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Huayna Capac (Quechua Wayna Qhapaq "splendid youth") was the eleventh Sapa Inca of the Inca Empire and sixth of the Hanan dynasty. He was the successor to Tupac Inca Yupanqui. His legitimate wife (and full-blooded galen rules sister) was Coya Cusirimay. The pair produced no male heirs, but Huayna Capac produced as many as 50 or more children with other women, including Ninan Cuyochi, Huáscar, Atahualpa, Tupac Huallpa, Manco Inca Yupanqui, General Atoc, Pawllu Inca and Quispe Sisa - all of whom could be said to be his successors.
Huayna Capac extended the Inca empire (Tahuantinsuyu) significantly to the south into present-day Chile and Argentina. For many years he and his armies fought to annex territories North of his empire in what is now Ecuador (and a small region of Colombia) to the northernmost province, Chinchaysuyo. The capital city of the empire was far to the south in Cuzco, and Huayna Capac hoped to establish a northern stronghold in the city of Quito.
Huayna Capac died around 1527 on the Northern Frontier of the empire after the long-fought Quito Wars. He likely died of the smallpox epidemic that had already decimated the capital, Cuzco, though some evidence suggests Bartonellosis was to blame. Both Huayna Capac and his oldest son, Ninan Cuyochi died.
Right before his death, he had split the empire between his favorite son, Atahualpa, and his legitimate heir, Huascar. Brilliant leader as he was, his act to please both sons may have contributed to the downfall of the Inca empire.
Huáscar was already working to overthrow the leadership of his brother Ninan when he learned of his death. Huáscar quickly secured power in Cuzco and had his brother Atahualpa arrested. But Atahualpa escaped from his imprisonment with the help of his wife and began securing support from Huayna Capac's best generals, who happened to be near Quito, the nearest major city. Atahualpa won the ensuing civil war, killing his brother, but it was at this time that Spanish conquistadors began arriving in South America. The conquistadors used deceit to capture Atahualpa on his way back to Cuzco, copying an earlier exploit in Mesoamerica. A series of missteps by Atahualpa's generals following his capture led to the quick downfall of the empire.
Túpac Inca Yupanqui
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