In 1500, the Inca Empire was a thriving, holistic community of twenty million souls, devoted to their supreme commander, the Sapa Inca. The Empire covered most of South America’s west coast. This culture believed it was center of the universe serving the sun deity Inti.
Contemporaneously, in Castile, the kingdom had only recently been united by the tenacious leadership of Queen Isabella. Her grandson and successor, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, would soon be struggling to sustain his vast holdings with gold shipped from the New World by the entrepreneurs known as conquistadors. Two of the most daring of them were partners, Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almalgro.
They launched three missions down the unexplored west coast of South America until, in 1527, they made their first contact with the Inca nation. In 1532, fewer than 180 Castilians confronted the hordes of Inca warriors. The drama that ensued – and its impact on the Emperor’s mission – changed Europe and the Inca nation forever.