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Alonzo de Alvarado


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Alonzo de Alvarado was a Spanish Conquistador and loyal follower of Francisco Pizarro in Peru. He was born at Secadura de Trasmura, near Burgos (Castille), date unknown (early 1500s). He was a Knight of Santiago, came to America, and went to Peru with Pedro de Alvarado in search of gold in 1534.

While charged by some contemporaries with avarice and cruelty, it is undeniable that during the trying period of civil wars in Peru (about 1537 to 1555) Alvarado was an unflinching and determined adherent to the interests of the Spanish crown. He always sided with those whom he thought to be sincere representatives of the crown, and it was not always profitable and safe to be on that side. Thus in 1537, he commanded the troops of Pizarro's followers, when Diego de Almagro claimed the mythical Inca city of Cuzco. Defeated and captured by the latter at Abancay, after effecting his escape under great difficulties as well as dangers, and rejoining Pizarro, whom he looked upon as the legitimate governor of Peru, he took part in all the bloody troubles that followed, always as a prominent military leader and always unsuccessful when in immediate command. Still, he was counted upon as a mainstay of the Spanish cause, and occupied a high military position.

Alvarado married in Spain while on a short visit, in 1544.

When Francisco Hernandez Giron raised the standard of rebellion in 1553, Alvarado was put in command of the forces to oppose him. At Chuquinga, in 1554, Alvarado suffered a signal defeat at the hands of the insurgents. Overcome by melancholy in consequence of that last disaster, he pined away and died in 1559. His principal achievement was the pacification of Chachapoyas in northeastern Peru, in the years 1535 and 1536, this being the first step taken from Peru towards the Amazonian basin.



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