sapa inca

Portrait of Túpac Amaru, the last Sapa Inca. In 1533, after the death of Atahualpa, Atahualpa’s brother, Manco Inca Yupanqui, was crowned Emperor by the Spaniards. In 1536, he revolted, gathered troops, and marched on the city of Cuzco and besieged it. The revolt was only partially successful, and he fled to the remote city of Vilcabamba where he continued to rule as Sapa Inca of a “post-Inca” or “neo-Inca” state. He was succeeded by his three sons, of whom Túpac Amaru was the last. Túpac Amaru was captured and executed by the Spanish in 1572, bringing the Inca Empire to a permanent end.

World History: Atahualpa

Atahualpa was the last Sapa Inca (sovereign emperor) of the Inca Empire before the Spanish conquest. During the Spanish conquest, the Spaniard Francisco Pizarro captured Atahualpa and used him to control the Inca Empire. Eventually, the Spanish executed Atahualpa, effectively ending the empire. Although a succession of several emperors who led the Inca resistance against the invading Spaniards claimed the title of Sapa Inca as rulers of the Neo-Inca State, the empire began to disintegrate after Atahualpa’s death. [x]

The War of the Two Brothers: The Division and Downfall of the Inca Empire

On the 26th of July 1533, the last ruler of the Inca Empire, Atahualpa, was executed by the Spanish with a garrotte. This marked the end of the once mighty Inca Empire, and the beginning of the Spanish conquest of that region of South America. Only a year earlier, Atahualpa had emerged victorious from a bloody civil war to become the Sapa Inca. This war is known variously as the Inca Civil War, the Inca Dynastic War, the Inca War of Succession, and the War of the Two Brothers. 

Royal Llama of the Inca

Most Inca goldwork and silverwork was melted down by the Spanish conquistadors. The Museum’s silver llama figurine is a rare example of Inca metalwork. Approximately 500 years old, it is from the Island of the Sun, or Lake Titicaca, Bolivia.

Every morning, an Inca priest presided over the sacrifice of a llama at the temple of the Sun. Anthropologists think that this figurine is a special white llama covered with a red blanket that was kept by the Inca ruler, or Sapa Inca, as a kind of mascot.

This object is located in the Hall of South American Peoples.