Category: Peru

October 26th, 2003 by Charlene Caprio

Hiram Bingham wrote in his book Lost City of the Incas, ìIt will be remembered that it was in July 1911, that I began the search for the last Inca capital.î

The place he was referring to was not called Machu Picchu, but Vilcabamba. There, the last Inca ruler Manco built a fortress to rebel against the invading Spaniards. He chose a location deep in the jungle of the Andes, inaccessible by Spanish horses. Mancoís men shot arrows through any Spaniard trying to attack Vilcabamba by foot.

The Inca’s √ɬ¨Great Rebellion√É¬Æ lasted until 1572, when the Spaniards captured Manco√ɬ≠s third ruling son, Tupac Amaru. They brought him to the main square of Cusco, the great Inca city besieged by Spaniards, and beheaded him. Don Francisco de Toledo, the Viceroy of Peru ordered that Tupac Amaru√ɬ≠s body be dismembered to bring fear to the remaining Incas and to suppress any future uprisings. Thus ended the Inca civilization in Peru.

Bingham searched for Vilcabamba because it was believed that the Incas brought their treasures there for final safekeeping. He had heard about the site while tracing Spanish colonial routes in the Andes. Local farmers tried to convince Bingham that another Inca site called Choqquequirau (ìCradle of Goldî) was indeed Vilcabamba. But the meager findings at the site did not convince him. Bingham returned to Yale University, where he was professor, and planned his search for Vilcabamba.

In 1911, with financial support from Yale, Bingham traveled to southern Peru with two colleagues. They hired local guides in Cusco and set out to find the last Inca capital. They ventured through the Inca sacred valley, along the banks of the sacred river Urubumba, and up into the Andes Mountains. Read more of this article »

Posted in Archaeology, Peru