MAY 6, 1536: START OF NATIONAL LIBERATION WAR LEADED BY MANCO INCA
Manco Inca Yupanqui (1516–1544) (Manqu Inka Yupanki in Quechua) was one of the Incas of Vilcabamba. He was also known as “Manco II” and “Manco Cápac II” (“Manqu Qhapaq II”). Born in 1516, he was one of the sons of Huayna Cápac.
Túpac Huallpa was a puppet ruler crowned by the conquistador Francisco Pizarro. Manco Inca then approached Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro in Cajamarca to negotiate a pact to rule the Inca peoples and Peru since all of the royal nobles were killed. The conquistadors agreed, and in 1534 Manco was crowned the ruler of the Inca in Cuzco by Francisco Pizarro, and allowed to rule his people. He did not realize that he too was being used by Pizarro as a puppet ruler for the Spanish conquistadors, who planned to conquer his country and its people.
At first, Manco cooperated with the Spanish. However, when Pizarro and de Almagro left Cuzco to explore the northern and southern parts of Peru, he left his younger brothers Gonzalo Pizarro, Juan Pizarro and Hernando Pizarro as garrisons in the city of Cuzco.
The Pizarro brothers so mistreated Manco Inca that he ultimately tried to escape in December 1535. He failed, was captured and imprisoned but released two months later by the Spaniards, to please their Inca subjects, dismayed by the fact that their de jure leader was imprisoned. Under the pretense of performing religious ceremonies in the nearby Yucay valley and recovering golden artifacts for the Spanish occupants, Manco was able to escape from Cuzco on April 18, this time with success.
To retake the Empire from the Spanish, Manco gathered an army of 200,000 Inca warriors. Attempting to take advantage of a disagreement between Diego de Almagro and Francisco Pizarro, he marched on the city of Cuzco in 1536 in an attempt to throw the Spaniards out. Although it lasted ten months, the siege was ultimately unsuccessful – even though Manco’s forces were able to reclaim the city for a few days. Many of Manco Inca’s warriors succumbed to smallpox and died (see the siege of Cuzco).
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