With the capture of the Inca, all resistance ceased. The news spread through the country like wildfire, and all thought of real resistance was gone. Even the thousands of soldiers encamped round the city took fright, and scattered
The only being which might have kept the Indians united was cut.
That night, the Inca supped with Pizarro. He showed surprising courage, and remained impassible throughout the meal.
The next day, the sack of the city began. Never had the Spaniards seen so much gold and silver. Atahualpa, quick to see their greed, offered Pizarro to buy his liberty by covering with gold the floor of the room in which they were. Finally, he declared that he would not only cover the floor, but also fill the room as high as he could reach custom woven labels .
With that, he made a mark on the wall with his fingertip; and Pizarro, accepting, ordered a red line to be drawn round the room at that height. The room was seventeen feet by twenty-two long, and the line was drawn nine feet from the ground.”
At this point, the red priest stopped and walked slowly to a ruined wall. Here,” he said, pointing to a still faintly visible line, was the mark of the ransom.
Atahualpa, moreover, promised to fill a neighboring room with silver, and asked for two months in which to fulfil the task. His messengers, chosen among the Spaniards’ prisoners, were despatched into all the provinces of the Empire.
Meanwhile, the Inca was closely watched, for his captivity meant not only Pizarro’s security, but also fabulous riches for the Conquistadors. The room filled gradually, Indians arriving daily with golden goblets, platters, vases and bar gold to lay at the feet of their prisoned ruler. On some days, we are told, as much as 60,000 pesos of booty was brought in.
To hasten the gathering of the ransom, Pizarro sent his brother Fernando to Cuzco, the greatest city of the Incas. With them went a messenger from Atahualpa, at whose orders the priests stripped the Temple of the Sun, and the inhabitants gave up every scrap of precious metal in their possession. Fernando brought back with him, besides a mass of silver, 200 full loads of gold.
Now faced with the problem of taking his plunder from the country, Pizarro ordered the melting-down of the hundreds of objects massed in the treasure-room. The finest pieces sent from temples and palaces were set aside for Charles V., to show the Emperor what a wonderful land had been added to his possession—all the rest was to be reduced to ingots dermes .
The native jewelers, obeying Atahualpa, worked night and day for a month to carry out this task. When the ingots were weighed, the Spaniards found that they had gold to the value of 1,326,539 pesos de oro. This would mean, in modern currency, and taking into consideration the altered value of money, more than three and a half millions sterling, or close on fifteen and a half million dollars.