ALTERNATIVE HISTORY OF THE NEW WORLD
Dr. Vasantee Dixit
Long long ago, as the earth was cooling and as the crust was forming, the volcanic activities within the earth broke the crust into pieces. These became the future Continents. The pieces started drifting away from one another. The largest twin pieces moved away from the main land mass, to the west of present Asia, Europe, and Africa, forming the future Americas. It was separated from the rest of the continents by vast oceans on either side, the Atlantic on the East, and the Pacific on the West.
Man emerged from the African continent and started migrating in all directions in search for food, and shelter, and also to explore new territories. He walked on the land, up and down the mountains, labored through the deserts, making way through the dense vegetations of the forests, rowing the river waters and ventured out on the sea in his small boats. He could not go out too far into the ocean but could stay close to the coast. He could not go any significant distance into the oceans as he was powerless to face strong winds, storms, and water currents. Hence he could not reach the large continents of the Americas (North and South) for many centuries through the water routes. However, he had inhabited most other continents and islands over thousands of years. (See Dr. Stephen Oppenheimer’s work on his web site "Journey of Mankind" adapted from "Out of Eden.").
Of course, he was not sure of his destination, as he reached places by chance, or was thrown away by sea storms or water currents to unknown shores. Reaching north, he found multiple channels through the mostly frozen land, the Bering Strait, which were connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. These landed man on the New Land which was unnamed then.
Many millennia later when Man could build large sturdy ships, and studied the winds and the tides, and the positions of the stars and planets in the sky and their movements, and learned about the directions, he started traveling long distances through the sea even to China in the East, and to the New Lands in the West. These ancient civilizations with maritime skills studied astronomy in depth. This is evident when one finds out how much the Mayans (see below in the next chapters) knew about not only the stars but also the movements of the earth and also of the galaxies and knew how to accurately calculate these.
Men who reached the new land via the Bering Strait settled there on the new land, and explored its seemingly endless expanse. They gradually trickled down to the South through the narrow isthmus to the southern land south of the equator.
There already were a few men that were accidentally thrown ashore by the storms or those who relayed from island to island to reach the southern continent of the twin continents (the South America). They were all the native people of the land who were later called Indians or Red Indians (because of reddish dark color of their skin). They were of medium height with strong lean body with hairless face, high cheek bones, sharp intelligent eyes, and wide mouth.
Amerigo Vespucci sailed as the charto-grapher (cartographer) with Vasco da Gama. In gratitude for his dedication, Vasco gave the name “America” to the continent newly re-discovered by him.
THE INCA EMPIRE
Indians in South America formed different ethnic and warrior groups. They pledged their loyalty to strongest group. Inca (the “Sun People”) worshipped INTI, the “Sun.” They called their chief “Sapa.” Sapa means “Sole” or “Unique one,” the best of Inca. Sapa claimed to be the son of Inti himself, and his worshipped him as their God.
One of their great warriors Sapa was Pachucut Yupanqui Sapa, who controlled the region chiefs and with them formed an empire. It was called Tahuay Tinsuya. It was a domain of seven to nine million people which belonged to several ethnic groups, nearly one hundred groups.
With them, Sapa built roads, makeshift bridges, royal palaces, magnificent temples, plazas and residential complexes.
Cuzco was the capital of the Empire and was midway from its borders of Amazon province and the sea. Inca Empire extended for 2500 miles occupying almost entire length of Andes, the pacific shore desert and argentine grassland. The land was rich in gold and silver.
Sapa Huayna Capa was a great warrior and ruled with justice and great responsibility. His spies were all over and they relayed information from their respective areas via messengers. His noblemen headed different departments, such as discipline and justice, farming and fruit cultivation, roads and bridges, buildings, maintenance of temples and orphanages, military and religious ceremonies.
Saddling the Yurubamba river were two ridges of Andes; their people were called Huayna Picchu (Peak) and Machu Picchu. High in the clouds were Sapa’s dwellings, the beautiful stone works of white and blue granite from the Andes.
A Sun Temple, a Moon Temple, and an Observatory peeping over the expanse of the empire, reaching the horizon and a few dwellings of Sapa’s officers and guards were on the mountain top. A narrow steep paved path precipitously hanging on the cliff led to the royal palace. Among the luxuriant vegetation, ferns, orchids, and colorful tiny wild flowers adorned the scenic path.
According to his routine Sapa Huayna, first thing in the morning, he prostrated in front of the image of Inti in the Sun temple, and he did the same at the Moon temple and awaited the sunrise on the cliff’s edge. He thanked Inti for his generous and never ending blessings, for his loyal subjects, plentiful harvest, sweet singing birds, and the sturdy ever young looking llamas. He was about to set for the sun temple in Cuzco where his family and noblemen must already be waiting for him for morning prayers, and then his messengers in relay hurried towards him and breathlessly said,
“Oh, great and brave Sapa, devotee of Inti, Patron of all Incas, there is an important message from the North coast spies.” “They have witnessed a floating fortress over the North Sea; it was bringing strange men with white skin and haired faces. They were attired in clothes covering all their bodies. The bearded ones came ashore and were asking questions in their strange language. Dear Sapa, I assure you, these people casted spells and cursed our Incas; for whosever they talked to took ill, soon had great heat (fever) created in their bodies; within three days the heat bubbled up and blistered all their bodies. Everyone who tired to nurse and console their unfortunate victims himself/herself soon got the malady. The curse is spreading rapidly and we do not know how to arrest it.”
Huayna Sapa was speechless. He had never known of such floating fortress not did he hear of such illness. What is happening? Have we in anyway displeased our God Inti? Sapa prayed and made sacrifices to the Sun God. He was worried sick but knew no solution to this problem. The curse reached, his own dear, Cuzco. His whole neighborhood was disfigured by painful boils. Many died of pain and fever. Even noblemen and his family suffered. He was heart-broken when his own able son, whom he had chosen to become Sapa after him died. Sapa himself caught the curse and he too died. His noblemen selected the next best to become Sapa, his son Huascar.
Sapa Huascar was gentle and caring his name suggested (a gentle humming bird). He helped and comforted all the bereaved Incas. In past three years nearly two thirds of the Incas perished. Those who survived were depressed, lifeless, from grief and weakness. Sapa himself was not any different. As though this calamity was less disarming, a new peril lurked in the North.
Atahualpa, Sapa’s own younger brother posed danger to his throne. Atahualpa was young, dashing, (suggested by his name “Atahualpa” meaning a wild turkey cock, which was Incas’ favorite bird). He was handsome, of medium height, of athletic physique, graceful manners, red commanding eyes, and was a skilled soldier. He was loved and respected
(like the wild turkey cock) in the Andes.
Atahualpa, backed by his loyals established his own kingdom in North at Quito. He was a capable administrator and had sharp intelligence. It is said that he learned the game of chess from Spanish soldiers and mastered it in few days. He learned Spanish in three weeks and could read some of it.
When Huascar was selected as Sapa, Atahualpa had proclaimed his loyalty to him, but he did not go to pay respect to him. Not liking this, Huascar demanded his presence at his court. Atahualpa ignored this demand, considering the possibility of his assassination at Cusco, for being a rival and a threat. Instead he sent his emissary with gifts to Cusco. The angered Sapa tortured and killed the emissary and ordered to bring Atahualpa by force. Atahualpa escaped. His soldiers already grieving over their dear ones dead from Small Pox broke into a Civil War. Huascar sent his second army to fight Atahualpa, whose army defected to Atahualpa’s army and its commander was seized. As per prevailing military custom the commander was beheaded and his skull was lined with gold and through this cup Atahualpa drank the victory drink. The next batch of army sent by Huascar was not trained and was defeated in two days.
Now Huascar had only his personal guards left with him. But they were best warriors with unfailing loyalty. Atahualpa’s general then marched over Cuzco to fight the third royal army that was protecting Sapa. The seasoned veterans sent brushfire through Atahualpa’s soldier ranks lines. The soldiers ran helter skelter but Atahualpa regrouped them and brought them himself to the field. He ambushed the Sapa and captured him alive. He tied Huascar to a frame and made him watch his many wives butchered and his friends and noblemen slaughtered. He then kept Huascar prisoner in Jauja. He then declared himself Sapa Inca.
RISE AND FALL OF THE INCA.
Incas perished because of smallpox and measles. Those who survived were depressed and lifeless from grief and weakness. Sapa himself was not any different. He too had lost his grown up son, the would-be Sapa. His loyal ministers and generals were taken away by the “curse” inflicted by the strangers. Not knowing the remedy, he felt totally disarmed. Making this worse, a new peril was lurking in the north. His own brother became his enemy.
Atahualpa, Sapa’s own younger brother, posed danger to his throne. Atahualpa was young and dashing (suggested by his name-Atahualpa meaning a wild turkey ‘cock’, which was Inca’s cherished bird.) He was handsome, of medium in height, athletic physique and was a skilled soldier. He was loved and respected like the wild turkey, in the Andes.
Backed by his loyal soldiers he established his own kingdom at Quito. He was a capable administrator of sharp intelligence. It was said that he learnt the game of chess from Spanish soldiers and mastered it in three weeks. He also learned to read Spanish and could write a few words in Spanish.
When Huascar was selected as Sapa, he did proclaim his loyalty to him, but did not go to pay respect to him. Not liking his attitude, Huascar demanded his presence at his court. Atahualpa ignored it, considering the possibility of his assassination at Cuzco, since he was a rival and a threat to the throne. Instead he sent an emissary with gifts, to Cuzco. The angered Sapa tortured and killed the emissary and ordered to bring Atahualpa by force. Atahualpa escaped on way to Cuzco and his soldiers broke into civil war. Huascar sent his army but Atahualpa’s loyalist defeated it and seized its commander. As per prevailing military custom, the commander was beheaded, his skull was lined with gold and through this cup Atahualpa drank the victory drink.
The next batch of army was not of trained soldiers and was defeated in two days. Now Huascar had only his personal guards left with him to protect him. But they were the best warriors with unfailing loyalty. Atahualpa’s general then marched over Cuzco to fight the third royal army. The seasoned veterans of Sapa sent brush fire through Atahualpa’s ranks of soldiers. By this unexpected attack, the frightened soldiers dropped weapons and ran helter- skelter. But Atahualpa regrouped them and led them to the field. He ambushed Sapa and captured him alive. He tied Huascar to a frame and made him watch as his many wives were butchered and his friends and noble men killed. He then kept Huascar prisoner in Jauja. He now declared himself SAPA INCA.
THE GOLD RUSH.
In 15th century the news of riches in the New Land reached Europe. The Spanish, French and Portuguese explorers with adventurous spirits sailed to find the New Land. In 1502 Spanish arrived on an island group (now the Caribbean Islands), which they named ‘Hispaniola’ i.e. Spanish Islands. They settled on the islands. With their overpowering smartness and weapon-power they soon started to govern the native people. The proud and independent natives resented Spanish invasion. They raised “Taine Indian”-a revolt.
Francis Pizzaro and his men tried to control the revolt for seven years Wasco Nuriez who had accompanied Pizzaro, crossed over to the Southern Continent via the isthmus. Beyond the narrow strip of land was the vast expanse of Pacific. Nuriez was the 1st European to witness the stormy, (so-called ‘Pacific’) ocean. He settled there and soon flourished.
In 1522 AD, Diego de Almagro was another affluent soldier who sailed to the New Land. He joined forces with priest Hernando de Liguo and sailed south along the east coast. On their way they encountered a ship whose sailors were loaded with gold. They made friends with a local Indian who furnished them with the information about the Inca people, their capital and its riches. “The Sun Temple’ in capital Cuzco was shimmering with gold.”
“Its walls were paneled with gold, the temple garden had gold plants with gold leaves and gold flowers on them, gold birds were perching on the golden branches of the trees, even there was a gold fountain with gold spout which threw gold jets, six feet high in the air. Beautiful gold ornaments, gold birds and animals decorated the palace. Bejeweled gold and silver animals were plentiful. Special craftsmen made necklaces, girdles, collars, anklets and rings for the royal and noble families. Master craftsmen also designed the temple pillars and walls that were embossed with divine images.”
Listening to this account, who will not be eager to visit the kingdom?
Pizzaro rushed back home to narrate what he had seen, with all possible exaggeration, to King Charles the 5th. But Pizzaro had to wait for 3 years after which the King financed his trip and assisted him with 160 adventurers including 67 armed soldiers, horses, bayonets, crossbows, pikes, lances and artillery.
The team arrived at the town of Tumba so excited and impatient. By
God, they only had to extend their hand and plunge it into the ocean of wealth. Pizzaro and Almagro were all ready to set out for their looting spree.
But contrary to their expectations Tumba was no more the old bustling city with energetic well groomed Indians. Small pox and civil war had totally ravaged and devastated it. So they lingered near the coast stealthily looting the Emperor’s store house.
ENCOUNTER WITH SAPA ATAHUALPA.
Pizzaro set off with his tiny army to see the new Sapa. He did not fail to take a few Indian lackeys and two Indian translators.
Sapa Atahualpa was resting at his royal summer residence up in the hills near the hot springs. The way up was a narrow steep path, a climb which Pizzaro’s men found exhausting. They had already ventured crossing across the raging torrents of Urubamba-river on narrow perilous suspension-bridge, constructed of Inca’s grass rope. All the way they prayed to God Almighty to help them to other bank safely. Even the horses faltered. The path to the Royal camp though was a paved road with beautiful flagstones, bordered by shadowing trees and shrubs laden with sweet fruits. Cool refreshing water ran through the channel running parallel to the road and the colorful flowers on the plants were pleasing to the eye.
Atahualpa made them wait anxiously for a week, making display of his army strength by spreading his warriors in vast number over the hill side in the valley. Atahualpa sent an envoy to invite the oncoming visitors, Pizzaro and his men, to visit Sapa. Pizzaro welcomed the ambassador giving him a shirt and a goblet of Venetian glass. He talked about peace and friendship. He himself stayed housed in the fortress in the valley of Cajarmarca and dispatched Hernando De Soto with his group of horsemen to pay his respect to Atahualpa. Though frightened in heart, he knew from the experience of his brother Hernando Cortes in Mexico, that Incas were noble and simple minded and perhaps he can trick Incas also easily. He only had to make them feel that the Spanish were stronger and of equal status if not superior.
Besides, the Spanish had weapons and gun powder and their horses were far stronger than the llamas of the Incas. The blast of gun powder was enough to make the Incas run for their life.
The envoy rode to the Royal Residence near Hot Springs, flanked by the silent rows of Inca Army. Atahualpa was sitting on a golden stool with all his majesty in the world, surrounded by all his warriors and many of his chiefs. Feigning not to have notice the spectacle, de Soto charged chin up straight forward to Atahualpa’s throne, without alighting from his horse, bringing it so close to Sapa, that the beast’s breath stirred the tassels of his crown and the froth from its mouth dripped on his tunic. Though surprised and angered by this arrogant behavior, Sapa sat immobile and did not cower. Nor did his men showed any sign of apprehension or disgust on their faces.
Through his interpreter, Sapa reprimanded De Soto and Pizzaro for robbing his store house and for treating several of his chiefs badly. De Soto boasted that it were Inca men who behaved like women when fought with. He also added that their one horse is as valuable as entire land and they did not need Inca’s wealth. In fact, they could use their military acumen for Sapa’s benefit. He then politely invited Sapa to visit Pizzaro for discussing the strategy.
Sapa believed in the friendly invitation and thought he should not lose this chance to impress Pizzaro by his grandeur. But he made mistake in promising to meet Pizzaro at Cajarmarca, the next day. He was dreaming that with Pizzaro’s help he will be officially crowned as Inca’s Sapa.
PIZZARO was of humble birth with no military experience. He solely relied on his verbal strength to create an atmosphere to gain Sapa’s favor and get acquisition of part of Inca land which he will govern as a Governor (as promised by the Spanish Emperor). He had benefitted by years of studying the strengths and weaknesses of the Indians, during the years he lived amongst them and also from the account of his cousin Hernando Cortes about how he wrecked the Aztec Empire by kidnapping the Emperor Montezuma and exploiting the love and loyalty of his subject in acquiring the entire wealth of Mexico.
Atahualpa did not walk blindly into Pizzaro’s camp. His military strategy was that his General Rumifiari would command 5,000 soldiers to seal off the road north to Cajamarca, to take Pizzaro and his men alive, in case they try to escape and later sacrifice them to Sun God. He also planned to keep their valuable horses and breed them for future use.
The Spaniards had a long anxious wait the next day. They stationed themselves within the building and left the courtyard vacant. Atahualpa came late in the evening so that Pizzaro’s men and horses found the path difficult to see and also fail to aim correctly after the sunset.
Only the robed Friar, Dominican was waiting in the empty square to witness the approaching grand parade witch Atahualpa was so keen on them to witness.
Flutes, drums, conch-shells and trumpets sounded. The musicians led dancers and a choral group, singing praise to their powerful Lord: “Son of Sun” the only ruler of Inca is coming, may all the living beings of earth, obey him.” A squadron of Indians wearing a livery of checkered colors like chess board, all wearing gold and silver discs around their necks or ornaments like crowns on their heads marched keeping pace with the beats of the drums. Followed Atahualpa majestically sitting on a wooden litter carried by 80 retainers in blue tunic with their badges of honor. The litter was lined with multi-colored parrot feathers and decorated with jewel-encrusted plates of gold and sliver. Atahualpa wore a collar of emeralds, a shield emblazoned with the image of the Sun God. A personal retinue of 5,000 unarmed men accompanied him-a ceremonial rather than a military array. His army of 80,000 soldiers was left outside the town, in charge of General Ruminovi.
All pomp and show exhibited by the Sapa was wasted since Friar Dominican was the only sole witness. Friar Dominican greeted Atahualpa with Bible in one hand and a cross in other. He implied he was giving a heathen a chance to accept Christianity voluntarily before any recourse to bloodshed. The Friar handed over the MISSA- a ‘Talisman’, to Atahualpa. Atahualpa threw it away and said, “Your God was a mortal put to death, but my God, (pointing to the Sun) still lives.” On seeing the insult done to ‘Missa’-the book of text for mass- the Friar ordered the ‘faithful’, “Throw yourselves upon them, forthwith I give you all absolution”. At Pizzaro’s signal, two canon balls were fired into the unarmed retinue. The horsemen suddenly came out of the building and charged forwards, cutting the flabbergasted Indians with their swords and arrows. The foot-soldiers followed with a cry of ‘Santiego’ to the sound of the trumpets. The nobles rushed to protect Atahualpa at whom the attack was focused, but only got their hands chopped by the steel swords. Pizzaro rushed forwards to save Atahualpa, whom he wanted alive to keep as a hostage. Pizzaro then dragged him to the building where he kept him under guard.
Atahualpa had blundered by bringing his men unarmed. They had no way to protect themselves against the sharp steel of the swords and blast of the canons. In two hours time, before the nightfall, 6,000 Indians were massacred in and around Cajarmara. Not a single Spaniard was injured. Atahualpa himself ordered his men not to counter attack for fear of his own life. On hearing about the massacre and capture of Sapa, General Ruminavi fled with his troop to Quito. Atahualpa’s other two veteran Generals were in Quito.
In captivity, Atahualpa was allowed to keep his family and servants with him in his closely guarded quarters. His people were still allowed to meet him, consult him and take orders from him. Atahualpa kept in touch with all that happened in his Empire. He issued orders to his generals and officials. In his captivity, he learned Spanish and could read it in matter of 20 days. He thought of buying the bearded ones offering some ransom. He agreed to fill up to his own height, with gold the 22’x10’ room in witch he stayed, and give it to them. But the greedy Pizzaro asked for double the quantity in silver too in addition. Llamas shuttled carrying loads of Sapa’s treasure: tumblers, vases, ornaments, 3ft tall idols in gold and silver besides 700 plaques of gold from the walls of the Sun temple in Cuzco; and gold models of plants, birds, animals, even the gold fountain from the temple garden. 200 loads arrived each day.
Incas called Gold mere “Sweat of Sun god” and Silver “The tears of the Moon”. For them the woven garments were invaluable. Each cloth represented 1,000 hours of labor of a skillful weaver. Their fabric was the real currency of the Empire.
Atahualpa feared that Huascar, who was captive in Cuzco, may offer even more gold for his own release and for death of Atahualpa. So he issued secret order for assassination of Huascar and his family.
In Cajarmara, the gold was melted down to 13,400 lbs. and silver to 26,000 lbs. Even after this, Pizzaro would not free Atahualpa. He insisted that the Sapa willingly accept Christian religion. Atahualpa preferred to die as an Inca Indian. According to his religion, for ever-lasting-life after death, he had to offer his whole body for mummification after death. Atahualpa wept when Pizzaro decided to burn him alive instead of killing him for this would destroy his body,-no body- no mummification; no mummification- no after-life! He lamented at the vicious decision of the Spaniard; “Oh what I or my children done to merit such a fate!” Tied onto a stake to be burned, he agreed to be Christian and requested he should be killed instead and his body be handed over to his relatives for mummification. Pizzaro ordered to strangle him, but also part of his body was burned to make him unfit for mummification. Finally he was buried as a Christian.
FATE OF INCAS
1/3rd of the Inca Indians had already perished due to smallpox and measles. Thousands died without a fight in Pizzaro’s deceitful killings. The weakened and frightened remainder dispersed all over the continent searching for safety.
Manca Inca, the surviving son of Huyana Capa, who assisted Huascar against Atahualpa, was installed as native ruler under Spanish control. Before Pizzaro entered Cuzco, the Inca nobles took care to hide all the mummies of their ancestors, so precious to Incas, lest they should be destroyed by the Spaniard. Arriving in Cuzco, the invaders did not respect the dignity of the local chiefs and nobles. They abused Manco, the then Sapa, and showed no regard for Inca customs. They even abducted and raped his favorite wife.
Pizzaro founded a new capital at Lima and left his brother Gonzalo in charge. His other brother Juan was left to help him. Manco tried to escape from the prison but was apprehended and brought back in chains, jailed and tortured.
When Hernando Pizzaro came back from Spain, he saw Gonsalo’s unrestrained and irresponsible ruling. He had also murdered his own Spanish people. Pizzaro then deported him.
Manca persuaded Pizzaro to release him from jail so that he could pray at the shrine of his father. He offered to give him the gold effigy of his father. He had already instructed his general to call his soldiers hiding in the forest away from Spanish gaze and champion a revolt. Accordingly the general besieged Cuzco and cut it off from outside world for a year. After the Spanish got reinforcement from Spain, in a fierce battle for the control of the fortress-like temple of Sacsahuaman, the Spanish won. The siege failed.
Inca people suffered a terrible shock from the defeat, and knowing the strength of Spanish army, lost the will to live and fight. Thus the “tahuaminsuya” dwindled. Their population reduced to three fourth of one hundredth of its size in half a century after the arrival of Spanish i.e. from 7 million to 50,000.
Inca no more survived as a cheerful, religious, hardworking and loyal warrior country. Weakened by smallpox, measles and other infections for which they had no immunity and by assault on their customs and culture making them feel worthless, the surviving Inca Indians moved lifelessly. The Indians dwelling on the east coast were exhausted carrying heavy loads from the Spanish ships to the mountains. Their women were molested and their warrior pride hurt, they became lifeless. Many toiled in the gold and silver mines. What remained of Inca were the devastated palaces, desecrated temples and the razed golden garden of the Sun temple. Inca only lived in model city of Vilcabamba.
The rumors about the golden city, “Vilcabamba” were prevalent for centuries over the whole world. The tales took various forms in the folk lore of South America. The city that once ruled independently, away from the Spanish gaze, flourished and perished in the deep jungles of the Andes (or ? of the Amazon rain forest). Some said that there was a lake in the deep forest in which lived a deity which when hungry, sent rumbling sounds up to its shores. The Incas of the city then sacrificed some animal and rowed to the lake and threw it in the water along with some gold. The story of “El Salvador” (as the Spanish called it), lured the gold-hungry Europeans and now and again they rushed into the impenetrable and snake-infested forests of Andes and Brazil.
In order to save their traditions and culture, the proud Indians established their kingdom isolated and away from the Spanish rule, where they followed their religion and customs. Their great masons built a beautiful city graced by 60 monumental circular buildings, a complex of 300 smaller residential houses. They built cross roads and canals. They built their temples high on the hills. The Inca Indians rule there, and from there they launched frequent guerrilla attacks on Spanish outposts. In this city of 2 square miles the Incas ruled for 35 yrs. After Manco, his successors continued to rule Vilcabamba. After receiving reinforcement from Spain, they finally decided to end once for all the local Inca hegemony. With difficulty, they did find the kingdom but it was empty and devastated. Knowing the strength of the invading enemy, they removed all there valuables, set fire to the city and burned the buildings down and fled with their families. They did not want the Spanish to enjoy the fruit of their hard work.
Tupac Amaru, the last stronghold of Incas, finally fell. General of Tupac Amaru was taken to Cuzco and after a short trial was beheaded... in the town square. With him ended the Inca Dynasty.
Vilcabamba fell into silence. The jungle took it in its arms under the cloak of vegetations. The Spanish-speaking local peasants gave it the name, “Espiritu Pampa”. The city was later discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911. Gene Savoy, an American explorer found Vilcabamba, situated on alluvial plains between two rivers. He recognized the circular buildings as the work of Chachopoyas people who inhabited northernmost region of Peru, 500 miles North West of Vilcabamba at the altitude of 8,000 to 10,000ft.
THE EXPEDITION OF HIRAM BINGHAM.
Hiram Bingham was fascinated by the story of the golden city. From his school days he had a passion of finding it. He became professor of history of Latin America. Chronicles dictated by one of the last rulers of Inca mentioned the fabled refuge hidden in the densely forested valley of Urubamba River. While working at Yale University, he obtained funding from The National Geographic Society and also from a few wealthy colleagues from Yale University, he proceeded to Andes. He took with him a government appointed body-guard and a humble tavern keeper who himself was equally interested in finding out the historic city. Starting at Cuzco, the old Inca Capital, they started climbing the arduous mountains. The Urubamba River was swollen with the icy water cascading from the melting snow peaks, and its noisy torrents surging through the canyons in icy rapids. Deep in Peruvian Andes, Urubamba River, though now shallow, was hurrying with frightening speed. The one time prosperous empire of Inca was now but a dense forest-vegetation, infested with poisonous snakes. The snow clad rocky peaks of Andes were soaring 18,000ft above the sea level, looming 2 miles above the clouds. The party reached a make shift log bridge across the river. Bingham’s barefoot Indian servant, walked naturally over it. Bingham had to crawl behind, on all fours. Walking amidst ferns, orchids and wild flowers in the luxurious vegetations they followed a steep path for 200 ft. uphill, to reach a hut of a Peruvian family. Their 10 yr. old son volunteered to guide them to Inca stone work, via a steeper path.
Fully covered with variety of creepers and other vegetations, the buildings were barely visible. After a week’s clearing, they displayed a Royal Mausoleum, a Sun Temple, a broad plaza and a dozen other structures.
As they advanced further, trekking arduously for several days, they discovered a series of imposing ruins, including ‘Espiritu Pampa’, a vaster
Urban site, the ‘Machu Picchu’, buried under centuries of tangled growth, some 60 miles away from Machu Picchu and 6,000 ft at lower level- “VILCABAMBA” indeed!