The Inca

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History of the Incan culture

The Incan civilization was, at the height of its existence, the largest one on Earth.
It flourished between 1200 AD to 1535 AD, stretching more than 2500 miles. And it remains to be the largest civilization ever existed in the western hemisphere. It is believed that it lived more than nine million people inside its borders at the time, and it stretched from the Equator to the Pacific coast of Chile.

The Inca are famous for their strong army that conquered numerous tribes, extensive road network, durable and beautiful cities, political system, terrace farming, gold, high altitude cities and last but not least, their defeat against the Spaniards.

The People
They lived on high altitudes, were most normal people would have had a hard time breathing, and they successfully developed systems to lead water, farm and transport goods up and down the mountains. The first Incas were a noble family who ruled their capital Cuzco and a small surrounding high Andean agricultural state. This was in 1200 AD, and the Inca had not yet developed all the skills that they are famous for. The empire started growing after the current emperor in 1438, Pachacuti, wanted to extend the empire’s borders beyond just Cuzco and its surroundings. There were numerous tribes under the rule of the Incan emperor, all conquered by the strong Incan army. They all talked different native languages, but Quechua was the official language.

Everyone in same class had the same way of living, and everybody married at the age of 20. Since population was expanding, more food and safety was needed. They build big fortresses for defense against tribes that didn’t want to be conquered, so they could see them coming. One of the largest fortresses were built in Cuzco, to defend the large capital.
They didn’t develop any form of writing, although some archeologist say they did, there aren’t any evidence strong enough for that. Messages had to be delivered mouth to mouth, by messagers running on the long roads in the empire.

The Government
The ruler, army commander and the high priest were at the top, and family members were their councilors. Under and answering to them were the temple priests, architects and local army commanders, and at the bottom were the two lowest classes, consisting of artisans, the army captains, farmers and herders.

They didn’t pay tax in gold; they had to pay tax in form of labor, such as road, terrace and house building. Land was given if a baby was born, and taken if somebody died. The Incan law said that no man could go without shelter, food or clothes, and men between the ages of twenty-one to forty-five either worked on government projects such as road building or army service. he Inca were not only fierce conquerors but they also had a violent punishment system. If someone stole, murdered, or had sex with a ruler’s wife, they were thrown off a cliff, hands cut off or eyes cut out, or hung up to starve to death. Prisons were of no use because punishment usually consisted of death.

The Incan religion consisted of numerous gods, but they had six main gods.
Virachocha was the mother and father of the sun god and the moon god; Inti was the sun god; Quilla was the moon god; Pachamama was the earth goddess; Illapa was the god of thunder and lightning and Mamacocha was the sea goddess. They believed in a life after death, and signs that would tell them what to do. They sacrificed belongings, gold and humans to please the different gods.

The town Machu Picchu was the religious center of the Incan civilization, with a temple located on the highest spot in the town. The Sun Temple, located in Machu Picchu, Peru, was a religious calendar that marked the winter and summer solstices. Recent excavations of the Inca sites have revealed mummified bodies of the Inca royalties. They have been preserved by ice in the peaks of the Andes mountains. The city of Machu Picchu is located on a saddle between two mountain peaks, with deep valleys on either side. One side of the site overlooks the valley of the Urabamba river. It was not rediscovered until 1911 by the explorer Hiram Bingham, and it remaind unknown until then. Their calendar consisted of two lists, one with thirteen numbers and the other with twenty names. The first day of the year in the 260 day cycle is crocodile 1 and the next day is wind 2 and so on. Each day had a sacred name which usually had something to do with the gods.

Terrace Farming
They had an advanced system of irrigation and terraces, where they grew tomatoes, tropical fruit, and cotton, and people that lived in the mountains grew potatoes. People that lived in such high elevation where you couldn´t grow crops herded llama and alpaca, which supplied food and wool. The Incas also grew peppers, peanuts, avocados, and beans. Orchids were grown for medicine and people chewed the leaves of coca to help fight thirst, hunger, and pain. The Incas built terraces on the mountainsides, which look a lot like steps on stairs, held up by stone walls. Workers that had to provide labor as tax did all this, and they had big areas with farms that could provide enough food for the big population.
The terraces looked like steps, were the water flowed from the top to the bottom, watering all the crops.

The Incas are very famous for their architecture, such as their roads, buildings and bridges. Just a thing as were they built all this is impressive, and in the scale they did it is even more impressive. Even though the Inca did not have access to the wheel, they built an about 15000 miles road system throughout the empire.
They used Llamas and Alpacas for transportation, and humans for messages.
Referred to as an all-weather highway system, the over 15,000 miles of Inca roads were an astonishing and reliable precursor to the advent of the automobile. Communication and transport was efficient and speedy, linking the mountain
peoples and lowland desert dwellers with Cuzco. Building materials and ceremonial processions traveled thousands of miles along the roads that still exist in remarkably good condition today. They were built to last and to withstand the extreme natural forces of wind, floods, ice, and drought.

This central nervous system of Inca transport and communication rivaled that of Rome. A high road crossed the higher regions of the Cordillera from north to south and another lower north-south road crossed the coastal plains. Shorter
crossroads linked the two main highways together in several places. The terrain, according to Ciezo de Leon, an early chronicler of Inca culture, was formidable. By his account, the road system ran "through deep valleys and over mountains,
through piles of snow, quagmires, living rock, along turbulent rivers; in some places it ran smooth and paved, carefully laid out; in others over sierras, cut through the rock, with walls skirting the rivers, and steps and rests through the
snow; everywhere it was clean swept and kept free of rubbish, with lodgings, storehouses, temples to the sun, and posts along the way."

The Beginning to the End
During the age of exploration, the Spaniard Francis Pizarro and his 180 men conquered the whole Incan Civilization. The Incan civilization was at the time the greatest civilization in the western hemisphere, with an army of over 40000 men.
Despite their huge army, the Pizarro’s 180 men could still conquer the whole civilization.

The five main reasons:
Viracocha (they thought that the Spaniards were their fair-skinned god,Viracocha, returning to take over the throne.

Guns: The Incas had no armor at all that could withstand the bullets, and for them, the guns looked like magic, with one man shooting with a big bang on one place, and another man dying 10 yards away from him.

Armor: Their arrows and spears could not brake through the Spaniards armor.

Disease: The Spaniards came with to the Incas unknown diseases, such as smallpox and colds. Their immune system couldn’t do anything against it, so they died in big piles, making it easier for the Spaniards to conquer their land.

Horses: Horses are indeed were intimidating, and a soldier riding one has a obvious advantage against the Indian soldier.

God: The ruler at the time, Atahualpa, though...

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Inactive member [2003-03-30]   The Inca
Mimers Brunn [Online]. [2019-05-25]

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