The Inca Empire was the largest civilisation in America before the arrival of Christopher Columbus. Centred around present-day Peru, the Incas came to dominate a large part of the continent of South America for almost a century until invading Spanish conquistadors, under the leadership of Francisco Pizarro, brought the civilisation to an end.
Pizarro and his men were drawn by the great wealth of gold to be found in South America. The arrival of the Spanish brought with it a devastating epidemic of smallpox, a disease to which the Americas had not previously been exposed. Due to internal conflict between the sons of the Incan emperor Huayna Capac, Huáscar and Atahualpa, and the superiority of Spanish weapons, Pizarro was able to conquer the empire with a force of only 168 men.