Neo-Inca State

Neo-Inca State
Tawantinsuyu  (Quechua)
Independent state in Vilcabamba
Vassal of the Spanish Empire (1567–1571)

Banner of the Tawantinsuyu

Modern Department of Cusco within Peru; the limits of the Neo-Inca State are unclear
Capital Vilcabamba
Languages Quechua
Religion Inca religion, Roman Catholicism
Government Monarchy
Sapa Inca
   1537–1544 Manco Inca Yupanqui
  1545–1560 Sayri Túpac
  1563–1571 Titu Cusi
  1571–1572 Túpac Amaru
Historical era Early modern
   Manco Inca Yupanqui created the Neo-Inca state of Vilcabamba 1537
  Treaty of Acobamba 1566
   Spanish conquest led by Francisco de Toledo 1572
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Governorate of New Castile
Inca Empire
Viceroyalty of Peru
Today part of  Peru

The Neo-Inca State, also known as the Neo-Inca state of Vilcabamba, was the Inca state established by Inca emperor Huayna Capac's son Manco Inca Yupanqui in Vilcabamba in 1537. It is considered the remnants of the Inca Empire (1438–1533) after the Spanish conquest. It lasted until 1572, when the last Inca stronghold was conquered, and the last ruler, Túpac Amaru, Manco's son, was captured and executed. This ended resistance to the Spanish conquest under the political authority of the Inca state.


Retreating to Vilcabamba

During the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire, Túpac Huallpa was a puppet ruler crowned by the conquistador Francisco Pizarro. After his death, Manco Inca Yupanqui joined Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro in Cajamarca. When Pizarro's force arrived in Cusco, he had the caciques acknowledge Manco as their Inca. Manco Inca then joined Almagro and Hernando de Soto in pursuit of Quizquiz.[1]

When Pizarro left Cuzco with Almagro and Manco Inca, for Jauja in pursuit of Quizquiz, Francisco left his younger brothers Gonzalo Pizarro and Juan Pizarro as regidores, and a ninety-man garrison in the city. The Pizarro brothers so mistreated Manco Inca that he ultimately tried to escape in 1535. He failed, was captured and imprisoned. Hernando Pizarro released him to recover a golden statue of his father Huayana Capac. Only accompanied by two Spaniards, he easily escaped a second time. Manco then gathered an army of 200,000 Inca warriors and laid siege to Cusco in early 1536, taking advantage of Diego de Almagro's absence. After ten months (see the Siege of Cuzco), Manco retreated to the nearby fortress of Ollantaytambo in 1537. Here Manco repelled attacks by the Spaniards in the Battle of Ollantaytambo.

Manco coordinated his siege of Cusco with one on Lima, led by one of his captains, Quiso Yupanqui. The Incans were able to defeat four relief expeditions sent by Francisco Pizarro from Lima. This resulted in the death of nearly 500 Spanish soldiers. Some Spaniards were captured and sent to Ollantaytambo. However, with the Spaniards' position consolidated by Almagro's reinforcements, Manco Inca decided that Ollantaytambo was too close to Cusco to be tenable so he withdrew further west.[2] Abandoning Ollantaytambo (and effectively giving up the highlands of the empire), Manco Inca retreated to Vitcos and finally to the remote jungles of Vilcabamba.[3]:131

Coexistence with Spanish

At Vilcabamba the state known as the Neo-Inca State was established by Manco, and Vilcabamba became the capital of the state until the death of Tupaq Amaru in 1572. From there, he continued his attacks against the Wankas (one of the most important allies of the Spaniards), having some success after fierce battles, and to the highlands of present-day Bolivia, where after many battles his army was defeated. After many guerrilla battles in the mountainous regions of Vilcabamba, Manco was murdered in 1544 by supporters of Diego de Almagro who had previously assassinated Francisco Pizarro and who were in hiding under Manco's protection. They in turn were all killed by Manco's soldiers.

Manco was succeeded by his son Sayri Tupaq. He was five years old at the time. He became Inca in Vilcabamba, reigning for ten years with the aid of regents. This was a time of peace with the Spanish. Viceroy Pedro de la Gasca offered to provide Sayri Túpac with lands and houses in Cuzco if he would emerge from the isolated Vilcabamba. Sayri Túpac accepted, but during the preparations his relative Paullu Inca suddenly died. This was taken as a bad omen (or a sign of Spanish treachery), and Sayri Tupac remained in Vilcabamba. He died suddenly in 1561, and his half-brother Titu Cusi Yupanqui took control of Vilcabamba and the Inca resistance to the Spanish. During his rule at Vilcabamba, the provisional governor-general Lope Garcia de Castro wanted to negotiate with him. The negotiations were about Cusi leaving the Vilcabamba and accepting a Crown pension. After negotiations escalated, around 1568, Titi Cusi was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church, as Diego de Castro.

Túpac Amaru became the Inca ruler after Titu Cusi's sudden death in 1571. At this time the Spanish were still unaware of the death of the previous Sapa Inca (Titu Cusi) and had routinely sent two ambassadors to continue ongoing negotiations being held with Titu Cusi. They were both killed on the border by an Inca captain. Using the justification that the Incas had "broken the inviolate law observed by all nations of the world regarding ambassadors" the new Viceroy, Francisco de Toledo, Count of Oropesa, decided to attack and conquer Vilcabamba. He declared war against the Neo-Inca State on April 14, 1572.

Final conquest by Spanish

Within two weeks after the declaration of war a small party of Spanish soldiers had captured a key bridge on the border of the Neo-Inca State, from which Toledo assembled his army. On June 1, the first engagement of the war commenced in the Vilcabamba valley. The Inca people attacked first with much spirit despite being only lightly armed. Again and again, they attempted to lift the siege held by the Spanish and their native allies but each time they were forced to retreat. On June 23 the fort of Huayna Pucará surrendered to Spanish artillery fire. The Inca army now in retreat opted to abandon their last city and head for the jungle to regroup. On June 24 the Spanish entered Vilcabamba to find it deserted and the Sapa Inca gone. The city had been entirely destroyed, and the Neo-Inca State officially ceased to exist. Túpac Amaru was later captured and executed by the Spanish.


  1. Pizzaro, P., 1571, Relation of the Discovery and Conquest of the Kingdoms of Peru, Vol. 1-2, New York: Cortes Society,, ISBN 9781235937859
  2. Hemming, The conquest, p. 222.
  3. Garcilaso De La Vega El Inca, 2006, Royal Commentaries of the Incas and General History of Peru, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., ISBN 9780872208438
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