National Geographic : 1992 Feb
served as mayor. In his late 40s, he was to respected and quite rich. Most men in his situation would have been content to retire A after a hard and successful career, to What made Pizarro now embark on years P of desperate battling down the coast of South sp America, spending his fortune, risking health O and life, in pursuit of a chimera? The tough P professional became an obsessed Don e Quixote. Professor Jose Antonio del Busto, la Peru's leading biographer of Pizarro, re- sa minded me that he had been a keen gambler. "Later in life he loved playing dice or betting fe on his skills at bowls, pelota, or horseshoe h tossing. But he was not a big player-he was ci perfectly happy competing against sailors or fc workingmen for penny stakes." h Pizarro was a calm, deliberate man; he had no expensive tastes. He knew only his voca- lu tion: fighting and exploring. Rather than re- sa tire, he preferred to roll the dice once more- ai With shouts of "Santiago," Spain's battle cry against the Moors, Pizarro's horsemen charged thousands of Inca assembled in the square at Cajamarca. Slashing into the royal retinue, the Spaniards toppled Atahualpa from his litter and took him prisoner. Seek glory as leader of his own enterprise. Pizarro formed a partnership with Diego de lmagro and a priest, Hernando de Luque, Finance exploration southward along the acific coast. The trio bought a ship and )ent all their money on supplies and men. n November 14, 1524, Pizarro sailed from anama in command of the first of his three expeditions of discovery. Three tough years ter came the turning point, the line in the ind of Isla del Gallo. With only 13 loyal men remaining, Pizarro lt that Gallo was too vulnerable to attack; e moved to an island farther out in the Pa fic. The little group survived like castaways >r seven months. They christened this hell ole Gorgona, the anteroom of Hades. Finally in late March 1528, Pizarro's lck turned. The pilot Bartolome Ruiz tiled from Panama to Gorgona nd rescued the band.