The Inca Emperors

"Be advised that I, being free, do not have to pay tribute to anyone, nor do I believe there is a king greater than I. ... However, I will have the pleasure to be the friend of your emperor, since he should be a great prince to send his armies throughout the world.  ..."

Atahualpa's response to Spaniards who asked him to surrender

Rather than having a crown, the Inca emperors wore a fringe on the center of their headdress as a symbol of their status.

Although the Inca Emperors ruled for several hundred years, it was only in the last 150 years that they were at their greatest power.  The most famous Inca Emperor was perhaps Atahualpa. His name meant "Bright Star".  He was ruler when the Spanish explorer Francisco Pizarro conquered the Incas in 1533.  He was held for ransom by the Spaniards.  For several months Inca officials filled a room with gold and silver an estimated $50 million in today's dollars.  But the Spaniards were still afraid of the power of Atahualpa and they executed him.

The last Inca emperor, Thupa Amaru, was also executed by the Spanish in 1572.    



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