Huayna Capac (c. 1488–c. 1527)

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Huayna Capac (c. 1488–c. 1527)

Huayna Capac (b. ca. 1488; d. ca. 1527), Inca emperor (ca. 1493–1527), the last undisputed ruler of the Inca empire. The son of the emperor Topa Inca and the grandson of the great Pachacuti, he ruled during the time of the first Spanish contact with Andean South America. During his reign the empire was extended northward to the Ancasmayo River, the present boundary between modern Colombia and Ecuador. Although the extent of Huayna Capac's conquests were substantially less than those of his father and grandfather, they took much longer; he was absent from the capital at Cuzco for nearly twenty years. His prolonged absence and his preference for maintaining his royal court in the city of Quito, far to the north of the imperial capital, eventually generated a schism within the Inca state.

Huayna Capac died suddenly during one of the great plagues brought to the New World by the Europeans. His presumptive heir, Ninan Cuyochi, also died about the same time, leaving the succession unclear. As a result, two of Huayna Capac's sons, Huascar, who was in Cuzco, and Atahualpa, who had been with his father in the north, initiated the civil war that greatly weakened the empire just prior to its conquest by Francisco Pizarro.

See alsoIncas, The .


Principal sources on Huayna Capac include John H. Rowe, "Inca Culture at the Time of the Spanish Conquest," in Handbook of South American Indians, vol. 2 (1946), pp. 183-330; Burr Cartwright Brundage, The Empire of the Inca (1963) and The Lords of Cuzco: A History and Description of the Inca People in Their Final Days (1967); The Incas of Pedro de Cieza de León, translated by Harriet de Onis (1959); and Bernabe Cobo, History of the Inca Empire, translated by Roland Hamilton (1979).

Additional Bibliography

Assadourian, Carlos Sempat. Transiciones hacia el sistema colonial andino México, D.F. Colegio de México; Lima: Instituto de Estudios, 1994.

Cook, Noble David. Born to Die: Disease and New World Conquest, 1492–1650. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Guillén Guillén, Edmundo. La guerra de reconquista Inka. Lima, Perú: E. Guillén Guillén, 1994.

León, Luis A. "La enfermedad y muerte de Huayna Capac: Historia y trascendencia en la epidemiología Ecuatoriana." Revista Ecuatoriana de Medicina y ciencias biológicas 21, no. 2 (July-Dec. 1985): 99-123.

Maldonado Aguilar, Aurelio. Huayna-Cápac: Su corazón en Tumipamba. Cuenca, Ecuador: Ediciones Grafisum, 2003.

Niles, Susan A. The Shape of Inca History: Narratives and Architecture in an Andean Empire. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1999.

Ravines, Rogger. Huayna Cápac. Lima, Perú: Editorial Brasa.

Zarzar, Alonso. "Apo Capac Huayna, Jesús Sacramentado": Mito utopía y milenarismo en el pensamiento de Juan Santos Atahualpa. Lima: Centro Amazónico de Antropología y Aplicación Práctica, 1989.

                                      Gordon F. McEwan