Who Was Atahualpa?


Quick Answer

Atahualpa was the last ruler of the Inca empire, which was located in South America. He was captured by Spanish invaders led by Francisco Pizarro and executed despite paying the necessary amount for his ransom.

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Full Answer

Atahualpa earned his right to rule the Inca empire after successfully capturing his brother, Huascar, during a civil war in which the empire had been divided. Despite his victory, people in the different regions were still divided due to mistrust caused by the civil war. The capture of Huascar was preceded by the arrival of Spanish conquistadors led by Francicso Pizarro in the year 1532. The Spanish landed along the western coastline of South America with the intentions of conquering and looting cities of great value. They came into contact with Atahualpa in the coastal city of Cajamarca, where they surrounded and captured him after he rode out to meet them, also killing a large number of the natives in the city. The Spanish had the advantage of horses, firearms and armor and suffered no casualties.

After Atahualpa was captured, he attempted to win the affections of the Spanish by giving them massive amounts of gold and silver. Despite paying his ransom and being well-liked and personable even to his captors, he was eventually executed due to a hasty decision made by Pizzarro, who accused him of treachery.

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