What Was the Mita System AP World History?

The Mita System was a labor system used in the Incan Empire in South America. It was also known as “mit’a” or “mita” and it was a form of tribute paid to the Incan state.

What Was the Purpose of the Mita System?

The purpose of the Mita System was to provide labor for public works projects, such as road construction, agricultural terracing, and mining. The Incas used this system to build their empire and maintain its infrastructure. It is estimated that up to 60% of the Incan population participated in the Mita System at some point.

How Did the Mita System Work?

The Mita System required each community to provide a certain number of workers for a specified period of time. Workers were chosen by age and gender, with men between 18 and 50 years old being required to participate. Women could also participate, but their roles were limited to tasks such as spinning and weaving.

Each worker would be required to work for a set amount of time, usually one or two months. During this time, they would be provided with food and shelter by the state. After completing their work, they would return home until their community was called upon again for another round of labor.

What Were Some Issues with the Mita System?

While the Mita System provided labor for public works projects, it also had several drawbacks. One major issue was that workers were often separated from their families for extended periods of time. This led to social problems within communities and could cause resentment towards the Incan state.

Additionally, workers were not always treated well during their service. They were often forced to work long hours under harsh conditions without adequate rest or medical care. This led to high mortality rates among Mit’a workers.


In conclusion, while the Mita System played an important role in the development of the Incan Empire, it was also a source of hardship for many workers. The system was eventually abolished by Spanish colonial authorities in the 16th century, but its legacy can still be seen in modern-day Peru and other Andean countries.