The conquistador´s daughter and the Incan princess of Huaylas

T his is the story of two very powerful women who lived in the ancient towns of the Callejon de Huaylas and in our very own city of Huaraz. These women experienced first-hand the so-called “meeting of two worlds”, the bloody and cruel story of the clash of two empires, Spanish and Inca. What follows is a brief story of two of those women; Inés Huaylas Yupanqui, originally from this area, and her daughter Francisca Pizarro Yupanqui, “the first mestiza of Peru”.

Inés Huaylas Yupanqui, also known as Quispe Sisa, was an Incan princess (a ñusta). She was the sister of the last Incan rulers, brothers Huáscar and Atahualpa, and she was the first wife of Francisco Pizarro, the leader in the Conquest of Peru. According to the chronicle of J. Antonio del Busto, she was baptised into the Christian faith, and it was at that point that she was christened Inés, in memory of a sister of Pizarro. Her surname Huaylas (the area now known as Huaraz and Callejón de Huaylas) was to show where the princess had come from.

The old conqueror was sat at a table with his fellow conquerors when he was introduced to his wife. His nickname for her was “Pizpita”. The fruit of their marriage (by Inca rite) was a daughter they called Francisca Pizarro Yupanqui, born in December of 1534. Ines had another son, Gonzalo, but he died very young, in 1544. Francisca Pizarro Yupanqui was born on December 28, 1534 in Jauja, Peru. She was known as the first mestiza (person of mixed blood) in Peru.

Francisca and her late brother were recognised as legitimate heirs of Pizarro by Emperor Charles V in the royal decree of October 12, 1537. Like many of Pizarro’s close family, her father Pizarro died during the early period known as the Conquest. As the descendant of the Conquistador of Peru and the Inca royal house of Huayna Capac, Dona Francisca was now the heiress. After the death of her father, she was courted by the leading men of Spanish society in Peru. Amongst them was Gonzalo Pizarro, and together they made a powerful couple, feared by the Council of the Indies, with the means to establish a royal family in Peru.

However, the Spanish crown was eager to pacify antagonists in Peru and as such, the Pizarro family was moved to Europe, including the first mestizo. an attempt that managed to frustrate Agustín de Zárate, although Gonzalo would be abandoned before the power of the king of Spain, represented by the viceroys Blasco Núñez Vela and Pedro de la Gasca, and finally defeated in the Battle of Jaquijahuana. Francisca was taken to Spain in 1550. She made the journey with her stepfather, Francisco de Ampuero, the mayor Lima and second husband of her mother Inés Huaylas.  Francisca was twenty years old when she married her uncle Hernando Pizarro. Together they had five children: Francisco, Juan, Gonzalo, Isabel and Ines. However, her husband Hernando died and so in 1580, she remarried an aristocrat, Pedro Arias Portocarrero, son of the second Count of Puñonrostro. At this point she moved to the court of Madrid.

Removed from the turbulent life of the conquest,  Francisca led a relatively courtly life in Spain, where she was known as Doña Francisquita. She supported the construction of the Palace of the Conquest, in the Plaza Mayor of Trujillo (Spain), the cathedral in the main square of Lima (Peru), and she contributed to many other works and institutions, especially the Convent of Mercy of Trujillo, and resident Tirso de Molina who thanked her in his work “Amazonas en las Indias“.

Francisca Pizarro Yupanqui died in Trujillo Spain in 1598 at the age of 63.

Story by Carlos Cam, Peruvian of Incan, Spanish and Chinese descent. Historian and presenter of a television program on channel 3 of Cable Andino.

Translation and corrections by Nicola Phillips

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