The Inca Empire is thought to have originated at the city of Cuzco in what is modern-day southern Peru. In some mythical tales, the Inca was created by the sun god, Inti who sent his son, Manco Capac to Earth.
The Inca civilization (c. 1400-1533 CE) is among the most vital of South America in terms of its cultural influence and legacy. The Inca began as a small tribe who steadily grew in power to conquer other peoples all down the coast from Columbia to Argentina. Here are ten facts about the Inca you need to know.
Atahuallpa, the 13th and last emperor of the Incas, dies by strangulation at the hands of Francisco Pizarro’s Spanish conquistadors. The execution of Atahuallpa, the last free reigning emperor, marked the end of 300 years of Inca civilization.
However, the Incas have left an impressive linguistic legacy, in that they introduced Quechua to many areas where it is still widely spoken today, including Ecuador, southern Bolivia, southern Colombia, and parts of the Amazon basin.
Environmental groups and sometimes even UNESCO experts often lobby for the inclusion of Machu Picchu in the United Nations List of World Heritage in Danger to spur preservation. The site is threatened by deforestation, landslides and urban development.
The Incas worshipped many different gods, which they associated with natural forces. Their main deity, however, was the sun god, Inti. The Incas believed the gods had to be kept happy through worship. They held many religious festivals throughout the year, and these involved music, dancing, food, and human sacrifices.
The panacas had a vital role to Incan society in Cusco because they were in charge of worship for the deities. All of the religious aspects that took place around the city were organized and arranged by this special group of nobility.
While there were many reasons for the fall of the Incan Empire, including foreign epidemics and advanced weaponry, the Spaniards skilled manipulation of power played a key role in this great Empire’s demise.
The Inca ate potatoes and corn. They drank llama milk and water and ate llamas and alpaca for their daily protein because they didn’t have pigs, cows, sheep or turkeys.
Smallpox is widely blamed for the death of the Inca Huayna Capac and blamed as well for the enormous demographic catastrophe which enveloped Ancient Peru (Tawantinsuyu).
Generally, all historians agree when said that Machu Picchu was used as housing for the Inca aristocracy after the Spanish conquest of in 1532. After Tupac Amaru, the last rebel Inca, was captured, Machu Picchu was abandoned as there was no reason to stay there.
Incas definitely had a chance to survive. Even though the Spanish easily captured Atahualpa, the rest of the conquest was long and difficult, lasting beyond Pizarro’s death. Manco Inca started to adopt European tactics and technologies and could have pushed the conquistadors out with more luck.
Still today, Inca ceremonies celebrating Inti and Pachamama are performed annually. Also still practiced on a much smaller scale, but sometimes open to visitors, are “payment to the earth” ceremonies. These rituals involve burying coca leaves, seeds, silver, a local alcoholic drink called chicha, and more.
Because of the rugged and inconsistent terrain of the Andes the Incas created agricultural terraces to maximize their use of fertile land. They were highly successful and allowed its agricultural production to be maximized. Andean staples such as corn, potatoes and quinoa fed most of the Inca population.
The Incas of Peru are undoubtedly one of the most admired of ancient civilisations. Less than two centuries later, however, their culture was extinct, victims of arguably the cruellest episode of Spanish colonial history.