A r t s & L i f e
speculation about the possible location of hismau-
soleum,” he continued, explaining several of these
theories. “None of these versions are backed up by
historical fact and that is why they are all different.
“The reason behind these speculations is sim-
ple, only (Inca general) Rumiñahui and perhaps a
few other leaders of the resistance of Quito shared
the secret of the location of the tomb.”
The last emperor of the Incas represents a
famous and fascinating piece of Ecuadorian his-
tory. Atahualpawasapparently garrotedbySpanish
conquerors in 1533. Legend has it that Francisco
— offered to spare Atahualpa’s life and grant him
freedom in return for a room filled with gold and two adjoining rooms of silver. Pizarro took the deal and treasure
streamed in for the next three months carried by Inca peasants, as agreed. However, the Inca people were becoming
agitated, as their leader still had a strong influence on them from his prison cell, and Pizarro had Atahualpa killed
before the room could be filled.
Supposedly, Inca general Rumiñahui was travelling with a massive amount
of the remaining treasure (one estimate is 750 tons of worked gold, another is
70,000 man-loads) on his way to the capitol, Cajamarca, when he got word of
the death and diverted the caravan up into the Llanganates mountains.
Some of his soldiers are supposed to have unearthed the body of Atahualpa
in Cajamarca, buried in a Christian ceremony, and taken it with them to mummify
it after Inca tradition.
Rumiñahui is thought tohave secretly taken thebody to its final resting place,
where it has remained until this day, possibly hidden somewhere deep in this
forbidden jungle.
Duverneuil stated: “When he learned about the execution of Atahualpa,
Rumiñahui knew that the Spaniards, who were heading in the direction of Cuzco,
would eventually try to capture Quito and its gold. That is why, according to Cieza
de Leon, he removed the rest of the gold from Quito and hid it somewhere, quite
possibly along with the mummy of Atahualpa as required by Inca rituals.”
It seems that Rumiñahui first took the body to Pillaro, the general’s domain
and birthplace, known as the door of the Llanganates, he said. “We know for a
fact there was an Inca road that used to cross this area.
“The mummy had to be placed in a mausoleum made of stones. The Incas
also believed that the Sun God (Inti) could resurrect them as long as their body
was preserved … as per the tradition, other mummies… might be with his.”
‘Guaca de los Llanganates’
An old text talks about the ‘Guaca de los Llanganates’. A guaca is a tomb or burial
site of the ancient Indians. Various ancient texts support the idea that Atahualpa
is indeed buried in the area.
“We know that Atahualpa’s body was removed from its original grave, mum-
mified, brought to Rumiñahui in Riobamba (close to Llanganates), that the gold
and the other mummies were removed from Quito before the Spaniards arrived,
that Rumiñahui fought his last battles in the Llanganates, that this area would
OPEC bulletin 2–3/14
Right: The story of Atahualpa
is well-known to Ecuadoreans.
Apparently the last Inca emperor
was garroted by Spanish
conquerors in 1533. The battle
is depicted in this sketch.
Left: Two members of a group investigating an unusual structure buried deep in the
Ecuadorian jungle stand near a waterfall which runs down its left side.
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