Francisco Pizarro

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Pizarro, Francisco

(pĭzä`rō, Span. fränthēs`kō pēthär`rō), c.1476–1541, Spanish conquistador, conqueror of Peru. Born in Trujillo, he was an illegitimate son of a Spanish gentleman and as a child was an illiterate swineherd. Pizzaro accompanied OjedaOjeda, Alonso de
, c.1466–1515?, Spanish conquistador. He joined Columbus on his second voyage and in 1499—at first accompanied by Vespucci—explored the northeastern coast of South America. In 1508 he was made governor of territories of N South America.
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 to Colombia in 1510 and was with Balboa when he discovered the Pacific. Hearing of the fabled wealth of the Incas, he formed (1524) a partnership with Diego de AlmagroAlmagro, Diego de
, c.1475–1538, Spanish conquistador, a leader in the conquest of Peru. A partner of Francisco Pizarro, he took part in the first (1524) and second (1526–28) expeditions and in the bloody subjugation of the Incas after 1532.
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 and Fernando de Luque (a priest who secured funds). The first expedition reached the San Juan River, part of the present boundary between Ecuador and Colombia. On the second (1526–28), Pizarro explored the swampy coast farther south while his pilot, Bartolomé Ruiz, crossed the equator and then returned to bring definite news of the southern realms. In 1528 his partners sent him to Spain to secure aid from Emperor Charles V; he achieved this and gained for himself most of the future profits. Pizarro managed to soothe the disgruntled Almagro. Sailing south, Pizarro landed at Tumbes (1532) and ascended the Andes to Cajamarca, where the Inca, AtahualpaAtahualpa
, d. 1533, favorite son of Huayna Capac, Inca of Peru. At his father's death (1525) he received the kingdom of Quito while his half-brother, the legitimate heir Huáscar, inherited the rest of the Inca empire.
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, awaited him. Professing friendship, he enticed Atahualpa into the power of the Spanish, seized him, exacted a stupendous ransom, and then treacherously had him executed. The conquest of Peru was virtually completed by the capture of CuzcoCuzco
or Cusco
, city (1993 pop. 97,466), alt. 11,207 ft (3,416 m), capital of Cuzco dept., S Peru, at the confluence of the Huatanay and Tullamayo rivers. Its population is predominantly of indigenous descent.
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, which was later defended against Inca forces led by Manco Capac. Pizarro set about consolidating his conquest by founding new settlements, notably the present capital of Peru, Lima, and allotting land and Native Americans in encomienda to his followers. An attempt by Pedro de AlvaradoAlvarado, Pedro de
, 1486–1541, Spanish conquistador. He went to Hispaniola (1510), sailed in the expedition (1518) of Juan de Grijalva, and was the chief lieutenant of Hernán Cortés in the conquest of Mexico.
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 to claim Quito was forestalled by Sebastián de BenalcázarBenalcázar or Belalcázar, Sebastián de
, c.1479–1551, Spanish conquistador. After accompanying Columbus on his third voyage (1498), Benalcázar served in Darién and Nicaragua
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 and Almagro. Pizarro now made a pact with Almagro, whom he had cheated several times in the division of spoils, granting him the conquest of Chile. When he failed to receive the territory promised him, Almagro attempted to redress the injustice by seizing Cuzco. Pizarro sent his half-brother, Hernando PizarroPizarro, Hernando
, fl. 1530–60, Spanish conquistador, half-brother of Francisco Pizarro. Much older than his half-brothers, Francisco, Juan, and Gonzalo, and, unlike them, legitimate by birth and educated, Hernando accompanied Francisco from Spain in 1530.
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, to Cuzco, and Almagro was defeated and put to death. In 1539, Francisco appointed his brother Gonzalo PizarroPizarro, Gonzalo
, c.1506–1548, Spanish conquistador, brother of Francisco Pizarro. A lieutenant of his brother in the conquest of Peru, Gonzalo aided in the defense of Cuzco (1536–37) against the Inca Manco Capac, subdued Charcas (present Bolivia), and fought
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 governor of Quito. Francisco's greed and ambition, extreme even in a conquistador, had, however, offset his resourcefulness, courage, and cunning. By alienating the Almagro faction he paved the way for conspiracy. A band of assassins surprised him at dinner, and although he fought desperately, he was overpowered and slain. The account by W. H. Prescott, History of the Conquest of Peru (1847), is classic. An early account is Pedro Pizarro, Relation of the Discovery and Conquest of the Kingdoms of Peru (tr. 1921).
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Pizarro, Francisco


Born sometime between 1470 and 1475, in Trujillo, Spain; died June 26, 1541, in Lima, Peru. Conquistador.

Pizarro participated in A. de Ojeda’s expedition to the northern coast of South America (1509) and in the conquest of Panama (1510). He led the conquest of Peru (1532–36), site of the Inca state. Taking advantage of the internecine strife among the Incas, he pillaged and destroyed their state, Tawantin-suyu. In 1535 he founded the city of Lima. He brutally suppressed a rebellion by the Indians that occurred between 1535 and 1537. Pizarro was killed in a struggle over power and spoils.


Vol’skii, S. Pizarro (1470–1541). Moscow, 1935.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Pizarro, Francisco

(c. 1476–1541) with small force, destroyed Incan empire. [Span. Hist.: EB, 14: 487–488]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.