Francisco Pizarro

1475 CE - 1541 CE

Spain

Achievement:
He was an adventurer and soldier. Pizarro explored and conquered Peru in South America, proving the existence of vast regions south of the known lands of Central America. He held the leader of the Incas for a ransom of millions of dollars worth of gold and silver, and then ordered his killing. His quest for personal wealth and fame was carried out in a cruel and brutal fashion, and permanently changed the future of the Inca civilization.

Francisco Pizarro was the illegitimate son of a Spanish soldier and as a youth may have worked as a swineherd. He joined the military while still in his teens, but there is no record of him ever receiving any schooling, academic or military. In spite of him most likely remaining illiterate his whole life, he became an experienced adventurer who would become known as the conqueror of Peru.