The INCA EMPIRE (Quechua : Tawantinsuyu, lit. "The Four Regions" ),
also known as the INCAN EMPIRE and the INKA EMPIRE, was the largest
empire in pre-Columbian America , and possibly the largest empire in
the world in the early 16th century. The administrative, political
and military center of the empire was located in
Cusco in modern-day
Peru . The
Inca civilization arose from the highlands of
in the early 13th century. Its last stronghold was conquered by the
Spanish in 1572.
From 1438 to 1533, the Incas incorporated a large portion of western
South America, centered on the Andean Mountains, using conquest and
peaceful assimilation, among other methods. At its largest, the empire
joined Peru, large parts of modern
Ecuador , western and south central
Bolivia , northwest
Argentina , north and central
Chile and a small
part of southwest
Colombia into a state comparable to the historical
empires of Eurasia. Its official language was Quechua . Many local
forms of worship persisted in the empire, most of them concerning
local sacred Huacas , but the Inca leadership encouraged the worship
Inti —their sun god —and imposed its sovereignty above other
cults such as that of
Pachamama . The Incas considered their king,
Sapa Inca , to be the "son of the sun."
Empire was unique in that it lacked many features associated
with civilization in the
Old World . In the words of one scholar, "The
Incas lacked the use of wheeled vehicles. They lacked animals to ride
and draft animals that could pull wagons and plows... lacked the
knowledge of iron and steel...Above all, they lacked a system of
writing...Despite these supposed handicaps, the Incas were still able
to construct one of the greatest imperial states in human history".
The Incan economy has been described in various ways by scholars: as
"feudal, slave, socialist (here one may choose between socialist
paradise or socialist tyranny); a system based on reciprocity and
redistribution, a system with markets and commerce; or an Asiatic mode
of production." The economy functioned largely without money and
without markets. Instead, exchange of goods and services was based on
reciprocity between individuals and among individuals, groups, and
Inca rulers. "Taxes" consisted of a labor obligation of a person to
the Empire. The Inca rulers (who theoretically owned all the means of
production) reciprocated by granting access to land and goods and
providing food and drink in celebratory feasts for their subjects.
* 1 Name
* 2 History
* 2.1 Origin
* 2.2 Kingdom of
* 2.3 Reorganization and formation
* 2.4 Expansion and consolidation
Inca Civil War
Inca Civil War and Spanish conquest
* 2.6 Last Incas
* 3 Society
* 3.1 Population
* 3.2 Language
* 3.3 Marriage
* 3.4 Gender
* 3.5 Religion
* 3.5.1 Deities
* 3.6 Economy
* 4 Government
* 4.1 Beliefs
* 4.2 Organization of the empire
* 4.2.1 Suyu
* 4.3 Laws
* 4.4 Administration
* 5 Arts and technology
* 5.1 Monumental architecture
* 5.2 Measures, calendrics and mathematics
* 5.3 Ceramics, precious metals and textiles
* 5.4 Communication and medicine
* 5.6 Weapons, armor and warfare
* 5.7 Flag
* 6 People
* 7 See also
* 7.1 Important Incan archeological sites
* 7.2 Incan-related
* 7.3 General
* 8 Notes
* 9 References
* 10 External links
The Inca referred to their empire as Tawantinsuyu, "the four suyu".
In Quechua , tawa is four and -ntin is a suffix naming a group, so
that a tawantin is a quartet, a group of four things taken together,
in this case representing the four suyu ("regions" or "provinces")
whose corners met at the capital. The four suyu were: Chinchaysuyu
Antisuyu (east; the Amazon jungle),
Qullasuyu (south) and
Kuntisuyu (west). The name
Tawantinsuyu was, therefore, a descriptive
term indicating a union of provinces. The Spanish transliterated the
name as Tahuatinsuyo or Tahuatinsuyu.
The term Inka means "ruler" or "lord" in Quechua and was used to
refer to the ruling class or the ruling family. The Incas were a very
small percentage of the total population of the empire, probably
numbering only 15,000 to 40,000, but ruling a population of around 10
million persons. The Spanish adopted the term (transliterated as Inca
in Spanish) as an ethnic term referring to all subjects of the empire
rather than simply the ruling class. As such the name Imperio inca
("Inca Empire") referred to the nation that they encountered and
The Inca people were a pastoral tribe in the
Cusco area around the
12th century. Incan oral history tells an origin story of three caves.
The center cave at Tampu T'uqu (Tambo Tocco) was named Qhapaq T'uqu
("principal niche", also spelled Capac Tocco). The other caves were
Maras T'uqu (Maras Tocco) and Sutiq T'uqu (Sutic Tocco). Four
brothers and four sisters stepped out of the middle cave. They were:
Ayar Manco ,
Ayar Cachi , Ayar Awqa (Ayar Auca) and Ayar Uchu; and
Mama Ocllo ,
Mama Raua , Mama Huaco and Mama Qura (Mama Cora). Out of
the side caves came the people who were to be the ancestors of all the
Manco Cápac , First Inca, 1 of 14 Portraits of Inca
Kings, Probably mid-18th century. Oil on canvas.
Ayar Manco carried a magic staff made of the finest gold. Where this
staff landed, the people would live. They traveled for a long time. On
Ayar Cachi boasted about his strength and power. His siblings
tricked him into returning to the cave to get a sacred llama . When he
went into the cave, they trapped him inside to get rid of him.
Ayar Uchu decided to stay on the top of the cave to look over the
Inca people. The minute he proclaimed that, he turned to stone. They
built a shrine around the stone and it became a sacred object. Ayar
Auca grew tired of all this and decided to travel alone. Only Ayar
Manco and his four sisters remained.
Finally, they reached Cusco. The staff sank into the ground. Before
Mama Ocllo had already borne Ayar Manco a child, Sinchi
Roca . The people who were already living in
Cusco fought hard to keep
their land, but Mama
Huaca was a good fighter. When the enemy
attacked, she threw her bolas (several stones tied together that spun
through the air when thrown) at a soldier (gualla) and killed him
instantly. The other people became afraid and ran away.
After that, Ayar Manco became known as
Manco Cápac , the founder of
the Inca. It is said that he and his sisters built the first Inca
homes in the valley with their own hands. When the time came, Manco
Cápac turned to stone like his brothers before him. His son, Sinchi
Roca, became the second emperor of the Inca.
KINGDOM OF CUSCO
Main article: Kingdom of
Under the leadership of Manco Cápac, the Inca formed the small
city-state Kingdom of
Cusco (Quechua Qusqu', Qosqo). In 1438, they
began a far-reaching expansion under the command of Sapa Inca
(paramount leader) Pachacuti-Cusi Yupanqui , whose name literally
meant "earth-shaker". The name of
Pachacuti was given to him after he
conquered the Tribe of
Chancas (modern Apurímac ). During his reign,
he and his son Tupac Yupanqui brought much of the
Peru and Ecuador) under Inca control.
REORGANIZATION AND FORMATION
The first image of the Inca in Europe,
Pedro Cieza de León
Pedro Cieza de León ,
Peru , 1553
Pachacuti reorganized the kingdom of
Cusco into the Tahuantinsuyu,
which consisted of a central government with the Inca at its head and
four provincial governments with strong leaders: Chinchasuyu (NW),
Kuntisuyu (SW) and
thought to have built
Machu Picchu , either as a family home or summer
retreat, although it may have been an agricultural station.
Pachacuti sent spies to regions he wanted in his empire and they
brought to him reports on political organization, military strength
and wealth. He then sent messages to their leaders extolling the
benefits of joining his empire, offering them presents of luxury goods
such as high quality textiles and promising that they would be
materially richer as his subjects.
Most accepted the rule of the Inca as a fait accompli and acquiesced
peacefully. Refusal to accept Inca rule resulted in military conquest.
Following conquest the local rulers were executed. The ruler's
children were brought to
Cusco to learn about Inca administration
systems, then return to rule their native lands. This allowed the Inca
to indoctrinate them into the Inca nobility and, with luck, marry
their daughters into families at various corners of the empire.
EXPANSION AND CONSOLIDATION
Manco Cápac and Mama Ocllo, children of the
Traditionally the son of the Inca ruler led the army. Pachacuti's son
Túpac Inca Yupanqui
Túpac Inca Yupanqui began conquests to the north in 1463 and
continued them as Inca ruler after Pachacuti's death in 1471. Túpac
Inca's most important conquest was the Kingdom of
Chimor , the Inca's
only serious rival for the Peruvian coast. Túpac Inca's empire
stretched north into modern-day
Ecuador and Colombia.
Túpac Inca's son
Huayna Cápac added a small portion of land to the
north in modern-day
Ecuador and in parts of Peru. At its height, the
Bolivia , most of what is now Ecuador
and a large portion of what is today
Chile , north of the Maule River
. The advance south halted after the
Battle of the Maule where they
met determined resistance from the
Mapuche . The empire's push into
Amazon Basin near the
Chinchipe River was stopped by the Shuar in
1527. The empire extended into corners of
However, most of the southern portion of the Inca empire, the portion
denominated as Qullasuyu, was located in the
Empire was an amalgamation of languages, cultures and
peoples. The components of the empire were not all uniformly loyal,
nor were the local cultures all fully integrated. The Inca empire as a
whole had an economy based on exchange and taxation of luxury goods
and labour. The following quote describes a method of taxation:
For as is well known to all, not a single village of the highlands or
the plains failed to pay the tribute levied on it by those who were in
charge of these matters. There were even provinces where, when the
natives alleged that they were unable to pay their tribute, the Inca
ordered that each inhabitant should be obliged to turn in every four
months a large quill full of live lice, which was the Inca's way of
teaching and accustoming them to pay tribute.
INCA CIVIL WAR AND SPANISH CONQUEST
Inca Civil War
Inca Civil War and Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire
Inca expansion (1438–1533)
Atahualpa , the last Sapa
Inca of the empire, was executed by the Spanish on 29 August 1533
Spanish conquistadors led by
Francisco Pizarro and his brothers
explored south from what is today
Panama , reaching Inca territory by
1526. It was clear that they had reached a wealthy land with
prospects of great treasure, and after another expedition in 1529
Pizarro traveled to Spain and received royal approval to conquer the
region and be its viceroy. This approval was received as detailed in
the following quote: "In July 1529 the queen of Spain signed a charter
allowing Pizarro to conquer the Incas. Pizarro was named governor and
captain of all conquests in Peru, or New Castile, as the Spanish now
called the land."
When they returned to
Peru in 1532, a war of brothers between the
sons of Huayna Capac,
Atahualpa , and unrest among newly
conquered territories weakened the empire. Perhaps more importantly,
smallpox had spread from Central America. Pizarro did not have a
formidable force. With just 168 men, one cannon , and 27 horses, he
often talked his way out of potential confrontations that could have
easily wiped out his party.
The Spanish horsemen, fully armored, had technological superiority
over the Inca forces. The traditional mode of battle in the
a kind of siege warfare where large numbers of usually reluctant
draftees were sent to overwhelm opponents. The Spaniards developed one
of the finest military machines in the premodern world , tactics
learned in their centuries-long fight against Moorish kingdoms in
Iberia . Along with their tactical and material superiority, the
Spaniards acquired tens of thousands of native allies who sought to
end the Inca control of their territories.
Their first engagement was the
Battle of Puná , near present-day
Guayaquil , Ecuador, on the Pacific Coast; Pizarro then founded the
Piura in July 1532. Hernando de Soto was sent inland to
explore the interior and returned with an invitation to meet the Inca,
Atahualpa, who had defeated his brother in the civil war and was
Cajamarca with his army of 80,000 troops.
Pizarro and some of his men, most notably a friar named Vincente de
Valverde , met with the Inca, who had brought only a small retinue.
Through an interpreter Friar Vincente read the "
Requerimiento " that
demanded that he and his empire accept the rule of King Charles I of
Spain and convert to Christianity. Because of the language barrier and
perhaps poor interpretation,
Atahualpa became somewhat puzzled by the
friar's description of Christian faith and was said to have not fully
understood the envoy's intentions. After
Atahualpa attempted further
enquiry into the doctrines of the Christian faith, the Spanish became
frustrated and impatient. They attacked the Inca\'s retinue and
Atahualpa as hostage.
Atahualpa offered the Spaniards enough gold to fill the room he was
imprisoned in and twice that amount of silver. The Inca fulfilled this
ransom, but Pizarro deceived them, refusing to release the Inca
afterwards. During Atahualpa's imprisonment
Huáscar was assassinated
elsewhere. The Spaniards maintained that this was at Atahualpa's
orders; this was used as one of the charges against
Atahualpa when the
Spaniards finally executed him, in August 1533.
Neo-Inca State View of
The Spanish installed Atahualpa's brother
Manco Inca Yupanqui
Manco Inca Yupanqui in
power; for some time Manco cooperated with the Spanish while they
fought to put down resistance in the north. Meanwhile, an associate of
Diego de Almagro
Diego de Almagro , attempted to claim Cusco. Manco tried to
use this intra-Spanish feud to his advantage, recapturing
1536, but the Spanish retook the city afterwards. Manco Inca then
retreated to the mountains of Vilcabamba and established the small
Neo-Inca State , where he and his successors ruled for another 36
years, sometimes raiding the Spanish or inciting revolts against them.
In 1572 the last Inca stronghold was conquered and the last ruler,
Túpac Amaru , Manco's son, was captured and executed. This ended
resistance to the Spanish conquest under the political authority of
the Inca state.
After the fall of the Inca
Empire many aspects of Inca culture were
systematically destroyed, including their sophisticated farming
system, known as the vertical archipelago model of agriculture.
Spanish colonial officials used the Inca mita corvée labor system for
colonial aims, sometimes brutally. One member of each family was
forced to work in the gold and silver mines, the foremost of which was
the titanic silver mine at
Potosí . When a family member died, which
would usually happen within a year or two, the family was required to
send a replacement.
The effects of smallpox on the Inca empire were even more
devastating. Beginning in
Colombia , smallpox spread rapidly before
the Spanish invaders first arrived in the empire. The spread was
probably aided by the efficient Inca road system. Within a few years
smallpox claimed between 60% and 94% of the Inca population, with
other waves of European disease weakening them further.
only the first epidemic.
Typhus (probably) in 1546, influenza and
smallpox together in 1558, smallpox again in 1589, diphtheria in 1614,
measles in 1618 – all ravaged the Inca people.
Inca society and
The number of people inhabiting
Tawantinsuyu at its peak is
uncertain, with estimates ranging from 4-37 million. Most population
estimates are in the range of 6 to 14 million. In spite of the fact
that the Inca kept excellent census records using their quipus ,
knowledge of how to read them was lost as almost all of them were
destroyed by the Spaniards.
Since the Inca
Empire lacked a written language, the main form of
communication and recording in the empire were quipus, ceramics and
spoken Quechua, the language the Incas imposed upon the peoples within
the empire. The plethora of civilizations in the Andean region
provided for a general disunity that the Incas had to subdue in order
to maintain control. While Quechua had been spoken in the Andean
region, including central Peru, for several centuries prior to the
expansion of the
Inca civilization , the dialect of Quechua the Incas
imposed was an adaptation from the Kingdom of
Cusco (an early form of
"Southern Quechua" originally named Qhapaq Runasimi, or 'the great
language of the people'), or what some historians define as the Cusco
The language imposed by the Incas diverted from its original
phonetics as some societies formed their own regional varieties. The
diversity of Quechua at that point and even today does not come
directly from the Incas, who were just a part of the reason for
Quechua's diversity. The civilizations within the empire that had
previously spoken Quechua kept their own variety distinct from the
Quechua the Incas spread. Although these dialects of Quechua had a
similar linguistic structure, they differed according to the region in
which they were spoken.
Although most of the societies within the empire accepted Quechua,
the Incas allowed several societies to keep their original languages,
such as Aymara , which remains in use in contemporary Bolivia, where
it is the primary indigenous language and in various regions
surrounding Bolivia. The linguistic body of the Inca
Empire was thus
varied. The Inca's impact outlasted their empire, as the Spanish
continued the use of Quechua.
In the Incan Empire, the age of marriage differed for men and women.
Men typically married at the age of 20, while women usually got
married around 4 years earlier at the age of 16. Men who were highly
ranked in society could have multiple wives, but those lower in the
ranks could only take a single wife.
Marriage typically remained within similar social classes and
resembled a more business-like agreement. Once married, the women were
expected to cook, collect food and watch over the children and
livestock. Girls and mothers would also work around the house to keep
it orderly to please the public inspectors. These duties remained the
same even after she became pregnant with the added responsibility of
praying and making offerings to Kanopa, who was the god of pregnancy.
It was typical for marriages to begin on a trial basis with both men
and women having a say in the longevity of the marriage. If the man
felt that it wouldn’t work out, or if the woman wanted to return to
her parent’s home the marriage would end. Once the marriage was
final, the only way the two could be divorced was if they did not have
a child together .
The Inca called newborn infants wawa, a term that they also used for
newborn animals. This term was used for all newborn beings without
regard to their biological sex. Babies were not given human social
status until they reached two or three years of age due to the high
infant mortality rates. It was at this time that a ceremony was held
called rutuchikuy in which the infant was given its first haircut,
name and introduced to the extended family. Also in this ceremony,
children advanced from the description of wawa to warma, a gender
neutral term for a child who has not developed the language skill set.
By the time children reached the age of seven, they had completed
gender specific tasks and were referred to as gender specific terms,
Thaski for girls and maqt’a for boys.
Religion in the Inca Empire
Religion in the Inca Empire and
Diorite Inca sculpture from Amarucancha
Inca myths were transmitted orally until early Spanish colonists
recorded them; however, some scholars claim that they were recorded on
quipus, Andean knotted string records.
The Inca believed in reincarnation . Death was a passage to the next
world that was full of difficulties. The spirit of the dead, camaquen,
would need to follow a long road and during the trip the assistance of
a black dog that could see in the dark was required. Most Incas
imagined the after world to be like that of the European notion of
heaven, with flower-covered fields and snow-capped mountains.
It was important to the Inca that they not die as a result of burning
or that the body of the deceased not be incinerated. Burning would
cause their vital force to disappear and threaten their passage to the
after world. Those who obeyed the Inca moral code – ama suwa, ama
llulla, ama quella (do not steal, do not lie, do not be lazy) –
"went to live in the Sun's warmth while others spent their eternal
days in the cold earth". The Inca nobility practiced cranial
deformation . They wrapped tight cloth straps around the heads of
newborns to shape their soft skulls into a more conical form, thus
distinguishing the nobility from other social classes.
The Incas made human sacrifices . As many as 4,000 servants, court
officials, favorites and concubines were killed upon the death of the
Huayna Capac in 1527. The Incas performed child sacrifices
around important events, such as the death of the
Sapa Inca or during
a famine. These sacrifices were known as qhapaq hucha .
The Incas were polytheists who attempted to please many gods. These
Viracocha , is the great creator god in
Viracocha (also Pachacamac) – Created all living things
Apu Illapu – Rain God, prayed to when they need rain
Ayar Cachi – Hot-tempered God, causes earthquakes
Illapa – Goddess of lightning and thunder (also Yakumama water
Inti – sun god and patron deity of the holy city of
of the sun)
* Kuychi – Rainbow God, connected with fertility
Mama Killa – Wife of Inti, called Moon Mother
Mama Occlo – Wisdom to civilize the people, taught women to
weave cloth and build houses
Manco Cápac – known for his courage and sent to earth to become
first king of the Incas. Taught people how to grow plants, make
weapons, work together, share resources and worship the Gods.
Pachamama – The Goddess of earth and wife of Viracocha. People
give her offerings of coca leaves and beer and pray to her for major
* Quchamama – Goddess of the sea
* Sachamama – Means Mother Tree, goddess in the shape of a snake
with two heads
* Yakumama – Means mother Water. Represented as a snake. When she
came to earth she transformed into a great river (also Illapa).
Incan agriculture ,
Vertical archipelago ,
Mit\'a , and
Qullqa Illustration of Inca farmers using a
chakitaqlla (Andean foot plough)
Empire employed central planning . The Inca
with outside regions, although they did not operate a substantial
internal market economy . While axe-monies were used along the
northern coast, presumably by the provincial mindaláe trading class,
most lived in a traditional economy in which households were required
to pay taxes both in kind (e.g., crops, textiles, etc.) and in the
form of the mit\'a corvée labor and military obligations, though
barter (or trueque) was present in some areas. In return, the state
provided security, food in times of hardship through the supply of
emergency resources, agricultural projects (e.g. aqueducts and
terraces) to increase productivity and occasional feasts. The economy
rested on the material foundations of the vertical archipelago , a
system of ecological complementarity in accessing resources and the
cultural foundation of ayni , or reciprocal exchange .
Sapa Inca was conceptualized as divine and was effectively head
of the state religion. The
Willaq Umu (or Chief Priest) was second to
the emperor. Local religious traditions continued and in some cases
such as the Oracle at
Pachacamac on the Peruvian coast, were
officially venerated. Following Pachacuti, the
Sapa Inca claimed
descent from Inti, who placed a high value on imperial blood; by the
end of the empire, it was common to incestuously wed brother and
sister. He was "son of the sun," and his people the intip churin, or
"children of the sun," and both his right to rule and mission to
conquer derived from his holy ancestor. The
Sapa Inca also presided
over ideologically important festivals, notably during the
, or "warriors' cultivation," attended by soldiers, mummified rulers,
nobles, clerics and the general population of
Cusco beginning on the
June solstice and culminating nine days later with the ritual breaking
of the earth using a foot plow by the Inca. Moreover,
considered cosmologically central, loaded as it was with huacas and
radiating ceque lines and geographic center of the Four Quarters; Inca
Garcilaso de la Vega called it "the navel of the universe".
ORGANIZATION OF THE EMPIRE
The Inca Empire's southern border defined by the Maule or Maipo
River (scholars differ). Inca troops never crossed the Bío Bío
Empire was a federalist system consisting of a central
government with the Inca at its head and four quarters, or suyu:
Chinchay Suyu (NW),
Anti Suyu (NE),
Kunti Suyu (SW) and Qulla Suyu
(SE). The four corners of these quarters met at the center, Cusco.
These suyu were likely created around 1460 during the reign of
Pachacuti before the empire reached its largest territorial extent. At
the time the suyu were established they were roughly of equal size and
only later changed their proportions as the empire expanded north and
south along the Andes.
Cusco was likely not organized as a wamani, or province. Rather, it
was probably somewhat akin to a modern federal district , like
Washington, D.C. or Mexico City. The city sat at the center of the
four suyu and served as the preeminent center of politics and
Cusco was essentially governed by the Sapa Inca, his
relatives and the royal panaqa lineages, each suyu was governed by an
Apu, a term of esteem used for men of high status and for venerated
Cusco as a district and the four suyu as
administrative regions were grouped into upper hanan and lower hurin
divisions. As the Inca did not have written records, it is impossible
to exhaustively list the constituent wamani. However, colonial records
allow us to reconstruct a partial list. There were likely more than 86
wamani, with more than 48 in the highlands and more than 38 on the
The four suyus or quarters of the empire.
The most populous suyu was Chinchaysuyu, which encompassed the former
Chimu empire and much of the northern Andes. At its largest extent, it
extended through much of modern
Ecuador and into modern Colombia.
The largest suyu by area was Qullasuyu, named after the Aymara
-speaking Qulla people. It encompassed the Bolivian
Altiplano and much
of the southern Andes, reaching
Argentina and as far south as the
Maule river in Central
Chile . Historian José Bengoa
Quillota as perhaps the foremost Inca settlement.
The second smallest suyu, Antisuyu, was northwest of
Cusco in the
high Andes. Its name is the root of the word "Andes."
Kuntisuyu was the smallest suyu, located along the southern coast of
modern Peru, extending into the highlands towards Cusco.
The Inca state had no separate judiciary or codified laws . Customs,
expectations and traditional local power holders governed behavior.
The state had legal force, such as through tokoyrikoq (lit. "he who
sees all"), or inspectors. The highest such inspector, typically a
blood relative to the Sapa Inca, acted independently of the
conventional hierarchy, providing a point of view for the Sapa Inca
free of bureaucratic influence.
Inti , as represented by
José Bernardo de Tagle
José Bernardo de Tagle of
Colonial sources are not entirely clear or in agreement about Inca
government structure, such as exact duties and functions of government
positions. But the basic structure can be broadly described. The top
was the Sapa Inca. Below that may have been the Willaq Umu, literally
the "priest who recounts", the High Priest of the Sun. However,
Sapa Inca also sat the Inkap rantin, who was a confidant
and assistant to the Sapa Inca, perhaps similar to a Prime Minister.
Topa Inca Yupanqui
Topa Inca Yupanqui , a "Council of the Realm" was
composed of 16 nobles: 2 from hanan Cusco; 2 from hurin Cusco; 4 from
Chinchaysuyu; 2 from Cuntisuyu; 4 from Collasuyu; and 2 from Antisuyu.
This weighting of representation balanced the hanan and hurin
divisions of the empire, both within
Cusco and within the Quarters
(hanan suyukuna and hurin suyukuna).
While provincial bureaucracy and government varied greatly, the basic
organization was decimal. Taxpayers – male heads of household of a
certain age range – were organized into corvée labor units (often
doubling as military units) that formed the state's muscle as part of
mit\'a service. Each unit of more than 100 tax-payers were headed by a
kuraka, while smaller units were headed by a kamayuq, a lower,
non-hereditary status. However, while kuraka status was hereditary and
typically served for life, the position of a kuraka in the hierarchy
was subject to change based on the privileges of superiors in the
hierarchy; a pachaka kuraka could be appointed to the position by a
waranqa kuraka. Furthermore, one kuraka in each decimal level could
serve as the head of one of the nine groups at a lower level, so that
a pachaka kuraka might also be a waranqa kuraka, in effect directly
responsible for one unit of 100 tax-payers and less directly
responsible for nine other such units.
KURAKA IN CHARGE
NUMBER OF TAXPAYERS
ARTS AND TECHNOLOGY
We can assure your majesty that it is so beautiful and has such
fine buildings that it would even be remarkable in Spain. “ ”
Architecture was the most important of the Incan arts, with textiles
reflecting architectural motifs. The most notable example is Machu
Picchu , which was constructed by
Inca engineers . The prime Inca
structures were made of stone blocks that fit together so well that a
knife could not be fitted through the stonework. These constructs have
survived for centuries, with no use of mortar to sustain them.
This process was first used on a large scale by the Pucara (ca. 300
BC–AD 300) peoples to the south in
Lake Titicaca and later in the
Tiwanaku (ca. AD 400–1100) in present-day Bolivia. The rocks
were sculpted to fit together exactly by repeatedly lowering a rock
onto another and carving away any sections on the lower rock where the
dust was compressed. The tight fit and the concavity on the lower
rocks made them extraordinarily stable, despite the ongoing challenge
of earthquakes and volcanic activity.
MEASURES, CALENDRICS AND MATHEMATICS
Inca tunic Tokapu . Textiles worn by the Inca elite
consisting of geometric figures enclosed by rectangles or squares.
There is evidence that the designs were an ideographic language
Quipu, 15th century.
Physical measures used by the Inca were based on human body parts.
Units included fingers, the distance from thumb to forefinger, palms,
cubits and wingspans. The most basic distance unit was thatkiy or
thatki, or one pace. The next largest unit was reported by Cobo to be
the topo or tupu, measuring 6,000 thatkiys, or about 7.7 km (4.8 mi);
careful study has shown that a range of 4.0 to 6.3 km (2.5 to 3.9 mi)
is likely. Next was the wamani, composed of 30 topos (roughly 232 km
or 144 mi). To measure area, 25 by 50 wingspans were used, reckoned in
topos (roughly 3,280 km2 or 1,270 sq mi). It seems likely that
distance was often interpreted as one day's walk; the distance between
tambo way-stations varies widely in terms of distance, but far less in
terms of time to walk that distance.
Inca calendars were strongly tied to astronomy . Inca astronomers
understood equinoxes , solstices and zenith passages, along with the
Venus cycle . They could not, however, predict eclipses . The Inca
calendar was essentially lunisolar , as two calendars were maintained
in parallel, one solar and one lunar . As 12 lunar months fall 11 days
short of a full 365-day solar year, those in charge of the calendar
had to adjust every winter solstice. Each lunar month was marked with
festivals and rituals. Apparently, the days of the week were not
named and days were not grouped into weeks. Similarly, months were not
grouped into seasons. Time during a day was not measured in hours or
minutes, but in terms of how far the sun had travelled or in how long
it had taken to perform a task.
The sophistication of Inca administration, calendrics and engineering
required facility with numbers. Numerical information was stored in
the knots of quipu strings, allowing for compact storage of large
numbers. These numbers were stored in base-10 digits, the same base
used by the
Quechua language and in administrative and military
units. These numbers, stored in quipu, could be calculated on yupanas
, grids with squares of positionally varying mathematical values,
perhaps functioning as an abacus . Calculation was facilitated by
moving piles of tokens, seeds or pebbles between compartments of the
yupana. It is likely that Inca mathematics at least allowed division
of integers into integers or fractions and multiplication of integers
According to mid-17th-century Jesuit chronicler Bernabé Cobo, the
Inca designated officials to perform accounting-related tasks. These
officials were called quipo camayos. Study of khipu sample VA 42527
(Museum für Völkerkunde, Berlin) revealed that the numbers arranged
in calendrically significant patterns were used for agricultural
purposes in the "farm account books" kept by the khipukamayuq
(accountant or warehouse keeper) to facilitate the closing of
CERAMICS, PRECIOUS METALS AND TEXTILES
Camelid Conopa, 1470–1532,
Brooklyn Museum , Small stone
figurines, or conopas, of llamas and alpacas were the most common
ritual effigies used in the highlands of
Peru and Bolivia. These
devotional objects were often buried in the animals' corrals to bring
protection and prosperity to their owners and fertility to the herds.
The cylindrical cavities in their backs were filled with offerings to
the gods in the form of a mixture including animal fat, coca leaves,
maize kernels and seashells.
Ceramics were painted using the polychrome technique portraying
numerous motifs including animals, birds, waves, felines (popular in
the Chavin culture ) and geometric patterns found in the
of ceramics. In a culture without a written language, ceramics
portrayed the basic scenes of everyday life, including the smelting of
metals, relationships and scenes of tribal warfare. The most
distinctive Inca ceramic objects are the
Cusco bottles or "aryballos".
Many of these pieces are on display in
Lima in the Larco
Archaeological Museum and the National Museum of Archaeology,
Anthropology and History.
Almost all of the gold and silver work of the Incan empire was melted
down by the conquistadors.
COMMUNICATION AND MEDICINE
The Inca recorded information on assemblages of knotted strings,
Quipu , although they can no longer be decoded. Originally it
was thought that
Quipu were used only as mnemonic devices or to record
Quipus are also believed to record history and
The Inca made many discoveries in medicine. They performed successful
skull surgery , by cutting holes in the skull to alleviate fluid
buildup and inflammation caused by head wounds. Many skull surgeries
performed by Inca surgeons were successful. Survival rates were
80–90%, compared to about 30% before Inca times.
The Incas revered the coca plant as sacred/magical. Its leaves were
used in moderate amounts to lessen hunger and pain during work, but
were mostly used for religious and health purposes. The Spaniards
took advantage of the effects of chewing coca leaves. The
messengers who ran throughout the empire to deliver messages, chewed
coca leaves for extra energy.
Coca leaves were also used as an
anaesthetic during surgeries.
WEAPONS, ARMOR AND WARFARE
Battle of the Maule between the Incas (right) and the
Inca army was the most powerful at that time, because they could
turn an ordinary villager or farmer into a soldier. Every male Inca
had to take part in war at least once and to prepare for warfare again
when needed. By the time the empire reached its largest size, every
section of the empire contributed in setting up an army for war.
The Incas had no iron or steel and their weapons were not much more
effective than those of their opponents. They went into battle with
drums beating and trumpets blowing. Their armor included:
* Helmets made of wood, copper, bronze, cane, or animal skin; some
were adorned with feathers
* Round or square shields made from wood or hide
* Cloth tunics padded with cotton and small wooden planks to protect
The Inca weaponry included:
* Bronze or bone-tipped spears
* Clubs with stone and spiked metal heads
* Woolen slings and stones
* Stone or copper headed battle-axes
Bolas (stones fastened to lengths of cord)
Roads allowed quick movement (on foot) for the
Inca army and shelters
called tambo and storage silos called qullqas were built one day's
travelling distance from each other, so that an army on campaign could
always be fed and rested. This can be seen in names of ruins such as
Ollantay Tambo, or My Lord's Storehouse. These were set up so the Inca
and his entourage would always have supplies (and possibly shelter)
ready as they traveled.
Rainbow flag § Andean peoples and social
Chronicles and references from the 16th and 17th centuries support
the idea of a banner. However, it represented the Inca (emperor), not
Francisco López de Jerez wrote in 1534:
... todos venían repartidos en sus escuadras con sus banderas y
capitanes que los mandan, con tanto concierto como turcos.
(... all of them came distributed into squads, with their flags and
captains commanding them, as well-ordered as Turks.)
Chronicler Bernabé Cobo wrote:
The royal standard or banner was a small square flag, ten or twelve
spans around, made of cotton or wool cloth, placed on the end of a
long staff, stretched and stiff such that it did not wave in the air
and on it each king painted his arms and emblems, for each one chose
different ones, though the sign of the Incas was the rainbow and two
parallel snakes along the width with the tassel as a crown, which each
king used to add for a badge or blazon those preferred, like a lion,
an eagle and other figures.
(... el guión o estandarte real era una banderilla cuadrada y
pequeña, de diez o doce palmos de ruedo, hecha de lienzo de algodón
o de lana, iba puesta en el remate de una asta larga, tendida y tiesa,
sin que ondease al aire, y en ella pintaba cada rey sus armas y
divisas, porque cada uno las escogía diferentes, aunque las generales
de los Incas eran el arco celeste y dos culebras tendidas a lo largo
paralelas con la borda que le servía de corona, a las cuales solía
añadir por divisa y blasón cada rey las que le parecía, como un
león, un águila y otras figuras.)
-BERNABé COBO, HISTORIA DEL NUEVO MUNDO (1653)
Guaman Poma 's 1615 book, El primer nueva corónica y buen gobierno,
shows numerous line drawings of Inca flags. In his 1847 book A
History of the Conquest of Peru, "
William H. Prescott
William H. Prescott ... says that in
Inca army each company had its particular banner and that the
imperial standard, high above all, displayed the glittering device of
the rainbow, the armorial ensign of the Incas." A 1917 world flags
book says the Inca "heir-apparent ... was entitled to display the
royal standard of the rainbow in his military campaigns."
In modern times the rainbow flag has been wrongly associated with the
Tawantinsuyu and displayed as a symbol of Inca heritage by some groups
Peru and Bolivia. The city of
Cusco also flies the Rainbow Flag,
but as an official flag of the city. The Peruvian president Alejandro
Toledo (2001–2006) flew the Rainbow Flag in
Lima 's presidential
palace. However, according to Peruvian historiography, the Inca Empire
never had a flag. Peruvian historian
María Rostworowski said, "I bet
my life, the Inca never had that flag, it never existed, no chronicler
mentioned it". Also, to the Peruvian newspaper El Comercio, the flag
dates to the first decades of the 20th century, and even the Congress
of the Republic of
Peru has determined that flag is a fake by citing
the conclusion of National Academy of Peruvian History:
"The official use of the wrongly called '
Tawantinsuyu flag' is a
mistake. In the Pre-Hispanic Andean World there did not exist the
concept of a flag, it did not belong to their historic context".
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF PERUVIAN HISTORY
Sacsayhuamán , the Inca stronghold of
Andean civilization probably began c. 7600 BCE . Based in the
highlands of Peru, an area now called the punas, the ancestors of the
Incas probably began as a nomadic herding people. Adaptation to the
altitude led to distinctive physical developments. Short and stocky,
men averaged 1.57 m (5'2") and women 1.45 m (4'9"). Compared to other
humans, the Incas had slower heart rates, almost one-third larger lung
capacity, about 2 L (4 pints) more blood volume and double the amount
of hemoglobin , which transfers oxygen from the lungs to the rest of
the body. While the
Conquistadors may have been slightly taller, the
Inca had the advantage of coping with the extraordinary altitude.
Permanent habitations have been found as high as 5,300 m (17,400 ft)
above sea level in the temperate zone of the high altiplanos. In the
Lake Titikaka region,
Tiwanaku is recognized by Andean scholars as one
of the most important precursors to the Inca Empire, flourishing as
the ritual and administrative capital of a major state power for
approximately 500 years. Previous cultures left no written record, but
their architecture, ceramics and state government were inherited by
IMPORTANT INCAN ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES
* Indigenous peoples in
Governorate of New Castile
Governorate of New Castile (1528–1542)
* Viceroyalty of
Governorate of the Río de la Plata
Governorate of the Río de la Plata (1617–1782)
Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata
Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata (1776–1811)
United Provinces of the River Plate
United Provinces of the River Plate (1810–31)
Liga Federal (1815–20)
Republic of Entre Ríos
Republic of Entre Ríos (1820–21)
Argentine Confederation (1831–61)
State of Buenos Aires
State of Buenos Aires (1852–61)
Kingdom of Araucanía and Patagonia
Kingdom of Araucanía and Patagonia (1860–present, unrecognized)
Argentine Republic (1861–present)
El Fuerte de Samaipata
El Fuerte de Samaipata
Pambamarca Fortress Complex
Pukara of La Compañia
Aclla , the "chosen women"
Amauta , Inca teachers
Amazonas before the Inca Empire
Anden , agricultural terrace
Inca Civil War
Inca Civil War
* Incas in Central
Guaman Poma de Ayala
Garcilaso de la Vega (chronicler)
Garcilaso de la Vega (chronicler)
Qullqa , Inca storehouse
Religion in the Inca Empire
Religion in the Inca Empire
Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire
Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire
Tampukancha , Inca religious site
* Cultural periods of
Demographic history of the indigenous peoples of the Americas
* History of
* History of smallpox
* ^ Namnama, Katrina; DeGuzman, Kathleen, "The Inca Empire", K12,
USA, archived from the original on 27 February 2008
* ^ A B McEwan 2008 , p. 221.
* ^ Schwartz, Glenn M.; Nichols, John J. (15 August 2010). After
Collapse: The Regeneration of Complex Societies. University of Arizona
Press. ISBN 978-0-8165-2936-0 .
* ^ Moseley, Michael E. (2001), The Incas and their Ancestors,
London: Thames and Hudson, p. 7
* ^ "The Inca - All Empires".
* ^ "The Inca." The National Foreign Language Center at the
University of Maryland. 29 May 2007. Retrieved 10 Sept 2013.
* ^ "McEwan, Gordon F. (2006). The Incas: New Perspectives, New
York: W. W. Norton & Co, p. 5
* ^ La Lone, Darrell E. "The Inca as a Nonmarket Economy: Supply on
Command versus Supply and Demand," p. 292.
accessed 10 Aug 2017
* ^ Morris, Craig and von Hagen, Adrianna (2011), The Incas,
London: Thames & Hudson, pp. 48-58
* ^ "Inca". American Heritage Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Company.
* ^ McEwan, p. 93
* ^ McEwan 2008 , p. 57.
* ^ McEwan 2008 , p. 69.
* ^ Demarest, Arthur Andrew; Conrad, Geoffrey W. (1984). Religion
and Empire: The Dynamics of Aztec and Inca Expansionism. Cambridge,
UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 57–59. ISBN 0-521-31896-3 .
* ^ The three laws of
Tawantinsuyu are still referred to in Bolivia
these days as the three laws of the Qullasuyu.
* ^ Weatherford, J. McIver (1988). Indian Givers: How the Indians
of the Americas Transformed the World. New York: Fawcett Columbine.
pp. 60–62. ISBN 0-449-90496-2 .
* ^ Ernesto Salazar (1977). An Indian federation in lowland Ecuador
International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs . p. 13.
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* ^ Starn, Orin; Kirk, Carlos Iván; Degregori, Carlos Iván (1
January 2009). The
Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politics. Duke
University Press. ISBN 0-8223-8750-6 .
* ^ *Juan de Samano (9 October 2009). "Relacion de los primeros
Francisco Pizarro y Diego de Almagro, 1526".
bloknot.info (A. Skromnitsky). Retrieved 10 October 2009.
* ^ Somervill, Barbara (2005). Francisco Pizarro: Conqueror of the
Incas. Compass Point Books. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-7565-1061-9 .
* ^ McEwan 2008 , p. 79.
* ^ McEwan 2008 , p. 31.
* ^ Sanderson 1992 , p. 76.
* ^ Millersville University Silent Killers of the New World
Archived 3 November 2006 at the
Wayback Machine .
* ^ McEwan 2008 , pp. 93–96. The 10 million population estimate
in the info box is a mid-range estimate of the population..
* ^ Quechua Archived 12 October 2008 at the
Wayback Machine .
* ^ A B C "Origins And Diversity of Quechua".
* ^ A B C D Incas : lords of gold and glory. Time-Life Books.
Alexandria, Va.: Time-Life Books. 1992. ISBN 0809498707 . OCLC
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of Desire. Journal of Women's History, 20(3), 166-180.
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* ^ Covey, R. Alan. 2013. Inca Gender Relations, from Household to
* ^ Urton, Gary (6 March 2009). Signs of the Inka Khipu: Binary
Coding in the Andean Knotted-String Records. University of Texas
Press. ISBN 978-0-292-77375-2 .
* ^ THE INCAS OF PERU
* ^ Burger, Richard L.; Salazar, Lucy C. (2004). Machu Picchu:
Unveiling the Mystery of the Incas. Yale University Press. ISBN
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today. Morrow. pp. 261–262. ISBN 978-0-688-03755-0 .
* ^ Reinhard, Johan (November 1999). "A 6,700 metros niños incas
sacrificados quedaron congelados en el tiempo". National Geographic,
Spanish version : 36–55.
* ^ Salomon, Frank (1987-01-01). "A North Andean Status Trader
Complex under Inka Rule". Ethnohistory. 34 (1): 63–77.
. doi :10.2307/482266 .
* ^ Earls, J. The Character of Inca and Andean Agriculture. P. 1-29
* ^ Moseley 2001 , p. 44.
* ^ Murra, John V.; Rowe, John Howland (1984-01-01). "An Interview
with John V. Murra". The Hispanic American Historical Review. 64 (4):
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* ^ Maffie, J. (5 March 2013). "
Pre-Columbian Philosophies". In
Nuccetelli, Susana; Schutte, Ofelia; Bueno, Otávio. A Companion to
Latin American Philosophy. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 137–138. ISBN
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Empire was its strange economy, io9 , retrieved 4 January 2012
* ^ Willey, Gordon R. (1966). An Introduction to American
Archaeology: South America. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall. pp.
* ^ D\'Altroy 2014 , pp. 86-89; 111; 154-155.
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* ^ McEwan 2008 , p. 138-139.
* ^ A B Dillehay, T. ; Gordon, A. "La actividad prehispánica y su
influencia en la Araucanía". In Dillehay, Tom; Netherly, Patricia. La
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* ^ Bengoa 2003 , p. 39.
* ^ Rowe in Steward, Ed., p. 262
* ^ Rowe in Steward, ed., p. 185-192
* ^ D\'Altroy 2014 , pp. 42-43, 86-89.
* ^ McEwan 2008 , p. 113-114.
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* ^ D\'Altroy 2014 , pp. 87.
* ^ D\'Altroy 2014 , pp. 87-88.
* ^ D\'Altroy 2014 , pp. 235-236.
* ^ D\'Altroy 2014 , pp. 99.
* ^ R. T. Zuidema, Hierarchy and Space in Incaic Social
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* ^ Julien 1982 , pp. 121-127.
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* ^ Julien 1982 , p. 123.
* ^ D\'Altroy 2014 , pp. 233.
* ^ D\'Altroy 2014 , pp. 246-247.
* ^ McEwan 2008 , p. 179-180.
* ^ D\'Altroy 2014 , pp. 150-154.
* ^ McEwan 2008 , p. 185-187.
* ^ Neuman, William (January 2, 2016). "Untangling an Accounting
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* ^ "Supplementary Information for: Heggarty 2008". Arch.cam.ac.uk.
* ^ "Inca mathematics". History.mcs.st-and.ac.uk. Retrieved
* ^ McEwan 2008 , p. 185.
* ^ Cobo, B. (1983 ). Obras del P. Bernabé Cobo. Vol. 1. Edited
and preliminary study By Francisco Mateos. Biblioteca de Autores
Españoles, vol. 91. Madrid: Ediciones Atlas.
* ^ Sáez-Rodríguez, A. (2012). "An Ethnomathematics Exercise for
Analyzing a Khipu Sample from
Pachacamac (Perú)". Revista
Latinoamericana de Etnomatemática. 5 (1): 62–88.
* ^ Sáez-Rodríguez, A. (2013). "Knot numbers used as labels for
identifying subject matter of a khipu". Revista Latinoamericana de
Etnomatemática. 6 (1): 4–19.
* ^ Berrin, Kathleen (1997). The Spirit of Ancient Peru: Treasures
from the Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera. Thames and Hudson.
ISBN 978-0-500-01802-6 .
* ^ McEwan 2008 , p. 183.
* ^ "Incan skull surgery". Science News.
* ^ A B "Cocaine\'s use: From the Incas to the U.S.". Boca Raton
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* ^ Francisco López de Jerez,Verdadera relación de la conquista
Peru y provincia de Cusco, llamada la Nueva Castilla, 1534.
* ^ Guaman Poma, El primer nueva corónica y buen gobierno,
(1615/1616), pp. 256, 286, 344, 346, 400, 434, 1077, this pagination
corresponds to the Det Kongelige Bibliotek search engine pagination of
the book. Additionally Poma shows both well drafted European flags and
coats of arms on pp. 373, 515, 558, 1077, 0. On pages 83, 167–171
Poma uses a European heraldic graphic convention, a shield, to place
certain totems related to Inca leaders.
* ^ Preble, George Henry; Charles Edward Asnis (1917). Origin and
History of the American Flag and of the Naval and Yacht-Club
Signals... 1. N. L. Brown. p. 85.
* ^ McCandless, Byron (1917). Flags of the world. National
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Library resources about
* Online books
* Resources in your library
* Resources in other libraries
* Куприенко, Сергей (2013). Источники
XVI-XVII веков по истории инков: хроники,
документы, письма. Kyiv: Видавець
Купрієнко С.А. ISBN 978-617-7085-03-3 .
* Bengoa, José (1 January 2003). Historia de los antiguos mapuches
del sur: desde antes de la llegada de los españoles hasta las paces
de Quilín : siglos XVI y XVII. BPR Publishers. ISBN 978-956-8303-02-0
* De La Vega, Garcilaso (15 September 2006). The Royal Commentaries
of the Incas and General History of Peru, Abridged. Hackett
Publishing. pp. 32–. ISBN 978-1-60384-856-5 .
* Hemming, John (2003). The Conquest of the Incas. Harvest Press.
ISBN 0-15-602826-3 .
* MacQuarrie, Kim (2007). The Last Days of the Incas. Simon &
Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-6049-7 .
* Mann, Charles C. (2005). 1491: New Revelations of the Americas
Before Columbus. Knopf . pp. 64–105. ISBN 978-0-307-27818-0 .
* McEwan, Gordon F. (26 August 2008). The Incas: New Perspectives.
W. W. Norton, Incorporated. pp. 221–. ISBN 978-0-393-33301-5 .
* Morales, Edmundo (1995). The guinea pig: healing, food, and ritual
in the Andes. University of Arizona Press.
* Popenoe, Hugh; Steven R. King; Jorge Leon; Luis Sumar Kalinowski;
Noel D. Vietmeyer (1989). Lost Crops of the Incas: Little-Known Plants
Andes with Promise for Worldwide Cultivation. Washington, D.C.:
National Academy Press. ISBN 0-309-04264-X .
* Sanderson, Steven E. (1992). The Politics of Trade in Latin
American Development. Stanford University Press. ISBN
* D'Altroy, Terence N. (30 April 2014). The Incas. Wiley. ISBN
* Steward, ed., Julian H. (1946), The Handbook of South American
Indians. No. 143, Vol. 2: The Andean Civilizations. Washington, DC:
Smithsonian Institution, pp. 1935
* Julien, Catherine J. (1982). Inca Decimal Administration in the
Lake Titicaca Region in The Inca and Aztec States: 1400–1800. New
York: Academic Press.
* Moseley, Michael Edward (2001). The Incas and Their Ancestors: The
Archaeology of Peru. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-28277-9 .
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