The Inca Empire was the largest and most advanced empire of its time. It was located in Peru and lasted from 1200 AD to 1535 AD. The word Inca means “ruler” in the Quechua language (this is the language that was used throughout the entire empire).
The word is now used to describe all of the people who were ruled by this civilization. The history of these fascinating people is hard to find because they never had a written language, although archeologists and historians have pieced it together by studying ruins and by the many journal entries written by Spaniards upon being in the Incan territory.
At the empires peak, its land stretched more than 2, 500 miles from what is now northern Ecuador to central Chile. The regions birthplace and capital was Cuzco, Peru. There are many traditions on how the Inca civilization came to be. One belief is that Manco Capac and his sister/ wife Mama Ocl lo came from Lake Titicaca (between Peru and Bolivia) with a golden rod (or staff).
It had been given to them by the Sun God and they were to settle wherever the staff sank completely into the ground. After much wondering and searching, they stumbled upon a very fertile valley. They threw it down and sure enough it buried itself right into the earth. That was the city of Cuzco, which means “the navel of the world” and Manco Capac became the first ruler. The land of Peru had much to do with how the Incas lived their lives.
... from them after the Spanish conquest (Inca 375). The official language of the Inca Empire was the Quechua language. Eventhough the Spanish destroyed most Quechua ... . Especially, the second tribe had the greatest civilization of Peru, before the Inca Empire. Incas were short-height people, and their skin has the ...
It was once said of their land that, “Anyone who crosses the territories their empire encompassed will be amazed by its geographical extremes.” Peru has three kinds of land: 1) coastal deserts containing river valleys, 2) high mountains, and 3) dense jungles. The Andes Mountain range is full of snow-covered peaks which are too high and cold to have inhabitants so the Incas settled themselves in between the mountains, which are grass-covered grazing lands with fertile well-watered valleys. One main reason that the empire was so successful was because the Andean people realized from the start that they had to work together. The first Andean people lived in stone or mud-brick huts. They ate fish, potatoes, and beans.
But as each culture learned from and adopted the ideas of earlier cultures, new skills developed. The first large civilization in the area was called the Chav in. It lasted from about 850 to 350 BC in the northern highlands of the Andes. Each civilization had its own unique trait. For example: the Chains were wonderful with creating gold and silver objects.
Another culture, the Moc he, made great pottery, cloth and metals. As you can see, the idea of being a unified group of people happened before the Incas came to be but they reaped the benefits of having ways of working the lands already established from past civilizations. The first Incas were a large family who settled in Cuzco some time in the 12 th Century AD. It was during the 15 th century that the civilization started including many different tribes unified under the same rule. However, the members of the original Inca family were established as a noble class scattered about the land to help rule. The Inca, the emperor, took the title of Sapa Inca, “only Emperor.” It was believed that he was descended from the Sun God and so he himself was a God that lived on Earth.
As the great emperor Atahuallpa told Pizarro, “In my Kingdom no bird flies, no leaf quivers, if I do not will it.” The emperor was so above the rest of the people that no queen was good enough to be with him. His words were respected as laws and it became only suitable for him to marry another descendant of the Sun, meaning his sister (becoming the empress, or Coy a).
Around 1300 C. E. , the Andes mountain range contained a revolutionary civilization, the Incas. The Inca incorporated elements and aspects of past Andean civilizations to create and mold themselves. The Inca civilization included a very intelligent and thoughtful group of various cultures. The Inca were a very successful group of people, which was the result of a strong government, which rivaled ...
The emperor could choose many hundred “secondary wives,” who were always the most beautiful girls in the empire. The Inca society was divided into strict social classes. The city was also divided up into groups of families / clans and each family (also called ayllu) would live together in their own clan area. Ayllu were usually descended from the same ancestor.
The houses were usually built of mud-dried brick called adobe and were painted in bright colors. As has been established, the Sapa Inca was at the absolute top of the social latter. The many children born to the emperor all became nobles. The commanders of the tribes that had been conquered by the Incas could also keep their high rank as chief, if they promised to be loyal to the emperor and to worship the sun. These people were called the curacas. Under them were the temple priests (who still were very respected), architects, and regional army commanders.
The two lowest classes were the artisans, army captains, farmers and herders. The government was very efficient. The emperor’s wishes were carried out by four officers, or perfects, of the Supreme Council. Each perfect represented one quarter of the empire.
The Inca name for Peru was Tahuantinsuyu, or “the four quarters” referring to north, south, east and west).
Money was not used in ancient Peru so taxes (or mit’a) were paid in the form of labor, crops, or military service. The nobles and officials did not have to pay any taxes at all. The Incas used a system of counting off in groups of ten and in establishing who did what for taxes, the entire population was grouped according to age. Each age had a specific task that they were to perform. Clothes, especially headdresses, could be used to determine which social class someone came from.
The quality of cloth, the colors, the designs and the jewelry were all determined by one’s class, but the basic structure of the clothing was always the same. Most of the time, people had two sets of clothing, one for everyday wear, and one for festivals. Lots of fine woolen cloth was taken from the alpaca (an ancestor of the llama) and woven into clothing. Women wore full-length, straight, sleeveless dresses.
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Over their shoulders they wore long cloaks fastened with gold, silver or bronze pins called tup us. Common men wore loincloths under their sleeveless shirts that hung down to their knees. The noblemen wore shirts that were woven of fine wool woven by the best weavers in the empire. The Great Inca’s (emperors) cloak was made of bright-colored bird feathers. No Inca man set out for the day without having some sort of small pouch hanging over his shoulder. Noblemen and the emperor both wore large gold earrings, called earplugs, which stretched out their earlobes giving them the nickname, “Long Ears.” Tribe members could locate one another by the way their hair was worn.
Ciera de Leon said that “The clothes of the women in Cuzco were the best and the finest to be seen.” Spanish historians often remarked of how impressed they were by the frequency that Inca’s changed into new clothes. The Sapa Inca never wore the same tunic twice. Throughout the Andes people worshiped and made offerings to mountains, rivers, or even animals. Those holy places / things were called huacas.
The Incas prayed at 328 huacas around Cuzco. Other places of worship were, of course, temples, tombs, stones and the sites of battles. They were people with a lot of faith in the gods as was demonstrated before performing tasks. Sometimes travelers might add a stone to a pile of rocks on a mountain asking the gods for a safe journey.
People often carried lucky charms called amulets for protection. Worshipping the gods frequently was a simple and direct way for them to bargain with the gods for their own protection. The gods most frequently worshiped to were Inti (the Sun God), Virachoca (a creator God) and Apu Illampu (the rain God).
Every day a llama was killed as a sacrifice to the gods and food was offered to the sun (the ultimate god).
Both boys and girls were given their adult names when they reached puberty.
A girl’s coming of age ceremony was called the quicochico ceremony. After her first menstruation, she fasted for three days, then washed and dressed in new clothes. At the end of the celebration she was given a new name. For the boys, the huarochico ceremony was a more public occasion.
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The boys’s trength, discipline, and other abilities were tested. They ran races, visited shrines and wore special clothing. This lasted for a number of weeks and when it was over, the Sapa Inca presented him with gold earplugs and loincloths. Women usually married by the time they reached 20 years old and for men it was around 25. Their spouses had to be chosen from within their own community. The Inca’s territory did not just fall into place.
It took lots of war / battling with neighboring civilizations. However, the Inca’s had a line of great, powerful emperors. The second emperor (after Manco Capac), was said to be his son, Sindhi Roca. After him there were seven others until the rule of Pachacuti came about. His time as Inca (emperor) was a great change for the empire. The Incas used to be a small state with lots of struggles in battle.
Behind Pachacuti there is a legend saying that the eighth Inca ruler (Pachacuti’s father) did not like his son because he thought that he was a troublemaker. He exiled him far from Cuzco and a few years later the rebellious Pachacuti came back with a small force behind him and defeated his father and his father’s followers (the Chanca’s).
In 1438, the prince became the ninth Inca and adopted his name Pachacuti which means “he who transforms the earth.” Pachacuti was a persuasive man at heart. When the idea of conquering a tribe came up, Pachacuti would send over one of his nobles to try to talk their leader into joining the Incas. He would speak of all the benefits that joining would bring and of their peace and wealth. Sometimes they would give in and join, but for others it would be battle.
Once the Incas had succeeded in battle, the officials (curacas) were sent over to the new territory and they were in charge of changing the people’s beliefs and ideals. If they didn’t believe in the Inca gods they would be sent to Cuzco until they adopted all Inca beliefs. Miti maes were people who taught the newly conquered the Inca ways. In 1532, the Spaniard, Francisco Pizarro, landed near the coastal city of Tubes in the Inca empire with a force of 180 men.
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Pizarro had set out to see if the rumors of vast gold and glorious empire were true. The current emperor Atahuallpa was welcoming to the guest. He drank and ate with him as Pizarro’s men set up around the empire. Atahuallpa was na ” ive and unaware of what was to come. As he innocently grabbed the Spanish prayer book that a priest had been reading out of, Pizarro yelled their battle cry “SANTIAGO!” and from there, the great Inca was captured and eventually strangled to death. That was the tragic fall of the amazing land known as the Inca Empire.
Bibliography Beck, Barbara L. The Incas. New York: Franklin Watts Inc, 1983. Brown, Dale M. Incas: Lords of Gold and Glory. Alexandria: Time-Life Books, 1992.
Hinds, Kathryn. The Incas. Terry town: Benchmark Books, 1998. Kendall, Sarita. The Incas.
Portsmouth: Heinemann Educational Books Ltd. , 1991. Millard, Anne. The Incas.
New York: Warwick Press, 1980. Newman, Shirley P. The Incas. New York: Franklin Watts, 1992.
Steele, Philip. The Incas and Machu Picchu. New York: Dillion Press, 1993. web >.