Captain Francisco Pizarro formed a partnership in Panama with Diego de Almagro and the priest Hernando de Luque in order to explore the Pacific coast, looking for a Biru tribe that became the name Peru. His first expedition began in November 1524 with eighty men and four horses; but they suffered starvation, and Almagro lost an eye fighting natives. In 1526 they took two ships and captured a balsa raft with rich ornaments of silver and gold. Pizarro kept three captured natives to learn Spanish and be interpreters. The next year only thirteen men stayed with Pizarro on the Isla del Gallo; but in 1528 Pizarro discovered the Inca city of Tumbez.
He went to Spain and at Toledo persuaded the Queen to appoint him governor and captain-general of Peru; Almagro was named commandant of Tumbez and Luque protector of the Indians. In 1532 Pizarro explored the coast of Ecuador but found Tumbez in ruins because of the Inca civil war. He killed the local chief Amotape, left sixty Spaniards in a new town called San Miguel, and invaded the Inca empire with only 168 men and 62 horses. An envoy invited Pizarro to come to Cajamarca to meet the dominant Inca emperor Atahualpa. Hernando de Soto found five hundred women from a convent in a square and gave many of them to his men.
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Pizarro sent Soto and his brother Hernando Pizarro ahead with fifteen horseman and the interpreter Martin; Atahualpa complained that they had treated chiefs badly by chaining them but offered them houses on the square. When Francisco Pizarro arrived and planned a treacherous attack, Atahualpa asked the Spaniards to return what they had stolen and threw down a prayer book that Friar Vicente de Valverde gave him. The Dominican shouted it was an outrage, and Pizarro ordered the cannons fired. Horseman rode out and slaughtered the unarmed Incas, as Pizarro tried to grab Atahualpa, who was captured.
In two hours about 7,000 natives were killed in Cajamarca. Pizarro had Atahualpa instruct the Incas to surrender, and Soto gathered men, women, llamas, gold, silver, and clothing. Governor Pizarro said they wanted only gold, and so Atahualpa promised to fill a room with gold in exchange for his freedom. Some caciques came and obeyed their captive Inca emperor. His rival brother Huascar was killed on the road, and Atahualpa also had two half-brothers murdered. In 1533 Hernando Pizarro led an expedition that searched for gold at Pachacamac. Atahualpa had the general Quisquis at Cuzco, Chalcuchima at Jauja, and Ruminavi at Quito.
Hernando Pizarro persuaded Chalcuchima to accompany him to Cajamarca. To learn of gold, Soto tortured Chalcuchima with fire in front of Atahualpa. In April 1533 Almagro arrived at Cajamarca with 153 Spaniards. Francisco Pizarro ordered gold and silver ornaments melted down, and his brother Hernando left with 100,000 castellanos for the king of Spain. The furnaces at Cajamarca turned out 13,420 pounds of “good gold” and 26,000 pounds of good silver. The Cajamarca chief told Governor Pizarro that Atahualpa had ordered his men from Quito to attack.
Pizarro and royal officials condemned the Inca emperor to be burned; but because he agreed to be baptized, Atahualpa was strangled. Then Soto’s reconnaissance patrol learned that there was no threat after all. Many caciques accepted Huascar’s younger brother Tupac Huallpa as the next Inca emperor. Governor Pizarro proclaimed the Requirement of capitulation, and the Incas celebrated Tupac Huallpa’s coronation. In August 1533 Governor Francisco Pizarro, Almagro, and Soto marched out of Cajamarca with the captive Chalcuchima, who was blamed for the empty storehouses along the way.
Spaniards entered Jauja, as it was burning, and slaughtered fleeing warriors. Inca Tupac Huallpa died of illness at Jauja in October. Leaving a garrison, Pizarro left for Cuzco with 130 men and a hundred horses. By killing Atahualpa, the Spaniards had taken the side of the late Huascar in the Inca civil war, and many natives attacked the Quitans, who moved south destroying villages, food stores, bridges, and aqueducts. Soto was sent ahead, and Quitans killed six of his men in an ambush. Young prince Manco, son of Huayna-Capac, arrived and denounced Chalcuchima, who refused to become a Christian and was burned to death.
The Castilians entered a quiet Cuzco in November 1533. Governor Pizarro told Manco that he came to Cuzco to “liberate” them from the Quitan tyranny. Manco assembled an army of 20,000 and went with Soto, Almagro, and fifty horsemen to pursue Quisquis, whose men wanted to go home to Quito. Pizarro organized the looting of treasure and found more wealth at Cuzco, mostly in silver, than they had gathered at Cajamarca. Quisquis attacked Jauja, killing one Spaniard but wounding many. By June 1534 Soto had driven the Quitan army into the north.
Governor Francisco Pizarro divided the city of Cuzco and gave it to 88 soldiers, and he distributed the natives at Jauja in encomiendas to 53 Spaniards. He put Soto in charge at Cuzco and instructed him not to let Spaniards demand gold from the natives. In 1535 Pizarro founded a city on the coast that came to be called Lima. At Quito Ruminavi had Atahualpa’s brother Quilliscacha murdered and ruled as a warlord. Meanwhile early in 1534 conquistador Pedro de Alvarado invaded Ecuador with a strong force. Pizarro sent Sebastian de Benalcazar to capture Quito, which Ruminavi abandoned.
Benalcazar also invaded Chibcha territory. Alvarado lost 85 men in the Andean mountains and agreed to sell his ships to Almagro and return to Guatemala, letting his men stay in Peru. Quisquis arrived with his army, which killed fourteen Spaniards; but his officers wanted to go home, mutinied, and killed Quisquis. The Castilians captured and executed Ruminavi at the square in Quito. In 1535 the colonists learned that Carlos V had given northern Peru to Pizarro and the south to Almagro. After conflict over who was to rule Cuzco, Almagro left in July on an expedition to explore Chile.
Manco sent along 12,000 men with his brother Paullu and high priest Villac Umu. Reluctant natives were chained and imprisoned every night. In October disgusted Villac Umu left, and soon all the natives from Cuzco had fled, leaving the Spaniards with no servants. At Cuzco conquistadors insulted, persecuted, and harassed Manco for gold. When he tried to escape, they captured and imprisoned him. Manco’s uncle Tiso and Collao chiefs began murdering encomenderos. When Hernando Pizarro returned from Spain, he was put in charge at Cuzco. Manco was released and offered to get a golden statue for Hernando.
Instead, he organized a widespread rebellion that began in the spring of 1536. His army was estimated to be between 100,000 and 200,000. In Cuzco 190 Spaniards had only eighty horses. The natives set fire to the city and attacked for six days, killing Juan Pizarro; but the Castilians fought their way to take over the citadel at Sacsahuaman, slaughtering 1,500 in the fortress. Canari auxiliaries brought them food and water. Hernando Pizarro ordered women natives killed, and by August the siege let up. Francisco Pizarro sent reinforcements; but Gonzalo de Tapia and his seventy horsemen were all killed or captured in a mountain ambush.
In a dawn attack led by Quizo Yupanqui, the Incas massacred those left at Jauja except for two men. Quizo Yupanqui attacked the new capital at Lima but was killed with other leaders who bravely fought in the front. Hernando Pizarro went after Manco Inca at Ollantaytambo; but his horses could not fight after the Incas flooded the plain by diverting the Patacancha River. The Spaniards tried to demoralize the natives by cutting off the hands of prisoners in the square at Cuzco. The Pizarros got aid from Spaniards in Ecuador, Nicaragua, Panama, and Espanola; even Cortes sent weapons from Mexico.
Alonso de Alvarado arrived with 350 men and mutilated captured natives. Almagro returned to Cuzco after an unsuccessful exploration of Chile; 150 Spaniards and 10,000 native allies froze to death. Like the Incas nearly a century before, Almagro could not conquer the Promaucas across the Rio Rapel. He wanted to attack the Pizarros and appealed to Manco, who demanded he execute four of Hernando Pizarro’s scouts. This attempted alliance dissolved after the native Paucar attacked Almagro’s soldiers at Calca. Nevertheless Almagro used force to take Cuzco from the Pizarrists in April 1537.
Manco took refuge in the Vilcabamba valley. In July after Rodrigo Orgonez defeated Alonso de Alvarado at Abancay, Almagro sent him in pursuit of Manco, who escaped; but Orgonez brought back 50,000 llamas and alpacas with 20,000 natives, who were released to go home. Valverde became protector of the natives in 1538, but he had little power to enforce his responsibility. Gonzalo Pizarro escaped, and his brother Hernando was released in negotiations with Almagro. In April 1538 Hernando Pizarro led the attack on Cuzco that defeated and captured Almagro. Orgonez was beheaded right away, and Almagro was executed ten weeks later.
Manco’s Incas at Oncoy ambushed and killed 24 men led by Captain Villadiego. Tiso attacked the Colla for collaborating with the Spaniards, and with 40,000 Chibchas he besieged Gonzalo Pizarro at Cochabamba. In 1539 Francisco Pizarro sent out more troops, and the native chiefs began surrendering. Gonzalo Pizarro fought in the north and became governor of Quito. An attack on Vilcabamba still did not capture Manco, but Spaniards mistreated and executed his sister-queen Cura Ocllo. They captured high priest Villac Umu in October and executed him with Tiso and fifteen commanders the following month.
Manco warned the natives of Chile to hide their valuables from the Spaniards, and in 1541 ten thousand natives burned the Spanish settlement at Santiago, which Pedro de Valdivia had founded for 132 encomenderos. In March 1541 Gonzalo Pizarro led an expedition from Quito across the Andes Mountains with 250 soldiers and 4,000 native servants. He tortured local natives to try to get information. They built a boat to carry his sick men and heavy gear on the Coca River. After Christmas he let Francisco Orellana take the boat with sixty men so that they could bring back food.
They soon realized that the strong current would not allow them to make it back. Orellana sailed down the Napo and rested in January at the village by the mouth of the Aguarico River. Seeing women warriors, they named the larger river they reached after the Amazons. Meanwhile Gonzalo Pizarro and his men struggled to survive on their return by eating their last eighty horses. Orellana’s men repaired the boat and built others, sailing all the way to the mouth of the Amazon and up the northern coast around Trinidad to Cubagua by September 1542.
Orellana was appointed governor of the Amazon; but he died on his second expedition that was disastrous. A similar river venture was taken over by Lope de Aguirre in 1559; but he was executed when he reached Venezuela in 1561. Hernando Pizarro took more treasure to King Carlos V, but in 1540 he was imprisoned in luxury at Madrid for having executed Almagro. On June 26, 1541 Almagrists assassinated Francisco Pizarro in his palace at Lima and proclaimed young Diego de Almagro governor. Bishop Vicente de Valverde escaped on a ship to Panama but was killed and eaten by cannibals.
King Carlos sent Vaca de Castro to govern Peru, and the army led by Alonso de Alvarado defeated the Almagrists at Chupas in September 1542, as Manco’s warriors watched. Peru now had 480 encomenderos, living in large houses with African slaves and women servants apart from their allotted natives. The New Laws of 1542 abolished slavery of Indians and tried to reform the encomienda system, but the new viceroy Blasco Nunez Vela became unpopular trying to enforce these laws. Manco was negotiating a reconciliation when he was treacherously murdered by Almagrist fugitives, who were then killed by the Incas.
Gonzalo Pizarro had used the threat of Manco to raise an army in Cuzco but marched to Lima, enabling the audiencia to depose and deport the viceroy in 1544. Vela went to Quito; but Gonzalo Pizarro led an army from Lima that defeated and killed him in January 1546. King Carlos revoked the new laws, enabling his newly appointed governor, Pedro de la Gasca, to get enough support to overthrow the Gonzalo Pizarro regime, which had executed 340 Spaniards. Gasca defeated and executed this Pizarro in 1548. Gasca took encomiendas away from rebels and gave them to his supporters.
Natives had to take large quantities of gold, silver, wheat, barley, corn, potatoes, llamas, pigs, birds, eggs, logs, and crafts to the homes of the encomenderos. Discrimination against mestizos became official in 1549 when Carlos V decreed they could not hold office nor have Indian servants. He also forbade coercing natives to work but allowed it if they were paid. In 1551 the University of San Marcos was founded in Lima, and the first ecclesiastical council of Lima condemned the use of coca. That year Carlos decreed that Indians could be employed in the mines that were providing the Crown with 1,500,000 pesos a year.
Rich silver deposits had been discovered at Potosi in 1545, and its mining became a grueling industry in miserable conditions. In 1552 Prince Felipe pardoned Manco’s young son Sayri-Tupac. After the Audiencia of Lima announced its method for assessing native wages in 1553, Francisco Hernandez Giron led a revolt in Cuzco; but they were defeated at Pucara, and Giron was beheaded in 1554. Andres Hurtado de Mendoza Canete became viceroy in 1555 and let Sayri-Tupac leave Vilcabamba two years later. He allowed Cuzco corregidor Juan Polo de Ondegardo to nominate eight natives for alcalde.
Polo chose one, but three were elected by natives to administer justice. Canete removed several corregidors, because they were thieves. A royal decree in 1560 prohibited using forced labor on coca plantations. Hernando de Santillan was sent to establish an audiencia at Quito in 1564; his tyrannical government subjected him to a heavy fine, which was later reduced by the court. When Sayri-Tupac died in 1561, his brother Titu Cusi Yupanqui took charge at Vilcabamba; after long negotiations he signed a peace treaty in 1566, allowing Christian missionaries to convert him and others at Vilcabamba.
Titu Cusi objected to the puritanical austerity of Marcos Garcia but had a good relationship with Diego Ortiz and Martin Pando. He was so wary of the Spaniards’ greed that when the prospector Romero found gold in Vilcabamba, Titu Cusi had him beheaded. He forbade settlers in Vilcabamba but ordered his people not to raid Spaniards or damage their churches. Some mestizos plotted with Paullu’s son Carlos Inca to kill Spaniards; but in 1567 Augustinian prior Juan de Vivero heard of it in a confession and warned the authorities at Lima.
Audiencia president Garcia de Castro exiled eight mestizos, confiscated their estates, and kept a close watch on Carlos Inca. As governor, Castro appointed a corregidor de Indios, but Church authorities and curacas (chiefs) aroused opposition and petitioned the Audiencia of Lima in 1565 to allow more native self-government. The second ecclesiastical council in 1567 concentrated on suppressing native practices such as drinking, incest, and what they called witchcraft, and the Inquisition came to Lima in 1570.
European diseases and ruthless exploitation by the Spaniards diminished the native population from about seven million to an estimated 1,800,000 by the end of the 16th century. Conquistadors killed thousands of llamas to eat the marrowfat, throwing away the meat. By 1560 about eight thousand Spaniards lived in Peru; women came from Spain and married the wealthy colonists. A royal commission studied whether to make encomiendas perpetual; but their secret papers were found and showed how corrupt they were.
Many local curacas took advantage of the Spanish conquest to take their power back from the Inca empire, often collaborating with the encomenderos in exploiting their people. During the wars many natives died working as porters. King Felipe (Philip) II appointed Francisco de Toledo viceroy of Peru, and he was welcomed at Lima with great ceremonies in November 1569. Toledo tried to organize the somewhat Christianized Indians into native hamlets. The next year a commission headed by Archbishop Jeronimo de Loayza decided unanimously that because mining was in the public interest, natives could be compelled to do that work.
In 1571 Fernandez de Velasco developed a process using Huancavelica mercury to mine silver at Potosi, which grew to a city of 150,000 people. The mines at Huancavelica were especially toxic with mercury and arsenic. Loayza and the others soon retracted their proclamation and later denied they had even used the words “compel and force. ” Toledo interrogated witnesses and sent the resulting Informaciones to King Felipe II in 1571, arguing that the Inca kings had only ruled more than a small part of Peru for a few generations and had been tyrannical, and he commissioned Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa to write a history.
When Inca Titu Cusi died of illness at Vilcabamba in 1571 after drinking a concoction given him by Martin Pando, his brother Tupac Amaru was chosen to succeed him. Militant Incas killed Pando and Diego Ortiz for failing to revive the Inca. Tupac Amaru revitalized the traditional religion and had the churches destroyed. Dominican prior Gabriel de Oviedo tried to arrange a marriage for Titu Cusi’s son but was turned away from Vilcabamba, and papal envoy Atilano de Anaya was murdered to prevent the succession from becoming known. Toledo sent Hurtado de Arbieta to invade Vilcabamba and hunt down the recalcitrant Incas.
Tupac Amaru was captured, catechized, and baptized. The Spaniards hanged Curi Paucar and other rebels, and a questionable trial sentenced Tupac Amaru to death. Bishop Coruna begged the Viceroy to spare the Inca king, who on the scaffold confessed that the Inca religion was false as he admitted he spoke for himself, not for God. The death of Tupac Amaru marked the end of the line of Inca kings. A trial found Carlos Inca and other nobles guilty, confiscated their property, and sent them into exile, though in 1574 King Felipe reversed these sentences.
Viceroy Toledo appointed inspectors in 1571, and he ordered about 1,500,000 natives moved from small villages into larger towns in a wrenching and unpopular resettlement that took two years. Toledo set minimum wages and insisted that workers be paid in silver every week. In 1574 Toledo organized forced labor (mita) from sixteen provinces in the southern mountains from which 95,000 men had to serve four months every seven years in the mines; 4,500 at a time worked 72-hour weeks, but their pay did not cover their expenses.
Four-fifths of the natives in Peru were forced to work, most of them in agriculture. As encomiendas lapsed, the corregidors became the primary oppressors. Toledo divided Peru into 71 provinces, and in 1575 he decreed that the local judges should be of good character and sympathetic to the natives; but by 1578 he realized that most of their “protectors” were robbing the natives and burdening them by means of lawsuits. Native alcaldes heard minor cases and could not punish with death, mutilation or bloodshed; they could fine up to one peso or inflict up to twenty strokes.
In 1532 the Andean population had been about nine million, but by 1590 only about one and a half million survived. In the first half century the Spaniards had already taken 185,000 kilograms of gold and 16,000,000 kilograms of silver from Peru. Peru and Chile 1580-1763 New Granada 1525-80 The northwestern portion of South America had many Chibchas. In what became Colombia the Taironas lived on the lower slopes of the of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta by the Caribbean shore, and Muiscas were more numerous inland in the mountainous area that became Bogota.
One chief there was installed with a ceremony that coated him with gold dust that was then washed off; this ritual may have stimulated the legend of the “gilded man” or El Dorado that motivated so much exploration by conquistadors. San Sebastian was founded near Panama in 1510 but did not last. Santa Marta Bay had been named in 1501, and in 1525 Rodrigo de Bastidas founded a city of the same name. He made peace with the neighboring Gairas, Tagangas, and Dorsinos, and he obtained gold from the Bondas and Bondingas. He put his troops to work building houses and prohibited trading with the natives for gold.
Lt. General Pedro Villafuerte led a conspiracy to kill Bastidas, who was wounded but defended as the assassins fled. He replaced Villafuerte with Alvarez Palomino, who succeeded him in 1526. Villafuerte and Pedro de Porras were captured and executed. Palomino maintained peace with local tribes but raided the Zacas and Chairamas farther away. The audiencia (law court) at Santo Domingo appointed Pedro Badillo as temporary governor with Pedro de Heredia as his assistant. Badillo let the Spaniards devastate the natives.
Carlos V appointed Garcia de Lerma, who arrived at Santa Marta in 1529 with four hundred men, including twenty Dominican missionaries led by Fray Tomas Ortiz. The tribes were peaceful, and he distributed them to encomenderos, who abused them. Pedro de Heredia defeated the Turbacos and founded Cartagena in 1533, taking booty worth 1. 5 million gold ducats from the interior. In 1536 Juan Badillo was sent to arrest the Heredia brothers, and he ordered Indians to be captured and sold as slaves in Santo Domingo. The lawyer Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada led an army of 900 to conquer the Muiscas in 1536.
He imposed strict discipline by hanging a soldier for having taken two blankets left on the trail by a native. He defeated the zipa Tisquesua and then the zaque in Tunja, where he seized a treasure of gold. The next zipa made an alliance with the Spaniards to fight the Panches of the Magdalena Valley. After collecting much gold from the Muiscas, in 1538 Jimenez de Quesada and his men attacked the Chibcha capital at Bacata, enslaved the Chibchas, stole their gold, and burned their temples, founding Santa Fe de Bacata, which later became known as Bogota.
A few weeks later Sebastian de Belalcazar, who was from Peru and Quito and had founded Popayan in 1536, arrived and was appointed governor. The German Nikolaus Federmann also led an expedition that arrived in Bogota from Venezuela about this time. Jimenez, Belalcazar, and Federmann held a summit meeting and agreed to let the government of Spain decide. Carlos V rejected Federmann as an interloper, appointed Belalcazar governor of Popayan, and after remitting his punishment, he made Jimenez marshal over New Granada (Colombia and Venezuela).
Belalcazar sent troops south, and Pedro de Anasco burned a chief to death, provoking a massacre of the Spaniards by ten thousand warriors; but ninety Spaniards managed to hold out in a fort at Timana. Alonso Luis de Lugo replaced Jimenez de Quesada as governor of New Granada in 1542. In Velez he cancelled the distribution of the natives and collected tribute from the chiefs for himself. In 1544 Lugo banished the Quesadas from the Indies and left for Spain. Meanwhile the corsair Robert Val had plundered and burned Santa Marta in 1542, and the next year his pirates looted Cartagena, which prevented fire by paying Val a ransom of 2,000 pesos.
Settlers resisted the New Laws of 1542 by continuing to enslave the natives. Visitador Miguel Diaz de Armendariz arrived at Cartagena in 1544 and ordered Belalcazar to enforce the New Laws in Popayan, but evasions continued. In 1546 Jorge Robledo led a force of seventy men from Cartagena to Antioquia and arrested Belalcazar’s officer; but Belalcazar surprised his camp at Loma de Pozo, forced Robledo to surrender, and executed him with three of his officers. After trying Heredia in Cartagena, Armendariz went to Bogota in 1547. Several delegates went to Spain, and the next year the New Laws were changed.
In 1550 the cabildo (council) of Bogota recognized the newly installed audiencia. Belalcazar was arrested for the four murders, provided a bond, but died on his way to Spain in 1551. That year Jimenez returned to Bogota and endeavored to protect the natives he had conquered. In 1553 the visitador Juan Montano arrested the judges Juan Lopez de Galarza and Beltran de Gongora and sent them to Spain. Complaints against Montano led to the lawyer Alonso de Grajeda being sent to arrest him. Montano was sent to Spain in the same chains he had used on his victims, and the Council of the Indies executed him in 1561.
That year Jimenez de Quesada repelled an attack from Venezuela and was appointed governor of New Granada, but he wasted three years, many men, and much money trying to find El Dorado. In 1564 the crown replaced the members of the audiencia, and Andres Diaz Venero de Leiva was appointed the first president of New Granada. He governed well for ten years and tried to alleviate the wretched conditions of the natives by giving them their own land, urging encomenderos to fulfill their duties, penalizing those who used Indians as carriers, and opening schools for Indians.
Agustin de la Coruna became bishop of Popayan in 1566. He championed the oppressed natives and Africans so much by distributing Church funds to the poor and defending them against abuses that he was imprisoned and sent to Quito. After five years in exile he was allowed to return and continue his saintly work until he died in 1589. A small pox epidemic devastated the native population in 1566 and struck again 1588-90, killing thousands. During the interim four years (1574-78) of administration by the audiencia, Jimenez de Quesada was sent to conquer the Guali Indians, and he founded the city of Santa Agueda.
Jimenez died of leprosy in 1579, leaving a debt of 60,000 ducats. The second president, Lope Diez Aux de Armendariz, arrived in 1578, but two years later he was imprisoned by visitador Juan Bautista Monzon. He too was imprisoned but was released in 1582 by visitador Prieto de Orellana, who in turn was dismissed, went to Madrid, and died in jail. Carlos V granted most of Venezuela to a consortium of German bankers led by the Welser group of Augsburg, and in 1529 Ambrosio Alfinger arrived in Coro, which had been recently established as a slave-raiding post by Juan de Ampies.
They sought the fabulous El Dorado, but Alfinger treated the natives cruelly and died from wounds he received from them. In 1534 a Bavarian who called himself Jorge de Espira was appointed governor. He and Nikolaus Federmann went searching for gold separately. Crown agents investigated Jorge de Espira, who died in 1540. The next year Philip Hutten became governor at Coro; but in 1546 he was assassinated by Juan de Carvajal, who led settlers into the Segovia Highlands, founding El Tocuyo in the valley to provide cattle and crops for the miners in the region. Borburata became a port for conveying African slaves.
In 1555 Valencia became the frontier outpost on Lake Tacarigua. Settlers in the valley of Caracas were repeatedly attacked by Indians until Diego Losada arrived in 1567 with 150 residents and 800 Indian servants and soldiers. Maracaibo suffered from hostile natives for a dozen years until it became permanent in 1574. The Franciscans established a convent in the province of Santa Cruz de Caracas. In 1580 a smallpox plague wiped out about two thirds of the 30,000 natives in the Caracas valley. New Granada 1580-1763 Southern South America to 1580 Most of the natives in Chile were called Araucanians.
They lived simply, believed in life after death, and used arrows more for hunting than for war. Between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries the Diaguitas invaded from the northeast. Then the Chinchas and Quechuas brought the more advanced civilization of farming, mining, and industry from the north. The Quechuas conquered the Chinchas. In the middle of the 15th century the Incas used the Quechuas to organize bureaucracy for the collecting of annual tribute in northern Chile. Fernando Magallanes (Ferdinand Magellan) discovered the southern straits named after him in 1520 and the island Tierra de Fuego.
In 1535 Diego Almagro in Cuzco equipped five hundred Spaniards and thousands of native servants for a difficult expedition across the mountains in which ten thousand lost their lives. They established a headquarters in Aconcagua and were supplied by ships. After a hard winter and not finding gold, they decided to return, forcing more natives to carry their supplies until they dropped dead. In 1539 Francisco Pizarro appointed Pedro de Valdivia his lieutenant-governor in Chile. He gathered 150 Spaniards and three thousand Yanaconas (native auxiliaries) that included families, though the only Spanish woman was Valdivia’s companion Ines Suarez.
In 1540 they marched to the valley of Copiapo. Valdivia promised friendship to those who did not resist but extermination to enemies. On February 12, 1541 he founded a city named Santiago de Nueva Extremadura, claiming from Copiapo to the Strait of Magellan. The cacique Michimalonco organized resistance in the valley of Aconcagua and killed soldiers guarding the gold miners. In September the Araucanians attacked and burned the town. Valdivia sent for help, and a hundred men arrived with more supplies by ship at the end of 1543. Juan Bohon founded the city of La Serena with thirteen citizens.
In 1544 Valdivia assigned sixty large portions of land to his captains and others. Needing more men, he went back to Peru, embarking at Valparaiso. Valdivia sent another hundred men, and the royal envoy named him governor of Chile. La Serena had been destroyed by Indians, and Francisco de Aguirre rebuilt it in 1549. Valdivia arrived with two hundred soldiers and founded Concepcion near the Biobio River on March 3, 1550. In the Araucanian territory he named a city after himself, and Captain Jeronimo de Alderete founded Villarrica. The Spaniards seemed to have conquered Chile with less than a thousand men.
They fought the fierce Araucanian warriors and with cannons and horses forced them to flee; but after Valdivia cut off the hands and noses of their prisoners, they sought revenge. The elder sage Colocolo persuaded the Araucanians to unite against the Spaniards with Caupolican as general. Valdivia had made the young Araucanian Lautaro his page, but he went back to his tribe in 1553 and helped Caupolican defeat and kill all the Spaniards at Fort Tucapel; Valdivia was captured, dismembered, and eaten. Francisco de Villagra took command but was defeated by Lautaro’s forces with nearly a hundred killed.
After the towns of Valdivia and Concepcion were attacked, Peru’s viceroy Andres Hurtado de Mendoza appointed his son Garcia governor and sent him with 350 men. Villagra tried to rebuild Concepcion; but Lautaro attacked them again, and the Spaniards fled to Santiago in 1555. However, Villagra’s troops killed Lautaro in a surprise attack on his camp in April 1557. Garcia de Mendoza arrived in early 1557 but stayed on the island of Quiriquina for months until it was safe. Then his men built a fort that was attacked by the chieftain Caupolican.
Hundreds of Araucanians were killed by cannons and shots. Finally the Spaniards defeated Caupolican and his men in swampy Lagunillas. Garcia ordered Concepcion resettled and founded Canete. The Araucanians fought back again, but their prisoners were brutally killed. After Caupolican was tortured and killed in Canete, the war in Chile ended in 1558. In less than a decade a million Araucanians had been reduced to about 400,000 by war, famine, and a smallpox epidemic. Alonso de Ercilla y Zuniga was born in Madrid on August 11, 1533 to aristocratic parents.
He studied Latin and the classics at Bobadilla, and at the age of fifteen he became a page at the court of young Felipe II. Ercilla was with the prince in England in 1553 when Jeronimo de Alderete brought news of the Araucanian rebellion in Chile. Ercilla enlisted as a captain under Alderete and was in Peru by 1556. During one of their tournaments he disputed with another officer and placed his hand on his sword in the presence of General Garcia Hurtado de Mendoza; for this offense he was nearly beheaded, but a Spanish lady pleaded for the lives of the two officers.
Ercilla was compelled to leave Chile in 1558 and returned to Spain in 1561. He interviewed people and wrote the first part of his epic poem La Araucana and dedicated it to Felipe II, who approved its publication in 1569. Using his notes made during the war, Ercilla completed Part 2 of La Araucana in 1578 and Part 3 in 1589. In his prolog he described it as an authentic history of the war, and he apologized for treating the Araucanians as heroic figures fighting to defend their freedom from the invading Spaniards.
In this emergency even their women went to war as the Araucanians fought heroically to the death. His long poem was written in the tradition of Virgil’s Aeneid and Lucan’s Civil War, and it is considered one of the first great works of Latin American literature as the national epic of Chile. Garcia de Mendoza followed the advice of Licentiate Hernando de Santillan by implementing an ordinance in 1559 to reduce the excessive work and bad treatment imposed on the natives, but each encomienda had to provide one Indian for every six in the tribe to work in the mines and one in five for the fields.
Garcia had arrested Villagra and sent him to Lima; but King Felipe II removed Hurtado de Mendoza and his son Garcia for having executed people without due process of law, and Felipe appointed Villagra governor of Chile. The Araucanians learned how to use horses and continued fighting, forcing Peru to supply Chile with soldiers. Francis Drake raided Valparaiso in 1578. In the arid region the Diaguitas ate corn (maize), peas, gourds, fruit, and prickly pears, and for warfare they used bows and arrows, slings, and hatchets.
In the forests of Chaco and Formosa the Malacos-Mataguayos, Chorotes, Guaycurues, and Chiriguanos hunted, fished, and made textiles. On the plains were the Araucanians, Querandies, and Puelcheans. In the southern archipelago were the nomadic Onas and Yamanas. Sebastian Cabot had a fort built on the Rio de la Plata in 1527. In 1534 King Carlos V signed a contract with Almagro for Chile and with Pedro de Mendoza for the La Plata region. Mendoza was delayed by illness and reached Rio de Janeiro in November 1535 with eleven ships and 1,200 men.
The small ships entered the Rio de la Plata River in February 1536 and founded a town named Buenos Aires for its “good airs. ” In a battle with natives Admiral Diego Mendoza and thirty Spaniards were killed. After Juan de Ayolas went up the Parani River to found Corpus Christi, 12,000 Indians attacked and burned the fort at Buenos Aires. Pedro de Mendoza died of illness in June 1537 and was succeeded by Ayolas, who founded Asuncion up the river. There Ruiz Galan said he represented Pedro de Mendoza and clashed with Domingo Martinez de Irala, who supported Ayolas.
In September a cedula authorized assembled colonists to elect a new leader in case the old one had not named a representative. Irala had a document authorizing him and took command in 1539. He moved the colonists from Buenos Aires to Asuncion, and natives destroyed Buenos Aires in 1541. Irala developed good relations with the Guarani natives, and this policy was continued in 1542 by his successor, the adventurous Cabeza de Vaca, who made peace with twenty chief Guaycurues. The next year he led an expedition up the Paraguay River with 400 Spaniards and 1,200 Indian allies in ten ships and 120 canoes.
The natives and common soldiers liked Cabeza, but the officers resented his strict discipline. After he refused to let them keep a hundred native girls given them by their parents, they imprisoned Cabeza when he was sick and deported him to Spain, where in 1551 he was sentenced to forced labor in Algeria. Cabeza successfully appealed this, but he was banned from the new world and published his account in 1555. Irala resumed the governorship, and in 1545 he led an expedition that killed two thousand hostile natives and enslaved 12,000, mostly women and children.
Irala traveled as far as Cuzco in 1548 and met with the royal commissioner Pedro de la Gasca. Gonzalo de Mendoza led some mutineers back to Asuncion, where Irala had appointed Captain Francisco de Mendoza. However, the inhabitants elected Diego de Abreu. When Mendoza tried to lead an uprising, Abreu had him beheaded. When Irala returned, Abreu was executed. Irala allotted 26,000 natives as repartimientos to colonists and governed Paraguay until he died of fever in 1556. Paraguay’s first bishop arrived in 1555. Irala’s successor Gonzalo de Mendoza sent Nuno de Chaves, who founded Santa Cruz de la Sierra in 1561.
Mendoza died that year, and another son-in-law of Irala named Ortiz de Vergara became governor; but the viceroy of Peru replaced him with Juan Ortiz de Zarate, and by agreement he encouraged the importation of farmers, cattle, horses, and sheep. Francisco de Aguirre sent Diego Villarroel to found San Miguel de Tucuman in 1565, and in 1570 Fray Fernando de Trejo became the first bishop of Tucuman. The Franciscan Francisco Solano was so successful at converting natives with kindness and music that he was later canonized. The Chiriguanos destroyed two forts of the Spaniards, and in 1567 they illaged Chibcha villages. After being told by thirty Chiriguanos that they had been converted by Santiago (saint James), Peru viceroy Toledo realized it was a ruse and led a large army against them in 1574; but the Spaniards were devastated by hunger and disease and had to retreat. In 1573 Jeronimo Luis de Cabrera founded Cordoba on the central plain. That year Juan de Garay founded Santa Fe with nine Spaniards and 75 Creoles born in the new world. In 1580 Garay went to the town that had been abandoned forty years before and planned the city of Buenos Aires. Rio de la Plata 1580-1763
Peru and Chile 1580-1763 Las Casas on the Spanish Conquest Bartolome de Las Casas was born in 1484 and grew up in Seville, where he witnessed the triumphant return of Columbus in 1493. His father and three uncles accompanied Columbus on his second voyage; his father returned in 1498 on a ship loaded with slaves, one of whom he gave to Bartolome during his college years at Salamanca. The slave was returned to Espanola in accordance with the royal order of 1500. Bartolome accompanied his father to Espanola in 1502. After the massacre at Jaragua, Governor Ovando gave Bartolome a slave.
Las Casas later described the misery and early deaths of the slaves who worked in the mines. He went to Spain to assist Bartolome Colon and was ordained a priest at Rome in 1507. After studying canon law for two years, Las Casas sailed back to Espanola with Admiral Diego Colon, who gave him land in Cibao with a repartimiento (allotment) of Indians. In 1513 he joined Diego Velazquez in the conquest of Cuba under Panfilo de Narvaez, trying to pacify the natives. Las Casas observed Spaniards massacre three thousand natives at Caonao after they had brought food to share with the Christians.
He left Narvaez and was given an encomienda near the port of Xagua. Once he was even refused the sacrament by a Dominican because he held slaves. While preparing a sermon in 1514 and reading the Wisdom of Sirach 34:18-22 in which denying the laborer his wages is compared to shedding the blood of a neighbor, Las Casas had a change of heart, realizing that the treatment of the natives was unjust and tyrannical. He informed Velazquez that he was renouncing his Indians, and he began to give sermons against the robbery and wrongs of the Spaniards, telling his congregation that it was sinful to make the Indians serve them.
Las Casas returned to Spain in 1515 with Antonio Montesinos to report to King Fernando on the evils he witnessed. He presented his Memorial de remedios to Cardinal Cisneros on how Spaniards and Indians could live together. This visionary document was passed from regent Adrian of Utrecht to Erasmus and Thomas More, who applied its ideas in his Utopia. In 1516 Las Casas was appointed Protector of the Indians and tried to influence the Jeronymite commissioners, but his zeal met determined resistance from the Spaniards who exploited the labor of the natives.
When he told Bishop Fonseca of Burgos that seven thousand Cuban children had died of starvation in three months because their parents had been taken to work in the mines, Fonseca asked how that concerned him or the king. The next year Las Casas proposed an experiment to settle Venezuela with farmers that would work all the natives in common under his rules. Twenty African slaves were to be put in the mines in place of the Indians, and only priests properly educated in his methods were allowed. The community was to be assisted by 74 officials with various technical skills, and 6,600 castellanos were to be spent on supplies per year.
In 1518 a royal order authorized establishing the villages; but because of opposition Las Casas had trouble getting volunteers. Most of those rounded up by Captain Berrio fell ill, and the attempted colonization was delayed for three years. In 1519 Bishop Juan de Quevedo, using Aristotle as his authority, argued that Indians are slaves by nature. The aristocratic Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo, the first official historian of the Indies, seemed to agree, but Las Casas kept this history from being printed. Las Casas suggested more Arthurian ideals dubbed Knights of the Golden Spur.
Opposed by Bishop Fonseca, Las Casas selected seventy laborers and went to Cumana in 1521; but some soldiers refused to serve under him and went off slave hunting. This caused the Guayqueri on the Venezuela coast to call on Caribs; they burned the monastery, killed some Dominicans, and massacred the colony while Las Casas was away. Las Casas blamed himself for compromising with the slave-hunters. Drunken natives used poisoned arrows, and in revenge Spaniards enslaved 600 of them in two months. The frustrated Las Casas joined the Dominican order and retreated into a monastery on Espanola for many years.
He became prior of a new monastery on the northern coast in 1526 and observed the dying slaves that were being brought from the Bahamas. He wrote reports to Spain and influenced legislation to suppress slavery. In 1533 Las Casas persuaded a dying encomendero to free his slaves and leave his goods as reparation. As a result of this, pressure was put on his superior to confine him to the monastery. Las Casas accepted the submission of a “rebel” cacique named Enriquillo, who had been educated in a Franciscan convent.
After the encomendero Valenzuela raped his wife, Enriquillo complained to Valenzuela and the governor’s agent; but they only threatened him with punishment. He went to the Audiencia, which did no more than send him back with a letter. After more abuses and brutalities, Enriquillo withdrew to the mountains. He and other Indians defended themselves against the soldiers sent against them, taking their weapons. Enriquillo never let his men attack Spaniards first and ordered all prisoners disarmed and released. After thirteen years the colony had spent 80,000 castellanos trying to capture them.
Finally Fray Remigio persuaded Enriquillo they could be friends with the Spaniards, and Enriquillo delivered to them gold but had to flee again from their treachery. Enriquillo died soon after he agreed to accompany Las Casas to the town of Azua. Las Casas worked as a missionary in Central America. In 1536 he refused to join an expedition under Captain Diego Machuca de Zuazo and denied absolution to those participating because he believed the conquest ordered by Nicaragua governor Rodrigo de Contreras was wrong; but he offered to pacify the country himself with only fifty men.
Contreras banished Las Casas; but King Carlos ordered Contreras to suspend his expedition for two years so that Las Casas could use peaceful methods. He attended conferences in Mexico with his allies Fray Julian Garces and Bishop Juan de Zumarraga, urging the doctrine of peaceful conversion. Bernardino de Minaya took these ideas to a conference in Rome in 1536, and the next year Pope Paul III pronounced that American Indians should not be deprived of their liberty or property even if they are outside of the Christian fold; he threatened those who enslave Indians with excommunication.
Las Casas wrote a long book, which is mostly lost, entitled The Only Method of Attracting All People to the True Faith. In this treatise he moderated his rhetoric and exhorted preachers to use only peaceful and loving methods of conversion because any violence repels rather than attracts. Infidels are not moved by those greedy for wealth or desiring dominion over them. Las Casas was allowed to attempt another experiment to test this thesis in Guatemala with his fellow Dominicans. The province of Tuzutlan was so untamed that it was called the “Land of War. In 1537 acting governor Alonso Maldonado from the second Mexico audiencia was investigating the Alvarado government and agreed to keep other Spaniards out of this region for five years. With three friars Las Casas wrote songs on Christian history, and they taught them to four native merchants who were Christians and began by trading with the natives and singing these songs. Then the Dominican Luis de Barbastro, who knew the Mayan language Quiche, went to live among them. The chief became a Christian and urged his people to follow; Las Casas took him to meet Governor Alvarado.
This experiment in peaceful conversion succeeded for several years as the region was renamed Vera Paz, the “Land of True Peace. ” Meanwhile colonists and ecclesiastics argued over peaceful preaching as a method. Las Casas returned to Spain in 1539 and for two years lobbied the Council of the Indies to abolish encomiendas. He condemned this system in his Remedies for the Existing Evils, with Twenty Reasons Therefore. The ninth reason was the most simple and obvious, namely that all people in the new world are free. Even the Spanish Cortes (Council) in Valladolid petitioned the king to remedy the cruelties perpetrated against the Indians.
After Carlos V returned to Spain in 1542, Dominicans persuaded him to abolish encomiendas and promulgate the New Laws. No Indian was to be enslaved, and all existing Indian slaves were to be freed. Encomenderos without proper title were to lose their natives, as were all officials and prelates. No new encomienda was to be granted to anyone, and as encomenderos died, their natives were to revert to the Crown. On the islands of Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Espanola tribute was not to be demanded from Indians, who were to have the same rights as Spaniards.
Suspected of taking bribes from Cortes, Pizarro, and others, the Council of the Indies was suspended for a year, and new commissioners were appointed. Later historians have questioned whether abolishing the encomiendas benefited the natives because they still were considered tribute-paying vassals of the king. The conquistadors reacted strongly to the New Laws, resulting in the assassination of the viceroy in Peru. Visitador Tello de Sandoval was sent to Mexico to enforce the New Laws; but he heard so many protests, he modified them. Business was badly affected, and hundreds of Spaniards returned to Spain with their wives.
Clergy had also profited from encomiendas, and many priests resisted the reform. In 1545 the Council of Mexico advocated suspending the New Laws and making encomiendas perpetual, and Carlos V revoked the New Law on encomiendas later that year. Las Casas met with hostility at Santo Domingo, but the stern rule of Judge Cerrato prevented violence. After rejecting the lucrative see of Cuzco, Las Casas was consecrated bishop of poor Chiapas in 1544. He met with bishops at Mexico City in 1546 and wrote Advice and Regulations to Confessors, urging the withholding of sacraments from anyone who did not compensate Indians properly for their labor.
The rules were to be kept secret, but they leaked out and upset many. Penitents were required to give their slaves freedom instantaneously and irrevocably. They must pay for the wrongs they did, and very unpopular was the call for conquistadors, who had gained all their wealth from exploiting natives, to leave nothing to their sons. Merchants who imported war materials were also guilty and owed restitution. Those confessing must never again participate in a war of conquest against natives. Having become too unpopular to minister effectively in the colonies, Las Casas resigned his bishopric and returned to Spain for good in 1547.
The king’s chaplain Juan Gines de Sepulveda had written a treatise in which he argued that the wars against the Indians were just. Persuaded by Las Casas, university authorities refused to let Sepulveda’s book be printed. Las Casas had been working on his History of the Indies for years and responded by writing the massive Defense of Indian Civilization. He argued that the current licenses should be revoked and that all conquest should be stopped. In April 1549 the royal order on “The Manner in which New Discoveries are to be Undertaken” was sent to the Audiencia of Peru.
Sepulveda wrote to Prince Felipe (Philip) in September, and in April 1550 Emperor Carlos ordered all conquests stopped until theologians and counselors should decide the issue. Sepulveda wrote A Defense for the Book on the Just Causes of the War, which was printed at Rome in May 1550, and he wrote three other defenses in Spanish, describing the Indians as brutish and cowardly. Fourteen officials and ecclesiastics met for a month during the summer at Valladolid. Sepulveda spoke for three hours and then Las Casas read from his book for five days before the judges began their discussion.
Domingo de Soto made a summary, and then Sepulveda wrote a reply to the twelve objections of Las Casas. Sepulveda argued that because of their idolatry and sins against nature, the Indians should be subjugated and protected by the superior Spaniards. He noted that the natives do not have any written laws or even private property. Las Casas responded that the Indians were quite rational and in some respects superior to the Greeks and Romans. He wrote, No nation exists, no matter how rude, uncultivated, barbarous, gross, or almost brutal its people may be, which may not be persuaded and brought to a good order nd way of life and made domestic, mild, and tractable, provided the method that is proper and natural to men is used; that is, love and gentleness and kindness. 5 The judges argued and made no judgment, but by 1566, the year Las Casas died, King Felipe II was issuing licenses for new discoveries. Yet the more humane ordinance of 1573 was surely influenced by the life work of the zealous Dominican, as the concept of conquest was replaced by pacification. After the debate, in 1552 Las Casas published eight tracts, including his Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies he had written ten years earlier.
Unlike most of his writing, this bold criticism was translated in the 16th century into Flemish, English, French, German, and Latin and was thus widely disseminated. In the prolog he explained that it would have been a criminal neglect of his duty to remain silent about the enormous loss of life because of the conquests. He summarized the most egregious violations he was describing in his longer history. The native population of Espanola had been reduced from three million to two hundred. Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and the Bahamas were similarly devastated.
On the mainland Christians had caused the deaths of between twelve and fifteen million people by unjust war and brutal slavery in order to get gold and amass private fortunes. Las Casas repeatedly argued that the natives had done nothing wrong to deserve such ill treatment. They had welcomed the Europeans, believing they came from heaven until they realized what their oppressive purposes were. Only then did some of them take up their inferior weapons to try to defend themselves. Europeans were ruthless and vowed to slaughter one hundred natives for every Spaniard who was killed.
In Panama and Nicaragua, Governor Pedrarias led the slaughter in the relentless search for gold. Demands for fifty slaves every few months were made of local leaders, who were burned alive or thrown to dogs if they did not meet their quota. Las Casas described the assaults in Mexico as worse than those of Turks trying to destroy Christians. He accused the Alvarado brothers of killing four million natives in Guatemala between 1524 and 1540. Other “butchers” he left unnamed were Guzman in northern Mexico and Montejo in Yucatan. In only the first ten years Las Casas calculated the number of deaths in Peru at four million.
He noted that already the conquistadors in Peru were fighting and killing each other. He saw the Christ in each of the natives and lamented that they had not been given the knowledge of God. He loved Castile and feared his country would be punished for these crimes. Las Casas wrote a treatise on imperial sovereignty in which he argued that the pope had no coercive authority to force infidels to accept Christianity, and he believed that the natives had their own rightful kings and property, which should be restored by the encomenderos who had robbed them.
In Thirty Very Juridical Propositions he argued that everything the Spaniards had done in the new world was illegal and unjust. These writings and his sermons made Las Casas the most hated man in the Spanish empire. Several times the council of Mexico City urged Felipe II to restrain the Indian advocate and prohibit the printing of his books. In 1554 licenciado Ribera on behalf of encomenderos in Peru offered Felipe four million ducats if he would make encomiendas perpetual; so Las Casas contacted missionaries, and they promised even more money to the bankrupt Spanish government from the Indians themselves for their freedom.
This royal commission was so fraught with corruption and fraud that the king dismissed it. In 1564 Las Casas wrote a Solution to the Twelve Doubts in which he asserted that it is right for even infidels to have jurisdiction over their own lives. He questioned the enrichment of the fortune hunters in Peru, and his writing stimulated Viceroy Toledo to research the history of the Incas so that he could prove that they had oppressed other natives.