INCAS, an American Indian people of Peru who in the two centuries before the Spanish discovery of America conquered an area stretching from the southern border of present-day Colombia to central Chile. Centering on the city of Cusco (Cuzco) in the Preuvian Andes, the Inca domain included the coastal and mountain regions of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and the northern areas of Chile and Argentina... the only true empire existing in the New World at the time of Columbus, and the greatest political achievement of the American Indians. In the native language, the term "Inca" was the title of the Indian emperor. Today, it is also applied to the original tribe of conquerors and to all those people who made up the empire, who probably called themselves capac-cuna, "Great Ones" or "Glorious Ones," in pre-Spanish times.
The habitat of the former Inca empire is spectacular and varied. In the mountains, at altitudes between 7,000 and 10,000 feet (2,150 to 3,000 meters), are temperate zones capable od sustaining an intensive agriculture. The imposing mountain range, the Andead cordilleras, divides in extreme southeastern Peru to form the Lake Titicaca basin, a 12,600 foot high plateau.
This and the other high intermontane plateaus that continue south and east into Bolivia and northwestern Argentina are called the altiplano;
it forms a treeless region of long grass seared by the noonday sun, frigid at night. The bulk of the Andean population lived here. To the southwest are salt marshes, while in the extreme south, dense mountains give way to the rolling pampas of Argentina.
The coastal area is desert, for the Humbolt Current, which sweeps up from the south, is colder than the adjacent land; therefore, the moisture in the winds going from sea to land does not condense through cooling. Beginning at Tumbes, 3 degrees south latidue, these desert conditions predominate throughout the whole coast of Peru and continue down to the Rio Maule in Chile.
The sea is filled with plankton, which attracts a rich marine life; this marine life in turn is fed on by the myriads of sea birds whose droppings on the arid coastal islets are a source of guano, a fertilizer used for agriculture. The 2,000-mile-long coastal plain, ranging fron one to fifty miles in width, is broken only every 30 miles or so by rivers. It was these two areas of Peru, mountain and desert..... that the Incas put together in an economic and social synthesis.
East of the cordilleras is the Montana. The area is characterized by deep forest-covered valleys and wildly plunging rivers. Still futher east, the Andes flatten out into the Amazon jungle. The hot, humid portions of the Montana and the people of the region alike were called "Yungas" by the Incas. The Indians of this region resisted the Incas with considerable success.
The Incas arrive late on the Peruvian cultural scene. Humans had been living for thousands of years on the coast and were growing and weaving cotton and planting such domesticated crops as corn, squash, and beans before 3,000 BC. The oldest of the high cultures of the Andes was the Chavin culture, which began between 1200 and 800 BC and lasted until about 400 BC. Its center, which continued to be important as late as Inca times, was the stone-built city of Chavin de Huantar in a narrow valley beyond the Cordillera Blanca in the central Andes. At a latter date other cultures developed on the north coast, notably the Mochica (c. 100 BC to 800 AD), a caste-minded empire which developed a high craftsmanship in building, ceramics and textiles.
Along the southern coast, the Paracas culture (c. 400 BC to 400 AD), wrapped in mystery, is famed for its textiles, doubtless the finest ever loomed in pre-Columbian America. Paracas culture influenced the early Nazca culture located in the five oasis-valley farther south. In the Titicaca Basin there developed about 800 AD the great Tiahuanaco culture.
Its capital and ceremonial center at the southern end of Lake Titicaca was built of massive worked stones held together with inset bronze projections (tenons). The famed Sun Gate (left photo), was built with massive stones, with its sun god weeping tears in the form of many animals, found its way into all Andean and the coastal cultures.
Further north, at Huari, close to present day Ayacucho, the
Tiahuanaco theme of the weeping god was developed even futher. It was from here that a combined religious-military invasion was launched down the Pisco Valley to the coast.
From the years 1000 AD to 1300, the Tiahuanaco Empire dominated most of the coastal cultures, evident in the recurring motif of the weeping god. When the empire collapsed, the suppressed local political units sprang into new life and evolved into local empires.
The greatest, and fierce rivals of the Incas, was the kingdom of the Chimus-Chimor (1300-1463) with its capital at Chan-Chan, near the present-day coastal city of Trujillo. Chan-Chan was 8 square miles with irrigated gardens, immense step pyramids and stone-lined reservoirs. The empire was the center of large-scale weaving and pottery and possessed a good communications system and in time came to rule over 600 miles of the Peruvian coast. Such was the cultural inheritance of the Incas. They were the heirs rather than the orignators (as they claimed) of Preuvian culture. They were organizers.
The legendary founding of Cusco by the first Inca, Manco Capac, is placed about 1100 AD. Cusco lies in the hollow of a valley at 11,207 feet. On two sides the Andes rise precipitously, and at its southern end the valley stretches for miles between the double row of mountains. Manco Capac, accord-ing to legend, came up this valley from the south; following the instructions of the sun god he threw his golden staff into the Cusco earth and when the staff dissappeared, suggesting the land's fertility, he founded his city. It is generally agreed, and archaeologically agreed, that Inca history actually begins at 1200 and continues through 13 ruling Incas, ending with the death of Atahualpa at the hands of the Spaniards in 1533. In the 12th century, the Incas were only one of the myriad of tribes that occupied the Andes area,
The Incas began by enlarging their hold beyond the immediate valley of Cusco. By 1350, during the reign of Inca Roca, they had conquered all areas close to Lake Titicaca in the south as well as the valleys to the east of Cusco.
To the north and east, the region around the Upper Urubamba River also soon fell to the Incas, and their realm then began to spread westward.
There they faced two tribes, the Soras and Rucanas, who they besieged and overcame. In 1350, the Incas bridged the Apurimac River and its immense canyon. It had previously been bridged at three different places to the south-west, but the new suspension bridge built by the Incas crossed at the point which formed a straight line from Cusco to Andahuaylas and was the Incas' largest bridge, 148 feet long. They called it huacachaca, "The Holy Bridge."
With this event the Incas collided with the Chanca, a powerful, beligerent tribe which disputed the Apurimac passage. Toward the end of the reign of Viracocha (died 1437) the Chancas made a surprise attack and invaded Cusco. Viracocha fled for safety to the Urubamba Valley, but his son organized the defense of Cusco and the Chancas were completely defeated.
The son, Pachacuti (Earth Shaker), was made Inca (1438-1463); under him, the Incas swept northward as far as Lake Junin;
southward they conquered all of the Titicaca area. Between 1463 and 1493, Pachacuti's son, Topa Inca, pushed the conquest into Chile, Bolivia and Argentina, then north again as far as Quito, Ecuador. In 1463 the armies of Topa Inca, by means of a flanking attack, overwhelmed the costal kingdom of Chimor.
The Chimu rulers were removed off to Cusco as royal hostages.
The last indisputable Inca, Huayna Capac, who
came to power in 1493, the year after Columbus
landed in the Americas, made the final conquests.
He extended the empire so that it included Chachapoyas on the right bank of the upper Rio Maranon in northern Peru, and his warriors reduced the belligerent tribes on the Isle of Puna (off the coast of Ecuador) and around Guayaquil on the adjacent shore. The final Inca extension was even farther to the north; in 1525, the frontiers reached Rumichaca, a natural bridge over the Ancasmayo River, which now marks the boundary between Ecuador and Colombia.
Language: Quechua the language of the Incas, bears only a distant relationship to Aymara, the language spoken in the vicinity of Lake Titicaca. It is not known what the Incas spoke before Quechua was made their official language by the Inca Pachacuti in 1438. Because of their conquests and their system of population transference, Quechua eventually became the dominant language. It to this day spoken by a large percentage of Peru's inhabitants.
Agriculture: The population of the Inca Empire was composed primarily of farmer-soldiers. Agricultural routine was the order of their life, and under the guidance of "professionals" the entire Inca realm became a center of plantations.
More than half of the products that the world eats today were developed or cultivated in the Andean areas.
Among these are more than 20 varieties of corn and 240 varieties of potato, camote, squash, a variety of beans, manioc (from which come farina and tapioca), peppers, peanuts and quinoa (pigweed, wich is the source of a cereal). By far the most important crop was the potato. Able to withstand heavy frosts, it was planted as high as 15,000 feet; at these heights the night freeze was used for dehydration, as the alternating freezing and thawing squeezed out the moisture until the potato was reduced to a light flour called chuno. Corn (sara) was cultivated up to a altitude of 13,500 feet and was eaten fresh (choclo), parched and popped (kollo), made into a hominy (mote), and finally, made into an alcoholic beverage (saraiaka or chicha). To make the latter, the corn kernels were softened by the women. The saliva of the chewer converted the starch, and enzyme distillate, into a malt sugar which became a dextrose and was converted into alcohol.
In Inca times all tribes were on the same technological level in their agriculture. Work was communal, and the most important implement was the taclla, a simple digging stick consisting of a pole with a thick fire-hardened point. Arable land was not unlimited. Rain usually falls in the Andes between December and May, but there are often years of drought. Water had to be brought to arable lands by canals, many of which showed superb engineering techniques.
Terracing of the land to prevent erosion was begun by the pre-Inca tribes and elaborated under the Incas. The Andean agriculture was sedentary; the slash-and burn techniques practiced by the Mexican Indians and the Mayas, in which virgin forest land was constantly being cleared and planted, were not normally used by the Andean peoples. The Middle American cultures had no natural fertilizer except decayed fish and human feces, whereas in Peru the coastal farmer had guano and the Andean farmer had taqiu, the offal of the llama.
The domesticated llama was developed from the wild Guanaco thousands of years before the appearance of the Incas.
It can resist the Andean cold and the desert heat; it served as a beast of burden, carrying up to a hundred pounds; it supplied meat (which when sun-dried was called charqui) and wool, used mostly for ropes and cargo sacks.
Its dung was important as fertilizer. Llamas, like camels, use a common voiding place, so that taqui is easily gathered; it was one of the important factors in Andean sedentary agriculture.
At the base of the social pyramid of the Inca Empire was the ayllu, a clan of families living together in a restricted area and sharing land, animals and crops. Everyone belonged to an ayllu; one was born into it and died within it.
The commune could be small or large; it could even be a town. No individuals owned land; land was owned by the ayllu, or later the emperor and was only loaned to each member for his use. Each autumn the land was divided again; the allotments were increased or decreased depending upon the size of the family. Planting and harvesting were communal.
At the age of twenty, a man was expected to marry. If he did not, a mate was selected for him by the chieftain. Marriage for the workers was strictly monogamous, but all members of the ruling class had more than one wife. Some women had a chance to leave the ayllu and better their life. These were the "chosen women," who were selected because of their beauty or special talents and taken to Cusco or one of the provincial capitals. There they were taught weaving, cooking, and the rituals of the Sun, the state religion. Many of the "chosen women" became wives of officals and some became concubines of the Inca himself.
The State: Tawantin-suyu, meaning four quarters, was the name given by the Incas to their state. Four roads, which went to the ends of each quarter, no matter how distant, came out of Cusco; each road bore the name of the of the suyu to which it ran.
1. Anti-suyu included all the land east of Cusco; this domain contained the montana and the jungle and was continually harassed by attacks from the only partially pacified tribes of the area.
2. Cunti-suyu embraced all the lands west of Cusco, including the conquered coastal empires from Chan-Chan through the Rimac down to Arequipa.
3. Colla-suyu was the largest in extent; located south of Cusco, it took in Lake Titicaca and regions in Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina.
4. Chincha-suyu contained all the lands and tribes which lay to the north, up to Rumichaca. Each quarter was ruled by apo, or governor, related by blood ties to the Inca and answerable only to him.
The Inca was selected by a council of advisers of the royal lineage. There was no clear line of succession; the most competent of the legitimate sons of the Inca's principal wife (coya) was usually selected. The Inca had one real wife, but he maintained a menage of royal concubines. Huayna Capac is estimated to have had in the male line alone 500 descendants living at the time of the Spanish conquest.
These formed the Inca's own royal ayllu. It was from them that he chose his important administrators. The empire was one of the world's few real theoracies, for the Inca was not only ruler but also, in the eyes of his people, a demigod and the head of the state religion.
The Inca Empire was a totalitarian state, and the Incas were absolute rulers whose power was checked only by the influence of custom and the fear of revolt.
Colonization: Mit'a-kona. The system devised by the Incas to organize and assimilate newly conquered territory was an extension of the idea of work service. As soon as any region was conquered, the unreiable part of the local population was moved out and a safe Quechua-speaking population was moved in; these latter were the mit'a-kona (called mitamaes by the Spaniards).
Local customs, dress and language of the conquered population which remained were allowed, but officials had to learn and use Quechua. It was the duty of the mit'a-kona to bring Inca culture to the newly conquered peoples. The mit'a-kona were of three orders; military (to guard frontier stations), political
(to win over the population and coordinate the conquered peoples), and economic. Often, when a planned Inca highway ran through an entirely depopulated area, mit'a-kona were placed there to provide upkeep for roads and bridges and to extend the suzerainty of the Inca Empire. The mit'a-kona were given social and economic benefits much like the benefits accorded the soldiers of the Roman legions when serving in distant lands.
So complete was the Inca intergration of the Andes, Montana and coast, that even today the entire region retains the mark of Inca culture. Seven million people still speak Quechua dialects, the ayllus are maintained in the form of comunidades; and the Inca culture continues to be manifest in music, agriculture practices, and the character of the people.
Roads, Bridges, and Couriers were the tactical elements which held the empire together. The Incas took over the roads of earlier civilizations and developed more than 10,000 miles of new all-weather highways (capac nan).
Since pre-Columbian Preuvians did not have the wheel, the roads were constructed for foot and the llama caravans. Still, the coastal road was a standard 24 feet wide; it was 2,520 miles long, running from Tumbes to the north, down to Purumuaca at Rio Maule in Chile. The Andean road, since it crossed mountainous terrain, was narrower. Its length was 3,520 miles and it had no less than 100 bridges, either of wood or stone or fiber-cable suspension; four bridges alone crossed the chasms of the Apurimac River. Distance markers were used every four and a half miles and rest stations for travelers were placed alongside the road every 12 to 18 miles. In addition, the communication system had smaller stations for the couriers (chasquis); the chasquis ran in relays, each covering a mile and a half. It has been proven that this chasqui system was able to convey a message over 1,250 miles in five days.
Religion... In the Inca concept, religion and the state were one.....
Viracocha was the creator god, the one source of power; he was aided in his divine administration by servant gods, the most important of which was the sun god, Inti. The sun god became the symbol for the Incas; his name was always invoked, and his image was the motif of the official religion.
There were also gods for all natural phenomena. Inca religion consisted of numerous decentralized cults, but the most enduring centered on the huaca, a magic and holy object or a spirit. Huaca had many ramifications; a lake, river, or mountain was a huaca; a temple could be a huaca, often huaca was associated with agriculture, and stones gleaned from fields in cultivation were gradually transformed into a temple which became huaca.
Religion was practical and life was the religion. Agriculture was holy, and any-thing connected with it became huaca. Belief in immortality was general. The nobleman, no matter what his morals, went back to live with the Sun and had warmth and plenty. The common man, if virtuous, went to the same abode; if not, he writhed in a sort of hell (okopaca) where there was cold and hunger. Religion and custom guided conduct. Reduced to a single moral precept, the rule for good conduct was: Ama sua, ama llulla, ama chella... "Do not steal; do not lie; do not be lazy."
Art Inca art forms had a tendency towards austerity. Weaving, especially in the vicuna wool, was of the higest quality, but it lacked the inventiveness of the weaving of the coastal people. The cutting of semiprecious stones was a widely practiced art, although the Inca stonecutters depended on the coastal trade for shells and stones.
Goldsmithing was an Inca specialty. Smiths who worked gold and silver lived in a special district and were exempt from taxes. the best examples of their art have not survived since all went into the crucible of conquest, but according to the Spaniards who first saw it, Cusco seemed full of worked gold. Some of the buildings were covered with gold plate imitating Inca stone work.
The grass-thatched roofs of some of the temples had strands of gold that mimicked the grass; a setting sun would catch the gleam of gold and suggest a golden roof.
The fabulous Curi-cancha, the golden enclosure which enjoined the Temple of the Sun in Cusco, had a golden fountain; actual-size representations of maize plants with leaves and ears of gold were planted in an earth made up of clods of gold, and there were twenty life-size golden llams grazing on golden grass in the golden enclosure.
Gold to the Incas was "The Sweat of the Sun" and Silver "The Tears of the Moon." Their love for the precious metals was esthetic, for neither Incas nor their subjects needed to buy anything. Twelve million or more people rendered abundant tribute to the Incas and paid their taxes in work; a billion man-hours a year to build temples, fortresses, and roads and terraces... all for the grandeur of the realm.
"The Riches that were gathered in the city of Cuzco alone, as capital and court of the Empire, were amazing and incredible," a priest penned more than four centuries ago... "For Therein were many big gold houses and enormous palaces of dead kings with all the imaginable treasure that each amased in life; and he who began to reign did not touch the state and wealth of his predecessor but... built a new palace and acquired for himself silver and gold and all the rest..."
Many reasons can be offered for the fall of the Incas, but the sudden conquest of a mighty empire by only a handful of Spaniards is still hard to comprehend.
The Indian Empires of Central Mexico had already succumbed to the Spaniards, who under Hernan Cortes had invaded Mexico in 1519. However, the Incas were unaware of such events, as there was no direct contact of Aztec and Maya with the Inca.
The white man's presence became known only in 1523 of 1525, when a Spaniard named Alejo Garcia led an attack with Chiriguano Indians on an Inca outpost in the Gran Chaco, a dry lowland to the southeast of the Inca realm.
In 1527, Francisco Pizarro appeared briefly at Tumbes on the northwest Peruvian coast and then sailed away, leaving behind two of his men. Shortly afterward, Ecuador was devastated by a pestilence (possibly smallpox) brought by one of them.
Huayna Cupac died in 1527. He is said to have felt that the empire was too large to be governed only from Cusco. Succession to the Incaship was immediately disputed between Huascar, residing in Cusco, and Atahualpa, the favorite of Huayna Capac's 500 sons, living in Ecuador. A five-year-long civil war which devastated the empire ensued between the two half-brothers. Atahualpa's final victory occured only two weeks before the second arrival of Pizarro. The victorious chief was resting at the provincial capital of Cajamarca in what is today northwestern Peru, surrounded by 40,000 veterans and planning to march to Cusco, there to be formally acknowledged Inca.
Pizarro arrived at Tumbes on May 13, 1532; he began his march towards Cajamarca with 177 men, of whom 67 were cavalry. Atahualpa knew all this; his intelligence reports were precise, but the interpretation placed on these reports was fatuous. He was told that the horses were no good at night; a man and animal were one, and when the horse or rider fell they were useless; guns were only thunderbolts and could be fired only twice; and the long steel Spanish swords were as ineffectual as a woman's weaving battens. In any of the hundred narrow defiles of the Andes through which the small Spanish detachment climbed, they could have been totally annihilated.
When the Spaniards occupied Cajamarca, they sent out an invitation for Atahualpa to visit them in the city, which was walled on three sides. No one has yet been able to explain satisfactorily why Atahualpa allowed himself to walk into an ambush. He was well aware of Pizarro's strength, and ambush was a much-used Inca military tactic. Perhaps other factors not sensed by the Spaniards, guided the Inca in his movements. At vespers on November 16, 1532, Atahualpa marched into the square of Cajamarca displaying all his power. Although he was surrounded by thousands of his followers, the Inca King and his men came, as Pizarro wished, unarmed. There was an unintelligible parley between a Christian priest and the Inca demigod; then the Spaniards set upon the Indians. The whole action took thirty minutes; the only casualty was Pizarro himself, wounded in the arm while defending Atahualpa, whom he wished to take alive and unhurt.
After that, except for fierce local skirmishes at several places, there were no serious resistance until 1536. Atahualpa, imprisoned, bargained for his life by agreeing to fill twice with silver and once with gold the large room in which he was kept, but that was not enough. On the pretense that Atahualpa planned to launch an attack once they were loaded down with their loot, the Spaniards kept Atahualpa in custody and eventually charged him with "Crimes Against the Spanish State."
They formally tried and executed him by Garroting (a form of strangulation), on August 29, 1533. The shock of all these events reduced the Inca people to a state of strange timidity, and the Spaniards easily advanced southward over the great Inca highway to Cusco, which they captured on November 15, 1533. From there, by organizing their new realm, they soon turned Spanish conquest into Spanish domination.
After establishing the former Inca capital... Cusco, as the center of Spanish power in Peru, Francisco Pizarro, to give a sembalance of legitimacy to the newly imposed regime, selected a grandson of Huayna Capac to "Take the Royal Fringe as Inca." The new Inca, Manco II, was given no power and subjected by the Spaniards to trying indignities, but he bore this during the first years of his reign in order to give himself time to develop a plan of action.
In 1536, while part of the Spanish occupying force under Diego de Almagro was off on an exploratory expedition in Chile, Manco II, under a pretext of delivering up more Inca gold, slipped-off and into revolt. The timing of the Inca's revolt was auspicious. Almagro and Pizarro had quarreled over the division of the spoils of the Inca Empire and the invasion of Chile was only the prelude to a civil war between the factions led by the two Spaniards. The natives had felt the "Yoke of Peace" long enough to know that the exactions they were suffering would be permanent unless they resisted.
On April 18th, 1536... four Inca armies, after killing every Spaniard in the outlying districts, converged on Cusco. As in a hunt, they beat their quarry into a central area for annihilation. But Hernando Pizarro, Francisco's half-brother and an experienced soldier, commanded the besieged forces of Cusco; although he had only 130 soldiers and about 2,000 Canari Indians auxiliaries, he managed to wuthstand the seige in one of history's memorable displays of military skill.
Meanwhile in Lima, which Pizarro had made his capital in 1535, was also under attack by the Incas. Also, the area that surrounded the city was level, and the Spaniards were able to use their cavalry with devastat-ing effect. This siege was quickly ended. However, four ot the relief columns sent by Pizarro were unable to reach besieged Cusco. The three-month-long siege was lifted only because of the need of the Inca warriors to return to farming and because of the arrival near Cusco of Almagro and his troops returning from Chile.
Manco II, with thousands of his followers and carrying the mummies of his ancestors, retired to prepared positions within the massif of Vilcabamba, the huge mountainous terrain northwest of Cusco. There he created a Neo-Inca State, from which he lead his warriors in attacks on the Spaniards. Pizarro set up Ayacucho as a barracks town to defend the royal road south of Cusco against the sallies of Manco's warriors.
Meanwhile, the civil wars between Pizarro's forces and Almagro's (left) "Men of Chile" continued. In 1538, Almagro was captured and executed; three years later, Pizarro in turn was murdered by the men of Chile. New leaders of the factions came to the force. In the battle of Chupas (fought near Ayacucho in 1542) the Inca aided the men of Chile against the King's troops, and when tha latter prevailed, six of the defeated men of Chile took refuge in the Neo-Inca State.
The Spaniards taught the Indians to ride horses, repair guns, and operate hand forges; this, plus the firearms, clothes, pikes, and money which the Indians took from waylaid Spaniards using the royal road made it possible for them to equip a small army.
In one of their raids, copies of the "New Laws" promulgated by the King of Spain in 1544 were found. In an effort to right all the abuses of the conquerors, the King offered a new program, and on this basis Manco II sent one of the renegade Spaniards, Gomez Perez, out of Vilcabamba to negotiate with the viceroy, Blasco Nunez Vela. Vela was deposed before negotiations wer brought to a successful conclusion. Shortly afterward, the Spaniards living with Manco II fell into dispute with him, struck and killed him, and were in turn slaughtered.
The Neo-Inca State developed under Sayri Tupac, Manco II's son. They bound themselves to the Antis Tribesmen living in the Upper Amazon, and by 1855, twenty years after its inception, the Neo-Inca State included some 80,000 adherents. In that year, Sayri Tupac went over to the Spaniards and left Vilcabamba for the warmer climate of the Yucay Valley, where he was soon poisoned by his own people. His brother, Titu Cusi Yupanqui, became Inca and reopened the war on the Spaniards. Every attempt to invade the mountains ended in failure.
In 1565, Friar Diego Rodriguez entered the Inca stronghold alone for the purpose of inducing the Inca to come out. His description of the rituals surrounding the Inca and the number and belligerency of the warriors is important for its information on the strength of the Inca state. The attempt to induce the Inca to leave ended in failure. Another missionary tried again the following year; but during the negotiations, Titu Cusi became ill and died. His death was laid to the missionary, who was executed as were the members of another embassy of Spaniards.
Tupac Amaru, another son of Manco II, now became Inca. His only distinction was that he was to be the last. The Spaniards now decided to breach the great stronghold of Vilcabamba in the three known entries.
After a sharp struggle, Tupac Amaru and all of his principal captians were captured and in 1572, chained neck to neck and was marched to Cusco. The Inca was hastily tried and led to the great square of Cusco.
There, before a mass of people so thightly packed that "If an Orange had been thrown it would not have reached the ground," Tupac Amaru, the last of the Inca's was beheaded by a Canari Indian. The Neo-Incan State had endured as a serious threat to the Spanish occupation from 1536 until 1572.
Spanish Rule: During the colonial era that followed the Spanish conquest of Peru, many of the Inca state institutions were retained and adapted to fit the needs of the conquerors. Spanish rule was largely indirect:
The colonial administrators and landowners transmitted their demands through local chieftains, or curacas, and did not directly interfere with the with the daily life of the Indian householder.
Like the Incas, the Spanish practiced mass resettlement of villages, demanded a work-tax of the Indians, and maintained a separate class of servants and artisans. But Spanish demands for gold and produce were intolerably harsh, and the greed of the landowners and the corruption of the administrators provoked numerous Indian uprisings throughout the colonial period. Even today, the Quechua Indian peasants of Peru and Bolivia speak Quechua and retain many elements from Inca days in their religion, their family life, and their agricultural techniques of the Central Andes.