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The conquest of Peru by an obscure adventurer is one of the most dramatic episodes in the history of the New World Until he was nearly 50 years old Francisco Pizzaro serving as a minor Spanish official on the Isthmus of Panama had nothing to show for his years of toil and peril but a small holding of land Little more than a decade later he had conquered the fabulously wealthy empire of the Incas and had bestowed on Spain the richest of its American possessions He also founded the city of Lima now the capital of Peru Pizarro was born in about 1475 in Trujillo a small town near Caceres Spain The illegitimate son of a Spanish captain he spent his childhood with his grandparents in one of Spains poorest regions He apparently never learned to read or write Pizarro travelled to the Caribbean island of Hispaniola in 1502 Upon arriving in the New World Pizzaro served as a member of the governors military detachment on the island and in 1513 participated in the Vasco Nunez de Balboa expedition that ended in the discovery of the Pacific Ocean From 1519 to 1523 he served as a mayor of the town of Panama He accumulated a small fortune during this period but in 1523 the accounts of the riches captured by Hernando Cortes as well as rumors of a vast and wealthy Indian civilization to the south that possessed incalcuable riches encouraged Pizarro to seek further wealth With the help of two friends a solider named Diego de Almagro who provided the equipment and the vicar of Panama Hernando de Luque who was to remain behind to look after their mutual interests and to keep in Pedrariass governor of Panama favor so that he might continue to support their enterprise he seeked to conquer new land In his first expedition Pizzaro went with about 80 men and a small number of horsesThe
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