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May 20 2014

Spanish Conquest May Have Altered Peru's Shoreline


In 1532, Francisco Pizarro led an expedition of battle-hardened Spanish soldiers on a fateful journey, from the desert coast of northern Peru to the highland Inca city of Cajamarca. A civil war had just ended in the Inca Empire, and Pizarro and a party of fewer than 200 men marched eastward to capitalize on the turmoil.

The ensuing Spanish conquest of the Inca had a profound effect on the regionís indigenous people, but a new paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that it also had an unexpected impact on the land itself.

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