*Describes the Inca Empire and Pizarro's conquest of it.
*Includes a Table of Contents.
“Friends and comrades! On that side [south] are toil, hunger, nakedness, the drenching storm, desertion, and death; on this side ease and pleasure. There lies Peru with its riches; here, Panama and its poverty. Choose, each man, what best becomes a brave Castilian. For my part, I go to the south.” – Francisco Pizarro
A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history’s most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? The Age of Exploration and the explorers who set out on their history-making expeditions left many legacies and profoundly influenced history around the world. The voyages of men like Columbus and the conquests of men like Cortés had dramatic consequences for the natives, escalated tensions between the European nations, initiated imperialistic empires on a global scale, helped birth the United States, and ensured that the wars in the 20th century were truly world wars. In Charles River Editors’ Legendary Explorers series, readers can get caught up to speed on the lives of the most important explorers of history in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
During the Age of Exploration, some of the most famous and infamous individuals were Spain’s best known conquistadors. Naturally, as one of the best known conquistadors, Francisco Pizarro (1471/6-1541) is also one of the most controversial. Like Christopher Columbus and Hernan Cortés before him, Pizarro was celebrated in Europe for subduing the Inca Empire, a culture that fascinated his contemporaries. At the same time, naturally, indigenous views of the man have been overwhelmingly negative.
If Columbus and Cortés were the pioneers of Spain’s new global empire, Pizarro consolidated its immense power and riches, and his successes inspired a further generation to expand Spain’s dominions to unheard of dimensions. Furthermore, he participated in the forging of a new culture: like Cortés, he took an indigenous mistress with whom he had two mixed-race children, and yet the woman has none of the lasting fame of Cortés’s Doña Marina. With all of this in mind, it is again remarkable that Pizarro remains one of the less well-known and less written about of the explorers of his age.
On the other hand, there are certain factors that may account for the conqueror of Peru’s relative lack of lasting glory. For one, he was a latecomer in more than one sense. Cortés’s reputation was built on being the first to overthrow a great empire, so Pizarro’s similar feat, even if it bore even greater fruit in the long run, would always be overshadowed by his predecessor’s precedent. But Pizarro also lacked the youthful glamour of Cortés: already a wizened veteran in his 50s by the time he undertook his momentous expedition, he proceeded with the gritty determination of a hardened soldier rather than the audacity and cunning of a young courtier.
Legendary Explorers: The Life and Legacy of Francisco Pizarro chronicles Pizarro’s life, but it also examines the aftermath of his conquest and analyzes the controversy surrounding his legacy. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events in his life, you will learn about Pizarro like you never have before, in no time at all.