Rumiñawi (Inca warrior)

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This article is about the Inca warrior. For other uses, see Rumiñawi.
Rumiñawi monument in Otavalo, Ecuador

Rumiñawi (Kichwa rumi stone, rock, ñawi eye, face,[1] "stone eye", "stone face", "rock eye" or "rock face", hispanicized spellings Rumiaoui, Ruminavi, Ruminagui, Rumiñagui, Rumiñahui), born late 15th century, died June 25, 1535, was a general during the civil war, who after the death of Emperor Atahualpa, led the resistance against the Spanish in the northern part of the Inca Empire (modern-day Ecuador) in 1533.

Born in Pillaro in the modern Tungurahua Province in Ecuador, his given name was Ati II Pillahuaso. Inca historians tend to believe that he was Atahualpa's half-brother, born from a native noble woman. When Francisco Pizarro imprisoned Atahualpa and held him in the Ransom Room, Rumiñawi marched towards Cajamarca to deliver a huge amount of gold. But when the Spaniards broke their word, executing Atahualpa and slaughtering his troops, Rumiñawi returned to the kingdoms of Quito and is believed to have ordered the Treasure of the Llanganatis thrown off a cliff into a lake or crater.

Learning of Rumiñawi's resistance, Pizarro sent his lieutenant Sebastián de Benalcázar North to take Quito and bring whatever treasure he could recover. The forces of Rumiñawi and Benalcázar met at the Battle of Mount Chimborazo, where Rumiñawi was defeated. However, before the Spanish forces captured Quito, Rumiñawi ordered to burn it to the ground and to kill the ñustas (temple virgins) to preserve their honor. Rumiñahui was eventually captured, tortured and killed by the Spanish but never revealed the location of the treasure.


In 1985 the Ecuadorian Congress made December 1st of every year a day of remembrance for the personality of Rumiñawi as an indigenous hero and defender of the Kingdom of Quito.

Rumiñahui's portrait was the prominent image on the front of the 1,000 Ecuadorian sucre note.


  1. ^ Kichwa Yachakukkunapa Shimiyuk Kamu (Ministry of Education, Ecuador)
  • Moya Espinoza, Reynaldo. La conquista en Piura.