Publish date:
Updated on
Year
1541

Francisco Pizarro, conqueror of the Incas, assassinated

Francisco Pizarro, the governor of Peru and conqueror of the Inca civilization, is assassinated in Lima by Spanish rivals.

The illegitimate son of a Spanish gentleman, Pizarro served under Spanish conquistador Alonso de Ojeda during his expedition to Colombia in 1510 and was with Vasco Nunez de Balboa when he discovered the Pacific Ocean in 1513. Hearing legends of the great wealth of the Incas in South America, Pizarro formed an alliance with fellow conquistador Diego de Almagro in 1524 and sailed back to the Americas. Their first expedition only penetrated as far as present-day Ecuador, but their second reached farther and discovered evidence of the existence of the Inca kingdom.

Securing aid from Emperor Charles V, and a guarantee that he, not Almagro, would receive the majority of the expedition’s future profits, Pizarro sailed to Peru and landed at Tumbes in 1532. He led his army up the Andes Mountains to the Inca city of Cajamarca and met with Atahualpa, the king of the Inca kingdom of Quito. After winning his trust, Pizarro captured Atahualpa, exacted a room full of gold as ransom for his life, and then treacherously had him executed. The conquest of Peru came quickly to Pizarro and his army, and in 1533 Inca resistance came to an end with their defeat at Cuzco.

Pizarro, now the governor of Peru, founded new settlements, including Lima, and granted Almagro the conquest of Chile as appeasement for claiming the riches of the Inca civilization for himself. However, Pizarro failed to provide Almagro with all the land he had promised, and Almagro responded by seizing Cuzco in 1538. Pizarro sent his half brother, Hernando, to reclaim the city, and Almagro was defeated and put to death. Three years later, on June 26, 1541, a group hired by Almagro’s former adherents penetrated Pizarro’s palace and slew the conquistador while he was eating dinner. Shortly after his death, Diego el Monzo, Almagro’s son, proclaimed himself governor of Peru.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

St. Lawrence Seaway opened

In a ceremony presided over by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth II, the St. Lawrence Seaway is officially opened, creating a navigational channel from the Atlantic Ocean to all the Great Lakes. The seaway, made up of a system of canals, locks, and dredged ...read more

U.N. Charter signed

In the Herbst Theater auditorium in San Francisco, delegates from 50 nations sign the United Nations Charter, establishing the world body as a means of saving “succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” The Charter was ratified on October 24, and the first U.N. General ...read more

U.S. begins Berlin Airlift

On this day in 1948, U.S. and British pilots begin delivering food and supplies by airplane to Berlin after the city is isolated by a Soviet Union blockade. When World War II ended in 1945, defeated Germany was divided into Soviet, American, British and French zones of ...read more

Berlin Airlift begins

In response to the Soviet blockade of land routes into West Berlin, the United States begins a massive airlift of food, water, and medicine to the citizens of the besieged city. For nearly a year, supplies from American planes sustained the over 2 million people in West Berlin. ...read more