. The Inca state was known as the
Kingdom of Cusco
Kingdom of Cusco before 1438. Over
the course of the Inca Empire, the Inca used conquest and peaceful
assimilation to incorporate in their empire a large portion of western
, centred on the
Andean mountain ranges. However, shortly after the
Inca Civil War, the last
Sapa Inca (emperor) of the
Inca Empire was
captured and killed on the orders of the conquistador Francisco
Pizarro, marking the beginning of Spanish rule. The remnants of the
empire retreated to the remote jungles of Vilcabamba and were not
established the small Neon-Inca State, which was conquered by the
Spanish in 1572.
The Quechua name was Tawantin Suyu which can be translated The Four
Regions or The Four United Regions. Before the Quechua spelling reform
it was written in Spanish as Tahuantinsuyo. Tawantin is a group of
four things (tawa "four" with the suffix -ntin which names a group);
suyu means "region" or "province".
The empire was divided into four suyus, whose corners met at the
Cuzco (Qosqo), in modern-day Peru.
The official language of the empire was Quechua, although over seven
hundred local languages were spoken. The Inca leadership encouraged
the worship of their gods, the foremost of which was Inti, the sun
1 Origin stories of the Incas
2 Spanish conquest and Neo-Inca State
3 After the Spanish conquest
6 External links
Origin stories of the Incas
See also: Inca mythology
The Inca had four types of origin myths. In one, Tici Viracocha of
Colina de las Ventanas in
Paqariq Tampu sent forth his four sons and
four daughters to establish a village. Along the way,
Sinchi Roca was
born to Manco and Ocllo, and
Sinchi Roca is the person who finally led
them to the valley of
Cuzco where they founded their new village.
There Manco became their leader and became known as Manco Cápac.
In another origin myth the sun god
Manco Cápac and Mama
Ocllo to emerge from the depths of
Lake Titicaca and found the city of
Cuzco. They traveled by means of underground caves until reaching
Cuzco where they established Hurin Cuzco, or the first dynasty of the
Kingdom of Cuzco.
In the third origin myth, an Inca sun god told his wife that he was
lonely. She proposed that he create a civilization to worship him and
keep him company. He saw this as a wise plan and carried it out. The
Inca were born from Lake
Cusco and populated the
Andes and worshiped
their sun god.
In the last origin myth, Manco Cápac, who was the son of the sun, and
his sister Mama Occlo, the daughter of the moon, were sent by the sun
to look for a place to build an empire. They were to tell when they
were at the right place by carrying a special rod with them at all
times. Wherever the rod sank into the ground, this was where they were
to create a new city. The rod sank into the ground in Cuzco.
The knowledge of these myths is due to oral tradition, since the Incas
did not have writing. Manco Cápac, who became the leader of his
tribe, probably did exist, despite lack of solid evidence. The
archeological evidence seems to indicate that the Inca were a
relatively unimportant tribe until the time of Sinchi Roca, also
called Cinchi Roca, who is the first figure in
Inca mythology whose
existence can be supported historically.
The Inca people began as a tribe in the
Cusco area around the 12th
century AD. Under the leadership of
Manco Cápac they formed the small
Cusco Quechua Qosqo.
In 1438 AD, under the command of
Sapa Inca (paramount leader)
Pachacuti, whose name meant "world-shaker", they began a far-reaching
expansion. The land
Pachacuti conquered was about the size of the
Thirteen Colonies of the United States in 1776, and consisted of about
Andes mountain range.
Pachacuti reorganized the kingdom of
Cusco into an empire, the
Tahuantinsuyu, a federalist system which consisted of a central
government with the Inca at its head and four provincial governments
with strong leaders:
Pachacuti is also thought to have built Machu
Picchu, either as a family home or as a Camp David-like
Pachacuti would send spies to regions he wanted in his empire who
would report back on their political organization, military might and
wealth. He would then send messages to the leaders of these lands
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 subject rulers of the Inca. Most
accepted the rule of the Inca as a fait accompli and acquiesced
peacefully. The ruler's children would then be brought to
Cuzco to be
taught about Inca administration systems, then return to rule their
native lands. This allowed the Inca to indoctrinate the former ruler's
children into the Inca nobility, and, with luck, marry their daughters
into families at various corners of the empire.
It was traditional for the Inca's son to lead the army; Pachacuti's
Túpac Inca began conquests to the north in 1463, and continued
them as Inca after Pachucuti's death in 1471. His most important
conquest was the Kingdom of Chimor, the Inca's only serious rival for
the coast of Peru. Túpac Inca's empire stretched north into
Ecuador and Colombia.
Túpac Inca's son
Huayna Cápac added significant territory to the
south. At its height, Tahuantinsuyu included Peru and Bolivia, most of
what is now Ecuador, a large portion of modern-day Chile, and extended
into corners of
Argentina and Colombia. Tahuantinsuyu was a patchwork
of languages, cultures and peoples. The components of the empire were
not all uniformly loyal, nor were the local cultures all fully
integrated. The portions of the
Chachapoya that had been conquered
were almost openly hostile to the Inca, and the Inca nobles rejected
an offer of refuge in their kingdom after their troubles with the
Spanish. For instance, the
Chimú used money in their commerce, while
the Inca empire as a whole had an economy based on exchange and
taxation of luxury goods and labour (it is said that Inca tax
collectors would take the head lice of the lame and old as a symbolic
Economic productivity was based on collective labor which was
organized in order to benefit the whole community. The ayni was used
to help individual members of the community in need, such as a sick
member of the community. The minka or team work represented community
service and the mita was the tax paid to the Inca in the form of
labor. The Inca did not use currency, economic exchanges were by
reciprocity and took place in markets called catus.
Spanish conquest and Neo-Inca State
of the Americas
Alonso de Ojeda
Diego de Almagro
Pedro de Alvarado
Bernal Díaz del Castillo
Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar
Sebastián de Belalcázar
Francisco Vázquez de Coronado
Luis de Carabajal y Cueva
Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada
Hernán Pérez de Quesada
Juan Ponce de León
Francisco de Montejo
Pánfilo de Narváez
Juan de Oñate
Francisco de Orellana
Pedro de Portocarrero
Hernando de Soto
Pedro de Valdivia
Inés de Suárez
Pedro de Candia
Tristán de Luna y Arellano
Vasco Núñez de Balboa
Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
Spanish missions in the Americas
Main article: Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire
Spanish conquistadors led by
Francisco Pizarro explored south from
Panama, reaching Inca territory by 1526. It was clear that they had
reached a wealthy land with prospects of great treasure, and after one
more expedition (1529), Pizarro traveled to Spain and received royal
approval to conquer the region and be its viceroy.
At the time they returned to Peru, in 1532, a war of succession
between Huayna Capac's sons
Atahualpa and unrest among
newly conquered territories—and perhaps more importantly, smallpox,
which had spread from Central America—had considerably weakened the
Pizarro did not have a formidable force; with just 170 men, 1 cannon
and only 27 horses, he often needed to talk his way out of potential
confrontations that could have easily wiped out his party. Their first
engagement was the battle of Puná, near present-day Guayaquil,
Ecuador; Pizarro then founded the city of
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 resting at
Cajamarca with his army of 80,000
Pizarro met with the Inca, who had brought only a small retinue, and
through interpreters demanded that he convert to Christianity. A
widely disputed legend claims that
Atahualpa was handed a Bible and
threw it on the floor, the Spanish supposedly interpreted this action
as adequate reason for war. Though some chroniclers suggest that
Atahualpa simply didn't understand the notion of a book, others
Atahualpa as being genuinely curious & inquisitive in the
situation. Regardless, The Spanish attacked the Inca's retinue (see
Battle of Cajamarca), capturing Atahualpa.
Pizarro used the capture to gain gold as a ransom.
the Spaniards enough gold to fill the room he was imprisoned in, and
twice that amount of silver. The Incas fulfilled this ransom. Over
four months, almost 8 tons of gold was collected. Pizarro was supposed
to let the ruler of the Incas free once the ransom was paid, but he
refused to release the Inca after that and instead had him strangled
in public. During Atahualpa's imprisonment
Huáscar was assassinated.
The Spanish maintained that this was at Atahualpa's orders; this was
one of the charges used against
Atahualpa when the Spanish finally
decided to put him to death, in August 1533.
The Spanish installed his brother
Manco Inca Yupanqui
Manco Inca Yupanqui in power; for
some time Manco cooperated with the Spanish, while the Spanish fought
to put down resistance in the north. Meanwhile, an associate of
Pizarro's, Diego de Almagro, attempted to claim
Cusco for himself.
Manco tried to use this intra-Spanish feud to his advantage,
Cusco (1536), but the Spanish retook the city.
Manco Inca then retreated to the mountains of Vilcabamba and founded
the 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 discovered, and the last ruler,
Túpac Amaru, Manco's son, was captured and executed, bringing the
Inca empire to an end.
After the Spanish conquest
After the fall of Tahuantinsuyu, the new Spanish rulers repressed the
people and their traditions. Many aspects of Inca culture were
systematically destroyed, including their sophisticated farming
system. The Spanish used the Inca mita (mandatory public service)
system to get labourers for mines and plantations. One member of each
family was forced to work in the gold and silver mines, the foremost
of which was the silver mine at Potosí. When one family member died,
which would usually happen within a year or two, the family would be
required to send a replacement.
The major languages of the empire, Quechua and Aymara, were employed
Catholic Church to evangelize in the
Andean region. In some
cases, these languages were taught to peoples who had originally
spoken other indigenous languages. Today, Quechua and Aymara remain
the most widespread Amerindian languages.
The legend of the Inca has served as inspiration for resistance
movements in the region. These include the 1780 rebellion led by Tupac
Amaru II against the Spanish, as well as contemporary the guerrilla
Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) and Sendero
Luminoso in Peru and
Tupamaros in Uruguay.
^1 Before the official orthography, during the use of Hispanic
spellings, it was written as tahuantinsuyo. See: Quechuan and Aymaran
^2 Tawantin suyu derives from the Quechua "tawa" (four), to which the
suffix "-ntin" (together or united) is added, followed by "suyu"
(region or province), which roughly renders as "The land of the four
^ D'Altroy, Terence (2014). The Incas. 350 Main St. Malden, MA 02148:
John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. pp. 70–73.
Andrien, Kenneth (2001).
Hemming, John (1970). Conquest of the Incas.
Peru Cultural Society
E-museum @ Minnesota State University
Nueva corónica y buen gobierno by Guaman Poma (published 1615 CE)
Inca Land by Hiram Bingham (published 1912-1922 CE)
Tupac Amaru, the Life, Times, and Execution of the Last Inca.
Inca Artifacts, Peru, and
Machu Picchu 360 degree movies of inca
artifacts and Peruvian landscapes.
Inca civilization and other ancient civilizations by Genry Joil.
Ancient Civilizations - Inca Great resea