On June 26, 1541, the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro was assassinated. He was killed by a group of soldiers led by the son of his former collaborator Diego de Almagro, also a Spanish conquistador, who was killed on Pizarro’s orders. It was an internal conflict among the conquistadors over who had the right to rule over areas in South America. Francisco Pizarro was killed in Lima, a city he founded six years earlier and in which he had his headquarters (today Lima is the capital of Peru).
Although he was almost 70 years old at the time of his death, and his guests and family members had mostly fled, Pizarro tried to resist. He fatally wounded three assailants, but was then killed by a blow to the throat as he tried to pull a sword from the body of one of the assailants. He allegedly drew the sign of the cross on the floor with his own blood on the floor before his death.
Francisco Pizarro was one of the most successful conquistadors in Spanish colonial history. He is often compared to Hernán Cortés, who conquered Mexico and overthrew the Aztec empire. Pizarro was in some ways even more successful than Cortés, as he managed to conquer the Inca Empire with fewer people. He opposed a more numerous enemy force than Cortés, and also operated at a much greater distance from Spanish bases. The balance of forces of Francisco Pizarro and the forces of his enemies was terribly unfavorable to the Spaniards, yet they managed to impose their rule and rule over a vast area. His venture is even more incredible if we consider that Pizarro was illiterate and uneducated.
Pizarro was born in the city of Tujil in the Spanish region of Extremadura as the illegitimate child of an officer. He had a brother, Hernando Pizarro, and three half-brothers, Gonzalo Pizzarro, Juan Pizarro and Francisco Martín de Alcántar. All five of them were involved in the Spanish conquistador ventures as collaborators. Even their nephew Pedro Pizarro helped them, so conquering South America was like a family venture. Add to this the fact that the conqueror of Mexico, the aforementioned Hernán Cortés, was Francisco’s cousin.