• Pre-Columbian Historical Legacy
  • Jewelry and Goldsmith Sculptural
  • Pre-Columbian Historical Legacy
  • Jewelry and Goldsmith Sculptural
The Inca and Looting of Gold and Silver Peru

The Inca and Looting of Gold and Silver Peru


In Peru, the story surpasses the legend in amazement. Gold, from the earliest times, had a mythical and divine value in homage to the Sun and became priestly, the sacred cosmos and privilege of the Inca. The Peruvian gold parade allowed the King of Spain to be superior to all the kings and princes of Europe thanks to the abundance of the riches of the kingdom of Peru and Pre-Columbian America. The gold of triumph that purifies saves, and accelerates the moment of catastrophe, becoming a prisoner of fate.


Huascar and Atahualpa

The Inca conqueror of various towns was always enriching the palaces of Cuzco and the temple of Coricancha. Cuzco had supported Huáscar who had been at war with Atahualpa for the empire. Atahualpa was in Cajamarca, on the way to Cuzco to be crowned Inca when he received a visit from a Spanish invasion under the command of Francisco Pizarro who captured him through deception.


Capture of Atahualpa

From the capture of the Inca, jeweled at the top of his walk loaded by his servers and accompanied by his 7,000-person entourage that included dancers, nobles, and guards, the amazing river of gold that carries the name of Peru to the ends of the European world begins.
The friar went to Atahualpa with a bible and started a ceremony asking the Inca to accept Christianity as a religion and submit to the King of Spain's authority and the pope. Atahualpa asked the friar for the bible, examined it, and threw it on the ground, showing contempt and saying that the Spaniards should pay everything they had stolen from their empire. Pizarro then gave the signal to attack surprising the nobles, captains and the Inca, they killed as many as they could, and those who survived fled. Meanwhile, the Inca loaded by his servants fell and was captured and imprisoned. Pizarro disrupted the victorious Inca army that had conquered all of South America. Three centuries later, the Spanish Empire would be disrupted in the Junín countryside.


Atahualpa Prison

The Inca reached his most disastrous moment when Pizarro took the Inca king Atahualpa as a prisoner an intelligent, cunning and subtle man, who understood that gold was the price and amulet of his life and that it had great value for the Spanish for which he made a spectacular and enormous offer to Pizarro that amazed history and its century in exchange for his freedom: Fill the room known as the Rescue Room with different pieces of gold, between pitchers, pots, tiles, among others, as far as his raised hand and twice the same room, with silver objects within a promised period of two months. Thus, Atahualpa sent the order to the entire empire to send the largest amount of gold and silver to Cajamarca. The days continued and the shipments arrived from Pachacámac and Cuzco where the Coricancha was.
Before the rescue room was full, the Spanish began to melt the pieces of gold and silver. After the smelting, Pizarro ordered the distribution of looting for each of the Spaniards in Cajamarca, from the captains to the foot soldiers, they received a fortune, but Pizarro's ambition was not satisfied as he wanted an entire empire. Despite being a prisoner, Atahualpa was easy-going, cheerful, and talkative with the Spanish, his captors allowed him to have comforted and be cared for by his servants and women, allowing him to continue administering his empire. Atahualpa had dinner every night with Francisco Pizarro and spoke with him through an interpreter. Demonstrating superior intelligence, they were admired for his keen speech, he also learned a little Spanish and played chess.


Death of Inca Huascar

Pizarro learned that Atahualpa's followers were holding Huáscar prisoner near Cuzco. Atahualpa ordered that they take him to Huáscar, but he was killed during the journey by his custodians, it is believed that Atahualpa ordered his death because he feared that he would get along with the Spanish, but he always denied having been responsible for the crime and blamed it on their captains. It is then that the condemnation of the Inca and the distribution of the gold whose legitimate owner was the Inca Huáscar arrived together.


Death of Inca Atahualpa

The situation of the Spanish was distressing, as they feared an indigenous attack. At that time Pizarro's partner, Diego de Almagro, came to Cajamarca when he discovered that he would not receive anything from the ransom, he pressed to kill the Inca, most of the Spaniards agreed, but two captains, Hernando Pizarro and Hernando de Soto defended the Atahualpa's life. Pizarro moved both away to get rid of Atahualpa without obstacles, after the departure of both captains The gold incentive divided Almagro's soldiers, who helped him, guard. So it was necessary to hasten the distribution of the gold so that it was for everyone. There was no surer solution than to plan the Inca's death to prevent the explosion of greed.
Pizarro organized a farce of trial against the Inca emperor, where he accused him of heresy, polygamy, idolatry, and conspiracy against the Spanish crown and of assassinating Huáscar. They decided then to betray Atahualpa towards the king of Spain, who was put on trial and sentenced to be burned at stake, Atahualpa, informed, asked to speak privately with Pizarro, but he refused, he was taken to the center of the Plaza de Cajamarca, was alarmed to see that he was going to be burned because according to the Inca religion, the body had to be embalmed to achieve his resurrection in the other world, which would not be possible if the flames consumed him, so they offered him the alternative of being baptized as a Christian and being executed by strangulation, that way his body could be buried, an alternative that Atahualpa accepted.
Quote the chronicler Pedro Pizarro who saw Francisco Pizarro cry over Atahualpa's death. The following day, Atahualpa's body was brought with a grand ceremony to the church to pray the deceased's offices and give him a Christian burial. The corpse was deposited in front of the main altar, and the Spanish religious sang, all prayed before the dead. During the ceremony a group of women formed by sisters, wives, and servants of Atahualpa, entered the church and offered to bury the Inca dead alive since that was the custom at the funeral of an Inca king, the Spanish replied that Atahualpa had died as a Christian and that this custom was contrary to the doctrines of Christianity, but the women did not conform and finally hanged themselves with their hair.
Atahualpa was buried in the Cajamarca church, but a few days later, his body disappeared. Probably his subjects took the body to mummify and bury it. According to popular belief, keeping his mummy maintains the hope of return. Among some indigenous peoples, it is believed that Atahualpa will return one day to rule them with justice and give them well-being, this belief is known as the myth of the Inkarri or the Inca king Atahualpa. According to this myth, the Inca was dismembered and his head buried in Cuzco, but his hair continues to grow in the direction of the other members and one day the body will be integrated again, and Atahualpa will return to restore the order of the Andean world broken by the Spanish invasion.


Pizarro was Received as a Liberator in Cuzco

From Cuzco to Cajamarca there were at least forty days there and back to carry the treasures. The treasures of Cajamarca were many, but the stories tell us that in Cuzco there were more treasures than in Cajamarca. Pizarro and his invaders were received in the city of Cusco as liberators, taking advantage and plundering all the gold and silver of the city without mercy.


The Loot and Gold Parade in Spain

Peru transformed the European economy into an uncontrollable boom in money and capitalism, riches that exceed all looting in history, more than that of Genoa, Milan, Rome, the prison of King Francisco, or the dispossession of Montezuma. Every day from Peru, they were driven by slow roads, loaded with thirty, forty, fifty, sixty-two hundred and sixty loads of gold and silver. Genovese or Venetian merchants witnessed the unloading of the treasure of the Incas in Seville's city, impressed by a fantastic parade of looting, which spread it throughout Europe with figures of envy.
Unfortunately, many of the treasures were melted down and irretrievably brought to Europe. The most unusual objects that were brought to Europe were:
Gold: Beautiful pieces, of houses, temples, palaces, stripping of walls, works of art, sculptures, gold boxes, thin and thick plates, 600 plates of palaces, 500 plates of the temple of Cuzco, treasures of Pachacamac, sentries, figures of small and large women, half-length figures of an Indian, significant in size, a four-year-old boy, and a dwarf man with a crown with three rams, massive jugs, vases, vases, pots of two and three arrobas, jars, a pot with a broken cow, carved fountains, a large fountain with pipes running water, a fountain with various birds and men, llamas with their life-size shepherds, an eagle or condor, ram, lamb, two drums, two sacks and in each fanega of wheat, corn canes with leaves or ears of gold, among others.
Silver: Monstrous pieces of women, llamas, sheep, ceremonial garments with gold plates, a white gold plate that is presumed to have been the image of the moon plucked from the Temple of the Sun, a jar with two handles, small and large plates, pitchers, pots, braceros, large snowflakes, llamas, a dog's head, various pieces combined with gold and emeralds. The Spaniards did not glimpse the enormous wealth buried in the tombs, if all the treasure of huacas, temples, buried tombs were brought together, what was taken out by the Spaniards would be as little as a drop in a large container of water.


The Cast of Looting

According to the official act of treasures of gold and silver, collected and artistic, the distribution was divided between: The King the fifth, the company of soldiers, Hernando Pizarro, Hernando de Soto, Juan Pizarro, Pedro de Candia, immediate captains, horsemen, the infantry, Pizarro, and Almagro for goods of the universal company and Pizarro touched him carved pieces of Indians and certain women of gold, but the seat or throne of the Inca was not counted, in solid gold with emeralds and precious stones. Even the quota granted to the last Spanish pawn was a great fortune, the amount of gold distributed may be greater than the official record of the distribution since not all the gold was registered and much was evaded from the account.

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