Home » Archive

Articles in the Inca Civilization Category

Inca Civilization »

Who were the Incas? Where did the Incas come from?

The Inca Civilization
The Incas were a civilization in South America formed by ethnic Quechua people also known as Amerindians. In 1400AD they were a small highland tribe, one hundred years later in early the early 16th century the Incas rose to conquer and control the largest empire ever seen in the Americas forming the great . Its capital was located in and extended from what today is Ecuador in the north, Chile in the South, Bolivia in the east and limited by the in the west. In less than …

Culture, Inca Civilization »

Inca Art Forms

Inca art was practical. The Incas were an artistic people who used materials available to them in nature and blended them creating many artistic forms in utilitarian ways. Much of their artistic expression was used in everyday life and had a .  Because they did not know science they had to attach powers to natural phenomena worshiping natural resources such as water streams or rocks, animals and almost anything related to nature and the best way to worship was to incorporate their best artistic creations in their offerings to the …

Inca Civilization »

Cusco, the City of the Puma

The name Cusco comes from the Aymara language qusqu wanka that means “rock of the owl”. According to one the , the myth of the Ayar brothers, Ayar Auca became an owl and flew to the location where they would settle to create the capital of the new empire, he converted into a rock to mark the chosen site.
Inca Manco Capac was the founder of the . The inner city of Cusco was laid out in the shape of a puma whose head was the fortress of Sacsahuaman. His body …

Inca Civilization »

Achievements of the Incas


The Incas were magnificent engineers. They built a system of roads and bridges across the roughest terrains of the . Through their and the most advanced centralized economy, the Incas were able to secure unlimited manual labor. They built more than 14,000 miles of paved road that connected , to all corners of the empire.
Bridges were built everywhere in the empire. Their suspension bridges were built using natural fibers. Indigenous people still use the same technique in remote areas in the Andes.
Communication was very important to maintain Inca policy. Considering …

Inca Civilization »

Inca Food

Food consumed by the inhabitants of the varied depending on where in the vast territory they lived.  People living near the coast based their diet on fresh seafood and fruits and in the  on  and corn.  The vast majority of the Inca population lived along the Andes where in many places food could not be grown due to the rugged terrain and freezing temperatures. The Incas grew their food in the fertile plains between mountains peaks, seasonal rains made its soil suitable for agriculture.  built agricultural terraces by cutting wide …

Culture, Inca Civilization »

Andean Music, the Music of the Incas

Andean communities have a powerful musical tradition inherited from the . The was based on collective effort and their success outweighed the individual’s. This is the case of music in the , musicians joined to create music through cooperation and support. The purpose of music in this society was primarily spiritual and associated to religious rituals and wars, usually accompanied by singing that was high pitched and nasal. in South America started a process of political and cultural assimilation, a cultural transformation of a pagan society into Catholicism. …

Inca Civilization »

Inca Law

According to chronicler Garcilazo de la Vega the Incas imposed a set of three laws on its citizens: “Ama Sua. Ama Llulla. Ama Quella” or “Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not be lazy”.  Inca law was based in a set of believes, customs and practices established by the Sapa Inca or his representatives. Regional leaders had the power to decide in matters of law however they would lose authority when the penalty was mutilation or death. Social stability in the  was achieved by applying the laws to maintain …

Inca Civilization »

Inca Facts

The Incas were an ancient people who in the 16th century controlled the greatest empire in the Americas.

The remote ancestors of the Incas were Stone Age hunters who crossed the Bering Strait from Asia to Alaska.

The Incas explained their origin through legends. There are two main legends: The Legend of the Ayar Brothers and the Legend of Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo who emerged from the waters of in .
How long did the Inca Empire last?
The Inca Empire lasted about a century from approximately 1438 to 1532, reaching its …

Inca Civilization »

Inca Architecture

It is commonly questioned as to how the were able to develop such an exquisite architecture without the use of the wheel and modern tools. Their buildings have withstood five centuries in an earthquake prone zone and provided the foundations of many current buildings.
Inca architecture was inherited from. Archeological studies show that the reproduced and updated many buildings, especially those in the . In newly conquered territories the Incas built administrative centers using pre-existing buildings and adding new elements, such as in the Sanctuary of Pachacamac located south …

Inca Civilization »

Inca Jewelry

Most of the Inca gold jewelry and artifacts was looted by the , melted and taken away to Spain. The largest part of the pieces shown in museums have been found by archeologist in burial grounds. They show us to a great extent the meaning and use of jewelry in the
Metalwork was a skill inherited from , the were not experts in metalwork but many conquered territories had skilled goldsmiths who were transferred to and to other important cities in the empire. For instance Ichmas and produced earrings, …