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Explorer Juan Pizarro

Juan Pizarro Alonso (Trujillo, Spain, ca.1510 – Cuzco, Nueva Castilla (present-day Peru), 1536) was a Spanish conqueror, one of Francisco Pizarro’s brothers. He took part in the first actions of the conquest of the Inca empire, until the defense of Cuzco, besieged by the troops of Manco Inca. There he was seriously injured, when a stone struck him in the head, dying shortly after.

History of Juan Pizarro

The explorer Juan Pizarro was the illegitimate son of Captain Gonzalo Pizarro and Rodríguez de Aguilar, called “El Largo” or “El Tuerto”, and of María Alonso, his maid and daughter of some millers from La Zarza, some four or five leagues from Trujillo; brother by father and mother of Gonzalo Pizarro and paternal brother of Francisco Pizarro and Hernando Pizarro.

Acoording to the history of Juan Pizarro, he was born around 1510, in Trujillo. When his father died in 1522, he recognized all his illegitimate children, and mentions him and his brother Gonzalo in his will, entrusting his legitimate son, Hernando, to take care of them and treat them as brothers.

In 1529, explorer Juan Pizarro returned to his native Trujillo, after signing the Capitulation of Toledo with the crown by which he was appointed Governor, Adelantado and Mayor of Nueva Castilla, being received by his relatives, including his brothers Hernando, Juan and Gonzalo, who recognized him as their father’s first-born, deciding without hesitation to accompany him on his adventure in the new continent (1530).

Explorer Juan Pizarro participated in the main actions of the conquest such as the capture of the Inca Atahualpa in Cajamarca in 1532, taking charge of the infantry in this action. He was on the list of the distribution of the gold and silver of the rescue in Cajamarca.

Named captain by his brother the Governor, he participated in the Spanish foundation of Cuzco on March 23, 1534, and was appointed Regidor in the first Cabildo called. While in Cuzco, he held the monarch Manco Inca or Manco II prisoner, subjecting him and his brother Gonzalo to mistreatment and humiliation. Hernando Pizarro, after being appointed Lieutenant Governor by his brother the Marquis Governor Francisco Pizarro, arrived in Cusco, and upon learning of the Inca’s situation, he went to visit him, to ask for more gold. Manco Inca promised to give him some gold statues, but on the condition that he be released to go find them in a secret place located in Yucay. Hernando believed him and set him free, which Manco Inca took advantage of to organize his formidable rebellion. On the morning of April 6, 1536, the Spanish were surrounded in Cusco by thousands of Inca warriors.

During the rebellion, the hosts of Manco Inca took the Fortress of Sacsayhuaman, developing one of the bloodiest battles of the conquest. The fight was tough on both sides, on the Spanish side Juan Pizarro’s bravery stood out, accompanied by his brother Gonzalo Pizarro and his cousin Pedro Pizarro (who years later became a chronicler). In one of the combats leading a squad on foot and on horseback, he was wounded by a stone to the head and died for 14 days before dying. He was buried in the Greater Church of Cuzco.

Pedro Pizarro comments on Juan Pizarro, who was measured, little to speak, brave and spirited, and who was a better infant than rider.


Explorer Juan Pizarro did not leave legitimate children. But acoording to the history of Juan Pizarro, he mentions a girl born in Cusco in 1534, of whom he claims not to be the father and whose mother, a coya, gave him services, for which he leaves him an amount of money for her marriage, to order will of his brother Hernando.

With Francisca Coya:

Francisca Pizarro Coya, daughter of Juan Pizarro, was sent in 1549, together with her cousin Inés Pizarro Inquill, daughter of Gonzalo Pizarro, to Spain by the acting Governor Pedro de La Gasca, to be educated far from the Indies and in the shadow of the Pizarro de Trujillo. She married Garcilópez Gonzáles, with offspring.

In the archive of the Indies there is a memorial dated 1614, which mentions a Cecilia Vásquez Pizarro, granddaughter of the conqueror Juan Pizarro, specifying that Juan Pizarro had a girl named Francisca Pizarro Coya in an Indian noblewoman named Francisca Coya, who was under the tutelage of his uncle Gonzalo Pizarro; who, as an adult, married Garcilópez Gonzáles, by whom she had children, among whom was Cecilia Vásquez Pizarro.

Tours in Cusco: