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The End of an Empire


The Machiavellian Pizarro held the captured Atahualpa for ransom. He was adamant about receiving a room filled with gold to the height of a man’s shoulder. This was taken as an hyperbole at first, but Pizarro knew the gullible Incas would be munificent when it came to rescuing their sacred ruler. They did not procrastinate, and frenetic collection of gold took place. Pizarro, to whom prevarication was natural in dealing with the Incas, had no qualms about executing their ruler as soon as he had the gold. The Inca Empire was moribund, but the charisma that surrounded Atahualpa was such that, after his death, the Incas fought on tenaciously in his name for several years. Eventually, superior weapons quelled all opposition. A policy of genocide was adopted by the Spanish conquerors, and almost of these proud people died in the carnage which followed. The saga of an ancient civilization thus came to end.

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