Thank you María Rostworowski on your birthday for a lifetime of work bringing Peruvian history to life

Thank you María Rostworowski on your birthday for a lifetime of work bringing Peruvian history to life

In 1532, the Inca  Ñusta Quispe Sisa was just 15 years old. She attracted the attention of Conquistador Francisco Pizarro, a 54-year-old bachelor, who was charmed by the girl’s cheerful nature and vivacious manner.

To ingratiate himself with his captor, the Inca Atahualpa offered Quispe Sisa — his half sister — to Pizarro as a gift. The Marques accepted, taking the girl as his concubine, but only after she was baptized Doña Inés Huaylas Yupanqui.

For centuries, what was known — or at least considered important — about Quispe Sisa was this:  She bore Pizarro two children, Francisca, famously dubbed the “first Mestiza of Peru,” who would later become a wealthy and powerful heir to her father’s estate, and Gonzalo, who died before his 10th birthday.

In 1537, Pizarro abandoned Quispe Sisa for another Inca princess, her half sister Angelina Yupanqui, who bore him two more sons, Francisco and Juan.

That was the sum total of Quispe Sisa’s historical role… little more than a footnote.

It was only in 1989 that Peru’s pre-eminent historian María Rostworowski revealed that Quispe Sisa was no bit player. Peruvian historian Maria Rostworowski (Barranco, Lima, 8 de agosto de 1915 - )Going through the Archives of the Indies in Seville, Spain, Rostworowski discovered that, in fact, the teenager’s actions saved Pizarro and his forces from annihilation by Inca general Quizo Yupanqui during the Inca rebellion of 1536.

More on Quispe Sisa in a later post. But for now, we want to wish María Rostworowski a joyous birthday. She turns 97 today.

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Authored by: Rick Vecchio

Rick Vecchio, Fertur’s director of development and marketing, was educated at the New School for Social Research and Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. He worked for Pacifica Radio WBAI and as a daily reporter for newspapers in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts. Then in 1996, he decided it was time to realize a life-long dream of traveling to Peru. He never went back. While serving as Peru country manager for the South American Explorers from 1997-1999, he fell in love with Fertur's founder, Siduith Ferrer, and they married. Over the next six years, he worked as a correspondent for The Associated Press. Meanwhile, Siduith built the business, which he joined in January 2007. Now he designs custom educational and adventure tour packages for corporate and institutional clients, oversees Fertur’s Internet platform and occasionally leads special trips, always with an eye open for a good story to write about.

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