Facts About Incas

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The Inca civilization flourished between c.400 and 1533 CE in Ancient Peru. Their empire extended across western South America from Quinto in the North and Santiago in the South making it the largest empire in the Americas and in the whole world at that time. Spanish conquistadors plundered the empire from their gold leaving the civilization dilapidated from what it was before.

 Fact 1:

Llamas are highly valued by the Incas. Figurines of the animal were found buried with the dead to ensure fertility of the herd within the tribe. Llamas provided the main transportation for the Incas and served as the beast of burden by carrying heavy loads. The animal dung also provided fuel and fertilizer for the Incas.

Fact 2:

About 2,200 mummy bundles of men, women and children were found in Tupac Amuru near Lima. The mummies were uncovered accidentally in the 1980’s when sewage from the settlers disturbed the burial ground. The underground burial contained 10,000 mummy bundles containing 15,000 people making it as the second largest Peruvian mummy burial site.

 Fact 3:

One hundred fifteen ceremonial sites were uncovered at an elevation above 15,000 on 30 Andean peaks. In 1995, Johan Reinhard discovered the iced-mummy of “Juanita”, a young girl who was sacrificed to their mountain gods . Examinations on the mummified girl revealed a coca cud lodged between her teeth implying she was sedated before her death.

 Fact 4:

Quipu is the Incan writing system consisting of assortment of tied cotton and wool containing information. Quipu  have yet to be deciphered and some educated guesses said it was used to records tributes; production levels for agriculture and artisans or a mnemonic gadget recording Incan history and legends.

Fact 5:

The Incas believed that all living things on earth have a corresponding star or group of stars that protect people and animals. The Pleiades star group was the source of these protecting stars. Aside from protection, the star group is also vital for agriculture as guide for the planting cycle.The Incas called the brightest star, chaska. They are planets that can be seen with the naked eye like Mars and Venus. Obscured stars were called cuyllor.

Fact 6:

Freeze drying is not new to the Inca people. The freezing temperature from the Andes would reach the civilization and they found out that leaving potatoes wrapped in cloth will result to a freeze-dried potato, convenient for travelling and soldiers.  The simple freeze- dried process allowed the Incas to store their food during off and dry season.

Fact 7:

Every Inca follows a strict task based on their age, gender and social status. Children above five years old were to carry water to the fields while adults do the farming. Women of fifty years above were tasked to weave.  Members of the community who were physically or mentally challenged were assigned to chew corn or maize and spit it to a bowl.  The substance will be fermented and be used as a main ingredient for their corn beer, Chicha, served during special occasions.

Fact 8:

Incas are known to be good in masonry. They are masters to the technique called “ashlar” where block of stones are cut to fit together tightly without the use of mortar so tight that not even a blade of grass can get in between the stones.They buildings they constructed were even earthquake-resistant. Stone walls can move slightly without collapsing, doors and windows were trapezoid in shape, tilting inward from the top and “L”-shaped blocks were used to tie outside corners of the structure together.

Fact 9:

Incas used the word “taqui” to define dance, music and singing. Inca music was based in the combination of 5 notes: re, fa, sol, la, do.Incas have a definite use for their music and were categorized according to its purpose: religious, warrior, agricultural and vulgar.

Fact 10:

The Incas were the first to conceive the idea of connecting their territories by dirt roads or paving blocks. The highways and roads can go from 3-13 feet wide and covers a total of 25,000 miles. They also have amenities that resemble modern conveniences called “tampus”.  Tampus provided accommodation for travelers, to restock supplies and a place to eat. Since Incas travel by foot, these services are highly valued.

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