Ancient Inca Civilization
Around the time period of 1200 AD, Latin America saw a rise of the Inca Civilization while Mexico saw the rise of the Aztec culture. Originally the Incas were a very warlike civilization from the Andes Mountains above Cuzco. This tribe began conquering and taking neighbouring villages and tribes while moving their way down into the valley of Cuzco. By the time of the Spanish conquest the Incan Empire covered an area of about 2500 miles, stretching from the capital of Cuzco to the western coast of Latin America, which is now modern day Peru. The territory the Incas occupied varied in terrain. The territory included fertile valleys and high peaks from the Andes Mountains, tropical rainforests, and drought-stricken deserts along the west coast.
By the early 1500's the Incan Empire was on the verge of weakening, due to the fact that the empire was growing so much. With the empire growing this made it hard to manage and maintain all of the land. It also made it hard to distribute goods and foods to these vast regions of land. In 1525 the Inca's stable government ended when King Huayna Capac died. He died without naming the next successor. This caused a very bitter rivalry between his two sons: Hus-Car and Atahualpa. This caused the empire to plunge into a civil war, thus heavily devastating the empire and military.
Unlike the other Mesoamerican Civilizations, the Incas never developed a writing system or a transportation system based on wheeled vehicles. While the Incas spoke many languages they had to develop strong methods of organization such as: maintaining a large army, and by inventing highly advanced agricultural, building and engineering methods. The Incas had a number system using a knotted string called a quipi. The quipi was used to keep track of troops, supplies, population data, and agricultural inventories. The Inca farmers were taught how to irrigate their farmlands and in return they had to give a portion of their crop to the government. Other portions went to support the ruler and other government officials.
Incan people were highly educated in arts and crafts. They made many ornaments and jewellery out of gold and silver, but due to the Spanish greed for precious metals very few were discovered. Outstanding art still remains from the ruins of ancient temples and cities they constructed, such as the city of Machu Picchu. These buildings were constructed of white granite rock some 10-15 tons a piece, still baffling archaeologists on how exactly they moved these large rocks into formation. Archaeologists are also amazed with the very elaborate aqueducts, or canal system, used to carry water to buildings throughout the city.
In addition to the sun god, creator of the universe, the Incas worshipped many other gods related to moon, sea, and earth. Ancestors were also worshipped as protective spirits linking the living Incas to the gods. When people came to pray at the site of their mummified ancestors, they generally brought some type of sacrifice, in the form of clothing, plants, and animals. They believed in an afterlife where you would join and live happily with the gods themselves.
In 1532 a small group of Spanish conquerors, led by a man named Pizarro, invaded the Incan Empire. King Atahualpa believed Pizarro and his men to be demigods and trusted them. With Atahualpa cooperating, Pizarro was able to capture and execute Atahualpa. Pizarro's army was only of 180 men, but while the Inca's outnumbered them, their weapons were no match for the Spanish's guns and cannons.
During the Spanish domination huge number of Incas died from disease that the Spaniards had brought over. The Incas who survived were sent to work in the many silver and gold mines run by the Spaniards.