Inca Treasure

There are several stories, myths that talk about hidden gold and "lost Inca treasures", even hidden Inca cities that are full of gold, silver and precious stones. The scholars have been eager to locate the last hiding place of the Incas (Vitcos or Vilcabamba) because the local rumour goes that the last ruler had buried his treasures there. How far is the statement true, is still unknown. The place has still not been unearthed. Thus, even till this day the controversy remains open. Nobody has or could so far authoritatively prove the place where the last Inca ruler hid his treasures. The Inca lived in mountainous terrain, which is not good for farming. To resolve this problem, terraces were cut into steep slopes, known as andenes, in order to plant crops. They also used irrigation. They grew maize, quinoa, squash, tomatoes, peanuts, chili peppers, melons, cotton, and potatoes. Though all of their agriculture was important, their main food source was potatoes, unlike the Maya and the Aztecs, whose main food source was maize. The Inca was the first civilization to plant and harvest potatoes. Quinoa was also a main crop. They would use their seeds to make different foods.

Spanish conquistadors led by Francisco Pizarro explored south from Panama, reaching Inca territory by 1526. It was clear that they had reached a wealthy land with prospects of gr
eat treasure. Inca was a powerful kingdom in America. But by 1527, a virulent epidemic swept Peru. It claimed the life of the emperor, Huayna Capac Inca and his successor Ninan Cuyachi. In the confusion that prevailed, Huayna Capac's two sons seized power. Huascar became ruler and Atahualpa took the command of the imperial army. Both the brothers tried to usurp the power from the other.

After one more expedition in 1529, Pizarro returned to Spain and received royal approval to conquer the Inca region and become its viceroy. At the time the Spanish returned to Peru in 1532, a war of succession between Huayna Capac's son Huascar and half brother Atahualpa was in full swing. Additionally, unrest among newly conquered territories, and smallpox, spreading from Central America, had considerably weakened the empire. The Spanish invaders told the Inca that the diseases decimating their population were sent from the Christian god as punishment for their idolatrous ways.

In 1532 the Spanish Conquistador Francisco Pizarro seized Atahualpa. Atahualpa was eager to get himself released. For this purpose he lured the Spanish Conquistador. Atahualpa filled up a room with gold, jewellery, jars, pots, tiles and plaques and filled another room with silver. Pizarro accumulated the wealth and planned a plot against Atahualpa. He accused Atahualpa of plotting against him and had him killed. He then appointed Huascar's brother Manco as successor to the slain emperor. Manco's fate was no better than of Atahualpa. He was subjected to daily insults and harassment.

The frightened Manco when attempting to flee the capital was overtaken and imprisoned but he did not accept defeat. He plotted revenge and in 1536, Manco very smartly took the permission to pay homage to the ancient Gods at Yucay Valley. Manco promised to bring back the life-sized gold statue of Huayna Capac. Pizarro's judgment betrayed him at this point. The lust of gold had blinded him. He gave permission and within days Manco assembled an army of 100,000 strong men. He attacked the Spaniards and thus began a struggle led first by Manco and later by his sons that was to last 36 years -1536 to 1572.

The Spanish forces under Rodrigo Orgonez forced Manco to flee again to the valley of the Vilcabamba. They indulged in loot and plunder at Vitcos. And when they returned to Cuzco in July 1537, Manco and the remnants of his army disappeared into the mountains. In the court of Francisco Pizarro, human greed played its wicked role. The insatiable hunger for gold and empire led the Spanish to indulge in killing one another. Pizarro was murdered and when Manco soldiers heard this news they burst into Pizarro's palace and hacked him to death with their swords. Some of the Spanish soldiers were taken prisoner. From them Inca army learnt the fighting techniques. Manco himself learnt to ride a horse and fire an arquebus (an old fashioned hand gun). But even this blessing proved to be shortlived. Soon the fresh Spanish forces arrived from Spain and Manco was finally killed. Then the reins of rebellion was undertaken by Manco's son - Sayri Tupac.

Some years later Sayri Tupac accepted the Spanish offer. He was pardoned and taken to Cuzco, where a Christian marriage with Cusi Huarcay was formalized. This marriage proved shortlived. After two years Sayri Tupac died (or was killed?) on his estate in the Yucay Valley. After this death, second son of Manco Titu Cusi succeeded to the Inca throne. He died after eleven years and the succession passed on to Tupac Amaru, another son of the Manco. He was the last Inca emperor who led a strong crusade against the Conquistadors, which his father had started three decades earlier.

In March 1572, the new viceroy of Peru, Francisco de Toledo, sent an emissary to Vilcabamba. But Toledo's envoy could not reach Vilcabamba. Inca soldiers intercepted and killed him. This enraged the new viceroy so much that he launched a brutal assault on the Inca's citadel. The Spaniards entered the gates of Vilcabamba and were received by the smoking ruins of a deserted town only. Tupac Amaru with his followers had already fled into the vast Amazon jungle - only to escape death for a short-time. He was ultimately caught and beheaded before a huge crowd of prostrate Indians. Surprisingly, despite such political intrigues, none of the Spanish Colonial maps shows the exact location of Vilcabamba or Vitcos. And the search for these two places has been very vital for archaeologists and scholars for they believe that the last ruler buried his treasure there.

In 1768 a theory was put forward that the legendary city of Vilcabamba was the ruins at Choqquequirau - situated in the steep range near Apurimac river. American scholar, Hiram Bingham started the search for Apurimac region in 1909. He found in the jungle the infested ruins of Choqquequirau. But Lima historian, Don Carlos Romero and Bingham himself did not believe that Choqquequirau was Vilcabamba for the description of the 16th century writers just did not correspond with the area discovered.

However, Bingham re-read the accounts and restarted his search. On the way he met an Indian, named Melchor Anteaga. He offered to reveal the secret to him and guided Bingham to some ruins in the hollow peak towering more than 2,000 ft. above the Urubamba. These ruins were no doubt exemplary in their construction and beauty, but that it was the last city of Vilcabamba was doubtful.

As late as in 1964, the question of Vilcabamba again propped up. A group of farmers who set out in search of arable land in the north of Peru came across some unknown ruins. They named these ruins as Gran Pajaten. This newly discovered city is situated on a crescent-shaped cliff about 9,500 ft. above the sea level. Its architecture is round with paved paths, short flights of steps and small squares. An aerial survey showed that there were many ruins at Gran Pajaten. About 3,000 have been so far recorded. They are scattered over seven hills and are linked by a roadway. This roadway is in some places not more than 4 yards wide and disappears into the forest.

Still unsatisfied with the discovery, Americans started a new expedition in 1964-65. The expedition was led by General savoy. He started where Bingham left, identified the ruins discovered by Bingham at Espiritu Pampa and based his assumptions on several pieces of evidence. He observed the walls, the ceramics, the art and related them with several reports furnished by the Spanish writers. He finally drew the conclusion that Espiritu Pampa was, infact, Vilcabamba. But several researchers do not agree with his hastily drawn conclusions. Only recently, one of the General Savoy's guides discovered yet another lost city with an area of just over a square mile. The entrance to this town is cut out of a single block of stone and instead of being trapezoid shaped in the Inca tradition this is in the form of a half moon. Some scholars put forward a theory that it could have been an attempt to build an arch, a sign of the presence of Spanish influence. The Indians who live there call it Hatun Vilcabamba, meaning Great on High, not all agree to this suggestion.

Some Inca artifacts found in the past were solid gold or silver, decorated with precious stones (for instance, emeralds). The value of some of these objects cannot be easily calculated, but it is highly probable that some larger items are worth millions of US dollars.

The Indians who claim to be the only legitimate heir of Inca tradition do not agree with the several finds. According to them, the Inca treasures lay at the bottom of a lake which only they could approach. Even the Peruvian archaeologists do not make any remarks. They remain silent as there are many more ruins which are yet to be dissected.

Sources :
World Famous Unsolved Mysteries by Abhay Kumar Dubcy;;

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imelda said...

hi there its been a long time since i got here. thank you for this post. it is very informative

Tripzibit said...

(@Imelda) Hi, how do you do? thank you for stopping by my friend. I'm sorry if i'm not visiting your site for a long time, because a lot of work to do.

Happy weekend.

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