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Inca Empire


Inca Empire

Incas called their territory Tahuantinsuyo, what in Quechua, the Inca language, means The Four Parts. A territory of varied and strongly marked lands and weathers, that consisted of a large desert strip on the coast, interspersed with rich irrigated valleys; the high summits of the Andes; and the mountain summit of the tropical forest in the East.

The Inca Empire is considered to have existed already around the 1200s. It rose in the Andes, around the Cuzco area, then it has gradually expanded to include other territories. Between 1438 - 1463, under the rule of Pachacuti, the territory was much smaller, it included much of the Urubamba area, down to the Titicaca Lake, then it grew towards the north of today's Peru. Pachacuti is also believed to have been the leader who had built Machu Picchu. The empire has grown most between 1463 - 1493, under the rule of Tupa Inca. During this period, the Incas have conquered the territories that are in today's southern Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, also the territories along the Pacific coastline of Peru, as well as parts of Ecuador. About 70 % of the territory ever ruled by the Incas was conquered during this period.

The empire has reached its peak under the rule of Huayná Capac, between 1493 - 1525. Then, the Incas have extended to the northern Andes of today's Peru, occupying more of today's Ecuador and a small part of today's southeastern Colombia. Smaller conquests took place later, after 1525, extending the empire northwards. The most intense activity of the Incas was in the Andean region of today's Peru, southern part of today's Ecuador and southwest of today's Bolivia. The Inca Empire was the largest empire in the "New World" and it was crushed by the Spanish conquistadores, led by Francisco Pizarro. In 1532, a war of succession broke out between Huayna Capac's 2 sons, Atahualpa and Huascar and an epidemic of smallpox had broken out, all contributing to the weakening of the empire. Atahualpa became ruler, but Pizarro's men brutally murdered him in 1933 and taken over the control. The last Inca stronghold, Vilcabamba, was discovered and destroyed by the Spaniards in 1572 and Túpac Amaru, ruler Manco Capac's son was captured and executed.

Inca roads

Inca roads in the highlands were especially designed for the challenging terrain. Switchbacks scaled the steepest slopes, much like their modern counterparts. Sometimes paved with stone, the thoroughfares were often supported by retaining walls that have lasted for more than 500 years. To bridge rivers, the Incas lashed balsa-reed boats together or built sturdy stone spans. The deepest ravines they conquered with the world's first known suspension bridges, swinging constructions of braided fiber and vine anchored to pillars on opposite sides of a chasm. The anonymous Inca engineers achieved artistic immortality with the design of massive masonry walls that incorporated stones weighing more than 100 tons. The irregular but fastidiously finished blocks interlock so perfectly the joints between them appear as mere hairlines.

Inca architecture

Incas developed a very functional style of public architecture that was remarkable for its advanced Engineering and fine stone building techniques. The cities plan was based on a system of main avenues intersected by smaller roads that converged on a main open square surrounded by municipal buildings and churches. The structure was a of only one floor of a perfect assembly of cut stones; they used also brick of ground and straw on the coastal regions. For the construction of large monuments like the Sacsayhuaman, large fortress near Cuzco, massive blocs on a polygon shape were put together with an extraordinary precision. In the mountain regions, like the spectacular Andean city located in Machu Picchu, the Inca architecture reflected often ingenious adaptations of the natural relief.

Religion

The great gods of the Incas were the powers of nature especially the Sun Inti and the Moon Quilla. Other important deities were the Thunder and Rainbow Gods. and the Bright Planets. Over them all reigned Viracocha, the Creator. He was both father and mother of the Sun and Moon. He was often thought of as an old man with white hair and beard. He was supposed to be ruler of destiny and invisible. His place in the heavens was a dark area, the Coal Sack in the Milky Way.

 

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