Huascar (c. 1495–1532)

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Huascar (c. 1495–1532)

Huascar (b. ca. 1495; d. 1532), son of Inca Huayna Capac. Huascar, born near Cuzco, had one of the most legitimate claims to leadership of Tahuantinsuyu at the time of the death (1525) of his father, for his mother was the primary wife Ragua Ocllo. In accordance with their customs, the Inca elite in Cuzco quickly performed the religious ceremonies acknowledging the assumption of power of the new ruler.

Half brother Atahualpa, who according to some had been named as one of the successors during the fevered last days of Huayna Capac, refused to come to Cuzco for the celebrations, preferring instead to remain in the Quito district with the large military force that had helped subjugate the area. The ill-treatment accorded the emissaries Atahualpa sent to Huascar led to open hostilities between the two factions. Atahualpa's army, under capable leaders Quizquiz and Chalicuchima, moved southward, and finally Chalicuchima succeeded in capturing Huascar outside Cuzco. By then the Cañaris, a northern ethnic group who strongly supported the Huascar faction, had been thoroughly beaten. General Quizquiz went on to march into the capital of Cuzco and attempt to destroy completely Huascar's supporters.

It was at this juncture that the Europeans under Francisco Pizarro entered the Andean highlands and captured Atahualpa at Cajamarca on 16 November 1532. Atahualpa, fearing that the Spaniards might attempt to supplant him and rule through Huascar, ordered the execution of his half brother. The escort that was accompanying Huascar from Cuzco to Cajamarca carried out the orders at Andamarca, between Huamachuco and Huaylas. Huascar's demise was followed within months by the Spanish execution of Atahualpa on 26 July 1533, thus bringing to an end the effective independence of Tahuantinsuyu.

See alsoAtahualpa; Huayna Capac; Tahuantinsuyu.


John Hemming, The Conquest of the Incas (1970).

Franklin Pease, Los últimos Incas del Perú (1972).

Additional Bibliography

Betanzos, Juan de. Narrative of the Incas, translated and edited by Roland Hamilton and Dana Buchanan. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996.

Gose, Peter. "Oracles, Divine Kingship, and Political Representation in the Inka State." Ethnohistory 43 (Winter 1996): 1-32.

Vega, Juan José. Los incas frente a España: Las guerras de la resistencia, 1531–1544. Lima: Peisa, 1992.

                                         Noble David Cook