Diego de Almagro
Overview
 
Diego de Almagro, also known as El Adelantado
Adelantado
Adelantado was a military title held by some Spanish conquistadores of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries.Adelantados were granted directly by the Monarch the right to become governors and justices of a specific region, which they charged with conquering, in exchange for funding and organizing the...

and El Viejo (The Elder), was a Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 conquistador
Conquistador
Conquistadors were Spanish soldiers, explorers, and adventurers who brought much of the Americas under the control of Spain in the 15th to 16th centuries, following Europe's discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492...

 and a companion and later rival of Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro González, Marquess was a Spanish conquistador, conqueror of the Incan Empire, and founder of Lima, the modern-day capital of the Republic of Peru.-Early life:...

. He participated in the Spanish conquest of Peru and is credited as the first European discoverer of Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

.

Almagro lost his left eye battling with coastal natives in the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

. In 1525 he joined the Pizarro brothers
Pizarro brothers
The Pizarro brothers were Spanish conquistadors who came to Peru in 1532. They all were born in Trujillo, Extremadura, Spain.The four brothers were:* Francisco Pizarro * Gonzalo Pizarro * Juan Pizarro * Hernándo Pizarro The Pizarro brothers were Spanish conquistadors who came to Peru in 1532. They...

 and Hernándo de Luque
Hernando de Luque
Hernando de Luque was a Spanish priest who travelled to the New World in the 16th century. He arrived in 1514 with the expedition of Pedrarias Dávila to Panama, where he met Francisco Pizarro. Luque financed a joint expedition by Pizarro and Diego de Almagro to Peru in 1526...

 at Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

 for the conquest of Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

.
Diego de Almagro was born in the Spanish city signified by his last name, being the illegitimate son of Juan de Montenegro and Elvira Gutiérrez.
Encyclopedia
Diego de Almagro, also known as El Adelantado
Adelantado
Adelantado was a military title held by some Spanish conquistadores of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries.Adelantados were granted directly by the Monarch the right to become governors and justices of a specific region, which they charged with conquering, in exchange for funding and organizing the...

and El Viejo (The Elder), was a Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 conquistador
Conquistador
Conquistadors were Spanish soldiers, explorers, and adventurers who brought much of the Americas under the control of Spain in the 15th to 16th centuries, following Europe's discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492...

 and a companion and later rival of Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro González, Marquess was a Spanish conquistador, conqueror of the Incan Empire, and founder of Lima, the modern-day capital of the Republic of Peru.-Early life:...

. He participated in the Spanish conquest of Peru and is credited as the first European discoverer of Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

.

Almagro lost his left eye battling with coastal natives in the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

. In 1525 he joined the Pizarro brothers
Pizarro brothers
The Pizarro brothers were Spanish conquistadors who came to Peru in 1532. They all were born in Trujillo, Extremadura, Spain.The four brothers were:* Francisco Pizarro * Gonzalo Pizarro * Juan Pizarro * Hernándo Pizarro The Pizarro brothers were Spanish conquistadors who came to Peru in 1532. They...

 and Hernándo de Luque
Hernando de Luque
Hernando de Luque was a Spanish priest who travelled to the New World in the 16th century. He arrived in 1514 with the expedition of Pedrarias Dávila to Panama, where he met Francisco Pizarro. Luque financed a joint expedition by Pizarro and Diego de Almagro to Peru in 1526...

 at Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

 for the conquest of Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

.

First years

Diego de Almagro was born in the Spanish city signified by his last name, being the illegitimate son of Juan de Montenegro and Elvira Gutiérrez. Almagro's parents had promised each other to get married, but ended their relationship before fulfilling this promise. By the time of their break up, Elvira was pregnant, leading her family members to conceal her pregnancy until she gave birth to Diego in 1479. To save Elvira's honor, her family kept her infant and took him to the near village of Bolaños, and Diego was later transferred to Aldea del Rey under the tutelage of Sancha López del Peral.

When Almagro turned four, he was left under the tutelage of an uncle named Hernán Gutiérrez. Due to his uncle's mistreatment, Almagro fled his house at the age of 15. Upon reaching his mother, who was now living with her new husband, he informed her of what had occurred with his uncle and his plans to make a life of his own, asking her for bread and some money to live in his misery. His mother, anguished, provided him with what he asked and reputedly told him, "Here, my dear son, do not give me more passion, and leave, and let God help you in your adventure".

Almagro was later found in Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

 as the servant of don Luis de Polanco, who was one of that city's mayors. Almagro stabbed another servant during a fight, leaving him seriously injured. He fled, not wanting to be imprisoned, and became a wanderer in Andalucia. Around this time, the news of the discovery of the New World had reached him, and he decided to enroll himself in the armada of Pedrarias Dávila
Pedrarias Dávila
Pedrarias Dávila y Ortiz de Cota , was a Spanish colonial administrator...

. Upon his arrival in Panama, he would meet and become friends with Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro González, Marquess was a Spanish conquistador, conqueror of the Incan Empire, and founder of Lima, the modern-day capital of the Republic of Peru.-Early life:...

.

Arrival in America

Almagro arrived in the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 on June 30, 1514, under the expedition that Ferdinand II of Aragon
Ferdinand II of Aragon
Ferdinand the Catholic was King of Aragon , Sicily , Naples , Valencia, Sardinia, and Navarre, Count of Barcelona, jure uxoris King of Castile and then regent of that country also from 1508 to his death, in the name of...

 had sent under the guidance of Pedrarias Dávila. The expedition had landed in the city of Santa María la Antigua del Darién
Darién Province
Darién is a province in eastern Panama. It is also the largest province in Panama. It is hot, humid, heavily forested, and sparsely populated, having 48,378 habitants...

, Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

, where many other future conquistadors had already arrived, among them Francisco Pizarro.

There are not many details of Almagro's activities during this period, but it is known that he accompanied various sailors that left the city of Darien between 1514 and 1515, although Almagro eventually returned and settled in Darien and obtained an encomienda
Encomienda
The encomienda was a system that was employed mainly by the Spanish crown during the colonization of the Americas to regulate Native American labor....

 which helped him construct a house and make a living from agriculture.

Almagro undertook his first conquest on November of 1515, when he left Darien in command of 260 men and founded Villa del Acla
Acla
Acla was a Spanish colonial town founded by order of the Governor of Castilla de Oro, Pedrarias Dávila, in 1515. It was located on the central coastline of the modern-day Kuna Yala, to the northeast of Panamá. The town's name means bones of men in the indigenous language...

, located in the place of the same name, but due to illness he had to leave behind this mission to the licenciate Gaspar de Espinosa.

Espinosa decided to undertake a new expedition, which left in December of the same year with 200 men including Almagro himself and Francisco Pizarro, who for the first time was designated as a captain. During this expedition, which lasted 14 months, Almagro, Pizarro and Hernando de Luque became close friends.

Also during this time Almagro established a friendship with Vasco Núñez de Balboa
Vasco Núñez de Balboa
Vasco Núñez de Balboa was a Spanish explorer, governor, and conquistador. He is best known for having crossed the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean in 1513, becoming the first European to lead an expedition to have seen or reached the Pacific from the New World.He traveled to the New World in...

, who during the time was in charge of Acla, with the intent of making a ship with the materials of the Espinosa expedition and later finish it in the "Great South Sea" as the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

 first became known to the Spanish. However, according to current information, there are no indications that Almagro would participate in the expedition of Balboa and probably would eventually return to Darien.

Almagro took part in the incursions, foundations and conquests developed in the Gulf of Panama
Gulf of Panama
The Gulf of Panama is a gulf in the Pacific Ocean, near the southern coast of Panama. It has a maximum width of , a maximum depth of and the size of . The Panama Canal connects the Gulf of Panama with the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean...

, participating once again in the expeditions of Espinosa, who was known to travel in the ships of Balboa. Of this expedition it is only known that Almagro served as a witness to the lists of natives which Espinosa ordered to be carried. Almagro would remain in the newly founded city of Panama, helping to populate it. During four years he did not participate in new expeditions, occupying his time in the administration of his belongings and those of Pizarro. During this time Almagro's first son, el "Mozo", was born, whose mother was an indigenous woman named Ana Martínez.

Conquest of Peru

By 1524 an association of conquest regarding South America was formalized among Almagro, Pizarro and Luque. By the beginning of August of 1524, they had received the requisite permission to discover and conquer lands further south.

Almagro would remain in Panama to recruit men and gather supplies for the expeditions led by Pizarro. After several expeditions to South America, Pizarro secured his stay in Peru and explored the territory held by the Incas. He succeeded in defeating the Incan army under Emperor Atahualpa
Atahualpa
Atahualpa, Atahuallpa, Atabalipa, or Atawallpa , was the last Sapa Inca or sovereign emperor of the Tahuantinsuyu, or the Inca Empire, prior to the Spanish conquest of Peru...

 during the Battle of Cajamarca
Battle of Cajamarca
The Battle of Cajamarca was a surprise attack on the Inca royal entourage orchestrated by Francisco Pizarro. Sprung on the evening of November 16, 1532, in the great plaza of Cajamarca, the ambush achieved the goal of capturing the Inca, Atahualpa, and claimed the lives of thousands of his...

 in 1532. After Peru fell to the Spanish, both Pizarro and Almagro initially worked together in the founding of new cities to consolidate their dominions. As such, Pizarro dispatched Almagro to the Inca Empire's northern city of Quito
Quito
San Francisco de Quito, most often called Quito , is the capital city of Ecuador in northwestern South America. It is located in north-central Ecuador in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha, an active stratovolcano in the Andes mountains...

 to claim it as part of their jurisdiction. Their fellow conquistador Sebastián de Belalcázar
Sebastián de Belalcázar
Sebastián de Belalcázar was a Spanish conquistador.-Early life:He was born Sebastián Moyano in the province of Córdoba, Spain, in either 1479 or 1480. He took the name Belalcázar as that was the name of the castle-town near to his birthplace in Córdoba...

, who had gone forth without Pizarro's approval, had already reached Quito and witnessed the destruction of the city by Inca general Rumiñahui
Rumiñahui
Rumiñahui may refer to:*Rumiñahui *Rumiñahui *Rumiñahui...

. The Inca warrior had ordered the city to be burned and its gold to be buried at an undisclosed location where the Spanish could never find it. The arrival and intromission of Pedro de Alvarado
Pedro de Alvarado
Pedro de Alvarado y Contreras was a Spanish conquistador and governor of Guatemala. He participated in the conquest of Cuba, in Juan de Grijalva's exploration of the coasts of Yucatan and the Gulf of Mexico, and in the conquest of Mexico led by Hernan Cortes...

 from Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 in search of Inca gold further complicated the situation for Almagro and Belalcázar. Alvarado's presence, however, did not last long as he left South America in exchange for monetary compensation from Pizarro.

In an attempt to honor Pizarro before leaving, Almagro refounded the native city of Quito as "San Francisco de Quito
Quito
San Francisco de Quito, most often called Quito , is the capital city of Ecuador in northwestern South America. It is located in north-central Ecuador in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha, an active stratovolcano in the Andes mountains...

" in August of 1534. Four months later would come the foundation of the Peruvian city of Trujillo
Trujillo, Peru
Trujillo, in northwestern Peru, is the capital of the La Libertad Region, and the third largest city in Peru. The urban area has 811,979 inhabitants and is an economic hub in northern Peru...

, which Almagro named as "Villa Trujillo" in honor of Francisco Pizarro's birthplace, Trujillo in Extremadura, Spain. These events were the height of the Pizarro-Almagro friendship, which historians describe as one of the last events in which their friendship soon faded and entered a period of turmoil for the control of the historical and mythical Incan capital of Cuzco. He formed with Francisco Pizarro to conquer land of the south ocean and north ocean.

Conflict with Pizarro

After splitting the treasure of Inca emperor Atahualpa, both Pizarro and Almagro left towards Cuzco
Cusco
Cusco , often spelled Cuzco , is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cusco Region as well as the Cuzco Province. In 2007, the city had a population of 358,935 which was triple the figure of 20 years ago...

 and took the city in 1533. However, Almagro's friendship with Pizarro showed signs of deterioration in 1526 when Pizarro, in the name of the rest of the conquistadors, called forth the "Capitulacion de Toledo" law in which King Charles I
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 of Spain had laid out his authorization for the conquest of Peru
Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire
The Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire was one of the most important campaigns in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. This historic process of military conquest was made by Spanish conquistadores and their native allies....

 and the awards every conquistador would receive from it. Long before, however, each conquistador had promised to equally split the benefits. Pizarro managed to have a larger stake and awards for himself. Despite this, Almagro still obtained an important fortune for his services, and the King awarded him in November of 1532 the noble title of "Don" and he was assigned a personal coat of arms.

Although by this time Diego de Almagro had already acquired sufficient wealth in the conquest of Peru and was living a luxurious life in Cuzco, the prospect of conquering the lands further south was very attractive to him. Given that the dispute with Pizarro over Cuzco had kept intensifying, Almagro spent a great deal of time and money equipping a company of 500 men for a new exploration south of Peru.

By 1534 the Spanish crown had determined to split the region in two parallel lines, forming the governorship of "Nueva Castilla" (from the 1° to the 14° latitude, close to Pisco
Pisco, Peru
Pisco is a city located in the Ica Region of Peru, the capital of the Pisco Province. The city is around 9 metres above sea level. Originally the villa of Pisco was founded in 1640, close to the indigenous emplacement of the same name...

), and that of "Nueva Toledo" (from the 14° to the 25° latitude, in Taltal
Taltal
Taltal is a Chilean commune and city in Antofagasta Province, Antofagasta Region. According to the 2002 census, the commune population was 11,000 and has an area of ....

, Chile), assigning the first to Francisco Pizarro and the second to Diego de Almagro. The crown had previously assigned Almagro the governorship of Cuzco, and as such Almagro was heading there when Charles V divided the territory between Nueva Castilla and Nueva Toledo. This might have been the reason why Almagro did not immediately confront Pizarro for Cuzco, and promptly decided to embark on his new quest for the discovery of the riches of Chile.

The preparations

According to the natives of Peru, who by this time had observed the Spanish lust for gold, the territories of Chile had abundances of gold which would justify any effort. Almagro quickly prepared his expedition with the help of men recruited from Cuzco and Lima within six months. With his personal fortune, he equipped the soldiers that would join him. Arms, tools, gunpowder and other necessary utensils were bought. Almagro was able to put together a force of 500 men, many of which had come with him to Peru. He was also joined by 100 African slaves and some 10,000 Yanaconas Indians to transport the weapons, clothing, and food. In total, it is estimated that everything cost 1.5 million castilian pesos.

Almagro had also asked for a high ranking official from the Inca empire to prepare a route along with three of his most trusted Spanish soldiers. For this, the Inca offered the most esteemed religious chief of the empire, Villac-Umu. The Inca, however, had planned for a large force of Spaniards to leave Peru. Once gone, they thought, the Inca armies could easily initiate an armed rebellion and retake Cuzco.

Almagro, who was not yet satisfied to go forward, had ordered Juan de Saavedra
Juan de Saavedra
Juan de Saavedra was a Spanish conquistador in Peru and Chile, and the discoverer of the site of Valparaíso, Chile.-Biography:...

 to advance with one hundred men that, at a distance of thirty leagues, would establish a small town that would wait for the rest with food and natives that would be captured to serve them.

Following the Inca Trail and crossing the Andes

Almagro left Cuzco on July 3, 1535 with his supporters and stopped at Moina
Moina
Moina is a genus of crustaceans within the family Moinidae. The genus was first described by W. Baird in 1850. This genus demonstrates the ability to survive in waters containing high salinity and other impurities, including salt pans...

 until the 20th of that month. Meanwhile, Francisco Pizarro's brother, Juan Pizarro
Juan Pizarro
Juan Ramon Pizarro Cordova is a former major league baseball pitcher.-Milwaukee Braves:Juan Pizarro signed with the Milwaukee Braves as an amateur free agent in 1956. After going 27-6 with a 2.06 earned run average in the minors, he made his major league debut on May 4, 1957 against the Pittsburgh...

, had arrested Inca Manco Capac II
Manco Inca Yupanqui
Manco Inca Yupanqui was one of the Incas of Vilcabamba. He was also known as "Manco II" and "Manco Cápac II" . Born in 1516, he was one of the sons of Huayna Cápac and came from a lower class of the nobility.Túpac Huallpa, a puppet ruler crowned by conquistador Francisco Pizarro, died in 1533...

, further complicating Almagro's plans as it heavily increased the dissatisfaction of the Indians submitted to Spanish rule. Not having formally been appointed governor of any territories in the Capitulation of Toledo in 1528, however, forcing him to declare himself adelantado (governor) of Nueva Toledo, or southern Peru and present-day Chile. Some sources suggest Almagro recevied such a requirement in 1534 by the Spanish king and was officially declared governor of New Toledo.

Once he left Moina, Almagro followed the Inca trail followed by 750 Spaniards deciding to join him in quest for the gold lost in the ransom of Atahualpa
Ransom Room
The Ransom Room is a small room located in Cajamarca, Peru. It is considered by most Peruvian historians to be the place where the Inca Empire came to an end with the capture and eventual execution of the Inca Emperor Atahualpa.When Francisco Pizarro arrived in Cajamarca on November 15, 1532, he...

, which had mainly benefited the Pizarro brothers and their supporters. After crossing the Bolivian mountain range and traveling past Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca is a lake located on the border of Peru and Bolivia. It sits 3,811 m above sea level, making it the highest commercially navigable lake in the world...

, Almagro arrived on the shores of the Desaguadero River
Desaguadero River (Bolivia)
The Desaguadero River in Peru and Bolivia is the river that drains Lake Titicaca. It exits the lake at the southern part of the river basin, it flows south and drains approximately five percent of the lake's flood waters into Lake Uru Uru and Lake Poopó....

 and finally set up camp in Tupiza
Tupiza
Tupiza is a city in Potosí Department, Bolivia. It is located at around at an elevation of about 3160 m. The population is 23,100...

. From there, the expedition stopped at Chicoana
Chicoana
-External link:*, Spanish...

 and then turned to the southeast to cross the Andes
Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

 mountains.

The expedition turned out to be a difficult and exhaustive endeavor. The hardest phase was the crossing of the Andes cordillera: at almost 4,000 meters of altitude, the cold, hunger and tiredness meant the death of various Spaniards and natives, but mainly slaves who were not accustomed to such rigorous climate. Survivors would later recount that some fellow adventurers would stop and rest, only to die frozen; others, upon taking off their boots, would watch in horror how their toes would be stuck to the boot.

Upon this point, Almagro determined everything was a failure. He ordered a small group to go forward on the way and search for help among the indigenous population. By luck, these men found the Valley of Copiapó
Copiapó
Copiapó is a city in northern Chile, located about 40 miles east of the coastal town of Caldera. Founded on December 8, 1744, it is the capital of Copiapó Province and Atacama Region....

, where a Spaniard called Gonzalo Calvo Barrientos, a Spaniard whom Pizarro had expelled from Peru for stealing objects the Inca had offered for his ransom, had already established a friendship with the local natives. There, in the valley of the river Copiapó, Almagro took official possession of Chile and claimed it in the name of King Charles V.

Dismayed in Chile

Almagro promptly initiated the exploration of the new territory starting towards the valley of the Aconcagua River
Aconcagua River
For other uses, see Aconcagua .The Aconcagua River is a river in Chile that rises from the joint of two minor tributary rivers at above sea level in the Andes, Juncal river from the east and Blanco river from the south east...

, where he was well received by the natives. However, the intrigues of his interpreter, Felipillo
Felipillo
Felipillo was a native Peruvian who accompanied Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro on their various expeditions to Peru. Born on the Island of Puná, Felipillo learned Quechua in Tumbes from natives who spoke it as a second language...

, who had previously helped Pizarro in dealing with Atahualpa, almost thwarted Almagro's efforts. Felipillo had secretly urged the local natives to attack the Spanish but they surprisingly desisted and did not believe the dangers they posed. Almagro then dispatched Gómez de Alvarado along with 100 horsemen and 100 foot to continue the exploration, which ended in the confluence of the Ñuble and Itata rivers where the Battle of Reinohuelén
Reynogüelén
Also written Reinogüelén, Reinohuelén and ReynohuelénReynogüelén was a battle between Spanish conquistadors and Mapuche soldiers, thought to have occurred near the confluence of the Ñuble and Itata Rivers, in Chile...

 between the Spanish and hostile Mapuche
Mapuche
The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. They constitute a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage. Their influence extended...

 Indians forced them to turn back north.

Almagro's own reconnaissance of the land and the bad news of Gómez de Alvarado's encounter with the fierce Mapuches, along with the bitter cold winter that settled ferociously upon them, only served to confirm that everything had failed. He never found gold or cities that Incan scouts informed him about; only communities of the indigenous population that lived from agriculture and fierce resistance from local tribes. The exploration of the territories of Nueva Toledo, which lasted 2 years, was marked by a complete failure for Almagro. Despite this, at first he thought staying and founding a city would serve well for his honor. The initial optimism that led Almagro to bring his son he had with the indigenous Panamanian Ana Martínez to Chile had faded. Some observers have pointed that out that if it were not for the urging of his explorers to leave, Almagro would have probably and permanently stayed in Chile. He was urged, however, to return to Peru and this time take a definitive possession of Cuzco so as to consolidate an inheritance for his son. Without wasting time and dismayed, Almagro initiated his plans of return to Peru on September of 1536. He never officially founded a city in the territory of what is now present Chile.

The withdrawal of the Spanish from valleys of Chile was violent: Almagro authorized his soldiers to ransack the natives' properties, leaving their soil desolate; there was not one Spaniard that did not spare a native for his service. The locals were captured, tied and forced to carry the belongings of the conquistadors without compassion.

Return to Peru

After the exhaustive crossing of the Atacama desert
Atacama Desert
The Atacama Desert is a plateau in South America, covering a strip of land on the Pacific coast, west of the Andes mountains. It is, according to NASA, National Geographic and many other publications, the driest desert in the world...

 mainly due to the climatic conditions, Almagro finally reached Cuzco, Peru, in 1537. According to some authors, it was during this time that the burlesque Spanish term "roto" (torn), used by Peruvians to refer to Chileans, was first mentioned given how Almagro's disappointed troops returned to Cuzco with their "torn clothes" due to the extensive and laborious passage on foot by the Atacama desert.

Upon his return to Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

 in 1537, Almagro was bitter and eager to once and for all claim the riches of the city of Cuzco for himself. In the previous year, the Inca Manco
Manco Inca Yupanqui
Manco Inca Yupanqui was one of the Incas of Vilcabamba. He was also known as "Manco II" and "Manco Cápac II" . Born in 1516, he was one of the sons of Huayna Cápac and came from a lower class of the nobility.Túpac Huallpa, a puppet ruler crowned by conquistador Francisco Pizarro, died in 1533...

 had briefly recaptured the royal city and weakened the Spanish hold in the Sacred Valley. Hoping to enlist the help of the Inca, Almagro offered Manco Inca a pardon on behalf of the Spanish government. Manco Inca never officially joined Almagro in his attack on Cuzco. However, most of Hernándo Pizarro
Hernándo Pizarro
Hernando Pizarro y de Vargas was a Spanish conquistador and one of the Pizarro brothers who ruled over Peru...

's army marched into the Andes
Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

 in pursuit of Manco Inca, allowing Almagro's men to claim the city for themselves. When Hernando Pizarro and his army returned, Almagro's troops quickly defeated them and took the Pizarro brothers
Pizarro brothers
The Pizarro brothers were Spanish conquistadors who came to Peru in 1532. They all were born in Trujillo, Extremadura, Spain.The four brothers were:* Francisco Pizarro * Gonzalo Pizarro * Juan Pizarro * Hernándo Pizarro The Pizarro brothers were Spanish conquistadors who came to Peru in 1532. They...

 Hernando and Gonzalo captive.

After occupying Cuzco, Almagro confronted an army sent by Francisco Pizarro to liberate his brothers. The army, led by Alonso de Alvarado
Alonso de Alvarado
Alonso de Alvarado Montaya González de Cevallos y Miranda was a Spanish conquistador and knight of the Order of Santiago. After a period in Mexico under the orders of Hernán Cortés, he then joined the campaign of Francisco Pizarro.He went to Peru with Pedro de Alvarado in search of gold in 1534...

, was defeated during the Battle of Abancay
Battle of Abancay
The Battle of Abancay was a battle that took place during the Spanish conquest of Peru.After emerging as the victor both in the siege of Cuzco and from initial disputes between the Pizarro brothers with allies and the Almagristas under Diego de Almagro, who had seized the former Inca capital upon...

 on July 12, 1537. Later, Gonzalo Pizarro and Alvarado escaped prison. Subsequent negotiations between Francisco Pizarro and Almagro concluded with the liberation of the third brother, Hernando Pizarro, in return for the definitive control and administration of Cuzco for Almagro himself. Francisco Pizarro never had the intention of giving up Cuzco to Almagro, and only wanted to win time for himself to organize an army strong enough to defeat Almagro's troops.

During this time Almagro fell ill, and Pizarro and his brothers finally caught the opportunity to defeat him and his followers. The Almagristas was finally defeated in at Las Salinas
Battle of Las Salinas
The Battle of Las Salinas was a military conflict and decisive confrontation between the forces of Hernando and Gonzalo Pizarro against those of rival conquistador Diego de Almagro, on April 26, 1538, during the Conquest of Peru...

 in April 1538, with Orgóñez being killed on the field of battle. He fled to Cuzco, still in the hands of his loyal supporters, but found only temporary refuge as the forces of the Pizarro brothers entered the city without resistance. Once captured, he was humiliated by Hernando Pizarro and ignored his requests for appeals to the King. Almagro begged for his life while Hernando responded:

-"You're a gentleman with an illustrious name; do not display compassion; It marvels me that a man of our mood fears death so much. Confess why our death has no remedy"-

Almagro was condemned to death and decapitated while in confinement on July 8, 1538 (other sources suggest he was garrotted, which would have been more likely for a Christian man of fame, though not sure). His cadaver was taken to the public Plaza Mayor of Cuzco and displayed as a sign of defeat. Margarita, his loyal servant and lover, took his body and buried him under the church of la Merced in Cuzco.

El Mozo

'Diego de Almagro II (1520-1542), known as El Mozo (The Lad), son of Diego de Almagro I, whose mother was an Indian girl of Panama, became the foil of the conspirators who had put Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro González, Marquess was a Spanish conquistador, conqueror of the Incan Empire, and founder of Lima, the modern-day capital of the Republic of Peru.-Early life:...

 to the sword. The marquis
Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro González, Marquess was a Spanish conquistador, conqueror of the Incan Empire, and founder of Lima, the modern-day capital of the Republic of Peru.-Early life:...

 was murdered on June 26, 1541; the conspirators promptly proclaimed the lad Almagro Governor of Peru. From various causes, all of the conspirators either died or were killed except for one, who was executed after the lad Almagro gave an order. The lad Almagro fought the desperate battle of Chupas
Battle of Chupas
After the assassination of Francisco Pizarro, in retaliation for his father's execution in 1538, Diego de Almagro II, El Mozo, continued to press claims as the rightful ruler of Peru and as leader of his father's supporters...

 on September 16, 1542, escaped to Cuzco
Cusco
Cusco , often spelled Cuzco , is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cusco Region as well as the Cuzco Province. In 2007, the city had a population of 358,935 which was triple the figure of 20 years ago...

, but was arrested, immediately condemned to death, and executed in the great square of the city.

Other sources of information

  • Documental sources and bibliographies for the study of the History of Chile by the University of Chile, consulted on Feb 14, 2005. (in Spanish)
  • The conquistadores, description of the profile of the conquistador that arrived in America in search of honor and fortune in the name of the Spanish monarchy
    Spanish monarchy
    The Monarchy of Spain, constitutionally referred to as The Crown and commonly referred to as the Spanish monarchy or Hispanic Monarchy, is a constitutional institution and an historic office of Spain...

     and the Roman Catholic Church
    Roman Catholic Church
    The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

    , consulted on Feb 14, 2005. (in Spanish)
  • "History of Chile" by José Del Pozo, consulted on Feb 14, 2005. (in Spanish)
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