More Inca Info

The Boys as feuding would-be Incas at Machu Picchu

(Reis) Since my classmates at Chickering are studying Incas, I thought I would give them more info that I have learned:

The common mistake most people make is calling all people of the native Peruvian empire Incas. “Inca” is actually the name of the supreme ruler of the empire, like a pharaoh to the Egyptians or Caesar to the Romans. The culture was Quechua (keh-chew-a).

The Incas farmed in extremely inhospitable places. They achieved that by building terraces, or patas, which were retained by a 10-foot high stone wall. The walls sloped into the hill and were filled with larger stones at the bottom, followed by smaller stones and gravel for drainage, then at the top, blanketed by soil. But at Machu Picchu, some of the terraces were built for show, rather than agricultural reasons. The whole mountaintop city is supposed to look from above like an earthly replica of the Milky Way.

Even before the Conquistadors (Spaniards) arrived, the Incan empires numbers were decimated by Smallpox and other infectious diseases brought to the new world by Cristobal Colon (Christopher Columbus). During that time, the Inca (leader) passed away. His 2 sons, who were ruling the Southern nation of the tribe and the North, battled over who would get the Inca position. After the civil war, which Atawhelpa (the Southern brother) won by killing his brother, Atawhelpa became ruler. When Francisco Pizarro arrived with only 160 men, he found a local community of about 40,000 citizens. Following the ancient tradition, Atawhelpa went to meet the other general before any conflict. He brought with him 3,000 officers. Pizarro took this as an ambush. When all of the officers filled the plaza, Francisco Pizarro decided that this was his only chance to win this war. His 160 men started massacring the natives; the Natives were completely unprepared, they were only coming for a talk. Even if they had weapons, their clubs and waracas (slingshots) would have been no match for the Spaniard’s cavalry, cannons, swords and daggers. They captured Atawhelpa and the “army” completely fell apart. The natives weren’t trained soldiers; they just followed their general’s command. When Pizarro captured Atawhelpa, the natives had no master. The Spaniards held Atawhelpa hostage, but still the tribe rebelled and waged war. This time they had weapons, but the clubs that can maybe knock someone out, were unequal to the Spanish swords that could slice off limbs in one swipe. To try to stop this war, Pizarro decapitated Atawhelpa, and put his head on a stake outside the plaza. But the Indians started coming to worship the head! The Spaniards burned the head to further insult the natives. This marked the beginning of the downfall of the Incan Empire.

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4 Responses to “More Inca Info”

  1. Chris Colyvas Gleklen 15. Nov, 2010 at 12:31 am

    Hello Dana and family,
    I have stumbled across your website and smiled upon realizing it was all of you and your wonderful stories. I have loved seeing the pictures of your beautiful family (and the cousins!!) and wish you and all of them well. Your pictures are wonderful and bring back wonderful memories of our trips to Peru and Greece; and making me long for more!

    Thank you for sharing your stories.
    Warmly,
    Chris(sy) and family

  2. What a great connection Chris! So great to hear from you. We are having a blast. If your kids have any questions, just let us know! Best, Dana and the gang

  3. we’ve been studying them.

  4. Hey Reis!
    not to offend ben’s “we’ve been studying them”, but we have studied and done final projects on the Aztecs, Incas, and Mayans.
    Post soon!
    Your Friend,
    Micah