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Vilcabamba, a region in the southern highlands of Peru, also lends its name to a chain of mountains located in that area. After the Spanish conquest of Peru, Vilcabamba became the site of the last capital of the Inca state. Located in a remote area about 100 miles west of Cuzco, the city was founded by Manco Inca in 1539. During the next three decades the city served as a staging area for raids against Spanish military forces sent to capture the Inca stronghold. Following the assassination of Manco Inca in 1544, Vilcabamba was ruled by his successors, Syri Tupac, Titu Cusi Yupanqui, and finally Tupac Amaru.

After the invasion and capture of the city by the Spanish in 1572, Tupac Amaru was executed and the city abandoned, its location eventually forgotten. In the twentieth century the search for Vilcabamba was a principal preoccupation of explorers and archaeologists. Yale University professor Hiram Bingham identified the ruins at Espiritu Pampa (Quechua for Spirit Plain or Ghost Plain) as Vilcabamba in 1911. He later changed his mind and insisted that Machu Picchu had been Vilcabamba. In 1964 the American explorer Gene Savoy convincingly demonstrated that Bingham's original identification of Espiritu Pampa as the lost city of Vilcabamba was correct. Subsequent archaeological excavations have provided further confirmation.

See alsoBingham, Hiram; Incas, The; Túpac Amaru.


Guillén Guillén, Edmundo. "Documentos ineditos para la historia de los Incas de Vilcabamba: La capitulación del gobierno español con Titu Cusi Yupanqui." Historia y Cultura (Peru) 10 (1976–1977): 47-93.

Guillén Guillén, Edmundo. "Titu Cusi Yupanqui y su tiempo: El estado imperial Inka y su tragico final, 1572." Historia y Cultura (Peru) 13-14 (1981): 61-82.

Hemming, John. The Conquest of the Incas: The Search for the Lost Cities of the Amazon. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1970.

Savoy, Gene. Antisuyo: The Search for the Lost Cities of the Amazon. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1970.

                                      Gordon F. McEwan

                                          Suzanne Austin