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Origins, duration, extension and population. Social and economic structure. Engineering and scientific achievements. Machu Pichu. End of the Incan Empire.

The Incas had a very wealthy empire. It was probably the most important empire of all the Pre-Columbian nations.
They had impressive cities and fortresses, well organised social and political structures and a great dominion of farming techniques.
For these people of the Andes, gold was the symbol of the might of the sun, the supreme god to whom they owed their very existence.

According to tradition, Inti, the Sun-god, created the first Incan monarch, whose name was Manco Cápac, in Lake Titicaca.
Curzco formed the political and religious hub of their empire.
The Incas demonstrated an extraordinary capacity for organisation and tremendous pragmatism.
Successive military campaigns of their armies increased their domains and their power.
The extension of the Incan empire at the height of its splendour .
The worship pf the Sun-god and their Quechua language which is still spoken in fairly large areas of Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Nothern Chile and Argentina.
The Inca were intelligent imperialists who took the best from each culture they absorbed.

The basic pillar of the Incan economy was farming. The “ayllus”.
The Inca were not familiar with the plough, but they used hoes and other tools used in farming. They also used fertilisers.
They watered the soil using canals, aquaducts and pools.
They used terraces for farming.
It is said that no other race on this planet of ours has cultivated so many different kinds of vegetables.
They cultivated more that 200 varieties of potatoes and more then 20 varieties of corn.
Their cattle-raising was limited to llamas, guanacos, alpacas and vicunas (animals good for carrying loads and appreciated for their wool).
All products were divided into three parts; one for the Inca, another for the priests and the third for the “ayllu” itself.
Other specialised crafts: goldsmiths, potters and weavers.
The “mita”: the Incas contributed towards the greatness of their empire by paying taxes working for the community.
Nobles were considered to be local chiefs, members of the Inca’s family or former chieftains of etnies previously absorbed by the empire.
Above everyone else was the Inca, the incarnation of the Sun-god.
The Inca chose his successor from among the children born from his imperial wife, or “Coya”, who was usually also his sister.

The Incan culture attained great spleandour in spite of their not knowing how to write.
The Quipu, a tool used ti keep a strict control of men and wealth.
They also stood out for their extraordinary works of engineering and civil architecture.
They did not know of the wheel , not did they use animals for towing.
Machu Pichu. Their fortresses, palaces and temples.
They had an efficient network of primary and secondary roads of more than 15,000 kilometres.
They also had an efficient relay postal service from Quito to Cuzco (covering 250 kilometres per day in only ten days. The bridge over River Apurimac.
The Incan empire ended brusquely with the death of Atahualpa, the Incan king,
Pizarro and the last sovereign Incan.
The Incan civilisation is still present in our every-day lives each time someone eats tomatos, potatoes, corn.

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