Why Is Francisco Pizarro Important in World History?

Francisco Pizarro was a Spanish conquistador who is known for his expeditions to South America in the 16th century. He played a significant role in the conquest of the Inca Empire and has left an indelible mark in world history. In this article, we will explore why Francisco Pizarro is important and what his achievements mean for us today.

The Early Life of Francisco Pizarro

Francisco Pizarro was born in Trujillo, Spain, in 1478. He grew up in poverty and had very limited education.

At the age of 20, he joined an expedition to the New World led by Vasco Núñez de Balboa. This was the beginning of Pizarro’s career as a conquistador.

The Conquest of the Inca Empire

Pizarro’s most famous achievement was the conquest of the Inca Empire. In 1531, he set sail from Panama with a small army of men and landed on the coast of Peru. At that time, the Inca Empire was at its peak and controlled much of South America.

Despite being vastly outnumbered, Pizarro managed to defeat the Inca army led by Atahualpa at Cajamarca in 1532. He captured Atahualpa and held him for ransom, demanding a room full of gold and silver as payment for his release. The Incas paid the ransom but Pizarro still executed Atahualpa.

The Impact on World History

Pizarro’s conquest of the Inca Empire had far-reaching consequences for world history. It opened up South America to Spanish colonization and paved the way for other European powers such as Portugal, France, and England to establish their presence in the New World.

The conquest also had a profound impact on the indigenous population of South America. The Inca Empire was one of the most advanced civilizations in the world at that time, with sophisticated architecture, agriculture, and social organization. The Spanish conquest led to the destruction of much of this culture and the enslavement of millions of people.

Legacy of Francisco Pizarro

Francisco Pizarro is a controversial figure in history. Some see him as a hero who expanded the frontiers of Western civilization, while others see him as a ruthless conqueror who destroyed an entire civilization and caused immense suffering.

Regardless of one’s perspective on Pizarro, there is no denying that his expeditions to South America had a profound impact on world history. His conquests opened up new worlds for exploration and colonization, but they also led to the exploitation and subjugation of indigenous peoples. Today, we remember Francisco Pizarro as a complex historical figure whose legacy will continue to be debated for years to come.


In conclusion, Francisco Pizarro was an important figure in world history due to his conquests in South America. His expedition to Peru led to the downfall of the Inca Empire and paved the way for European colonization in the New World.

However, his actions also had negative consequences for indigenous peoples and their cultures. As we reflect on Pizarro’s legacy today, we must acknowledge both his achievements and his shortcomings if we are to truly understand his impact on our world.