You don’t have to be a fan of a history or anthropology, however, while visiting another country, it is good to know at least the basics regarding the culture and heritage of a given destination. It proves that you are not an ignorant. Besides, possessing the knowledge may be viewed as an expression of the respect. This article introduces the basics of the background of the Incan Empire: you will find many Inca Empire facts here. Once you get familiar with them, visiting, for instance, Machu Picchu or Lake Titicaca, can become even more exciting!
What is the Incan Empire?
At the beginning of XVI century, it is quite likely that Incan Empire was the largest empire in the whole world. It covered the area of Peru, Ecuador and, partially, of Argentina, Columbia, Bolivia and Chile. The empire was established in XII century, and it lasted till 1572 which is the date of the fall of the Empire.
The Inca Empire Facts: Daily Life of Incans
In general, Incas were working hard as the farmers. They’ve grown potatoes, quinoa, cotton, corn, bean, chilli and coca. They also bred llamas, ducks, guinea pigs and alpacas. Incas used to build special terraces on the slopes of the mountains by the group of families (called Ayllu). The family itself was significant for Incas, and the relationships between the members of the family were strong. As stated in the Cartwright article (2016, link), because women also used to work, babies of both sexes were desirable to the same extent – an average family had five members.
In what did they believe?
Incas religion was polytheistic which means that they believed in many gods. Some of the gods were known by the whole society (like Pachamama), others were worshipped locally. According to Incas, people, Earth and animals were created by Viracocha, who was also a culture hero (source: Britannica, link). It is also interesting that Incan myths stated that before Viracocha created everything, he arose from Lake Titicaca.
What is the heritage of the Incans?
Modernly, the most recognised heritage of the Incan is Machu Picchu citadel located in the Cusco Region. Majestic ruins are viewed as an icon of this civilisation even though this place was discovered by American Hiram Bingham in the early XX century. Machu Picchu is now on the list of New Seven Wonders of the World. It is also on the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What happened with Incan Empire?
There are three main reasons for the fall of the empire. Firstly, led by Francisco Pizarro, Spanish conquistadors reached Incan Empire territory 1526. Spaniards were fighting with the Empire until they won in 1572. Besides the battles with Spanish conquistadors, Incas were weaker because of the Civil War that lasted for about five years and was between brothers who claimed that they are the lawful successors of the throne. The third and the main reason for the fall of the empire are diseases, unknown for Incas which were spread by Spaniards. Epidemics of, e.g. smallpox, influenza and diphtheria killed the majority of the population – about 50-90% (source: Discover Peru, link). What is important, Spaniards destroyed a large part of Incas culture & heritage.
Inca Empire Facts – Summary
We introduced some information about Inca Empire – what do you think about them? Are you interested in visiting Machu Picchu or Lake Titicaca even more? In the future, we are happy to write an article just with interesting information associated with Incas as well as a more detailed history of Machu Picchu. As always – don’t hesitate to contact us in the case of questions. 🙂