Siege of Cusco

Last updated
Siege of Cusco
Part of the Spanish conquest of Peru
POMA0402v.jpg
The siege of Cusco according to Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala
DateMay 6, 1536 – early March 1537
Location
Result
  • Spanish victory
  • Retreat of Incan forces
  • Almagristas seizes power in Cuzco
Belligerents

Flag of New Spain.svg Spanish Empire
Pizarro brothers
Native allies

Remnants of the Inca Empire
Commanders and leaders
Hernando Pizarro   (POW)
Gonzalo Pizarro   (POW)
Juan Pizarro II
Diego de Almagro
Rodrigo Orgóñez
Manco Inca Yupanqui
Cahuide
Strength
30,000 Indios auxiliares
190 Spaniards
700 Spaniards (as for early 1537) 100,000 to 200,000 Inca warriors
Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown, but low Unknown
Almagro's forces took possession of Cusco Almagro en el Cuzco.jpg
Almagro's forces took possession of Cusco

The Siege of Cusco (May 6, 1536 – March 1537) was the siege of the city of Cusco by the army of Sapa Inca Manco Inca Yupanqui against a garrison of Spanish conquistadors and Indian auxiliaries led by Hernando Pizarro in the hope to restore the Inca Empire (1438–1533). The siege lasted ten months and was ultimately unsuccessful.

Contents

Background

A Spanish expedition led by Francisco Pizarro had captured the Inca capital of Cusco on November 15, 1533 after defeating an Inca army headed by general Quisquis. [1] The following month, the conquistadors supported the coronation of Manco Inca as Inca emperor to facilitate their control over the empire. [2] Real power rested with the Spaniards who frequently humiliated Manco Inca and imprisoned him after an attempted escape in November 1535. [3] After his release in January 1536, Manco Inca left Cusco on April 18 promising the Spanish commander, Hernando Pizarro, to bring back a large gold statue when in fact he was already preparing a rebellion. [4]

Siege

Having realized their mistake, Hernando Pizarro led an expedition against Manco Inca's troops, which had gathered in the nearby Yucay Valley; the attack failed as the Spaniards had severely underestimated the size of the Inca army. [5] The Inca emperor did not attack Cusco at once; instead, he waited to assemble his full army estimated at between 100,000 and 200,000 men strong around the city (some sources suggest numbers as low as 40,000). Against them there were 190 Spaniards, 80 of them horsemen, and several thousand Indian auxiliaries. [6] The siege started on May 6, 1536 with a full-scale attack towards the main square of the city; the Inca army succeeded in capturing most of the city while the Spaniards took refuge in two large buildings near the main plaza. [7] The conquistadors fended off Inca attacks from these constructions and mounted frequent raids against their besiegers. [8]

To relieve their position, the Spaniards decided to assault the walled complex of Sacsayhuamán which served as the main base of operations for the Inca army. Fifty horsemen, led by Juan Pizarro, and accompanied by Indian auxiliaries broke through the Inca army files, turned around and attacked Sacsayhuamán from outside the city. During the frontal assault against the building's large walls, a stone struck Juan Pizarro in the head; he died days later from the injury sustained. The following day, the Spaniards resisted several Inca counterattacks and mounted a renewed assault at night using scaling ladders. In this way, they captured the terrace walls of Sacsayhuamán while the Inca army held on to the two tall towers of the complex. The Inca commanders, Paucar Huaman and the high priest or Willaq Umu, decided to leave the confinement of the towers and fight their way towards Calca, the site of Manco Inca's headquarters, to bring back reinforcements. The attempt was successful and the towers were left under the command of Titu Cusi Gualpa, an Inca nobleman. Despite Titu's fierce resistance, the Spaniards and their auxiliaries stormed the towers so that when the Inca commanders returned, Sacsayhuamán was firmly under their control. [9]

The capture of Sacsayhuamán eased the pressure on the Spanish garrison at Cusco; the fighting now turned into a series of daily skirmishes interrupted only by the Inca religious tradition of halting attacks during the new moon. [10] During this period, the Spaniards successfully implemented terror tactics to demoralize the Inca army, which included an order to kill any woman caught and cutting off the hands of captured men. [11] Encouraged by their successes, Hernando Pizarro led an attack against Manco Inca's headquarters which were now at Ollantaytambo, further away from Cusco. Manco Inca defeated the Spanish expedition at the Battle of Ollantaytambo by taking advantage of the fortifications and the difficult terrain around the site. [12] The Spanish garrison had more success with several raids to gather food from regions near Cusco; these incursions allowed them to replenish their almost exhausted provisions. [13] Meanwhile, Manco Inca tried to capitalize on his success at Ollantaytambo with a renewed assault on Cusco, but a Spanish cavalry party had a chance encounter with the Inca army thus ruining any hope of surprise. That same night the Spaniards mounted a full-scale attack which achieved complete surprise and inflicted severe casualties on Manco Inca's troops. [14]

After 10 months of vicious fighting in Cusco, with low morale playing a factor, Manco Inca decided to raise the siege at Cusco and withdraw to Ollantaytambo and then Vilcabamba, where he established the small Neo-Inca State. It is suggested by some that by this action he threw away his only real chance to rebuff the Spaniards from the lands of the Inca Empire, but it was probably the only realistic choice he had considering the arrival of Spanish reinforcements from Chile led by Diego de Almagro. Upon facing victory and the availability of expanding his own reign into Peru, Almagro seized the city once having achieved victory for Spain and had Hernando and Gonzalo[ who? ] Pizzaro imprisoned. Gonzalo escaped, to later face Almagro in a personal triumph at the Battle of Las Salinas. [15] :246–249,256–260

Notes

  1. Hemming, The conquest, p. 115.
  2. Hemming, The conquest, pp. 123–125.
  3. Hemming, The conquest, pp. 178–180.
  4. Hemming, The conquest, pp. 181–182.
  5. Hemming, The conquest, pp. 184–185.
  6. Hemming, The conquest, pp. 185–186.
  7. Hemming, The conquest, pp. 187–188.
  8. Hemming, The conquest, pp. 189–190.
  9. Hemming, The conquest, pp. 192–196.
  10. Hemming, The conquest, p. 197.
  11. Hemming, The conquest, pp. 198–199.
  12. Hemming, The conquest, pp. 207–209.
  13. Hemming, The conquest, pp. 210–211.
  14. Hemming, The conquest, pp. 211–212.
  15. Prescott, W.H., 2011, The History of the Conquest of Peru, Digireads.com Publishing, ISBN   9781420941142

Related Research Articles

Diego de Almagro Spanish conquistador (1475-1538)

Diego de Almagro, also known as El Adelantado and El Viejo, was a Spanish conquistador known for his exploits in western South America. He participated with Francisco Pizarro in the Spanish conquest of Peru. While subduing the Inca Empire he laid the foundation for Quito and Trujillo as Spanish cities in present-day Ecuador and Peru respectively. From Peru Almagro led the first Spanish military expedition to central Chile. Back in Peru, a longstanding conflict with Pizarro over the control of the former Inca capital of Cuzco erupted into a civil war between the two bands of conquistadores. In the battle of Las Salinas in 1538 Almagro was defeated by the Pizarro brothers and months later he was executed.

1530s decade

The 1530s decade ran from January 1, 1530, to December 31, 1539.

Atahualpa Ruler of the Inca Empire

Atahualpa, Atawallpa (Quechua), also Atabalica, Atahuallpa, Atabalipa (c. 1502–26 July 1533) was the last Inca Emperor. After defeating his brother, Atahualpa became very briefly the last Sapa Inca of the Inca Empire (Tawantinsuyu) before the Spanish conquest ended his reign.

Gonzalo Pizarro Spanish conquistador

Gonzalo Pizarro y Alonso was a Spanish conquistador and younger paternal half-brother of Francisco Pizarro, the conqueror of the Inca Empire. Bastard son of Captain Gonzalo Pizarro y Rodríguez de Aguilar (senior) (1446–1522) who as colonel of infantry served in the Italian campaigns under Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, and in Navarre, with some distinction, and María Alonso, from Trujillo. He was the half brother of Francisco and Hernándo Pizarro and the full brother of Juan Pizarro.

Sacsayhuamán archaeological site

Saqsaywaman, which can be spelled many different ways, is a citadel on the northern outskirts of the city of Cusco, Peru, the historic capital of the Inca Empire. Sections were first built about 1100 CE by the Killke culture which had occupied the area since 900 CE.

Vilcabamba, Peru the capital of the Neo-Inca State

Vilcabamba, Willkapampa is often called the Lost City of the Incas. Vilcabamba means "sacred plain" in Quechua. The modern name for the Inca ruins of Vilcabamba is Espiritu Pampa. Vilcabamba is located in Echarate District of La Convención Province in the Cuzco Region of Peru.

Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire Period of Spanish conquest in South America

The Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire, also known as Conquest of Peru, was one of the most important campaigns in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. After years of preliminary exploration and military skirmishes, 168 Spanish soldiers under conquistador Francisco Pizarro, his brothers, and their native allies captured the Sapa Inca Atahualpa in the 1532 Battle of Cajamarca. It was the first step in a long campaign that took decades of fighting but ended in Spanish victory in 1572 and colonization of the region as the Viceroyalty of Peru. The conquest of the Inca Empire, led to spin-off campaigns into present-day Chile and Colombia, as well as expeditions towards the Amazon Basin.

Manco Inca Yupanqui 16th-century Inca emperor

Manco Inca Yupanqui was the founder and monarch of the independent Neo-Inca State in Vilcabamba, although he was originally a puppet Inca Emperor installed by the Spaniards. He was also known as "Manco II" and "Manco Cápac II". He was one of the sons of Huayna Capac and a younger brother of Huascar.

Ollantaytambo Town in Cusco, Peru

Ollantaytambo is a town and an Inca archaeological site in southern Peru some 72 km (45 mi) by road northwest of the city of Cusco. It is located at an altitude of 2,792 m (9,160 ft) above sea level in the district of Ollantaytambo, province of Urubamba, Cusco region. During the Inca Empire, Ollantaytambo was the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti, who conquered the region, and built the town and a ceremonial center. At the time of the Spanish conquest of Peru, it served as a stronghold for Manco Inca Yupanqui, leader of the Inca resistance. Nowadays, located in what is called the Sacred Valley of the Incas, it is an important tourist attraction on account of its Inca ruins and its location en route to one of the most common starting points for the four-day, three-night hike known as the Inca Trail.

NJuan Pizarro y Alonso was a Spanish conquistador who accompanied his brothers Francisco, Gonzalo and Hernando Pizarro for the conquest of Peru in 1532.

Battle of Cajamarca Battle in the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire

The 'Battle' of Cajamarca also spelled Cajamalca was the ambush and seizure of the Inca ruler Atahualpa by a small Spanish force led by Francisco Pizarro, on November 16, 1532. The Spanish killed thousands of Atahualpa's counselors, commanders, and unarmed attendants in the great plaza of Cajamarca, and caused his armed host outside the town to flee. The capture of Atahualpa marked the opening stage of the conquest of the pre-Columbian civilization of Peru.

Vitcos Archaeological site in Peru

Vitcos was a residence of Inca nobles and a ceremonial center of the Neo-Inca State (1537-1572). The archaeological site of ancient Vitcos, called Rosaspata, is in the Vilcabamba District of La Convención Province, Cusco Region in Peru. The ruins are on a ridge overlooking the junction of two small rivers and the village of Pucyura. The Incas had occupied Vilcabamba, the region in which Vitcos is located, about 1450 CE, establishing major centers at Machu Picchu, Choquequirao, Vitcos, and Vilcabamba. Vitcos was often the residence of the rulers of the Neo-Inca state until the Spanish conquest of this last stronghold of the Incas in 1572.

Hernando Pizarro y de Vargas was a Spanish conquistador and one of the Pizarro brothers who ruled over Peru.

Quizquiz Inca general

Quizquiz or Quisquis was, along with Chalcuchimac and Rumiñawi, one of Atahualpa's leading generals. In April 1532, along with his companions, Quizquiz led the armies of Atahualpa to victory in the battles of Mullihambato, Chimborazo and Quipaipan, where he, along with Chalkuchimac defeated and captured Huáscar and promptly killed his family, seizing capital Cuzco. Quizquiz later commanded Atahualpa's troops in the battles of Vilcaconga, Cuzco and Maraycalla (1534), ultimately being bested by the Spanish forces in both accounts.

The Battle of Cusco was fought in November 1533 between the forces of Spanish Conquistadors and of the Incas.

History of the Incas Incan Civilization

The Incas were most notable for establishing the Inca Empire in pre-Columbian America, which was centered in what is now Peru from 1438 to 1533, and represented the height of the Inca civilization. The Inca state was known as the Kingdom of Cuzco before 1438. Over the course of the Inca Empire, the Inca used conquest and peaceful assimilation to incorporate the territory of modern-day Peru, followed by a large portion of western South America, into their empire, centered on the Andean mountain range. However, shortly after the Inca Civil War, the last Sapa Inca (emperor) of the Inca Empire was captured and killed on the orders of the conquistador Francisco Pizarro, marking the beginning of Spanish rule. The remnants of the empire retreated to the remote jungles of Vilcabamba and established the small Neo-Inca State, which was conquered by the Spanish in 1572.

Diego de Almagro II called El Mozo, was the son of Spanish conquistador Diego de Almagro and a native Panamanian Indian.

The Battle of Ollantaytambo took place in January 1537, between the forces of Inca emperor Manco Inca and a Spanish expedition led by Hernando Pizarro during the Spanish conquest of Peru. A former ally of the Spaniards, Manco Inca rebelled in May 1536, and besieged a Spanish garrison in the city of Cusco. To end the stand-off, the besieged mounted a raid against the emperor's headquarters in the town of Ollantaytambo. The expedition, commanded by Hernando Pizarro, included 100 Spaniards and some 30,000 Indian auxiliaries against an Inca army more than 30,000 strong.

Cura Ocllo Incan noble

Cura Ocllo was an Inca queen, the wife and sister of Manco Inca Yupanqui, puppet and later remnant ruler of the Inca Empire from 1533 until his death in 1544. Her husband was named Sapa Inca in October 1533 after the death of their common brother Túpac Huallpa, who in his turn had succeeded Atahualpa upon his execution by the Spaniards three months earlier.

Neo-Inca State Period of Incan resistance to Spanish conquest

The Neo-Inca State, also known as the Neo-Inca state of Vilcabamba, was the Inca state established in 1537 at Vilcabamba by Manco Inca Yupanqui. It is considered a rump state of the Inca Empire (1438–1533), which collapsed after the Spanish conquest in the mid-1500s. The Neo-Inca State lasted until 1572, when the last Inca stronghold was conquered, and the last ruler, Túpac Amaru, was captured and executed, thus ending the political authority of the Inca state.

References