12 Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro (1475-1541) was a Spanish conquistador and explorer. In 1513, Pizarro joined the expedition of Nunez de Balboa across Panama, where they found the Pacific. In 1532, after two small trips along the western coast of South America, Pizarro made one last time with 200 men, including Hernando de Soto. On November 15, 1532, Pizarro found Cajamarca, an Incan city, and kidnapped the Incan emperor, Atuallpa, soon afterwards. After a giant ransom of gold was paid for Atuallpa's release, Pizarro had the emperor strangled. In 1535, Pizarro destroyed Cuzco, the Incan capital. After having his angry men build him a palace, a group of his men assassinated him in 1541. Pizarro will always be known as the explorer who discovered and destroyed the great empire of the Inca, and for claiming all this land for Spain.