Ancient Inca Facts

Ancient Inca Facts
The Inca Empire, also known as the Inka Empire or Incan Empire, was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political, and military center of the empire was located in Cusco in modern-day Peru. See the fact file below for more facts about the Ancient Inca civilization.
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  • The Inca Empire existed in Peru. It ran along the Pacific coast and Andean highlands from the northern border of what is today called Ecuador to the Maule River in Chile. There were over a million people who were Inca.
  • The man who established the Inca Empire was Manco Capac in 1438. Manco Capac declared himself Sapa Inca, divine son of the Sun. He was a skilled warrior and leader who exercised absolute power. Most historians agree there were thirteen emperors during the time when the Inca Empire existed. They were sometimes called, “The Inca”.
  • The Inca originated in the village of Paqari-tampu, about 15 miles south of Cuzco.
  • The official language of the Inca was Quecha. The Inca had no written language. They kept their history and stories alive through stories that were passed from father to son.
  • The Ancient Inca built aquaducts, cities, temples, fortresses, tunnels, suspension bridges, and 2, 250 miles of roads. The Inca had a great understanding of mathematics and agriculture. They also knew about hydraulics, astronomy, architecture and military strategy.
  • The Inca had skills in music, textiles, wood and stone carving, art and poetry. The Inca were also highly skilled in working with all types of metals. Their pottery was simple, practical and beautiful. The Ancient Inca grew corn, potatoes, coffee, and other grains. They also created woven baskets and woodwind instruments.
  • The Inca pyramids were built with mud bricks of clay that were mixed with dry straw from the corn plant. When the Incas found a pyramid that had been built by another culture, they would build their own Inca temple on top of it. Inca gold was not inherited by a person’s decendents, so when somebody died, the gold was placed inside the grave.
  • The Incas worshipped many gods and goddesses. The major Incan god was the god of nature, Viracocha, the creator. Another god was Inti, the sun god. Gold was the symbol of Inti. The sun god temple is the most important structure in Cuzco, the major city of the Incas. The Incas believed Inti was the father of Incan rulers. They worshipped the ruler as a living god. Major Incan goddesses included those of the earth and the sea. The Incas also worshipped many lesser gods and goddresses. These included the gods of the moon, thunder, rain, stars and rainbows.
  • The Ancient Inca’s developed important medical practices. They preformed surgery on human skulls and used anesthesia during surgery. Inca medicine included treating physical and emotional problems.
  • In 1532 the Spanish arrived in Peru and by 1535 the Inca Empire was gone.