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Francisco Pizarro Biography

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Francisco Pizarro was born around 1474 in Trujillo, Spain. Pizarro’s parents were Captain Gonzalo Pizarro and Francisca González. His father was a poor farmer and his mother was of humble heritage. For most of his childhood he grew up herding his father’s pigs. In 1510, he went with Spanish explorer Alonzo de Ojeda on an expedition to Urabá, Colombia. However, nothing came of the voyage. In 1513 he accompanied Balboa as they moved across the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean.

During their journey, Balboa and Pizarro discovered what is now known as the Pacific Ocean, although Balboa saw it first, and was credited with the ocean’s first European discovery. After the discovery, Pizarro settled in Panama City on the Pacific coast and became known as one of its most famous and richest citizens. People began to hear about a very wealthy Inca Empire. Wanting more money and adventure, Pizarro set out in 1524 to find the empire. For many years Pizarro failed, but finally found the empire, that is centered in what we now call Peru. In 1528, Pizarro went back to Spain and managed to earn a commission from Emperor Charles V. Pizarro was to conquer the southern territory and found a new Spanish province there.

In 1532, with help from his brothers, Pizarro overthrew the Inca leader Atahualpa and conquered Peru. Three years later, he founded the new capital city of Lima. Over time, problems continued to build between the conquistadors who had originally conquered Peru and those who arrived later to stake some claim in the new Spanish province. As a result, conquistadors were torn into two groups: one run by Pizarro, and the other by his former voyage partner, Diego Almagro. After taking Cuzco, Almagro engaged Pizarro and his brothers in the Battle of Las Salinas. In 1538, after Pizarro brother’s victory, Hernando Pizarro captured and executed Almagro. On June 26, 1541, in Lima, Peru, members of the defeated party avenged Almagro’s death by killing Francisco Pizarro.

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