“…the breed of men who conquered a continent with a handful of adventurers, wore hair shirts day and night until they stuck to their flesh, and braved the mosquitoes of the Pilcomayo and the Amazon” – Gerald Brenan
The Conquistador, Francisco Pizzaro…
It is a magnificent statue, matched only by that of El Cid in Burgos, and I challenge anyone not to admire it. Here is the gigantic figure of Pizarro astride his proud giant of a horse dominating the entire square of Trujillo, head up, beard jutting and helmet plumes flowing as though trying to stay attached to his armour whilst at full gallop.
The statue captures and epitomises the flare and the audacity of the conquistadores and in his hand he carries a menacing sword but in a message that here was a man who lived and died by the sword the statue has no scabbard which seems to suggest that he rarely ever put the blade away!
Francisco Pizzaro was born in Trujillo and became a conquistador who travelled along much of the Pacific coast of South America. With an army of only one hundred and eighty men and less than thirty horses he encountered the ancient Incan empire and brutally and quickly conquered it, killing thousands of natives, including the Inca King Atahualpa and stealing immense hoards of gold, silver, and other treasures for the King of Spain and for himself including the Inca King’s wife who he took for a mistress.
As a consequence of Pizzaro’s adventures, Spain became the greatest, richest and most powerful country in the world at the time and as well as conquering Peru and founding the city of Lima, he also added Ecuador and Columbia to the Spanish Empire thus providing immense new territories and influence and spreading Roman Catholicism to the New World.