Huascar”s mother, Rauha Ocllo sister of Huayna Capac, belonged to the Capac Ayllu panaca of Tupac Yupanqui (therefore Huascar was considered a member of this lineage and not the Tumipampa panaca).

In the case of Atahualpa, however, there is a whole controversy. Pedro Cieza de León said that he was born in Cusco and was older than Huascar. Cieza claims that his mother, Tupa Palla, was from a Hurin Cusco (Quillaco) lineage and denied that she was a princess from Quito. Diego Esquivel y Navia on the other hand when speaking of the end of Huyna Capac”s rule mentions the northern origin of Atahualpa”s mother, but further on when mentioning Huayna Capac”s descendants, names Thupa Atahuallpa and his mother Tocto Ocllo Cuca Coya, who belonged to the Hatun Ayllu (the lineage of Pachacuti).

The main promoter of Atahualpa”s northern origin was Garcilaso de La Veja, who belonged on his mother”s side to the lineage of Tupac Yupanc, and was therefore part of the panaca Capac Ayllu, the same as Huascar”s mother (Rauha Ocllo), which is why Garcilaso was a supporter of Huascar.

For this reason Garcilaso opted, followed by other chroniclers, for the version of a division of Tahuantinsuyu attributed to Huayna Capac in the sense of leaving the Curacado of Quito to Atahualpa and the rest of the states to Huascar. This fractionation resembled that which existed in European kingdoms during the medieval era among the sons of a king.

In his last campaign in the north, Huayna Capac was in Charcas when he heard that an insurrection had broken out in the northern curacados. He hastily returned to Cusco, held a war council, and enlisted a large army to march to Quito. In his retinue and among the nobles who accompanied him were his two sons Ninan Cuyuchi and Atahualpa. In the capital, Apu Hilaquita, Auqui Topa Inca (brother of Hayna Capac), Topa Cusi Hualpa (Huascar) and Tito Atauchi (Huascar”s brother and one of his main generals in the civil war) remained as governors.

Huayna Capac”s stay in the north lasted more than ten years, where he made numerous conquests; when he wasn”t waging war with some rebel ethnic group, he was in Tumipampa, the place where he was born and where he preferred to stay.

On one of these occasions Huayna Capac left Tumipampa to visit Pastos and Hancavilca. Upon arriving in Quito an epidemic was occurring in the city, possibly of smallpox or measles, which at that time eventually decimated the population of the Tahuantisuyu. These diseases appeared in these lands as a consequence of the presence of the Spaniards on their first voyages and did terrible damage to the inhabitants of the Andes, oblivious to these evils and without genetic defenses against them.

The news from Cusco was also alarming: in the capital two of the governors that Huayna Capac had appointed to administer the state had died victims of the epidemic, and to ward off illness the nobles performed prayers and sacrifices.

Attacked by evil, Huayna Capac gathered his relatives and nobles and appointed Ninan Cuyuchi, who had stayed in Tumipampa, as heir, and in second place appointed Huascar, but for both the omens proved negative. Disconcerted, the priest returned to the place where the Inca was to choose another successor, but he found Huayna Capac already dead.

The seemingly peaceful Tahuantisuyu comes to a boil when the sovereign elder passes away, political conjures, enemy parties and bands are formed, and harshly repressed passions flourish.

A group of nobles headed by Cusi Topa Yupamqui (from the Panaca of Pachacuti and relative of Atahualpa”s mother) went to Tumipampa to inform Ninan Cuyuchi of the last will of his deceased father, but when they arrived, they learned that his father had also died. It is possible that Atahualpa was the brother considered to be the double of Ninan Cuyuchi, and that this prince lived as the lord of the Antisuyu, as Amaru Yupanqui possibly was during the rule of Tupac Yupanqui.

Great preparations were made for Hayna Capac”s posthumous trip from Quito to Cusco. The Inca”s death was kept a secret for fear of uprisings and rebellions, and for this reason they took the Inca”s mummy to the capital as if he were still alive. Rauha Ociio, Huascar”s mother, left quickly for Cusco accompanied by some nobles to communicate the news to Huascar and prepare him for his election. Possibly it was she who had convinced the royal panacas to confirm Huascar”s appointment as Sapa Inca. Meanwhile Cusi Topa Yupamqui was assigned to transport the mummy to Cusco.

Upon the arrival of the funeral procession to the capital, the nobles in charge of the trip were harshly rebuked by Huascar for not having brought Atahualpa with them. Huascar accused them of favoring his brother and of preparing a treason against him. The surprised nobles swore innocence, but the incredulous Huascar tortured them, and as they confessed nothing, he ordered them killed.

The chroniclers believed that in the pre-Hispanic period the mascapaycha was inherited by the oldest legitimate son of a sovereign. Without a doubt, when we study the chronicles and check the events that took place after the death of each Inca, we discover that the succession habits were completely different. The chroniclers themselves refute their assertions when dealing with concrete cases.

A group of nobles went to the huaca of Urcos Calla to meet with the coya Rauha Ocllo, among them was Chuquis Guaman, who convinced some nobles to strike a coup, kill Huascar and put his half-brother Cusi Atauchi in his place. Fearing failure Chuquis Guaman went to Cusco and revealed to Tito Atauchi the plan to kill Huascar and his mother. Tito Atauchi, loyal to Huascar, arrested Chuquis Guaman, Cusi Atauchie and the other conspirators and ordered their execution.

While these events were taking place in Cusco, and after the departure of Huayna Capac”s retinue, Atahualpa returned to Tumipampa and ordered the construction of new palaces for a possible visit of Huascar. The latter sent secret messengers to Huascar to complain about Atahualpa and insinuate that he was preparing an uprising.

Huascar upon receiving the news from Ullco Colla became angry with his mother and sister for their carelessness in leaving Atahualpa in Quito, where the top generals who served Hayna Capac were, and Huascar believed that the military would support his brother.

Atahualpa, following his customs, sent rich presents to Huascar in Cusco, but Huascar became angry and killed the messengers. This caused a rift between the brothers, because Atahualpa could not return to Cusco as his brother had ordered, for that would mean certain death. Other sources quote that it was Huayna Capac”s generals who remained in the north that encouraged Atahualpa to rebel against his brother

While Atahualpa began an open rebellion against his brother, Huascar established his government in the capital and at the beginning of the confrontation had the support of the nobles of Cusco and the ruling class of the Tahuantinsuyu. But he did not worry about preserving his prestige among them, nor about gaining the friendship and respect of the generals who had faithfully served his father. Of a cowardly, violent, cruel and irresponsible character, Huascar did not give the nobles of the royal Ayllus the attention they were accustomed to. Andean traditions required the Inca to gather and attend the members of the panacas and the important ayllus at the great festivities held in the public square to strengthen the bonds of reciprocity between relatives, but Huascar did not attend the festivities.

Another reason for depreciation and resentment was that Huascar removed from his guard the guardian ayllus who had previously protected and cared for the Sapa Inca. After the intrigues and attempted uprising of Chuquis Guaman in favor of his brother Cusi Atauchi, Huascar distrusted the nobility of Cusco and decided that his guard would be made up of members of the Cananris and Chachapoyas ethnic groups an act that was considered and interpreted as an offense to the nobles.

Around 1529, Atahualpa was imprisoned by Cañaris loyal to Huáscar in a tambo, but freed during the night by sympathizers. Atahualpa headed for Quito, where he reorganized his forces and attacked Tomepampa.

Heading for Caxabamba, Atahualpa ordered the massacre of all the peoples and tribes that were allied with Huascar (the peoples of the Tallán region: Punaeños, Chimus, Yungas, Guayacundos and Cañaris). Atahualpa swept everything in his path until he reached Tumbes, where the majority of the population supported him. The Curaca Chirimasa (or Chili Masa) became one of his main allies and provided 12,000 warriors on rafts to conquer Puná Island, whose inhabitants were traditionally rivals of the Tumbes and loyal to Huáscar. The islanders, who were great navigators, defeated Atahualpa”s army superior in numbers.

In 1530, Huáscar organized a powerful army and sent it north with his brother, General Huaminca Atoc, in command. Meanwhile in Quito, Atahualpa was organizing his forces after the defeat at the island of Puná, gathered his generals Challcuchimac, Quizquiz, Rumiñahui and Ucumarí and ordered them to advance. Huascar”s plan was to advance north and take Tomepampa and Quito. In the confrontation Huascar”s forces emerged victorious, but despite winning they were unable to capture Atahualpa.

Atahualpa marched with the troops he could muster to Latacunga to reinforce his troops, ordering General Challcuchimac not to retreat any further and to give battle to the enemy . This initiative stimulated his followers who fought a second battle, this time under the command of Generals Quizquiz and Challcuchimac.

Huáscar appointed another of his brothers, Huanca Auqui, as the new supreme commander of his forces. Huascar”s troops attacked Tomepampa and Molleturo , but were defeated both times. The northerners continued their advance southward. Every day they increased their forces with new recruits, but they were still outnumbered (Huascar”s troops were estimated at about 80,000 men). As Atahualpa”s troops advanced, the Huascaristas retreated southward toward Cusco, suffering successive defeats along the way.

When the survivors of Huascar”s army arrived in Cajamarca, they tried to reorganize. There they received reinforcements led by General Tito Atauch, about 10,000 men, most of them chachapoyas. Atahualpa”s forces, led by Quizquiz, occupied Huancapampa and advanced to confront the enemy, fighting the battle of Cochahuaila (between Huancabamba and Huambo). The fighting was bloody and lasted until the end of the day. The next morning the warriors from Quito attacked the Chachapoyas, killing more than half of the contingent; what was left of the Huascarista army went to the Bombón Plateau (Pasco region). Huascar sent General Mayta Yupanqui and a contingent of nobles from Cusco to help his troops. With the reinforcements, the Cusco troops managed to defend the bridge over the Angoyaco River (present-day Izcuchaca) for more than a month, but after that they were forced to continue their retreat southward, and were again defeated at Vilcas.

By 1532, Atahualpa”s troops occupied central and southern Peru. Huascar transferred all his forces to Cusco, where they were reorganized into three armies. The first under his personal command, captained by nobles of Hurin Cusco, the second led by General Uampa Yupanqui, was sent to Cotabambas, where the enemy forces were. The third, commanded by General Huanca Auqui, was tasked with monitoring and ambushing the enemies when the opportunity arose. Meanwhile generals from Atahualpa Quizquiz and Challcuchimac crossed the Cotabamba River with their forces.

Uampa Yupanqui”s troops clashed with the enemy at Huanacopampa (Cotabambas province, in the Apurímac region). During this battle the northern general Tomay Rima was killed. At night Atahualpa”s troops retreated to a hill. Seeing that the place was surrounded by dry grass, Hascar ordered to start a fire that killed many of his enemies. The survivors managed to cross the Cotabamba River, but mistakenly Hascar decided not to pursue them.

The next day, Huascar ordered the general Topa Atao to cross the river and pursue the enemy. Topa Atao reached a ravine called Chontacajas, where he faced Challcuchimac”s troops, who were waiting for them in ambush , Topa Atao was defeated and captured. Challcuchimac then ordered Quizquiz to attack the enemy from the rear. Huascar, who was marching confidently, was surprised to see Challcuchimac blocking his path and Quizquiz attacking him from the rear and was easily trapped along with Topa Atao as his troops dispersed. After arresting Huascar, Challcuchimac proceeded to Huanacopampa, where Huascar”s last troops were quartered. Disguised as Huascar and in his litter, Challcuchimac managed to approach the Cusco troops and decimate them, while Huanca Auqui dispersed his troops when he learned of Huascar”s arrest, leaving Cusco free to be occupied.

After being imprisoned, Huascar was taken to Cusco by Chalcuchimac and Quizquiz, where he was forced to witness the deaths of his relatives, both direct and indirect. His mother had scolded him for the state he had left the Empire in for his way of governing. In prison he was insulted, fed human waste, and mocked all the time. He was 27 years old when he was killed, probably thrown into an abyss, but there is a version that he was drowned in the Negromayo river in Andamarca (Ayacucho region), by order of Atahualpa, when he was a prisoner of the Spanish.Some historians believe that Huáscar survived the Spanish invasion, fleeing to the Amazon forest and maintaining a resistance to the Spanish, because, his body was never found.


  1. Huáscar
  2. Huáscar
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