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  • Smallpox and Civil War
  • Pizarro Enters Tawantinsuyo
  • Encounter at Cajamarca
  • Wayna Capac had only moved a short way south when disease struck his camp. The incubation period of smallpox is only a few days and, in no time, it swept through his army. Many of his trusted generals died, then the Inca himself caught it. As Wayna Capac's health rapidly worsened, he was asked to name a successor. Sources disagreed on his choice, which made the empire plunge into a bloody civil war.
  • Arrest of Atahuallpa
  • Pizarro and his small army marched to the center of the Inca empire. All the way, Atahuallpa received reports about their progress, but the war with his brother Huascar, he thought, was more important. The Spaniards were only 160 men. It is astonishing to think how small Pizarro's army was to attack an empire of at least five million. But he had deadly weapons — guns and mechanical crossbows.
  • Ransom of Atahuallpa
  • According to the Inca account from Titu Cusi, there was an immediate failure of communication over the traditional guest rituals of Andean diplomacy. "My uncle offered them maize beer in gold cups. But they poured it away on the floor." Atahuallpa told the Spanish to wait for him in Cajamarca, where they would be given lodging in one of the royal enclosures. The Spanish spent a nervous night waiting for Atahuallpa and his army to meet them the next day.
  • Execution of Atahuallpa
  • Atahuallpa arrived surrounded by his officers. Pizarro sent one of his priests to speak to him. The priest told him that the Spanish ruler was a friend of God and wanted the Inca to abandon their gods. Atahuallpa asked him what proof he had for his claim, so the priest told him it was in the book in his hand. The Inca said "Give me the book so it can speak to me." Atahuallpa held the book and tried to listen to it. Then he asked, "Why doesn't it speak to me?" He threw the book to the ground.
  • The Spanish visited the traumatized Atahuallpa in his cell, gave him food, and allowed his women to come to him. It was then that Atahuallpa — now understanding that the Spanish wanted gold — came up with his plan to ransom himself for it. If he paid up, he believed they would go away. It never seems to have occurred to him that these few might be the precursors of thousands, and that one payment of gold would not be enough.
  • When it was time for Pizarro to fulfill his side of the bargain and release Atahuallpa, news came from Quito that one of the Inca's generals had assassinated Huascar. Pizarro accused Atahuallpa of plotting against him, and put him on trial for treason. He was found guilty and executed.
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