The Incas Essay, Research Paper
The Incas There are numerous civilizations that have been lost for thousands of years. To this day we still do not know how these once mighty civilizations have disappeared. There are hundreds of myths and folk tales surrounding them but no hard facts. One of the most famous ancient tribes were the Incas. The Incas were Native South American s, and lived around Andes, Peru. They were very much like Rome because they ruled so many people in different lands; the population was around 12 million. Ruling so many people made it difficult for the Incas to keep control of everybody. Eventually they built roads, which enabled their armies to move quickly and easily if anyone tried to rebel. Even though the Incas were very smart people, they lacked intelligence in warfare. Agriculture was the most important feature of Inca life. Without the development of agricultural systems like irrigation the Inca empire would never have survived. Most Incas lived as farmers or peasants focusing on their family and community. Farmers could not own private property so everyone shared land and helped each other harvest the fields. The hardest part of farming was the fact that they didn t have any oxen or horses to help them plough the fields. To make up for the lack of animals, they invented a tool called the foot plough. This was made of a long pole, which had a hard point, foot rests and handles. It took great effort to use but they were still able to grow potatoes, corn, and rice like quiona. Another different aspect of Inca life was that there was no such thing as money. If people needed things they traded their goods with local markets. Religion was a strong part of the Incas life. They worshipped the sun and thought that the ruling Inca was a direct descendent of the sun god. There were also several festivals and events a year honoring there sun god. Even though religion was a strong point in Incas lives, it also created many enemies. The most controversial issue of Inca religion was the fact that they sacrificed people and animals. They thought by sacrificing a young and beautiful person it would bring long life and protection from illness. Sacrifices were killed by burying them alive in a cave, or throwing them off the top of high cliffs or mountains. However, most tribes did not agree with these rituals so they fought against them. Eventually, the Incas stopped sacrificing people and just sacrificed animals. Usually there were only one or two animals killed per ceremony, but supposedly a ceremony in Cuzco people killed more then 10,00 llamas (Hemming 72).
The Incas had no major imperialistic expansion or political consolidation until the middle of the 15th century. The first Inca to take an imperialist campaign was Viracocha Inca. Under his control the Inca empire flourished for years. But the empire hadn t reached its full extent until Huayna Capac took over around 1493. At this time, the Incas controlled more then 2500 miles. This was about the size of the Atlantic Coast in the United States. At the height of their power the Inca achieved a governmental system that was unsurpassed by any Native American nation. The entire Inca nation was divided into four great quarters descending in order of rank and power. The four quarters were: the royal family and upper aristocracy, the imperial administrators and petty nobility, and the artisans and farm laborers. Government officials closely supervised the selection and planting of crops and taught farms the techniques of fertilizing irrigation, and stone terracing. A portion of each grain harvested by the farmers was to be taken by the state and stored in government warehouses. The grain stayed in the warehouses until need arose for food (Hemming 27). Some of the most impressive features of Inca civilization were the temples, palaces, fortresses, and public works. Each building was skillfully erected with a minimum of engineering equipment. Other amazing engineering achievements were the construction of rope suspension bridges, irrigation canals, and aqueducts. Even though it seemed like the Incas were a great nation, they meet their demise when Manco Capac, son of Huayna Capac, led a revolt against the Spaniards. He was defeated and later assassinated by fellow refugees. By now the empire was fast disintegrating. The last descendent to the Inca throne was Tupac Amaru, son of Manco Capac. The Spaniards later beheaded him, with his death Inca history became part of Peru s history.