The Spanish conquest
spanish conquest history quito ecuador history spanish conquest quito history conquest quito brief history of quito
In the aforementioned context, the Spanish invasion started in Peruvian lands, headed by Francisco Pizarro in 1531.



Book: Época Colonial I. Conquista y primera etapa colonial. Landázuri, Carlos, coor.

The war between the two brothers and the strategic alliances Pizarro did with resistance ethnic groups in disagreement with the Inca Empire, made the conquest and Spanish invasion not difficult to carry out. November 16th, 1532, Atahualpa was trapped by the Spaniards. Despite the fact that the Inca provided the biggest ransom ever give (the myth said the payment was a room filled entirely of gold), he was executed eight months later by hanging, on July 26th, 1533.


This was the end of Tahuantinsuyo, although the Inca dynasty survived in small resistance groups they were slowly exterminated, until the last uprising, two centuries later, commanded by Túpac Amaru II.

Once conquered much of the current Peru, began to spread the rumor between the Spaniards of the supposed Atahualpa treasure, at the North, in the city of Quito. Because of this myth two expeditions were sent to conquer the rest of the Andes, from the North and the South, this last one arrived to Quito and “founded” it as a Spanish city.


This expedition was headed by Sebastian de Benalcázar or just Benalcázar. His original name was Sebastian Moyano, a field worker, very poor, after having killed a mule he changed his name and escaped to America for better luck. It happened around 1507. Eventually he became a terrifying and cruel conqueror, but nowadays he isn’t remembered for what he really was. Unfortunately, this part of the history is told.


The Northern Territory was defended by one of the three generals of Huayna Capac: Rumiñahui, whose name means "Face of stone". This territory was in great conflict: several settlements as Quitus-Caras rebelled against the Inca Empire conquest. It was a great opportunity for Benalcázar who allied with the ethic in rebellion to arrive to Quito.


The Spanish army and its alliances were almost defeated due to the strong Incas resistance. But at this point the Tungurahua volcano erupted. The eruption was a strong signal to Incas and cultures allied with the Spaniards. The interpretation was that the outcome of the war was going to be their destruction and misfortune.


The defeat was imminent. Rumiñahui moved back to Quito, becoming Quito the last bastion of Inca resistance. This is where the Inca General burned and destroyed everything he believed can serve the enemy. He put to sleep the Acllas, the chosen women or virgins of the Sun, young priestesses that served the Inti or Sun God.


His murder had the aim to not allow the Spaniards to rape them, as well as protect the city to be desecrated. Finally, Rumiñahui ordered to all his soldiers to take every value object (included the treasure of Atahualpa) and follow him out of the city. The myth of the famous Rumiñahui treasure has its origin here. The treasure would be not only the treasure of Atahualpa but also all the wealth and jewels, precious metals and stones that existed in the Inca city of Quito.


No one knows where this enormous amount of wealth was hidden. Different myths specified as possible places the crater of volcano Guagua Pichincha, the interior of the Llanganates hills, inside the Panecillo Hill, the depths of the cave of the Tayos, etc.


On December 6, 1534, Sebastián de Benalcázar arrived to Quito, ancient Quito settlement, Inca city in development, and then deserted, without their thatched roofs or the spectated treasure neither. Then Benalcázar ordered to his Lieutenant, Juan Ampudia, to “not leave any stone on" the Inca city of Quito.


Whit his order began the destruction of all ancient architecture, not only in order to find the treasure of Atahualpa, but also with the intention of destroying the symbolic meaning Quito had for the indigenous resistance, to avoid any future uprising and achieve the pacification of the northern part.


The Inca city of Quito was located in what now is the historic center. Its center was a great Tianguez, the market that articulated all the products of the different llactas and ayllus of the Andes, the coast and the Amazon. It was a tianguez before the Inca conquest. This place is the current plaza de San Francisco in Quito.


The current convent of this congregation is located over the large Inca complex formed by the houses of captains, courtyards, ponds and gardens, deposits and military Chambers, possibly what was called the Coricancha (house of gold). Inside or nearby should be located the Inti Huasi, the Sun Temple, with its structure covered with gold; like the majority of Inca constructions.


The present Church of San Francisco was built on the Amaruhuasi or Temple of Amaru, figurative manifestation of the deity Illapa, second in importance after the Sun God Inti. Illapa was lightning; Amaru was a huge fecundation serpent, a dragon whose breath was the Huanacauri or rainbow.


Several authors argue that this deity was replaced by San Francisco, reason why Atahualpa, before being executed, is baptized with the name of Francisco, similar to his two sons, because this Inca was identified with Amaru, as well as his father, also called Inca Illapa.


Another important place for the Incas in Quito was the Inti Huatana, solar observatory and ritual place. It was a system used to measure the route of the Sun, the seasons of the year, the solstices and equinoxes. It’s provably it was at the top of the Panecillo (the true name was Yavirak). At the foot of the Hill should be the Acllahuasi, home to the Acllas, the virgins of the Sun.


There is evidence that Quilla Huasi, or Moon temple was located in what now is the San Juan Hill. “Palacio Del Placer” or the pleasure Palace of the Inca was located in the current neighborhood El Placer (hence its name). There are many places where Inca buildings, temples, houses, military structures and markets could have done. These constructions are hidden and forgotten testimonies not only of Incas but also ancestral cultures of Quito and Cotocollao who lived to the North of the current city of Quito and Ecuador.


You have to know this

The conquerors took advantage of the political instability to defeat the Incas and then colonize the rest of cultures. At this time Tahuantinsuyu was going trough a crisis of power.


The last Inca Emperor, Atahualpa, was assassinated by the conquerors on July 26, 1533.


The Inca Quito city was destroyed entirety on December 6, 1534; there was no keep on any stone, as Benalcazar ordered.


There are several places in Quito where is known or suspected that are located ancient constructions of the Incas.

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