The Incas were one of many South American tribes engaged in a power struggle in the Andean highlands from the thirteenth century through the middle of the fifteenth century.
The Incas were one of many South American tribes engaged in a power struggle in the Andean highlands from the thirteenth century through the middle of the fifteenth century. Prior to this time, this region had been occupied by many different tribes. Between 500 and 1000
Under the leadership of the Incan warrior
The Incas attacked and defeated the Chimú tribes after Topa Inca
An Inca-style battle scene in which warriors wear helmets and quilted tunics and wield swords, axes, and spears in hand-to-hand combat.
The organization of the army was similar to that of the decimal system utilized by the Romans. Although the commanders were usually members of the Incan royal family, many ascended from the ranks because of their extraordinary ability and devotion to the emperor. One of the demands placed upon the commanders, who had to deal with the logistical problems of the roads and supplies, was to calculate the most efficient way to move their military across the country. Because the strategy was to fight only if absolutely necessary, the commanders had to ensure a deployment of soldiers superior to that of the enemy and would not waste manpower by sending too many. On important occasions, the emperor personally assumed command of a campaign. Topa Inca
The primary aim of the Incan military was to spread the worship of the Sun and to seek harmony through the integration of so-called barbarians–who lacked military discipline, worshiped false gods, and practiced human sacrifices and cannibalism–into the Incan culture. The Incas believed, therefore, that their conquests were justifiable and were motivated by a desire to improve the quality of life of their vanquished tribes. The Incas traveled with the purpose of disrupting the lives of Peru’s inhabitants as little as possible. Specialized
The Inca Empire, 1493-1525
The principal strategy utilized by the Incas to defeat their enemies was to destroy harvests and inflict famine. War, however, was often the only option. The
The evolution of the Inca Empire was an ongoing process, as each succeeding Incan emperor tried to continue the military plans of his predecessor. After each conquest, the Incas allowed time for the settlement of the new territory before pursuing the next one. This interval also gave the vanquished time to assimilate the Incan culture and to prepare to fight in the name of their new god. The receptions given to Incan sovereigns in the capital after a conquest rivaled Roman triumph celebrations in pomp and ceremony. Dressed in the colorful costumes of their provinces of origin, the people greeted their victorious ruler, who was borne aloft in a golden chair raised on the shoulders of his nobles, as he passed beneath arches erected along the route to the Temple of the Sun. Alone in the temple, because attendants were not permitted to enter, the sovereign, barefoot and stripped of his regal costume, gave thanks for his victory. A large celebration followed in which music, dancing, and bonfires commemorated the addition of a new territory. The Inca Empire, in reality, was a confederation of tribes with the Incas in control of a common government, a common religion, and a common language. A council of rulers ruled each of the tribes, which pledged its allegiance to the emperor, who, as a descendant of the Sun God, was considered divine. The conquered tribes maintained their individual cultural identities, but they paid Incan labor taxes; payment ensured that every individual received fulfillment of all of his or her basic needs. Although the inhabitants of each conquered town spoke their native languages, the Incas also imposed the Quechua language on them in order to enable communication among the different peoples.
El Inca Garcilaso de la
Burland, C. A. Peru Under the Incas. London: Evans Brothers, 1967. D’Altroy, Terence N. “Militarism.” In The Incas. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2002. Davies, Nigel. The Incas. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 1995. Guilmartin, John F. “Incas.” In The Reader’s Companion to Military History, edited by Robert Cowley and Geoffrey Parker. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996. Julie, Catherine. “War and Peace in the Inca Heartland.” In War and Peace in the Ancient World, edited by Kurt A. Raaflaub. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2007. Kaufmann, H. W., and J. E. Kaufmann. Fortifications of the Incas, 1200-1531. Illustrated by Adam Hook. Botley, Oxford, England: Osprey, 2006. Lanning, Edward P. Peru Before the Incas. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1967. McEwan, Gordon F. The Incas: New Perspectives. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2005. MacQuarrie, Kim. The Last Days of the Incas. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2007. Stern, Steven J. Peru’s Indian Peoples and the Challenge of Spanish Conquest. 2d ed. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1993. Great Inca Rebellion. Documentary. National Geographic, 2007. The Incas. Documentary. Public Broadcasting Service, 1980. The Incas Remembered. Documentary. Monterey Home Video, 1986. NOVA: Secrets of Lost Empires–Inca. Documentary. Public Broadcasting Service, 1997. The Royal Hunt of the Sun. Feature film. National General Pictures, 1969.
The Maya and Aztecs
North American Indigenous Nations