PERU: THE CONQUEST SPEEDS UP

A few days after Atahualpa is executed, Pizarro appoints a replacement. A new Inca instead of the dead. Túpac Huallpa is also  son of Huayna Cápac, and is half-brother of Atahualpa and Huáscar. With this appointment, Pizarro hopes to satisfy Inca nobles and soldiers, or at least to pacify them.

Túpac Huallpa is attempted to be crowned traditionally, even though he has not been appointed by his father, even though he does not wear the royal headband and even if it does not take place in Cusco after the mourning period of the deceased father and predecessor.

New in the royal ceremony is that Pizarro, in front of the present chiefs, lets the King Carlos Requerimiento – the writing which had also been proclaimed for Atahualpa – read: that the natives shall be taught the true religion and, moreover, submit to King Carlos and God. Then Pizarro asks whether they had fully understood it and which has been translated. They confirm, where upon he takes the royal standard, raises it three times and tells them they must do the same. He passes the standard and everyone does as they have been told, to the sound of trumpets.

Although Túpac Huallpa has not been appointed by his fatherly predecessor, the chiefs find some certainty just to have a Sapa Inca, who Pizarro – demonstratively – shows his reverence. But the new Inca is Pizarros puppet-Inca, must obey Pizarro, and it is impossible to hide.

August 11, 1533, 300 Spaniards move to the south. Pizarros original force has been expanded with some Spaniards, horses and weapons and puppet-Inca Túpac Huallpa in a royal litter plus Inca General Chalcuchima.

Not all of Pizarros original force are following him. Some have been given their share of the Inca gold and more important: permission to travel. To Spain! Home! Francisco de Xeres, Pizarros personal secretary, is among those bringing the first bars of Inca gold to Spain.

But first of all Pizarro must have felt the miss of one man: Atahualpa. Formally, his counterpart, but sentenced to death, tortured and executed after the rouse of fear of attack, in hatred and due to lack of tactical overview, so he no longer can serve as hostage, shield, and thus Pizarros fellow player, his trump.

The Spaniards must go through warm valleys and over snowcapped mountains. In bee line, there are 750 miles, and the line is crossing the watershed between the Pacific and the Atlantic, ie. the backbone of the Andes. The way they have to walk – some are lucky and can ride – is much longer.

Inca warriors attack the Spaniards several times, but the attackers are weakened by the Spanish infectious diseases, and the Spaniards have their military superiority: horses, helmets, armours, lances and firearms.

The Spaniards are supported by Cañari and Huanca, whose territories they pass; the two tribes – among others – are longing for freedom of the Incas and hope to regain the freedom by fighting with the Spaniards against the Incas – and over all they hope to get rid of the destructions that the War of Brothers has inflicted on them.

Tawantinsuyu has been tightly controlled by the Inca, but now he has disappeared and replaced by a puppet-Inca. No state feelings are any longer connecting the empire.

On the way to Cusco, the Spaniards are attacked by an Indian force of 6,000 men under leadership of one of the Atahualpas brothers, Titu Atauchi. Eight Spaniards are captured and conveyed to Cajamarca. Among the eight is Cuellar, who had served as clerk in the trial of Atahualpa; now Cuellar is tied to the same pole as Atahualpa had been tied to and strangled in the same way as he had been.

Chaves and Haro, two of the twelve Spaniards who had protested against the death sentence of Atahualpa, have also been captured, but they are treated with the greatest kindness by their guards, Inca warriors, and make a treaty with them, that Spaniards and Incas shall be friends, that Manco, also one of Huayna Cápacs sons, shall be installed as Inca, and that all Inca laws – which not oppose to Christianity – shall be observed. Then Chaves and Haro are being released. They hurry after the main force on its way to Cusco for persuading Pizarro to accept this peace agreement. But Pizarro rejects them and their plans.

After two months of march and battle, Túpac Huallpa, Pizarros puppet-Inca, dies in the town of Jauja, midway between Cajamarca and Cusco – 200 miles east of Lima. The Spaniards make a stop in the city that was founded before the Inca Empire, taken over by the Incas and for a brief note becomes capital of the Spaniards. There, in October 1533, Pizarros main problem is that his puppet-Inca Túpac Huallpa is dead. He must find a new one that can balance the anger between descendants of Atahualpa and Huáscar and protect the Spaniards.

It may seem odd that a dead puppet-Inca should be Pizarros weakest link, but the puppet-Inca was link and point of balance, hostage and a kind of peace maker.

Pizarros riders are all experienced and strong, and their position high on horseback gives them crucial advantages. They make use of the most sophisticated weapons of the time – even in Europe, Spanish personal weapons were acclaimed at that time – swords, rapiers, lances, and a few crossbows and firearms with powder. Most important are the horses which can run faster than an Indian, and a horse can mutilate and trample opponents to death.

On the other hand, the Incas are – beyond comparison – too many. They have fitness and know the landscape and paths which – many places like stairs – run up and down mountains. A highland Inca fights with his close combat weapon, ax of bronze or wooden club that can crush skulls. Some Inca warriors have lances with copper tip others have the stonesling warak’a; bow and arrow are used by warriors from the Amazon, but they are not many, and by the way, the arrows would not be able to penetrate the Spaniards armour.

In Jauja, Pizarro gets sketched a picture of the forces he is fighting against. A decade before, Huayna Cápac had assembled an army for under his and his son Atahualpas command to conquer areas north of Tawantinsuyu. When Huayna Cápac died, the army – unlike the tradition – had not been demobilized for the warriors to return home and cultivate their land, but had remained as Atahualpas three professional armies. When Pizarro had taken Atahualpa hostage and executed him, the armies continued under the command of the generals. Each of the three armies allegedly consisted of about 35,000 warriors.

Pizarro hears that northernmost part of the army is in what today is Ecuador, and is led by General Rumiñavi.

The central part of the army, Pizarro practically has made ineffective by inviting its General Chalcuchima to visit Atahualpa – ie. detain him as a sort of replacement hostage after Atahualpa has been executed.

After the death of puppet-Inca Túpac Huallpa, Pizarro gets an idea. He offers General Chalcuchima to become Inca, but the General dares to refuse! The office has lost reputation. The War of Brothers has revealed that Sapa Inca is not as divine anyway as one previously had been convinced of.

The southern part of the army has occupied Cusco and tried to annihilate the Huáscar family. The army is led by General Quizquiz, which historians designate as the great strategist.

Cuscos inhabitants hate the Atahualpa loyal occupants. When they learn that the Spaniards have executed Atahualpa, the inhabitants of the city are looking forward to the arrival of the Spaniards. The Spaniards are not perceived as foreign conquerors but as a party to the War of Brothers, as liberators, and it fits in perfectly with Pizarro.

The Spanish fighting force is reduced to 100 men on horse and 30 footmen; sick soldiers have been left in a fort. The force is further reduced because suspension bridges must be protected so that they are not burned by Atahualpa warriors. Not only bridges, but also villages and storehouses, are destroyed by Atahualpa warriors as part of their scorched earth policy.

The Spaniards way towards Cusco is still going down, through gushing rivers – and then up again on mountain sides. Also the horses are marked by altitude sickness and their hooves are worn by stones and rocks; iron for shoes, the Spaniards have not brought, so they get silver shoes.

The nights are cold, the days warm. In the ravines, the Spaniards are exposed to the heavy artillery of the Inca warriors: large rocks being pushed over mountain edges, hitting riders or blocking their way through mountain canyons.

Despite the numerical superiority of the Inca warriors, they do not get rid of the small Spanish force. Tawantinsuyu is in dissolution. Suppressed tribes break free from the central power, and freedom-dreaming Indians support the Spaniards. Yet Pizarro sees most chaos.

The same goes for his men.

——————————

(pp. 351-356 in volume 2, reproduced without notes and illustrations):

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO AZTECS AND INCAS: MYTHS AND STORIES FROM MEXICO AND PERU. Edited, translated, retold and commented by Mikael Witte. Volume 1 + Volume 2

476 pages + 540 pages. Richly illustrated in colors

400  Dkr. for each volume (Danish tax is included) + shipping

Published by Selskabet for smukkere Byfornyelse

Sale: selskabetfor@outlook.dk

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