Francisco Pizarro was the leader of the Spanish conquistadors whose expedition to the west coast of South American in the early 1530s led to the downfall of the Inca Empire. One of the foot soldiers with the expedition was Javier Vachon. Shortly before a battle near Lake Titicaca, Vachon was sent to fetch reinforcements. However, he was followed and waylaid by an Incan warrior, who mortally wounded him. Their battle was seen by a vampire who decided to bring both men across. It is not known whether Vachon subsequently attempted to rejoin the Spanish forces.
Francisco Pizarro González (c. 1471/76 – 1541) was born in the town of Trujillo in Spain, the illegitimate son of a distinguished colonel of infantry. On 13 February 1502, he sailed from Spain as one of a party of 2500 colonists on board a fleet of thirty ships—the largest that had ever sailed to the New World. He accompanied Balboa in his crossing of the Isthmus of Panama in 1513: they were the first Europeans to view the Pacific coast of the New World. However, it was his loyalty to the new governor that led to Pizarro becoming mayor (Alcalde) and magistrate of Panama City from 1519 to 1523. Then, rumours of riches in South America caught his attention.
Pizarro formed a partnership with a priest, Hernando de Luque, and a soldier, Diego de Almagro, to explore and conquer the south. They agreed that Pizarro would command the expedition, Almagro would provide the military and food supplies, and Luque would be in charge of finances and any additional provisions they might need. They would divide equally among themselves the riches of the empire they hoped to conquer.
The first expedition, in 1524, was markedly unsuccessful. A second, two years later, suffered further mishaps; but it did capture a balsa (raft) carrying a load of textiles, ceramic objects, and pieces of gold, silver, and emeralds. This served to pique the conquistadors' interests. Despite orders to abandon the expedition and return, Pizarro and some of his men continued their explorations, learning details of the Inca Empire and its wealth.
When the new governor of Panama refused to allow a third expedition to the south, Pizarro sailed for Spain in 1528. His account greatly impressed King Charles I, who promised to give his support, though—as he then left for Italy—it was Queen Isabel who actually signed the license which authorized Pizarro to proceed with the conquest of Peru, and officially named him Governor and Captain General. One of the conditions of the grant stipulated the size of the force that Pizarro should raise. In fact, although he convinced his brothers and several close friends to join him, he was unable to raise the full complement of men. Nevertheless, the expedition left Panama for Peru on 27 December 1530.
The Inca Empire had just suffered through civil war. After marching for almost two months towards Cajamarca, Pizarro arrived at the court with 106 foot-soldiers and 62 horsemen. He initiated proceedings for a meeting with Atahualpa, who refused to pay tribute to Spain. Pizarro and his force attacked the Incan army on 16 November 1532. The Spanish were successful and Atahualpa was taken captive, later to be executed. A year later, they took the capital of the Inca Empire, Cuzco.
In 1535, Pizarro founded the city of Lima on Peru's central coast. He was assassinated there on 26 June 1541. His remains were briefly interred in the cathedral courtyard; but, at a later date, his head and body were separated and buried in separate boxes underneath the floor of the cathedral. The head was discovered in 1977 by men working on the cathedral's foundation.
- Adapted from the Wikipedia article on Francisco Pizarro.