Inca Civil War

John Florens | Dec 17, 2022

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The Inca civil war, or war of Inca succession, was an armed conflict between supporters of Huáscar and his half-brother Atahualpa for the Inca throne. It probably began in 1529, but victory is known to have gone to the second pretender in 1532, weeks before he was captured and executed by Francisco Pizarro in Cajamarca.

Two very different accounts of the conflict have come down to us from the chronicles: the first says that it was all resolved in a single battle, while the other version states that it was a long war with many battles. The second version indicates that the war lasted several years and that Huascar was not captured until the end of the war.

Around 1490 the Inca Tupac Yupanqui began the conquest of the region of present-day Ecuador, however, the dominion was not assured. His son and successor Huayna Capac, around 1515, had to organize an army of 40,000 men to subdue the constant revolts of the peoples of the area, mainly affecting Quito, Tomebamba, Puná, Tumbes and Pastos. Accompanying him in his campaigns were his sons Ninan Cuyuchi and Atahualpa, with their best generals, leaving in Cuzco Huáscar (or Topa Cusi Huallpa) with three orejones (nobles), Hilaquita, Auqui Topa Inca and Tito Atauchi, in charge of the administration of the capital. In this way Huayna Cápac spent his time quelling rebellions or conquering new lands. When he was not on campaign, he lived in Tomebamba, the place of his birth, where he spent most of the last ten years of his life, which exacerbated the future crisis.

In 1525, an epidemic of a disease unknown to the Incas, usually identified by later historians as smallpox or measles, caused the death of Huayna Capac in Quito. Before his death, Huayna Capac had designated Ninan Cuyuchi as his successor prince, but the latter had also fallen ill and died in Tomebamba without his father's knowledge. Although a group of curacas tried to maintain in secret the death of the Sapa Inca and his successor to avoid rebellions, Huáscar found out by means of his mother Raura Ocllo, who traveled quickly from Quito to Cuzco. The plague had also killed two of the regent orejones in the capital, leaving as the best option Huáscar to succeed his father, election that was ratified by the nobles cuzqueños. Atahualpa, meanwhile, was in campaign next to the army and passed unnoticed. He was the favorite of the military commands; the most influential and capable commanders had decided to stay with him in Quito and Tomebamba.

Other sources indicate that Huayna Capac in fact named for his succession, in first option to Ninan Cuyuchi and in second place to Huáscar, while initially he did not worry about Atahualpa; later and after consulting with his older sons, he would leave to Atahualpa as inheritance the position of curaca or governor of Quito.

In Cuzco, Chuquishuaman and Conono, brothers of Huáscar, tried to rise up to put in the throne to Cusi Atauchi, but the attempt failed and the distrust and worry began to grow in Huáscar. When the mummy of Huayna Cápac arrived to Cuzco, Huáscar was furious because the delegation had not brought Atahualpa with him. He killed several Cuzco nobles just because they were suspected of treason and in this way he began to gain the antipathy of the Cuzco nobility.

Huascar saw in Atahualpa the biggest threat to his power, since this one had spent a decade fighting in the campaigns of his father and had the support of many. He did not object to his remaining as governor of Quito, out of respect for his late father's wishes, but on two conditions: that he would not make military campaigns to expand his territories and that he would recognize himself as his vassal and pay him tribute. Atahualpa accepted.

The truth is that the territory under the dominion of Atahualpa was a very rich and populated area, having this one the possibility of carrying out campaigns of conquest to the rich towns to the north of this one, something to which, by the way, Huáscar could no longer aspire, because its northern border was practically closed by the dominions of his brother. Huascar understood that Atahualpa could easily be strengthened to the point of having the capacity to face him to subdue him. Atahualpa also counted on the best troops of the empire and the most experienced generals of his father's campaigns. A tense peace lasted no more than five years, without either of them carrying out any military campaign and dedicating themselves to enjoy the riches they inherited. Huáscar took advantage of this time to obtain the support of the Cañaris, a powerful ethnic group that dominated extensive territories in the north of the empire and held grudges against Atahualpa, because he had fought them during his father's campaigns.

As the relations with their half brother worsened progressively, Atahualpa traveled to Tomebamba, where he ordered the construction of several buildings in honor presumably to Huáscar, but the only thing that he/she achieved was to increase the intrigues and distrust of the government of Cuzco. The huascaristas saw in each action of Atahualpa a sign of betrayal and the atahualpistas considered that the cuzqueños wanted for themselves the benefits and wealth of the empire, excluding them to them. It was then that Ullco Colla curaca of Tomebamba, sent messengers to Huáscar with news that Atahualpa planned to rebel.

Atahualpa, from Quito, sent presents to his brother as a sign of respect and recognition of the crown, but Huáscar assassinated the messengers and sent others with derogatory gifts (consisting of women's clothes and ornaments) and a message ordering Atahualpa to go to Cuzco. Atahualpa was convinced in Quito by his generals that if he went to Cuzco he would be killed and that it was better to defeat Huáscar to supplant him in the command.

1st version: Brief war

According to some chroniclers, the only battle was the confrontation of Quipaipán or Quepaipa, where Chalcuchímac and Quizquiz captured Huáscar.

The starting point was when Huáscar ordered his half-brother Atahualpa to present himself in Cuzco so that he would formally swear his vassalage. Distrusting Huáscar's intentions, Atahualpa publicly ordered to make all the preparations for the trip, but secretly ordered his generals Chalcuchímac, Quizquiz and Rumiñahui to march with different groups of troops to the south.

Atahualpa, astutely, did not advance more to the south once he reached with his retinue the southern limit of his dominions, while his army continued its advance. The units of the generals Chalcuchímac and Quizquiz joined, fact of which Huáscar was informed. The 20,000 soldiers from Quito crossed the Apurímac River in a frank warlike attitude, and later they were joined by a reinforcement of 10,000 more soldiers.

The atahualpistas reached Villcacunca, 30 kilometers from Cuzco. Húascar went out to face them with 10,000 men and camped 15 km from the capital, while waiting for reinforcements from the Contisuyo. But the troops of Atahualpa attacked them and in the area called Quipaipán the decisive battle took place. The confrontation was very bloody and the Quiteños were victorious thanks to the experience of their commanders. Huáscar was captured after the battle, when he tried to escape. After learning of the victory, Atahualpa traveled to Xauxa where he called all the orejones and curacas of the empire to submission. But, according to Agustín de Zárate, between the battle of Quipaipán and the arrival of the Spaniards passed "almost two years and a half" in which the northern curaca had to dedicate himself to subdue the constant rebellions of the troops loyal to Huáscar in the whole empire.

These campaigns were very bloody, claiming that in Tomebamba, capital of the Cañaris, 60,000 people were massacred. These massacres were constant during the war. All these fights prevented Atahualpa to go to Cuzco, until once the troops of his enemies were decimated, he could finally undertake the march towards the imperial capital. He was on this journey when he suddenly had to change his plans when he learned of the arrival of a group of foreigners, who turned out to be the Spanish conquistadors.

2nd version: Protracted war

Approximately in 1529, when Atahualpa made the preparations for the war in Tomebamba, he was captured. On the matter, there are two versions: one affirms that their captors were loyal cañaris to Huáscar; the other assures that he/she was defeated and captured by troops cuzqueñas to the command of Huanca Auqui. The truth is that he was locked up in a royal tambo, from where he was freed during the night by his supporters. It is said that a mamacuna (main woman) provided him with a copper bar with which he made a forged in the wall and managed to escape without being noticed by his guards, "who were celebrating the triumph" with spirits. Atahualpa propagandistically took advantage of this episode, making people believe that the Inti or Sun God had transformed him into amaru (snake) so that he could escape through a crack in the royal tambo. This legend spread throughout the Empire and turned Atahualpa into a mythical being.

Atahualpa fled to Quito where he reorganized his forces and attacked Tomebamba. Ulco Colla and Hualtopa (Cuzco governor of the city) fled with most of the adult men to join the Huascar troops, while the women and children remained in the city, being massacred by the Atahualpa army. It is said that one thousand or sixty thousand lives were lost, depending on whether one believes Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo or Agustín de Zárate, respectively.

During his march to Caxabamba, Atahualpa ordered the massacre of all the peoples and tribes that had allied with Huáscar. Shortly before the Quito rebellion, Huáscar had sent for the curacas of the peoples of the Tallán region (Tumbiz, Punaeños, Chimúes, Yungas, Guayacundos and Cañaris) who swore allegiance to the Cuzco monarch. Atahualpa, razing everything in his path, reached Tumbes, where the majority of the population supported him. The local curaca Chirimasa or Chili Masa became one of his main allies and arranged for 12,000 soldiers on rafts to conquer Puná Island, whose 12,000 inhabitants had traditionally been rivals of the Tumbiz and loyal to Huáscar. The seven caciques of the island, including Cotorí and Tumbalá (later baptized as Francisco Tumbalá), went out to confront them with their 3,000 soldiers. The "greatest naval battle of pre-Hispanic times" took place. The islanders, who were great navigators, defeated the superior Inca army in number, which lost all hope of victory when Atahualpa was wounded by an arrow in one leg, being taken to Cajamarca to be cured in its hot springs.

After this, the Punaeños invaded Tumbes, sacking it and reducing it to ashes, capturing 600 people between Quiteño and local soldiers. Atahualpa had to retreat again to Quito to reorganize his forces. When the Atahualpistas returned to the south, the Punaeños retreated to their island, taking the prisoners and a great booty with them. Apparently, time later, when the defeat of the cuzqueños was consummated, those of Puná finally chose to ally with Atahualpa.

Cuzco offensives and battle of Chillopampa

Towards 1530, Huáscar organized a powerful army and sent it to the north under the command of his brother, the general Atoc. He had 30,000 men with which he tripled the forces of his rival. Other sources say that the army of Atahualpa was constituted by 40,000 men, paid veterans of the wars of their father, and that of Huáscar of only 30. According to one source, the destruction of Tomebamba took place after the defeat of the Cuzco offensive and after his victory in Ambato Atahualpa's forces marched south, first trying to take Puná Island with a force of 15,000 men in 700 rafts that was defeated, costing him 4,000 troops.

While in Quito, Atahualpa organized his forces, gathered his generals Chalcuchímac, Quizquiz, Rumiñahui and Ucumari and ordered them to march, and sent spies to the south to watch Atoc's troops. He also sent spies to the south to keep an eye on Atoc's troops. The Cuzco plan was basically to advance north to take Tomebamba and Quito. It is not known where the encounter took place or how many they were; most historians say that the first confrontation took place in Chillopampa where the huascaristas won, but the chronicler Miguel Cabello Balboa affirms that the first encounter was fought in Mullihambato and that in a second battle the atahualpistas were victorious. While Pedro Cieza de Leon says that there was only one battle, where the Atahualpistas triumphed.

Victorious the huascaristas in Chillopampa, they did not manage to capture Atahualpa, who observed the battle from a hill with his personal guard. According to other sources, Atahualpa was in Quito and when he knew of the defeat, he marched with the troops that he could gather until Latacunga to reinforce his soldiers, ordering to general Chalcuchímac to stop retreating and to raise battle to the enemy.

Battle of Mullihambato

After the defeat of Chillopampa, Atahualpa reorganized his forces and received reinforcements from Quito. His soldiers retreated in a staggered retreat to prevent the enemy from destroying them as he pursued them, until they took up positions north of the Ambato River.

The huascaristas were confident of their victory and advanced towards the village. Secretly, at night, Chalcuchímac mobilizes 5000 soldiers through the western mountain range and at dawn attacks the Cuzqueños from the rear. Immediately the bulk of the Quechua army crosses the river and manages to ambush the Huascaristas, who fled to Tomebamba in panic.

The atahualpistas, strengthened, fought a second battle, and this time, under the command of the skillful generals Quizquiz and Chalcuchímac, they obtained the triumph. This battle took place in Ambato or Chimborazo (the Cañari curaca Ullco Colla and the generals Atoc and Hango were captured and cruelly executed. According to some versions, they were blinded and abandoned to their fate, others say that their skin was torn off to make war drums. From Atoc's skull, "Challcuchima had a vessel made with gold ornaments to drink chicha".

Atahualpa began to gather more troops in Quito to continue the campaign. He looks for revenge towards the cañaris attacking Tomebamba, but Huáscar reacts sending a new army under the command of prince Huanca Auqui. The huascaristas tried to organize a resistance in the entrance of the city but they were defeated, Auqui had to cross the Matadero river and to arrive to Cusibamba to regroup the survivors.

Unhindered, the Atahualpista army seized Tomebamba, sacking it and killing up to 60,000 people according to the chronicles, and severely punishing the Cuzco nobles who were there.

And he put fire and blood and devastated the town of Tumibamba located in a plain, on the banks of three rivers, which was very large.

After the actions described above, Atahualpa headed towards Tumbes, destroying all the villages he came across. From Tumbes he launched an attack with rafts to the island of the Puná, supporters of Huáscar. The curaca of the Puná, learned of the intentions of Atahualpa, also gathered an army of rafts, and he/she left to the encounter toward the atahualpistas. The combat was fierce, Atahualpa was wounded in a leg and his army took the worst part, so much so, that they had to retreat and return to Quito. The victorious curaca of the Puná, invaded Tumbes and punished it hard, taking prisoners to the garrison left by Atahualpa. When Francisco Pizarro arrived in Tumbes, he only found 600 Atahualpa prisoners.

Huáscar's strict measures

While this happened to the north of the Tahuantinsuyo, in Cuzco, Huáscar that had been chosen by the nobility cuzqueña, was shown like a "pusilánime, violent, cruel and unwise" ruler. He did not manage to capture the sympathy of the Inca ruling class nor the respect of the generals of his father's army who were in the capital. In addition to the above, Huáscar became unpopular because he did not attend the celebrations and meals that took place in the main square, and that were organized by the panacas; he removed from his environment the members of the ayllus, that traditionally were in charge of his custody and in their replacement, he surrounded himself with a group of cañaris and chachapoyas and he even threatened the panacas of dispossessing them of their lands and other goods. What broke the camel's back was that he ordered to bury the mummies that the panacas kept; the tradition says that they heard him say: "in Cuzco there are more mummies than alive". This was particularly serious because

All the actions of Huáscar explained, woke up the rancor of the panacas, of their servants and other surroundings. It is said that the Sapa Inca, in some opportunity, wanted to pass from the Hanan Cuzco to the Hurin Cuzco. The opposite thing happened to Atahualpa, who had spent ten years far from the courtly intrigues of Cuzco and was very loved by the generals of the imperial army, great part of which, supported him, especially the most experienced and skillful sector of the army.

Atahualpa's successful campaigns

The atahualpistas were advancing slowly from north to south, and Huáscar began to worry. It is said that in Huamachuco, Atahualpa sent two emissaries to consult about his future to the huaca Catequil. The oracle predicted a "bad end". Angered, Atahualpa marched to the huaca and killed the priest, smashing his skull with a golden club. Then he ordered the temple to be raided and burned.

When Atahualpa was in Huamachuco, preparing to travel to Cuzco, messengers sent by the curacas of Paita and Tumbes arrived. They informed him that some "strange characters that inhabited floating houses and rode enormous animals" had arrived.

The general cuzqueño Huanca Auqui, who, together with the orejones Ahuapanti, Urco Huaranga and Inca Roca, marched to the north at the head of a great army that included warriors of the enemy northern tribes of Atahualpa. For his part, Atahualpa ordered his generals Chalcuchímac and Quizquiz to confront the huascaristas, while Rumiñahui remained in Quito. The Cuzco attacked Tomebamba and Molleturo, being in both occasions rejected.

Huanca Auqui retreated to Cusibamba, where he built forts for his defense. Then he invaded the territory of the bracamoros, allies of the atahualpistas, but in the fight he lost 12,000 combatants. Both armies then agreed to a truce. The Huascaristas broke it by launching an offensive, but were defeated by Quizquiz in the bloody battle of Cusibamba, after which they disbanded; those who were able to flee marched to Cajamarca, passing through Huancabamba.

In his persecution of the huascaristas, Atahualpa attacked the tribes of Tallán, punaeños, tumpis, chimus, yungas, paltas and cañaris. The northern campaign became a true war of extermination. In Tumbes, Atahualpa executed all the Huascaran chiefs and used their skins to make drums. He also passed through Húasimo, Solana and Ayabaca, wiping out all local resistance and destroying everything in his path. The Poechos, with thousands of warriors led by the chief Huachu Puru, offered resistance and were defeated. In the rest of the valley of Chira the Quiteños received support, while the curacas of Amotape and Chira offered them resistance. Near Caxas a great battle took place in which the Quiteños prevailed, then they sacked the city, killing thousands and hanging hundreds of prisoners by their feet. Atahualpa left Maiza Huilca (Maizavilca) as governor, the same who would later be sent as ambassador to the Spaniards.

The northerners continued their advance south with a powerful army of more than 30,000 men, following their leader's order to destroy any town that decided to support Húascar. Every day they were increasing their forces with new recruits although they were still outnumbered (Huáscar's troops are estimated at about 80,000 men).

Before the advance of the atahualpistas, the huascaristas retreated more towards the south, with direction to Cuzco, suffering successive defeats in the journey. According to the chronicler Santa Cruz Pachacuti, the victories of Atahualpa were due to that Huanca Auqui entered in secret deals with Atahualpa to be "defeated" with facility.

When the remains of the army cuzqueño arrived to Cajamarca and they tried to reorganize, commanded by the brother of Huáscar, general Tito Atauchi, and the young commander Quilaco Yupanqui, about 10.000 chachapoyas and many cañaris and tallanes of Piura and Lambayeque arrived as reinforcements. The forces of Quizquiz occupied Huancabamba and advanced to meet the enemy, fighting the battle of Cochahuaila (at night both forces returned to their camps, but in the morning the Quechua attacked the Chachapoyas, killing more than half of them; the rest escaped, together with the remains of the Huascarist army, towards the plateau of Bombón (Pumpu).

After the battle of Cochahuaila, Atahualpa occupied Cajamarca. Húascar had lost 7000 men. While his generals marched to Cuzco, Atahualpa stayed in Cajamarca. According to Cieza de Leon, he made this decision when he learned of the presence of Pizarro's expedition in Tumbes and Piura, and once there he invited Pizarro to meet him.

When the atahualpistas arrived to the plateau they had to fight three days to take the enemy positions. The cuzqueña rearguard stayed defending to protect the retreat of the bulk of its army. General Huanca Auqui organized its forces in Hatun Xauxa (near there, in Yanamarca, he/she faced the Quiteños. The battle cost a great number of lives. Both sides fought for the control of the valley of Hatunmayo or Huancamayo (Mantaro), for being a strategic point. At dusk, the cuzqueños retreated to the right bank of the river and the Quiteños stayed in the Saya de Hatunjauja or Xauxa, which became their main base of operations. Atahualpa obtained the support of the local chief Manco Surichaqui.

In aid of the huascaristas the general Mayta Yupanqui arrived from Cuzco, at the head of a contingent formed by the cuzqueña nobility. This general, in the name of the Inca Huáscar, rebuked Huanca Auqui harshly for his inoperativeness in the war; this would originate disagreements among the huascaristas. Huanca Auqui, instead of organizing the fight together with Mayta Yupanqui, gave himself up to drunkenness and to ingratiate himself with the god Pachacámac, he sent great gifts to the sanctuary of this divinity located in the coast. An oracle predicted that he would triumph in Vilcas, in the current region of Ayacucho.

In spite of the favorable predictions, the huascaristas continued suffering defeat after defeat. About 2,000 cuzqueños, to the command of Mayta Yupanqui, remained defending the bridge on the river Angoyaco (today Izcuchaca), while Huanca Aunqui continued alone toward Vilcas (Ayacucho). The cuzqueños resisted in Angoyacu the advance of the Quiteños for more than a month; finally, they were forced to continue their retreat towards the south, being defeated in Vilcas.

In their retreat, the huascaristas passed through Andahuaylas and then through Curahuasi, while in Cuzco, the Inca Huascar made innumerable sacrifices to the huacas. But all the oracles were adverse to him.

Battle of Huanacopampa

By 1532, the Atahualpistas were occupying the center and south of present-day Peru with their armies. The continuous defeats worried Huáscar, who was beginning to run out of reserves, sometimes sending priests and curacas as generals. Huáscar withdrew his depleted forces to Cuzco, where they were reorganized in three armies. The first under his personal command, formed with orejones of the Hurin Cuzco, cañaris and chachapoyas guarding the capital. The second, commanded by Uampa Yupanqui, moved to Cotabambas, where the enemy forces were located. The third, commanded by Huanca Auqui, had the mission of guarding their enemies and ambushing them when they had the opportunity, while the northern generals Chalcuchímac and Quizquiz crossed the Cotabamba River with their soldiers.

The Quiteña vanguard, formed by 25 000 slingers, commanded by Chalcuchimac arrived to the valley of the river Apurímac, specifically in Tavaray, next to the bridge of Huacachaca, defended by a powerful force huascarista. Unbeknownst to Chalcuchimac, another Cuzco troop had crossed the river at the Cunyac bridge and attacked him from the rear. More than 10,000 Quiteños died and the rest retreated. This victory gave new strength to the Sapa Inca, who believed that victory was possible again.

Uampa Yupanqui's troops first encountered the enemy in Huanacopampa (Tambopata district, Cotabambas province, Apurimac region). Huascar ordered all his forces to attack the enemy as well. In the fight the general from Quito Tomay Rimay was killed. The atahualpistas retreated to a hill during the night. Seeing that the place was surrounded by dry grass, the cuzqueños started a fire in which many of their enemies died. The Huascar generals Tito Atauchi and Topa Atao stood out in the battle. The surviving enemies crossed the Cotabamba River, but Huascar mistakenly decided not to pursue them but to celebrate the victory. It is said that he did not do it when considering that this of pursuing enemies fleeing "was not worthy of an Inca".

Battle of Quipaipán and capture of Huáscar

The following day, the Sapa Inca ordered General Topa Atao to cross the river and pursue the enemy. This one arrived to a deep ravine called Chontacajas, and he decided to enter because his mission was to act as vanguard of Huáscar, but once inside he was attacked from the slopes by the atahualpistas, being massacred his troop.

It was then that Chalcuchímac ordered Quizquiz to march secretly with 5,000 men and to arrive for the rear to Quipaipán, behind the position where Huáscar was. This one, that was marching confident of the advance of Topa Atao, was surprised, arranging then to hurry the march to the north. But Chalcuchímac closed the passage and captured him. On his part the general from Quito arrived again at Huanacopampa, but disguised as Huáscar. The bulk of the army cuzqueño left to receive it cheerfully throwing the weapons, with what the troops Quiteñas achieved an easy but ingenious definitive triumph and they took prisoner in her the general Tito Atauchi.

The victorious army of Atahualpa, begins its march toward the city of Cuzco, being Huáscar prisoner in Quiuipay, with special custody. They arrive to Yavira, where the army rests. Informed in Cuzco of what happened, they travel to Yavira, part of the nobility cuzqueña, to present their greeting to the new "Sapa Inca" Atahualpa, who was not in that village. Chalcuchímac, ordered to punish exemplarily the general huascarista Huanca Auqui and the villaomas Apo Challco Yupanqui and Rupaca, under the accusation of "having given the mascaypacha to Huáscar". Then, the atahualpistas took Cuzco without any resistance.

Massacre in Cuzco

After being imprisoned, Huáscar was taken to Cuzco by Chalcuchímac and Quizquiz, where he was forced to witness the death of his relatives, both direct and indirect. His mother reproached him for the state in which the empire had been left because of his way of governing. After this, the atahualpista army took Cuzco and plundered it without any resistance, where their soldiers (who were all from northern ethnic groups: pastos, caranquis and cayambes) extracted the mummy of the Inca Túpac Yupanqui and burned it in the main square. These ethnic groups harbored resentments towards the Cuzco people, especially towards Tupac Yupanqui for the conquest of their territories and for having killed their relatives.

Huascar, who had lost in the battle of Cotabamba, the last of the civil war, was subjected to a lacerating mockery. His wives and children were killed and dismembered in his presence; even his service personnel. Finally, all those who had sympathized with him were persecuted, hanged and disemboweled, their corpses being exhibited from Jaquijauana to Cuzco.

The capture of Cuzco by Quizquiz ended with the death of many families of the Cuzco nobility and the burning of the palaces of Huascar's panaca. During the civil war, the sources, as it happens many times with regard to the pre-Columbian history, vary a lot on the numbers of dead, that go from 60.000 to 1.100.000. According to the chronicles of Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, 150,000 soldiers from both sides died in the battle of Hatun Xauxa alone.

Huáscar Inca was forced to witness all those deaths. One of those cruel days, all the curacas, royal officials and high military officials were taken to the esplanade of Sacsahuana (Sacsayhuamán or Sacsahuamán) and made to form in two lines, with their hands tied.

Atahualpa, from his quarters in Cajamarca, celebrated the overwhelming triumphs of his troops in the south, considering himself invincible. Those days of November of 1532, he allowed some bearded foreigners, who arrived by the coasts of Tumbes, to enter the empire and to meet with him: they were the Spanish conquerors.

Once the atahualpista victory was consummated, Huáscar was taken hostage. In prison he was always insulted, fed human waste and mocked all the time. When Atahualpa was held prisoner by the Spaniards in Cajamarca, he was led barefoot, half-naked and tied by the neck to where his brother was. However, before they met, Atahualpa, fearing that Pizarro would free Huáscar and return him to power, ordered his execution in secret in the village of Andamarca.

According to the chronicles, the body of Huáscar was thrown to the Yanamayo river or river of Andamarca, near the town of Andamarca. Regarding the location of Andamarca, there are two sites, the first one was located 30 km south of Huamachuco, near Cajamarca. While the second is located in the department of Ayacucho.

Shortly after the end of the war the Spanish conquerors burst in, under the command of Francisco Pizarro, who initiated a series of proclamations for one side or the other, which allowed them to enter without being attacked in the empire by the northern limit. Finally they were decided as supporters of Huáscar after the events in Cajamarca where they ambushed, captured and later they gave death to the winner of the civil war: Atahualpa.

In any case, this internal war was exploited by Pizarro for his conquest purposes, the Spaniards relied on the Huascaristas, who provided them with help in men and, above all, an ideological cover that disarmed the resistance of a broad Andean sector, since the Europeans were presented as saviors or arbiters of the conflict.

While Quizquiz was guarding Cuzco, Pizarro had made contact with a brother of Huáscar and Atahualpa, Túpac Hualpa. Toparpa (as the Spaniards called him) was named Sapa Inca by Pizarro and in such capacity he began a journey just two months after his enthronement. Pizarro accused Chalcuchímac of having poisoned the Inca and condemned him to death. Rumiñahui and Quizquiz had different fates. The former continued the Quiteño resistance against Sebastián de Belalcázar, Pizarro's lieutenant, until he was defeated. On the other hand, Quizquiz fought against Hernando de Soto and Manco Inca, another of Huayna Capac's sons and future successor of Tupac Hualpa, trying to join Rumiñahui. This he would not achieve it when he ended up being murdered by his captain Huayna Palcón after an argument.

On their side, the nobility cuzqueña, diminished by the civil war, took refuge around the succession of the brother of Túpac Hualpa, Manco Inca, which was instituted Sapa Inca in Cuzco in an action previous to the sack of the imperial capital for the Hispanics. However, Manco Inca soon realized the true nature of the conquerors and led a formidable uprising, which culminated with the Incas of Vilcabamba.


  1. Inca Civil War
  2. Guerra civil incaica
  3. Cuando fue capturado en Cajamarca, Atahualpa mandaba una hueste de 40.000 soldados. También estaban las de sus generales Quizquiz en Cuzco (30.000), Challcuchimac a medio camino entre Cuzco y Cajamarca (35.000) y Rumiñahui entre Cajamarca y Quito (30.0000). Estas tropas veteranas pudieron fácilmente aplastar a los españoles a pesar que estaban ganando el apoyo de nobles incas y tribus vasallas. Sin embargo, permanecieron por largo tiempo inactivos (Alonso, 2006: 245-246). Algunos sostienen que Rumiñahui sólo tenía 12.000 soldados (Newson, 1995: 419-420, nota n°3, capítulo 8, notas de las páginas 169-172).
  4. Las fuerzas de Huayna Cápac posiblemente fueran mucho menores a 200.000, sin embargo, es casi seguro que fueran varias decenas de miles. No se debe olvidar que durante estas campañas las bajas debieron ser inmensas y fue necesario recurrir al envió de refuerzos o el apoyo de guerreros de caciques locales aliados. De la tropa inicial además muchos se retiraron al terminar su servicio por lo que su número debió ser todavía mayor al morir el Sapa Inca y tras el período de paz de cinco años previos a la guerra civil. A pesar de todo, el ejército quiteño se componía de los soldados y comandantes más experimentados que había en el imperio.
  5. Se cuenta que el curaca yunga de Lambayeque llamado Efquen Pissan (o Falen Pisan) fue llamado por el Inca a Cuzco donde conoció y se casó con Chestan Xesfuin, una virgen que servía a la madre de Huáscar, con permiso de la familia real cusqueña, por ello prometió fidelidad y obediencia al Inca cuzqueño, al volver a su tierra nació su hijo Cuzco Chumbi pero fue derrocado por su hermano Xecffuin Pissan (ambos eran hijos de Ilen Pissan curaca que lucho contra Huayna Cápac), este nuevo curaca juró alianza también a Huáscar. Casos similares sucedieron a los curacas de Piura y Tumbes.
  6. a b c d Rostworowski, Historia del Tahuantinsuyu p. 174
  7. Hemming, The Conquest, стр. 29.
  8. Waldemar Espinoza, Los incas, стр. 105.
  9. ^ a b Hemming, The Conquest, p. 28
  10. ^ a b c Hemming, The Conquest, p. 29
  11. ^ a b MacQuarrie, The Last Days, p. 50
  12. ^ a b Davies, The Incas, p.186

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