Biography of Diego de Almagro (ca. 1478-1538)

Spanish conquistador born in Almagro (Ciudad Real) in vague date (1478 or 1480 probably) and died in Cuzco (Peru) in July of 1538.

Natural son, without education or any kind of goods, sailed to America in 1514 in search of fortune. He/She participated in the conquest of Panama, where he/she met Pizarro. With him and the priest Hernando de Luque formed a partnership to find the rich soil, saying that it was in the South (Peru). From 1524, they made some expeditions, which had no fruit until 1527. After various efforts and preparations Almagro and his partner conquered the Inca Empire between 1531 and 1533. Then, the first prepared an expedition to explore the territory of new Toledo (Chile), which had been granted by the Emperor Carlos V as a prize. So, he/she departed to the South in 1535, but disappointed by not having found a great civilization like the inca or great wealth he/she returned to Peru (1536-1537). Here faced with Pizarro over possession of Cuzco, as it was not clear who the two belonged rightfully; Almagro defeated at the battle of Las Salinas (1538), was executed soon after by a brother of his rival, Hernando Pizarro.

Difficult childhood and participation in the conquest of Panama

Although details of his childhood and youth are very insecure, it was apparently illegitimate son of Juan de Montenegro, servant of the master of the order of Calatrava, and Elvira Gutiérrez. His father did not recognize him and he/she was raised by a servant of his mother, Sancha López del Peral, Bolaños or Aldea del Rey, near Almagro populations. From the five years he/she was picked up by his father, who however died soon after; He/She was responsible then him a her maternal uncle, Hernán Gutiérrez. With this relative remained until age fifteen, probably dedicated to field work, without receiving any kind of education (was illiterate). He/She fled home and began an adventurous life. It is likely that it was in Toledo and enter to the service of Luis de Polanco, Court of the Catholic Kings, position he/she would have left after killing a man in a fight. Fleeing, he/she would come to Seville, the starting point of the expeditions to Indies.

It, at the beginning of April 1514, left Spain with this destination, as accompanist of Pedro Arias Dávila, Governor of Darién (also call Costa Firme or Castilla del Oro, today Panama). For almost a decade he/she participated in the campaigns of conquest and colonization of the territory as a soldier standing (specifically, as a rodelero), showing courage and physical endurance. As a result it gained some popularity, the rank of Captain and a small fortune. The early 1520 he/she met Francisco Pizarro, another of those who had traveled with the Governor, and who joined him certain affinities, as also be natural son and passed a poor and difficult childhood. The lives of both would be United since then until his death.

The expeditions of Almagro and Pizarro in search of Peru

With the occupation of Panama, which owned coast in the Pacific Ocean, had opened the road to the South of the American continent. The immediate lands soon did them is known as Biru (Indian name of where would lead Peru). In 1522 Pascual de Andagoya traveled by them and by the natives had news of a rich Empire, where could not target sick. In this way, Almagro and Pizarro offered the Governor continue them scans. So they formed a partnership with the priest Hernando de Luque, who got most of the same funds. It seems that, to ratify it, Luque celebrated a mass in which he/she communed all three in the same way Holy.

Made the necessary preparations, it was decided that, in anticipation of possible dangers, form two distinct groups. Thus, November 14, 1524 he/she left Panama Pizarro, with a ship and two canoes, Almagro delaying his departure. Pizarro soon would be impaired (starvation and Indian attacks): lost several men and did not pass the current Colombia jungles. He/She retreated to the village of Cochama (near the island of pearls, in the Panamanian coast) and there sent a message to the Governor asking for help. Almagro, however, didn't know it and went as agreed in March 1525 with another boat and about seventy men. He/She sought out Pizarro without finding it, and also suffering the lurking Indians. He/She lost an eye in a crush in Puerto Quemado (or port of stones), preserving life thanks to a black servant who transported him to the boat. Later, after finding some gold, put towards Panama, finally finding your partner in Cochama, where it had not moved.

After discussion, they agreed to continue with the company. Almagro was commissioned to go to Panama to request new license to Pedro Arias Dávila. Once again also Pizarro and again with Hernando de Luque they met 20,000 pesos of gold for the second expedition, by signing a receipt the 10 March 1526. In September they came out, this time together, with two boats, three canoes, and 160 men. arias Dávila had decided that Almagro, who had made the new request, was the captain. In rio San Juan (Punta Magdalena, Colombia), where they found more gold, Pizarro was with the bulk of the forces, while a small split of men commanded by Bartolomé Ruiz was sent to explore further to the South. Almagro returned again to Panama, with gold, for reinforcements. Also on this occasion was necessary license of Pedro de los Ríos, the replacement of the Governor (who was colonizing Nicaragua). With forty other men set sail from January 8, 1527. Shortly after arriving at the San Juan River also returned envoys to the South, with the news of the discovery of rich and civilized lands. All the members of the expedition followed the path indicated and watched in person lands belonging to the inca Empire (Tahuantinsuyu, in local name).

But they were few to try his conquest, by that third time Almagro turned to Panama for more support as Pizarro remained on the island of Bantam (in the southern end of the Colombian coast, in the current rada of Tumaco). Neither Almagro and Luque could convince Pedro de los Ríos that it renew the exploration permit, since the company had lost all credit for the large number of stained dead, nearly two hundred. Pinned down, they had to send a secret Pizarro message that does not abandon the company or return to Panama the boat sent by him to pick you up. It is said that Pizarro, with "the thirteen of the Fame", decided to effectively stay, and even get a new boat. It was already the year 1528. While Pizarro went on, Almagro had to stay, impatient, in Panama for the remainder of the year. Finally returned his partner with others, after having crossed the inca Empire and have found great prospects it offered. This changed throughout Panama, totally favorable attitude now to the company of the South.

Almagro and the conquest of the inca Empire

However, were needed for their conquest as men and means that there in Panama, so that, at the suggestion of the Ríos-Pedro, they decided to be entrusted to the Emperor Carlos V. Pizarro traveled to Spain with gold, flames and some Indians. The money for the trip did yours Almagro of acquaintances, and while Pizarro was away, was devoted to meeting men, both Panama and Nicaragua. Here his envoys met with certain obstacles from the Governor, Pedro Arias Dávila. In the last months of 1529 came news of Pizarro, who after signing the capitulation of Toledo with the Emperor's June 26, 1529 was recruiting volunteers in their natal Extremadura with the help of his brothers Gonzalo, Hernando and Juan and his brother Francisco Martín de Alcántara.

For these capitulations (authorizing to pursue the company), Almagro had obtained recognition of their nobility (with don treatment and use of coat of arms), the legitimacy of his son Diego de Almagro el Mozo (dyed with Panamanian Ana Martínez india out of wedlock), possession of the fortress of Tumbez and an income of 100,000 annual maravedíes (and 200,000 more annually for costs). Luque was promoted to interim Bishop of the new lands (called Nueva Castilla), and Pizarro appointed Adelantado and Governor of the same, because it was believed that only one could be the captain. This meant that, if economically there was a balance between the partners, politically Almagro was relegated to second place after Pizarro. Therefore, he/she was about to leave the company, but eventually it did, convinced by another participant in the same, Nicolás de Ribera. Finally, he/she met with Pizarro in name of God (on the Atlantic coast of Panama) without major problems at the moment.

Indeed, as final preparations were made, there was a new attempt to break of the society by Almagro, decided to partner with other browsers because of the proud attitude of one of the brothers of Pizarro, Hernando, which, newcomer, acted as if it were one of the heads of the company. Mediated judge Gaspar de Espinosa, who from the outset had interests in the expedition of the South, and accomplished for Almagro the promise of Pizarro's governance next to his if the company was successful. End of March 1531 Pizarro went to the South with three ships; Almagro remained in Panama to meet new people who were arriving from Nicaragua to join them. For over a year and a half waited in vain new on the third expedition, so the Panamanian Council ordered starting with the forces that provided and take him a more than likely help. With two boats, 150 men and 50 horses became to the sea by the normal route. In various scales that made he/she already met some things about your partner. Finally, in Tumbez, he/she learned of the great success of Pizarro, who was prisoner in Cajamarca (Northern Peru) own inca Emperor, Atahualpa, and had obtained the promise of a huge ransom.

There went Almagro, where he/she and his reinforcements were received with great joy by all, except by Hernando Pizarro. The 18 June 1533 proceeded to the distribution of the treasure of Atahualpa, who had already been paid; Luque was excluded because he/she had died the previous year. Then, Almagro, which already Marshal, was called was supporter of the inca by ordering to kill his brother Huascar and promote a conspiracy against the Spanish judge. In the end it would be executed, naming Emperor instead his brother Tupa-Inca. On the other hand, although Hermando Pizarro, who was going to take his share of the treasure to the King, had the custom to ask a Government for Almagro, this preferred to send their own solicitors by is to not trust him. In the meantime, he/she and Pizarro continued with the conquest of the inca Empire, with the immediate goal of taking the capital, Cusco (southeastern Peru). This was done after break the resistance of the inca general Quizquiz, that attacked the Spanish columns on their way to the city. Although Quizquiz burned it before it was abandoned, the loot obtained here was great.

Then they continued to occupy new Inca lands. Sebastián of Balalcázar, in the middle of 1534, was sent to the North, to the lands of Quito (Ecuador), until Pedro de Alvarado arrived with a large contingent of men from Guatemala. Almagro then hit stop directly to Alvarado. He/She met with this in Riobamba (to the South of Quito); good negotiator, obtained their withdrawal in return for compensation for the costs of the trip. Road to the South with Alvarado, so Pizarro confirmed the agreement, founded Trujillo (the North coast of Peru); Interestingly, during the journey recovered part of the given Alvarado playing with him. At the end of 1534 gathered with Pizarro in Pachacamac, which agreed with the Pact.

At the beginning of 1535 he/she signed a new contract, whereby Almagro was appointed Governor of Cuzco in representation, with permission to explore the southern lands of the chiriguanos warriors with Pizarro. Meanwhile, Pizarro had the intention of founding a new capital city to Peru on the coast, which would be then called Lima. While Almagro was heading to Cuzco reached him a Messenger informing him the award of actual governance, from Chincha (to the South of Lima), although the official papers had not yet arrived. He/She had some friction with Juan Pizarro, whom Francisco had transferred governorship Cuzco to have news of the foregoing. The own Francisco Pizarro arose in the city stop avoid complications between his partner and her brother; as soon as he/she met Almagro tempers are eased. As endorsement, they established a third Convention on June 12, 1535.

Discovery and exploration of Chile

He then devoted to carefully prepare an expedition which was to be his Interior, initially called new Toledo and then Chile (Collosuyu, 'land of Lakes', for the incas). It recruited men and equipped them with everything you need, paying from their own heritage (and a half million Castilian pesos). Appointed Lieutenant Rodrigo Orgóñez and he/she accepted the proposal of accompaniment of the great inca priest Villac-Umu, uncle of the last emperors, including this moment, Manco Cápac (and Paullo topA, who would also go with them along with several thousands of Indians). It claimed that, it was to apply for the tribute which the chiriguanos were caused by the incas. Almagro sent ahead of him to the Indians and a group of Spaniards so they established a forward base. When he/she departed at the same time on July 3, 1535 left Orgóñez and other men recruiting more people in Cuzco and the coast (that came out were about five hundred). Already underway, he/she knew that had come to Peru real roles that defined the limits of the rulership, but he/she continued to not harm the expedition.

As route he/she had discarded the coast path, shorter but more difficult to traverse a vast and arid (the Atacama desert), and opted for the mountain, through the Lake Titicaca and the current Sierra Real (Bolivia). In a difficult Andean March (more than 3000 km of average height), punished his men by cold and hunger (causing several dead), passed by pariah and the Desaguadero River. At the end of October 1535 reached Tupiza, on the southern tip of Bolivia. Here he/she met Paullu Tupac and other Indians, and also had more news about the process of delimitation of the rulership to the Pizarro, without abandoning his expedition not on this occasion. Due to bad weather conditions the resumption of the March had to wait until the beginning of 1536, but by then it had already been abandoned by the Indians. In reality, its escort had intended separate a large group of Spaniards who remained in Peru, to facilitate a next uprising of Manco Capac.

Through the Valley of Jujuy went into what is now the North of Argentina, where he/she was constantly attacked by the natives; He/She continued by Salta and Chichester, having to abandon much of the provisions have died many horses. At the end of April 1536, the port of San Francisco, he/she entered Chile to Copiapo, where took possession of the country in the name of Carlos V. somewhat further South, in Coquimbo, he/she learned of the death of some advanced Spanish, and to give a warning it imprisoned to some remarkable and made them burn. After continued exploration of the nearby lands. They were of good climate and fertile, but did not see any signs of major cities, as he/she had hoped to find. Fearful Indians of Aconcagua's force of Almagro and his men, and influenced by a fugitive Spanish called Gonzalo Calvo Barrientos, made them a good reception. In this place he/she stayed awhile, where joined more Spaniards coming by sea. With them they brought material and supplies. After an attempt to escape from the Indians of the place (reported by a quechua interpreter carrying, Felipillo, of the next inca rebellion), he/she began to think the return to Peru, disenchanted by not having found no great civilization.

To ensure that this did not exist he/she sent to further explore South Gómez de Alvarado with a hundred men, most riders, while he/she was approaching the coast at the point that was the ship that had brought reinforcements (according to some, the current Valparaiso). He/She repaired it and then toured valleys next to Aconcagua, and even tried to cross the Andes, but the snow prevented him. In this task was when another group in which came his son, Diego de Almagro el Mozo arrived. When Gómez de Alvarado, who had advanced some 400 km South to the rivers Nuble and Itata (which clashed with the Araucanians in the battle of Reynogüelén) did the same and said that these southern lands were of the same conditions that the already seen, consulted his captains on the advisability of returning to Peru.

Everyone wanted it, and started the way back in September of 1536. Almagro was ahead in search of news about the process of delimitation of governorates of Copiapó. There found Orgóñez and one of his captains, who had been recruiting volunteers, which informed him of the return of Hernando Pizarro with original documents. Hernando had been appointed by Francisco Governor of Cuzco, city that Almagro, after consulting documents, saw within its interior. In reality, their allegiance to new Toledo or new Castile was uncertain, and it is would lead to a bloody confrontation between the former partners and friends.

To soon reach Cuzco, he/she chose this time the desert road of the coast (about 2,500 km between that city and Aconcagua). For its proper crossing formed numerous groups of less than ten men, which were easier to supply. Some would go behind the others at a distance, while a strong contingent would go up the coast by boat and would form a barrier at the entrance of the desert to avoid attacks of the Indians. Before leaving annulled debts towards him of his men, in minimal reward for assistance. The last group was his. Quickly they crossed the desert and beyond gathered. In Tarapacá had to combat, as had already been the rising of Manco Capac. They arrived in Arequipa (South of Peru) started in 1537.

The first Peru-civil war

Peru sought to win favor with the rebel inca, who had besieged Cuzco. Although this attacked the end Almagro lifted the siege, and soon after entered the city. Quso do recognize their rights over the City Council unsuccessfully, and then made prisoner Hernando and Gonzalo Pizarro (April, 1537). The Cuzco regidores, pressed, ended by acknowledging him Governor. Many of the men of Pedro de Alvarado, close to the city, went to the almagrista side and the own Alvarado was attacked in Abancay (to the West of Cuzco) 12 July 1537 and made prisoner. Shortly before, Almagro had appointed inca Emperor Paullu Tupac, also family of Atahualpa.

francisco Pizarro sent representatives to start negotiations, while Almagro left towards the coast bringing to Hernando Pizarro. Along the way he/she founded in the Valley of Chincha a population who gave his surname, Almagro. Meanwhile, in Cuzco, a group of exists released Gonzalo Pizarro and Alvarado. Both parties appointed delegates who were to decide on the issue of delimitation, which in turn was named referee fray Francisco de Bobadilla, provincial mercedario, organized a meeting between Almagro and Pizarro. Anything served, nor the verdict of Bobadilla, which was not complied with. Finally, with the agreement of Limahuana (24 November 1437), Hernando Pizarro was released in Exchange for meet Almagro in possession of Cuzco until the cosmographers delimitasen accurately discussed limits.

Hostilities resumed arriving from Spain a Messenger with imperial orders ordering the two Governors not to interfere in the Affairs of the other. Pizarro saw it repealed the last agreement and thus communicated to Almagro, that would not in any way giving up Cuzco. This was the explicit start of the first civil war in Peru. Almagro became strong in Cuzco; by Orgóñez Council decided to battle the army of Hernando Pizarro in open field, on the outskirts of Cuzco. He/She could not participate personally in the fighting, as it used to do, to be sick. The 6 April 1538, at the battle of Las Salinas, his army was completely defeated; He/She himself had to flee, trying to take refuge in the nearby fortress of Sacsahuaman. Not able to get it and he/she was captured.

Almagro was prisoner in Cuzco, while his son was sent to Lima. Since failed instructions of Francisco Pizarro, Hernando, who hated Almagro, to prevent his brother to send him to Spain or that his numerous supporters released it, against it began a rapid process for rebelliousness. The prisoner, sick, his jailer criticized the poor treatment given, very different from who he/she (Hernando) had received when he/she was in the same conditions. While this takes into account the guilt of his side in the breaking of the agreement of Limahuana, Almagro was finally sentenced to death. Neither served nothing to claim send your process to the emperor. In his generous will leaving the governorship of new Toledo to his son Diego, although until adulthood, his Administration would correspond to Diego de Alvarado.

The execution, without waiting to Francisco Pizarro to give their opinion (it was actually opposite to it), was probably met July 8, 1538, using bludgeon and then beheading, being then publicly paraded his body by the square of the city as a warning. He/She was sixty-six years old. A few black and Indian servants took the corpse, which was buried in the Church of the convent of Nuestra Señora de la Merced in Cuzco itself. His son Diego de Almagro el Mozo was built some years later against the exists and would own Francisco Pizarro death in revenge. It consists in his will that also had a daughter, Isabel de Almagro, mother of the young man in India.

According to the chroniclers, Diego de Almagro was physically graceful (bass, ugly and one-eyed), talkative and illiterate, but good-natured and generous, inclined to forgiveness, willfully and with organizing skills. Faithful companion of Francisco Pizarro was until ambition and some grievances pushed him to deal with it. The historical figure of him has left his in the shade, precisely, also handicapped by the fact that his expeditions enabled the conquest of many lands but not personally filled in them: the Quito (and the Ecuador) was designed by Sebastián of Belalcázar; the Cuzco and Peru's Pizarro, and of Chile (with the founding of its capital Santiago) carried it out García Hurtado de Mendozaand Pedro de Valdivia .

For more information, see conquest of America.


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