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History of the Conquest of Peru; with a preliminary view of the civilization of the Incas   By: (1796-1859)

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In his monumental work, the author, William Hickling Prescott, masterfully delves into the captivating history of the conquest of Peru. With meticulous research and a captivating narrative style, Prescott provides readers with an expansive account of the Inca civilization and its ultimate demise at the hands of Spanish conquistadors.

Prescott starts his exploration by painting a vivid picture of the Inca Empire in its prime. Through detailed descriptions, readers get a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage, the efficient administrative systems, and the awe-inspiring architectural wonders of the Incas. The author's preliminary view of Inca civilization acts as an essential foundation for understanding the subsequent events.

One of the book's great strengths lies in its inherent balanced perspective. While Prescott recognizes the brutality and exploitation brought upon by the Spanish conquerors, he manages to empathize with both sides. His portrayal of the conquistadors is complex, showcasing their personal ambitions along with the underlying religious fervor that propelled them forward.

Prescott's meticulous research is evident throughout the book. Drawing from primary sources and firsthand accounts, he weaves together an intricate tapestry of historical events. His attention to detail ensures that readers are immersed in the narrative, capturing the turbulence, the conflicts, and the alliances that shaped the conquest.

The author's ability to present a wide array of characters is commendable. From the resilient Inca emperor Atahualpa to the enigmatic conquistador Francisco Pizarro, every figure comes to life under Prescott's skilled pen. These vivid portrayals make for a truly engaging reading experience, where readers can glimpse into the hearts and minds of the people who shaped this turbulent period of history.

In addition, Prescott's prose is elegant and accessible, making it a pleasure to read. His ability to present complex historical events in a concise and engaging manner is a testament to his skill as a writer. The book flows smoothly, seamlessly transitioning between different perspectives and weaving together various narratives.

While some readers may find the extensive detail and abundance of names overwhelming, the comprehensive nature of the book is its greatest strength. Prescott leaves no stone unturned, ensuring that readers walk away with a thorough understanding of the conquest of Peru and the civilization of the Incas.

Overall, "History of the Conquest of Peru; with a preliminary view of the civilization of the Incas" is an outstanding work of historical literature. Prescott's exhaustive research, coupled with his captivating narrative style, makes this book an indispensable resource for anyone interested in understanding the fascinating story of the Inca civilization and its ultimate downfall. Whether you are a history enthusiast or a casual reader, this book will transport you back in time, immersing you in an enthralling tale of conquest, power, and cultural exchange.

First Page:

Etext of The History Of The Conquest Of Peru by William H. Prescott

"Congestae cumulantur opes, orbisque rapinas Accipit."

Claudian, In Ruf., lib. i., v. 194.

"So color de religion Van a buscar plata y oro Del encubierto tesoro." Lope De Vega, El Nuevo Mundo, Jorn. 1.


The most brilliant passages in the history of Spanish adventure in the New World are undoubtedly afforded by the conquests of Mexico and Peru, the two states which combined with the largest extent of empire a refined social polity, and considerable progress in the arts of civilization. Indeed, so prominently do they stand out on the great canvas of history, that the name of the one, notwithstanding the contrast they exhibit in their respective institutions, most naturally suggests that of the other; and, when I sent to Spain to collect materials for an account of the Conquest of Mexico, I included in my researches those relating to the Conquest of Peru.

The larger part of the documents, in both cases, was obtained from the same great repository, the archives of the Royal Academy of History at Madrid; a body specially intrusted with the preservation of whatever may serve to illustrate the Spanish colonial annals. The richest portion of its collection is probably that furnished by the papers of Munoz... Continue reading book >>

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