Francisco Pizarro

Francisco Pizarro

Francisco Pizarro - Explorer & Conquistador (c1471/6 – 1541)

From an impoverished upbringing with scant education, Francisco Pizarro went on to become an explorer, conquistador, Captain General and Governor . His travels in the new world would see him accompany Vasco Nunez de Balboa on his expedition to the Pacific Ocean, Conquer the Incas in Peru and found the city of Lima.

This page details facts about Francisco Pizarro's life and the events that shaped his history.

Francisco Pizarro the Explorer & Conquistador - Fun Facts for Kids !

1: Francisco Pizarro was the illegitimate son of Gonzalo Pizarro and Francisca Gonzalez and is believed to have been born between 1471 and 1476 in Trujillo, Spain. Little is known of his early life other than he had an impoverished upbringing and had little or no education.

2: In 1509 Francisco Pizarro joined an expedition, led by Alonso de Ojeda, which left Spain on 10 November 1509 and headed for the New World. Francisco Pizarro was left in charge of San Sebastian, a doomed settlement that had been founded by Ojeda.

3: In 1513 Francisco Pizarro took part in the expedition of Vasco Nunez de Balboa, which would cross the Isthmus of Panama and, on September 29 1513, discover the Pacific Ocean.

4: Francisco Pizarro became a cattle farmer in Panama after being granted slaves and cattle by Pedrarias Davila, the Governor of the Castilla de Oro (Central American Territories). In January 1519, he carried out the arrest of Vasco Nunez de Balboa on behalf of Davila.

5: From 1519 to 1523 Francisco Pizarro served as Magistrate and Mayor in Panama City.

6: In 1524 Francisco Pizarro formed a verbal alliance with Hernando de Luque, a priest, and Diego de Almagro, a soldier. Under this alliance the three partners agreed they would head south to explore, conquer and divide between them the empire that they believed they would find. He was to lead the expedition with Almagro provisioning food and military supplies and Luque dealing with additional supplies and finance.

7: In November 1524 Francisco Pizarro and the expedition left Panama heading south. Suffering from a lack of food, bad weather and conflicts with hostile natives, he only got as far as modern day Colombia before returning to Panama.

8: Following the hesitant agreement of Davila, preparations were made by Pizarro, Almagro and Luque for a second expedition, and on 10 March 1526, they headed south with two ships and 160 men.

9: When the expedition arrived at Colombia they divided into three with Bartolome Ruiz, Pizarro’s main pilot, continuing south across the equator, Almagro returning to Panama for reinforcements and Pizarro remaining and exploring the coastal area of Colombia.

10: On his journey, Ruiz captured a trading vessel laden with precious metals and textiles. He returned to Colombia where he re-joined Francisco Pizarro and Almagro, who had returned from Panama with more men and supplies. Following Ruiz’s good fortune, Francisco Pizarro and the others decided to head south.

11: Once again Almagro returned to Panama for more resources while Francisco Pizarro remained behind. On this occasion the new Governor of Panama, Pedro de los Rios refused further aid and sent instructions for Pizarro and the others to return to Panama.

12: At this point Francisco Pizarro is reputed to have drawn a line in the sand and asked those who wished stay with to cross it. Thirteen men remained with him while the rest returned to Panama.

13: Francisco Pizarro made his way to La Isla Gorgona where he stayed for several months until supplies arrived. he then headed south once again and reached as far south as 9˚ where he named the land Peru. By early 1528 they had reached the territory known as Tumbes. While in the area Francisco Pizarro and his men learned of a great empire and its riches which were to be found in the region.

14: Francisco Pizarro returned to Panama to prepare for another expedition, however the Governor again refused to allow it. The alliance decided that he should sail to Spain to appeal directly to the Spanish King Charles I (Emperor Charles V). Setting sail in the spring of 1528, he arrived in Seville in the summer and met with the King.

15: On hearing the stories of the expedition and the riches that lay in Peru, King Charles I agreed to give his support to the conquest. Francisco Pizarro was made Governor and Captain General, giving him absolute authority over the new lands he discovered. His associates were given lesser positions with rights and privileges.

16: In January 1530 he set sail for Panama with 3 ships and around 180 men, four of whom where his brothers. In January 1531 they, left Panama and sailed for Peru.

17: He landed near Ecuador where he was joined by Hernando de Soto who had arrived with horses and around 100 men. He intended to moved on to the Tumbes region where they had previously stayed, however a recent attack on the area by the Punian tribes had left it in ruins.

18: In May 1532 Francisco Pizarro led his expedition inland, and on 15 November 1532 he arrived at the Incan city Cajamarca where the Incan Emperor, Atahualpa, was resting after the Inca civil war.

19. Atahualpa agreed to meet with Francisco Pizarro in Cajamarca on the 16 November 1532. Atahualpa and the 6000 men that accompanied him were initially met by Vincente de Valverde, a Dominican Friar, who explained that the Incan Emperor was required to pay a tribute to the Spanish King Charles I. Atahualpa refused so Pizarro attacked.

20. Francisco Pizarro defeated the surprised Incans with a force of less than 200 men, and took Atahualpa hostage. Atahualpa offered a ransom of enough gold to fill one room (believed to be approximately 22 feet by 17 feet) and enough silver to fill two rooms of equal size. Francisco Pizarro accepted the offer and the ransom was paid.

21. Despite the payment of the ransom, Atahualpa was tried and strangled by garrote. Hernando de Soto was disappointed by the execution and King Charles I of Spain expressed his displeasure in a letter to Francisco Pizarro.

22. Francisco Pizarro headed for the Incan capital Cuzco where he had sent an advance party which included Hernando de Soto. The advance party fought and defeated the Incan soldiers at Cuzco before Pizarro arrived leaving him free to enter the city unopposed. He entered Cuzco on 15 November 1533.

23. Francisco Pizarro decided that Cuzco was unsuitable as a capital because of its location, so he founded the city of Lima on the coast of Peru on January 6 1535.

24. The Incas attempted to recapture Cuzco but were defeated by Francisco Pizarro’s ally Diego de Almagro. After this event Pizarro and Almagro both claimed Cuzco. The dispute that followed led to a battle on 26 April 1538 which was won by Pizarro’s forces and resulted in Almagro’s execution.

25. On 26 June 1541, in Lima, Francisco Pizarro was attacked in his palace and killed by a small force that supported Almagro’s son.

26. Francisco Pizarro was buried beneath the floor of the Lima Cathedral.

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