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Peru Things to Do: 659 reviews and 852 photos

Cajamarca is an attractive colonial town in the north of Peru, surrounded by pretty mountains and countryside.

What marks Cajamarca apart from all the other run-of-the-mill colonial towns of Peru is its place in history. In 1532, the 2 Incas royal brothers Atahualpa and Huascar had fought a battle for the Inca's throne. Atahualpa beat his brother who was left in Quito (in Ecuador). He was returning to Cusco when he stopped at Cajamarca.

At that time, Francisco Pizarro and his 168 soldiers who had been marching for weeks, met Atahualpa there. The Spanish priests duly delivered the "Requirement" which was basically a document that Spanish conquistadores read to the native population before attacking them, giving them a brief history of the world, skewed towards the rise of Christianity, and demanded that the natives accept the King of Spain as their supreme ruler blahblahblah...

Naturally, 'no habla espanol' Atahualpa refused and Pizarro had him captured, and wholesale massacred several thousands of innocent Inca bystanders and soldiers for good measure.

Captured, Atahualpa offered them a ransom for his freedom - a room filled with gold and silver. The Spanish gleefully accepted the offer, but murdered Atahualpa after collecting the treasures.

In Cajamarca's city tour, a room, known as El Cuarto del Rescate, or "The Ransom Room" can be viewed. This was Atahualpa's cell, not the ransom room. There is a red mark on the wall, said to be drawn by Atahualpa, indicating how much the room would be filled up with treasure.

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  • Written Jan 12, 2008
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