Hiram Bingham III was born in the Kingdom of Hawaii to a family of missionaries originally from Connecticut. He was expected to become a missionary as well. Instead he went to the mainland of the United States, attended several colleges, and became a professor at Harvard. He also taught at Princeton, and was finally appointed professor of South American history at Yale.
In 1908, after attending a conference in Chile, he visited Peru. In 1911, excited by the propect of finding the lost cities used by the last Inca emperors. he returned to Peru, and explored many sites of ruins looking for a city that qualified as the residence of an Inca emperor.
Hiram Bingham found the ruins of the city of Machu Pichu.
Hiram Bingham made two more excursions to Peru to find the final city of the last emperor, but it was a prize for another.
Machu Pichu, which was built by an earlier emperor, is a beautiful example of the fine architectural talents of the Inca civilization. Despite it's location high in the Andes Mountain, there is now a highway that takes thousand of visitors a year to see these exquisite ruins.
Hiram Bingham wrote many articles and a popular book, "Lost City of the Incas", about his adventures in Peru. He also removed thousands of valuable artifacts and mummies from the ruins he visited. The government of Peru has been suing to have these items returned.
His adventures over, Hiram Bingham turned to politics and served as Lieutenant Governor of the state of Connecticut. He was elected as Governor for a day, and then served, as elected, in the US Senate.
Hiram Bingham died in Washington, DC in 1956 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetary.
The Citadel of Machu Pichu high in the Peruvian Andes Mountains. When Hiram Bingham found this site it was overgrown with jungle.
Wikipedia: Hiram Bingham III
Minnesota State University: Hiram Bingham III
Book Review: Lost City of the Incas
Book: Across South America
IFIP: Hiram Bingham
Orient Express: Hiram Bingham Train from Cusco to Machu Pichu
US Congress Biography: Hiram Bingham
Page created October 20, 2009. Anne Pemberton. Updated Mon, Feb 6, 2012. AP.