November 15 - 1533 - Francisco Pizarro Enters Cuzco
The Inca Empire was perhaps the greatest empire in the world in the early sixteenth century. Without the wheel, large beasts of burden, or a system of writing, the Inca united vast swaths of land up and down the Andes Mountains. Then a small group of Spanish soldiers led by Francisco Pizarro arrived and took them over. Pizarro was a soldier from the Extremadura region who, like many other Extremadurans, decided to find his fortune in the New World. After being part of the voyage that found the Pacific Ocean in Panama, Pizarro began hearing of a mighty city to the South where great stores of gold and silver lay. For almost a decade, Pizarro made a series of voyages down the coast, often accompanied by his half-brothers. Finally, in 1532, Pizarro encountered Atahualpa, the Sapa Inca, or ruler of the Inca Empire. At Cajamarca, he managed to take Atahualpa prisoner despite being vastly outnumbered. Then Pizarro regrouped, and, exactly one year later, marched on the Inca capital at Cuzco and easily took it. By entering Cuzco, Pizarro effectively conquered all the Incas and ruled the former greatest empire in the world.