Inca, an ancient civilization from South America, is a term that has become synonymous with the Andean people who ruled over a vast empire in the 15th and early 16th centuries. The Inca Empire was one of the largest and most powerful civilizations in pre-Columbian America.
The Origin of the Inca Civilization
The Inca civilization originated in the Cusco region of present-day Peru. According to legend, the first Inca ruler, Manco Capac, was sent down to earth by Inti, the sun god. Manco Capac founded Cusco as the capital of his kingdom and began to expand his territory through conquest.
The Rise of the Inca Empire
Under the leadership of Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, the ninth Inca ruler, the empire expanded rapidly. He conquered neighboring regions and brought them under his control. The Incas had a highly organized society with a complex system of government and administration.
The Social Structure of the Incas
The Incas had a rigid social structure with four main classes – nobles, commoners, peasants, and slaves. At its peak, the empire had a population of around 12 million people.
The Role of Nobles
The nobles were at the top of the social hierarchy and held important positions in government and religion. They were responsible for maintaining law and order in their regions.
The Life of Commoners
Commoners included merchants, artisans, soldiers, and other non-noble members of society. They enjoyed some privileges but also had to pay taxes to support the empire.
Peasants and Slaves
Peasants lived in rural areas and worked on farms to produce food for their families as well as for tribute to be paid to their rulers. Slaves were captured in war and used for labor.
The Religion of the Incas
The Incas worshipped many gods, but the most important was Inti, the sun god. They believed that their rulers were descendants of the gods and had a divine right to rule.
The Legacy of the Inca Civilization
The Inca civilization came to an end in 1532 when Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro arrived in South America. The empire was destroyed, and thousands of Incas were killed or enslaved.
Despite this tragic end to their civilization, the legacy of the Inca people still lives on today. Their achievements in architecture, agriculture, and art continue to fascinate people around the world.