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Chronology of Francisco Pizarro's ChildrenCat


The single greatest challenge for the genealogists of the Pizarro family of Loja, Ecuador, has been the determination of the identity and relationships of a man named Juan Pizarro who was born in 1540 and lived in Loja between 1561 and 1581 at least.  We know who his descendants were.  The line of his descendants leading to the juncture with the Seminario family is shown in our Pizarro family tree.

But, who were his parents?  Where was he born?  Who was his wife and who were her parents?  Where did their parents come from?  These are the questions that we have been unable to answer. Until we do,  the Pizarros of Loja will be unable to claim the rich heritage and ancestry of the Spanish Pizarros.

Some of the descendants of Juan Pizarro are sure that he was Juan Pizarro Yupanqui, the son of Francisco Pizarro and his Inca partner Cuxirimay Occlo Yupanqui, better known in history by the name given to her by the Spaniards:  Angelina.  The family histories of  Juan Pizarro's descendants say this is so.  But the historical evidence available to date supports the theory that Juan Pizarro Yupanqui died in infancy, most likely prior to age 4.  We presented the available evidence in our report on the Pizarro and Yupanqui families.

Recently, we discovered a document that proves that Juan Pizarro Yupanqui was still alive at age 3.  It raises the possibility that the historical documents are wrong and that Juan Pizarro Yupanqui may have survived his infancy.  The document is a notarized statement made in Lima, Perú on April 4, 1543 by Gonzalo Pizarro, brother of the deceased Francisco Pizarro.  The statement appoints Francisco de Robles as administrator of Gonzalo's encomienda in Guaylas (Huaylas), Perú.  Gonzalo affirms that he is the guardian of the children of Francisco Pizarro, and that they are being sent to live at the Guaylas encomienda under the care of Francisco de Robles.  Francisco Pizarro's children are identified by name and include "Joan Piçarro".

In addition to this document, we have discovered several other contemporaneous documents that refer to the minor children of Francisco Pizarro.  Some identify the children by name, but most mention the children collectively, creating a lack of clarity regarding which children were included in the events recorded.  We have collected and reviewed these documents to try to answer the question:  What happened to the children of Francisco Pizarro?

In trying to answer this question, we have decided to present the available evidence in chronological form, child by child, to get a sense of where they were and what happened to them in the years following the assassination of Francisco Pizarro on June 26, 1541.

The children of Francisco Pizarro, conqueror of Perú, were:

  • Francisca Pizarro Yupanqui (Fa), born 1534, daughter of Pizarro and Quispe Sisa (Inés Huaylas) Yupanqui
  • Gonzalo Pizarro Yupanqui (G), born 1535, son of Pizarro and Quispe Sisa (Inés Huaylas) Yupanqui
  • Francisco Pizarro Yupanqui (Fo), born 1539, son of Pizarro and Cuxirimay (Angelina) Yupanqui
  • Juan Pizarro Yupanqui (J), born 1540, son of Pizarro and Cuxirimay (Angelina) Yupanqui
To complicate matters, the members of the Pizarro family, smart and energetic as they were, had a singular lack of imagination when naming their children.  It seems that every generation had at least one Francisco, one Gonzalo, and one Juan.  You have to be careful not to confuse them.

For example, Francisco Pizarro, conqueror of Perú, was also identified in historical records as the Marquess or the Governor.  He was the first Governor of New Castile.  He was never Viceroy of Perú, even though some online trees identify him as such.  His brothers who came to the New World and also were conquistadors were named Hernando, Gonzalo and Juan Pizarro, and Francisco Martín de Alcántara.  So the same names are found among the children and the brothers of Francisco Pizarro the conquistador.

Notes and References
Lima, Perú
Pizarro removes his children from their mother Inés Huaylas when she marries Ampuero.

They are placed in the custody of half brother Martín de Alcántara and his wife Inés Muñoz to be raised in the Spanish culture.
Oct. 12, 1537
Monzón, Sp.
Francisca and Gonzalo are legitimated by royal decree.

Summary of royal decree from PARES
Jun 26, 1541
Lima, Perú
Pizarro and Alcántara are killed by an Almagrista group led by Juan de Rada. 

All four children, along with Angelina, are in Pizarro's house when he was assassinated.
July 12, 1541
Lima, Perú
Inés Muñoz flees Lima by boat with the three oldest children.

After much suffering, Ines Muñoz takes them to Trujillo, Perú.  Trip
Late in 1541
Lima, Perú
Pizarro's will is opened.  All four children are mentioned.

Opening of the will
Sept 11, 1542
Trujillo, Perú
The three oldest children are safe in Trujillo.

Letter from Vaca de Castro to Gonzalo Pizarro.
Nov. 24, 1542
Lima, Perú
Vaca de Castro brings the children from Trujillo to Lima.

Letter from Vaca de Castro to Emperor Don Carlos.
Apr 10, 1543
Gonzalo Pizarro becomes the children's guardian.

He sends all four children to live in Huaylas, Perú.   Notarized statement of Gonzalo
Dec. 2, 1544
Mota, Spain
Hernando describes his pity for the mistreatment of the children.

Letter from Hernando Pizarro to Gonzalo Pizarro.
Huaylas, Perú
Gonzalo Pizarro Yupanqui dies from disease at age 11.

Letter from Gonzalo Pizarro to Hernando Pizarro notifying him of the child's death.
Sep. 25, 1548
Pedro de la Gasca says that only two children survive.

De La Gasca awaits the King's decision on what to do with the children.
Mar. 11, 1550
Valladolid, Sp.
The king decides Francisca and Francisco should leave Perú.

The royal decree of March 11, 1550 orders that they be brought to Spain.
Mar. 12, 1551
Lima, Perú
Francisca makes her will.

She provides for Francisco and several cousins and relatives but does not mention Juan.
Mar. 15, 1551
Callao, Perú
Francisca and Francisco leave for Spain.

La Mota Castle, Spain
Francisca marries her uncle Hernando, who is imprisoned in La Mota Castle.

Francisca lives in the Castle for nine years, then moves to Trujillo, Spain with Hernando.  Francisco lives in the Castle for four years.
Azángaro, Perú
Writing in 1557, Juan de Betanzos says that Juan Pizarro Yupanqui had died.

As the husband of Cuxirimay/Angelina, he had contemporaneous access to the best source of information about Juan.
Mar. 31, 1557
La Mota Castle, Spain
Francisco dies, less than a year after marrying his cousin Inés.

Inés Pizarro Inquill, the daughter of Gonzalo Pizarro, was also sent to Spain by royal decree and also lived in the Castle.  Details
Nov. 30, 1581
Trujillo, Spain
Hernando dies in 1578 and Francisca remarries.

She marries Pedro Arias Portocarrero, son of the Count of Puñonrostro.
May 30, 1598
Trujillo, Spain
Francisca dies.



The evidence we have collected in our chronological study does not resolve the question of whether Juan Pizarro Yupanqui survived until adulthood.  But it does give us some more clues as to where we may find the answer.

Evidence and arguments against survival

  • The 1557 statement of Betanzos, which is contemporaneous and based on the knowledge of Juan's mother.

  • The 1544 letter of Hernando Pizarro.  The statement "the one who died" seems to refer to Juan.

  • Juan was not sent to Spain per the royal decree, probably because he was already dead.

  • His half-sister Francisca does not mention him in her 1551 will, probably because he was already dead.
Evidence and arguments for survival
  • Betanzos' statement is not specific.  He does not say when, where or how Juan died.  If his source was so good, he should have have had this information.

  • No one witnessed Juan's death.  No one other than Betanzos identified him by name as having died.  No one else was able to say when, where and how he died.

  • In the 1544 letter, Hernando had just mentioned the deceased Francisco Pizarro.  Perhaps his statement about  the one who died refers to Francisco Pizarro, as in "it's a good thing their father is not alive to see how his children are treated".  One problem is that we do not have the original letter, just a quotation translated into English.  It would help to know the actual words in Spanish that Hernando used, and whether he said anything else about the matter.

  • It is clear from the evidence that both Governor Vaca de Castro and President de la Gasca thought that Pizarro only had three children.  They were not aware of Juan and could not send him to Spain if they did not know he existed.  Even the historians and the biographers of Pizarro believed he had only three children until the 1987 discovery of Betanzos' full manuscript.  Historian Raúl Porras Barrenechea, writing in 1936, knew about Juan only because he had researched the documents associated with the 1541 opening of Pizarro's will.  He came closest to the truth when he said that Juan probably died very young because no one had spoken of him until now.  The fact is that Pizarro's contemporaries lost track of Juan.  He dropped off their radar.  Maybe he died, but maybe he didn't.

  • The evidence shows that these were violent times and that those who feared for the lives of Pizarro's children had good reason.  The evidence shows that, after Pizarro's 1541 assassination, Angelina's child Francisco was in the custody of Inés Muñoz, but her baby son Juan remained under her control until around April of 1543 when Gonzalo Pizarro became Juan's guardian and sent him to Huaylas.  Perhaps Gonzalo and the two mothers of Francisco's children got together and figured out that Huaylas was a good place to hide the children while they remained in danger.  Quispe Sisa/Inés Huaylas had been the "coya" or queen of Huaylas before her marriage to Francisciso.   The Indians in that area may well have remained loyal to her and her family and agreed to help hide the children.

  • Francisca may not have mentioned Juan in her will so that she did not disclose his existence.  Perhaps she knew that he was still alive, living in Huaylas, and intending to avoid being sent to Spain.

  • Ecuadorian researcher Oswaldo Paez Barrera found evidence of a Juan Pizarro who was born in 1540 and lived in Loja, Ecuador from 1561 to 1581.  We have compared his evidence to several other Juan Pizarros who lived in Peru at the time, and the information we know about the Juan Pizarro of Loja does not fit any of them.  It does fit the information we know about Juan Pizarro Yupanqui.  So there is at least a possibility that the Juan Pizarro of Loja and Juan Pizarro Yupanqui were the same person.

Update September 2017 - Found Original of Hernando Pizarro's 1544 Letter

My contact with the Huntington Library was successful.  They found Hernando Pizarro's original letter of December 2, 1544.  To ensure that we were able to read the letter clearly and in its entirety, I hired paleographic experts to prepare a transcription using Modern Spanish spelling. Those of you who speak Spanish can judge Hernando's words for yourselves, but in essence, the translation made by the Huntington Library was correct.  It is very clear in Spanish that Hernando was speaking of Francisco Pizarro's children.  When he speaks of the "one who died", it is clear that he could only be referring to Juan, since Gonzalo didn't die until 1546.

The letter does swing the weight of the evidence against survival.  However, it is not conclusive.  Juan's mother Cuxirimay, or some other relative, may have falsified Juan's death to protect him, and lied to Gonzalo, who misinformed Hernando.  Or Gonzalo could have been in on the plot to hide Juan, and deliberately mislead Hernando.

Conclusive evidence would be that Juan died on such a date and in such a place, and from such a cause.  Perhaps it does not exist.  

What remains to be done

What we need is proof that Juan Pizarro Yupanqui was alive at some time after 1543.  I have looked for such evidence, as have other researchers, and we have not found it.  I plan to continue searching, either for proof that Juan Pizarro Yupanqui lived, or if not, for proof of the identity and ancestry of the Juan Pizarro of Loja.  Some potential sources of such evidence are:
  • Records from Huaylas, Peru from 1543 to 1561, including Cabildo and property records. 

  • Additional records from Loja, Ecuador from 1550 to 1600 that identify Juan Pizarro as Juan Pizarro Yupanqui or Juan Pizarro the son of Francisco Pizarro.

  • The Diary of Inés Muñoz.  I have seen this diary mentioned in several online sources.  Inés Muñoz evidently kept a diary from near the time she arrived in Peru in 1530 until near her death in 1594.  Yet I have been unable to find this document either in print or in digitized form.  The online sources, for example, do not contain her words exclusively but instead seem to be a combination of quotes from her and comments or entries written by other people.  If her original  diary exists someplace, it may contain some mention of the events surrounding the protection and care of Pizarro's children, with which she and her husbands were deeply involved for several years.  However, Maria Rostworowski, who is the most careful and conscientious of researchers, never quotes from this source even though they cover many of the same events.  So I'm not sure whether the diary is a newly discovered document or a fictional product.  (Update September 2017:  We have researched this issue further, and made contact with the author of the article cited above.  The Diary of Inez Muñoz seems to be fictional.)
In addition, some of the tasks mentioned in our Pizarro and Yupanqui report may help resolve the issue, such as the possible statement of Isabel Pizarro de la Rua, the affidavits of the Valdiviesos, and church records from Loja and the ancient province of Calvas that might give us more information about Juan Pizarro or his wife María de la Rúa.

I plan to continue searching for these records, though some years may pass before I am able to make research trips to Loja, Gonzanamá and Huaylas. If any reader is able to find any of these records, we will greatly appreciate your sharing them with us.  

Bob Bordier,
Written:  February 22, 2017  Updated:  September 4, 2017