chapter  VI
44 Pages

Under Spanish Rule

THE sudden collapse of the Inca power is an oft-told story, which will not be repeated here. In his History of the Conquest of Peru, Prescott has described in picturesque detail how Pizarro, after landing at Tumbez, struck inland from San Miguel on the 24th September, 1532, to meet Atahuallpa at Cajamarca, two hundred men adventuring into the heart of an empire of eight million with mobilized armies of some two or three hundred thousand in readiness. Prescott and many others have told of that terrible journey over the passes of the Andes by men ignorant of the country and unprepared for what lay ahead of them, have described the meeting between Spaniard and Inca with show of friendship on both sides, and the act of treachery by which Pizarro made himself master of the Inca's person with audacious contempt for his overwhelming superiority of forces. We shall not repeat the incredible history were it not so well authenticated of how the Spanish consolidated themselves at Cajamarca, with organized resistance paralysed before it had begun by the capture of the Inca, and of the subsequent advance to Cuzco. Instead of rehashing familiar facts we shall speak of the causes which contributed to so rapid and catastrophic a collapse of this grandiose empire to so small a force, since they must be expected to reveal some fundamental weakness in the structure of the vast empire that has been described.