Francisco Pizarro was a Spanish explorer and conquistador. Born in the age of exploration, Pizarro was one of the several explorers who set sails across the Atlantic and traveled to the Americas. Unlike some other European explorers who were solely interested in present day United States and Canada, Pizarro had his interests in South America, which lead him to Peru. Here are some Francisco Pizarro major accomplishments.
1. His Voyage to Wealth & Fame
Francisco Pizarro was an illegitimate child of a humble solider and a housemaid. He did not know how to read or write when he was a boy and had to live in relative poverty throughout his growing up years. At the time he died, he was one of the wealthiest Marquis de la Conquista of the era. He didn’t just have wealth but also considerable political influence, social clout, prestige and land.
2. Conquering the Inca Empire
One of the most prominent Francisco Pizarro major accomplishments is his conquest of the Inca Empire. He had heard of riches in Peru and chose to explore it for himself. He could not succeed and needed more help. In early sixteenth century, Pizarro had already sailed to North America and was exploring the Hispaniola Islands. In his quest for riches in Peru, he went back to Spain and sought help from the King. He arrived at Peru with more than a hundred and seventy men and found the Incans in a state of civil war. He took advantage of feuding brothers trying to stake claim to the throne and conquered the Inca Empire. He also led to the establishing of Spanish colonies in Peru.
3. Pizarro, The Strategist
Circa fifteenth or sixteenth century, very few kingdoms or armies would sail across thousands of miles and then initiate a war or even a small battle, unless there were very few people to fight. Spanish conquistadors were popular for one reason. They could sail with a small army on explorations and then take over the lands by fighting any opposing tribe. Pizarro liaised with Atahualpa, the younger brother of the ruler Huascar. The deal was the throne for a room filled with riches. Atahualpa kept his end of the bargain but Pizarro did not. He not only got the promised riches but assassinated Atahualpa and proceeded with his goal of exploring the rumored riches in Peru. Pizarro was a good strategist for his own goals and his appointment of his half brothers as lieutenants also show how he wanted to have full faith or enough trust in his close aides. However, as history would have it, Pizarro was assassinated by one of his partners much later.
4. The Path to Prosperity
While many explorers of the time were promised riches by locals and the rumors often lead to no fruition, Pizarro turned out to be lucky. He explored the Inca Empire and it was indeed rich, especially in silver and gold. Pizarro teamed up with many conquistadors and explored these riches, thus amassing a wealth that was not very common in the new world for an explorer.
5. Exploring South America
Most explorers of the time were interested in finding new lands, shorter sea routes to Asia and new trading havens. But a few were not as noble. Pizarro was only interested in exploration to find riches for himself. He also liked adventures. It is these two traits that took him on relentless pursuits. Many British, French, Spanish and even Italian explorers of the time embarked on two or three long voyages and then resorted to life on land after having failed to find riches. Pizarro continued his voyages, before and after becoming rich. He explored the entire South American coast. He explored Colombia, Panama, San Juan River and he helped in setting up of several cities over time.
6. Legacy of Francesco Pizarro
Spanish conquistadors have an extremely polarizing history. They were explorers, conquerors and governors. They explored sea routes, established cities and expanded the Spanish Empire. However, they were almost always cruel, unfair, inhumane and also extremely selfish. They always indulged in loots and sacking of cities, building war chests and personal fortune. They were unfair with their laws, mistreated women and were heavily indulgent in violence, mostly on the weak and helpless.
The legacy of Francesco Pizarro is not very different from the generic tales of his contemporaries. He was not only unfair to the people but also towards his partners, who were also conquistadors. It was actually his unfairness towards Diego de Almagro that led to a civil war. Although he succeeded in defeating and thereon executing Almagro, his son managed to team up with some disgruntled conquistadors who had been denied their share of the riches and eventually assassinated Pizarro.
Although popular for his conquests and definitely a prominent historical figure, Pizarro is not really loved either by the Peruvian Indians or modern historians.