Dazzled by the sight of the vast treasure of gold and silver being unloaded at Seville’s docks in 1537, a teenaged Pedro de Cieza de León vowed to join the Spanish effort in the New World, become an explorer, and write what would become the earliest historical account of the conquest of Peru. Available for the first time in English, this history of Peru is based largely on interviews with Cieza’s conquistador compatriates, as well as with Indian informants knowledgeable of the ...
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The Discovery and Conquest of Peru

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Dazzled by the sight of the vast treasure of gold and silver being unloaded at Seville’s docks in 1537, a teenaged Pedro de Cieza de León vowed to join the Spanish effort in the New World, become an explorer, and write what would become the earliest historical account of the conquest of Peru. Available for the first time in English, this history of Peru is based largely on interviews with Cieza’s conquistador compatriates, as well as with Indian informants knowledgeable of the Incan past.
Alexandra Parma Cook and Noble David Cook present this recently discovered third book of a four-part chronicle that provides the most thorough and definitive record of the birth of modern Andean America. It describes with unparalleled detail the exploration of the Pacific coast of South America led by Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro, the imprisonment and death of the Inca Atahualpa, the Indian resistance, and the ultimate Spanish domination.
Students and scholars of Latin American history and conquest narratives will welcome the publication of this volume.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Even those outside the specialty of Peruvian history will welcome the publication of this translation, as it provides a window into the conquest era written by a Spaniard who was both conscientious about the material and a shrewd observer.”—Susan Ramirez, DePaul University

“This volume contains a wealth of detail about the conquest of Peru, revealing both the insights of a keen mind and invaluable first-hand accounts of the events covered.”—Roland Hamilton, San Jose State University

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Pedro de Cieza de León (c. 1518–1555) was a soldier in Spain’s royal forces who recorded that country’s conquest of Peru.

Alexandra Parma Cook, an independent scholar, and Noble David Cook, Professor of History at Florida International University, are co-authors of Good Faith and Truthful Ignorance: A Case of Transatlantic Bigamy, also published by Duke University Press.

Pedro de Cieza de León (c. 1518–1555) was a soldier in Spain’s royal forces who recorded that country’s conquest of Peru.

Alexandra Parma Cook, an independent scholar, and Noble David Cook, Professor of History at Florida International University, are co-authors of Good Faith and Truthful Ignorance: A Case of Transatlantic Bigamy, also published by Duke University Press.

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Table of Contents


List of Illustrations and Maps



About the discovery of Peru

About how Governor Pedrarias named Francisco Pizarro captain of the South Sea and how he left Panama for the discovery

About how Captain Francisco Pizarro left to explore the coast of the South Sea and why that kingdom was called Peru

About how Montenegro and several Spaniards returned in the ship to the Pearl Islands to get provisions without bringing anything to eat except a dry cowhide and some bitter palmettos, and about the hardship and hunger endured by Pizarro and those who remained with him

About how Montenegro arrived at the Pearl Islands and how he returned with the succor

About how the captain and the Spaniards came upon an Indian village where they found some gold, how they landed in Pueblo Quemado and from there sent a ship to Panama, and what else happened

About how the Indians attacked the Spaniards and the difficulty the captain was in and how the Indians fled

About how Diego de Almagro left Panama with people and succor in search of his partner, and about how they injured his eye and how he was united with him

About how Diego de Almagro returned to Panama, where he found that Pedrarias was recruiting people for Nicaragua, and what happened to him as well as his partner, Captain Francisco Pizarro

About how Pizarro and Almagro journeyed as far as the San Juan River, where it was agreed that the pilot, Bartolomé Ruiz would explore along the western coast and Almagro would return for more people

How when the Spaniards went in canoes looking for provisions, all the Spaniards who went with their Captain Varela in one of the canoes were killed by the Indians

About how Pedro de los Ríos came as governor to Tierra Firme and what Almagro did in Panama until he returned with people

About how the captains and the Spaniards embarked and sailed to Atacames, and what happened to them

About how all the Spaniards wanted to return to Panama and could not, and how Diego de Almagro departed with the ships while Pizarro remained on Gallo Island, and about the couplet that they sent to Governor Pedro de los Ríos

About how when Diego de Almagro arrived in Panama, Governor Pedro de los Ríos, distressed by the death of so many people, did not allow him to recruit more. And how [Ríos] sent Juan Tafur to set free the Spaniards, and what Pizarro did with the letters his partners had sent him

About how Juan Tafur arrived where the Christians were and how they were set free, all of them wanting to return, except thirteen; and they and Pizarro remained

About how Captain Francisco Pizarro remained on the deserted island and of the many things he and his companions endured, and about the arrival of the ships in Panama

About how Juan Tafur arrived in Panama and how one ship returned to Gorgona to Captain Francisco Pizarro

About how Captain Francisco Pizarro and his companions left the island and what they did

About how the Indians who left the ship reported about the Spaniards, which those from the land marveled at, and how they sent them provisions and water and other things

About how the captain ordered Pedro de Candia to go and see whether what Alonso de Molina said he saw in the land of Tumbez was true

About how Captain Francisco Pizarro continued the discovery and what happened to him

About how Captain Francisco Pizarro turned around and landed in some Indian villages, where things went well for him, and what else happened to him

About how the captain took possession of those lands and what else he did until he left them

How Pizarro arrived in Panama, where he tried to negotiate with Pedro de los Ríos to grant him people to return with, but because it did not happen, he decided to go to Spain

About how Captain Francisco Pizarro went to Spain to report to the emperor about the land he had discovered, and what Almagro did in Tierra Firme

About how Captain Francisco Pizarro arrived in Spain and was given the governance of Peru

About how the Governor Don Francisco Pizarro returned to Tierra Firme, having first sent certain Spaniards in a ship to report on what he had negotiated

About how the Governor Don Francisco Pizarro arrived at Nombre de Dios and what occurred between him and Diego de Almagro; and how in Panama they renewed their friendship and formed a new partnership

About how Governor Don Francisco Pizarro left Panama and Captain Diego de Almagro stayed there, and how Pizarro entered Coaque

About how Pizarro decided to send ships to Panama and Nicaragua with the gold that was found, and how some Christians came to join him, and about how many became ill

About how [Pizarro] proceeded on his march, and [the Indians] killed two of his Christians, and Belalcázar arrived with other Christians from Nicaragua, and what else happened

About how the governor proceeded on his march and there was great discontent among the Spaniards, and about how messengers came from Puná, [saying] that the islanders were determined to kill our men

About how those of the island still planned to kill the Spaniards, and Tumbalá was imprisoned, and how the islanders fought with our men

About how those of Puná and their allies fought a battle with the Christians, in which [the Indians] were defeated, and what else happened

About how those of Tumbez held secret councils [to discuss] whether they would remain friendly with the Christians or come out against them as enemies, and how they killed two Spaniards, having decided to kill all of them if they could

How Pizarro, having arrived in Tumbez wanted to punish the Indians for killing the two Christians, and what else happened

About how Pizarro left Tumbez and arrived at Solana, from where Soto and Belalcázar left with people for the highlands, and how the city of San Miguel was founded

About how when the people who escaped from the battle were collected, Huascar's captains made more exhortations, and a third battle was fought in the Jauja Valley, which was very bloody; and about how Atahualpa remained in Cajamarca

About how there was another battle between them, and Huascar left Cuzco and was seized through deception

About how Pizarro set out from the new settlement he had established in order to ascend into the highlands in search of Atahualpa

About how Atahualpa was informed how near he was to the Spaniards, and about the council he held, and how he sent messengers to Pizarro that he should not cease marching

About how Pizarro and the Spaniards took up quarters in Cajamarca, and how Soto went to Atahualpa's camp, and what else happened

About what Atahualpa told his people before they moved from where they were, and how one of the Christians came to talk to him

About how Atahualpa entered the plaza where the Christians were, and how he was seized and many of his people were killed and wounded

About how in the morning of the following day the Spaniards went to survey the countryside, and how the news of Atahualpa's capture spread throughout the entire realm

About how Almagro set out on ships from Panama to Peru to aid Pizarro and what happened to him

About how Atahualpa promised the Spaniards a great treasure as his ransom, and about the death of King Huascar

How the three Christians who went to Cuzco arrived in that city and what happened to them; and how by Pizarro's order his brother Hernando Pizarro left Cajamarca to get the treasure of the Temple of Pachacamac

About how Almagro and his people entered Cajamarca, where he was well received by those who were there, and about what happened to Hernando Pizarro during the journey to Pachacamac

About how keeping the promise he had made to the Spaniards, Atahualpa filled the house with treasure, and how those who came with Almagro claimed shares like those who were there first

About how the great treasure that had been collected in Cajamarca by the order of the great lord Atahualpa was divided among the Spaniards and the names of all the Christians who were present at his capture

How after the treasure was divided, Pizarro decided that his brother Hernando Pizarro should go with the news to the emperor

About how false news came that warriors were advancing against the Spaniards, and about how Pizarro, breaking the word and the contract that he made with Atahualpa, put him to death with great cruelty and little justice

About what else happened in Cajamarca after Atahualpa died, and how Soto returned without seeing or encountering any warriors

About how Pizarro left Cajamarca for the city of Cuzco and what happened to him until he arrived in the Jauja Valley

About how Sebastián de Belalcázar arrived in the city of San Miguel and how, desirous to explore Quito, he negotiated with the cabildo to request him to go against the warriors who were said to be coming against them

About how Belalcázar defeated a captain they had sent against him, and the natives were delighted to see the Christians when they arrived in Tomebamba, and they formed a friendship with them, and about how the captains of Quito went out to wage war against them

About what else happened to the Spaniards and the Indians until they reached the tableland of Riobamba, where [the Indians] had dug many pits so that the horses would fall into them

How a volcano or a mouth of fire erupted near Quito and what happened to the Christians and the Indians

About how Governor Don Francisco Pizarro founded a city in the Jauja Valley, which is the one that was later moved to the Lima Valley, and about the death of the Inca and other things that happened

About how the Indians waited to battle the Christians in the highlands of Vilcaconga, and how when Soto arrived, they fought each other and what happened until Almagro and several horsemen came to their rescue

About how the Adelantado Don Pedro de Alvarado, governor of Guatemala, left the port of La Posesión in order to come with a great fleet to this kingdom

About what the Spaniards whom Pizarro sent from Jauja to the coast of the South Sea were doing

About how Adelantado Don Pedro de Alvarado decided to go to Quito and about some notable things that happened to him

About how the adelantado ordered people to go out and find a road, and about how they encountered many marshes and rivers, and how several Spaniards died, among them Captain Don Juan Enríquez de Guzmán

About the things that further happened to the adelantado, and about the great hardships and needs that his people suffered

About how Pizarro marched on the way to Cuzco, ordering that Atahualpa's captain-general, Chalcuchima, be burned in the valley of Jaquijahuana, and about other notable things that happened

About how the Spaniards entered the ancient city of Cuzco, where they found great treasures and precious things

About how Rumiñavi abandoned the city of Quito, first killing many principal women so that they could not be enjoyed by the Christians, who were very upset when they entered in it and did not see the treasure they sought, and what else happened

About what happened in the city of Cuzco, and about how Almagro and Hernando de Soto went out against the Indians, and Gabriel de Rojas arrived

How Adelantado Alvarado arrived in the village discovered by Diego de Alvarado, who had left to explore and came upon some snow-covered mountain passes, and about the hardship that the Spaniards suffered

How Adelantado Alvarado went with great hardship through the snow, where some Spaniards and many Indian men and women and Blacks died, unable to escape the cold, wind, and snow, which was enough to kill them

How Captain Belalcázar returned with his people to Quito, from where Almagro departed, and how certain scouts that [Almagro] sent were seized by Diego de Alvarado

How Almagro learned that his scouts were captured, and how he founded a city in Riobamba, and they went to enjoin the adelantado, and what else happened between them

About how Adelantado Don Pedro de Alvarado and Marshal Don Diego de Almagro met, and about the agreement made between them, guided and steered by Licentiate Caldera and other judicious men who came with the adelantado

About how Soto and Gabriel de Rojas arrived in Cuzco, and how Pizarro left that city and the things that he did until he descended to the plains after abandoning the city of Jauja

How Pizarro was falsely informed that Almagro had agreed to divest him of his governance and life, and how after some notable things occurred, they arrived at Pachacamac, and what else happened until the City of the Kings was founded

About how Hernando Pizarro arrived in Spain, where great news about Peru was spreading because of how much wealth was coming from there, and what Hernando Pizarro did at court

About how His Majesty granted Hernando Pizarro the Order of Santiago, and how he departed from court and embarked for the Indies

How Almagro set out from Pachacamac for Cuzco, from where Pizarro left a few days later to found Trujillo in the Chimu Valley

About how Don Francisco Pizarro sent Verdugo to Cuzco with powers for his brother Juan Pizarro to have the lieutenancy of the city, and about the discussions that took place there, and what else happened

About how Don Francisco Pizarro returned to the City of the Kings, then left to go to the city of Cuzco when he learned of the things that were happening there

About how the governors reached a new accord, making a solemn oath to proceed with the partnership

About how Almagro spent a large sum of gold and silver on those who were to go, and how he departed from Cuzco

About how Pizarro left Cuzco to return to the City of the Kings

About how Belalcázar moved the city of Riobamba to Quito, and about what happened in that land

About how wanting to make a founding in the City of the Kings, they waited until Hernando Pizarro arrived, and how the bishop of Tierra Firme and others who were rich left from the port

About how Alonso de Alvarado left Trujillo to settle a city in Chachapoyas

About how while Juan Pizarro was lieutenant and captain in Cuzco, King Manco Inca Yupanqui, detesting the rule the Christians had over them, attempted to leave the city in order to begin a war against them and was seized twice and placed in chains

About how after killing a Spaniard, those who killed him fortified themselves on a ridgetop with their cacique, and about what happened until the ridgetop was taken

About how a founding was done in the City of the Kings and Hernando Pizarro procured that the said donation be offered to His Majesty, and about his parting for Cuzco and the governor's departure to inspect the northern cities

About what happened to Captain Alonso de Alvarado in his conquest of the Chachapoyas

About how Almagro sent Captain Salcedo to punish the Indians who had killed the three Christians, and they gave him a gift of more than ninety thousand pesos, and how Villac Umu fled, and what else happened

About how, while exploring, Almagro arrived at snowy mountain passes where his people suffered great hardship

About how Rodrigo Orgoños left Cuzco and what happened to him until he reached the valley of Copiapó

About how Juan de Herrada left Cuzco to take the decrees to Almagro, and what happened to him until he reached the valley of Copiapó, where he joined Orgoños

That Hernando Pizarro, upon reaching Cuzco freed Inca Manco, who left the city and started the war

That the fortress of Cuzco was won and Juan Pizarro died then; Hernando Pizarro marched on Tambo

That the war with the Indians continues and Gabriel de Rojas routs an enemy army

That the Adelantado Don Diego de Almagro gives up the Chilean enterprise and returns to Cuzco, and what happened with Manco Inca Yupanqui



Weights, Measures, and Currency



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