The Incas were finally subdued by the Spanish after the last Inca leader, Tupac Amaru was executed by order of the Viceroy Francisco Toledo in 1572.
The earliest and the most important European documents about Inca activity in Ecuador relate to the hacienda at San Agustín de Callo, due south of Cuscoi in the Andes, which belonged to the members of the Order of Saint Augustine.
The Order had received these lands from Philip II, the King of Spain, about the year 1590 (which was fifty seven years after their first arrival in Latin America in Mexico.).
Philip hoped to consolidate the Spanish conquest and to bring Christian religion to the natives by making grants of lands to religious orders so that they could establish missions among the Inca people.
Here was conquest by "the Cross and the sword," which placed the Augustinians in a less than perfect position when it came to promoting the Gospel - but this was the case throughout Latin America and the Middle East and Far East for evangelisation at that time.
This hacienda acted as an Augustinian convento. It was formerly an Inca building, which the Augustinians then enlarged by blending a Spanish style of architecture with the older Inca buildings. Some of the original Inca stone walls remained, and still remain today (see Picture 2, at right).
These Augustinians became the witnesses of the life and death of the final Incas in Ecuador.
They also lived with the Incas in this region and undoubtedly were familiar with these landscapes and structures.
As well, they knew areas further into the woods which the Inca chose for their refuge from the Spanish domination.
The Augustinians attended the conversations held between the Spanish emissaries who attempted to demand the submission of the Incas to the Spanish crown and to the Christian faith.
The Incas were under siege from the Spanish expeditions. The tension this caused affected the relationship between the Augustinians and the Inca leaders.
This conflict resulted in the death of some of the Augustinians at the hands of the Incas. For one such example Peru (not in Ecuador), go to: http://www.midwestaugustinians.org/saintsc_jamesortiz.html
For a continuation on the next page, click here.