Inca Empire

The fall of the Inca Empire - a civilization that inherited the achievements of the more ancient peoples of South America.

The fall of the Inca Empire - a civilization that inherited the achievements of the more ancient peoples of South America.

National motto: Ama llulla, ama suwa, ama qilla (Don't lie, don't steal, don't be lazy) Inca Empire, Tawantinsuyu (Tawantin Suyu, Tawantinsuyu)


Even before the Incas reached their power, several other cultures flourished in the vast Andean region. The first hunters and fishermen appeared here at least 12,000 years ago, and by 3000 BC. e. fishing villages strewn all this waterless coast. In the fertile valleys at the foot of the Andes and green oases in the desert, small rural communities arose.

Growth of the Inca empire.

Millennia later, larger social groups of people penetrated deep into the territory. Having overcome the high mountain peaks, they began to settle on the eastern slopes of the range, using the same irrigation methods that they had developed on the coast to irrigate their fields and harvest. Settlements sprang up around the temple complexes, and artisans produced increasingly sophisticated pottery and textiles.

Archaeologists classify the products of Andean artisans according to the time and geographical period of their distribution. For this, the term “horizons” is used to identify the main stages of stylistic uniformity, violated by some features, from the point of view of aesthetics and technology.

Early horizon: 1400 - 400 years. BC. Early Intermediate Period: 400 BC - 550 AD Middle horizon: 550 - 900 years. AD Late Intermediate Period (coastal): 900 - 1476 AD Late Intermediate Period (mountainous regions): 900 - 1476 AD Late horizon: 1476 - 1532 AD Early colonial period: 1532 - 1572 AD

Early horizon: 1400 - 400 AD BC.

Named after the temple center at Chavin de Huantar, located in a small northern valley on the eastern slopes of the Andes, the Chavin style, strongly associated with a powerful emerging new religion, arose around 1400 BC. e. and reached its peak of development and influence by 400 BC. e.

This religion, which is believed to have been built on the leading role of an oracle, supposedly able to foresee the future, overcome diseases and make requests to the gods, gradually spread south. By 1000 B. C. she reached the area of ​​modern Lima, and by 500 BC.“Ayacucho, two hundred miles inland. From Chavin de Huantar, apparently, priests were sent to other communities in order to achieve the worship of deities such as this god with a rod, so named because he holds a scepter (a symbol of power) in his hands.

The Chavin people achieved significant technological progress and even made some advanced discoveries for those times. The Chavins invented the loom and experimented with various metallurgical techniques, such as welding, soldering, and making alloys of gold and silver. Their products include large metal sculptures, as well as dyed yarn fabrics depicting such images of the Chavin cult as a god with a grinning jaguar and other animals living in the Amazon valley.

Early Intermediate Period: 400 BC - 550 AD

Various local styles began to emerge along the southern coast of Peru. The two most characteristic features of the so-called Paracas culture, named after the Paracas peninsula, were beautiful fabrics and bottle-shaped tombs - up to 40 bodies could be placed in each room of such a crypt.

Another people, the Nazca, cultivated land in the valleys, located 200 miles south of the modern capital of Peru, Lima. By 370 B. C. the Nazca style dominated the southwest coast, leaving its most prominent mark in pottery. The Nazca are famous for their enigmatic, puzzling Nazca Lines, huge land paintings. To do this, they removed all the stones and gravel in a certain area, exposing soils that were more faded in color, after which they scattered the collected stones with gravel along its edges in heaps. Such "lines" probably had some meaning to the religion of the Nazca people.

On the northern coast of Peru around 100 BC. a militant Moche culture arose. She extended her control over territories up to 150 miles along the coast. The Moche Indians developed a whole metallurgical complex, created monumental buildings from sun-dried raw brick (adoba), they developed their own original style, which was most reflected in vessels with realistic portraits.

Middle horizon: 550 - 900 years. AD

Tombs of the nobility. The chulpas burial towers, still preserved in their original form, rise on one of the mountain slopes near Lake Titicaca. The practice of burials on the territory of the empire varied greatly from one region to another, differing also on a social basis. These tombs, belonging to the local nobility, are built on stone slabs laid without mortar of the highest quality. they were built in the middle of the second millennium AD.and were badly damaged by earthquakes.

The era of big cities has come. On the shores of Lake Titicaca at an altitude of 12,500 feet, pyramids and stone mounds appeared, decorated with beautiful stone carvings, as can be seen in the image of the god (right), which is considered a new interpretation of the old Chavin god with a wand. The people who built all these structures settled in this region around 100 BC. and began to build around 100 AD. city ​​of Tiahuanaco.

By 500 AD e. Tiwanakans already dominated the territory of the Southern Andes, and after five hundred years they disappeared altogether. During their hegemony, they created distant colonies, declared their lands adjacent to the shores of Lake Titicaca, and sent trade caravans of lamas along the coast.

Meanwhile, the small village of Huari, located 600 miles to the north, was gradually turning into a city. During its heyday, it had between 35,000 and 70,000 inhabitants, their homes supplied with water through an underground plumbing system.

Weaving was one of the most common occupations. The Huari people disappeared around 900 AD, but they left behind an important legacy - the concept of a centralized state and recommendations for its creation.

Late Intermediate (Coastal): 900-1476. AD

Empires that collapsed one after another marked the onset of a period of internecine wars, during which small peoples, spurred on by the examples of the Huari people, tried to create their own metropolises.

Starting from the center of what once belonged to Moche lands on the north coast of Peru, the Chimu tribe gradually united more than 600 miles of coast in their new state. From a hot-desert capital city of Chan Chan, well supplied with water and irrigated, with a population of 36,000, the Chimu lords ruled a strictly class-separated society in which skilled artisans were especially respected.

The Chimu Empire grew in strength, thanks to the complex irrigation system they created, as well as the conquest of neighboring cultures such as Chankei, Ika-Chinka and Sikan. The culture of Sikan can be judged by the knife for ritual ceremonies. When their culture reached its peak, the Chimu were able to decorate clothing and household items with elaborate gold patterns, creating fabrics of amazing beauty.

And so they had to enter into a struggle for power with their rivals the Incas.

Late Intermediate Period (mountainous regions): 900-1476. AD

‘Huaca’ are the sacred places of the Incas. "Kenko" - one of the largest "huaca" in the Cusco region. A semi-circular wall of smooth large stones laid in a row only emphasizes the natural monolithic limestone rock, this is the main center for religious worship in Kenko. In the cave adjacent to the wall there is an altar carved into the rock.

Descendants of a people who settled in the Cuzco Valley, located at an altitude of more than 11,000 feet above sea level, the Incas began to develop their culture only after 1200 AD, as evidenced by the jar (right). Although the capital city of Cuzco grew steadily, their power remained rather limited. Then in 1438 Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui seized the throne. Calling himself "Earth Shaker", he and his troops made a campaign across all the Andes, conquering some states, negotiating with others, trying to unite several neighboring countries into a single powerful empire. Pachacuti rebuilt Cuzco, turning the capital into a city with beautiful stone palaces and temples. His provinces were governed by numerous disciplined, well-functioning bureaucrats, who stood in defense of the interests of the state. His successor, the son of Topa Inca, who came to power in 1471, dealt such a crushing blow to the Chimu that he secured complete control over the whole of this vast region, stretching from Ecuador to the heart of Chile.

Late horizon: 1476 - 1532. AD

Having consolidated their power, the Incas achieved an unprecedented rise in culture. Armies marched along the extensive road network and trade was carried out. The art of gold forging, ceramics and weaving have reached incredible beauty and perfection. Stoneworkers created massive buildings from huge blocks of stone precisely and tightly fitted to each other. The Inca nobility, represented in the statuette to the right, ruled the Andes until the death of Emperor Huayn Capac, who died of smallpox between 1525 and 1527. Soon his successor also died, leaving open the question of succession to the throne, which led to a civil war. It ended in 1532, when one of the two rival sons of Huayna Capac Atahualpa was victorious and Huáscar imprisoned.

By this time, a Spaniard named Francisco Pizarro had made his exploratory journey along the coast of the Inca empire. Having only two hundred fighters at his disposal, he took advantage of the civil strife, the smallpox epidemic and attacked the Inca troops, captured Atahualpa himself and executed him.

Early colonial period: 1532-1572. AD

Sacsayhuaman Fortress.


Pizarro and his gang of adventurers approached Cuzco in 1533 and were simply amazed by the unprecedented beauty of this city. The Spaniards put Atahualpa's half-brother Manco Inca on the throne to rule the Inca empire through him.

However, Manco Inca did not become a puppet in the hands of the conquerors and soon led a popular revolt. In the end, he was forced to flee Cuzco, where Pizarro himself now ruled until he was killed in 1541 by supporters of his main rival. A year later, the viceroy arrived in Lima to rule the Andean territories as Spanish provinces.

In 1545, the Spaniards captured Manco Inca, who was still emperor to several thousand Incas, who took refuge with him in the dense jungle, where they built the city of Vilcabamba. Manco Inca was killed. His son Tupac Amaru, the last Inca emperor, tried to resist the Spanish, but it was broken when the Spanish captured his main base at Vilcabamba in 1572.

Fall of the Inca Empire.

Conquistadors have always been attracted to the sound of gold. William H. Powell, photograph by the Architect of the Capitol.

Francisco Pissarro arrived in America in 1502 in search of fortune. For seven years he served in the Caribbean, participating in military campaigns against the Indians.

In 1524, Pissarro, together with Diego de Almagro and the priest Hernando de Luque, organized an expedition to the undiscovered territories of South America. But its participants fail to find anything interesting.

In 1526, a second expedition took place, during which Pissarro exchanged gold from local residents. During this expedition, three Incas were captured by the Spaniards in order to make translators out of them. This expedition turned out to be very difficult, and illness and hunger fell to their lot.

In 1527 Pissarro came to the Inca city of Tumbes. From the locals, he learns about the large amount of gold and silver decorating gardens and temples in the depths of their lands. Realizing that military forces are needed to obtain these riches, Pissarro travels to Spain and turns to Charles V for help. He talks about the countless treasures of the Incas, which can be quite easy to get. Charles V gives Pissarro the title of governor and captain of the governor of all the lands that he manages to conquer and control.

Even before the Spanish conquest began, the Incas suffered from the arrival of Europeans on their continent. Smallpox mowed down entire families among the natives who did not have immunity to it.

Francisco Pissarro.

Around the same time, Huayna Capaca (Sapa Inca) dies. The highest state position should go to one of the sons from the main wife. The one of the sons who, in the opinion of the monarch, could better cope with the duties was chosen. In Cuzco, the capital of the Incas, the nobility proclaims the new Sapa Inca - Huascara, which means "sweet hummingbird".

The problem was that the previous Sapa Inca spent the last years of his life in Quito. As a result, most of the court lived in Quito. The city developed into a second capital, dividing the tribal chiefs into two rival factions. The army stationed in Quito gave preference to another son of Huayna Capac - Atahualpa, which means "wild turkey" in translation. He spent most of his life next to his father on the battlefield. He was a man of sharp mind. Later, the Spaniards marveled at the speed with which he mastered the game of chess. At the same time, he was merciless, as evidenced by the fear of the courtiers to incur his wrath.

Atahualpa showed loyalty to the new Sapa Inca. But he refused to come to his brother's court, perhaps fearing that Huascar saw him as a dangerous rival. In the end, Sapa Inca demanded the presence of his brother by his side at court. Refusing the invitation, Atahualpa sent ambassadors in his place with expensive gifts. Huascar, perhaps under the influence of courtiers hostile to his brother, tortured his brother's men. After killing them, he sent his army to Quito, ordering Atahualpa to be brought to Cuzco by force. Atahualpa called his loyal warriors to arms.

The army of Cusco at first even managed to capture a recalcitrant brother. But he managed to escape and join his own. In the battle, Atahualpa defeated those who captured him. Huascar urgently gathers a second army and sends it to his brother. The poorly trained recruits were no match for Atahualpa's veterans, and were defeated in two days' fighting.

As a result, Atahualpa captures Huascar and triumphantly enters Cuzco, after which a cruel massacre was committed against the wives, friends and advisers of the unfortunate brother.

In 1532 Pissarro and Almagro returned to Tumbes with 160 well-armed adventurers. On the site of the once flourishing city, they found only ruins. It suffered greatly from the epidemic, and then from the civil war. For five months, Pissarro moved along the coast, plundering imperial warehouses along the way.

As a result, Pissarro goes to the court of Atahualpa. Nine of his men, frightened by the prospect of being in mountainous terrain, turned back in Inca territory.

The Spaniards were surprised by the Inca roads, paved with stone slabs, with trees planted along the edges, creating a shadow, as well as canals lined with stone.

5 soles 1974. Obverse. Inca Pachacuti (Pachacutec)

Learning about the movement of white people within his country, Atahualpa invites them to visit him. From the words of the ambassador, he understood that the Spaniards looked and were friendly. During a meeting with the ambassador, Pissarro made gifts to the monarch and talked a lot about peace.

Pissarro posted his men in an open space, in the main square of the city of Cajamarc. He sent Hernando de Soto to pay his respects to Atahualpa, so that he tried to seduce him with his offer to meet in person.

Atahualpa reproached the Spaniards for plundering his warehouses and for neglecting some of the Indians on the coast. To which the Spaniards began to praise their martial art and offered to use their services. Atahualpa agrees to pay a visit to Pissarro in Cajamarca.

During this meeting, Hernando de Soto, wanted to frighten Atahualpa and almost ran over him on his horse, stopping in close proximity to him, so that drops of the horse's saliva fell on the clothes of the Inca. But Atahualpa did not flinch. He later ordered the execution of those courtiers who showed fear.

Pissarro, following the example of Cortes, who conquered the mighty Aztec empire by kidnapping the emperor, began to prepare his ambush.

During the night, Atahualpa sent 5,000 troops to block the road north of Cajamarca. According to the plan developed by him, as he later admitted to the Spaniards, he wanted to capture Pissarro and all his warriors alive in order to sacrifice the god of the Sun - Inti, and leave their horses for breeding.

At dawn Pissarro posted his men in the buildings around the square. The wait was agonizing for the Spaniards, as the tenfold numerical superiority of the Incas frightened and overwhelmed. Later, as one of the eyewitnesses admitted, "many Spaniards unconsciously urinated in their pants because of the horror that bound them."

Capture of Atahualpa

Duflos, Pierre, 1742-1816, engraver.

At sunset, the imperial procession approached the square. Atahualpa was carried by 80 servants on a wooden stretcher, inlaid with gold and decorated on all sides with parrot feathers. The monarch, dressed in robes with gold threads and all in jewelry, sat holding a golden shield with the heraldic image of the Sun in his hands. There were also dancers and accompanying musicians. His retinue numbered more than 5,000 soldiers (the main forces, about 80,000 soldiers, were outside the city). They all came unarmed.

In the square they saw only one Dominican monk in a cassock with a cross in one hand and a Bible in the other hand. The Royal Council in Spain decided that the pagans should be given the opportunity to accept Christianity voluntarily, without bloodshed, and the conquistadors decided not to violate the letter of the law. The monk explained the meaning of the Christian faith to the ruler of the Incas, and the interpreter explained to him that he was asked to accept the religion of strangers.“You say that your God accepted death,” Atahualpa answered, “but mine still lives,” he emphasized, pointing to the sun creeping beyond the horizon.

Atahualpa took in his hands the prayer book extended to him. As far as he understood, the Spaniards valued this thing in the same way as the Indians "huaca", a talisman in which the spirit of the gods was found. But this object seemed like a toy to him compared to their huge stone "huaca", which the Incas worshiped, so he threw it on the ground. According to eyewitnesses, after that the monk turned to Pissarro and said to him and his people: “You can attack them after this. I forgive you all your sins in advance."

A musician with a flute. This product shows us the high art of chimu in the field of metal processing with the help of techniques. Such figurines were forged in parts, which were then soldered together. The musician holds his flute in his tattooed hands.

Pissarro gave the signal to attack. Two cannons fired a volley into the crowd of Indians. Spanish horsemen, fully armed, left the buildings and attacked the unarmed Inca warriors. They were followed by the sound of trumpets infantrymen with a battle cry - "Santiago!" (the name of the saint helping, according to the Spaniards, to defeat the enemy).

It was a brutal massacre of unarmed Indians. Pissarro with difficulty pulled Atahualpa out of her. Within a few hours, 6,000 Inca warriors perished in and around Cajamarca, but not a single Spaniard was killed. Among the few wounded was Pissarro himself, who was wounded by his own soldier when he tried to break through to the royal enemy in order to capture him alive.

Many researchers tried to understand why Atahualpa made such a fatal mistake, going out to the Spaniards with unarmed soldiers. Perhaps the leader did not even consider such a variant of the course of events, when such a small detachment would try to attack his huge army. Or he believed in the speech of the Spaniards about the world.

In captivity, Atahualpa was allowed to retain all royal privileges. All his wives and servants were near him. The nobles came to him and carried out his orders. In less than a month, he learned to speak Spanish and even write a little.

Realizing that white people were attracted by gold, he decided to pay off, offering for his freedom to fill the rooms in which he was staying with gold, as well as twice “fill the Indian hut with silver”. Instead of releasing Atahualpa, he signed his death warrant with such a proposal. By ordering to break all the gold in Cuzco, and delivering it to the Spaniards, he only ignited their passion for the precious metal. At the same time, fearing that his brother would be able to offer even more gold for his freedom, he ordered his execution. The Incas did not perceive gold and silver as something valuable. For them, it was just beautiful metal. They called gold "sweat of the sun" and silver "tears of the moon". For them, fabrics were valuable, as it took a lot of time to make them.

Knife for ritual ceremonies. Ritual knife Tumi with a gold handle and a silver blade and decorated with turquoise. The god Naimlap is depicted with a semicircular headdress and a pair of wings.

The Spaniards began to suspect that Atahualpa was plotting against them. This gave rise to panic fear in their ranks. Pissarro for a long time resisted the mood of his compatriots. But in the end, the panic broke his resolute attitude.

Atahualpa began to realize the inevitability of his death. His religion guaranteed him eternal life if the rite was properly performed.

At a meeting of the council, headed by Pissarro himself, it was decided to burn Atahualpa. When the Spaniards informed the leader of their decision, he burst into tears. The destruction of the body meant the deprivation of immortality.

Before his death, the monk once again tried to convert the pagan to the Christian faith. Realizing that if he converted to Christianity, he would not be burned, but strangled with a garrote (a hoop with a screw to slowly strangle the victim), he agreed to undergo an initiation ceremony, assuming that the body would be handed over to the people for mummification. But the Spaniards deceived him here too. After the chief was strangled, they burned his clothes and part of his body at the stake. The rest they buried in the ground.

Pissarro understood the benefits of a local ruler under Spanish control. He opted for Huayna Capac's son, Manco Inca. When the Spaniards arrived in Cuzco, they were greeted as well-wishers who restored the legitimate ruling branch of the Incas, although all the mummies were securely hidden before their appearance.

The conquistadors were not distinguished by generosity and in every possible way humiliated Manco, showing a disregard for the customs of the Incas. The worst happened when Pissarro traveled to the ocean coast to establish a new capital, Limo. He left his brothers Gonzalo and Juan in charge. Gonzalo treated Manco with undisguised contempt. Having kidnapped his beloved wife, he abused her.

The atrocities perpetrated by the Spaniards led to the fact that Manco flatly refused to cooperate and made an attempt to leave Cuzco. The Spaniards returned him to the capital in chains. In conclusion, they were subjected to various kinds of humiliation. As a result, Manco persuades one of Francisco's brothers, Hernando, who had recently arrived in Cusco from Spain, to release him temporarily from prison so that he could pray in the sanctuary, for which he promised to give a golden statue depicting his father. As soon as Manco got out of Cuzco, he called on his people to revolt. The matter ended with the siege of Cusco, which lasted almost a whole year. During this siege, there were traitors among the Indians both in Cuzco and beyond, who secretly carried food to the invaders. Among them were even relatives of Manco himself, who feared reprisal for their former support for the Europeans by the new ruler. The hopelessness of the siege became clear when reinforcements arrived from Spain. Some supporters of Manco even broke away from him, realizing that a good moment had been lost.

After the failure of the siege of Cuzco, Manco took 20,000 of his compatriots with him into the dense jungle. There they built the new city of Vilcabamba in a short time. It covered an area of ​​about two square miles and consisted of about three hundred houses and sixty monumental structures. There were convenient roads and canals.

Sun gate of the Incas.

From this city, the Incas sometimes raided the conquerors, attacking outposts. In 1572, the Spaniards decided to do away with this last stronghold, as evidence of the former power of the natives. When they reached Vilcabamba, they found only deserted ruins on the site of the city. The defenders burned it before leaving the city. The Spaniards continued the pursuit, penetrating further and further into the jungle. As a result, they captured the last leader of the Incas, Tupac Amaru. He was brought to Cusco and beheaded in the town square. Thus ended the dynasty of the Inca rulers.

The result of the fifty-year stay of the Spaniards was the reduction of the indigenous population - by three quarters. Many died from diseases imported from the Old World, and many from hard labor.

Huge amounts of gold and silver were exported to Spain. Art objects were usually melted down before export. The most beautiful products were delivered to the court of Charles V, then they were put on public display in Seville. When Charles began to lack funds for military campaigns, these outstanding works of Inca art were ordered to be melted down.

Literature: A. Varkin, L. Zdanovich, “Secrets of Disappeared Civilizations”, M. 2000. Incas: Lords of Gold and Heirs of Glory, translated from English by L. Kanevsky, M., Terra, 1997.