Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Pizarro, Francisco

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Edition of 1900. 

PIZARRO, Francisco (pe-thar'-ro), Spanish soldier, b. in Trujillo, Estremadura, in 1476; d. in Lima, Peru, 26 June, 1541. He was a natural son of Gonzalo Pizarro, a colonel of infantry, and, although he was afterward recognized by his father, he received no education, and was unable to write his own name. According to Francisco Gomara, he was in his youth a swineherd, until he ran away and joined some adventurers that were going to Hispaniola, while Garcilaso and Pizarro's descendants, in a memorial to the king, affirm that he served with his father in Italy. Although it is said that in later years he learned to read imperfectly, he never was able to write, and was authorized by a special imperial decree to sign his name with a stamp. In Hispaniola he joined in November, 1509, the expedition of Alonso de Ojeda (q. v.) to Nueva Andalucia, and, when the latter went in quest of re-enforcements and provisions, he left Pizarro in command of the new colony of San Sebastian, promising to return in fifty days. At the expiration of that time Pizarro, forced by necessity, killed the horses for provisions and abandoned the colony, but in Carthagena met the expedition of Martin Fernandez de Enciso (q. v.), with whom he returned to Darien, and took part in the foundation of the colony of Santa Maria de la Antigua. He also accompanied Vasco Nuñez de Balboa in the expedition on which they discovered the Pacific ocean. Pedrarias-Davila sent him in 1515 with an expedition across the isthmus to explore the Pearl islands, and in 1517 ordered him to arrest Balboa. Later he accompanied the governor on his expedition to Veragua, and served creditably in the campaign against the cacique Urraca. In recompense he received a grant of land and Indians near the site of Panama, and settled on his possessions, which he cultivated with his Indian slaves. The expedition of Pascual de Andagoya brought the first news of a rich empire to the south, and Pizarro conceived the project of conquering it. He formed a partnership with Diego de Almagro and Fernando de Luque, and, by lending Pedrarias some money for his expedition to Nicaragua, the partners obtained permission to form an expedition. In November, 1524, Pizarro left Panama with eighty adventurers, and some time afterward Almagro followed with sixty men. Both continued along the coast to the southward, but in their attempts to penetrate to the interior they met with a determined resistance, lost many men, and, after sustaining terrible hardships, returned to Panama with news of the riches of Peru. Pedrarias, after much difficulty, permitted them to arrange for another expedition; but the mishaps of the first voyage frightened many adventurers, and they could enlist only 100 men. They sailed again in March, 1520, and, entering San Juan river, captured an Indian town with abundant provisions and $15,000 in gold, with which Almagro returned to Panama, while Pizarro remained, and sent his pilot, Bartolome Ruiz, to explore the southern coast. Pedro de los Rios, who had succeeded Pedrarias as governor, refused to permit any further enlistment, and sent a vessel to bring the expedition back. But Pizarro, who, with the small remnant of his force, had retired before the warlike Indians to the island of El Gallo, refused to obey, and, drawing a line in the sand with his sword, invited those that wished to follow him to glory and riches to pass the line. Only thirteen followed him, and with these he remained till he was joined by a force under Bartolome Ruiz, which had been despatched by his associates under the pretext of obliging him to return to Panama. He now entered upon an exploration of the coast farther south, landed in Tumbez, Paita, and Sana, obtained presents of gold, llamas, silver tankards, and other samples of the productions of Peru, and hearing of the death of Huaina Capac, and seeing the insufficiency of his small forces to subdue this immense empire, returned to Panama toward the end of the year 1527. As the governor still refused to permit, another expedition to set sail, the associates resolved to send Pizarro to Spain, and in 1528 he left Nombre de Dios, carrying some Indians that he had brought from Peru, together with llamas, gold and silver plate, and other presents for the court. On his arrival in Seville he was arrested for a debt on request of Enciso; but he was set at liberty by order of the emperor, and ordered to appear at court in the city of Toledo, where he was well received. On 20 July, 1529, he obtained from the queen-regent a commission that granted him the right of conquest of Peru, with the title of governor and captain-general for life of all the country to be discovered, and a salary of 725,000 maravedis on condition that he should raise a force of 250 men for the conquest. Hernan Cortes, whom he met at court, gave him some aid, but without being able to raise the whole force that was named in his commission. Pizarro sailed in January, 1530, with a few adventurers and four of his brothers, for Nombre de Dios. After a disagreement with Almagro, who thought himself neglected, Pizarro yielded him the title of adelantado; but after nine months of unceasing efforts he could gather only 180 men and 27 horses, with which he sailed in January, 1531, for Tumbez, while Almagro remained to collect further forces. He was joined in Tumbez by 130 men, with whom came Hernando de Soto and Sebastian de Velalcazar (q. v.). In June, 1532, he founded in the valley of Piura the town of San Miguel, and, after leaving a garrison, he continued his march southward, on 24 Sept., with 110 infantry and 60 cavalry, and on 15 Nov. they entered the beautiful valley of Cajamarca. Next day they met the emperor Atahualpa, whom they made a captive by surprise, and the Peruvian army fled in dismay. The inca offered as a ransom to fill with gold the apartment in which he was confined, and the ornaments of the temples and palaces were brought and melted so that, after separating one fifth for the emperor and two large amounts for the garrison of San Miguel and for Almagro's followers, every one of Pizarro's cavalrymen obtained for his share 362 marks of silver and 8,800 weights of gold, and every foot-soldier half that amount. The total was more than $17,000,000. Notwithstanding this, Atahualpa was kept a prisoner, and, under pretext of having killed his brother Huascar, he was condemned to death and executed on 29 Aug., 1533. Pizarro now marched on Cuzco, the ancient capital of the incas, and entered it on 15 Nov., proclaiming Manco Yupanqui (q. v.) inca. He determined to build the new capital of his possessions near the sea, and selected the beautiful valley of the river Rimac, where, on 6 Jan., 1535, he founded Los Reyes, now called Lima, probably a corruption of the name of the river. Shortly afterward disputes between Pizarro and Almagro began over their respective powers; but they were amicably arranged, and, to avoid further difficulties, Almagro set out on 3 July, 1535, for the conquest of Chili. During the latter's absence the Indians rose and besieged Cuzco for a long time, but on his return they retired. Meanwhile a royal decree had arrived appointing Almagro governor of the southern part of the country under the name of Nueva Toledo, and there were new differences between the two conquerors about the possession of Cuzco, which both believed to be included in the limits of their respective governments. Almagro was finally defeated and captured by Hernando Pizarro, and executed on 8 July, 1538, it is said with the secret acquiescence of his former partner. When these occurrences were reported at court by two commissioners, who had been sent by Almagro's partisans, the emperor decided in 1540 to send out Cristobal Vaca de Castro as a commissioner to investigate Pizarro's conduct; but before his arrival the feud between Pizarro and Almagro's followers had culminated. On a Sunday morning twenty-one of Almagro's partisans, who were called Chilenos in Lima, penetrated into the governor's palace, and, after a desperate affray, in which Pizarro killed three of their number, assassinated him and proclaimed Almagro's son governor. When the conspirators returned to drag Pizarro's body through the streets, it had already been removed and secretly buried by a friend, and later, hy King Philip's orders, it was buried in the cathedral of Lima. Pizarro was not married, but had two children by the Indian princess Ines Huayllas Ñusta, Atahualpa's sister, a son, who died in infancy, nnd a daughter, Beatriz, who married her uncle, Hernando, in 1551, and whose descendants inherited her father's riches and his title of marquis of the conquest. Pizarro was tall and of commanding presence, possessing extreme courage and fortitude, but cruel, cunning, and perfidious. He was grasping in the acquisition of money, yet liberal in its use, and he not only gave largely to his followers, but spent part of the vast treasure, of which he robbed the incas, in public buildings and improvements. — His half-brother, Gonzalo, b. in Trujillo in 1506; d. in Cuzco, Peru, 10 April, 1548, served in boyhood with his father in the Italian war in 1521-'5, and, although wholly uneducated, was thoroughly conversant with the art of war. He went to Peru with his brother in 1531, and did good service in the conquest, especially in the campaign of Charcas, in the siege of Cuzco by Manco Yupanqui, and in the defence of that city against Almagro, by whom he was taken prisoner, but escaped a few days after the latter's march from Cuzco. In 1539 he was appointed governor of Quito, and he soon resolved to explore the eastern slope of the Andes, where the popular belief located the famous “El Dorado” and the country of the cinnamon-tree. Early in 1540 he left Quito with an army of 250 soldiers and 4,000 auxiliary Indians, and, after innumerable hardships, reached Napo river, whence he despatched Francisco de Orellana (q. v.) on an exploration which resulted in the discovery of Amazon river. Having awaited in vain the return of Orellana, he began the homeward journey, and after terrible privations reached Quito in June, 1542, with only eighty half-starved Spaniards on foot and less than half of his Indians. There he received the news of his brother's assassination, and retired to his commandery of Charcas, not taking part in public life during the short administration of Vaca de Castro. But when, in 1544, the viceroy Blasco Nuñez-Vela (q. v.) appeared with the imperial decree that forbade the personal servitude of the Indians, Gonzalo, fearing to lose the advantages of the conquest, went to Cuzco and was proclaimed by the Spanish colonists supreme justice and captain-general of Peru. At the head of the army he marched against the viceroy, who abandoned Lima, and the city was occupied by Gonzalo, 24 Oct., 1544. After various encounters he met the royalist troops at Añaquito, near Quito, where Nuñez was defeated and slain, 18 Jan., 1546, and for a time Pizarro was undisputed master of Peru, until the new royal commissioner, Pedro de la Gasca (q. v.), appeared in June, 1547, when, by suspension of the royal decree regarding the Indians and a general amnesty, Gasca succeeded in causing the defection of many of Gonzalez's followers. When the two armies met at last in Xaquixaguana, 8 April, 1548, Garcilaso de la Vega, the elder, and many others went over to the royalists, who gained an easy victory. Gonzalo was taken prisoner, condemned to death, and beheaded in Cuzco two days afterward. — Another brother, Hernando, the only legitimate son of Col. Pizarro and his wife, Isabel de Vargas, b. in Trujillo in 1474; d. there in 1578, received a fair education, and served with his father in Italy under Gonzalo de Cordova in 1502-'3, and in 1512 in Navarre under the Duke of Najera. In 1530 he came to Peru with his brother Francisco and took an important part in the conquest; but from the first he showed great hatred of Almagro, so that his brother sent him, in 1533, to Spain with the royal share of the booty. He was well received, made a knight of Santiago, and empowered to equip an expedition in Seville, with which he returned early in 1535 to Peru. There he was appointed governor of Cuzco, which he defended from March till August, 1536, against Manco Yupanqui and his warriors. When the city was captured by Almagro, 8 April, 1537, Hernando was taken prisoner; but he was released a few months afterward on conditions which he broke as soon as he was at liberty, and took the command of the troops against Almagro, whom he defeated at Salinas and ordered his execution. But he was accused at court, and, in order to obtain his justification, sailed in the beginning of 1589 with a large quantity of gold as a gift for the crown to Spain. He was coldly received at court, and, although the council of the Indies did not pronounce a final sentence regarding his accusation by Almagro's executor, Diego de Alvarado, he was imprisoned in 1540 in the fortress of Medina del Campo, where he was kept till 1568, although not in rigid seclusion, so that he married his niece in 1551. After his release he retired to his native city, where he died at the age of 104 years. — Another brother, Juan, a natural son of Col. Pizarro by the same mother as Gonzalo, b. in Trujillo about 1500; d. in Cuzco in July, 1536, came with his brothers to Peru in 1531, and even in Panama began to show enmity to Almagro. When the army, after the death of Atahualpa, penetrated into the interior, Juan commanded the van-guard, and was the first to discover the rich valley of Jauja. When Francisco Pizarro despatched Almagro against Alvarado in 1534, and marched with re-enforcements toward the coast, he left Juan as commander of the garrison in Cuzco, where, by his oppression of Manco Yupanqui, for the purpose of obtaining gold from him, he gave the first cause for the rebellion of that chieftain, who fled to the mountains, but was captured again by Juan and imprisoned. In 1535 he marched against the Indians of Condesuyos, who had assassinated some Spaniards. While he was on this expedition his brother Hernando returned, and was appointed by Francisco vice-governor and chief justice of Cuzco, and Juan served under him. Hernando, against the advice of his brothers, set Manco Yupanqui at liberty, and the inca soon rose in rebellion and besieged Cuzco. When the supreme priest, Villac-Uma, had captured the citadel, whence he seriously interfered with the safety of the Spanish headquarters, Juan, whose dauntless courage was generally acknowledged, was ordered by Hernando to the assault of the fortress, and in the attack he was mortally wounded by a stone. He was buried in the Church of Santo Domingo, which had been principally endowed by him and built on the site of the Temple of the Sun, which was assigned to him after the capture of Cuzco.