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 Lake Titicaca in Puno.
How long did the Inca Empire last?
The Inca Empire lasted about a century from approximately 1438 to 1532, reaching its height in 1527 under Sapa Inca Huascar.
The first Inca ruler was Pachacutec, there were 13 Incas in total.
The Inca Empire expanded through military conquest and fine diplomacy.
How large was the Inca Empire?
The Inca empire covered 2 million sq km or 772,204 sq mi and extended from present day Quito, Ecuador in the north to Santiago, Chile in the south and Bolivia in the east, in the west it was limited by the Pacific Ocean.
What was the population of the Inca Empire?
The Incas ruled more than 10 million people.
Were the Incas peaceful?
The Incas used diplomacy before conquering a territory, they preferred peaceful assimilation. However, if they faced resistance they would forcefully assimilate the new territory. Their law was draconian in nature.
The Incas did not use the wheel; goods were carried in the backs of people and animals. They used llamas as pack animals. The Incas built a network of roads and bridges connecting all four corners of the Empire. These roads crisscrossed the territory sometimes the roads were as long as 1,250 miles (2,012 km).
The Incas were polytheists, they worshiped many gods but the most important were Wiracocha, Inti and Moon.
Did the Incas have a written language?
No, the Incas did not have a written language, they were unaware of writing. They used the quipu or khipu, a colored woolen cord with knots of different lengths which helped them keep track of records. A quipucayamoc was an expert in decoding and making quipus. It took four years to become a quipucayamoc. The Incas passed on ideas by oral tradition.
The major achievement of the Incas were their system of roads and bridges, centralized economy, social harmony, medicine, fortifications and buildings, accounting system, aqueducts and agricultural terraces.
Did the Incas sacrifice humans?
The Incas’ diet was based on potatoes, maize and native grains such as quinoa and kiwicha. The most common meat eaten with regularity was guinea pig. The most common dishes were soups and stews, a traditional Andean meal that continues to these days. Fresh fruits and vegetables that grow at lower altitudes were exchanged in order to ensure a balance diet.
What did the Incas wear?
Clothing was supplied by the state, they were given two sets, one for everyday use and another for special occasions. Men wore knee-length tunics and women wore ankle-length dresses, both wore sandals. In winter they would wear a poncho or a shawl. The style differed little, the difference was in the quality of the fabric and the accessories such as sandals, jewelry and hair pieces. Social class dictated clothing.
The Inca society was organized by ayllus or ethnic lines which in turn was integrated to its imperial policy by having a curaca, head of the ayllu, who was in charge. The curacas were overseen by Inca administrators that belonged to the Inca nobility. Mita labor or tax was extracted from the ayllus and in return they received food, services and medicine from the Inca government.
The Inca Civilization ended when the Spanish arrived in 1532. The civil war between brothers Atahualpa and Manco Inca weakened the empire and the Spanish did not have a hard time conquering them. In addition, the Spanish brought diseases that wiped a large number of the Inca population.