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<…atahualpa feared that the spaniards would kill him, so he told the governor that he would give his captors a great quantity of gold and silver.

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Essential Question #2) Did epidemic disease – smallpox, in particular – play an important role in the Spanish conquest of Peru? Why or why not?
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Primary Source: De Xeres, “Capture of an Inca King” (1532)
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Supplemental resource: Minster, “The Conquest of the Inca Empire (2018)
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Image: De Ayala, The body of Inca Emperor Huayna Capac being carried from Quito to Cuzco for burial in 1524 (roughly 8 years before the Spanish invaded Peru)
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“Note the absence of smallpox pockmarks on the face of Huayna Capac’s mummy. The beautifully crafted, realistic illustrations in this pictorial history of early Peru frequently depict tears and welts on the faces of individuals, but Huayna Capac’s face is wholly clear of marks of any kind.” – Robert McCaa, Aleta Nimlos, and Teodoro Hampe Martínez
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Francisco De Xeres, “Capture of an Inca King” (1532)
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The author of this source was Francisco Pizarro’s personal secretary
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[Conquistador Francisco Pizarro sends for Inca Emperor Atahualpa]
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As soon as the messenger came before [Inca Emperor] Atahualpa, he made an obeisance to him, and made signs that he should come to where the Governor [Francisco Pizarro] waited. Presently he and his troops began to move, and the Spaniard returned and reported that they were coming, and that the men in front carried arms concealed under their clothes, which were strong tunics of cotton, beneath which were stones and bags and slings; all which made it appear that they had a treacherous design. Soon the van of the enemy began to enter the open space. First came a squadron of Indians dressed in a livery of different colors, like a chessboard. They advanced, removing the straws from the ground and sweeping the road. Next came three squadrons in different dresses, dancing and singing. Then came a number of men with armor, large metal plates, and crowns of gold and silver. Among them was Atahualpa in a litter lined with plumes of macaws’ feathers of many colors and adorned with plates of gold and silver. Many Indians carried it on their shoulders on high…
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On reaching the center of the open space, Atahualpa remained in his litter on high, and the others with him, while his troops did not cease to enter. A captain then came to the front and, ascending the fortress near the open space, where the artillery was posted, raised his lance twice, as for a signal. Seeing this, the Governor asked the Father Friar Vicente if he wished to go and speak to Atahualpa, with an interpreter. He replied that he did wish it, and he advanced, with a cross in one hand and the Bible in the other, and going amongst the troops up to the place where Atahualpa was, thus addressed him: “I am a priest of God, and I teach Christians the things of God, and in like manner I come to teach you. What I teach is that which God says to us in this Book. Therefore, on the part of God and of the Christians, I beseech you to be their friend, for such is God’s will, and it will be for your good. Go and speak to the Governor, who waits for you.”
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Atahualpa asked for the Book, that he might look at it, and the priest gave it to him closed. Atahualpa did not know how to open it, and the priest was extending his arm to do so, when Atahualpa, in great anger, gave him a blow on the arm, not wishing that it should be opened. Then he opened it himself, and, without any astonishment at the letters and paper, as had been shown by other Indians, he threw it away from him five or six paces, and, to the words which the monk had spoken to him through the interpreter, he answered with much scorn, saying: “I know well how you have behaved on the road, how you have treated my chiefs, and taken the cloth from my storehouses.” The monk replied: “The Christians have not done this, but some Indians took the cloth without the knowledge of the Governor, and he ordered it to be restored.” Atahualpa said: “I will not leave this place until they bring it all to me.” The monk returned with this reply to the Governor.
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Atahualpa stood up on the top of the litter, addressing his troops and ordering them to be prepared. The monk told the Governor what had passed between him and Atahualpa, and that he had thrown the Scriptures to the ground. Then the Governor put on a jacket of cotton, took his sword and dagger, and, with the Spaniards who were with him, entered amongst the Indians most valiantly; and, with only four men who were able to follow him, he came to the litter where Atahualpa was, and fearlessly seized him by the arm, crying out, “Santiago!” Then the guns were fired off, the trumpets were sounded, and the troops, both horse and foot, sallied forth. On seeing the horses charge, many of the Indians who were in the open space fled, and such was the force with which they ran that they broke down part of the wall surrounding it, and many fell over each other. The horsemen rode them down, killing and wounding, and following in pursuit. The infantry made so good an assault upon those that remained that in a short time most of them were put to the sword. The Governor still held Atahualpa by the arm, not being able to pull him out of the litter because he was raised so high. Then the Spaniards made such a slaughter amongst those who carried the litter that they fell to the ground, and, if the Governor had not protected Atahualpa, that proud man would there have paid for all the cruelties he had committed. The Governor, in protecting Atahualpa, received a slight wound in the hand. During the whole time no Indian raised his arms against a Spaniard.
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So great was the terror of the Indians at seeing the Governor force his way through them, at hearing the fire of the artillery, and beholding the charging of horses, a thing never before heard of, that they thought more of flying to save their lives than of fighting. All those who bore the litter of Atahualpa appeared to be principal chiefs. They were all killed, as well as those who were carried in the other litters and hammocks….
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The Governor went to his lodging, with his prisoner Atahualpa despoiled of his robes, which the Spaniards had torn off in pulling him out of the litter. It was a very wonderful thing to see so great a lord taken prisoner in so short a time, who came in such power. The Governor presently ordered native clothes to be brought, and when Atahualpa was dressed, he made him sit near him, and soothed his rage and agitation at finding himself so quickly fallen from his high estate. Among many other things, the Governor said to him: “Do not take it as an insult that you have been defeated and taken prisoner, for with the Christians who come with me, though so few in number, I have conquered greater kingdoms than yours, and have defeated other more powerful lords than you, imposing upon them the dominion of the Emperor, whose vassal I am, and who is King of Spain and of the universal world. We come to conquer this land by his command, that all may come to a knowledge of God, and of His Holy Catholic Faith; and by reason of our good object, God, the Creator of heaven and earth and of all things in them, permits this, in order that you may know him, and come out from the bestial and diabolical life you lead…
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After the Governor had delivered this discourse, Atahualpa thus replied: “I was deceived by my Captains, who told me to think lightly of the Spaniards. I desired to come peacefully, but they prevented me, but all those who thus advised me are now dead. I have now seen the goodness and daring of the Spaniards, and that Malcabilica lied in all the news he sent me touching the Christians…”
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…Atahualpa feared that the Spaniards would kill him, so he told the Governor that he would give his captors a great quantity of gold and silver. The Governor asked him: “How much can you give, and in what time?” Atahualpa said: “I will give gold enough to fill a room twenty-two feet long and seventeen wide, up to a white line which is halfway up the wall.” The height would be that of a man’s stature and a half. He said that, up to that mark, he would fill the room with different kinds of golden vessels, such as jars, pots, vases, besides lumps and other pieces. As for silver, he said he would fill the whole chamber with it twice over. He undertook to do this in two months. The Governor told him to send off messengers with this object, and that, when it was accomplished, he need have no fear….
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