The Inca Create a Mountain Empire Chapter 16 Section 4



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The Inca Create a Mountain Empire

Chapter 16 Section 4



The Inca Build an Empire

Incan Beginnings

  • The Inca originally lived in a high plateau of the Andes

  • The Inca developed traditions and beliefs that helped launch and unify their empire.

  • One of these traditions was the belief that the Incan ruler was descended from the sun.

Pachacuti Builds an Empire

  • A powerful and ambitious ruler, Pachacuti led the Incas to conquer all of Peru

  • The Inca ruled a large area in South America.

  • They were able to do this conquest through a combination of diplomacy and military force

Incan Government Creates Unity

  • To control the huge empire, the rulers divided their territory and its people into manageable units, governed by a central bureaucracy

  • They imposed a single official language, Quechua

Incan Cities Show Government Presence

  • The Inca built many cities in conquered areas

  • The architecture of government buildings was the same all over the empire

  • All roads led to the capital, Cuzco

Incan Government

  • The Incan state exercised almost total control over economic and social life

  • The Incan social system was based on community cooperation – the ayllu

  • The main demand the Incan state placed on its subjects was for tribute, usually in the form of labor. The labor tribute was known as mita

  • Historians have compared the Incan system to a type of socialism or a modern welfare state. Citizens were expected to work for the state and were cared for in return.

Public Works Projects

Government Record-Keeping

  • The Inca never developed a writing system

  • History and literature were memorized as part of an oral tradition

  • The Inca created an accounting device known as the quipu, a set of knotted strings that could be used to record data

Religion Supports the State

  • The Inca worshiped fewer gods than the Aztecs

  • The Inca focused on key nature spirits such as the moon, the stars and thunder

  • The primary Incan god was a creator god called Viracocha

  • Next in importance was the sun god, Inti.

Religious Practices

  • Incan priests led the sun-worship services, assisted by young women known as “virgins of the sun”

  • These women all unmarried, were drafted by the Inca for a lifetime of religious service

  • Sacrifice of llamas and exchange of goods were a part of the religious activities

Great Cities

  • Cuzco was the religious capital of the Incan Empire

Discord in the Empire

  • The Incan Empire reached the height of its glory in the early 1500s during the reign of Huayna Capac

  • Huayna Capac died of disease – probably smallpox

  • After his death, the empire was split between his sons

  • A bitter civil war followed which tore the empire apart


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