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Inca Civilization While the Aztec empire grew in Mexico, another powerful empire was taking shape in South America.

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Presentation on theme: "Inca Civilization While the Aztec empire grew in Mexico, another powerful empire was taking shape in South America."— Presentation transcript:

1 Inca Civilization While the Aztec empire grew in Mexico, another powerful empire was taking shape in South America.

2 Who were the Inca? Native American tribe in South America
Lived between the 1200’s – 1500’s By 1400, Inca empire consisted of over 12 million people Expanded through present day Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Argentina. Covered over 2,000 miles Most Inca ruins can be found in modern day Peru.

3 Where did they live? Cuzco = Inca capital
Known as the “City of the Sun” Center of government, trade, learning and religion Machu Picchu = Inca “resort area” for the nobility Andes Mountains Land also included: desert, fertile valleys, some rainforests

4 What did they do? They used natural stone in their architecture.
They didn’t use mortar. They would cut huge stones into an exact fit. Used aqueducts for irrigation purposes Pipe or channel designed to carry water from a distant source Can be carried over 500 miles

5 Built terraces on mountainsides in the Andes Mountains
Terraces were used for living space as well as farming Many of terraces and aqueducts are still used today

6 Kept extra food in storehouses in case the crops failed one year.
Built over 19,000 miles of roads used for pedestrians (no wheeled vehicles) Used to help govern their empire Provided speedy travel for the army as well as the trade caravans Used runners to send messages since they didn’t have a written language roughly 250 miles per day were traveled They also made a series of rope bridges and tunnels when obstacles got in their way.

7 Conquered smaller groups of people to build an empire of 12 million people
Used brutal fighting to conquered other tribes 2,500 miles of land in empire Empire divided into provinces, collected taxes, government took care of sick and elderly Crops were used to pay taxes (similar to Aztecs and Mayans)

8 How did they live? Mostly farmers – economy based on agriculture
Potatoes (papa) were the most important food of the Incas Could be planted at high elevations and resisted frost Corn (sara) – over 20 varieties created, grown only in lower regions Also grew squash, tomatoes, chili peppers and cotton. Traded with other communities, built empire with roads and aqueducts Used astronomy to plan their crops. Terraces were at different heights – plants were planted a specific times for the height of the terrace. Pillars around Cuzco helped them time their plantings. When the sun rose or set between sets of pillars, it was time to plant crops at certain altitudes.

9 Polytheistic religion
Worshiped many gods Most were nature gods. Believed that certain objects were sacred (huacas). Could be a river, a rock, a stone temple, small charm or amulet. Would pray to the huacas to keep the gods happy. Also burial sites were considered sacred because they believed in an afterlife. Viracocha = most important god of the Incas, creator of all the people of the Andes Viracocha / Kukulkan / Quetzalcoatl Music was used in religious ceremonies. Sacrificial items were typically animals. However, humans were sacrificed in times of disaster or special occasions.

10 Developed a counting system
Based on 10s No written language Recorded information on knotted strings called quips Main cord about 2 feet long with several colored strings attached Colors = different items Knots = sizes and interval apart stood for the specific number Written language didn’t exist until the Spanish conquest.


12 The government system was also highly developed.
They had a rigid social structure divided into two groups – farmers and nobles. You were not allowed to change social classes. People of high rank wore special headbands and earrings to distinguish themselves The government system was also highly developed. Emperor was at the top. He was considered to be a direct descendant to the sun god. He ruled with the help of nobles to carry out his orders. Governors were also put in place to maintain control of the various regions outside of the capitol.

13 Tamed and used llamas Uneven ground = 6-12 miles per day
Largest native animal of Western Hemisphere to be tamed Used for transportation of both men and materials Incas - only group in Latin America to use the llama to help them work Llama able to travel long distances without additional water Uneven ground = 6-12 miles per day Even ground = miles per day Can run faster than a horse when necessary Also provided wool and food Wool used to make clothing, blankets, ropes and sacks to carry goods

14 Why did the Inca empire fall?
1533 – A Spanish conquistador, Francisco Pizarro, defeated the Incas He landed in Peru with about 180 soldiers Atahualpa, the Incan emperor, was invited to a feast by Pizarro. When Atahualpa arrived, Pizarro ambushed him, captured him. He offered Pizarro a room filled with gold in exchange for his freedom. Pizarro allowed him to fill the room full of gold (24 tons of gold and silver) When he was finished, Pizarro cut his throat and took the gold. Much of the gold was melted down and sent back to Spain. After Pizarro killed Atahualpa, Pizarro captured the city of Cuzco.

15 Why did the Inca empire fall?
By 1535, the Inca empire had been crushed by the Spanish. Similar to the Aztec empire, the Inca outnumbered the Spanish But they still lost! How did the Spanish defeat them again? Smallpox Spanish weapons Spanish convinced other tribes under Inca rule to join them in the fight in defeating the Inca empire. Remaining Inca were forced to work on the encomiendas. Many died from European diseases – smallpox and influenza. Pizarro was eventually killed by other Spanish leaders in search of his wealth he had acquired while governor of colonial lands.

16 Do the Inca exist today? The Inca bloodline still exists today.
About 8 million descendants live in South America – the Quecha. They speak the Quechuan language and follow the beliefs and customs of the ancient Inca Empire. Junior Scholastic article Life in the Andes.

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