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The Inka

Peru Viajes

Edition 2015
The Tawantinsuyo
The Inka
Inkan Religion
General and City Planning
Materials and Lithic Tech
Inkan Architecture
Coca Leaves
Andean Camelids
Andean Condor
Inkan City of Qosqo
Present-day Festivities
The Cathedral
Saint Blaise Church
Convent of Our Lady of Mercy
La Compania de Jesus Church
Saint Francis Convent
Monastery of Saint Catherine
Maras, Moray, Pichingoto
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Home >> Peru Cities >> Cusco Travel Information >> The Inka



The first Inkas' origin is lost in the obscurity of past. Myth and legend try to replace this lost with different legends, existing two very well known ones. The first one tells that the " Tayta Inti" or "Father Sun" observing that chaos and starvation prevailed on the earth, decided to send his two children in order to establish order. They emerged from the waters of Titicaca Lake with a golden staff of office given by their father. The name of the first mythical Inka was Manko Qhapaq and his sister-wife was Mama Oqllo. They had to try to plunge the staff in the earth and found where it happened the Capital of their new reign. According to tradition the staff was plunged in the Wanakauri mountain which is southeast of present-day Qosqo. Interpretation of this legend has a very strong real support because it suggests that Manko Qhapaq represents a whole nation possibly of Tiawanako people. They lived in the Sacred Lake's region and it is known that the most fertile lands over there are precisely around the lake; thus there was a time when overpopulation and scarcity of lands obliged that nation to look for another rich and ample region. It is also suggested that possibly the Tiawanako state which capital was in Taypiqala was destroyed by Aymara invaders coming from the southern region, from Tucuman and Coquimbo, and its inhabitants obliged to emigrate toward the Qosqo valley. It is demonstrated that the Tiawanako or Tiwanaku (Bolivian name) civilization had a decisive participation in the Tawantinsuyo's formation. The second legend is known as that of the " Ayar Brothers" and indicates that from three windows in the Tamput'oqo Mountain in Pakariqtanpu about 25 kms. (15.5 miles) south of Qosqo came out four brothers. They were Ayar Manko (Manko Qhapaq), Ayar Kachi, Ayar Auka and Ayar Uchu; every one along with his wife. They went towards the Wanakauri Mountain and then to Qosqo where just the women and Manko Qhapaq arrived founding the city in the name of Teqsi Wiraqocha and the Sun.

It is undeniable that the Inkan State had a peculiar social and political organization. Its State Chief was the " Inka" or " Sapan Inka" also known as " Sapan Intiq Churin" ("The Only Son of the Sun") who in normal conditions must have had a wife whose generic name was " Qoya" . In a simple way, "Inka" is equivalent to King and "Qoya" to Queen. According to Andean tradition both of them were descendants of the " Inti" or Sun God. In order to keep and perpetuate their solar blood the Inka had to always marry his sister; couple from which had to be born the throne's heir. More over, the "Sapan Inka" could have a limitless amount of concubines and same amount of children. Tradition tells that Wayna Qhapaq had more than 400 children. This privilege was valid just for the Inka who occasionally could also give an additional wife to any distinguished nobleman.

The Inka was the political and religious summary of the whole Tawantinsuyo, he practiced an absolute sovereignty. Even more, he was venerated as a Living God because it was considered that he was the Son of the Sun. His people followed with submission all the orders he gave. Those who surrounded him demonstrated their profound reverence when getting close to him in act of extreme humility; in order to approach him they had to carry some load on their backs and go looking down to the ground. Only the closest noblemen to the Inka could talk to him and they served him as intermediaries in official conversations with the rest of people. Moreover, (according to the epoch's superstition) near to him were always some of his women that collected his hair and saliva in order to protect him from sorceries. He was transported over a golden litter and his clothing made in vicuna wool had the best quality. Only he used the symbolic " Maskaypacha" or royal badge, that was something like a multicolored cord fastening in many turns the " Llauto" or red tassel. It was framed with gold and adorned on the higher edge with a brooch from which took rise three showy " Qoriq'ente" ("Golden Hummingbird") feathers, distinguished for their rareness. Big golden adornments hung from his earlobes deforming them. He wore a tunic to the height of his knees and a cloak woven in the best vicuna wool encrusted with emeralds and turquoise. He had golden shoulder pads and bracelets, and a golden pectoral engraved with a stylized effigy of the sun. His feet were covered with "p'olkos" or shoes made of leather and vicuna fur.

The Inka's extended family formed his " Panaka" that was supposed to perpetuate his history's memory after his death, as well as take care of his " Mallki" (mummy). It was his second son who had its head ship because the first born was who succeeded him, although this did not always happen in practice.

Today there is no consensus about the exact amount of Inkas that ruled the Tawantinsuyo since its establishment. Some chroniclers and historians suggest that they were 14, some others say that only 13; this last amount is the most accepted one. Historic tradition recognizes the first 8 ones since Manko Qhapaq until Wiraqocha as the mythical Inkas. When arrival of the conquistadors happened there was almost exact memory only since Pachakuteq who ruled between 1438 and 1471 succeeded by Tupaq Inka Yupanqui that ruled from 1471 to 1493. Following was Wayna Qhapaq between 1493 and 1527, later Waskar from 1525 to 1532, and finally Atawallpa who usurped the throne in Tumipanpa (Cuenca, Ecuador) between 1527 and 1533. Nevertheless, the Inkan dynasty did not finish when Spanish invaders arrived but later there was another succession of rulers for the Quechua nation. Pizarro moved by diplomatic interests nominated Toparpa or Tupaq Wallpa as the new Inka who was poisoned traveling to Qosqo. Later, his right to the throne was recognized to Manko Inka or Manko II, another son of Wayna Qhapaq who in 1536 began the long war for the re-establishment of the Tawantinsuyo. He was murdered in Vilcabamba by two fugitive Almagro followers and then was succeeded by his son Sayri Tupaq who died in Yucay after having selfishly agreed with the conquistadors. Sayri Tupaq's brother Titu Kusi Yupanqui succeeded him, going back to Vilcabamba in order to continue with the war. After Titu Kusi's death because of a sickness another brother of his, Tupaq Amaru went on with his ideal being later shrewdly captured by Spanish captain Martin Garcia Oñas de Loyola, who subsequently would marry the Inka's niece. Tupaq Amaru was taken to Qosqo and executed in the City's Main Square in presence of Viceroy Francisco de Toledo on September 24th 1572, at the end of 36 years of war for the re-establishment of the Tawantinsuyo and the rights of the real owners of this part of the world.



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