extremities are nevertheless, very muscular, and bespeak great strength; the head is larger than usual in proportion to the rest of the body; the hands and feet are always small.”
The Quichuas differ, in a marked manner, from most of the other South American nations, in the features of the countenance. These are said in some degree to approach the Mexican type. A prominent aquiline nose, large nostrils, the forehead somewhat retreating, a moderately full cerebral development, rather a large mouth, adorned with fine teeth, and a short but well defined chin, may be given as generally characteristic of the race.
The Quichuas have beautifully soft, thick, and flowing hair, but are almost destitute of beards. Their complex ion is a brown olive, entirely distinct from the reddish or copper hue of most of the North American Indians. It approaches that of the mulatto more nearly than that of the other American aborigines, and is spoken of as singularly uniform. They are of low stature, particularly those who live in the more elevated regions. Their general physiognomy, in the words of the author above cited, “is, upon the whole, uniform, serious, reflective, melancholy, without, however, showing indifference: it denotes rather penetration without frankness. Their features altogether retain a mediocrity of expression. The women are seldom very handsome; their noses are not so prominent or curved as those of the men: the latter, although they have no beard, have a masculine expression, derived from their strongly marked features. An ancient vase, which represents with striking fidelity, the features of the present race of Quichuas convinces us that for four and five centuries their physiognomy has undergone no sensible alteration.”
The Aymaras, the second in the grand division of the Peruvian races, bear a close resemblance to those just described. In early times the strange and unnatural custom of flattening the head obtained among them, as is fully proved by the contour of many skulls found in their ancient places of burial or deposit.
No material variation from the Quichuan bodily formation is noticeable in the Atacamas, who inhabit the western slope of the Andes; but the Changos, dwelling upon the hot levels of the sea-coast, “are of darker hue: their color is a tawny, approaching to black.”
The country inhabited by these three races, although lying within the tropics, and in certain localities luxuriantly rich and fertile, presents obstacles to the agriculturalist, which would seem almost insurmountable. Nothing but the whole industry of a great nation, directed systematically to the work of reclamation and improvement, could ever have made Peru what it was in the days of the Incas.
A flat and sterile plain, washed by the Pacific, forms the western boundary of the ancient empire. On this district rain never falls; at least, the few drops, which at certain seasons sprinkle the surface, are insufficient to avail in the slightest degree for the promotion of fertility. From the stupendous mountain ranges which extend in an unbroken course throughout the western sea-board of South America, impetuous torrents pour down through the plains towards the sea, and, by a laborious and ingenious diversion, these streams were led by the ancient Peruvians in long and massive aqueducts to irrigate the plain or the terraces wrought upon the steep sides of the mountains. Some mention has been made, in a former chapter, of the ruins which still remain to attest the advancement and enterprise of the ancient Peruvians, particularly of the great roads by which ready communication was opened over the most rugged and naturally impassable country in the world. A further description of some of these relics will be given hereafter, as connected with their wonderful system of government, and its effects in the accomplishment of public works.
First Rumors of the Wealth of the Country
Mexico had already fallen into the hands of the Spaniards, and their settlements had long been established upon the Isthmus, before the world obtained any knowledge of the western coast of South America. The national thirst for gold, only the more excited by the successes in contest with the Aztecs, was roused anew by reports gathered from the natives of the Isthmus, of a far richer and more magnificent empire at the South.
Expedition of Pascual De Andagoya
The first attempt to explore the coast to the southward had been made in 1522, by Pascual de Andagoya, but he proceeded no further than the Puerto de Pinas, near the mouth of the small river Biru. Two years passed away without any further discoveries, at the end of which time, the matter was taken in hand by a man whose character leaves us at a loss whether we should the more admire his courage, fortitude, and indomitable energy, or execrate his cruelty and unscrupulous rapacity. This man was Francisco Pizarro. He was, at this time, about fifty years of age, the last ten of which, at least, he had passed amid the stirring scenes of discovery and conquest in the New World. He had, among other adventures, shared the dangers and the exultation of Vasco Nugnez de Bal boa, in his first passage of the Isthmus, and his discovery of the Western Ocean. He was now residing near Panama, and is said to have accumulated but a small landed property as the reward of his long labors and privations.
Francisco Pizarro: his First Voyage of Discovery
Pizarro was the illegitimate son of a colonel of infantry, named Gonzalo Pizarro, and a woman of low rank, residing at Truxillo, in Spain, in which city the future conqueror was born. In the great enterprise of the conquest of Peru, he was associated with one Diego de Almagro, a man of more uncertain origin, and less favored by worldly prosperity, even than himself. This companion in arms was, at all events, a brave and gallant soldier. Fortunately for the two adventurers, they succeeded in securing the assistance of Hernando de Luque, an ecclesiastic occupied in the duties of his profession at Panama. With such funds as could be raised by these three, a vessel was pro cured, and about one hundred men were enlisted to share the danger and profits of the expedition. Pedrarias, the Spanish governor, sanctioned the proceeding, stipulating, at the same time, for a proportion of the gold that should be brought home.
In November 1524, Pizarro set sail, leaving Almagro to prepare another vessel which they had purchased, and to follow as soon as possible. Nothing but disaster marked this first voyage. Storms at sea; conflicts with natives on shore; sickness, exposure, and starvation, thinned the numbers and broke down the spirit of the party. Pizarro alone appears to have maintained an unskaken fortitude and determination.
No provisions could be procured at the spots where the voyagers landed, and it became necessary to send the vessel back for supplies. About half the company, under one Montenegro, was dispatched for this purpose, leaving the rest of the adventurers upon the swampy, unwholesome coast, not far from the mouth of the Biru, to support them selves as best they could amid an almost impenetrable wilderness of rank tropical vegetation. Nearly half their number perished before any relief was obtained. When at the extremity of distress, the sight of a distant light amid the forest awakened their hopes, and Pizarro, with a small scouting party, led by this token of human habitation, penetrated the thicket to an Indian village. His hungry followers seized on whatever offered. As the natives, who had at first fled in terror, gradually approached and held communication with them, their hopes were again revived by the sight of rude ornaments in gold, and by the confirmation of the reports concerning a rich empire at the south.
It was six weeks from the time of his departure before Montenegro returned to rescue his remaining companions. With renewed hope and zeal, the party reembarked, and continued to coast along the shore. After landing at other places, and experiencing severe encounters with the war like natives, it was found necessary to return to Panama to refit.
Almagro, in the mean time, had followed in the same course, with the second vessel, and landed at most of the places visited by Pizarro. He was more successful in his engagements with the natives than the first party had proved and succeeded in extending his voyage as far south as the river of San Juan. At this place unmistakable tokens of approach to a well-cultivated and inhabited country presented themselves. Finding no further traces of Pizarro and his companions, and supposing that they must have perished or have been compelled to return, Almagro now turned his course towards Panama. He brought home more gold and more favorable reports than his partner; but the disasters, losses, and miserable condition of the first voyagers tended to throw almost insurmountable obstacles in the way of a second attempt.
Contract Of Pizarro, Almagro, and Luque
The three confederates Pizarro, Almagro, and Father Luque continued as sanguine as ever. The necessary funds were obtained by the latter, as is said, of one Gas-par de Espinosa, in whose name he acted, and in whose behalf he stipulated for one-third of all returns which should result from a successful completion of the immense undertaking. A solemn contract was entered into between the parties, strengthened by all the ceremonials of oaths and religious services. Neither of the two soldiers could write, and their signatures were executed in their presence, by the witnesses to the instrument of contract.
Pedrarias had been succeeded by Don Pedro de los Rios, and the new governor assented to the second expedition. This was undertaken with two vessels, carrying about one hundred and sixty men and a few horses. The services of Bartholomew Ruiz, a skilful pilot, were secured. The adventurers steered direct for the mouth of the San Juan, and, landing at an Indian village on the river, obtained some plunder in gold, and seized upon the persons of a few of the natives. The country appeared too populous to offer much chance of success to such a small band of invaders. Almagro was therefore sent back to enlist more men at home, while Ruiz, with the other vessel, explored the coast further to the south, and Pizarro remained near the river, with a portion of the crew. The latter endured much from famine, exposure, and fatigue, during the absence of Ruiz. Attempting to penetrate into the interior, in hopes of finding a more open country, they were completely worn down and dispirited.
The pilot, in the mean time, had made his way far southward. He had crossed the equator, and touched at several places, where the dense population and well-built dwellings gave proofs of no little advancement in civilization. He brought with him several Indian prisoners, taken at sea, upon one of the rude boats, or rather rafts, called “balsas,” in which they were voyaging. Some of these were from the port of Tumbez, and their marvelous accounts of the quantities of gold and silver used by their monarch, roused anew the cupidity of the Spaniards.
Almagro spoil after arrived with numerous fresh recruits, and, what with the glowing reports of Ruiz, and this addition to their force, the weakened and despairing followers of Pizarro regained their former hopes and courage. The whole company again set sail for the land of promise. At Tacames, near the mouth of the Santiago, where the present town of Esmeraldas is situated, the flourishing appearance of the country invited the voyagers to land; but they were opposed by thousands of armed natives, who attacked them with great fury. It was sup posed that all the Christians must have perished in this onslaught, but for a strange mistake on the part of the Indians. A few of the Spaniards were mounted upon horses a sight never before witnessed in Peru and one of the cavaliers happening to fall from his horse, the Indians supposed that a single enemy had become two. The horse and his rider were taken for but one animal, and the confusion and amazement caused by the sight of such a prodigious separation, gave the Spaniards an opportunity to retreat.
It was plain that a greater force was necessary to make any advantageous progress in the new empire, and again was one of the little vessels sent back to Panama for reinforcements, while Pizarro and a portion of his forces took up their quarters upon the little island of Gallo. They suffered every extremity before supplies reached them from the north, and when two vessels loaded with stores made their appearance, there was a general cry for return.
Pizarro, fortified in his determination by encouraging letters from his allies, harangued his followers, and gave them their free choice whether to go forward in search of fame and wealth, or to return in poverty and disgrace to Panama. Thirteen only had the resolution to proffer their further services. The commander of the store-ships, who was instructed by the governor to bring back the party, refused to leave either of his vessels for the use of these few valorous spirits, and, grudgingly bestowing upon them a portion of his provisions, set sail, leaving them, as was supposed, to certain destruction.
Pizarro and his Companions Upon the Isle of Gorgona
Upon this island, and upon that of Gorgona, twenty-five leagues to the northward, (whither they migrated on a raft, for better quarters, the little party spent seven miserable and solitary months. By great exertions, Almagro and Luque procured another vessel, and the governor s per mission to relieve their associates; but this was not obtained without a positive injunction to Pizarro to return within six months. No recruits were taken on board, be yond the necessary crew of the vessel. Ruiz had charge of the craft, and the sight of his approach soon gladdened the desponding hearts of the destitute and half-famished expectants at Gorgona.
Without hesitation the little band stood once more for the south, leaving two of their number ill on the island, in charge of some of the friendly natives, who were still detained in their company. After twenty days sail, in which they passed, without landing, the spots of former exploration, the vessel entered the unknown gulf of Guayaquil.
As the Spaniards directed their course towards the city of Tumbez, the residence of the Indian captives, they en countered many natives, in the balsas which served them for boats. These strange craft were made of logs of lightwood, secured together, and fitted with masts and sails. The crews of these rafts, in the midst of their amazement at the prodigy before their eyes, recognized the Indians on board, and learning from them that the strangers were bound merely upon exploration, returned to satisfy the curiosity of the eager crowds gathered upon the shore.
A peaceful communication was soon established, and the sea-wearied Spaniards were refreshed by bountiful supplies of the tropical luxuries furnished by the kindly natives. Llamas, or Peruvian camels, as they were called, were now for the first time exhibited and offered to the visitors. A great noble, of the royal race of the Incas, came on board, and was courteously entertained by Pizarro, who pointed out and explained the mysteries of the vessel and its accoutrements.
The officers of the Spanish company were in turn, feasted at the house of the curaca, or governor of the province, and were shown the royal temple and fortresses. Some of the apartments were adorned with such a rich profusion of massive golden ornaments and plating, that the dazzled Spaniards now trusted in the speedy realization of their long-deferred hopes.
From Tumbez, Pizarro coasted southward as far as the island and port of Santa, some distance beyond the site of the present Truxillo, stopping at various towns and settlements on his route. The strangers were everywhere received with hospitality, kindness, and the most lively curiosity, and enough was seen fully to convince them of the richness, civilization, and prosperity of the thickly populated empire.
Returning to Panama, they again stopped at Tumbez and other important ports, and thence brought away specimens of the productions of the country; among other things, a number of llamas. At their own request, several of the Spaniards were left at Tumbez, to enjoy the luxury and ease, which seemed to be offered by a life among the kindly natives. A young Peruvian, named Felipillo, with one or two companions, was taken on board the vessel, that he might be instructed in the Spanish language, and that his appearance might satisfy the incredulous, at home, as to the character of the inhabitants of Peru.
The troubles of the enterprising trio to whom these discoveries were owing were not yet at an end. The derision and contumely, which had tended so long to damp their spirits, was, indeed, changed to congratulations and eager astonishment at the return and reports of Pizarro; but the governor frowned upon the prosecution of the enterprise. “He did not wish,” says Herrera, “to depopulate his own district in order to people new countries ” the gold, silver, and sheep which had been exhibited, seemed to him but a paltry return for the expenditure of such an amount of lives and money, and the endurance of such hardships and suffering as were the fruits of the first expeditions.
Before continuing the account of the steps by which the great work of conquest was finally achieved, it will be well to take a brief view of the condition of the devoted country at the period of its discovery.
The two great monarchies of Mexico and Peru, both of them in a state of semi-civilization at the period of Spanish discoveries and conquests, are closely associated in our minds. The thoughts of one naturally suggest that of the other. We shall, however, find, upon an examination of history, that these nations were widely dissimilar: neither, in all human probability, had any knowledge of the others existence, and no intercourse could have been maintained between them from a period of the most remote antiquity.
Without going into a direct comparison between these countries, their respective governments, religion, and national customs, we shall enter sufficiently into particulars in treating the present subject, to give the reader such a general idea of its details that he can himself perceive the contrasts and dissimilarities above mentioned.
According to Peruvian mythology, the whole country was, in early times, as savage and barbarous as the neigh boring nations of the East. Manco Capac, and his sister and wife, Mama Oello Huaco, two children of the Sun, settling in the valley of Cuzco, began the work of regeneration. They taught the arts of civilized life, and from them sprang the long line of the Incas whose glorious kingdom was at the height of its prosperity when discovered by the Spaniards. Other traditions, more worthy of study and reflection, speak of ” bearded white men” to whose immigration the commencement of improvement was due.
Topa Inca Yupanqui, And His Son Huayna Capac
We gather little of connected or reliable tradition earlier than the reign of Topa Inca Yupanqui. This monarch’s victories widely extended the domains bequeathed him by his ancestors. By his warlike achievements, and those of his son, Huayna Capac, the Peruvian empire was extended from the southern portion of Chili to the boundaries of the present republic of New Grenada. The center of government, and site of the royal palace, the great temple of the sun, and the most celebrated fortification, were at Cuzco, in the interior. The town was situated in a valley of the tableland, at an immense height above the level of the sea, an altitude which secured to it a delightful climate in those tropical regions.
The principal buildings of the capital were of hewn stone, wrought entirely by instruments of copper, hardened by an alloy of tin; for, like the Mexicans, the people of Peru were entirely ignorant of the use of iron. A certain perfection of workmanship, seldom attempted in more advanced nations, and only elsewhere observable in the casings of the great Egyptian pyramids, is described as peculiar to the laying of the courses of stone in these ancient buildings. For the most part no cement was used, but the blocks were so accurately fitted that “it was impossible to introduce even the blade of a knife between them.” Mr. Prescott, giving, as his authority, the measurements and descriptions of Acosta and Garcilasso, says: “Many of these stones were of vast size; some of them being full thirty-eight feet long, by eighteen broad, and six feet thick. These enormous masses were hewn from their native bed, and fashioned into shape by a people ignorant of the use of iron; they were brought from quarries, from four to fifteen leagues distant, without the aid of beasts of burden; were transported across rivers and ravines, raised to their elevated position on the sierra, and finally adjusted there with the nicest accuracy, with out the knowledge of tools and machinery familiar to the European.”
The Peruvian Capital, Religious System, Government, Agrarian Law
At Cuzco stood the great temple of the sun, by far the most resplendent with gold and ornament of all the public edifices of Peru. The description of this central point of the religious system of the country vies with those of fairy palaces in Arabian tales. It was built of stone, but, by a strange contrast of magnificence with rudeness, was thatched with straw. The most striking object in the interior was a huge golden sun, represented by the figure of a human face, surrounded with rays. This was so placed as to receive the first beams of the rising sun. The whole building sparkled with golden ornament; even upon the outside a heavy belt of gold is said to have been let into the stonewall around the whole extent of the edifice. Great vases of the precious metals stood in the open space of the interior, filled with offerings of maize, and no less valuable material was used for the various tools and implements connected with the establishment.
This profusion of gold and silver, which, although in inferior degree, was noticeable in the royal palaces and temples throughout the empire, resulted from the circumstance that the mines were a government monopoly. No money was used, and consequently the whole product of the country, in this line, was collected in the coffers of the Inca, or displayed in the gorgeous ornaments, which adorned the temples. The mines were worked by bodies of laborers systematically drafted from the common people, to serve for specified periods.
The Peruvians had some idea of an invisible deity, whose supremacy they acknowledged, and to whom homage was rendered, but the sun was their chief object of worship. The moon and stars took the place of subordinate divinities. By virtue of his office, the Inca was the head of the visible church, and high priest of the sun; all the other religious functionaries were of the nobility, viz.: descendants in the male line of the royal family. One lawful wife gave birth to the successor to the throne, but from the innumerable concubines kept by the emperor sprang the race of Inca nobility, distinguished by dress and occupation from the body of the people.
A most singular resemblance to the ancient order of the vestal virgins existed in that of the Peruvian Virgins of the Sun. These were set apart, at an early age, for the services of the temple, the preparations of its tapestry and ornaments, and especially for the preservation of the sacred fire. Terrible penalties followed the violation of chastity by either of these devotees, always excepting the privileges of the Inca, to whom they were subservient as “brides,” or concubines. The office did not necessarily continue during life: many of these “Virgins” were dismissed to their paternal homes from time to time, and were ever thereafter held in great honor and veneration. The religious ceremonies and festivals familiar to the nation were singularly numerous and complicated: an enumeration of them would be, for the most part, wearisome and devoid of interest.
The Peruvian system of government merits a more particular attention. Here, for the first time in the history of the world, we see the results of a paternal despotism carried to its most extravagant extent, yet meeting the apparent wants of the people, and universally acquiesced in and approved by them. From generation to generation the whole mass of the commonalty was shut out from any possibility of change or improvement, and subjected to immutable rules in every employment or privilege of life.
The whole empire was minutely divided and subdivided into districts, according to population, and over each of these departments a curaca or governor was set to maintain law. The penal code was sufficiently severe, and rigidly enforced; in all matters of private right there was no room for contention among the citizens, as the state prescribed every man s place of residence, the amount and nature of his employment, and the provision necessary for his support.
The government assumed the entire ownership of the soil, which was divided into three parts for the following uses: The first was set apart to support the whole extensive system of religion; the second sustained the royal court, and furnished the “civil list” for the accomplishment of all public works, and to defray the current expenses of the empire; and the third was yearly divided among the people. The apportionment was made to each family, according to its numbers, and, unless some good cause should appear to the contrary, it is supposed that the same spot was continued in the possession of its proprietor from year to year. The public domains were cultivated by the people in mass, and, in the management of the private allotments, vigilant care was taken, by the appropriate officers, that no one should be idle, no one over burdened with labor, and no one in a state of suffering from want.
The only beast of burden in Peru was the llama. The immense herds of this animal were, without exception, the property of the state, and under the management of government officials. The wool and hair of the llama furnished the most important material for the clothing of the whole population, but before it reached its ultimate destination it must pass through the hands of appointed agents, and, after the separation and preparation of the portion devoted to religious and royal purposes, be equitably par celled out and distributed among the private families. The manufacture of cloth was more especially the business of women and children. No man had the power to choose his own employment. A select number of artisans were set apart and instructed in such mechanical sciences as were known to the age and country, while the mass of the population were employed in agricultural labors, or, by a systematic apportionment among the different districts, were engaged upon the vast works of public utility or magnificence which astonished the eyes of the Spanish invaders.
Public Records: The “Quipu.”
The most exact accounts were kept, by certain appointed officers, of the entire population and resources of the empire. No birth, marriage, or death, was suffered to pass unchronicled, and an immense amount of statistical matter, relative to the condition of the people, the productions of the soil, the extent of manufactures, &c., was regularly and systematically returned to the proper department. The substitute for writing, by which these results, and even much more abstract particulars (as of dates and historical events) were perpetuated, was exceedingly ingenious and unique. It consisted of the “quipu,” viz.: a cord of strands varying in color, from which depended numerous short threads at regular distances. A series of knots in these appendages (which were, like the strands of the main cord, of various colors) served to express any amount in numbers, and the difference in hue designated the subject to which they were applied. The endless combinations which could be effected in this system of knots might, as we can readily perceive, be extended to the expression of a very wide range of ideas. In the words of Mr. Prescott: ” The peculiar knot, or color, in this way (by association) suggested what it could not venture to represent; in the same manner to borrow the homely illustration of an old writer as the number of the Commandment calls to mind the Commandment itself. The narrative thus concocted could be communicated only by oral tradition; but the quipus served the chronicler to arrange the incidents with method, and to refresh his memory.”
In some of the sciences, particularly in astronomy, the Peruvians were far behind the Aztecs. A few simple observations of the movements of the planets; and the measurement of shadows to mark the solstices, equinoxes, &c., formed the limit of their speculations or experiments. In the more practical and necessary arts of husbandry and agriculture, not even the laborious and patient population of China could excel the subjects of the Incas. The ex tent of the aqueducts, to conduct the mountain-streams through the arid fields where rain never fell; the immense excavations made to reach a moist soil, fifteen or twenty feet below the surface; and other mighty undertakings which individual enterprise could never have accomplished, evince the effects that a complete centralization of power can produce. Were it not for the ruins, of which modern travelers give us measurement and description, we should be tempted to throw aside the early histories of Peruvian achievements as gross exaggerations. The use of guano for manure was common, and the gathering and application of it were in accordance with rigid and careful regulations. The destruction, or even the disturbance of the birds to whom the formation is owing, was punished by death. A plough was used in the cultivation of the land, but it was rudely and simply constructed of wood, and was forced through the earth by human thews and sinews. The unequalled diversity in soil and climate provided suit able localities for a variety in vegetable productions seldom seen within the same limits. Bananas, Indian corn, potatoes, a grain called quinoa, and many other well-known crops, were successfully cultivated. The desire for stimulants and narcotics, so universal to mankind, was satisfied by a liquor brewed from maize, by tobacco, and by the coca or cuca, whose leaves possess something of the sedative qualities of the latter plant.
We have mentioned the control exercised by the government over the private affairs of every citizen; this extended even to the ties of affinity. Every person was required to marry at an appointed age, (eighteen in females, and twenty-four in males,) and, although a certain degree of choice was left to the individual in the selection of a partner, it must be confined within a specified district or community. The Inca always married his sister that the purity of the royal blood might not be contaminated, but such a connection was forbidden between any of lower rank.
Warlike Policy Of The Incas
Although the mass of the people were constantly employed in the operations of peaceful husbandry, the policy of the Inca dynasty towards neighboring nations was essentially warlike. The youth of the nobility, and especially the presumptive heir to the throne, were instructed in the arts of war, and subjected to a routine of bodily exercise, and trials of fortitude not unlike that practiced by the ruder nations of North America, in the initiation of their future warriors.
An extensive militia system was enforced, and, in time of war, troops were drafted from the different districts in some proportion to the population; regard being had to the hardihood and energy of the various races, in making the levy. Axes, lances, darts, bows and arrows, and slings, formed the principal weapons of offence. The soldiers were also supplied with the quilted coats of such common use in past ages, to ward off arrows and sword-thrust, and with helmets of skins or wood.
The Great Roads
The great roads, led along the mountain ridges, or by the level plain of the seacoast, furnished ready means of transit to the royal armies throughout the extent of the empire. Enough of these yet remains to excite the admiration of every traveler. Of the principal of these roads, Mr. Prescott speaks as follows: ” It was conducted over pathless sierras buried in snow; galleries were cut for leagues through the living rock; rivers were crossed by means of bridges that hung suspended in the air; precipices were scaled by stairways hewn out of the native bed; ravines of hideous depth were filled up with solid masonry; in short, all the difficulties that beset a wild and mountainous region, and which might appall the most courageous engineer of modern times, were encountered and successfully overcome. The length of the road, of which scattered fragments only remain, is variously estimated from fifteen hundred to two thousand miles.” No celebrated conqueror of the old world ever pursued such perfect system and method in the conduct of a campaign as did the Incas. Stations for couriers were built at regular intervals throughout the main routes, by means of which messages or light burdens could be conveyed with incredible celerity to any required distance. Granaries and store houses filled with supplies for the army stood, under care of appointed officers, at convenient intervals, and all these provisions and supplies being furnished from the state funds, no man felt them as an extraordinary burden.
A strange but sagacious policy was observed towards a conquered nation. The Peruvian worship of the sun was immediately introduced; all the laws of the empire were enforced, and its customs established; but, that the yoke might not be too galling, the privileges as well as the duties of a subject were extended to the conquered people. The former nobles and governors were not uncommonly continued in office, and a paternal care was taken of the necessities and interests of the whole populace. With all this, no steps were omitted which would tend to completely denationalize the newly acquired country. Large colonies of Peruvians were transplanted from their own country to the new, and their places supplied by an equal number of those whose habitations they occupied. The language of the conquerors was everywhere introduced, and its use encouraged until, with the lapse of years, a complete assimilation was brought about.
All this complete course of despotism was said by the Spanish historians, who wrote from observation, and be fore the old order of things was entirely overturned, to be precisely that which was best adapted to the Peruvian race, and to the country and climate which they inhabited. The people were contented with their lot, and looked upon their priests and rulers with the utmost reverence. “No man could be rich,” says Prescott, “no man could be poor, in Peru; but all might enjoy, and did enjoy, a competence. Ambition, avarice, the love of change, the morbid spirit of discontent, those passions, which most agitate the minds of men, found no place in the bosom of the Peruvian. He moved on in the same unbroken circle in which his fathers had moved before him, and in which his children were to follow.”
We cannot help a feeling of natural regret that the ruthless invasion of the Spaniards should have uprooted all these ancient and venerated customs. There was not, as with the Aztecs, a bloody system of religion, whose annihilation could reconcile us to almost any violence on the part of those who came to overturn it. There were, indeed, occasional scenes of human sacrifice at the great religious solemnities; but these were the exception, not the rule. The people at large lived on in peace and quietness, con tented with the government and institutions under whose influence they lived, and by whose care they were secured in the possession of the competencies of life.
We have already mentioned the successes and conquests of Tupac Yupanqui, and his son Huayna Capac. The latter prince, having reduced the kingdom of Quito, the modern Equador, took up his residence at its capital, and devoted his attention to beautifying his acquisition, and establishing the Peruvian policy upon a firm basis through out its limits.
Division Of The Empire
The first expeditions of the Spaniards to the Peruvian coast, took place during the latter years of this monarch, and the accounts are said to have filled his mind with gloomy forebodings of the overthrow of his empire. His sagacious perception readily recognized the vast superiority over his own nation, evident in the vessels, arms, intelligence, and enterprise of the strangers. Huayna Capac died about the year 1525, leaving his only legitimate son, Huascar, the regular successor to his throne. Instead of confirming the old order of descent, the king s fondness for another son, named Atahuallpa, (Atabalipa, as spelt by many old writers) led him, upon his death-bed, to bestow upon his favorite a portion of his kingdom. Upon the sub version of the ancient dynasty at Quito, Huayna Capac had taken the daughter of the last native prince as one of his concubines. From this union sprung the prince of whom we are speaking. The share of empire bequeathed to Atahuallpa was that of his maternal ancestors, in which his father had so long resided, and to whose improvement he had devoted his declining years. The rest of the wide domains of Peru were left in possession of Huascar.
Huascar And Atahuallpa
This new order of things produced no evil effects for about five years. Huascar maintained his court at the old capital, Cuzco, while Atahuallpa remained at Quito; neither interfering with the other s rights of jurisdiction. Their respective subjects readily acquiesced in the new arrangement.
Different accounts are given of the first causes of rupture between the brothers; but whatever occasioned it, the contest which ensued was bloody and disastrous in the extreme. But for the disturbed and distracted state of the empire consequent upon this civil war, it would have been utterly impossible for the Spaniards, with the insignificant force, which they finally brought into the field, to have overcome and subverted such an immense and powerful empire.
Contest For Supremacy
The first important engagement between the armies of the contending princes took place at Hambata, about sixty leagues south from Quito. In this battle, Huascar s forces were utterly defeated, and his victorious brother pressed onward to Tumebamba, no great distance from Tumbez. This city belonged to Atahuallpa s kingdom, but the inhabitants had taken up arms in favor of Huascar. In vain did they sue for mercy from the conqueror: the whole district was ravaged, and all male adults were put to death. Proceeding on his march, Atahuallpa reached Caxamalca, where he took up his quarters, and sent forward the chief portion of his army to meet the forces prepared for the protection of the ancient capital of Peru.
A bloody and desperate battle was fought near the city, in which the invader was again completely victorious. Huascar was taken prisoner, and placed in close confinement, but his brother had enough of natural humanity to order that all respect should be shown him in his fallen fortunes. If we are to believe some accounts, Atahuallpa sullied the fame, which his successes might have acquired him, by acts of the most unheard-of barbarity. It is said that he put to death, and that too by lingering tortures, all of the royal family upon whom he could lay his hands, including the female branches of the family, that he might cut off all possibility of a rival appearing to contest his right to the throne. Modern historians have pointed out so many discrepancies and improbabilities in the details of this transaction that they must be now considered as grossly exaggerated, if not utterly false.
Atahuallpa, now claiming the title of Inca, and rejoicing in the possession of the whole of the immense empire of his father, held his court at Caxamalca. In the midst of his exultation and triumph, news was brought of a fresh arrival of Spanish ships upon the coast.
Pizarro’s Visit to Spain and Application to the Emperor
As Pizarro, Almagro, and Luque, received no encouragement from the governor, at Panama, in the prosecution of their plans; and as their funds were exhausted by the first expeditions, it became necessary to seek the assistance of some powerful patron, or to abandon the enterprise. In this emergency, Luque advised an immediate application to the Spanish court. In the discussion of the question as to who should undertake this duty, Almagro strongly urged the expediency of trusting the whole matter to the prudence and soldierly intrepidity of his unlettered companion-in-arms, Pizarro. He was the man who had seen and experienced more than any other of the nature of the land of promise, and his unflinching determination and perseverance seemed to qualify him as well to press his suit at court, as to undergo the disappointments and physical hardships of the conquest itself.
Pizarro consented to the proposal, and sailed for Spain, where he arrived early in the summer of 1528, carrying with him specimens of Peruvian art and wealth, together with natives of the country, and several of the beasts of burden peculiar to Peru. He was favorably received, and his accounts were credited by the Emperor Charles the Fifth; and the royal consent was obtained to the prosecution of the mighty undertaking of conquest. No pecuniary assistance, however, was rendered or promised. Prospective honors and emoluments were bestowed upon Pizarro and his two associates, contingent upon their success, and the latter to be drawn entirely from the conquered nation. Pizarro was to be governor, adelantado and alguacil mayor of Peru, which office he was to fill for life, and to which a large salary was to be attached. Almagro was placed in altogether an inferior position, as commander at Tumbez; and Father Luque was declared bishop of that district, now to be converted into a see of the church. One-fifth of the gold and silver to be obtained by plunder, and one-tenth of all gained by mining was reserved as a royal perquisite.
His Four Brothers
Pizarro immediately set himself to raise funds and enlist men for the proposed conquest. He was joined by his four brothers, one of whom, Hernando Pizarro, was a legitimate son of Gonzalo. The other three, Gonzalo and Juan Pizarro, and Francisco de Alcontara were illegitimate children, and connected with the hero of our narrative, the two first on the father s side, the latter on that of the mother.
It was no easy matter to provide money for the necessary expenses of so hazardous an exploit as that proposed; but fortunately for Pizarro, Hernando Cortez, the renowned conqueror of Mexico, was at this time in Spain, and, after seeing and conferring with him, furnished, from his own ample stores, what was needed to complete an outfit.
Upon Pizarro s return to America, serious quarrels ensued between him and Almagro, who, as appears justly, thought himself grossly neglected in the arrangements entered into with the Spanish government. Luque also distrusted the good faith of his emissary, and it seemed too evident to both of these parties to the old contract, that Pizarro would readily throw them aside, should occasion offer, and advance his own relations in their stead. These difficulties were, by Pizarro’s representations, promises, and concessions, for the time smoothed over, and three vessels were fitted out at Panama for the grand expedition. Those in which the recruits had been brought over from Spain, were necessarily left upon the other side of the Isthmus.
It was not until January, of 1531, that the adventurers set sail. The company consisted of less than two hundred men, twenty-seven of whom were provided with horses; the advantage of even a small body of cavalry in fights with the Indians having been so strikingly apparent in the proceedings at Mexico. Tumbez, on the southern shore of the gulf of Guayaquil, was the port for which the little fleet steered its course, but, owing to head winds and other difficulties in navigation, a landing was made at the bay of St. Matthew’s. Pizarro, with the armed force, went on shore at this place, not far from where Esmeraldas now stands, and marched southward, while the vessels coasted along the shore. Feeling himself strong enough to commence serious operations, the unprincipled invader no longer put on the cloak of friendship, but without warning fell upon the first Indian town in his route. This was in the district of Coaque. The natives fled, leaving their treasures to be seized and plundered by the Spaniards. A considerable quantity of gold, and a great number of the largest and most valuable emeralds fell into the hands of the rapacious adventurers. The spoil was collected, and publicly distributed, according to regulated portions, among the company, it being death to secrete any private plunder. The royal fifth was deducted previous to the division.
The vessels were sent back to Panama to excite, by the display of these treasures, the cupidity of new recruits, while the little army continued its march towards Tumbez.
Landing Of The Spaniards Upon The Peruvian Coast
The natives of the villages through which they passed, learning, in advance of the Spaniards approach, the course pursued at Coaque, abandoned their homes, bearing all their valuables with them. Privation and suffering en sued. The tropical heat of the country, famine and fatigue, began to dishearten the troops. Worse than all, a singular and malignant cutaneous disease began to spread among them. Large warts or vascular excrescences broke out upon those attacked, which, if opened, bled so profusely as to cause death. “The epidemic,” says Prescott, “which made its first appearance during this invasion, and which did not long survive it, spread over the whole country, sparing neither native nor white man.”
The distresses of the Spaniards were somewhat relieved by the arrival of a vessel from Panama, in which came a number of new state officers, appointed by the Emperor Charles since Pizarro s departure from Spain, bringing with them a quantity of provision. “With some slight further reinforcement, the commander brought his troops to the gulf of Guayaquil, and, by invitation from the islanders, who had never been reduced by the Peruvian monarchs, and still maintained a desultory warfare with their forces, he took up his quarters upon the isle of Puna. The inhabitants of Tumbez (lying, as we have mentioned, upon the southern shore of the gulf, and opposite the island,) came over, in large numbers, to welcome the whites, trusting to their friendly demonstrations at the time of the early expeditions. Difficulties soon arose from the bringing of these hostile Indian races in contact. Pizarro was told that a conspiracy had been formed by some of the island chiefs, to massacre him and his followers. Without delay, he seized upon the accused, and delivered them over to their old enemies of Tumbez for destruction. The consequence was a furious attack by the islanders. The thousands of dusky warriors who surrounded the little encampment, were dispersed and driven into the thickets, with very small loss to the well-armed and mail-clad Europeans. The discharge of musketry, and the rush of mounted men, glistening with defensive armor, seldom failed to break the lines, and confuse the movements even of the bravest and most determined savages.
After their victory Pizarro found his situation extremely precarious, for the enemies whom he had driven into the forest continued to harass and weary his army by night attacks, and the difficulty of procuring provisions daily increased. He became desirous of passing over to the main as speedily as possible, and his good fortune sent him, at this period, such assistance as rendered the continuance of his enterprise more hopeful. This was afforded by the arrival of the celebrated Hernando de Soto, whose roman tic adventures in after-life, have been briefly chronicled in the early part of this volume, under the title of the Florida Indians. De Soto brought out one hundred men and a considerable number of horses. Thus reinforced, the commander of the expedition at once undertook the transportation of his men and stores across to Tumbez.
Instead of rejoicing their eyes with the splendor of this celebrated city, and luxuriating in its wealth, the Spaniards found the whole place dilapidated and deserted. Such of the Indians as appeared, manifested a decidedly hostile disposition, and several of the party engaged in transporting the baggage and provisions, upon balsas or rafts, were seized and slain. Most of the houses of the city were found to be destroyed, and the costly ornaments and decorations were all stripped from the temple. It can not be certainly known, at this day, what were the causes for this conduct on the part of the people of Tumbez. The curaca of the place was taken prisoner by some of Pizarro s men, and his explanation of the matter was, that the war with the Puna islanders had resulted in this demolition of the city. No certain intelligence was ever obtained of the fate of those whites who had been left at Tumbez at the time of the former expedition of discovery.
It now became evident to Pizarro that he should have some fixed place of settlement, where his troops might encamp and live in safety until a proper opportunity presented itself for more active operations. He therefore set himself to explore the country to the southward. In con ducting this examination, he made use of a more conciliatory policy than heretofore, in his intercourse with the natives, and took pains to restrain, for the time, the rapacity of his followers. The result was that the Indians were in turn friendly and hospitable. A settlement was made, and the foundation of a town, called San Miguel, commenced on the river Piura. Numbers of the natives were reduced to vassalage, and distributed among the Spaniards to aid in the labor of improving and extending the village.
Pizarro had gathered information, by means of the interpreters in his company the natives formerly taken by him to Spain of the political state of the country, and of the present location of Atahuallpa, at or near Caxamalca. He had secured a considerable amount of gold, which was sent back to Panama, by consent of the company, and applied, after deducting the perquisites of the crown, to defray the expense of fitting out the expedition.
Settlement Of San Miguel
The whole summer was spent in these operations, and it was not until the 24th of September 1532, that the commander was prepared to lead his small army into the interior. His whole force was less than two hundred men, from whom it was necessary to deduct a portion for the purpose of garrisoning San Miguel. On the march towards the enormous range of mountains, which they were to cross, the Spaniards refrained from rapine and plunder.
They were therefore received with kindly curiosity by the inhabitants, and in their progress availed themselves with out molestation of the public fortresses and sheltered stopping-places prepared upon the high roads for the use of the royal armies. They were delighted with the rich and highly cultivated appearance of many of the beautiful valleys passed upon the route.
The company consisted of one hundred and seventy-seven men, of whom sixty-seven were mounted. From this number, nine malcontents were suffered by the prudent leader to return to San Miguel, upon pretense that the garrison left there was too weak, but in reality to prevent the spread of discontent among the troops.
In a hopeful spirit, and with strengthened confidence in their commander, the little cavalcade pressed on to Xaran, a fertile settlement amid the mountains. A few leagues south of this place, at Caxas, a garrison of the Inca s troops were said to be stationed, and thither Pizarro sent an embassy, under the direction of De Soto, to open a communication with the prince. The messengers were absent no less than a week; but they finally returned in safety, accompanied by one of the officers of the Inca, bearing rich presents and messages of welcome and invitation from the monarch in person. Pizarro received this noble with the respect due to his rank and position, be stowing upon him such gifts as would be most attractive in the eyes of a person ignorant of European arts. At his departure, the envoy was charged to tell his sovereign that the band of whites was subject to a great emperor of a distant country; that they had heard of the Inca s greatness and conquests, and had come to proffer their aid in his wars.
Passage Of The Andes
Continuing their march, the Spaniards reached the foot of the Andes. Nothing but the fiercest courage and the most undaunted resolution, both excited to the utmost by the hope of boundless riches and rewards, could have stimulated such a handful of adventurers to undertake the ascent of this enormous range of mountains, where nothing could save them from utter destruction, should the forbearance of the natives cease. The main mountain road, stretching off to the southward towards the ancient Peruvian capital, tempted them to take their course in that direction, while across the mountains a narrow and difficult pass led towards the encampment of the Inca. It was determined to push on in the originally proposed direction. The vast and rugged elevations, rising one beyond another, must have appeared to the unpracticed eye totally insurmountable.
“Those everlasting clouds,
Seedtime and harvest, morning, noon, and night,
Still where they were, steadfast, immovable
So massive, yet so shadowy, so ethereal,
As to belong rather to Heaven than Earth
They seemed the barriers of a World, Saying,
Thus far, no farther!”
The accounts of modern travelers have familiarized us with the details of the dangers attendant upon a passage of the Andes. What then must -have been the attempt by these pioneers, totally ignorant of the route, and momentarily expecting an attack from the natives in passes where an army could be effectually checked by a handful of resolute men. Their fears of Indian treachery proved, how ever, groundless; they reached the summit in safety, and, while encamped about the fires rendered necessary by the sharp air of those elevated regions, messengers again appeared, sent by Atahuallpa to meet them. A present of llamas proved most acceptable to the wearied and suffering troops, and, from all that could be gathered by communion with the ambassadors, it did not appear probable that they would be molested upon their route.
Entry Into Caxamalca
Little doubt was entertained by Pizarro that the Inca fully intended to entrap and seize him as soon as he should be completely in his power, and surrounded by an irresistible force of his subjects. It was ascertained that Atahuallpa was encamped with a large army only three miles from Caxamalca, and that the city was abandoned by its inhabitants. This had a threatening appearance, but the Inca continued to send friendly messages, and as it was too late to think of retreat, even had their hearts now failed them, the Spaniards descended the eastern slope of the Andes, and entered the valley of Caxamalca. Every thing now seen gave tokens of prosperity, industry, and skill. “Below the adventurers,” says Prescott, “with its white houses glittering in the sun, lay the little city of Caxamalca, like a sparkling gem on the dark skirts of the sierra.” Farther on, the immense encampment of the Inca was seen in the distance, spot ting the rising ground with countless tents. Marching through the valley, the troops entered the vacant city upon the 15th of November (1532).
First Interview with the Inca
A small party of horse, led by Hernando Pizarro and by the brave and chivalrous De Soto, was at once des patched to report to the Inca the arrival of the Spaniards.
Dashing boldly up, upon their spirited horses the Spaniards entered the space occupied by the Peruvian camp, and soon stood in the royal presence. Atahuallpa, distinguished by the “borla,” or crimson fringe bound around the forehead, an ornament peculiar to the Incas, sat expecting their arrival, surrounded by his officers of state. He did not so far unbend his dignity as to pay the least attention to the novel appearance of the steel-clad cavalcade, but kept his eyes immovably fixed upon the ground. Without dismounting, Hernando saluted the monarch, and, through Felipillo s interpretation, made known his general s avowed purposes, and earnestly requested the king to visit the Spanish camp in person. One of the attendants, speaking in behalf of his master, briefly re plied, “It is well.”
Hernando still persisted in requesting the monarch to make known his pleasure, and to speak to them personally; whereupon Atahuallpa, turning his head, and looking upon him with a smile, announced that he was then in the observance of a fast, but would visit the Spanish quarters on the ensuing day. He further directed that the troops should confine themselves to the buildings situated upon the plaza or public square.
De Soto is said to have been mounted upon a noble charger, and, to excite the admiration of the Inca, he put his horse to his full speed, and wheeling suddenly, drew him short up immediately in front of the monarch. Atahuallpa’s nerves were proof against this display, and he gave no signs whatever of any emotion. It was afterwards reported that he caused several of his attendants to be put to death for exhibiting alarm, upon this occasion, at the fury and spirit of the war-horse.
Some of the women of the royal household now offered the Spaniards the fermented drink of the country, “chi-cha,” in golden goblets. This they drank in their saddles, and then spurred back to the encampment at Caxamalca. Their report of the power of the Peruvian force tended greatly to discourage the little band of adventurers, but only served to nerve their bold and unscrupulous leader to a more determined purpose. Recollecting the success of Cortez in securing the person of Montezuma, and through him, for the time, controlling the officers of the capital, Pizarro determined upon the same policy. He made known his resolution to his officers, and then proceeded to distribute sentinels at points where they could command a view of the approaches to the city, and of the Peruvian camp.
At daybreak on the following morning, Pizarro commenced his arrangements for the surprise and capture of the Inca. The great square (more properly, in this in stance, a triangle) was surrounded with low buildings, with large entrances on the same level with the enclosed space. They were built partly of stone, but mostly of unburnt brick or clay. The Spanish cavalry, in two separate bodies, respectively under command of Hernando Pizarro and De Soto, was concealed in large halls, from which a sally could be made at a moment’s warning. The foot soldiers were stationed in another quarter, where they could most promptly second the efforts of the horse; and two small falconets, constituting the only artillery, were placed under charge of an officer called Pedro de Candia, from the place of his birth.
The Peruvian monarch, on his part, made preparations to appear in the utmost state, and to impress the eyes of the strangers with his power and magnificence. So much time was occupied in the movements of the immense army that it was after noon before the Inca arrived at the city. He was about to pitch his camp without the walls, and postpone his visit till the following morning, had not Pizarro sent a message, earnestly requesting him not to delay his coming, as all was ready for his entertainment. Entirely un-suspicious of the perfidious intention of the Spaniards, Atahuallpa complied with the request. It was nearly sunset when he entered the town, accompanied by thousands upon thousands of obsequious but unarmed attendants. He was borne by numbers of his people upon a high palanquin, on a “seat of massive gold, hung about and adorned with the most brilliant feathered work. His dress was equally magnificent, and sparkled with the rarest gems.
Address Of The Chap Lain
Arriving at the middle of the great square, with his people, to the number, as was computed, of from five to six thousand, ranged in respectful silence around him, Atahuallpa was surprised to see nothing of the Europeans. Presently, however, the chaplain, Vicente de Valverde, made his appearance, and, addressing the Inca, commenced a long-winded oration upon the religion of the Spaniards, the authority of their monarch and of the Pope, and the purposes of the expedition; and concluded by exhorting him to discard his idolatrous worship, to receive that now proffered, and to acknowledge himself the subject of the emperor! Old Purchas gives the following outline of the ecclesiastic s oration: ” Excellent lord, it behooves you to know, that God in trinity and unity made the world of nothing, and formed a man of the earth whom he called Adam, of whom we all have beginning. Adam sinned against his Creator by disobedience, and in him all his posterity, except Jesus Christ, who, being God, came down from heaven and took flesh of the Virgin Mary; and to redeem mankind, died on a cross like to this (for which cause we worship it); rose again the third day, and after forty days, ascended into heaven, leaving for his vicar in earth Saint Peter, and successors, which we call popes; who have given to the most puissant King of Spain, Emperor of the Romans, the monarchy of the world. Obey the Pope, and receive the faith of Christ; and if ye shall believe it most holy, and that most false which ye have, ye shall do well; and know that, doing the contrary, we will make war on you, and will take away and break your idols; there fore leave the receivable religion of your false gods.” All this (to him) tedious and incomprehensible jargon was interpreted to the Inca according to report, with some rather ludicrous errors, in the explanation of the religious dogmas. He listened in silence until he heard the arrogant and insolent conclusion, when not even the apathy or self-control of the Indian was sufficient to en able him to conceal his indignation. He replied in language befitting a king, that no man could claim superiority over him, and that he would never abjure the religion of his country. “For the emperor,” he said, according to Purchas, ” he could be pleased to be the friend of so great a prince, and to know him; but for the Pope, he would not obey him, which gave away that which was not his own, and took a kingdom from him whom he had never seen; as for religion, he liked well his own, and neither would nor ought to call it in question, being so ancient and approved, especially seeing Christ died, which never befell the sun or moon.” Then taking from the priest’s hand the Bible or breviary which he held forth as the authority for his unheard-of assumption, the Inca threw it upon the ground, angrily announcing his, determination of calling the Spaniards to a speedy account for their presumption, and for the wrongs already inflicted upon his nation.
The friar sought out Pizarro, and urged him to make an immediate attack, offering him absolution for any sin he might commit in so doing. The fierce Spaniard and his impatient troops were but too ready to accept this advice. All day had they kept their stations in a condition of the most trying suspense, ready every moment to be called to action. The appointed signal was instantly given, and in the midst of a discharge from the falconets and muskets, the whole force rushed furiously upon the unarmed crowd of natives. Never, in the history of the world, was a more bloody and remorseless massacre committed. In the short space intervening between sunset and darkness, several thousand of the miserable wretches were slain unresistingly. In vain did the nobles throng round their monarch, with noble self-devotion throwing away their lives for their master, and opposing their bodies to shield him from the weapons whose force they had no means to avert. The unhappy prince was taken prisoner, and securely confined in an adjoining building. The Spaniards were greatly struck with the appearance and noble demeanor of their royal captive. He is represented as not far from thirty years of age, of a well-built and commanding figure, with regular features and a singular majesty of expression ” his countenance might have been called handsome, but that his eyes, which were blood-shot, gave a fierce expression to his features.”
The only Spaniard wounded during this bloody and horrible transaction was Pizarro himself, who received a wound in the hand from one of his own men, while endeavoring to ward off a blow aimed at the person of the Inca.
Prisoners and Plunder Obtained
Next day the Indian prisoners were set at work to bury the heaps of their slaughtered companions, and detachments of troops were sent over to Atahuallpa s former place of encampment. These returned in a few hours, driving in great numbers of prisoners of both sexes, many of the women being those belonging to the Inca’s household. The Spaniards reserved as many slaves as their need or pride required; the rest of the prisoners were set free, contrary to the advice of some in the army, who were strenuous that they should be maimed or massacred. The victors were now at liberty to plunder at will, and their extravagance and waste had full scope. The vast flocks of llamas, so long the pride and support of the country, and over which such a systematic and watchful care had been exercised for ages, were slaughtered without stint, or left to roam neglected among the mountains. The stores of beautiful fabrics of wool and cotton, with which the city was stored, were open to the depredation of all; and no small amount of plunder, in gold, silver, and emeralds, was secured at the Peruvian camp, or taken from the bodies of the slain, and laid by for future division.
The Inca was, meanwhile, treated with a certain respect, but his person was most carefully guarded. He was al lowed the services of his attendants, who, throughout his captivity, showed no diminution of obsequiousness and respect, but bowed as humbly before their revered monarch in his fallen fortunes, as when he sat upon his throne of state, the arbiter of life and death to all around him.
Atahuallpa could not fail to perceive what was the master motive to all acts of his captors. Appealing to this, he promised Pizarro that, if he would engage to set him at liberty, the floor of the room where they then stood should be covered with gold for his ransom. The size of the apartment is variously stated, but it was at least seven teen feet broad, and twenty or thirty in length. As the Spaniards appeared to look upon this promise as an idle boast, the Inca raised his hand against the wall, and added that “he would not merely cover the floor, but would fill the room with gold as high as he could reach.”
Pizarro accepted the offer, and a line was drawn around the room at the agreed height. The gold, whether in the form of bars and plates, or of vases and statuary, was to be piled without being broken up or reduced in bulk. Besides this undertaking, which was to be accomplished within two months, a smaller room was to be filled setwice full of silver, in like manner. ” Messengers were immediately commissioned to order gold from every quarter of the kingdom, to be brought as speedily as possible for the ransom of the monarch.
Huascar, hearing, in his place of confinement, of the reverse which had befallen his brother, at once opened a communication with Pizarro, and made offers still more magnificent than those of Atahuallpa, if the Spaniards would espouse his cause. Pizarro expressed his determination to hear the claims of both parties, and to decide, from the evidence that should be adduced, as to their respective rights. Huascar was, very shortly after this, put to death by his keepers, as was generally believed, in accordance with secret instructions from Atahuallpa.
Hernando Pizarro’s Visit to Pachacamaca
The royal mandate, commanding the desecration of the magnificent temples and palaces, by stripping them of their wealth of precious metals, was obeyed as speedily as practicable. Gold came in to Caxamalca in large quantities, but the difficulty of conveyance caused no little delay. While waiting the completion of his captive s undertaking, Pizarro sent emissaries to Cuzco to examine the condition and wealth of the country, and dispatched his brother Hernando, with a small party of horsemen, to visit the city of Pachacamac, three hundred miles distant, upon the seacoast. Hernando returned to Caxamalca with glowing reports of the beauty and fertility of the country through which he had passed on this expedition. He had visited the city for which he had directed his course, and had destroyed the great idol upon the temple, the former object of worship to the inhabitants, and which had been allowed to maintain its place by the Peruvian conquerors, and to receive joint homage with the sun. In crossing the rocky and rugged mountains, the shoes of the horses gave out, and, as no iron was to be procured, it was necessary to replace them with silver! or, as some say, with a mixture of silver and copper.
Hernando brought back with him Challcuchima, a veteran officer of the Inca’s, and the most esteemed and trust worthy of his generals. He voluntarily accompanied the Spanish cavalcade, having been told by its leader that his monarch desired to see him. When the old soldier came into his master s presence, (barefoot, and carrying, according to custom, a small burden, in token of inferiority,) he lamented audibly that he had been absent at the time of his capture; and, weeping bitterly, kissed the hands and feet of the fallen prince. Atahuallpa preserved the calm, unbending dignity, which he ever assumed in communications with his subjects.
The messengers sent to Cuzco demeaned themselves with the utmost pride and insolence. The whole of the long journey was accomplished in litters or sedan chairs, borne by the natives. At the royal city these emissaries superintended the stripping of the great temple of its golden plates and ornaments, of which a vast weight was prepared for transportation to Caxamalca.
Immense Treasure Collected At Caxamalca
At the latter place of encampment, the Spanish army was very considerably reinforced in the succeeding month of February, (1533,) by the arrival of Pizarro’s old comrade Almagro. He brought with him, from the Spanish settlements on the Isthmus, two hundred well-armed soldiers, fifty of whom were cavalry. Thus recruited, Pizarro was eager to extend his conquests and acquisitions. The promises of the Inca were not, as yet, wholly fulfilled, although -such piles of treasure were accumulated as might well astonish and satisfy even the eyes of the rapacious Spaniards. The beauty and finish of many of the massive vases and figures were long after admired by the artists of Europe. Among the representations of natural objects wrought in the precious metals, was the ear of maize. Of this, the leaves and tassel were perfectly imitated in silver work, the yellow kernel within glistening with the purest gold.
It was determined to acquit the Inca of any further fulfillment of his promise, but to retain him a prisoner, and at once to break up and divide the treasure. Some of the more beautiful specimens of art were reserved to be sent to Spain; the rest was melted into ingots by the native artisans. “The total amount of the gold as stated and computed by Mr. Prescott, “was found to be one million, three hundred and twenty-six thousand, five hundred and thirty-nine pesos de oro, which, allowing for the greater value of money in the sixteenth century, would be equivalent, probably, at the present time, to near three millions and a half of pounds sterling, or somewhat less than fifteen millions and a half of dollars. The quantity of silver was estimated at fifty-one thousand six hundred and ten marks.” The gold, as above estimated, is, indeed, more than thrice the sum that the same weight of the precious metal would be worth at the present day. The peso de oro is said to have been, specifically, about equal to three dollars and seven cents.
Of all this booty, the crown had its fifth, and the rest was distributed in various proportions among the numerous claimants. But a small allowance was made to the new recruits, and still less to the settlers at San Miguel. Certain sums were devoted to the establishment of the Catholic religion in the new country.
Having now obtained all that was to be expected through the Inca’s intervention, at least without such delays as their impatient spirits could not brook, the unprincipled horde of freebooters whose proceedings we are now recording, determined to rid themselves of a captive who had become an encumbrance.
The ridiculous farce of a trial was gone through, at which such accusations as the following were made, and pretended to be sustained: He had been guilty of polygamy; of “squandering the public s revenues since the conquest;” of idolatry [!]; of the murder of his brother Huascar; and of striving to excite a rebellion against the Spanish authorities! This last charge, the only one brought before the self-constituted court, which is worthy of comment, was utterly unsustained. The country was perfectly quiet, and even the ingenuity of the prejudiced judges failed to connect the royal captive with any attempt at insurrection. It is said that the malice of the interpreter Felipillo induced him to distort the testimony adduced. This fellow had been engaged, as is said, in an intrigue with one of the Inca’s women. The usefulness of the interpreter protected him from punishment, but the expressed indignation of the prince, excited the permanent rancor and ill will of his inferior.
Trial and Murder of Atahuallpa
The unhappy Atahuallpa was sentenced to be buried alive in the public square that very night. When his doom was made known to him, he at first resorted to every entreaty and expostulation to move his murderers from their diabolical purpose. With tears he reminded Pizarro of the treasures he had lavished on the Spaniards, and the good faith which he had always shown, and promised a ransom far greater than that before brought in, if he could but have time to procure it, and if his life were spared. Seeing that entreaties and supplications availed nothing, the dignity and firm spirit of endurance of the monarch returned, and he calmly awaited his terrible fate. By the light of torches he was brought out and chained to the stake, and, at the last moment, submitted to the disgraceful mockery of an administration of the sacraments, and a formal profession of Christianity, that a speedier form of death might be awarded him. He perished by the infamous garotte.
Hernando de Soto, a man who, with, the faults of his age and nation, was vastly superior to the merciless villains with whom he was associated, was absent at the time of this transaction, and on his return condemned the proceeding in strong terms. A small proportion of the company thought the same with De Soto, concerning the murder, but by far the greater number were but too glad to be rid of a troublesome captive, to trouble themselves about the means of accomplishing their purpose. Those chiefly concerned, felt sufficiently the disgrace attendant upon their acts, to endeavor to shift the responsibility upon each other.
In “Purchas, his Pilgrimage,” is the following summary of the end of the principal agents in the murder of Atahuallpa: “Howbeit they killed him notwithstanding, and in a night strangled him. But God, the righteous Judge, seeing this villainous act, suffered none of those Spaniards to die by the course of nature, but brought them to cruel and shameful ends. Almagro was executed by Pizarro, and he slain by young Almagro; and him Vacca de Castra did likewise put to death. John Pizarro was slain by the Indians. Martin, another of the brethren, was slain with Francis. Ferdinandus was imprisoned in Spain, and his end unknown; Gonzales was done to death by Gasca. Soto died of thought in Florida; and civil wars ate up the rest in Peru.”
A condition of anarchy and intestine disturbance succeeded the death of the Inca, and the rude shock given by the Spanish invasion to the old system of arbitrary, but fixed and unchangeable laws. Seeing the value attached to the precious metals, the natives in many instances followed the example of the conquerors in plundering and destroying the public edifices of their own country. The quantity of gold and silver conveyed away and concealed forever from the covetous eyes of the Europeans was said to have infinitely surpassed that which they had secured.
March towards Cuzzo
Pizarro now declared the sovereignty of Peru to be vested in a brother of Atahuallpa named Toparco, and the ceremony of coronation was duly performed. Further stay at Caxamalca was deemed inadvisable, and, with the new Inca in company, the Spanish army pushed on towards the ancient capital of Peru, over the magnificent road of the Incas. The ascent of the mountain ridges was, indeed, arduous and perilous, as the road was intended only for foot passengers and the agile Peruvian sheep or “camel,” as the animal was designated by early writers. As in former progresses, the granaries and halting-places prepared for the royal armies supplied abundant food and shelter.
The first attempt upon the part of the natives to arrest the progress of the cavalcade was at Xauxa, where they collected to oppose the passage of a considerable stream. Resistance proved unavailing: the cavalry dashed through the river, and dispersed the crowd. Pizarro encamped at Xauxa, and commissioned De Soto, with sixty mounted men, to go forward, and see that all was safe for a further advance. As that cavalier approached Cuzco, after crossing the Apurimac, a tributary of the Amazon, his command was beset by a hostile force of Indians among the dangerous passes of the mountain, which he must cross to reach the capital. By superhuman efforts, the little party managed to force a way against the enemy until an elevated plateau was gained, where there was room for the movements of the horses. The natives, becoming more familiar with the arms and mode of fighting adopted by the Spaniards, fought with their natural courage and resolution, but could accomplish little after the cavalry had attained an advantageous position.
Death of Toparca, and Murder of Challcuchima
During the night, De Soto and his men were gladdened by the arrival of Almagro upon the field, with most of the cavalry left at Xauxa. Pizarro had received advices of the danger to which his advance was exposed, and promptly forwarded assistance. The whole Spanish force finally assembled at Xaquixaguana, but a few miles from Cuzco. In this delightful valley, a favorite resort of the Inca nobility, whose country seats were everywhere scattered over its surface, the army encamped for rest and refreshment. At this place various charges were brought up against the noble old warrior, Challcuchima. The new Inca, Toparca, had died during the halt at Xauxa, and it was thought convenient to attribute his death, as well as the recent hostile movements, to the machinations of this dangerous prisoner. He was tried, condemned, and burned alive the usual method of execution adopted by the Spaniards in the case of an Indian victim. It is to be trusted that another generation will look upon the barbarities still persisted in among the most enlightened nations of the present age, with the same sensations that are now aroused by the remembrance of the cruelties so universal in former times.
A new claimant to the throne of the Incas had now arisen in the person of Manco Capac, a brother of the ill-fated Huascar. The young prince, splendidly attended, came boldly to the Spanish camp, explained the grounds of his claim, and requested the aid of Pizarro in establishing his rights. The general received him kindly, and seemed to accede to the proposal. In company with this new ally, after one more unimportant skirmish, the Spaniards entered Cuzco, on or about the 15th of November 1533. They were delighted with the extent and magnificence of the city, and the liveliness and gayety of its inhabitants.
Entry Into The Capital
Temples, public edifices, royal palaces, and places of sepulture, were everywhere ransacked in search of gold, but orders had been given by Pizarro Ail private property should be respected. The rapacious plunderers were dissatisfied with the amount of treasure discovered, although no conquest in the history of the world was ever rewarded by such acquisitions of the precious metals, and proceeded to subject some of the natives to the torture, to compel a disclosure of their secret places of deposit
“In a cavern near the city,” says Prescott, “they found a number of vases of pure gold, richly embossed with the figures of serpents, locusts, and other animals. Among the spoil were four golden llamas, and ten or twelve statues of women, some of gold, others of silver, “which merely to see, says one of the conquerors, with some naivete, was truly a great satisfaction. Upon the march, no small amount of booty had been secured: “In one place, for example, they met with ten planks or bars of solid silver, each piece being twenty feet in length, one foot in breadth, and two or three inches thick.”
Further Hostilities Of Manco Capac
Manco Capac was solemnly crowned at Cuzco, by Pizarro, who, with his own hand, presented the imperial badge, the borla “or red scarf for the forehead. The conqueror arranged a system of government for the city, giving his brothers Gonzalo and Juan the principal authority. The natives seemed to acquiesce readily in the new regulations, and joined hilariously in the festivities of the time.
Pizarro now bethought himself of establishing a capital for the new country in a more convenient location than either Cuzco or Quito, and in January 1535, the foundations of the city of Lima were laid. Hernando Pizarro had been previously sent to Spain, with substantial specimens of the newly acquired treasures. His appearance at court, and his details of strange adventure, excited an unprecedented enthusiasm and astonishment. Large addition emoluments and authorities were conferred upon the principal actors in the conquest; and Hernando returned to America, accompanied by numerous adventurers eager for fame and fortune in the new world. Almagro received, by royal grant, authority to conquer and possess an immense district, southward of Peru; and thither he took up his march, after a long series of bickering and quarrels with Juan and Gonzalo, respecting conflicting claims at Cuzco.
The conquerors of the empire of the Incas became care less and secure: they little dreamed that there yet existed a warlike and determined spirit among the down-trodden natives, fated soon to raise a storm on every side, which not even Spanish valor and dogged determination could readily allay.
The young Inca, Manco Capac, indignant at the conduct of the rulers at Cuzco, and disgusted with the shadow of authority which he was himself allowed to exercise, made his escape from the surveillance of the Pizarros, and, rousing the whole country to arms, entrenched himself beyond the Yucay. Juan. Pizarro in vain undertook his recapture. With a small body of cavalry, he did, indeed, gain a temporary advantage, but the effect of superstitious fears no longer operated to dismay the Indian warriors, and it was only by virtue of hard knocks, and by actual superiority in skill, weapons, and endurance, that they could be conquered. The numbers of the enemy were so great, and so fast increasing, that Juan was obliged, in a few days, to return to Cuzco, which, as he was informed by a messenger, was now besieged by the Indians in still more overwhelming force.
In the elegant language of Mr. Prescott: “The extensive environ, as far as the eye could reach, were occupied by a mighty host, which an indefinite computation swelled to the number of two hundred thousand warriors. The dusky lines of the Indian battalions stretched out to the very verge of the mountains; while, all around, the eye saw only the crests and waving banners of chieftains, mingled with rich panoplies of feather-work, which re minded some few who had served under Cortez of the military costume of the Aztecs. Above all rose a forest of long lances and battle-axes edged with copper, which, tossed to and fro in wild confusion, glistened in the rays of the setting sun, like light playing on the surface of a dark and troubled ocean. It was the first time that the Spaniards had beheld an Indian army in all its terrors; such an army as the Incas led to battle, when the banner of the Sun was borne triumphant over the land.”
It is almost inconceivable that such a handful of men as were gathered within the city-walls, should have been able to repel the force now gathered about them, and to maintain their position until the enemy, wearied with hopeless encounters, and suffering from want of provision, should be obliged to draw off.
The buildings of Cuzco were nearly all covered with a neatly arranged thatch, and this the assailants easily ignited by means of burning arrows. The whole city was wrapped in flames, and the Spaniards, encamped in the great plaza, nearly perished from the heat and smoke. “When the flames subsided, after several days of terrible conflagration, one half of the proud capital was a heap of ruins.
Fierce battles and desperate hand-to-hand encounters succeeded: the Spaniards, with their accustomed bravery, again and again charged the enemy in the field, but their numbers were so great, that success in these skirmishes was eventually useless. The sallies from the city were met and resisted with the most determined valor. As at the siege of Mexico, the Indians seemed to be careless of their own loss, so long as they could lessen the numbers of the whites, in however inferior degrees. They no longer fled in terror at the approach of the horse. They had even availed themselves of such of these useful animals as fell into their hands. Several of them were seen mounted, and the Inca himself, “accoutred in the European fashion, rode a war-horse which he managed with consider able address, and, with a long lance in his hand, led on his followers to the attack.” There are bounds to the physical endurance of man and beast, and the Spaniards were obliged to submit to the siege, and to wait until assistance should arrive from without, or until the enemy should be weary of keeping watch upon them. The greatest annoyance was in the possession, by the Indians, of the great fortress, from the high towers of which their missiles were hurled with deadly effect upon all within reach.
It was determined to storm this entrenchment, and the service was most gallantly performed. Juan Pizarro, a cavalier spoken of as superior to either of his brothers in humanity, lost his life in its accomplishment. The Peruvian commander, after defending his post in person, with the most desperate valor, scorning to be taken prisoner, threw himself headlong from the highest tower, and perished.
The siege, which had commenced in the spring, continued until August, when, after months of anxiety and suffering, the little band of Spaniards were rejoiced to see the Inca s forces taking their departure. They had been dismissed by their leader to go home and attend to the necessary duties of husbandry. Manco entrenched himself at Tambo, south of the Yucay.
The rising among the Peruvians was very extensive and well concerted. Great numbers of detached plantations and settlements were destroyed, and their Spanish occupants slain. Pizarro made several ineffectual attempts to send relief to the garrison at Cuzco, which only resulted in heavy loss to his own people. A general feeling of gloom, apprehension, and discontent prevailed, and not a few of the settlers, at Lima and elsewhere, were anxious to abandon the country.
Upon the return of Almagro from his disastrous expedition to Chili, and his seizure of Cuzco, he succeeded in driving the Inca from Tambo into the mountains, where he sought out a solitary place of concealment until opportunity should offer for again arousing his people to resistance.
Cruel Treatment Of The Natives
In the desolating civil wars, which ensued among the rival Spanish claimants of the country, the rights and prosperity of the native inhabitants were utterly disregarded. They were unscrupulously enslaved and maltreated wherever the power of the Spaniards extended. In the distracted state of the country, the young Inca again renewed his efforts at resistance to his subjects oppressors. Sallying from time to time from an encampment among the mountains, between Cuzco and the seacoast, he did no little injury to the Spanish settlements, and rendered traveling unsafe, except in large and well-armed companies. Although frequently defeated by Pizarro s troops, he would only retire to meditate fresh attacks, and the Spanish commander finally thought it advisable to open a negotiation with him. A meeting was accordingly appointed in the valley of the Yucay, but the attempts at pacification were rendered abortive by mutual outrages. A Negro messenger, sent by Pizarro to the Inca with a propitiatory offering, was robbed and murdered by some of the natives. The Spanish commander chose to attribute the act to Manco’s orders, and proceeded to retaliate by the dastardly and cruel murder of a young and beautiful wife of the Inca, who was a prisoner in his power. She was stripped naked, beaten, and afterwards shot with arrows. This cruelty was endured, on the part of the victim, with true Indian fortitude. What a strange contradiction it appears, that a man like this, with his dying lips (he was assassinated in 1541) should have pronounced the name of Him whose whole teaching and example breathed the spirit of gentleness and mercy, and that his last effort should have been to kiss the figure of the cross, drawn by his finger, in his own blood, upon the floor.
As the Spanish population of the country increased, the condition of the Indians became more and more wretched and deplorable. The old scenes at the West India Islands were reenacted, and the brutal populace seemed to make cruelty and wanton outrage a matter of emulation. It was not enough to enslave the helpless natives, and to compel them upon insufficient nourishment, and scantily clothed, to undergo the killing labors of the mines and plantations; but the most capricious outrages were everywhere committed. They were hunted with dogs, for the sake of sport; all that they esteemed sacred was desecrated; their women were violated in the most shame less manner; and cruel tortures and death awaited him who should resist the oppressor, or invade his rights of property!
One of the most notorious abuses in the system of Spanish government, and which was maintained until after the insurrection of 1781, was called the “Repartimiento.” This was a compulsory distribution of European goods, which the natives were compelled to purchase at enormous prices. “The law was doubtless intended,” it is said by Tschudi, “in its origin, for the advantage and convenience of the native Indians, by supplying them with necessaries at a reasonable price. But subsequently the Repartimiento became a source of oppression and fraud, in the hands of the provincial authorities.”
The system which regulated the services of laborers in the mines or on the plantations went by the name of the “Mita.” Those Indians who were placed, by the operation of this species of conscription, under the power of the proprietors of the soil, were in a far more miserable condition than slaves in whom the master has a property, and whose health and lives he has an interest in preserving. Such a miserable pittance as was doled out for their support, and so severe and unceasing was the labor required at their hands, that an almost incredible number perished. “Some writers estimate at nine millions the number of Indians sacrificed in the mines in the course of three centuries.”
When, by the intervention of Las Casas, the wrongs of the Indians received attention from the Spanish court, and extensive provisions were made for their freedom and protection, all Peru was in a state of tumultuous excitement. It was the general determination not to submit to such an infringement of the luxuries and profits of life in the New World, as that of placing the serfs under the care of the laws. In the midst of this turmoil, in 1544, the brave and patriotic Inca was slain by a party of Spaniards, who had fled to his camp during the factious disturbances by which the European settlements were convulsed. They paid the forfeit for this act with their lives.
The first effectual steps taken in behalf of the wasted and oppressed Peruvians were under the viceroyalty of Pedro de la Gasca, between 1547 and 1550. By his efforts, a careful inquiry was instituted into the condition of the slaves; their arbitrary removal from their native districts was prohibited; and, above all, strict regulations were made, and not without strong opposition enforced, by which the kind and amount of their labor was precisely laid down.
Tupac Amaru, a son of Manco Capac, who had resided among the remote mountain districts of the interior since his father s death, was taken prisoner and put to death during the period that Francisco de Toledo was viceroy of Peru. One of his descendants, Jose Gabriel Condorcanqui, known as Tupac Amaru the Second, in after-times fearfully revenged the injuries of his family and country men. The insurrection which he headed broke out in 1781. The lapse of two centuries of oppression had thinned the teeming population of Peru in a ratio scarcely precedented, but, on the other hand, European weapons, and military skill, both of which they had, to a certain extent, adopted, rendered them dangerous enemies, and enough of the old patriotic spirit and tradition of former glory remained to afford material for a fearful outbreak.
The long depressed and humiliated natives rallied around the descendant of their ancient line of Incas with the greatest enthusiasm, and, in their successful attacks upon various provinces where Spanish authority had been established, proved as merciless as their former oppressors. Great numbers of Spaniards perished during this rebellion, but it was finally crushed; and the Inca, with a number of his family, falling into the hands of the Spanish authorities, was barbarously put to death. “They were all quartered,” says Bonnycastle, “in the city of Cuzco, excepting Diego, (a brother of Tupac,) who had escaped. So great was the veneration of the Peruvians for Tupac Amaru, that when he was led to execution, they prostrated themselves in the streets, though surrounded by soldiers, and uttered piercing cries and exclamations as they beheld the last of the Children of the Sun torn to pieces.”
Diego also perished by the hands of the executioner, twenty years afterwards, upon the accusation of having instigated a revolt, which occurred in Quito. It is said that the insurrection of the Indians under Tupac Amaru the last important effort made by them to reestablish their ancient independence cost more than one hundred thou sand lives.
Since the great revolutions in South America, and the establishment of the independence of the Republics, the Indian population of Peru have made no trifling advance. According to the account of Dr. Tschudi, a late traveler in the country, they “have made immense progress. During the civil war, which was kept up uninterruptedly for the space of twenty years, they were taught military maneuvers and the use of firearms. After every lost battle, the retreating Indians carried with them, in their flight, their muskets, which they still keep carefully concealed. They are also acquainted with the manufacture of gun powder, of which, in all their festivals, they use great quantities for squibs and rockets.”
Present Condition Of The Peruvian Indians
The same writer describes the present character of the race as gloomy and distrustful. The Christian religion has been, at least in name, almost universally diffused, but the observance of its rites is mingled with many relics of the ancient superstitions of the country, while the bigotry, errors, and evil example of too many of those who have acted as its ministers could hardly result in the inculcation of the true spirit of their faith. During the whole period of Spanish authority, from the time of the first landing, the Catholic ecclesiastics were unwearied in endeavors to promulgate their religion. Their success in effecting at least an outward acceptation of its doctrines has been nowhere more signal than in South America.