Who were the Incas?

            The Incas were South American Indians who ruled an empire that extended form central Chile to the present Colombo Ecuador border. The center of their empire was Peru, and they established their capital at Cuzco, in the 12th century. The legend goes that the first Inca ruler, Manco Capan, was descended form the sun god. The Incas began their conquest in the early 15th century and within 100 years they gained control of an Andean population of about 12,000,000 people.

An Inca King

            The Inca society was of high standard a highly stratified and structured one. The emperor ruled with the help of an aristocratic bureaucracy that was harsh and brutal in the exercise of its authority. Their technology and architecture were highly developed. Most of the Inca people were farmers and grew maize, beans, tomatoes, chilies, peppers, cotton, etc. nobody paid taxes, but every man was periodically called to serve in the army or to help in the construction of buildings, roads, temples or mining. The Incas built suspension bridges, hillside terraces, long irrigate canals and immense fortresses, places, temples, etc., and a few of them can still be seeing throughout the Andes. In addition to all these, their medicine and surgery were also highly developed. They made their clothes form the llama wool and cotton. Practically every man was a farmer, producing his own food.

            A Spanish adventurer, Francisco Pissarro in 1532, conquered the Incas. Pizarro entered the Inca Empire with 180 soldiers. At that time there was a power-struggle between Huascar and his half-brother, Atahualpa as to who would be the Inca ruler. Pizarro captured Atahualpa by treachery and Huascar was captured and killed. Later, Pissarro also killed Atahualpa, though the Incas fulfilled his demand of gold for the release of Atahualpa.

            Now the Inca Empire had no leader and it could not resist the brutal Spanish adventurers. The Spanish conquerors called conquistador transformed the Inca Empire into a colonial appendage to escape the brutalities of the colonial system. The Inca religious institutions were crushed by massive campaigns against idolatry. According to many historians, the civilization that the Spanish conquerors destroyed was in many ways better than their own.

            The ruins of their ancient citadel, Machu Picchu, nestled in the clouds at 8,000 feet were discovered by a professor from Yale University, USA, called Hiram Bingham in 1911. Most likely, it was a royal estate, observatory and religious retreat said to have been built between 1460 and 1470 A.D. by Pachacuti Inca.