Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Atahualpa

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
Appletons' Atahualpa.jpg

ATAHUALPA, or ATABALIPA (ah'-ta-oo-al'-pa), inca of Peru at the time of the invasion of the Spaniards, d. 29 Aug., 1533. He was the son of Huayna Capac. The laws of Peru required that the principal wives of the incas should be blood relatives, and that no children of other parentage should be legitimate. Atahualpa's mother had been a princess of Quito; nevertheless, at the request of his father, the heir to the throne, Huascar, consented to divide the kingdom with Atahualpa, on condition only that he should render homage to him, and not make conquests beyond his own dominions. This liberal conduct was infamously requited by Atahualpa, who, having secretly got together a large army, attacked Huascar in Cuzco, took him prisoner, and exterminated all his adherents, putting his family and immediate dependents to death in the most atrocious tortures. Such is the story told by Spanish annalists, whose testimony is doubtful, seeing that the murder of Huascar, their pseudo-ally, and the tyranny of Atahualpa were among the causes of his own execution. Pizarro and his followers were now in Peru, and Atahualpa opened negotiations with them. His proposals were received in a friendly manner by Pizarro, and an interview was arranged (1532), which Atahualpa attended, followed by a large number of unarmed subjects. Father Vicente de Valverde explained to him, through an interpreter, the mysteries of religion, and that, on account of their heathenism, the pope had granted his kingdom to the Spaniards. Atahualpa professed not to understand the tenor of this discourse, and would not resign his kingdom, whereupon a massacre of the assembled crowd was at once begun by the Spanish soldiers, who seized Atahualpa and threw him into prison. On the arrival of Almagro the cupidity of the adventurers was excited by the magnificent proposals that Atahualpa made for his ransom, and with a desire of seizing the whole it was determined to put him to death. During his imprisonment Atahualpa gave orders for the execution of his brother Huascar, which were obeyed. This was one of the charges against him on the court martial by which he was tried, and, being found guilty, was sentenced to be burned, a penalty commuted for strangulation by the garrote on his accepting baptism at the hands of the priests accompanying the invaders.