Explorers gave us the 'windows' into the history of the past, allowing us to learn what it was that drove them to their discoveries.
Francisco Pizarro's Map of Discoveries
Vesco Nunez de Balboa's Map
Explorer Pizarro and His Discoveries
Francisco Pizarro was born in 1471 in Spain, who yearned to become an explorer. Yes, he was skilled, and because of his discoveries, Spain would become a leading culture throughout South America. He also was brutal to the indigenous natives and showed little understanding of his men and the hardships they endured.
He traveled with Vesco Nunez de Balboa to find a new colony in South America. The governor of Darien, Pedro Aries Davilla, ordered Pizarro to arrest Balboa for treason which Pizarro did as was told. Balboa was later executed for treason on January 21, 1519. His body was never found, and no records exist of a burial. As a result of Pizarro 's loyalty, he was named mayor of the town of Panama. It was Balboa and Pizarro who together crossed the Isthmus of Panama and were the first to discover the Pacific Ocean.
Pizarro was content for a few years as mayor of Panama but wanted more. He was determined to explore, and after hearing of the success of Cortez in Mexico, he decided to gather a crew to explore the vast areas. He formed a group with a priest, Hernando de Laque, and a soldier, Diego de Almagro, with Pizarro as the commander.
In November 1524 on the first expedition, they left with and 80 men and 40 horses. Unfortunately, this was a failed expedition, and they returned to Panama. Later, in 1526, with two ships, 160 men and some horses for the San Juan River. Almagro returned to Panama for reinforcements while Pizarro would continue to explore the Columbia coast.
Almagro Returns to Panama
Almagro was to return to Panama for reinforcements and supplies. However, the governor refused to outfit Almagro and instead ordered two ships to go and retrieve Pizarro and return him to Panama. After reaching Pizarro and informing him he was to return, Pizarro refused and asked his men to stay with him for further explorations. Thirteen men decided to keep with Pizarro and became known as the 'Famous Thirteen". They proceeded to build a boat, even though it was a crudely built one. They sailed north to wait for supplies.
In April 1528, Almagro and Laque joined Pizarro reaching the Tumbers region. They were received warmly and had their first sighting of a Peruvian Ilama, calling it a "little camel." The governor still denied any further help for Pizarro to explore the region further. Undaunted, Pizarro would go to Spain to get permission. He was fortunate, and Queen Isabel did permit him to conquer Peru, and he would be appointed governor.
Thrilled, Pizarro went to his home town to convince his brother and close friends to join his expedition. By the following year, he had gathered 180 men and 27 horses. On December 17, 1530, they left Panama to conquer Peru for Spain. Along with this expedition, Hernando de Soto joined them, adding another 100 volunteers and horses. Later, DeSoto would return to Spain and go on to explore North America in 1539 and become the first European to discover and cross the Mississippi River. He died of fever in 1542.
In May 1532, Almagro had caught up with Pizarro in Peru. It was here they encountered Emperor Atahualpa. It was common for the natives to pay tribute to the Spanish, but the Emperor refused to do so. So Pizarro ordered his men to attack, this being the Battle of Cajamarca of November 16, 1532. Atahualpa was captured and held in a room for ransom. His followers filled a room with gold, silver, and jewels. Almagro heard of the Inca army getting ready to storm them, and he and Pizarro decided to execute the Emperor. His body has never been found and is believed to have buried in Maiqui-Machay, Ecuador.
The Last Inca Emperor Atahualpa
In January 1535, Pizarro founded the city Lima, Peru. Before the Spanish some 150,000 indigenous people, the Incas lived and prospered in the region. Pizarro enslaved the Incas and forced them to build the Presidential Palace. But now, problems arose between Almagro and Pizarro. Pizarro had cut Almagro out of his share of the many riches they looted. It wasn't long before Pizarro executed Almagro in 1538 in the city square of Cusco, Peru. Within three years, Almagro, the younger and his allies would seek revenge for his father's execution. On the night of September 1542, they entered Pizarro's lavish home with a fight breaking out. Pizarro could not get his breastplate on in time and was cut down by the sword.
Almagro Capture and Execution
Presidential Palace, Lima Peru
Pizarro Tomb and Statue
Pizarro's Tomb and Statue
Pizarro's mummified body was on display in a glass casket for years, but in 1977, workers found a coffin with the words:
"Here is the skull of Marquis Don Francisco Pizarro, who discovered Lima, Peru, and placed it under the Crown of Castile."
The statue has been removed three times, and each time it is moved farther and farther from the city center.
In the end, Pizarro brought change to Europe by cementing Spain's culture deep into South America. A proud and beautiful people, the Incas gone because of the lust for gold by Europeans.
fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on March 07, 2020:
Thank you for the comments.
Rosina S Khan on March 06, 2020:
It is interesting to note how explorer Pizarro conquered Peru and executed the last Inca emperor Atahualpa. Nice historical piece. Thank you for sharing, Fran.