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Inca Empire

Inca Empire

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Inca Empire


The Inca Empire at its greatest extent.
Language(s)Quechua (official), Aymara,Puquina, Jaqi family,Muchik and scores of smaller languages.
ReligionInca religion
Sapa Inca
- 1438-1471Pachacuti
- 1471-1493Túpac Inca Yupanqui
- 1493-1525Huayna Capac
- 1525-1532Huascar
- 1532-1533Atahualpa
Historical eraP-Columbian
- Pachacuteccreated the Tawantinsuyu1438
- Civil war betweenHuáscar andAtahualpa1529-1532
- Spanish conquestled by Francisco Pizarro1533
- 1438[1]800,000 km2(308,882 sq mi)
- 15272,000,000 km2(772,204 sq mi)
- 1438[1] est.12,000,000
Density15 /km2 (38.8 /sq mi)
- 1527 est.20,000,000
Density10 /km2 (25.9 /sq mi)

The Inca Empire, or Inka Empire[2](Quechua: Tawantinsuyu), was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America.[3] The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in Cusco in modern-day Peru. The Inca civilization arose from thehighlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century. From 1438 to 1533, the Incas used a variety of methods, from conquest to peaceful assimilation, to incorporate a large portion of westernSouth America, centered on the Andeanmountain ranges, including large parts of modern Ecuador, Peru, western and south central Bolivia, northwestArgentina, north and north-central Chile, and southern Colombia into a state comparable to the historical empires of the Old World.

The official language of the empire wasQuechua, although hundreds of local languages and dialects of Quechua were spoken. The Inca referred to their empire as Tawantinsuyu[4] which can be translated as The Four Regions or The Four United Provinces.

There were many local forms of worship, most of them concerning local sacred "Huacas", but the Inca leadership encouraged the worship of Inti—the sun god—and imposed its sovereignty above other cults such as that ofPachamama.[5] The Incas considered their King, the Sapa Inca, to be the "child of the sun."[6]




The Inca referred to their empire as Tawantinsuyu, or the land of four quarters, whose center was their capital, Cuzco (Qosqo). The name Tawantinsuyu was, therefore, a descriptive term indicating a union of provinces. The Spanish transliterated the name as Tahuantinsuyo orTahuantinsuyu which is often still used today.

The term Inka means ruler, or lord, in Quechua, and was used to refer to the ruling class or the ruling family in the empire.[7] The Spanish adopted the term (transliterated as Inca in Spanish) as an ethnic term referring to all subjects of the empire rather than simply the ruling class. As such the name Imperio inca (Inca Empire) to refer to the nation that they encountered, and subsequently conquered.


Kingdom of Cuzco

"We can assure your majesty that it is so beautiful and has such fine buildings that it would even be remarkable in Spain."

The Inca people began as a tribe in the Cuzco area around the 12th century. Under the leadership of Manco Capac, they formed the small city-state of Cuzco (Quechua Qusqu'Qosqo). In 1438, they began a far-reaching expansion under the command of Sapa Inca (paramount leader) Pachacuti-Cusi Yupanqui, whose name literally meant "earth-shaker". The name of Pachacutec was given to him after conquering over the Tribe of Chancas (modern Apurimac). During his reign, he and his son Tupac Yupanqui brought much of the Andes mountains (roughly modern Peru and Ecuador) under Inca control.[8]

Reorganization and formation

The first image of the Inca in Europe.Pedro Cieza de Leon. Cronica del Peru,1553.

Pachacuti reorganized the kingdom of Cusco into the Tahuantinsuyu, which consisted of a central government with the Inca at its head and four provincial governments with strong leaders:Chinchasuyu (NW), Antisuyu (NE), Contisuyu (SW), and Collasuyu (SE).[9] Pachacuti is also thought to have built Machu Picchu, either as a family home or as a summer retreat, although there is speculation that Machu Picchu was constructed as an agricultural station.[10]

Pachacuti sent spies to regions he wanted in his empire; they brought reports on the political organization, military might and wealth. He would then send messages to the leaders of these lands extolling the benefits of joining his empire, offering them presents of luxury goods such as high quality textiles, and promising that they would be materially richer as subject rulers of the Inca. Most accepted the rule of the Inca as a fait accompli and acquiesced peacefully. The ruler's children would then be brought to Cusco to be taught about Inca administration systems, then return to rule their native lands. This allowed the Inca to indoctrinate the former ruler's children into the Inca nobility, and, with luck, marry their daughters into families at various corners of the empire.

Expansion and consolidation

Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo, sons of the Inti.

It was traditional for the Inca's son to lead the army; Pachacutec's son Túpac Inca Yupanqui began conquests to the north in 1463, and continued them as Inca after Pachucuti's death in 1471. His most important conquest was the Kingdom of Chimor, the Inca's only serious rival for the coast of Peru. Túpac Inca's empire stretched north into modern day Ecuador and Colombia.

Túpac Inca's son Huayna Cápac added a small portion of land to the north in modern day Ecuador and in parts of Peru. At its height, the Inca Empire included Peru and Bolivia, most of what is now Ecuador, a large portion of what is today Chilenorth of Maule River. The advance south halted after theBattle of the Maule where they met determined resistance by the Mapuche tribes. The empire also extended into corners ofArgentina and Colombia. However, most of the southern portion of the Inca empire, the portion denominated as Collasuyu, was desert wasteland.

The Inca Empire was a patchwork of languages, cultures and peoples. The components of the empire were not all uniformly loyal, nor were the local cultures all fully integrated. The Inca empire as a whole had an economy based on exchange and taxation of luxury goods and labour. The following quote reflects a method of taxation:

“For as is well known to all, not a single village of the highlands or the plains failed to pay the tribute levied on it by those who were in charge of these matters. There were even provinces where, when the natives alleged that they were unable to pay their tribute, the Inca ordered that each inhabitant should be obliged to turn in every four months a large quill full of live lice, which was the Inca’s way of teaching and accustoming them to pay tribute”.[11]

Inca civil war and Spanish invaders

One of the main events in the conquest of the Incan Empire was the death of Atahualpa, the last Sapa Inca on 29 August 1533

Spanish conquistadors led byFrancisco Pizarro and his brothers explored south fromPanama, reaching Inca territory by 1526.[12] It was clear that they had reached a wealthy land with prospects of great treasure, and after one more expedition in 1529, Pizarro traveled to Spain and received royal approval to conquer the region and be its viceroy. This approval was received as detailed in the following quote: "In July 1529 the queen of Spain signed a charter allowing Pizarro to conquer the Incas. Pizarro was named governor and captain of all conquests in Peru, or New Castile, as the Spanish now called the land."[13]

When they returned to Peru in 1532, a war of the two brothers between Huayna Capac's sonsHuascar and Atahualpa and unrest among newly conquered territories—and perhaps more importantly, smallpox, which had spread from Central America—had considerably weakened the empire. Pizarro did not have a formidable force; with just 168 men, 1 cannon and 27horses, he often needed to talk his way out of potential confrontations that could have easily wiped out his party. The Spanish horsemen, fully armored, had great technological superiority over the Inca forces. The traditional mode of battle in the Andes was a kind of siege warfarewhere large numbers of usually reluctant draftees were sent to overwhelm opponents. The Spaniards had developed one of the finest military machines in the premodern world, tactics learned in their centuries' long fight against Moorish kingdoms in Iberia. Along with this tactical and material superiority, the Spaniards also had acquired tens of thousands of native allies who sought to end the Inca control of their territories.

Inca expansion (1438–1533)

Their first engagement was the Battle of Puná, near present-day Guayaquil, Ecuador, on the Pacific Coast; Pizarro then founded the city ofPiura in July 1532. Hernando de Soto was sent inland to explore the interior and returned with an invitation to meet the Inca, Atahualpa, who had defeated his brother in the civil war and was resting at Cajamarca with his army of 80,000 troops.

Pizarro and some of his men, most notably a friar named Vincente de Valverde, met with the Inca, who had brought only a small retinue. Through an interpreter Friar Vincente read the "Requerimiento" that demanded that he and his empire accept the yoke of King Charles I of Spain and convert toChristianity. Because of the language barrier and perhaps poor interpretation, Atahualpa became somewhat puzzled by the friar's description of Christian faith and was said to have not fully understood the envoy's intentions. After Atahualpa attempted further enquiry into the doctrines of the Christian faith under which Pizarro's envoy served, the Spanish became frustrated and impatient,attacking the Inca's retinue and capturing Atahualpa as hostage.

Atahualpa offered the Spaniards enough gold to fill the room he was imprisoned in, and twice that amount of silver. The Inca fulfilled this ransom, but Pizarro deceived them, refusing to release the Inca afterwards. During Atahualpa's imprisonment Huascar was assassinatedelsewhere. The Spaniards maintained that this was at Atahualpa's orders; this was used as one of the charges against Atahualpa when the Spaniards finally decided to put him to death, in August 1533.

Last Incas

A view of Machu Picchu

The Spanish installed Atahualpa's brother Manco Inca Yupanqui in power; for some time Manco cooperated with the Spanish, while the Spanish fought to put down resistance in the north. Meanwhile an associate of Pizarro's, Diego de Almagro, attempted to claim Cusco for himself. Manco tried to use this intra-Spanish feud to his advantage, recapturing Cusco in 1536, but the Spanish retook the city afterwards. Manco Inca then retreated to the mountains of Vilcabamba, Peru, where he and his successors ruled for another 36 years, sometimes raiding the Spanish or inciting revolts against them. In 1572 the last Inca stronghold was conquered, and the last ruler,Túpac Amaru, Manco's son, was captured and executed. This ended resistance to the Spanish conquest under the political authority of the Inca state.

After the fall of the Inca Empire, the new Spanish rulers brutally oppressed the people and suppressed their traditions. Many aspects of Inca culture were systematically destroyed, including their sophisticated farming system. The Spaniards used the Inca mita (mandatory public service) system to literally work the people to death. One member of each family was forced to work in the gold and silver mines, the foremost of which was the titanic silver mine at Potosí. When a family member died, which would usually happen within a year or two, the family would be required to send a replacement.[citation needed]

The effects of smallpox on the Inca empire were even more devastating. Beginning inColombia, smallpox spread rapidly before the Spanish invaders first arrived in the empire. The spread was probably aided by the efficient Inca road system. Within a few years smallpox claimed between 60% and 94% of the Inca population,[citation needed] with other waves of European disease weakening them further. Smallpox was only the first epidemic.[14] Typhus(probably) in 1546, influenza and smallpox together in 1558, smallpox again in 1589,diphtheria in 1614, measles in 1618 - all ravaged the remains of Inca culture.



There is some debate about the number of people inhabiting Tawantinsuyu at its peak, with estimates ranging from as few as 4 million people, to more than 37 million. The reason for these various estimates is that in spite of the fact that the Inca kept excellent census records using their quipu, knowledge of how to read them has been lost, and almost all of them had been destroyed by the Spaniards in the course of their conquest.[15]


Since the Inca Empire lacked a written language, the empire's main form of communication and recording came from quipus, ceramics and spoken Quechua, the language the Incas imposed upon the peoples within the empire. The plethora of civilizations in the Andean region provided for a general disunity that the Incas needed to subdue in order to maintain control of the empire. While Quechua had been spoken in the Andean region, like central Peru, for several years prior to the expansion of the Inca civilization, the type of Quechua the Incas imposed was an adaptation from the Kingdom of Cusco (an early form of "Southern Quechua" originally named Qhapaq Runasimi = The great language of the people) of what some historians define as "Proto-Quechua" or Cusco dialect (the original Quechua dialect).[16][17]

The language imposed by the Incas further diverted from its original phonetic tone as some societies formed their own regional varieties, or slang. The diversity of Quechua at that point and even today does not come as a direct result from the Incas, who are just a part of the reason for Quechua's diversity. The civilizations within the empire that had previously spoken Quechua kept their own variety distinct to the Quechua the Incas spread. Although these dialects of Quechua have a similar linguistic structure, they differ according to the region in which they are spoken. Although most of the societies within the empire implemented Quechua into their lives, the Incas allowed several societies to keep their old languages such as Aymara, which still remains a spoken language in contemporary Bolivia where it is the primary indigenous language and various regions of South America surrounding Bolivia. The linguistic body of the Inca Empire was thus largely varied, but it still remains quite an achievement for the Incas that went beyond their time as the Spanish continued the use of Quechua.[17]

It is proposed that the actual name of the spoken language of the Incan Empire was called Qhapaq Runasimi and that the Incan ruling elite spoke both Puquina and Qhapaq Runasimi (Quechua). However, Pukina ceased to be used in the 19th century. Under this proposed idea, the root meaning of Quechua was "taken by force, stolen" and a Dominican monk (Pedro Aparicio) mistakenly taught that the Peruvians referred to themselves as Quechuas when it was actually the actions of the Spaniards the people were referring to.[citation needed]

The Roman Catholic Church employed Quechua-Qhapaq Runasimi to evangelize in the Andean region. In some cases, these languages were taught to people who had originally spoken other indigenous languages. Today, Quechua-Qhapaq Runasimi and Aymara remain the most widespread Amerindian languages.[citation needed]

Organization of the empire

The four suyus of the empire.

The most powerful figure in the empire was theSapa Inca ('the unique Inca'). Only descendants of the original Inca tribe ascended to the level of Inca. Most young members of the Inca's family attended Yachay Wasis (houses of knowledge) to obtain their education.

The Inca Empire was a federalist system which consisted of a central government with the Inca at its head and four provinces: Chinchay Suyu (NW),Anti Suyu (NE), Kunti Suyu (SW), and Qulla Suyu(SE). The four corners of these provinces met at the center, Cusco. Each province had a governor who oversaw local officials, who in turn supervised agriculturally productive river valleys, cities and mines. There were separate chains of command for both the military and religious institutions, which created a system of partial checks and balances on power[citation needed]. The local officials were responsible for settling disputes and keeping track of each family's contribution to the mita (mandatory public service).


Inti as represented by José Bernardo de Tagle of Peru.

The main legislator on Inca traditions wasPachacuti Inca Yupanqui who established numerous laws, and reformed old ones.[citation needed]


The Inca believed in reincarnation.[18] Those who obeyed the Incan moral code—ama suwa, ama llulla, ama quella (do not steal, do not lie, do not be lazy)—"went to live in the Sun's warmth while others spent their eternal days in the cold earth"[citation needed]. The Inca also practicedcranial deformation.[19] They achieved this by wrapping tight cloth straps around the heads of newborns in order to alter the shape of their soft skulls into a more conical form; this cranial deformation was made to distinguish social classes of the communities, with only the nobility having cranial deformation.

Social Structure

The social structure of the Inca Empire varied from area to area, but still had the same basic structure, On top was the Sapa Inca, or the emperor. Then came the nobles, these were often the priests and relatives of past emperors or the current ones. After, there were craftsmen and architects, they were very high on the social ladder because of the skill that they had was required by the Empire for such buildings. then came the working class, often just farmers that were kept in their social groupings. After this, were the slaves and peasants of the society.[citation needed]

Arts and technology

Monumental architecture

Architecture was by far the most important of the Inca arts, with textiles reflecting motifs that were at their height in architecture. The main example is the capital city of Cusco. The breathtaking site of Machu Picchu was constructed by Inca engineers. The stone temples constructed by the Inca used a mortarless construction that fit together so well that a knife could not be fitted through the stonework. This was a process first used on a large scale by the Pucara (ca. 300 BC–AD 300) peoples to the south in Lake Titicaca, and later in the great city of Tiwanaku (ca. AD 400–1100) in present day Bolivia. The rocks used in construction were sculpted to fit together exactly by repeatedly lowering a rock onto another and carving away any sections on the lower rock where the dust was compressed. The tight fit and the concavity on the lower rocks made them extraordinarily stable .


Inca tunic
Tokapu. Textiles worn by the Inca elite consisting of geometric figures enclosed by rectangles or squares. There is evidence that the designs were an ideographic language

Ceramics, precious metal work, and textiles

Almost all of the gold and silver work of the empire was melted down by the conquistadors.

Ceramics were painted using the polychrome technique portraying numerous motifs including animals, birds, waves, felines (which were popular in the Chavin culture) and geometric patterns found in the Nazca style of ceramics. In place of a written language Ceramics portrayed the very basic scenes of everyday life, including the smelting of metals, relationships and scenes of tribal warfare, it is through these preserved Ceramics that we know what life was like for the ancient South Americans. The most distinctive Inca ceramic objects are the Cusco bottles or ¨aryballos¨.[20] Many of these pieces are on display in Lima in the Larco Archaeological Museum and the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History.

Communication and medicine

The Inca used assemblages of knotted strings, known as Quipu to record information, the exact nature of which is no longer known. Originally it was thought that Quipu were used only as mnemonic devices or to record numerical data. Recent discoveries, however, have led to the theory that these devices were instead a form of writing in their own right[citation needed].

The Inca made many discoveries in medicine. They performed successful skull surgery, which involved cutting holes in the skull in order to alleviate fluid buildup and inflammation caused by head wounds. Anthropologists have discovered evidence which suggests that most skull surgeries performed by Inca surgeons were successful. In pre-Inca times, only one-third of skull surgery patients survived the procedure. However, survival rates rose to 80-90% during the Inca era.[21]


The Incas revered the coca plant as being sacred or magical. Its leaves were used in moderate amounts to lessen hunger and pain during work, but were mostly used for religious and health purposes. When the Spaniards realized the effects of chewing the coca leaves, they took advantage of it. They forced the people of the Tawantinsuyo (Peru) to become addicted to it to avoid having to provide the usual amounts of food and rest while they were engaged in slave labour. The Chasqui (messengers) chewed coca leaves for extra energy to carry on their tasks as runners delivering messages throughout the empire. The coca leaf was also used during surgeries as an anaesthetic.

Weapons, armor, and warfare

Coca leaves

The Inca army was the most powerful in the area at that time, because they could turn an ordinary villager or farmer into a soldier, ready for battle. This is because every male Inca had to take part in war at least once so as to be prepared for warfare again when needed. By the time the empire had reached its large size, every section of the empire contributed in setting up an army for war.

The Incas had no iron or steel, and their weapons were no better than those of their enemies. They went into battle with the beating of drums and the blowing of trumpets. The armor used by the Incas included:

  • Helmets made of wood, copper, bronze, cane, or animal skin; some were adorned with feathers
  • Round or square shields made from wood or hide
  • Cloth tunics padded with cotton and small wooden planks to protect the spine

The Inca weaponry included:

  • Bronze or bone-tipped spears
  • Two-handed wooden swords with serrated edges
  • Clubs with stone and spiked metal heads
  • Woolen slings and stones
  • Stone or copper headed battle-axes
  • Bolas (stones fastened to lengths of cord)

Roads allowed very quick movement for the Inca army, and shelters called tambo were built one day's distance in travelling from each other, so that an army on campaign could always be fed and rested. This can be seen in names of ruins such as Ollantay Tambo, or My Lord's Storehouse. These were set up so the Inca and his entourage would always have supplies (and possibly shelter) ready as he traveled.

Inca flag

IFIS Reconstruction.svg IFIS Vertical exclusive.svg Banner of the Incas.
Modern flag of the city of Cuzco.

There are 16th and 17th century chronicles and references that support the idea of a banner, or flag, attributable to the Inca. Francisco López de Jerez[22] wrote in 1534:

"all of them came distributed into squads, with their flags and captains commanding them, as well-ordered as Turks"
("todos venían repartidos en sus escuadras con sus banderas y capitanes que los mandan, con tanto concierto como turcos").

The chronicler, Bernabé Cobo, wrote:

"The royal standard or banner was a small square flag, ten or twelve spans around, made of cotton or wool cloth, placed on the end of a long staff, stretched and stiff such that it did not wave in the air, and on it each king painted his arms and emblems, for each one chose different ones, though the sign of the Incas was the rainbow and two parallel snakes along the width with the tassel as a crown, which each king used to add for a badge or blazon those preferred, like a lion, an eagle and other figures."
(...el guión o estandarte real era una banderilla cuadrada y pequeña, de diez o doce palmos de ruedo, hecha de lienzo de algodón o de lana, iba puesta en el remate de una asta larga, tendida y tiesa, sin que ondease al aire, y en ella pintaba cada rey sus armas y divisas, porque cada uno las escogía diferentes, aunque las generales de los Incas eran el arco celeste y dos culebras tendidas a lo largo paralelas con la borda que le servía de corona, a las cuales solía añadir por divisa y blasón cada rey las que le parecía, como un león, un águila y otras figuras.)
-Bernabé Cobo, Historia del Nuevo Mundo (1653)

Guaman Poma's 1615 book, El primer nueva corónica y buen gobierno, shows numerous line drawings of Inca flags.[23]

In modern times the rainbow flag has been associated with the Tawantinsuyu and is displayed as a symbol of Inca heritage in Peru and Bolivia. The city of Cusco flies the Rainbow Flag. Even the Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo (2001–2006) flew the Rainbow Flag in Lima's presidential palace.

According to the Peruvian newspaper El Comercio, the flag only dates to the first decades of the 20th century.[24] But in his 1847 book A History of the Conquest of Peru, "[ William H. Prescott ] ... says that in the Inca army each company had its particular banner, and that the imperial standard, high above all, displayed the glittering device of the rainbow, the armorial ensign of the Incas."[25] A 1917 world flags book says the Incan "heir-apparent ... was entitled to display the royal standard of the rainbow in his military campaigns."[26]

Origin myths

Summary of books

Pacariqtambo, which means “the dawn tavern” or “the place of origin”, was a place of three caves-three windows on to the world. Four brothers and four sisters stepped out of the middle cave. They were: Ayar Manco, Ayar Cachi, Ayar Auca, Ayar Uchu, and Mama Ocllo, Mama Raua, Mama Huaca, Mama Cora. Out of the side caves came the people who were to be the ancestors of all the clans of the Inca people. Ayar Manco carried a staff made of the finest gold. Where this staff landed, the people would all live there. They travelled for a very, very long time. On the way, Ayar Cachi went too far boasting about his great strength and power, and his siblings tricked him into returning to the cave to get a sacred llama. When he went into the cave, they trapped him inside. Also, Ayar Uchu decided to stay somewhere on the top to look over the Incan people. The minute he proclaimed that, he turned to stone. They built a shrine around the stone and it became a sacred object. Ayar Auca also grew tired of all these and decide to travel alone. Only Ayar Manco and his four sisters remained. Finally, they reached Cuzco. The staff sank into the ground. Before they reached here, Mama Ocllo had already bore Ayar Manco a child, Sinchi Roca. The people who were already living in the valley fought hard to keep their land, but Mama Huaca was a god fighter. When the enemy attacked, she threw her bolas-several stones tied together that spun through the air when thrown, and killed him instantly. Mama Huaca cut his lungs and blew it up, and other people were so scared, they ran away. After that, Ayar Manco became known as Manco Capac, the founder of the Inca. It is said that he and his sisters built the first Inca homes in the valley with their own hands. When the time came, Manco Capac turned to stone like his brothers before him. His son, Sinchi Roca, became the second emperor of the Inca-the chosen people of the Sun.

These myths were apparently transmitted via oral tradition until early Spanish colonists recorded them; however some scholars believe that they may have been recorded on quipus(Andean knotted string records).[27]

Viracocha(also Pachacamac)- Created all living things Apu Lllapu- Rain God, prayed to when they need rain Ayar Cachi- Hot tempered God, causes earthquakes Lllapa- Goddess of lightening and thunder (alsoYakumama water goddess) Inti- sun god and patron deity of the holy city of Cuzco(home of the sun) Kuychi- Rainbow God, connected with fertility Mama Kilya- Wife of Inti, called Moon Mother Mama Occlo-Wisdom to civilize the people, taught women to weave cloth, and build houses Manco Capac-known for his courage and sent to earth to become first king of the Incas, taught people how to grow plants, make weapons, work together, share rescores, and worship the Gods Pachamama- The Goddess of earth and wife of Viracocha, people give her offerings of coca leafs and beer and pray to her for major agricultural occasions Qochamama- Goddess of the sea Sachamama- Means Mother Tree, goddess in the shape of a snake with two heads Yakumama- Means mother Water, represented as a snake, when she came to earth she transformed into a great river (also Lllapa)


Sacsayhuamán, the Inca stronghold ofCusco

Andean civilization probably began c. 9500 BP. Based in the highlands of Peru, an area now referred to as the punas, the ancestors of the Incas probably began as a nomadic herding people. Geographical conditions resulted in a distinctive physical development characterized by a small stature and stocky build. Men averaged 1.57 m (5'2") and women averaged 1.45 m (4'9"). Because of the high altitudes, they had unique lung developments with almost one third greater capacity than other humans. The Incas had slower heart rates, blood volume of about 2 l (four pints) more than other humans, and double the amount of hemoglobin which transfers oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.

Archaeologists have found traces of permanent habitation as high as 5,300 m (17,400 ft) above sea level in the temperate zone of the high altiplanos. While the Conquistadors may have been a little taller, the Inca surely had the advantage of coping with the extraordinary altitude. It seems that civilizations in this area before the Inca have left no written record, and therefore the Inca seem to appear from nowhere, but the Inca were a product of the past. They borrowed architecture, ceramics, and their empire-state government from previous cultures.

In the Lake Titikaka region, Tiwanaku is recognized by Andean scholars as one of the most important precursors to the Inca Empire, flourishing as the ritual and administrative capital of a major state power for approximately 500 years.

Sites of interest

See also


  1. ^ The Inca Empire. Created by Katrina Namnama & Kathleen DeGuzman
  2. ^ See Quechuan and Aymaran spelling shift for more information regarding this spelling difference
  3. ^ Terence D'Altroy, The Incas, pp. 2–3.
  4. ^ Tawantin suyu derives from the Quechua "tawa" (four), to which the suffix "-ntin" (togetheror united) is added, followed by "suyu" (region or province), which roughly renders as "The four lands together". The four suyos were: Chinchay Suyo (North), Anti Suyo (East. The Amazon jungle), Colla Suyo (South) and Conti Suyo (West).
  5. ^ The Inca - All Empires
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Inca". American Heritage Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Company. 2009.
  8. ^ Demarest, Arthur Andrew; Conrad, Geoffrey W. (1984). Religion and empire: the dynamics of Aztec and Inca expansionism. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 57–59.ISBN 0-521-31896-3.
  9. ^ The three laws of Tawantinsuyu are still referred to in Bolivia these days as the three laws of the Collasuyu.
  10. ^ Weatherford, J. McIver (1988). Indian givers: how the Indians of the Americas transformed the world. New York: Fawcett Columbine. pp. 60–62. ISBN 0-449-90496-2.
  11. ^ Starn, Degregori, Kirk The Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politics; Quote by Pedro de Cieza de Leon; Published by Duke University Press, 1995
  12. ^ *Juan de Samano (2009-10-09). "Relacion de los primeros descubrimientos de Francisco Pizarro y Diego de Almagro, 1526". (A.Skromnitsky). Retrieved 2009-10-10.
  13. ^ Somervill,Barbara; Francisco Pizarro: Conquerer of the IncasPublished by Compass Point Books, 2005; pp.52
  14. ^ Millersville University Silent Killers of the New World
  15. ^ McEwan, Gordon Francis (2006). The Incas: New Perspectives. W. W. Norton. pp. 93–96.ISBN 0-393-33301-9. There is some debate about the size of the population.
  16. ^ Quechua
  17. ^ a b Origins and diversity of Quechua
  18. ^
  19. ^ Burger, R.L. and L.C. Salazar. 2004. Machu Picchu: Unveiling the Mystery of the Incas. Yale University Press, p. 45. ISBN 0-300-09763-8.
  20. ^ Berrin, Katherine & Larco Museum. The Spirit of Ancient Peru:Treasures from the Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera. New York: Thames and Hudson.
  21. ^ Science News / Incan Skull Surgery
  22. ^ Francisco López de Jerez,Verdadera relacion de la conquista del Peru y provincia de Cuzco, llamada la Nueva Castilla, 1534.
  23. ^ Guaman Poma, El primer nueva corónica y buen gobierno, (1615/1616), pp. 256, 286, 344, 346, 400, 434, 1077, this pagination corresponds to the Det Kongelige Bibliotek search engine pagination of the book. Additionally Poma shows both well drafted European flags and coats of arms on pp. 373, 515, 558, 1077, 0. On pages 83, 167-171 Poma uses a European heraldic graphic convention, a shield, to place certain totems related to Inca leaders.
  24. ^ "La Bandera del Tahuantisuyo". Retrieved 2009-06-12.(in Spanish)
  25. ^ Preble, George Henry; Charles Edward Asnis (1917). Origin and history of the American flag and of the naval and yacht-club signals.... 1. N. L. Brown. p. 85.
  26. ^ McCandless, Byron (1917). Flags of the world. National Geographic Society. p. 356.
  27. ^ Gary Urton, Signs of the Inka Khipu: Binary Coding in the Andean Knotted-String Records (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2003).


  • De la Vega, Garcilaso. The Incas: The Royal Commentaries of the Inca. New York: The Orion Press, 1961.
  • John Hemming. The Conquest of the Incas Harvest Press 2003. ISBN 978-0156028264.
  • MacQuarrie, Kim. The Last Days of the Incas. Simon & Schuster, 2007. ISBN 978-0743260497.
  • Mann, Charles. C (2005). 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus.Knopf. pp. 64–105.
  • Morales, Edmundo (1995). The Guinea Pig: Healing, Food, and Ritual in the Andes, University of Arizona Press. ISBN 0-8165-1558-1.
  • Popenoe, Hugh, Steven R. King, Jorge Leon, Luis Sumar Kalinowski, and Noel D. Vietmeyer. Lost Crops of the Incas. Washington DC: National Academy Press, 1989.

External links

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