Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Atahualpa - the unhappy Inca Emperor

'The time is right to strike the Inca Empire'.
[Francisco Pirazzo in a letter to the King of Spain]

The Incas of Peru worshipped their Sun God Inti.

They built lavish temples to Inti, which they garnished with gold, believing gold to be Inti's tears - 'the tears of the Sun'.

But it was also gold that the Spanish conquerors wanted. 

For them gold was not the Sun God's presence on Earth, but a commodity they could use to finance their wars and conquests.

So the invaders' leader Francisco Pizarro kidnapped the Inca Emperor Atahaulpa and would only free him in exchange for a ro0m full of GOLD.

The Inca people loved their king and they quickly amassed a mighty hoard of gold and silver. 

But Pizarro had never any intention of sparing Atahaulpa, and once he had his gold he sentenced him to death by burning him alive.

Atahaulpa pleaded with his captor, telling him that if he were burnt his soul would be unable to join his ancestors in the afterlife.

His Spanish gaoler listened to his plea and agreed to his request. But on condition that he convert to Christian Catholicism. 

For centuries Catholicism had been the oppressor of Europe, punishing free thought with excommunication and worse, and censoring all forms of scientific progress.

Its founder, on the other hand, Jesus Christ, like Ghandi after him, had been a pacifist, a man of peace, who told his followers that they should not hate their enemies, they should love them.

'I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.'  Mahatma Ghandi.

But the moment Christianity was adopted as the official religion of the all-conquering Roman Empire, it ceased being a peaceful pacifist movement, and became instead one of oppression. 

And in the fifteenth century this meant one thing: the feared, dreaded and unholy INQUISITION

Torquemada, Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition.

Llorente, the historian of the Inquisition, computed that Torquemada and his collaborators, 'in the course of eighteen years, burnt at the stake ten thousand two hundred and twenty persons .... and otherwise punished ninety-seven thousand three hundred and twenty-one'. 
[History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science by John William Draper.]

But if Atahaulpa wished to save his soul then he would have to accept the demands of his captors. 

So Atahaulpa became a Catholic Christian. 

And true to his word, Pizarro did not have him burnt. 

He had him garrotted instead. 

And then he took his gold. 

The tears of his god.

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