The Last Days of the Incas

The Last Days of the Incas

eBook - 2007
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In 1532, the fifty-four-year-old Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro led a force of 167 men, including his four brothers, to the shores of Peru. Unbeknownst to the Spaniards, the Inca rulers of Peru had just fought a bloody civil war in which the emperor Atahualpa had defeated his brother Huascar. Pizarro and his men soon clashed with Atahualpa and a huge force of Inca warriors at the Battle of Cajamarca. Despite being outnumbered by more than two hundred to one, the Spaniards prevailed -- due largely to their horses, their steel armor and swords, and their tactic of surprise. They captured and imprisoned Atahualpa. Although the Inca emperor paid an enormous ransom in gold, the Spaniards executed him anyway. The following year, the Spaniards seized the Inca capital of Cuzco, completing their conquest of the largest native empire the New World has ever known. Peru was now a Spanish colony, and the conquistadors were wealthy beyond their wildest dreams.But the Incas did not s...
Publisher: 2007
ISBN: 9781416539353
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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dvarty
Jun 17, 2018

This was the fourth book about the Inca civilisation that I have read in preparation for a trip to Peru. It was by far the most engaging. It was hard to put down. It describes a clash of cultures that was tragic. The Inca empire had expanded in 100 years to the size of the Roman Empire, but without iron and steel, a written language, horses or the wheel. It took the Romans 500 years to conquer just the Italian peninsula, Sicily and Sardinia. How did the Incas do it in 100 years? The Incas built on a tradition of reciprocity, or gift giving, that developed into an exchange of labour and land. It was conquest through a kind of diplomacy, backed up by military strength if that did not work. The Incas created a system of surplus food production with storehouses throughout the empire. The system provided a redistribution of wealth. The Spanish found a people that was well fed and clothed despite living in a region of harsh climate. The tragedy was the Incas rapid collapse in the face of their encounter with a new civilisation which brought disease and values of greed, treachery, brutality as well as superior military equipment.

ChristchurchLib Jan 12, 2015

In The Last Days of the Incas, Emmy-winning film maker and author Kim MacQuarrie offers a balanced and engaging account of the Incas, who ruled a 2500-mile-long stretch of western South America at the time the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in 1526. MacQuarrie examines Spanish correspondence that depicts their encounters with the Incas, and he traces the explorations of 20th-century archaeologists, including Hiram Bingham and Gene Savoy. His riveting narration brings to life the Incas' civilization, their fatal clashes with the Conquistadors, and the dramatic discoveries of the ruins of Machu Picchu and Vilcabamba. History and Current Events January 2015 newsletter.

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petehoover98118
Feb 28, 2014

In the US, we were taught that with 168 men and 70 horses, Pizarro conquered the Incas and destroyed their culture. Of course, that story is quite untrue. Pizarro at best performed a kidnapping and assassination.
Atahualpa didn't get to be the most high Inca for long, but his brother who ruled after him Manco Inca, who we never talk about in the US, is the real hero of the story.
This book informs the reader a great deal about the world of Manco Inca, and how he decided to organize resistance to the Spanish, and perhaps helped explain why the later Spanish immigrants, who came with visions of gold in their eyes, managed to introduce some of their culture to a pre-formed civilization that in most ways is still actually intact to this day.

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rsalvino1
Feb 22, 2013

I read this book twice. By reading it a second time I think I was hoping the ending would be different. Alas, I knew it wouldn't be.

The other reason for reading it a second time is that the author puts you inside a unique, very different, and amazing culture at the time that it is being ripped apart by goldthirsty Spanish conquistadors (aka mobsters). The portrait of the Inca is objective--no moralizing is done--but warts and all you can't help but wish their culture wasn't wiped out for a few thousand pounds of metal.

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