Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Atahualpa or Atawallpa (c. 1502July 26, 1533 Cajamarca, Peru), was the last sovereign emperor of the Tahuantinsuyu, or Inca Empire. He became emperor upon defeating his younger half-brother Huáscar in a civil war sparked by the death of their father, Inca Huayna Capac, from an infectious disease thought to be malaria or smallpox. During the civil war, the Spaniard Francisco Pizarro crossed his path, captured Atahualpa, and used him to control the Inca empire. Eventually, the Spanish executed Atahualpa, ending the Inca Empire (although several successors claimed the title of Sapa Inca and led a resistance against the invading Spaniards). Atahualpa's mother was a Shyri (Quito Kingdom) princess named Pacha.

Atahualpa's disastrous handling of the Spanish invasion notwithstanding, his actions previous to the actual invasion also contributed to the fall of the empire. One could see the parallel with Harold Godwinson's feud with his brother Tostig, which led to the civil war and the Battle of Stamford Bridge as well as the Battle of Hastings, as it severely weakened their positions in a time of crisis.
However, given that there were fewer than 200 Spaniards and 1000 Native allies, it is easy to understand why Atahualpa did not immediately sense the threat. Atahualpa quickly recognised them as human beings and intruders to be dealt with. For all their weapons and horses he knew he had more than enough soldiers to handle Pizarro. In fact, Atahualpa was planning to speak with them and then arrest them. He planned to put Pizarro and his officers to death and retain the needed specialists, such as the horsebreaker, blacksmith, and gunsmith to equip his army.

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