The Inca Civilisation Notes Essays

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On July 24 1911, Hiram Bingham, directed by a friendly pair of local farmers, was hoping to find the last Inca stronghold, Vilcabamba, which fell to the Spanish in 1573 in Vitcos. Exhausted from walking for hours, he tread into the mountains led by a local guide and a Peruvian policeman. It was there that he made an amazing discovery. “Suddenly we found ourselves in the midst of a jungle-covered maze of small and large walls”. Located in the Cusco Region situated on a mountain ridge above the Sacred Valley lay the ruins of Ancient Machu Picchu; one of the most mysterious ancient wonders of the world. Between 1200 and 1533 AD, the Incan Empire was one of the strongest and largest pre-Columbian civilisations, who conquered most all of South America. The Incas are known known for their amazing architectural abilities in the form of their home Machu Picchu. More than 20 structures including houses and temples lay upon the ridge, each with exquisitely cut stone. How did an empire with such little tools and equipment create such a breathtaking fortress? And most importantly, why did they leave it?

Inca Society/Structure
The Incas were a very intelligent civilisation who included various other cultures. Due to their success as a group, this resulted in a very strong government. Pachuacuti was the 9th Sapa Inca of the Kingdom of Cusco which he transformed into the empire Tawantinsuyu, the Incan Empire. Most archaeoligists believe Machu Picchu was built as an estate for Pachacuti. Incan people started to form their big Monarchy under the leadership of Pachacuti. They were a tight knit state with four social classes. (show socail classes), the Sapa Inca, on his own, the Incan Royalty, the Nobility and the Ayllu. The social strcuture of the community was a federalist system comprising of four district governments: Chinchasuyu, Antisuyu, Contisuyu, and Collasuyu.

Religion was a very important factor in the daily lives of the Incas. They worshipped many nature gods and goddesses. The most significant were Inti the god, Viracocha the creator, Illapa the weather/thunder god, Pachamama the earth goddess, Mamacocha the sea godess and Mamaquilla the moon goddess. Inti, the sun god, was considered the highest god of all and was seen as the most important aspect of life because it provided the warmth and light. The Incan royalty were believed to be descendants of the Sun god, making the family highly important. The Incas also believed in an afterlife and believed that dead bodies were sacred. Every winter the Incas celebrated the feast of Inti-raymi on the shortest day of the year. The emperor was carried on a golden thrown into the Temple of the Sun, which was filled with sculptures of golden llamas and cornstalks. However, not all ceremonies were like this. Excavation revealed a perfectly preserved child, one of many children offered each year to the gods. They believed that sacrificing humans for the gods improved their empire and guaranteed life to the emperor. The children selected were physically perfect and from high ranking families and it was seen as an honour to be selected. The victims were then led to the tops of mountains and left exposed to die in place. The