Brief History of the Incas

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Day 3 in Cuzco – Part 1

Today we were typical tourists! We took a tour bus to use our Boleto Turistico ticket to see some famous Inca Ruins. We toured the Sacred Valley, stopped at small villages along the way and explored the Pisac Inca ruins, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero. All the different names are rather tricky to remember. (I’ll put up photos and and tell you more about each site in the next post.)

For these ruins to have any significant meaning to you, you will have to know a little bit about South American history. So I’m going to give you a very brief overview… There is a lot of information about the Incas on the internet if you want to know more about them.

The Inca people lived and eventually ruled the Peru region (and beyond) of South America from the 12th century A.D to 1532 A.D. It was in that year that the Spanish arrived and within 20 years conquered the Incan Empire. They killed many Incas, destroyed their structures and built their own Catholic churches on top of holy Inca sites.

The Spanish were vastly outnumbered when they arrived but still managed to overthrow the powerful Incas. The Incas had a few downfalls: 1.)They didn’t have guns and horses and the Spanish did; 2.)The Spanish carried the disease smallpox, to which the Incas were not immune to, so many Incas got sick and died of smallpox; 3.)It was bad timing for the Incas because their ruler had just died and two of his sons were fighting against each other so they were in the middle of a civil war; 4.)The Spanish did not keep their word when they captured an important Inca leader. They said they will set him free if they are given gold and silver. They killed him anyway.

Those are just some of the many reasons why the Incas were defeated.

Why would we want to remember the Incas? They had a very interesting and rich culture. They built real strong structures which have stood the test of time and which have survived many earthquakes. (If they weren’t completely destroyed by the Spanish.) Nobody knows how they cut and transported their huge rocks. They had a well developed and organized society with a very good irrigation and farming system. They didn’t write but had another system of communication using ropes and knots known as a quipu. The Incas were apparently physically big and had huge quadriceps. (Probably from climbing so many stairs.)

There are many unanswered questions and Inca legends. So because nobody knows the exact story, the Incan history remains in part an unsolved mystery.

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2 Responses to Brief History of the Incas

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