The Inca were South American Indian people who ruled one of the largest and richest empires in the America's. The Inca Empire began to expand about 1438 and occupied a vast region that centered on the capital, Cusco, in southern Peru. The Empire extended more than 2,500 miles (4,020 kilometers) along the western coast of South America. It included parts of Present - Day Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. The Inca Empire was conquered by Spanish Forces soon after their arrival in 1532.
Inca emperors ruled their far - reaching territory through a complex political system. The Inca took over many areas by military force. Their political system kept a balance between the central authority of the emperor and local rulers. The name Inca was originally the title of the emperor. The peoples he governed had many names. But after the Spanish conquest, all people under the emperor's rule were called the Inca. Inca is a group name which covers a large numbers of tribes. The original Incas were Quechua speakers who lived in South - Eastern Peruvian highlands. Tribes later conquered by the Incas tended to assimulate Inca culture, to the exclusion of their own. In the 15century, led by Pachacuti Inca Yupaqui and his son Topa Inca, the Inca Empire exploded over the Andes. Both leaders claimed to be descendents of the sun, the most important symbol in Inca religious life. When Topa Inca died in 1493 Pachacuti's Andean domain ran nearly 2,500 miles from North Ecuador into Chile and covered some 350,000 square miles. The Incas are famous for their intricate gold work and elaborate weaving. For subsistence they relied on terraced and irrigated cultivation, and very little on hunting and fishing. In the mountain areas the main crop was quinoa, and in lower areas maize, beans, peanuts, and squash. They kept llamas, alpacas, dogs, guinea pigs, and dogs. Men worked copper and gold and women made fabrics and pots. Inca towns had massive public buildings. Most of their technological achievements were grand - scale copies of ideas from earlier civilizations. The skilful farmers who preceded the Inca, harnessing the melting snows of the Andes, dug irrigation ditches across the desert; they also deflected rivers for the same purpose. Nothing which the Minoans, Egyptians, and Sumerians did, agriculturally, equalled this achievement. They also demesticated animals. From the Native American camal the guanaco, they bred the llama and the alpaca for their wool, and guinea - pigs for food.
Most people lived in square stone houses with thatched roofs. The Inca political system was headed by an absolute divine king and was subdivided into a territorial organization with hierarchy of bureaucrats. There were no written records, despite the advanced technology, and history was preserved through narrative poems and genealogies. The empire began to crumble with the Spanish conquest of Cuzco in 1533. Archaeological remains are a major source of information about the Inca civilization. The Inca did not develop a writing system, and so there are no sources about them written before the spanish conquest. But the scientists and historians have reconstructed a picture of Inca life and history from well - preserved archaeological remains in Peru. Written materials from the period of and after the spanish conquest provide another important source of information about the Inca civilization. The Inca used several methods to make their farms more productive, even though they did not use wheels or plows pulled by animals. They build irrigation networks in the coastal desert. In the highlands, they cut terraces into the hillsides to reduce erosion and make irrigation easier. The Inca divided their fields into three groups. The harvest of the other two fields supported the state religious activities.
Family and social life in Inca society was determined by social rank. The rank of an Inca's family determined his or her social position for life. A man's status could be changed only by performing some outstanding service for the emperor. The people were grouped in units called ayllus, which it was based on kinship and land ownership. The members of an ayllu owned an area of land in common. The leader of an ayllu gave each family as much land as it