Francisco Pizarro is generally held to be one of the most villainous of the Spanish conquistadors, but the full story of the conquest of Peru is of great interest. This book follows his adventures from an impoverished swine-herd of Spain to the most powerful governor in the new world. Pizarro became obsessed with the idea of conquering the Peruvian empire as a soldier under Balboa, and for almost twenty years worked tirelessly explore the region and raise resources for his invasion. The story of his adventures and conquests is filled with terrible hardships, enormous obstacles, astonishing bravery, vile treachery, murderous revenge, and hair-raising battles.
THE EXECUTION OF THE INCA.
The first volume of the "Heroes of History" series followed the bold and successful voyage of Vasco da Gama around the Cape of Good Hope, and to the far and then little-known regions of Hindostan. This volume transports the young reader to our own hemisphere, and describes the travels and conquests of one of the most resolute and adventurous captains that any age has produced.
Pizarro was heroic in the indomitable energy with which he pursued his end; in the patience with which he bore hardships as terrible as ever man encountered; in the courage with which he assailed an empire containing millions of people, and having a vast and disciplined army, with a mere handful of resolute souls like himself; and in the vigor and genius with which, Peru once subdued, he founded and established the Spanish rule over the conquered nation.
That he invaded and conquered Peru from motives of ambition, and greed of gold, is but too true. It is probable that higher motives than these seldom entered his mind. Like all, or nearly all, the great captains of his time, he did not hesitate to carry wide-spread havoc among a peaceful race, to lay desolate a thriving land, to usurp a power to which he had not the shadow of a right, and to use means in achieving his purpose which were often barbarously cruel. The only palliation of his career of conflict and rapine is, that his rude, war-like age justified his objects and his actions, and that it was then the custom of nations to make conquests, and to assail unoffending nations, for the sake of dominion and riches.
By Pizarro's conquest, Spain acquired a splendid empire, and gained a footing in South America by means of which she gradually extended her power over large portions of that continent; and thus Pizarro may at least be credited with having laid there the foundations of a higher and more permanent civilization than that which he replaced.
The exciting story of Pizarro's adventures has been told more than once before; but not in recent years, at least for young people. It is a story well calculated at once to amuse and to instruct; nor is it without serious lessons for those boys and girls who choose to glean them.
BOSTON, November, 1878.