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Manco Inca

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Manco Inca Yupanqui. Manco Capac II. Peru, p. s. xvi – Vilcabamba (Peru), 1544. Inca, rebel.

Manco Inca Yupanqui was born in 1516, in Tiahuanaco, near Lake Titicaca. Her parents were Emperor Huayna Cápac and Coya Mama Runtu. As a member of Inca royalty, he was educated by great amautas in the Yachayhuasi of Cusco.

In 1533 he was recognized as Inca emperor by Francisco Pizarro in exchange for an alliance to end the Indian resistance of General Quisquis.

Recognition as Inca emperor

When war broke out between his brothers Huáscar and Atahualpa, Manco Inca returned from an expedition to Paititi to reinforce the former’s troops. During the return he learned of the triumph of the atahualpistas who even already controlled Cusco (1532). They also informed him of the proximity of a Huascarista army that was accompanied by “emissaries of the god Wiracocha”. It was the Spanish.

Then, Inca Manco Capac joined Francisco Pizarro in Jaquijahuana, and together they defeated the Atahualpista general Quisquis in the Battle of Anta. This allowed him to enter Cusco accompanied by the “divine” bearded men who recognized him as the new Sapa Inca (1533).

In 1534, when Pizarro returned to Jauja, Inca Manco Capac was captured by Juan Pizarro, who tortured him to confess the location of hidden treasures. The indigenous monarch resisted the torment, until at the beginning of 1536 he managed to escape from Cusco.

The rebellion

Based in Cuzco, Manco immediately had confrontations with the Spanish, especially with Hernando Pizarro, who, suspecting that the Indian was plotting a conspiracy to expel the Spanish, had him imprisoned. However, the Inca managed to escape through a ruse: he promised the greedy Hernando a fabulous treasure, but for this he had to let him leave the city to go and look for him where he himself had buried him. Once outside Cuzco, Inca Manco Capac assembled a powerful army and on Easter 1536 besieged the city. The indigenous battalions took the fortress of Sacsayhuamán, on the hill that dominates Cuzco, and from there began the harassment of the Spanish.

Given this attitude, he was held captive in his palace. One day the Inca, after having promised Hernando Pizarro to bring him some solid gold statues, was able to leave the city and headed to Yucay where he summoned a large army, opening three fronts: a punishment expedition to the Huanca peoples of the Mantaro valley for supporting Pizarro and his men, another against the population of Lima and a third and very important against Cuzco, which he kept under siege for almost a year.

With his attack on the capital of Cuzco, in which most of it was demolished, he dealt a terrible blow to Pizarro’s weapons and for a moment the fate of the conquerors was suspended in the balance of fate. Although finally defeated by the superior science of his adversary, he continued with frequent excursions to the neighboring plantations, destroying the buildings, killing the inhabitants, and taking away the cattle. Other times it attacked travelers who walked alone or in small caravans. Several detachments were sent against him, some escaped, and defeated others.

His run away to Calca

Fed up with that situation, he plotted a hoax. “As proof of gratitude,” he says, he gave Hernando Pizarro a set of gold, some gold statues, aríbalos filled with powdered gold and silver beams from the Coricancha. When he saw that the conqueror’s ambition was growing, he told Hernando Pizarro that he was going to bring him the statue of Huaina Cápac, “all gold, including the guts.” The ambitious Spanish believed him. Manco Inca left Cusco on April 18, 1536 and never returned. His first refuge was Calca. In coordination with the high priest Villac Umo or Villaoma (there is no doubt if it was a title or a proper name) he called his faithful generals and curacas and armed a powerful army. He had the advantage that he had lived with the Spanish and knew about their customs, their “bad arts”, the power and handling of their weapons, their war tactics, the mastery of the horse and its implements and its excessive ambition for gold and silver.

A vibrant proclamation

From his refuge in Calca, Manco Inca Yupanqui launched the following harangue: “I am determined not to leave a Christian alive throughout the land and for this I want to first put a fence in Cusco; Whoever of you will think to serve me, to serve me in this, must put life on such a case; drink from these glasses and not on any other condition. ” Their generals were arriving and each one of them drank the chicha (sacred drink) as a sign of approval and dedication for the cause of the reconquest. He appointed Villaoma as the head of his army and Paucar Huaman as a field master.

Manco Inca wins in the battles of Calca and Yucay

Thousands of Inca warriors joined him, including a Spanish. Hernando Pizarro, with the conscience of feeling guilty for the evasion of the Inca, organized his army and went in search of Calca. Manco Inca‘s troops confronted the Spanish and made them flee, chasing them to the vicinity of Cusco.

In the Yucay Valley, he again fights against the forces of Gonzalo Pizarro; but it also defeats them and makes them run away.

Two fronts of attack were formed against the conquerors

Since May 1536, Manco Inca prepared the attack against the conquerors on two fronts: one, to Lima; another, to Cusco. Its objective was to cut communications between Francisco Pizarro and Hernando Pizarro. That there is no help between the Spanish armies of both cities. He himself was in charge of the offensive to the imperial city. Prince Quisu Yupanqui led the offensive against Lima. The first offensive lasted from May 1536 to April 1537. By then, many chiefs and warriors of both imperial troops had learned how to use the European elements of warfare (riding horses, using harquebuses, crossbows, etc.).

Manco Inca troops take Cusco

In the month of May 1536, Manco Inca, with the siege to Cusco, was leaving for history lessons of heroism. He was “willing to liquidate the bearded men or their sun-jackets.” After a week of fierce fighting, the troops of Manco Inca and Villaoma managed to corner the enemies in the downtown buildings of the city and in the main square. Seeing themselves almost defeated, the Spanish knelt down, begging for mercy. “Santiago! Good luck Santiago. Santa Maria! Good Lord Santa Maria. Help us God! ”

Return to Vilcabamba

Despite the victory, Inca Manco Capac considered that he should withdraw to the mountainous region of Vilcabamba, north of Cuzco, where the Incas had a series of establishments, to rethink their strategy and assimilate the new situation.

Manco Inca settled in Vilcabamba and despite the fact that the Spanish knew his whereabouts they did not go after him because they were in internal wars for political control of the territory and later for the war between the encomenderos and the representatives of the Spanish crown. They did not give much importance to the presence of Manco Inca and his host because they knew that his actions were limited and his convening power had decreased.

Thus, almost 30 years passed in which a part of the Inca elite survived in this Inca redoubt. Vilcabamba was somehow a natural fortress surrounded by abysses and canyons. Its main populated centers were Vitcos (Rosaspata or Ñustahispanan) and Espíritu Pampa (the possible “Vilcabamba la Vieja” of which the chronicles speak). From there Manco governed a kind of Inca government in exile, maintaining Andean institutions, rites, and traditions and launching possible incursions against the Spanish whose influence inexorably spread among the ancient Andean nations that the Incas conquered.

Manco Inca’s tactics

When he learned of the death of Francisco Pizarro in 1542, Inca Manco Capac supported Diego de Almagro “El Mozo”. He sent horses, weapons and warriors to face Vaca de Castro. Fatally, “El Mozo” was defeated in Chupas, on September 16, 1542. Manco Inca, however, received a group of almagristas who took refuge in Vitcos. When Gonzalo Pizarro rebelled against the Spanish Crown and faced Viceroy Blasco Núñez de Vela, Manco Inca sent word to the viceroy that he would support him. There was no such occasion, because Núñez de Vela was killed in the battle of Añaquito.

Death of Inca Manco Capac

Captain Alonso de Toro, lieutenant governor of Cusco, with the authorization of Gonzalo Pizarro, began secret talks with the Vitcos’ almagristas. He offered them forgiveness and freedom if they were to kill the Inca. The almagristas accept this condition and assassinate Manco Inca in the first months of the year 1545.

According to his son Titu Cusi Yupanqui, the murder of Manco Inca would have occurred in the following way: “They were one day with great rejoicing playing herron (note: ancient game with iron yew, which had a hole in the center, and which was I tried to put a nail stuck in the ground) alone, my father and them and me, who was then a boy, without thinking anything about my father or having credited an Indian of one of them, named Bauba, who had told him many days before those Spaniards wanted to kill him. Without any suspicion of this or anything else, he was as comfortable with them as before; and in this game as I have said, my father going to pick up the horse to play, they all unloaded on him with daggers and knives and some swords; and my father, as he felt hurt, with a great rage of death, tried to defend himself from one side and the other; but since he was alone and the seven of them, and my father had no weapon, they finally overthrew him to the ground with many injuries and left him for dead. And some Andes, which at that time arrived and Captain Rimachi Yupangui, stopped them after such a fate that before they could flee a long way, some took the wrong path of their grade, overthrowing them from their horses below, and forcibly bringing them to sacrifice them. To all of whom they gave very crude deaths”. Despite his deadly injuries, Manco Inca Yupanqui still lived for a few more days. Titu Cusi Yupanqui was wounded; but soon recovered. The 7 escutcheons, after being tortured, were executed. Their skulls were placed on pikes and exhibited for long years in the Vilcabamba plaza, as a lesson. Titu Cusi Yupanqui remembers that in one of the last conversations he had with his dying father, he said to him: “… do not allow them to enter your land, even if they convince you with words, because their mellow words deceived me and so they will do to you if you believe them.”

Crammed between hills and jungle, with the support of anti tribes, with whom the Incas had once established occasional alliances, he reorganized a guerrilla army that for years harassed the Spanish with quick and effective actions, never seeking confrontation with military troops. . In Vilcabamba a kind of rebel neo-Inca state was established until the year 1572, when it was definitely dominated. Manco was assassinated in 1544 by Diego Mendez, an almagrista fled from the justice of the viceroy Núñez de Vela and welcomed by the revolted Indians.

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