Of all of the Spanish Conquistadors, Pizarro is perhaps the most notorious for atrocities committed against the natives. The massacre of Caxamala, during which the Spaniards killed 4000 unarmed Incas and captured the Chieftain Atahualpa, led directly to the conquest of Peru with its rich gold and silver mines. What is less well-known is that Pizarro spent nearly a decade laying the groundwork for the invasion, gaining the resources necessary to conquer the region, and planning his invasion. Like many other conquistadors, he came to a violent end after a bold, but brutal career.
Authorities on Francisco Pizarro
XVIth CENTURY. Herrera, Antonio de (1552–1625), and Oviedo y Valdes (1478—1557) cover completely doings in the "Indies," including the conquest of Peru. The latter, Oviedo, was personally acquainted with Pizarro, as he accompanied Pedrarias to Darien in 1514, and was at Panama when the expedition was fitted out at that point for Peru.
Pedro Pizarro's Relaciones del Descubrimiento y Conquista de los Reynos del Peru, though finished by 1571, was not published until two hundred and fifty years later.
XVIIth CENTURY. The same may be said of Fernando Pizarro y Orellana, who wrote and published (Madrid, 1639) the Varones Ilustres del Nuevo Mundo, which contains lives of the Pizarros and Almagro.
Garcilasso de la Vega (the "Inca Garcilasso") (1539–1616) published a monumental work on Peru (Lisbon, 1609; Cordova, 1617), for the writing of which he was peculiarly fitted by birth and education. Though largely quoted by those who came after him, he is not held to be always accurate.
XVIIIth CENTURY. The story of Peru is well told in Robertson's America; but "by far the best life of Pizarro" is contained in the Vidas de Espanoles Celebres, by Don Manuel Josef Quintana (Madrid, 1807); Pizarro and Balboa, in English, 1832.
XIXth CENTURY. The XIXth century also witnessed the forthcoming of such great works as Help's, Prescott's, and Markham's. Help's Life of Pizarro consists of material from his Spanish Conquest, and conspicuously exhibits the peculiarities of its author.
Of Prescott's Conquest of Peru, which was first published in 1843, and soon translated into all the languages of Europe, it seems almost superfluous to remark that it is by far the most comprehensive "popular" treatment of the subject, and at the same time exhaustive and critical.
The narrative of the conquest, of which Pizarro was the central figure, cannot be dissociated from its hero, who is vividly portrayed by the great historian.