Pizarro v. de las Casas
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by Elizabeth Nix
| 6 Questions
Note from the author:
World History - Spanish Exploration
Francisco Pizarro’s Journal [His encounters with the Incas of Peru]

January 5, 1531
We set sail south to Peru with about a hundred soldiers and about sixty-five horses. The rest of
the crew was killed due to malnutrition and diseases. Most of the soldiers carried primary
weapons such as, spears or swords. A few of my best aimers held charge of the Arquebuses,
and the rest carried cross-bows.

June 29, 1531
Soon, we established a base camp near Peru. We heard about Atahualpa and his army of
30,000 men, but little feared, we moved inland, crossing the Andes. We occupied Cajamarca,
which disappointed Atahualpa, and he wanted to have a meeting with us. It seemed like he
didn’t care much about us, Spaniards. Atahualpa arrived with 10,000 men, but they barely had
any weapons. Instead of talking, I led an attack on Atahualpa, eventually capturing him. Once I
had him captured, I broke morale of the opponents, by killing Atahualpa, not to mention, that I
faked a ransom, and got a ton of gold and silver.
1
3
Why did Pizarro choose to kill Atahualpa?
Atahualpa's army had attacked him
to breatk the morale of the Incas
to gain gold and silver
because Atahaulpa refused to meet and talk with him

2
3
"Most of the soldiers carried primary weapons such as, spears or swords." This statement is a
Fact
Opinion
Reasoned Judgement

Bartolomeo de las Casas Excerpt from An Account of the Destruction of the Indies, (also known
as The Tears of the Indians) 1542

The common ways mainly employed by the Spaniards who call themselves Christian and who
have gone there to extirpate those pitiful nations and wipe them off the earth is by unjustly
waging cruel and bloody wars. Then, when they have slain all those who fought for their lives or
to escape the tortures they would have to endure, that is to say, when they have slain all the
native rulers and young men (since the Spaniards usually spare only the women and children,
who are subjected to the hardest and bitterest servitude ever suffered by man or beast), they
enslave any survivors. With these infernal methods of tyranny they debase and weaken
countless numbers of those pitiful Indian nations.

Their reason for killing and destroying such an infinite number of souls is that the Christians
have an ultimate aim, which is to acquire gold, and to swell themselves with riches in a very
brief time and thus rise to a high estate disproportionate to their merits. It should be kept in
mind that their insatiable greed and ambition, the greatest ever seen in the world, is the cause
of their villainies. And also, those lands are so rich and felicitous, the native peoples so meek
and patient, so easy to subject, that our Spaniards have no more consideration for them than
beasts. And I say this from my own knowledge of the acts I witnessed. But I should not say
“than beasts” for, thanks be to God, they have treated beasts with some respect; I should say
instead like excrement on the public squares. And thus they have deprived the Indians of their
lives and souls, for the millions I mentioned have died without the Faith and without the benefit
of the sacraments. This is a well known and proven fact which even the tyrant Governors,
themselves killers, know and admit. And never have the Indians in all the Indies committed any
act against the Spanish Christians, until those Christians have first and many times committed
countless cruel aggressions against them or against neighboring nations. For in the beginning
the Indians regarded the Spaniards as angels from Heaven. Only after the Spaniards had used
violence against them, killing, robbing, torturing, did the Indians ever rise up against them….
3
3
de las Casas uses the phrase, "But I should not say 'than beasts' for, thanks be to God, they have treated beasts with some respect..." to explain
how animals were well treated by the Spanish
that animals are creatures of God
that the Spanish treated the natives even worse then animals
how much he loves animals
4
3
The main purpose of de las Casas' letter is an attempt to
change the way Spain treats Native Americans
explain the greed of the Spanish
brag about how easily the Spanish defeated the Native Americans
gain financial support for future colonization
5
3
In the statement, "It should be kept inmind that their insatiable greed and ambition, the greatest ever seen in the world, is the cause of their villainies" the word insatiable means
gold and silver
limited
evil
impossible to satisfy
6
5
Although Pizarro and de las Casas both discuss the treatment of Native Americans by the Spanish, the two authors have very different attitudes about it. Describe these attitudes and cite specific evidence to back your claim.

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