Historical Figures


Calcuchimac He was a Cuzco military man, grandson of the Inca Wiracocha through his maternal line, he served under Huayna Capac during the conquest of Guayas. When Atahualpa started the war for power against his brother Huáscar, he had the support of this experienced general -together with Quizquiz and Rumiñahui-, who accompanied him throughout the northern campaign . When the Inca stopped at Huamachuco following the news about the foreigners who had arrived on the northern coast of Peru, Calcuchimac marched with his troops to the rear of the army that was going to take Cuzco. In the Apurímac River, next to Quizquiz, he faced the Cuzco hosts that were personally led by Huáscar; he lost many men there and fell back. He restarted his march to the south and fought in Cotabambas, for which he concentrated most of his army on the neighboring hills and sent an advance party that was easily disrupted, its members fleeing in disorder, taking refuge in a grassland that Huáscar ordered to set on fire. Most of the people of Quito were burned to death and the few who survived ended up beaten by the Huascarista troops who had positioned themselves in strategic places. Huáscar believed that the victory was total and ordered a great celebration, surprisingly receiving the onslaught of the united army of Quizquiz and Calcuchimac. The fight was hard and Huáscar was finally captured.

The bloodthirsty Calcuchimac

After the victory over Huascar, the road to Cuzco was open and Calcuchimac entered triumphantly, carrying out a ruthless repression against the Cuzco nobility . Time later he learned of the capture of Atahualpa in Cajamarca and left in a hurry to rescue the king from him by force. Reluctantly he had to stop in Jauja on precise orders from Atahualpa. Then a rebellion occurred that quickly spread through the Mantaro Valley:the Huancas were determined supporters of Cuzco and rose up against the occupying army of Calcuchimac. But the Quito weapons ended up prevailing and the rebellion was suffocated with blood and fire. A few days later, Hernando Pizarro arrived in Jauja from Pachacamac, carrying part of the treasure that Atahualpa had offered for his freedom; Upon entering the Plaza de Jauja, he saw a terrifying scene:a forest of spears stuck vertically at the top of which were heads, tongues or hands “it was terrifying to see the cruelties he had committed” . Calcuchimac was confronted by a Cuzco nobleman, Antamareca Mayta, who called him out for the massacres he had committed, telling him: “Until when, Chalco Chima, will your cruelties have an end. When will it be the day that you and that fierce beast of your captain Quizquiz have had enough of human blood? Tell me, raging tiger” . Calcuchimac responded by attacking the Orejón Cuzqueño but they were separated. Together with Hernando Pizarro came noblemen from Quito, one of them brother of Atahualpa, with the order that Calcuchimac move to Cajamarca. Faced with this categorical mandate, he had no choice but to surrender to the Castilians.

Torture of Calcuchimac

Arriving in Cajamarca he appeared before Atahualpa, barefoot as a sign of vassalage and carrying a load of firewood on his shoulders. He prostrated himself at the feet of his lord, crying when he saw him captive. Time passed and the treasure of Cuzco was delayed. Francisco Pizarro thought that Calcuchimac was involved in it and accused him of conspiring against the Spanish, ordering that he be subjected to the torture of fire . He could have ended up burned alive, given Atahualpa's impassivity, but he was saved by the energetic intervention of Hernando Pizarro, who stopped the torment and ordered him to be returned to his residence. Calcuchimac could never recover from his wounds and did not forgive Atahualpa for his indifference when he was tortured. Since then he distanced himself from the imprisoned Inca and began to plot a purely military rebellion against the Spanish, who were suspicious of him given the blind obedience that his men showed him.

Calcuchimac poisons the Inca Tupac Huallpa

After the execution of Atahualpa, the Spaniards, eager to continue their march to Cuzco, looked for a successor and found him in Tupac Huallpa, another of Huáscar's brothers, who was almost a child . Due to his childhood and weakness of character, he did not have ascendancy over his subjects, increasing the influence and power of Calcuchimac. This was clearly seen when they arrived in Huamachuco:when problems arose in supplying the dairy farms and in serving so many thousands of people, Calcuchimac energetically compelled the curacas of the area to resolve the difficulties immediately. He was therefore this bloodthirsty general more feared than the new Inca, whom he ended up poisoning in Jauja, convinced that he was incapable of organizing resistance.

Death of Calcuchimac

Eliminated Tupac Huallpa Calcuchimac remained as the strong man of the indigenous. Despite being burned and unable to walk due to his injuries, he was chained in anticipation of a possible escape. Continuing the march towards Cuzco, the Spaniards arrived at Jaquijahuana and received Manco Inca, who was to succeed Tupac Huallpa. Francisco Pizarro found no better opportunity to get rid of Calcuchimac and handed him over to Manco Inca, who, wishing to avenge the crimes committed against his brothers, ordered him to be burned alive . Right there, before the enthusiasm of the Cuzco people, the bonfire was raised where Calcuchimac died invoking Pachacamac, reluctant to any Christian conversion.