Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Amazing Civilization - The Inca Empire

The Inca Empire (or Inka Empire) was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America.

The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in Cusco. The Inca Empire arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in early 13th century.The Incas had various origin myths. In one, Ticci Viracocha sent forth his four sons and four daughters (known as the Ayar brothers) from Pacaritambo to establish a village. Along the way, Sinchi Roca was born to Manco and Ocllo, and Sinchi Roca led them to the valley of Cusco where they founded their new village.
In another origin myth, the sun god Inti ordered Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo to emerge from the depths of Lake Titicaca.

Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo, sons of the Inti.

They were born in the lake and wandered north to establish the city of Cusco. They travelled by means of underground caves until they reached Cusco where they established Hurin Cusco, or the first dynasty of the Kingdom of Cusco.
These myths were apparently transmitted via oral tradition until early Spanish colonists recorded them; however some scholars believe that they may have been recorded on quipus.

The Inca people began as a tribe in the Cusco area around the 12th century. Under the leadership of Manco Capac, they formed the small city-state of Cusco (Quechua Qusqu), shown in red on the map. In 1438 they began a far-reaching expansion under the command of Sapa Inca (paramount leader) Pachacuti, whose name literally meant "earth-shaker". During his reign, he and his son brought much of the Andes mountains (roughly modern Peru and Ecuador) under Inca control.

Pachacuti reorganized the kingdom of Cuzco 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: Chinchasuyu (NW), Antisuyu (NE), Contisuyu (SW), and Collasuyu (SE). Pachacuti is also thought to have built Machu Picchu, either as a family home or as a summer retreat.
Most of the construction in Machu Picchu uses the classic Inca architectural style of polished dry-stone walls of regular shape. The Incas were masters of this technique, called ashlar, in which blocks of stone are cut to fit together tightly without mortar. The Incas were among the best stone masons the world has seen, and many junctions in the central city are so perfect that not even a knife fits between the stones.

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