The Incas of Peru

Once Tenochtitlan had fallen to Cortes, the greed of the Spaniards knew no bounds. Francisco Pizarro led the Spanish effort to take the mountain city of Cuzco. He tried to follow Cortes’s strategy of allying with certain disaffected groups, but Pizarro’s soldiers treated their ostensible allies so cruelly that the allies began to melt away with disgust.

The attack on Cuzco was led by Francisco Pizarro’s brother, Hernando. His opponent was an erstwhile ally named Manqo, who instead organized a resistance that had “tens of thousands of indigenous troops” converging on the Inca city. While Manqo and his allies stayed in the hills, the Spanish in the valley “could only watch the swelling numbers of natives with dread.”

Manqo waited patiently until the sheer weight of numbers was overwhelmingly in his favour. Then, on Saturday, 6 May, he launched a concerted attack . . . in which the Inca combined the power of their slings with an innovative technique that was as unexpected as it was devastating: all the stone had been made red-hot in the campfires . . . Inca warriors tied three stones to the ends of tight ropes connected to dried llama tendons, which, when thrown, twirled and tangled themselves around the legs of the horses, bringing most of them down.”

Conquistadores: A New History of Spanish Discovery and Conquest, by Fernando Cervantes, pp. 299 – 300

To be continued . . .

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