The World of the Incas

The World of the Incas
Pages 163-167
Early Peoples of Peru
Western South America
◦ Wide variety of climates & terrains
◦ Dry, lifeless desert in the coastal plain crossed by river valleys
◦ Andes Mountains that are snow capped rise steeply, & level off into high
◦ East of the Andes lie dense jungles stretching from Peru into Brazil
Native Americans developed many different life styles across South
Thousands of years ago, people settled in fishing villages along the
desert coast of Peru.
Gradually moved inland to farm river valleys.
Grew corn, cotton, squash, & beans.
Cultivated 700 varieties of potatoes.
Domesticated the llama & alpaca.
Developed skills in pottery & weaving
Different Cultures
Archaeologists pieced together a chronology of various cultures that left their
mark on the region.
 Chavin
The earliest of these cultures
Named for ruins found @ Chavin de Huantar in the Andes
850 BC huge temple complex built
Stone carving & pottery show they worshipped a ferocious looking god that was part jaguar &
part human
100-700 AD Mochica peoples forged an empire along the arid north coast of Peru.
Skilled farmers developed terracing, irrigation, & fertilization
Leaders built roads & organized networks of relay runners to carry messages
It took 130 million sun-dried adobe bricks to build one temple.
They perfected textile production, gold work, & wood carving
◦ Etched glyphs in the desert of southern Peru. Glyph means pictograph.
2,000 years civilizations rose & fell in Peru. Mid-1400’s the Incas emerged from
high in the Andes. Incan armies conquered an empire that stretched 2,500 miles
down the Andes & along the Pacific coast.
Mochica & Nazca
Chavin de Huantar
The Incan Empire
◦ Skilled warrior & leader
◦ Founder of the Incan empire
◦ 1438 he proclaimed himself Sapa Inca, or
◦ Set out on a conquest
◦ From his small kingdom of Cuzco, he came to
dominate a huge empire
◦ He & his son extended Incan rule from Ecuador
in the north to Chile in the south by enlisting
subdued enemies in his army
Incan Government
The Sapa Inca exercised absolute power
over the empire
 He was also the chief religious leader
 He was considered a god-king like the
pharaohs of ancient Egypt
 He symbol was gold
 The Sapa Inca lived in splendor. He ate from
gold plates & dressed in embroidered
 The government was efficient with every
village having a chain of command
Roads & Runners
Incas imposed their language & religion on
 They created one of the greatest road
systems in history.
 They were more impressive than the Roman
 Roads allowed armies & news to move
rapidly through the whole empire
 Ordinary people were restricted from using
the roads at all
All roads led through Cuzco.
 Population was made up of reps. from all
peoples of the empire.
 The Temple of the Sun stood in the heart
of the city. Interior walls were lined with
 Precise engineering so no mortar held the
stones together. Incan buildings have
survived earthquakes.
Daily Life
People lived in close knit communities called ayllus
Government officials arranged marriages to ensure that men
& women were settled at a certain age.
The government took possession of each harvest, & divided
it among the people & stored part of it in case of famine.
Incas were the best metalworkers in the Americas.
Incas developed medical practices such as surgery on the
human skull by:
◦ Cleaning the operating area & making the patient unconscious
with a drug
They were polytheistic & their gods were linked to the
forces of nature.
 Inti- chief god was sun god
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