In the Andes Mountains of North America there was a great society with a well-developed civilization. That civilization was known as Inca Empire. Inca Empire stretched more than 2500 miles, from north to south and lasted until they were concurred by Spanish explorers. It reached from Pacific Coast in the west to Amazon river Basin in the east. Today, Peru, Ecuador, parts of Bolivia, Chile and Argentina are belong to this region. It is believed that at least 10 million people were under the rule of Inca territory.
Incas first settled in the areas of mountains around Peru. The capital city of the Inca Empire was Cuzco. Incas believe that the people were created by a sun god called Inti. According to the Inca legends the hope of Inti was to make a very power full nation. But for the first 200 years Incas increased their territory only by dozen miles around Cuzco. But after an attack made by neighboring people called Chancas, Incas decided to make large armies and to increase their territory.
The strictly organized class structure of Inca Empire, managed the way of ruling and organizing. There were three main classes. They were the Emperor and his family, nobles and commoners. The people who were originally form Cuzco were considered as “Inca by blood”. They held high states than people who were not originally from Cuzco.
In Inca language the Emperor was called as Sapa Inca. Sapa Inca had complete authority of kingdom because Incas believed that Sapa Inca was descendent from Inti. He had many wives and children. But Sapa Inca kept one women as the queen.She was called as Coya. Coya was Sapa inca’s full sister. They did this to ensure the purity of royal blood.
The people who helped the emperor in ruling were considered as Nobles. All nobles enjoyed privileges like lands, llamas, servants and fine clothing. The noble men could marry more than one women. There were three main classes of Inca Nobles. They were Capac Incas, Hahua Incas and Curacas. The most powerful Nobles were Capac Incas. They held most important positions of the army, government, and priesthood. They had the authority to access the gold mined of the emperor.
Majority of Inca society were Commoners. They worked as farmers and herders. Commoners participated in government sponsored projects. Men did works like farming and building roads while women did works like weaving clothes. They grew crops like beans, pepper, peanut, squash, corn and potato. Corn and potato were very important crops. They saved corn harvest by drying and enjoyed corn fresh ,fried, and popped.
The basic unit of Inca society was known as a “Ayllu”. Ayllu was a collection of families. There were small villages of Ayllus as well as towns of Ayllus. Those Ayllus had farming lands for cultivation. But they did not own the land. Government distributed lands for Ayllus to fulfill their day to day food supply. People of the Ayllu worked cooperatively and divided the harvest among them equally. In Inca society every one had to work except very young, weak and very old. Works were divided among the people by Ayllu leader. There was a leader for set of Ayllus. He was known as Curaca. The main duty of Curaca was to make sure that Ayllus under his rule pay taxes. The taxes were paid in the form of goods and labor, because Incas had no currency.
When an Inca was born he was belonged to an Ayllu. Children of commoners had no right of education. But they learned how to manage their day to day life. Girls learned to cook, to take care of the babies, and to weave. Boys learned to keep animals, to farm and to work in government projects. The situation of the noble’s children was different. They had tutors and teachers to teach them many subjects. Not like nobles the commoners had chance to marry only one women. Young males married in early 20’s and girls married at 16. In Inca society they arranged marriage markets, so the young males and females could find their partner. After the marriage the couple had right to live in their one house. Commoner’s houses were single room and made of bricks, while nobles had houses with several rooms.
The religious beliefs of Incas were same as the other groups in America. They believed that gods influence in their day to day life. There were many gods that were assigned for various aspects of nature. For examples, Mama Cocha was the goddess of sea and Paca Mama was the Earth Mother. There were large number of priests to conduct religious rituals and ceremonies. The priests who did rituals for god Inti were considered as most honorable. Like Mayas and Aztecs, Incas also practiced sacrifices for the gods. Usually they sacrificed animals like llamas and Guinea pigs. In special occasions like naturel disasters they practiced human sacrifices for their gods.