After the Spaniards - misused the Orejones' daughters and burst into state convents to violate the women there - captured Atahuallpa, he ruled for eight months from a prison compound in the triangular plaza, keeping his lordly mien, his authority unquestioned by any subject of the empire. Female attendants dressed him in robes of vampire-bat fur, held food to his mouth, and ceremonially burned everything he discarded. Great chiefs trembled in his presence.   To secure his release, Atahuallpa decreed that the realm be ransacked to fill a 18-by-22-foot room once with gold, as high as he could reach, and twice with silver. Totally unaware that Pizarro's men spearheaded a massive European invasion of the Tahuantinsuyu, he presumed the bearded ones would go away once they had received their booty.

   Yet the young man’s life still hung by a thread .Shortly after the ransom compact was made between him and Pizarro. the captive learned that the Captain-General -- as Pizarro was now often called -- intended to have Huascar brought to Cajamarca. Afraid of what problems Huascar’s arrival in Cajamarca might cause him, Atahuallpa gave secret orders to have his brother killed.

   The arrival of Almagro (Together with Pizarro and Luque, were the three partners of the conquest) in Cajamarca in February of 1533, with one hundred fifty infantry- and fifty cavalry, provided an additional threat to Atahuallpa's life. Until then, Pizarro could not advance on Cuzco. He needed Almagro’s reinforcements and help. Now he was ready, and Almagro, astonished to see such treasure, was eager to press on to get his share of the spoils. Only two things prevented such a move: one was the necessity of deciding what to do with Atahuallpa, and the other was to complete the collection of his ransom. Once the latter had been accomplish, some hinted, Atahuallpa's death would be the only realistic solution to the former problem.

                                                                                                                                                                                               In addition, the tense and quarrelsome relationship that had grown up between Hernando Pizarro – Francisco’s brother - and Almagro made it imperative that Francisco do something soon. But all Francisco's persuasive powers could riot repair the unpleasantness that existed between the two men, and he feared that the success of the whole enterprise was endangered by his brother's difficult nature. Once the treasure was disposed of, he decided, Hernando could be charged with delivering Charles V's share to Spain. Then peace could be kept with Almagro. Still, another darker and less honorable motive also may have led Pizarro to this decision. Hernando was known to be the friend of Atahualpa, and he might have interfered with the Captain-General's plans for dealing with the Inca.

 

   Although the line drawn some months earlier had not yet been reached, the gold came almost to the mark. Pizarro decided to wait no longer before determining each man's share. All sorts of objects were involved-plates, goblets, ewers, salvers, many of such delicate craftsmanship that Pizarro planned to send them intact to Charles V.

   

By July 1533 more than 24 tons of exquisite treasure had been collected: idols and chalices, necklaces and nuggets, accumulated through centuries of placer mining. Though this was only a fraction of the plunder that awaited the Spaniards elsewhere in the Four Quarters of the World, Atahuallpa's ransom, as duly recorded in the Spanish archives, was worth at least 267 million dollars at today's bullion values for gold ($315 ounce-Nov/02/1997-) and silver.

   Nine forges worked for months to reduce the creations of master craftsmen to lumps of gleaming metal. Each horseman's share was 90 pounds of gold and 180 of silver; a foot-soldier got half as much. Pizarro refrained from melting down many magnificent pieces and sent them to Spain as part of the king's share, the " royal fifth," but the king promptly turned them into coin. Not a relic remains of that fabulous roomful, not even the 280 pound golden litter Pizarro saved for himself. It's anyone's guess whether it eventually became a bag of barnacled ingots calcified into a Caribbean reef, a bar in a Swiss bank, or the protective sheath of a space probe.

   After a selection had been made, the rest was melted down into standard-size gold bars, and each bar was weighed in the presence of the royal inspectors. The silver was treated in the same way. In both cases, Indian smiths were forced to destroy their own handiwork.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                       Counting the Gold and Silver. 

Ironically the Incas- those creators of large scale history - left no written records. Their " rememberers" preserved oral history with the aid of data stored on QUIPUS (an abacus -like counter, made from different color of strings. The  Quipu Keeper make his computations and then records the totals with Knots ).

The distribution of this vast amount of plunder, estimated by modern authorities to be worth $266'671,370. was solely in Pizarro's hands. Having assembled the Spaniards and solemnly prayed to Heaven for guidance and wisdom, he made known his awards, refusing, as he did so, to recognize the claims of Almagro's men to share equally in the prize. In the end, they reluctantly agreed to accept a much smaller sum of 20,000 pesos de oro (or about $ 3'924,000). Although disappointed. they contented themselves with the thought of future spoils in Cuzco.

   When Pizarro announced the rewards for those who had marched with him to Cajamarca, there was a breathless hush. For himself he set aside 57,222 pesos de oro (about $11'212,401); the Lord Inca's golden throne, worth 25.000 pesos ($4'905,000), and 2,350 marks of silver (or about $307,380). Hernando received 31,080 pesos ($6'097,896) and 2,350 marks of silver ($307,380); and De Soto, 17,740 pesos ($3'480,588) and 724 marks of silver ($94,699). Most of the sixty horsemen received 8,880 pesos ($1'742,256) and 362 marks of silver ($47,350) each, and about twenty of the infantry were allotted half that amount, while the remainder received shares three-eighths the size of the cavalry's share. Some 15,000 pesos ($2'943,000) was set aside for the garrison at San Miguel, and 2,220 ($435,564) for "the first Christian temple in Peru." No mention is made of the sums Pizarro paid to Almagro or set aside for Luque's estate. Unhappily, Luque had died before Almagro left Panama and never knew of the success of this great venture.

   Only one obstacle remained -Atahua1pa. The treasure divided, he demanded his freedom and was supported in his demands by De Soto and other cavaliers. But Pizarro refused to honor his pledge. While formally acknowledging that the Inca had paid his ransom, he declared that reasons of state necessitated his being kept under guard.

   The Captain-General and Almagro were in a quandary. They were afraid that Atahuallpa might be rescued if they took him on the difficult march to Cuzco and felt that if they freed him, he might rally his armies and seek revenge.

   Again rumors of an impending attack by hostile Indian armies spread through the camp. Most contemporary chroniclers blame Felipillo for the malicious tales. From the moment that Atahuallpa had demanded the young interpreter's death for violating one of the royal concubines --a just punishment under Inca law-- Felipillo had evidenced a vicious hatred for the emperor. Since Felipillo wis indispensable to the Spaniards, he was spared, and after that he missed no opportunity to under-mine the Lord Inca.

   

Atahuallpa murdered

By this time, Atahuallpa's most influential friend. Hernando Pizarro, had been sent to Spain, and De Soto. with a few cavalrymen, was selected to reconnoiter the area where the armies supposedly were massing. With both men out of the way, Pizarro suddenly yielded to the insistent demands of Almagro, the royal officials, and most of the troops. The Inca was brought to trial.

                                                                                                                                                                                            That expediency, rather than justice, was the reason for this decision is made clear bv the charges. Only one-- that Atahuallpa had attempted to raise a revolt against the Spaniards-- made any sense at all, and even that charge turned out to be unfounded. The rest of the charges accused the Inca of such crimes as murdering his brother Huascar, having more than one wife, and squandering public funds.

   The last of the Inca emperors was not freed but sentenced to death for treason against the strangers within his own realm. Pizarro, having plucked the Inca ruler from the midst of seeming invulnerability, holds him captive and receives a ransom for his release. Atahuallpa's subjects gather a staggering treasure that fills a spacious chamber once with gold, twicw with silver. Pizarro's men, background, later bestow on Atahuallpa his reward for securing them history's greatest ransom: death by garroting.

 

   To avoid the horror of being burned alive as a heretic and thus deprived of mummification, Atahuallpa accepted Christian baptism and took Pizarro's Christian name: Francisco- Then the Spaniards garroted Francisco Atahuallpa, thirteenth Inca, and marched down the royal road to Cuzco.

 

          PERU                  CUZCO

 

chuquihuara@hotmail.com

 

IINCA EMPIRE

CONQUEST OF  PARADISE

THE  PRIZE

CUZCO

MACHUPICCHU

TRUJILLO

DISCOVERING   SIPAN

PUNO

LAKE TITICACA

IQUITOS

THE  AMAZON RIVER

PERUVIAN FACTS

WHAT'S A POOR COUNTRY TO DO?

MACHUPICCHU SYMPHONY

Chris