Francisco PizarroExplorer / Conquistador
Born: c. 1471
Died: 26 June 1541 (assassination)
Birthplace: Trujillo, Spain
Best known as: The Spaniard who conquered the Incas
Francisco Pizarro is the Spanish conquistador known for conquering Peru's Inca Empire and founding the city of Lima in 1535. Little is known about his early years, but it's thought he was an illiterate adventurer who went to the New World in 1502 and spent many years in what is now Central America, especially Panama. (He was with Vasco Nuñez de Balboa in 1513 when Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama and sighted the Pacific Ocean.) From Panama he attempted expeditions to Peru in 1524 and 1526, the latter with future rival Diego de Almagro. In 1531 he set out from Panama with a small force of under 200 men and crossed the mountains into Peru, where he defeated the Incas and in 1533 executed their emperor Atahualpa. He set up a puppet government and went about building a capital city at Lima. Pizarro and his brothers then fought Almagro and his supporters over territorial rights, and in 1538 Pizarro had Almagro executed after the Battle of Las Salinas. In 1541 Pizarro was assassinated by followers of Almagro.
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