Wikijunior:South America/The Incas

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Part of Wikijunior South America project

Inti or Incan Sun God
Looking down at the ruins of Machu Picchu at sunrise.

The Incas were the ruling class of Peruvian Indians controlling a large empire in South America between the years 1438 and 1533 before the Spanish conquest. In Quechua, the main language of the Incas, the empire was called Tawantinsuyu which means Land of the Four Corners. The native government of the Incas was the most stable on the continent. The Peruvians were agricultural people, who irrigated their lands and built great granaries and fine roads to all parts of the empire. The Incas kept track of numerical data through a system of knotted quipu-strings. Gold was owned by them in abundance and was used in the decoration of the palaces and temple of the Incas. The capital of the empire was at Cuzco, until just before the arrival of Pizarro, when Atahualpa, heir to the throne, had moved his rule to Quito, now Ecuador, to protect himself from a rebellion started by his brother. When the Spanish conquered the country in 1533, Atahualpa, the last emperor of the Incas, was executed, but it was forty years before the Indians were fully subdued. Their descendants as unmixed Amerindians make up a large segment of the population of Peru today.