History has never been my forte. I have often found myself challenged by the complexities of history classes. Someone I know once curiously suggested that my struggle with history could relate to the fact that I was in large part removed from my own.
The son of two Polish parents, I spent a few short weeks in Poland when I was three years old. The only thing I can remember is a strong distaste for beet soup. Unlike my enterprising twin sister, I have yet to return. While I understand Polish, I can´t speak it. When relatives call from Warsaw, I usually burrow myself in the furthest corner of my parents´ house.
The vestiges of Latin America´s turbulent history remain vivid throughout the streets of Lima. When the Spanish discovered the Americas in search of gold and precious metals more than 500 years ago, they killed in the name of “civilization” to subdue and conquer the indigenous masses they considered barbarians. The ensuing plunder left hundreds of thousands dead from disease, and the Spanish set in motion a transformation of society designed to Christianize indigenous populations and extract New World wealth to enrich the Spanish Crown.
Ten years after Columbus discovered the Americas, a Spaniard by the name of Francisco Pizarro set sail from Spain to the New World among a fleet of 30 ships. Pizarro is known as the conqueror of the great Inca empire, which ruled considerable parts of western South America from the early 13th century to the early 16th century. Pizarro conquered Peru in 1533 and founded the city of Lima two years later.
When Raul Greenwich, an EPAF employee, asked me last week to join him in a special photo shoot of the remains of Francisco Pizarro at the National Cathedral in Lima, I was ready for my history lesson.
For years, archeologists and forensic specialists have debated whether sufficient evidence exists to confirm the authenticity of the found remains as those belonging to Pizarro. Greenwich, who studies archeology at the University of San Marcos in Lima, is part of a special investigative project conducting a comprehensive analysis of the bones, a process involving numerous historians, archeologists, and EPAF experts. His findings supporting the authenticity of the remains were presented at the 4th Congress of the Latin American Forensic Anthropology Association this past April in Lima.
Watch my trip to Pizarro´s chapel …[youtube]tQ76Cq0zn0Y[/youtube]
Posted By Ash Kosiewicz
Posted Jun 23rd, 2008