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Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia

The Inca conquered the Chimu empire and took over their imperial systems wholesale. New conquests continued to be added until they ruled an enormous empire in western South America.

This great state came crashing down after the arrival of a small Spanish force under Francisco Pizzaro. Dissident Indians, spectacular Spanish ruthlessness and, most importantly, European diseases, which wiped out millions of Indians, greatly assisted Pizzaro and his men, and soon only small pockets of resistance remained.

The Spanish crown soon imposes its authority directly on the colony, through its own officials sent from Spain. Peru becomes the centre of Spain’s growing South American empire. At this time thousands of Spaniards are pouring into Peru, eager to have a share in this brave (and, hopefully, fabulously wealthy) new world. Silver mining is the key economic activity, making Peru and Bolivia the most valuable parts of Spanish empire. The capital, Lima, is the greatest city in the Americas, home of the viceregal court and centre of Spanish society and culture in the New World. With its port, Callao, it is the focal point of international trade in Spanish South America – by law all overseas trade of Spanish South America has to pass through Lima and Callao.

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