The Inka Paccha: Ceremonial Ritual Watering Device

This was a ritual device intended to promote agricultural fertility. Introduction Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, in his massive colonial treatise The First New Chronicle and Good Government (or El primer nueva corónica y buen gobierno), dedicated an entire chapter to the months of the year and the traditional Inka agricultural activities associated with them.[…]

Exploring Ten Facts about the Inca

They are remembered for their contributions to religion, architecture, and their famous network of roads through the region. Introduction The Inca civilization (c. 1400-1533 CE) is among the most vital of South America in terms of its cultural influence and legacy. The Inca began as a small tribe who steadily grew in power to conquer[…]

A Brief History of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas

Some indigenous peoples of the Americas supported agriculturally advanced societies for thousands of years. Introduction The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Americas, their descendants, and many ethnic groups who identify with those peoples. They are often also referred to as “Native Americans” or “American Indians,” although such terms are[…]

Tahuantinsuyu: The Rise and Fall of the Inca Empire, 1438-1533

The main legacy of the civilization was its power to inspire, including that of later resistance groups in the area against Spanish rule. Introduction The Inca Empire (called Tawantinsuyu in modern spelling, Aymara and Quechua, or Tahuantinsuyu in old spelling Quechua), was an empire located in South America from 1438 C.E. to 1533 C.E. Over[…]

Macchu Picchu, Ancient Peruvian Royal Estate of the Inka

The site features architecture, from houses to terraces, built by carefully fitting individual stones against each other. A Royal Estate Machu Picchu is often described as “mysterious,” but in fact a great deal is known about its construction and purpose. It was built as a royal estate for the first Inka emperor, Pachacuti Inka Yupanqui,[…]

The Tiwanaku Empire of Ancient and Medieval Bolivia

Tiwanaku was founded some time in the Early Intermediate Period (200 BCE – 600 CE). By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction Tiwanaku (or Tiahuanaco) was the capital of the Tiwanaku empire between c. 200 – 1000 CE and is situated in the Titicaca basin. At an altitude of 3,850 metres (12,600 ft) it was the highest city[…]

Lake Titicaca: Settlement and Growth in Ancient Bolivia and Peru

Lake Titicaca was long considered the origin and centre of the cosmos by the local populace and then also the later Incas. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction Lake Titicaca is located between Bolivia and Peru and, at an altitude of 3,800 metres (12,500 feet), it is the world’s highest navigable lake. The tundra plain known as[…]

The Skill of Inca Weavers in Their Textiles

By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction For the Incas finely worked and highly decorative textiles came to symbolize both wealth and status, fine cloth could be used as both a tax and currency, and the very best textiles became amongst the most prized of all possessions, even more precious than gold or silver. Inca weavers were technically[…]

Inca Mummies

Incan mummies (mallki) which escaped looters have, in most cases, been excellently preserved. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The Inca civilization of Peru, as with many other ancient Andean cultures, mummified many of their dead and buried them with valuable materials such as precious metal jewellery, fine pottery, and sumptuous textiles. Important mummies could also be[…]

Inka Textile Fabrication in the All-T’oqapu Tunic

The All-T’oqapu Tunic is an example of the height of Andean textile fabrication and its centrality to Inka expressions of power. Introduction The Inka were masters of statecraft, forging an empire that at its height extended from modern Quito, Ecuador to Santiago, Chile. One of the engines that drove the empire was the exchange of[…]

From Folklore to Exotica: Yma Sumac and the Performance of Inca Identity

Yma Sumac’s career embodied many of the contradictions that emerge when the international desire to consume exoticism clashes with the realities of traditional or indigenous cultures. The Voice Born high in the Peruvian Andes, a descendant of the last of the Incan Kings, Yma Sumac spent her childhood literally ‘talking’ with the birds, the beasts,[…]