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Atahualpa Related: South American Indian Biographies

(ätäwäl´pä) , d. 1533, favorite son of Huayna Capac, Inca of Peru. At his father's death (1525) he received the kingdom of Quito while his half brother, the legitimate heir Huáscar , inherited the rest of the Inca empire. Shortly before the arrival (1532) of Francisco Pizarro , Atahualpa invaded the domains of Huáscar, whom he defeated and imprisoned, and made himself Inca. On Nov. 16, 1532, Pizarro met Atahualpa at Cajamarca. Invited into the city, Atahualpa was seized and imprisoned. He offered a room full of gold as ransom and at the same time secretly ordered the death of Huáscar. He was tried for his brother's murder and for plotting against the Spanish and was executed. He is also known as Atabalipa.

well theres that...from

"Atahualpa" more frequently used in English encyclopedias[edit]

Most English encyclopedias refer to the Inca ruler as "Atahualpa" rather than his Quechua-sounding name of "Ataw Wallpa". These include,,, and The Hutchinson Encyclopedia. The latter name seems more appropriate for the Quechua Wikipedia, as it sounds better and understood better by Quechua speakers. In any case, there can always be a discussion or vote. --Dynamax 04:44, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

I vote against constantly renaming pages instead of contributing content... :) --Zenyu 08:28, July 20, 2005 (UTC)
I hope our friend Huhsunqu can give us an explanation or support some evidence of why the names of various Inca leaders' names were recently changed. This can be done in the talk page to discuss before any further name changes are done. Just a suggestion before any more changes are done.. thanks. --Dynamax 06:20, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

168 men versus an army of 80,000[edit]

Did 168 men really destroy an army of 80,000? That has got to be one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard.

Yes, although they didn't really destroy the entire army. They did most of their killing (~6 to 7 thousand) in crowd of unarmed people around Atahualpa, according to "Guns, Germs, and Steel" at least. TastyCakes 07:27, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Eventually, where the Spaniards fighting soldiers or civilians? If the natives were soldiers, then they should have had some kind of weaponary (clubs, spears, bows and arrows, ...) then they were pretty clumsy to be slaughtered like that by Spaniards. Other native populations (Zulus and other Africans or nomads of the central Asia) did much better. The Inca emperor seems like the pretty bad commander to me. If they were not soldiers, then what was Atahualpa smoking before going to "arrest" an invading army with unarmed civilians? Any way you slice it, it seems that the Spaniards were pretty darned good to have successfully defeated a vastly superior force so efficiently. Mrjahan

There was never a full-scale battle, the Inca weren't expecting hostilities from the Spanish, who had better weaponry, when they captured Atahualpa the political victory was done... The Spanish were going for war all along, the Incas didn't went that much.

From Marvin Lunenfeld's 1492: Discovery, Invasion, Encounter, which includes and excerpt from The Royal Commentaries of the Inca Garcilaso de le Vega, at the time of the attack at Cajamarca, "...all these Indians were haunted by the most famous prediction of the Inca Viracocha, and they asked themselves if the moment had not arrived when, not only the Empire and its laws, but also their religion and its rites were about to disappear like so much smoke. For this reason, they neither dared to defend themselves, not to offend the Spaniards whom they considered as gods and the messengers of Viracocha. Spanish historians themselves confirm the fact that Atahualpa forbade his troops to fight..." So, evidence on both sides of the conflict, Spanish and Inca, suggests that the Inca at Cajamarca refused to defend themselves.

You have to remember the sacredness of the Inca, Atahualpa. He was literally believed to be a "man-god", a god on earth. He was tricked by the Spanish into being captured, which worked with the Aztec in Mesoamerica. At that point, it was all over. The generals wouldn't risk the Spanish killing the Inca emperor when it seemed that the promise of gold from Cuzco and other temples in the area would secure his release once the ransom was gathered. The Spanish then killed Atahualpa after receiving the ransom, which threw everything into chaos. It has been postulated that Atahualpa was overconfident from winning the war with Huascar and therefore allowed himself to be captured pretty easily, but in the end, the overall story is rather one-sided and we'll probably never know the complete reasons for such a defeat. True the Spanish had "superior" weapons and horses, but if the Inca had fought, the story would have been different. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:44, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Order of events[edit]

I read that the "ambush" was set up before Atahualpa threw the bible on the ground and as soon as he did so the cavalry and infantry came out of hiding and wiped out the people that surrounded him and kidnapped him. I also read that the Incas paid the largest ransom in history for his return, and after receiving it Pizarro killed him anyway. These are slight variations on what's written in this article, does anyone know which version is right? TastyCakes 07:30, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

According to Conquest of the Incas (which I believe is considered one of the definitive books on this subject), Vincente de Valverde wrote that the ambush had indeed been planned prior to the meeting with Atahualpa. The "Requirement" may have been delivered before Atahualpa threw the bible on the ground. Accounts of the event vary. Unfortunately, the sources that remain on this event are primarily from the Spanish conquistadores' accounts of the attack and may be one-sided.
Atahualpa was killed, but not immediately after the ransom was collected. At first Pizarro was hoping to keep him around to keep the Inca people at bay (basically as a hostage). Atahualpa was kept as a captive for about 9 months after the battle. When Pizarro believed he was too dangerous to keep alive, Atahualpa was tried and executed, although the trial was a farce and Pizarro was in fact reprimanded by the Spanish government. Gsd97jks 13:57, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Note I have edited the article to reflect these events chronologically - the earlier version was indeed confusing. Gsd97jks 14:05, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Standardised Spelling?[edit]

The title of the article is Atahualpa, but the first line uses a different spelling ("Atahuallpa"), and the two become intercahngable throughout. Is there any standardised spelling? Google recognised 1,020,000 for Atahaulpa, as opposed to only 61,000 for the alternative. Ariasne 11:37, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

I concur. If there is a controversy regarding which form to use, it has already been decided upon in choosing the article name. The difference seems to be purely orthographic; it doesn't seem to represent any phonological difference. Emil 02:33, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

Last "true" Inca[edit]

The description of Atahualpa as the "last true emperor" seems rather a judgement-- asserting his legitimacy in the dispute of Huascar as unquestionable, while judging Túpac Amaru et al to be bogus imposters. If no counter argument to this exists, it should be better explained-- otherwise, perhaps Wikipedia should not be in the business of asserting the correctness of historic claims to thrones. In any case, I suspect the caption "Lifetime portrait of Atahuallpa, the 13th and last true (the last empereor being Tu Pac Sharu) Inca emperor" could at least be better worded. -- Infrogmation 00:31, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

I changed "real" to "sovereign", this sounds more exactly for me 09:18, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Atahuallpa's date of death[edit]

moved from Help talk:Contents

My name is Bobbahuallpa. I am related by marriage to a lineal descendant of Atahuallpa and have intensively studied Inca culture and history. My wife's parents live in Calca, Peru, and her father, Martin Huallpa, is a lineal descendant of Atahuallpa.

I intend to make many more informative changes to your article in the near future, as I am completing an extensive treatise on the subject of the rise and fall of the Inca Empire. But in the meantime, please note that the date of Atahuallpa's death was July 26, 1533, not August 29, 1533. This fact is noted by the expert, John Hemming, in his excellent treatise, "The Conquest Of The Incas" (1970). Please see page 78 for the text and page 557 (with footnotes explaining why August 29, 1533 is incorrect and why the correct date is July 26, 1533).Bobbahuallpa 03:11, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

"My name is Bobbahuallpa. I am related by marriage to a lineal descendant of Atahuallpa"

THAT'S A LAME JOKE!!! Really, no one in Peru and no professional historian uses the doble L spelling of Atahualpa presented in here... and this all seems like mere trolling changing "atah" with "bobb" as in SpongeBob, Bob the constructor and other pop bob chars... So really... Can't be taken seriously!!!

Sorry, but double L spelling (as in Ataw Wallpa) IS sometimes used in scientific sources, and July 26, 1533 IS the correct death date of Atahualpa in Cajamarca (not Quito). Compare es:wiki, pl:wiki and many written sources cited there. Due corrections made. Cien 23:53, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

The article said his body was burned after its execution, but according to Hemming this was mostly to burn his clothes; he was given a Christian burial. I've edited it with the citation. (talk) 11:36, 27 January 2010 (UTC)


"Atahualpa's disastrous handling of the Spanish invasion notwithstanding..." doesn't sound really like a professional comment or something to be admited in a biographical article. It's judgment of Atahualpa's actions by some external or modern standard should not be accepted so lightly. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:06, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Lack of References on this page[edit]

This article needs work on references and introducing more information on the debates about this Inca ruler, including those mentioned above on this talk page. I'll try to supply references, but inevitably, in doing so, the text may need to be changed. Any thoughts on this, please?Merlewood (talk) 12:21, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

I'll start compiling a new version gradually on this talk page, synthesizing different sources. In the early stages, there will be few sources cited, but these will grow with time. Perhaps the new version should include more on explanations of Atahualpa's motives in his reactions to the Spaniards. Comments welcome.

"The premature deaths of the Inca emperor Huayna Capac and his probable heir Ninan Cuyuchi created a disputed succession. The most likely successor (perhaps because he was considered more legitimate on account of the identity of his mother) was the Inca's son Huascar, and he succeeded as ruler of the capital city Cusco. Another son, Atahualpa, was left in charge of the imperial army at Quito. He was probably acting as provincial governor of the area on behalf of his brother, although a number of chroniclers said that the dying Inca had decided to divide the vast empire into two sections, one ruled from Cusco, the other from Quito. The exact nature of that legacy is unclear. But the ambiguity was sufficient to provoke civil war between the brothers." Hemming 1983, 28-29. Merlewood (talk) 12:19, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

"Atahualpa's great advantage was possession of his father's professional army, which was still fighting in the north under generals Chalicuchima, Quizquiz and Rumiñavi. Although most of the empire remained loyal to Huascar, the latter's forces were driven back by the Quitans who inflicted several crushing defeats. Huascar was captured in a battle outside Cusco, and Atahualpa marched south, flushed with triumphalism. (Hemming 1983, 29) This rapid and unexpected victory imbued the young ruler with a powerful sense of his own abilities and importance, which is crucial to understanding his subsequent encounter with the Spaniards."Merlewood (talk) 11:48, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Atahualpa was engaged in his triumphant progress southwards when he first received reports of strangers who were pillaging and mistreating his subjects on the coast. These were the Spanish forces, numbering no more than one hundred and fifty, under Francisco Pizarro. The Spanish captain already understood how he could take advantage of native disunity, in the same way that Hernán Cortés had manipulated rival factions during the conquest of Mexico twelve years earlier. The victorious Inca ruler, camped in the mountains at the town of Cajamarca, not far from Pizarro's line of march, attributed little importance to the activities of this small group of strangers. His attention was fixed decisively on consolidating his victory and ensuring that Cusco was subdued. He sent messengers, though, to find out more about the intruders. They brought gifts of model forts (perhaps representing what lay ahead) and skinned ducks (perhaps warning the newcomers of their fate). Acting as Atahualpa's eyes and ears, the messengers observed closely the intruders' horses, armour and swords. The strangers accepted their invitation to meet Atahualpa in Cajamarca. The Inca ruler's strategy was to draw the newcomers away from the coast, where they were more easily supplied, and into the mountains where he would hold the advantage. (Hemming 1983, 30-31)

When the strangers arrived at Cajamarca, Atahualpa was camped on a hillside beyond the town. He agreed to receive a messenger, Hernando de Soto, with some horsemen and an interpreter. This was the first time that the intruders and the Inca ruler came face to face. (Hemming 1983, 33) Preserving imperial dignity, Atahualpa did not react at first to the Spaniards' arrival, even when de Soto's horse came so close that the breath from its nostrils moved the royal tassel hanging from the ruler's had. When Pizarro's brother Hernando joined the group, Atahualpa began to converse and offered the strangers a drink. He agreed to meet their captain the next day in Cajamarca." (Hemming 1983, 35)Merlewood (talk) 12:21, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Atahualpas place of birth[edit]

I'm sorry, to place a need of citation, but other scholer books also assert his birthplace to Quito. I seek leaving it undefined since, it is, what it is, undefinitable —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:04, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

If you want to remove a referenced statement you should use another reference. At least make your case here mentioning those "other scholar books" by author, title and page of the relevant reference. --Victor12 (talk) 14:48, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

some dating problems[edit]

I'm wondering a little bit, where the date "Reign till July 26, 1533" came from. He was imprisoned by Pizarro on 16.Nov.1532 and killed on 29.Aug.1533. Which event gives this date 26.July 1533? The german Article says, he was killed on 26.July 1533. Maybe I misunderstood something wrong while reading the english article because my english isn't really great - than just tell me in short words please. But I guess there is something wrong with the dates. The german article tell, that there are two different sources (one for 16.Nov. and one for 26.July), but if the author decide taking th eone, he should do it constantly OR tell this fact about the two sources. Thank you -- Hartmann Schedel (talk) 22:49, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

It's worse. This is a mess!
* The infobox says ca. 1497, Tomebamba
* The lede says March 20, 1497, Topebamba – apart from the different spelling, how is this date known with such certainty? Where’s the source?
Death date:
* Both lede and infobox say July 25, 1533, but the infobox also says his reign ended July 26, 1533, one day after he died.
This needs cleaning up ASAP. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 23:57, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
ok lets see what the Infobox is telling us now :o)
Died July 26, 1533
Buried July 25, 1533
if he is buried one day before he died than I don't wonder that he died :-) (sorry for this bad joke)
greets -- Hartmann Schedel cheers 18:19, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

Small Pox[edit]

The article says that the civil war was started by the death of the father from small pox but then later blames the Spanish for bringing small pox to the Americas. If the Spanish did not arrive until after the civil war had started thus after the death of the father from small pox wouldn't that mean small pox was present before the arrival of the Spanish? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:24, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

The Spanish under Pizarro reached Tumbez, an city under the infuence of the Incans in 1528. It was there that they first came into contact with the Incan empire, through they didn't yet have any idea of it's real extent. They didn't have the resources or legal permission to launch an invasion at that point and so returned to Spain to get it. Pizarro returned in 1532 with an army of a little over 160 men to conquer the Incas and found that in their absence, the emperor had died and his sons had started a civil war for succession. Huayna-Capac died of an infectious disease that swept the empire shortly after the Spanish made contact for the first time. Given the timing of the outbreak, smallpox seems like a likely culprit but it might also have been malaria. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Illuminati11 13 (talkcontribs) 18:06, 18 April 2010 (UTC)


This article mentions a trial for Atahualpa, but Hemming suggests that there was no trial and only a quick decision made by the Pizarro at Almagro's insistence. Appearently the myth was created by Lópes de Gómara in attempt to protect the Conquistators' reputations in Spain. icu :) (talk) 18:47, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

Catholic name[edit]

In this article says that the catholic name after baptism is "Juan Santos Atahualpa" but Spanish Wikipedia says that his catholic name was "Francisco Atahualpa" and there is a reference for it. There was other "Juan Santos Atahualpa", who claimed to be descendent of Atahualpa and maybe is the origin of the confussion: --BoHeMlam (talk) 10:59, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

The correct name is Francisco as Juan de Betanzos tells us. ('Narrative of the Incas', tr. and ed. Roland Hamilton and Dana Buchanan, Palma de Mallorca manuscript (1996), p.274) Cornelius (talk) 04:22, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

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