Early American History
Encounters in the Americas
Andes Mountains
civil war
Key Concepts

Francisco Pizarro was another Spanish conquistador. He had heard stories of an Indian empire richer than the Aztecs. In 1531, Pizarro and a group of 180 Spanish and African soldiers sailed from Panama to the west coast of South America. They wandered through the Andes Mountains for two years. During their travels they stole gold and riches from the Native peoples.

One day, Pizarro and his men came across a large Inca camp. The Inca Empire covered 3,000 miles of the western coast of South America. The
Inca Empire included parts of the present day countries of Peru, Ecuador,
Bolivia, Argentina,
and Chile.

The Inca civilization was very advanced. They built a network of roads and stations connecting the Inca towns. All the people paid taxes. Some paid in corn and potatoes. Others paid in gold.

When Francisco Pizarro arrived, the Inca Empire was just ending a civil war. A civil war is a war between people of the same country. The Inca civil war had been fought between two brothers, Atahuallpa and Huascar. Each brother thought he had the right to rule. The war ended when Atahuallpa killed his brother and became emperor.

Atahuallpa was carried to Pizarro on a golden throne lined with parakeet feathers. Around his neck he wore a necklace of giant green emeralds. Gold ornaments decorated his hair. Pizzarro's priests asked Atahuallpa to give up the Inca religion and accept Christianity, and the King of Spain as ruler. When the Inca Emperor refused, Pizarro took him prisoner. To gain his freedom, Atahuallpa promised Pizarro enough silver and gold to fill a whole room. After the Incas provided Pizarro with the silver and gold, Pizarro had Atahuallpa killed.

Atahuallpa was killed in 1533. The Spaniards destroyed the Inca civilization. They made slaves of the Inca people. The Inca silver and gold was sent to
Fall of the Incas
Francisco Pizarro, 1531
South America
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Additional Information

Atahualpa - Atahualpa was the Grand Inca or Emperor.

Francisco Pizarro - The Spanish officer who arrested Balboa in Panama for treason and mutiny was Franciso Pizarro. Later Balboa was tried and beheaded. Balboa had learned about a place that was "flowing with gold." The place was Peru, and the Native peoples were the Incas. Pizarro used Balboa's information to find the gold and silver.

Inca Civilization - Cuzco was the capital city of the Inca Empire. Machu Picchu was another Inca city located high in the Andes Mountains.

Pizarro - Franciso Pizarro headed down the west coast of South America to Peru in search of the Inca gold. Pizarro's capture of Peru in 1532 was the
most terrible and bloody of all the Spanish conquests. With only 180 Spanish soldiers, 67 horses, and 3 cannons, Pizarro defeated the Incas.

silver and gold - The Inca gold and silver were in the form of works of art. They included beautiful jewelry, and carvings of animals and birds, and decorated plates and spoons. Unfortunately, the Spaniards melted down most of the gold and silver before sending it to Spain. All of the Inca art works were lost.