History, Inca Empire
Andes mountain range, sacred peak, semiarid region, Amazon rivers, Inca Empire
The Inca, sometimes called peoples of the sun, were originally a warlike tribe living in a semiarid region of the southern sierra. From 1100 to 1300 the Inca moved north into the fertile Cuzco Valley. From there they overran the neighboring lands. By 1500 the Inca Empire stretched from the Pacific Ocean east to the sources of the Paraguay and Amazon rivers and from the region of modern Quito in Ecuador south to the Maule River in Chile. This vast empire was a theocracy, organized along socialistic lines and ruled by an Inca, or emperor, who was worshiped as a divinity. Because the Inca realm contained extensive deposits of gold and silver, it became in the early 16th century a target of Spanish imperial ambitions in the Americas.
In November 1995 anthropologists announced the discovery of the 500-year-old remains of two Inca women and one Inca man frozen in the snow on a mountain peak in Peru. Scientists concluded that the trio were part of a human sacrifice ritual on Ampato, a sacred peak in the Andes mountain range. Artifacts from the find unveiled new information about the Inca and indicated the use of poles and tents rather than traditional stone structures. The arrangement of doll-size statuettes dressed in feathers and fine woolens provided clues about Inca religious and sacrificial practices.
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