Reference Work Entry

Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures

pp 1177-1182

Knowledge Systems of the Incas

  • R. Tom Zuidema

On the fourteenth of November, 1533, Francisco Pizarro and a small Spanish army entered the town of Cajamarca. On the next day they took Atahuallpa, the last Inca king, prisoner after he had come to their encounter with a large army. It was the first and the last time that the Spaniards received a glimpse of the independent Inca state which had conquered an empire into southern Colombia and northern Argentina and Chile. Perhaps the empire had already been weakened by the civil war that Atahuallpa had won over his brother Huascar, the crowned king. While in prison, Atahuallpa had Huascar killed, and after some months in Cajamarca the Spaniards executed Atahuallpa. But more than these events, it was the possession of superior arms, including horses, and the help of native troops choosing their side, that allowed the Spanish army to cross the country almost without resistance and to enter the capital of Cuzco a year later. Here they set up Manco Inca as a puppet king. Less than two years ...

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