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Imperio Inca

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djgordy
720657.  Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:19 am Reply with quote

Despite my dropping a heavy hint on the "Ink" thread, nobody picked up on the Incas so here goes.

The Incas began in the area of Cuzco. The rulers were called the Sapa Inca, the first being Manco Cápa (Manku Qhapaq), a legendary figure who probably lived around the time of the 12th 13th century. The last Sapa Inca was Atahualpa who was executed in 1533 by the Spanish.

The term "Inca" only referred to the ruler; the Incas referred to their empire as Tawantinsuyu meaning "union of four provinces". The Spanish called the land "Imperio Inca" or the Inca Empire.

The Incas, like the other American civilisations, neglected to invent the wheel. D'oh! To be fair, though, they lived in a mountainous country and didn't have any horses, or other draught animals, so wheels might not have been much good to them. Of course,before we get snooty, Europeans didn't invent the wheel either; the Sumerians seem to have invented it and everyone else just copied off them. If you watch Star Wars there are few, if any, wheeled vehicles there either so it is perfectly possible to establish a galaxy wide, space faring civilisation without wheels.

The Incas were pretty hot on architecture but they didn't think about inventing the true arch either. They conquered lots of other local tribes but neglected to discover iron and so were living in the bronze age when the iron age Spanish arrived with their superior weapons technology. The Incas also didn't have stringed instruments to were unable to invent the symphony orchestra or rock and roll. They also didn't have glass so were unable to invent telescopes or pubs.

One thing that was popular with the Incas was the practice of Capacocha; human sacrifice, mostly involving children.

Quote:
When a capacocha ceremony was to be held, the Inca sent out to the provinces a demand for tribute payment of gold, silver, shell, cloth, feathers, and llamas and alpacas. They also demanded tribute payment of boys and girls between the ages of 4 and 10, selected for physical perfection.

Capacocha ceremonies lasted several days, including feasting and ritual events. Offerings would be made at many appropriate huacas (shrines), and at the major shrine, a boy and girl were sacrificed and interred together as a couple. The children were reportedly suffocated, killed with a blow to the head or buried alive after ritual inebriation. One capacocha ceremony known from the historic period is Tanta Carhua, a 10 year old girl who was sacrificed to obtain the capac's support for a canal project.


http://archaeology.about.com/od/caterms/qt/capacocha.htm

Lovely.

 
sjb
762834.  Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:06 am Reply with quote

The Inca lacked a true written language but made up for this somewhat with an accounting system that used knotted ropes. These knotted ropes are called khipu (or quipu), which means 'knot' in Quechua. The Inca used a decimal system of counting, different types of knots denoting different values. However, Gary Urton, a professor at Harvard, has argued that khipu were encoded with more than just numeric information.

Sadly (IMO), there are only about 600 extant khipu today. The Spanish saw them as a threat and set about destroying as many as possible during the conquest.

http://khipukamayuq.fas.harvard.edu/

Also, the famous Inca citadel at Machu Picchu was not "rediscovered" by Hiram Bingham in 1911 as it is often said. Locals clearly knew about it as they assisted Bingham in ascending to the top (as they had done before). In addition to local knowledge of Machu Picchu, it is believed that Machu Picchu was ransacked in 1867 by a German "adventurer" named Augusto Berns. Uniquely, though, the Spanish never reached the citadel at Machu Picchu.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7439397.stm

 
djgordy
763739.  Tue Nov 30, 2010 4:10 am Reply with quote

It would make a goof general ignorance question: "How many Incas were there at the time of the Spanish conquest of Peru?" Klaxon any number other than one.


Last edited by djgordy on Sat Dec 04, 2010 4:48 am; edited 1 time in total

 
Frances
764627.  Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:00 am Reply with quote

Macchu Picchu was barely begun when the Spaniards arrived. It was completed to be a hidden, holy fortress against the invaders, by resistance-minded Qechuas, with tacit support from anti-Spanish Incas - and yes, there were some, though they tended not to last long. Atahuallpa was not the last Inca; there were several after him, mostly quislings set up by the Spaniards to give their rule some veneer of legitimacy and keep the natives in subjection.

 
sjb
764631.  Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:36 am Reply with quote

I visited Machu Picchu this summer and the folks I spoke with there said that archaeologists are divided over what exactly Machu Picchu's purpose was. Most of the people there, though, tended to lean toward the idea that it was a winter retreat for the Inca/ruler. (Though regular folks lived there year-round.)

I also got the general impression from the people I spoke with that the people who lived there abandoned it after they caught wind of the Spanish conquest because they were afraid of being killed/defeated/etc. So, that would stand to reason that it was not really meant to be a fortress. Though, if they had chosen it to hole up in to resist the Spanish . . . I would try my darnedest to build a time machine to watch.

Truth be told, I'm not an archaeologist and the people I met there might have just been (very convincing) quacks. :)

In any event, Machu Picchu is the most beautiful place I've ever been in my life. Peru, in general, is stunning. ¡Viva el Peru glorioso!

 
bobwilson
764774.  Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:13 am Reply with quote

I doubt the current inhabitants of South America have any greater insight into the purpose of Machu Picchu than anyone else.

 
djgordy
764801.  Sat Dec 04, 2010 4:50 am Reply with quote

Frances wrote:
by resistance-minded Qechuas...


or "al-qechuas" as they were called in the Spanish press.

 
sjb
764890.  Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:29 am Reply with quote

bobwilson wrote:
I doubt the current inhabitants of South America have any greater insight into the purpose of Machu Picchu than anyone else.


Oh, yes. That's right. I forgot. South Americans are inferior. And there are no archaeologists, anthropologists, etc., in South America. Then I wonder what all those folks pretending to archaeologists who I met were up to....

After all, aliens built Machu Picchu.

 

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