Bibliography Texts

History of the Incas

Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa

Chapter 46, with a description of the islands of Avachumbi and Ninachumbi. Bracketed sentence in italics is as directed by the translator/editor, Sir Clements Markham, to indicate an interpolation into the manuscript by Sarmiento. The footnote (*) is Markham's, but see the Notes page for a correction.


Tupac Inca Yupanqui sets out, a second time, by order of his father, to conquer what remained unsubdued in Chinchay-Suyu.

Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui knew from the report made by his son when he returned from the conquest of Chinchay-suyo, that there were other great and rich nations and provinces beyond the furthest point reached by Tupac Inca. That no place might be left to conquer, the Inca ordered his son to return with a view to the subjugation of the parts of Quito. He assembled the troops and gave his son the same two brothers as his colleagues, Tilca Yupanqui and Anqui Yupanqui, who had gone with him on the former expedition. [Tupac inflicted unheard of cruelties and deaths on those who defended themselves and did not wish to give him obedience.]

In this way he arrived at Tumipampa, within the territory of Quito, whose Sinchi, named Pisar Ccapac, was confederated with Pilla-huaso, Sinchi of the provinces and size of Quito. These two chiefs had a great army and were determined to fight Tupac Inca for their country and lives. Tupac sent messengers to them, demanding that they should lay down their arms and give him obedience. They replied that they were in their own native country, that they were free, and did not wish to serve any one nor be tributaries.

Tupac and his colleagues rejoiced at this answer, because their wish was to find a pretext to encounter them with blows and to rob them, which was the principal object of the war. They say that the Inca army numbered more than 250,000 experienced soldiers. Tupac ordered them to march against the men of Quito and the Cañaris. They encountered each other, both sides fighting with resolution and skill. The victory was for a long time doubtful because the Quitos and Cañaris pressed stubbornly against their enemies. When the Inca saw this he got out of the litter in which he travelled, animated his pepole, and made signs for the 50,000 men who were kept in reserve for the last necessity. When these fresh troops appeared the Quitos and Cañaris were defeated and fled, the pursuit being continued with much bloodshed and cruelty, the victors shouting “Ccapac Inca Yupanqui! Cuzco! Cuzco!” All the chiefs were killed. They captured Pilla-huaso in the vanguard. No quarter was given, in order to strike terror into those who heard of it.

Thence Inca Tupac marched to the place where now stands the city of San Francisco de Quito, where they halted to cure the wounded and give much needed rest to the others. So this great province remained subject, and Tupac sent a report of his proceedings to his father. Pachacuti rejoiced at the success of his son, and celebrated many festivals and sacrifices on receiving the tidings.

After Tupac Inca had rested at Cuzco, re-organized his army, and cured the wounded he went to Tumipampa, where his wife and sister bore him a son, to whom he gave the name of Titu Cusi Hualpa, afterwards known as Huayna Ccapac. After the Inca Tupac had rejoiced and celebrated the birthday festivals, although the four years were passed that his father had given him to complete the conquests, he heard that there was a great nation towards the South Sea, composed of Indians called Huancavelicas. So he determined to go down to conquer. At the head of the mountains above them he built the fortress of Huachalla, and then went down against the Huancavelicas. Tupac divided his army into three parts, and took one by the most rugged mountains, making war on the Huancavelica mountaineers. He penetrated so far into the mountains that for a long time nothing was known of him, whether he was dead or alive. He conqured the Huancavelicas although they were very warlike, fighting on land and at sea in balsas, from Tumbez to Huañapi, Huamo, Manta, Turuca and Quisin.

Marching and conquering on the coast of Manta, and the island of Puna, and Tumbez, there arrived at Tumbez some merchants who had come by sea from the west, navigating in balsas with sails. They gave information of the land whence they came, which consisted of some islands called Avachumbi and Ninachumbi, where there were many people and much gold. Tupac Inca was a man of lofty and ambitious ideas, and was not satisfied with the regions he had already conquered. So he determined to challenge a happy fortune, and see if it would favour him by sea. Yet he did not lightly believe the navigating merchants, for such men, being great talkers, ought not to be credited too easily. In order to obtain fuller information, and as it was not a business of which news could easily be got, he called a man, who accompanied him in his conquests, named Antarqui who, they all declare, was a great necromancer and could even fly through the air. Tupac Inca asked him whether what the merchant mariners said was true. Antarqui answered, after having thought the matter well out, that what they said was true, and that he would go there first. They say he accomplished this by his arts, traversed the route, saw the islands, their people and riches, and, returning, gave certain information of all to Tupac Inca.

The Inca, having this certainty, determined to go there. He caused an immense number of balsas to be constructed, in which he embarked more than 20,000 chosen men; taking with him as captains Huaman Achachi, Cunti Yupanqui, Quihual Tupac (all Hanan-cuzcos), Yancan Mayta, Quisu Mayta, Cachimapaca Macus Yupanqui, Llimpita Usca Mayta (Hurin-cuzcos); his brother Tilca Yupanqui being general of the whole fleet. Apu Yupanqui was left in command of the army which remained on land.

Tupac Inca navigated and sailed on until he discovered the islands of Avachumbi and Ninachumbi, and returned, bringing back with him black people, gold, a chair of brass, and a skin and jaw bone of a horse. These trophies were preserved in the fortress of Cuzco until the Spaniards came. An Inca now living had charge of this skin and jaw bone of a horse. He gave this account, and the rest who were present corroborated it. His name is Urco Huarana. I am particular about this because to those who know anything of the Indies it will appear a strange thing and difficult to believe. The duration of this expedition undertaken by Tupac Inca was nine months, others say a year, and, as he was so long absent, every one believed he was dead. But to deceive them and make them think that news of Tupac Inca had come, Apu Yupanqui, his general of the land army, made rejoicings. This was afterwards commented upon to his disadvantage, and it was said that he rejoiced because he was pleased that Tupac Inca Yupanqui did not appear. It cost him his life.

These are the islands which I discovered in the South Sea on the 30th of November, 1567, 200 and more leagues to the westward, being the great discovery of which I gave notice to the Licentiate Governor Castro. But Alvaro de Mendaña, General of the Fleet, did not wish to occupy them.*

* This story of the navigation of Tupac Inca to the islands of Ninachumpi and Avachumpi or Hahua chumpi is told by [Cabello de] Balboa as well as by Sarmiento. They were no doubt two of the Galápagos Islands. Nina chumpi means fire island, and Hahua chumpi outer island. See my introduction to the Voyages of Sarmiento, p. xiii; and Las Islas de Galapagos by Marco Jimenes de la Espada.

After Tupac Inca disembarked from the discovery of the islands, he proceeded to Tumipampa, to visit his wife and son and to hurry preparations for the return to Cuzco to see his father, who was reported to be ill. On the way back he sent troops along the coast to Truxillo, then called Chimu, where they found immense wealth of gold and silver worked into wands, and into beams of the house of Chimu Ccapac, with all which they joined the main army at Caxamarca. Thence Tupac Inca took the route to Cuzco, where he arrived after an absence of six years since he set out on this campaign.

Tupac Inca Yupanqui entered Cuzco with the greatest, the richest, and the most solemn triumph whith which any Inca had ever reached the House of the Sun, bringing with him people of many different races, strange animals, inunmerable quantities of riches. But behold the evil condition of Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui and his avarice, for though Tupac Inca was his son whose promotion he had procured, he felt such jealousy that his son should have gained such honour and fame in those conquests, that he publicly showed annoyance that it was not himself who triumped, and that all was not due to him. So he determined to kill his sons Tilca Yupanqui and Auqui Yupanqui who had gone with Tupac Inca, their crime being that they had disobeyed his orders by delaying longer than the time he had fixed, and that they had taken his son to such a distance that he thought he would never return to Cuzco. They say that he killed them, though some say that he only killed Tilca Yupanqui. At this Tupac Inca Yupanqui felt much aggrieved, that his father should have slain one who had worked so well for him. The death was concealed by many feasts in honour of the victories of Tupac Inca, which continued for a year.