March 8, 2013

"As the Inca Civil War raged, in 1531 the Spanish landed in Ecuador."

"Led by Francisco Pizarro, the conquistadors learned that the conflict and disease were destroying the empire."
... Pizarro sent an embassy, led by Hernando de Soto with 15 horsemen and an interpreter; shortly thereafter he sent 20 more horsemen led by his brother Hernando Pizarro as reinforcements in case of an Inca attack. Atahualpa was in awe of these men dressed in full clothing, with long beards and riding horses (an animal he had never seen). In town Pizzaro set a trap for the Inca and the Battle of Cajamarca began....

During the next year Pizzaro held Atahualpa for ransom. The Incas filled the Ransom Room with gold and silver awaiting a release that would never happen. On August 29, 1533 Atahualpa was garroted.
In Ecuador, today's "History of" country.


Anonymous said...

Ecuador gets mountaintop snow despite the country's location on the Equator. The lowest elevation at which snow has been recorded is about 2,800 meters, though it is usually found only above 4,000 meters.


edutcher said...

One usually associates Peru with the Incas.

I wonder if Hernando drove a De Soto or a Chrysler?

Nonapod said...

Ecuador's capitol city Quito is notable for having a somewhat unusual climate. It pretty much about 56 degrees fahrenheit year round since it's equatorial but at a high elevation. It's like living an eternal spring.

Humperdink said...

Eight tons of gold. Eight tons. Where is it now? I am thinking not in Spain.

SteveBrooklineMA said...

I've always been a bit skeptical of the "room full of gold" bit. That's a *lot* of gold.

David said...

More greed and violence.

I think much of this happened in what is now Peru.

I also doubt the amount of gold. Pizarro was a ruthless adventurer and he would have made sure that a good part of this loot got into his own pocket. He was eventually killed by allies of one of his fellow adventurers, whom Pizarro had killed a few years before.

These were remorselessly rough and brutal men.

GrandpaMark said...

Average height of Spaniars was apparently 5-5.5 feet.

Freddy Hill said...


Probably not in Spain, and never was... Contemporary Spanish poet Quevedo wrote about the Mighty Knight he named "Don Money"

"He's born in the Indies, he comes do die in Spain and is buried in Genoa."

I don't think it's in Genoa any more either.

Freddy Hill said...

Pizarro was ruthless yes. Many people are when they get a chance. Nothing remarkable here.

What fascinates me is how technology can make an enormous difference in war. Horses, powder, and armor enabled a few hundred Europeans to conquer an empire with a population that perhaps was in the millions.

Juan Pablo said...

The moment I've been waiting for: my beloved country featured (at least partially) in one of my favorite places in the internets.

As a songwriter I usually got into heated arguments about how from our start as a nation, originality was never one of our stronger virtues... I mean, to pick a name because of an imaginary line?

If you are looking for great history, try 20th century politics in Ecuador. A president being told in a masquerade that he was no longer in charge (this by a masked man). A workers protest that ended with the police/military opening fire and people jumping into a river... And still getting shot in the water! Then you must google this name: Abdalá Bucaram. If you want to understand Chavez and Correa (our current pres.) this is a good reference point.

Quito is beautiful. Cuenca is paradise. Guayaquil? Now THAT's a City!

Love your blog Ann

Alex said...

The Spanish opened up the European genocide against the Native Americans.

Chip Ahoy said...

The Spanish did take gold by the shipload. Hundreds of shiploads of gold. Hundreds. They build rooms of gold. Hallways of gold. The incredible influx distorted European economies throughout.

[what did Spanish do with all that Inca gold?]

1) What happened to plundered Incan Gold?

[spain gold]

2) What happened to all the gold Spain got from the New World?

Eventually quite a lot of silver began to flow into Spain too.

The importation of New World gold into Spain coincided with a corrosive inflation that has come to be known as the "price revolution."

Prices had been dropping steadily, then BAM, sudden dramatic price rises all over the place to 300%. Due at least in part to a sharp increase in the amount of money chasing a relatively fixed amount of goods and services thus bidding up the price.

Which meant also that Spanish goods became less competitive which means they imported more which means the money flowed right out of their coffers. (psst, I actually don't know what a coffer is, I'm imagining a safe.)

Jeff Teal said...

The same Hernando De Soto who had most of his plundering expedition wiped out in the Southeast 18 years later.Of course all that was mentioned about him in my Era of Discovery bloc in grade school was that he discovered the Mississippi river.

Jeff Teal said...

The same Hernando De Soto who had most of his plundering expedition wiped out in the Southeast 18 years later.Of course all that was mentioned about him in my Era of Discovery bloc in grade school was that he discovered the Mississippi river.

Jim in St Louis said...

Chip is right- New world gold and sliver made it to Spain, and due to the mercantilism of Europe they found it cheaper to buy goods from other counties, so the wool industry in Spain collapsed and England's wool markets boomed (with the dutch taking a cut as middle man)

Value was added along the way by sorters, carders, dyers, spinners, weavers, etc to make the finished cloth. Very much a mini-industrial revolution.

Spain pissed through all its precious metals, and could not maintain any type of domestic economy, collapse and depression for decades.

EDH said...

During the next year Pizzaro held Atahualpa for ransom. The Incas filled the Ransom Room with gold and silver awaiting a release that would never happen.

Conversely, the conquistador Bizzarro had the Incas empty a room of gold and silver.

Humperdink said...

@Chip. According to your link, Middle Eastern countries, India and China acquired the gold for $24 worth (sarc) of trinkets.

China will soon announce they have doubled their gold reserves.

Lucien said...

Freddy Hill:

It wasn't the technology it was superstition. If the Incas had just said, "Hey look, it's white guys with better gear than we have. Let's kill 'em & take their stuff." Then the story would have been much different.

It's been said that any sufficiently high level of technology is indistinguishable from magic. But once you know that there can be different levels of technology, and once you know magic is just a trick, that seems less plausible.

galdosiana said...

Ecuador, like Peru and much of the Andes in South America, has rich Incan history. We associate the Incas with Peru simply because of Machu Picchu, but the network of Incan villages spreads all over the Andes region. Ecuador is a beautiful country, and if you go far east they even have part of the Amazon within their boundaries.

As far as Peru is concerned, I definitely recommend doing the Inca Trail up to Machu Picchu. I did it a few years ago, and it was the hardest physical trip I've veer taken--my knees were in pain for nearly two weeks afterwards--but completely worth it. In fact, the trail is actually better than Machu Picchu itself, because you see a lot of ruins along the 3.5-day trek that you wouldn't otherwise get to see.

Rusty said...

Another instance of a native peoples, meeting outsiders who were militarily superior, tried to use them for their political advantage.Incurious as to their customs, their beliefs, or how they came to be there.
Reminds me of democrats.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

I have spent quite a lot of time in Ecuador, working with farmers there, and am quite fond of the place despite its, er, quirkiness.

Quito is a wonderful old colonial city and a well-cultured place. It is truly 'primavera eterna' with daytime highs about 24 C (75 F) and overnight lows about 13 (55 F). Ideal lettuce climate. You don't have to climb too far out of Quito until things are cool enough to grow temperate-climate fruits such as apples and plums.

The US dollar is the official currency there, which makes things easy. They apparently got fed up with repeatedly lopping zeroes of their former currency, the Sucre, and decided to outsource their currency discipline to the Yanks, who in that department are now merely the best horse in the glue factory.

Anyhow, it's a great place to go as a tourist, but I would most definitely avoid Guayaquil and the lowlands in general. Hot, sticky, and rather infested with violent crime.

Jeff Teal said...

Don't forget that the Spanish crown also squandered its gold and silver on financinf the imperialist ambitions of the Spanish Habsburgs for the next couple of Centuries.