Chapter 7- The Early People of South America
Lesson 3-The Inca
A Vast Empire
The Inca had the largest and richest cities. Inca was the title of the emperor. Their empire stretched down the western side of the Andes. Little is known about their origin. Each person/family had their own legends about how they came to be. The archaeological site of Machu Picchu, this mountainside city of 140 granite buildings housed 1,000 people. Many of the buildings were temples. They uncovered many mummies, because of these finds they assume that Machu Picchu was a religious center. The first ruler was Manco Capac. According to one legend he was from Lake Titicaca. The city of Cuzco was the capital. In A.D. they were not very powerful but within 200 years [with the help of an alliance they dominated over a vast empire].
An Empire is Born
In 1438 the Inca were attacked by powerful people, the Cancas. Many people believed that the eighth Inca ruler was Inca Viracocha. Viracocha might have abandoned his people because he feared that it was impossible to defeat the powerful Cancas. Inca history might of ended there because of Pachacuti. Pachacuti became emperor. Motivated by his great victory, he began to expand the Inca world. About twenty years later, Pachacuti turned control of the ever-growing Inca army over to his son, Topa Inca. Like his father, Topa Inca became great conqueror.
When the Inca conquered another territory, the allowed the old rulers to stay in power as long as they were loyal to the Inca. This gave the old rulers a slim to none reason to want to revolt. Although the old rulers sometimes had to pay taxes to build more roads. The Inca government closely supervised the people in their Empire. The chain of command included ministers, traveling inspectors, and the governors of the provinces. These governors were each responsible for about ten thousand Inca subjects! The Inca never developed a system of writing, but they did invent a quipu, which was a rope with different lengths and colors. The numbers of knots could also determine a piece of information.
The Inca roads where one of the best accomplishments. They built more then 25,000 miles of roads. The roads where mostly footpaths because they did not use wheels. The roads where built across deserts, rain forests, plateaus, on mountains, canyons, and though rock. Roads where made for the army and government. If you destroy or damage a road on purpose you where put to death. The roads where so good you can still walk on the paths today.
The Inca Legacy
The Inca Empire did not last long. In 100 years it had grown from small to great. In 1527 Civil War broke out between two rivals for the title of emperor. This severally weakened the Inca. just as the war was ending Francisco Pizarro. Even though he only had 167 men, he had guns and firearms. The Spanish executed the emperor, the people, lacking leadership fell apart, and into Spanish hands.
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