Origin of the Incas

by German G. Villamor

translated from Spanish by H. Clay Gorton

Up to the present time we have no clear nor evident proofs of the true origins of the Incas. Much has been written on the subject, but it has consisted of nothing more than suppositions. The only thing that is known of them is that they were a much more educated and civilized race than the Aymará, from what we have been able to learn of their undeniable and authentic skills and understanding.

In addition to what we have in history and in the many writings of Europeans that have dedicated themselves to the study of American archeology, I have read an interesting unpublished work by Fr. Rafael Saenz, which, although it is without scientific value, merits our reference. Rafael Saenz says in his manuscript:

There was in the island in remote times a young and beautiful Indian girl that became lost in one of her wanderings, and her parents were unable to find her. But after about a year, when her parents had surmised that she had drowned in the lake, or perished from the cold of the pampas, she appeared to them, not only healthy and well, but well informed and with child. They were naturally delighted to recover the daughter that they loved so much; but becoming aware that she was pregnant, they began to chastise her, supposing that she had fled their company, wandering about and now returning with the proof of her iniquity. Such was the ire of her parents that they were about to punish her, but the Indian girl pleaded with them to listen to her, assuring them that far from punish­ing her, they would be happy that she returned in such a state because she was certain that what had happened to her had not created a disgrace but rather a divine favor. The parents calmed themselves and fearing some fabrication of her true condition, allowed her to explain herself.

“On the day that we left the island,” said the girl, “I felt impelled to wander over there, far away, to where the sun sets. And so it was, without being able to resist the urge. I allowed myself to be carried along and I walked some fifteen days without becoming weary, always with the burning desire to see where the sun went to bed, who obscured himself each night behind more distant hills. Finally I began to be weary and weak from the lack of food when I arrived at some very high mountains, and I thought that must be precisely where the sun hid himself.

“Anxious to see with my own eyes where the god of light retired at night in that great bed of snow, I climbed a hill, and with great agitation, and from that one to another, because the sun was about to set, and I was afraid that he would retire and I wouldn’t be able to see his bed. But my deep concern, and perhaps the snow that began to appear under my feet made my head and my eyes ache so much that I fainted. I remained awhile as though dead, but fortunately I was awakened by the cold. Fearing that I might die from the cold of the night, I forced myself to go on down the hill that I had climbed to find a more sheltered place. I soon spied a little cove from where I felt that I could still see some of the rays from the sun, and also feel a mild breeze that enlivened me.

“And as I still wanted to see where my dear sun went to rest, I hurried to arrive at that place that I felt would satisfy my anxiety. But how can I explain my surprise when I found that instead of another mountain that served as the bed of the sun, I saw before me a wide, inclined plain, not dry like our pampas, but green and covered with trees and flowering plants, whose perfume wafted to me on the breeze, cleared my head and filled my heart, and on the other side of this beautiful savannah, over which I wanted to fly like a condor, I saw a very large lake, much bigger than this one, a thousand times bigger… without an end; not blue, but rather white, as white as polished silver, and farther on of a fine gold color, so brilliant that I could not even look at it. What a most beautiful thing! How delighted I was to see how the sun made the waters of that great lake to shine; but I was over­come with fear when I saw that the sun was sinking little by little, and I feared that the sun would drown in those immense waters and the world would be left without its splendor. Thus it was that, watching the sun submerge itself entirely under the waters, I almost died of fright, but...”

“And for this,” interrupted her father, “for this you left our company? To see how that big lake shines and how the sun sinks in its waters you went so far away? Haven’t you seen the same thing in our lake when the sun sets beyond Chucuyto? Go on with you, child, why do you try to deceive us with your stories? Tell us now, where have you been and who is the man that has taken advantage of you?” “Or perhaps you...” added her mother.

“No, mother dear! Do not be angry,” answered the girl. “Please let me continue my story, mother and father dear, and you will be satisfied. I do not know how to tell you where I have been, because it was in a land far away. I can only repeat that I ran after the sun, following its path until I came to the shore of that great lake whose waters were so bitter and salty that I could not drink from them, and fearing that my sun had drowned in them, I thought that I would die of fright as the sky began to darken. Then I heard a man coming toward me. Finding me so tired and so disturbed on those unknown shores, far from being frightened, I was glad to see him. He approached me in such a kind manner that I took him for someone sent from the sun to help me. He spoke to me energetically, but I couldn’t understand him. So, with signs and expressions, he indicated that I should follow him. He picked me up, holding my arm, and led me to a type of cabin, where he lived. He saw by my bearing that I was very tired, and that I needed food and rest. He had me lie down on some white alpaca skins, and went out, returning later with a little cup of warm water that was more comforting than our chicha. I drank it down and he, without saying a word, left again. But in his comings and goings I noticed that he knelt down and raised his hands toward the heavens, as if he were giving thanks for having saved me. And I also gave thanks from my cot for having given me such great help. Later, because of my extreme fatigue and this drink that he gave me, I fell into a deep sleep, from which I did not awaken until the rays from the beautiful sun began to hurt my eyes.

“I awoke with such a happy feeling that I jumped to the door to see the sun in all its splendor and to persuade myself that he had not drowned in that great lake, as I had thought. Oh, what a beautiful morning! The green branches of the trees that we do not see here very much, the singing of the birds, more melodious than those around here, the fragrance of the flowers that are unknown in the altiplano, the air so calm and fragrant, instead of the cold winds in these mountains, had me in another realm--a delightful dream, during which I forgot about my benefactor who I could no longer see as perhaps my sight was obscured by the bushes or the branches of the trees.

“I began to feel saddened by his absence when I saw him coming with a long rod in his hand and the image of the sun on his chest. I then remembered a dream that I had that very night in which I thought that I had seen my sun god in the figure of a man who spoke to me with such compassionate words, that my dream became a sure sign, and as he approached me I noticed what I had not observed the night before because of my fatigue and the darkness that his face was more white and beautiful than I had ever seen before. His eyes, larger and more brilliant than those of the Huanaco, his cheeks more rosy than the clouds at sunrise, his lips the color of a red carnation, his hair, not black like ours, but more of the color of the vicuña, his large and majestic figure, his walk and gestures more reposed and grave than those of the llama; all...”

“All this deluded and seduced you,” interrupted her father, somewhat disturbed by this long narration. “No, my dear,” responded the Indian girl, “but it all convinced me that if he were a man like yourself, if he were a mortal as we are, at least he was not from our race but from another one more advanced than ours, if indeed he was not sent from God. His attention to me, his delicate honesty, his customs so decent and honorable--all that I saw in him fortified this idea in my mind more each day. Thus I looked on him with respect and considered myself happy to be in his company. Each morning at the rising of the sun I give thanks for having brought me, perhaps by a crazy impulse of fantasy, to the side of so beneficent a being.

“At the beginning we understood each other by signs, but in a few days he learned my words. He took an object in his hand and made me say what it was called. In the field that he cultivated he had me name the plants and tried to pronounce them in our language. He repeated everything with the greatest attention until he was able to pronounce it better than I could. Because of his sharp intelligence and his consistent application he could speak as well as any of us, as if he were my brother.

“I tried as I could to learn his language, but he only laughed at my inability. But asking me one day how I called myself, I told him Oello–Huaco, which he pronounced with a delicate sweetness. I also wanted to know what his name was and he told me that it was Engle, Ingla or some such word that I have never been able to pronounce well, but I would say Inga, which amused him a great deal, so that is what I always call him.

“This reciprocal communication, our delightful isolation, the diligence of efforts to serve me, to instruct me and to please me, made that in my heart I loved him, and I did not hide from him my feelings. Thus he knew of my affection for him. But far from abusing my imprudence, he told me that he also loved me like a sister, that since the sun had brought me to him, and he found such sympathy in our hearts that he wanted me to be his wife. But he told me that first it would be necessary for him to teach me how to worship and to serve God so that we could celebrate our union with His blessing. This declaration and that language so new to me and so sweet took my breath away.”

“And your parents,” he added, “What will they think of your decision, of your union with a stranger?” “They will think that I am dead by now,” I replied, “and if someday they find me united with someone like yourself they will believe themselves to be the most blessed of parents. That promise only deepened the love that I felt for him, and doubled the attention that I gave to the things that with so much patience he was trying to teach me. I also learned to sew, to weave and to knit, such that this weaving and knitting that I have and these clothes, both he and I have made with our own hands. He also taught me that this beautiful sun is not the Great principal God, as we believe, but just a little god, a minister of that other Great God, the Creator of the very sun, and of the moon and the stars and the earth, who he calls Pachacamac; that this all-powerful God is very good, that above in heaven He rewards the virtue of our souls, and other things even more beautiful that I will explain better to you later.”

The parents were astonished at these ideas of their daughter, but desiring to know the principal point of her anxiety they asked her to continue, and she did so thus:

“When he found me sufficiently instructed, he told me one morning to go and bathe myself, to comb my hair, and to dress myself in the very best of my clothing and a few other adornments that he gave me to wear. This I did, returning dressed in the finest way that I was able. I saw that he had done the same, with his llauto [1] or diadem, with its tuft of feathers, his earrings, his bracelets, and a golden sun on his chest. Never had he appeared more beautiful. He was kneeling with his eyes and his hands raised toward heaven, as if he were imploring God’s favors over himself and over me. My arrival interrupted his supplications, and he signaled to me that I should come to him and had me kneel at his side. Taking me by the hand, he said, ‘My dearest one, until today I have looked on you as a child of my own mother. Tell me now if you are of the same mind to be my wife, my companion unto death.’ This question, even though I had expected it, made me tremble with fear and with joy at the same time, but dismissing my feelings I replied yes. ‘Look now, Oello, you will have to follow me always in all my travels and in all my fortunes.’ ‘I will follow you always, Inga,’ I replied. Then he spoke in his own language I don’t know what supplications to heaven, and driving his long rod into the ground between us, and holding his hand out to me, he said in a solemn tone, ‘Mama Oello, we are alone, but the sun is shining on us, and God sees us, all nature is contemplating us. Therefore, in the presence of God, of the sun, and all the creatures created by God, do you swear that you will be my inseparable companion, my faithful wife for the duration of your life?’ ‘I swear,’ I responded, and kissing me on the forehead and lifting me up, he said: We are husband and wife! This cabin and these fields that I have cultivated are yours, as is my heart. Take care of it all, and light a little fire while I go in search of something with which to solemnize our marriage.’ He took his bow and arrows and left; but he soon returned with a deer and several birds, that I cooked; and with this and some fruits we celebrated our union. How I wished that you could have been with us and could have participated in my happiness! That truly was so overwhelming that I was so concerned for you and desperate to see you again.”

“It’s about time!” said her father with disgust. “And did you not want to see me again, my father,” asked the daughter. “No,” answered the father. “But where is this Inca? Where have you left him? Go on with you, girl, all this emotion through your drawn-out tale is only a ploy to deceive us and excuse your behavior. If what you have told us were the truth, I would be the happiest of fathers, but what proof do you have that you are telling us the truth?” “My very pregnancy,” answered the young Indian, “and my giving birth will completely convince you.” The air of sincerity with which the girl expressed herself and her sincere declarations that she was telling the truth, led them to believe that what she had told them could be possible, and they waited anxiously the birth of the child.

So it was that in a few days she gave birth, and the old folks went crazy with joy to see an infant with white skin and blond hair, with the finest features of any infant that they had ever seen before. The mother took her beautiful son, kissing him with loving affection, and saying that he was the very image of his father. This declaration that the Indian girl repeated over and over, flamed the desire of the old folks that they implored their daughter that she would tell them if he were alive and where he could be.

“He lives in this area, and not far from here,” the daughter replied, “and if he has not shown himself yet it is because he first would want to know if you were civil with me and would be hospitable toward him.

“If he were to come, would you receive him as he deserves, as my husband?” “Oh yes,” shouted the parents, “tell us where he may be found, we are desperate to see him and to embrace him.” “Well, then,” responded Oello, taking her dear son, “follow me.” And climbing up a small hill about a mile away they came upon a rise where there were some olive trees. They sat under the trees for awhile to rest themselves, and saw near there the foundations of something very large and very long that attracted the attention of these island parents who were accustomed to live in huts so narrow that they could be mistaken for tombs, and they did not even imagine that those works were the foundation of the first temple to the sun that existed in these high regions, and to which work the very stranger they were looking for had dedicated himself.

When the Inca came into Titicaca he did not let himself be seen by anyone, and maintained the greatest vigilance even as he worked; because, as he had arranged with his wife, he wanted first to know the impression that his appearance would make with her people. Thus it was, that according to their prior conversation, he had no doubt it was Oello coming with her parents. And secluding himself even more, he adorned himself as he had done on the day of their marriage. His wife, already instructed on how he would present himself, knew where he would be, began to call, “Inga, Inga!”

Her voice, so pleasing to him, repeating his name, signaled to him the favorable disposition of the visitors, and so he presented himself, but as an imposing majesty. The whiteness of his face, the clarity of his eyes, the adornments about his person that enhanced the reflection of the sun’s rays, imposed such wonder in those poor savages that they did not dare to approach him, and they prostrated themselves before him, believing him to be a god.

The child, seeing the bewilderment of her parents, encouraged them saying, “Come close, this is my husband!” “So he may be,” the old man said, without raising his eyes, “but if he is not a god, he must be the son of the sun.” “Do not be deceived, venerable father of my wife,” responded the Inca immediately; “I will now be a member of your family. The sun, my father, has sent me to teach you many things that you do not now know, designed to make you happy. I am the son of the sun, and as long as you live I will also be your son.” With this declaration the poor old folks were so enraptured with astonishment and pleasure that they had no words to express their wonder that he had taken their daughter to wife. The Inca now discovered the presence of his son, and seeing him he almost lost his composure. But allowing himself to be transposed by an impulse of love, took his son with paternal anxiety, and kissing him tenderly, and raised him toward the sun, offered him to the sun and prayed for the greatest bless­ings for his life.

The sublime and enthusiastic posture with which the Inca, looking up as a royal eagle repeatedly toward the sun, made this offering among the beginning of the foundations of the temple that he was building, fully convinced the in-laws that this mysterious son-in-law was in very deed the son of the day star. And he, far from dissuading them of this conclusion, inculcated it even more as an innocent deceit to further the plans that he was contemplating, and that he had already initiated with his wife, and that he now continued to develop in the cabin of his new family.

These folks soon spread throughout the island the news of the divine guest that honored their home, and all came to see him, or rather to worship him. The concepts of morality and piety that he practiced and taught them, the improvements in agriculture and other arts that he himself taught them without ever losing any of his dignity, caused the people to acclaim this unknown civilizer as a royal descendant of that divinity, and in the enthusiasm of their wonder, they called him Manco Capac, to signify that he was a heroic personage full of virtue.

From this island the fame of the divine Inca spread to the continent; as if the condors had carried it from the snowy heights of the Andes to the torrid beaches of the ocean. And when he felt that it was an opportune time to bring to fruition his plans, he came forth with his adornments of gold, his robe and his pointed rod as Bacchus with his thyrsus, or Mercury with his caduceus, teaching the tribes and inculcating his veneration until he arrived at Cuzco, where he founded his empire and did all those things that are of historical record.

The Inca dynasty lasted approximately 280 years. It was without doubt the strongest most disciplined race that existed on the continent. The greatest thinkers, the most notable students, to the most renowned intellectuals have studied and written about the famous empire of the Incas, that race that even until today influences all our territories by reason of their humility, the kindness of their treatment to others, their sociability and their modest temperament. Who does not know a Quechua Indian from our country? Who would not recognize the congenial and engaging qualities wrapped in that rough exterior? There are many who for various reason hate this race, but all this hatred and repulsion are nothing to the greatness of these indigenous people, so submissive, so moral and so beneficial for our society. Although in today’s world they are isolated from modern society, they get along as best they can in the isolated regions where they live. Reduced to detestable and repulsive outcasts, they wonder in ignorance about their own being. Do not forget the Indian; to instruct him, to educate him is an act of patriotism.

Long indeed would be a proper critique of the present existence of this vigorous, ancient Quechua race.


According to historical tradition, it is known that the two Incas, Manco Kapac and Mama Okllu, both brother and sister and husband and wife, traveled over a great part of the Andes mesa searching for a site where they would establish the city in which they would organize the Tahuantinsuyo empire. Their father, the sun, had required them to establish their residence in that place where the rod of gold that he had given them would sink into the ground, which place was the valley of Cuzco, near the Huanacanti mountain, where the rod of gold disappeared forever.

Having founded the city of the empire, Manco Kapac dedicated himself to teaching agriculture and other useful arts to the local inhabitants, while Mama Okllu taught the women how to knit and how to sew, and other skills appropriate for the women.

After having initiated the first principles of culture in the people that they accepted under his direction, he developed the public organization, giving laws and the form of the imperial government. He organized an army, instructing the soldiers in the use of the bow and arrow and the mace.

The Inca Empire extended for the length of ten leagues from Paucar Tambu to Apurimack, and the width of six leagues from Quequesana to Cuzco.

Manco Kapac was honored by his subjects for the astute organization of his empire by giving him the name of Kapaj (powerful) and Inti Chrui (sun of the son).

The great empire of Tahuantinsuyo was at its peak four hundred years before the discovery of America.

When the Spaniards arrived the Inca Empire extended from 2 degrees north latitude to 36 degrees south latitude, and from seventy to eighty three degrees west longitude.

Today this enormous territorial extension includes the Republics of Peru, Bolivia, Ecua­dor, and a large part of the republics of Argentina, Chile and Colombia. Its limits extended north to south from Angasmayo, Ecuador, to the Maule river in Chile, and east to west from the Pacific Ocean to the tributaries of the Paraná, including Antisuyo (north of Cuzco), Collasuyo (from Cuzco to the river Maule), Cuntisuyo (to the west of Cuzco), and Chinchasuyo (northern Peru, Ecuador and Southern Colombia), which themselves were subdivided into various provinces.

Today a large part of Kollasuyo and Cuntisuyo are occupied by the territory of the Republic of Bolivia, specifically the provinces that were called by the Bolivians Hagmcolla, Ayaviri, Tiahuanacu and Paria.

Cuzco was the capitol of this great empire, adorned with great temples and palaces, evidence of tremendous riches. The major part of the buildings were constructed of stone, the most eminent being the magnificent temple of Coricancha, the notable palaces of the Inca Manco Kapaj and Inca Roka. In this period, according to some historians, the population of Cuzco numbered some 40,000 inhabitants.

Sinchi Roca was the first successor to Manco Kapaj. This Inca was one of the most active monarchs, who divided the empire into four parts: the Collasuyo to the south, the Cuntisuyo to the west, the Chinchasuyo to the north and the Antisuyo to the east.

During his administration he extended his dominion, subjugating the inhabitants of the territories to the east as far as the river Carabaya, to the south as far as Chucara more than 30 leagues from Quiquijana in the region of the Andes to the ancient Collasuyo. This Inca was succeeded by the Inca Lloque Yupanqui.

LLOQUE YUPANQUI — He was essentially a warrior. Numbers of peoples submitted themselves to him, some to keep from being destroyed and others out of weakness. Yupanqui was characterized by his severe and bloody character. The provinces of Paurcarcolla and Atuncolla submitted themselves peacefully, while the Aymará resisted, and it was no easy task to subjugate them. Only after long and bloody battles was Lloque Yupanque able to partially subdue the Aymará.

MAITA KAPAJ — Succeeded Lloque Yupanqui at his death. He was one of the most renowned Incas. He eclipsed the glory of his forebears with his famous conquests and other great works.

The Colasuyo, one of the largest provinces of the empire, was founded by Maita Kapaj, who, after crossing the river Desaguadero at the head of a powerful army, completely subjugated the Aymarás that lived in that province. He then directed his attention to the provinces of Caquiaviri, Huarina and Caquingora, that also were subjugated to the power of the Inca Empire. After carrying out these conquests, Maita Kapaj had the opportunity to become acquainted with the famous ruins of Tuahuanacu, and was completely overcome with admiration for such monuments of stone, giving him the idea that the ancient Aymará were probably more civilized than were themselves. At this moment, Maita Kapaj, perhaps surprised by the magnificent panorama of the Tiahaunacu period, or who knows what, feeling somewhat fatigued, exclaimed “Tiay Huanacu,” an indigenous Kechua phrase meaning “Sit down, Huanacu.” This is very likely the origin of the name given to the place, Tiahuanacu. During the period of the first Aymará Empire, it was known as Kalacori Marka, which means city of stone and gold. But since the arrival of the Inca Maita it has been called Tiahuanacu.

The Inca Maita Kapaj (powerful and rich) was a person of a willful and warlike character, and on his return to Cuzco brought under his domination the provinces of Cachum and Moquegua, but before this he had overpowered the provinces of Pacajis, and Laricaja, (today Pacajes and Larecaja). Laricaja was one of the main military obstacles in taking Chuquiagu, as they had mounted a force of 15,000 men on the banks of the river Husicho, awaiting the arrival of Maita Kapaj and his army. But thanks to the organization and discipline of the Inca army, they were defeated. Following the defeat they were settled in the pueblo of Chuquiagu (today La Paz).

All of the expeditions of Maita Kapaj were marked with memorable accomplishments and brilliant testimonies to his greatness and prosperity. His reign lasted 34 years, following which he was succeeded by the Inca Kapaj Yupanqui (Rich Accountant).

Kapaj Yupanqui followed the policy of his forebears, continuing his conquests and adding to the number of subjects, that were considerably augmented year after year. In the fifth year of his reign he sallied forth in the direction of the Yanahuara, Aymará and Umasuyus provinces, where the subjects demonstrated great submissive respect to such a great Lord. Yupanqui, the same as the Incas before him, had the firm purpose of expanding even more his em­pire, and with this object he organized his army and set off toward the Laguna Paria, where the Cari and Chipanas Indians lived, that voluntarily gave themselves up to him. He then continued toward Tapacari, Cuchupampa, Charcas, Murumura, Mocha and Cora, that were also conquered. Having made these conquests, the provinces of Tutura, Chaqui Sipisipi, Sacasaca and Chamura, recognizing the great power of the Inca, also offered to him their allegiance and submissive obedience. At his death, Kapaj Yupanque was succeeded by his son as the Inca.

INCA ROCA (Prudent Prince) — who continued with the enterprise of extending the empire. Inca Roca made vassals of the Chincas, bloodthirsty warriors that had to resign themselves to the powerful army of Inca Roca that confronted them. The Mizque, Sacaca, Macha and Cara tribes submitted themselves to the order of Inca Roca in gratitude for his good services to them. Inca Roca had a son named Yahuar Huacac, to whom he committed the perilous regions of the Yungas.

YAHUAR HUACAC — (who cries blood) succeeded his father to the throne, and had the misfortune that a short time after he began his reign the Aymarás and the Charcas, who refused to recognize the dominion of the Incas and were always seeking their independence, brought together a formidable army under the command of Casique Tintayo. Tintayo had been defeated by the brother of Yahuar Huacac on the mountain of Ichucollo in the highlands of Chaclataya. Hahuar Huacac, tired of the continuous rebellions of his subjects, and more than anything, having been waylaid several times by dangerous attempts on his life, left the empire in the hands of his son, Wiracocha.

WIRACOCHA — (Principal Lord) — ruled in the year approximately 1323. This Inca made notable progress in the holy city. His sobriety and his righteousness, and more than anything else his generosity toward his subjects brought him renown throughout all the empire. In an expedition to the far lands of the south he subjugated the valiant people of Tucuna (today Tucumán). He rebuilt the ancient temple of Canchas. During all the time that his reign lasted he never upset or changed the order of things in all the empire. This notable Inca was succeeded by his son, Inca Urcu.

INCA URCU (1373) — He was one of the most weak willed of all the Incas. He degenerated himself in the tremendous vice of alcohol, completely disengaging himself from and forgetting his obligations to the empire, gave opportunity for his enemies to excite a rebellion to remove him from power and for Pacha Cutec to easily occupy the throne of the empire.

PACHA CUTEC — (He who gives himself to the world, 1373) A righteous and moral man with an open benevolent spirit who enjoyed the responsiveness and congeniality of his subjects, committed himself to the provinces of the south. He also brought about a solemn alliance with the powerful Curaca Kari. His son, Inca Yupan­qui, succeeded to the throne this Inca who was characterized by his good will.

INCA YUPANQUI (The saintly one) — ruled in the year 1423. This was an Inca of impeccable tact and judgment in reigning over his empire. He was at the same time both daring and valiant. He organized an expedition of 10,000 men with whom he went to the distant and dangerous country of the Moxos in fragile boats in the river Amarumayu (mother of God) with such ill fortune that barely 1000 men arrived to Moxos. The causes of such high losses were the inclement climate, multiple tropical illnesses and diverse accidents suffered during the voyage.

Later on the Inca Yupanqui committed the Inca Sinchi Roca to subdue the people of the distant valley of Chili (today Chile). As the head of an army of 10,000 well organized and disciplined men he crossed the immense desert of Atacama, and was successful in subjugating the provinces of Copayaup (today Copiapó), Cuquim­bo (Coquimbo) and others along the shores of the river Maulli (Maule) to the Tahuantinsuyo Empire. A short while later news of the invasion of the Incas came to the ears of the chief of the Araucana race. He mounted a strong opposition against the Incas, obliging them to vacate the territory of the Araucana. The Inca Yupanqui left the empire in the hands of his son, Tupajh Yupanqui.

TUPAJH YUPANQUI — Wise and amiable, he ruled in the year 1453. An intrepid and exceptionally visionary man, for the first time since the founding of the empire he initiated a formidable campaign against the rulers of Quito, warlike rivals of the sons of the Sun.

A short while later Tupajh Yupanqui marched against the neighboring hordes to the east. After hard-fought campaigns against these savages, he was successful in completely dominating them. Among these he encountered the Chapayos, Hicarachucos, and finally enjoined a bloody combat with the empire of the Indian Huallcopo in Quito, whom he defeated.

Finally, the army of the Inca Tupac Yapanqui was overcome in the heights of Mocha.

We continue by making a transcription of the greatness of the empire. The historians Crespo and Ordoñez López have said:

HUAYNA – KAPAJH— (Powerful person) — Succeeded to the throne of his father, Tupajh Yupanqui. At the beginning of the reign his brother tried to wrest the throne from him, but in rather short order he was reduced to impotence. Tupajh Yupanqui punished the inhabitants of Huancavélica and of the island of Puna for having put to death his emissaries. Having pacified some of the provinces, the Inca directed his attention to new conquests. He proposed to vindicate the honor of his armies, who were struggling in the war started by his father against those of Quito, and in order to secure the success of the expedition, he raised in Tumebamba a temple to the sun that came to be the most celebrated temple in that region. He built within the confines of Quito and along the border of the Asuay region a fortification large enough to accommodate himself and his troops, while awaiting the arrival of the Cañari troops, who were committed to his cause.

Having completed his initial arrangements, and his important allies having arrived, he marched with his 40,000 man army to the sandy shores of Tiocaja, where a bloody battle ensued in which great losses were suffered by the Quiteños, obligating them to flee to Hatumtaqui, the location of their principal armory.

Pursued by the forces of Huayna Kapajh, the army was forced to return to battle where their leader, Cachas, fell mortally wounded. The army then claimed as their leader the princess Pacha, as she was the only child of Huayna Kapajh.

HUAYNA — KAPAJH, desiring to consolidate the conquest of Quito and assure its peaceful acquisition, he took for a wife the princess Pacha, legitimate heir of the throne, and having overcome the Quiteños, expanded his empire as far as the river Angasmayo, its northernmost limit.

As was the custom of his ancestors, he visited throughout his empire, detaining himself particularly in the Collasuyo, in Chuquiapu (today La Paz) celebrating the great festival of Kapajraimi (1511), thus demonstrating his interest in the Aymará provinces.

After the end of the fiesta, that lasted for 25 days, he called together the jurisdiction of the people of Chuquiapu, ordered the construction of plazas and dairies, and standardized the exploitation of gold. He elevated the category of this people before his return to Cuzco by visit­ing the important ruins of Tiahuanacu, where his son, Manco, was born.

Under the reign of Huayna — Kapajh, the kingdom was extended from 39 to 40 degrees latitude, and his power had no rival in all the continent.

However, when the glory of this empire shone forth in all its splendor, rumors were heard of the arrival of white men, that had long beards, that used terrible weapons and were of extraordinary valor.

Consulting with his historical chroniclers, they remembered the prophesies of Wiracocha, according to whom, when the time came for the ruin of the empire, it would be conquered by foreigners.

This information produced a profound feeling in the spirit of the Inca, who, in order to hide his fears, retired to Quito, where, given over to his pleasures, lived out the rest of his days. Before he died, he divided the empire into two parts. He gave the government of Quito to his son, Atahuallpa, who was born of the princess Pacha, and he gave Cuzco to Huáscar, his legitimate heir. If well it was that this division was to engender the bloodiest civil war of the empire and to facilitate the Spanish conquest, no one dared to contradict the will of the monarch, who, because of his great accomplishments and his incomparable glory was venerated by all as if he were a god.

HUÁSCAR AND ATAHUALLPA — According to the express disposition of Huayna — Kapajh, the red tassel was given to Huáscar, while at the same time his paternal brother, Atahuallpa, was recognized as the sovereign of Quito.

According to common opinion the two brothers reigned peacefully for five years, more or less, until those in the court of Cuzco, reflected with Huáscar that he could not abdicate his sacred mission as Inca, and that it was his duty to preserve the integrity of the empire including all of the countries conquered by his ancestors. Huáscar, listening to these counsels, sent by messenger a sort of ultimatum to his brother advising him that he was not allowed to add one bit of territory to his dominion, that he must render homage to the authority of his brother and recognize his sacred mission as the only son of the Sun.

Atahuallpa, who was of a bellicose, bold and astute temperament, received the charge with feigned submission, waiting for the right circumstance to bring about the occult designs that he had with respect to his brother.

Hostilities were not long in coming. On the occasion of the death of the chief of the Cañaris, his son and successor, upon being given charge of the province, recognized the authority of Huáscar. However, the king of Quito deposed him, substituting in his place one of his most ardent servants. This act gave rise to the start of the civil war.

Yupanqui, the Cuzco general, overcame the Quiteños and took their king prisoner as he tried to seek refuge in the fort of Tumebamba. Atahauallpa succeeded in escaping from his prison because of the drowsiness and drunkenness of the guards that had him in custody. Once he had regained his freedom, he got together a powerful army and headed them in the direction of Calcuchima, Quizquiz and Rumiñahui. At the head of his forces he attacked the imperial army for the second time and achieved a brilliant victory in Ambato, continuing to overcome his foes until he reached the outskirts of Cuzco.

Huáscar had not moved from Cuzco, perhaps to continue to receive the counsel of the priests, or perhaps because he felt it would be more advantageous to engage the enemy in the regions near the capital. However, only when the Quiteños arrived near Cuzco did Huáscar realize the agitated and animated spirit of his brother, and only in light of the danger that threatened did he make a great effort to raise troops in all the country. The two armies encountered one another on the plains of Quipaypan, where a bloody battle ensued, in which the disciplined and more numerous Quiteños triumphed. Huáscar was taken prisoner, and the Inca ordered that Calcuchilma escort him to the fortress of Jauia. At the same time he ordered that Quizquiz occupy Cuzco and immediately proclaimed himself as the sovereign of Tahuantinsuyo.

At this time Piizzaro was already in Peru, arriving at the setting of the empire of the Sun.


THE GOVERNMENT — The government of the Incas, although not specifically theocratic, nevertheless, owed the spirit of their laws to their religion. The Inca was not only a legislature, but was looked on as one sent from heav­en. His precepts were received, not as the orders of some overlord, but almost as a divine oracle. His family was considered to be sacred beings, and to maintain themselves sacred and free from impure blood, the children of Manco Kapajh intermarried among themselves, and none could be elevated to the throne without being able to prove himself to be of the lineage of the sons of the Sun. This was the title of all the descendants of the Inca, and the people looked on them with the respect that would be given to beings of a superior order, believing that they were under the immediate protection of the Divinity that had been sent into the world, and that all of the orders of the Inca were those of his father, the Sun. It was not necessary for the monarch to employ any force to impose his demands. Every Inca official was an object of the respect of the people.

Only the members of the family of the Inca were given important posts or the priesthood. Four deputies governed the four principal districts, each with a counsel of nobles, the same as with the Inca, who gave an account of his actions to his counsel.

At the head of each of the provinces were governors of elevated stature, called caciques (political bosses), who were appointed directly by the Inca from among his close associates or from those who had demonstrated the greatest valor in their wars. The caciques were given lifetime appointments and could only be removed from office by the Inca.

The governors, under the authority of the caciques, formed the second level of nobility, and were hereditary governors of the ayllus, or districts into which the people were divided. They had the obligation to send to the Inca each year gifts of gold, stone, fine woods, a particular Peruvian balsam, dyes and other products that were used exclusively by the higher classes. Each governor was required to go to Cuzco every other year to give an account of his actions. Also, the first born sons of each of the governors were sent to Cuzco to learn the language, the customs and the laws of the Incas.

The governors were assisted by yanapaques, or helpers, who were appointed, as were the governors, by the provincial political bosses, who were from the highest levels of nobility.

Cabins were located along the roads at determined distances that would accommodate five or six men, the chasquis, or message carriers, who would relay to one another messages from the court to the governors or from the governors to the court over distances of about 50 leagues (or 150 miles) in 24 hours.

Such notable items as the subjection of a province, the presence of an enemy or other grave matters were announced by lighting great bonfires at convenient distances between the point of action and the residence of the monarch.

There was a registration of the population; every ten families were subordinate to a chief. Another chief was over fifty families, another over each 500 and another over each 1000. Each of these chiefs was responsible for the lower levels over which he presided.

The Incas dressed themselves in extremely luxurious trappings and pomp in order to dazzle their subjects. Heavy pendants of gold caused the ears of the men to stretch down to their shoulders, and they carried as an insignia the Mascaipacha (a compound Quechua word, masccai–to seek and pacha–time and space), which covered their chest. The extremely elegant llauto, as a diadem, which included two white feathers of the mysterious bird called the Coraquenque, adorned their heads. They were dressed in the most elegant clothing made from the wool of the vicuña, and other delicate cloth­ing adorned with precious stones; they wore bracelets of gold, and jewelry of great value.

Their most powerful and elevated subjects recognized in them beings of a superior nature, and admitted into their presence, presented themselves carrying a stone on their backs as an emblem of their servitude, and as a sign of their disposition to submit themselves completely to the will of the Inca.

RELIGION — As with all primitive people who worshiped objects made with their own hands, as well as the nearby celestial orbs, the Aymará that preceded the Quechua, gave themselves completely and exclusively to the worship of the Sun (Inti). To this orb, as the origin of light, of the fertility of the earth and of the happiness of mankind, they raised temples, and in his name made their conquests, and considered him to be the father of the Incas.

In addition to the Sun, they venerated the Moon, some particular stars, Lightning, and the Rainbow that was the Son’s messenger.

As a degenerate practice of the worship of their fetishes, especially among the inferior classes, they also worshiped various idols that consisted of extremely rich artifacts that they recognized as oracles.

The most ancient temple dedicated to the worship of the Sun was the Coricancha Temple in Cuzco, where Manco Capajh had begun his mission by laying the foundations of this celebrated edifice.

This was the richest of all the Inca temples. The door was toward the east, and the image of the Sun in purest gold consisting of a human face surrounded by precious stones reflected the innumerable rays of light.

Another extremely rich temple designated for the worship of the Sun was ordered by Tupajh — Yupanqui to be built on the island in Lake Titicaca (Inti Kaka).

Near these sanctuaries there were the houses of virgins who were enclosed as if in a monastic cloister; their function being to prepare all that would be necessary for worship and to maintain the sacred fire.

Religious festivals took place at each of the sidereal changes. At each new moon one hundred llamas were sacrificed in the temple of Cuzco, and at the beginning of the seasons they celebrated four great solemnities. Kapajrainme, Intip — raime, Mococ — nina and Citua. The nobles from all the empire gathered for the celebration of these festivals with a great number of retainers and displaying their richest adornments. The merrymaking lasted several days among song and dance and constant libations.

It is assumed that the Peruvians believed in the immortality of the soul and in the resurrection of the body. This was manifested by their practice, as is the case with almost all barbarian tribes, to preserve the cadavers, attaching to them their arms and their armor, their jewels and stores of food. They believed that those who were good would be blessed in a paradise of happiness and those who were wicked would descend into the interior of the earth where they would pay for their crimes.

Their morality was reduced to three prohibitions: not to rob, not to be lazy, and not to lie. They were persuaded that both private and public misfortunes were born of guilt, and thus they denounced to the judges even the most secret misconduct, and if we are to believe Garcilazo, in such a numerous people there was hardly one punishable crime per year.

The priesthood body was presided over by the great pontiff Huillea — uma. He is the prophet, he who reads the future. Thus, as were the ignorant primitive tribes, the Peruvians were essentially a superstitious people.

CUSTOMS — Submissiveness was the most characteristic trait of the Indian. All of his acts breathed of meekness, and so natural was his believe in an obligation to serve that he did not dare to approach an authority, not even to demand justice, without bringing to him some gift, and he feared that he would have fallen into disgrace if the gift were not well received.

Marriages took place at certain determined times according to the will of the Inca or of the provincial governor, and all marriages were made with their own relatives or within the local tribes.

The common occupations of the Peruvians were found among continuous duties within the church, the exercises of the warriors, labor in the fields and domestic duties, and were always characterized by a somber and melancholy spirit, typical of the race.

The cuisine of the people and even that of the nobles was frugal and simple, consisting of corn, potatoes, potato flour, coca and other vegetables. The flesh of oxen, sheep, pigs and even that of horses and asses that were imported to America by the Spaniards was unknown as food.

The clothing of the people was as simple as was their diet. Even the nobility used common clothing, although it was made of finely knitted vicuña adorned with precious stones.

The interiors of the cabins of the poor people were dirty and dark, in which they kept little more than their amulets, to which, because of their superstitions, they gave great importance.

This manner of living has perpetuated itself even to the present time, of which a notable historian has well said, “The Indian does what his father did, and what his fathers before him had always done, always shy and reactionary toward being civilized.”

DIVISION OF LAND — Goods and services, before anything else, were to serve the needs of the state, and were organized according to social need; that is to say, properties were organized according to communist principles.

The sole owner, or better said, the dispenser of the living quarters was the sovereign.

All of the cultivated lands that pertained to a given people were divided into three portions: that of the Sun, that of the Inca and that of the community. The lands of the Sun were reserved for the sustaining of the religion; those of the Inca were designated to sustain the splendor of the throne, to feed the royal family, the troops and visitors to the court; the lands of the community served to feed the people according to their needs and the size of their families. The casiques, curacas and others that made up the nobility had larger allotments of land.

All livestock, as well as all fields, were dedicated to the gods and to the Inca. Only a few animals were used by the community, but some of the curacas, as a special grace were given thousands of llamas. No one, however, was allowed to kill any sheep, that only served to be shorn of their wool from time to time.

The Incas were interested, more than anything else, that their people were not lazy. This pertained not only to cultivating the land and to make clothing, but even the governors of the provinces were employed in the working of the mines, in cultivating coca and in public works.

These services were divided equally and arranged such that no one was exempt from them and no one became too fatigued from the work.

The principal tax was manual labor, the distribution of which among the people was made by the authorities. Laziness was a crime that was punished even by death.

QUIPUS — (Knots) — The Peruvians did not have a written language, but they replaced it in a very imperfect and deficient manner with a system of knots. These consisted of cords of wool of different colors with different types of knots in different combinations and different orders. The numerical disposition of cords and knots, the type of knots and the distance between them, as well as their color, signified distinct concepts. Thus white signified peace, red signified war and soldiers, yellow represented gold, and green stood for corn.

The quipus served principally to form a species of national statistics and for arithmetic calculations. For example, the person in charge of rents would determine the part of prime materials to be given to the government and to be distributed among the workers, the quality and quantity of knitting’s that were made and the amount of different provisions that were sent to the royal storehouses. Another set of quipus recorded the statistics of births, marriages and deaths; another type, the number who were counted fit for military service, and other minor statistics related to the population of the kingdom.

The information recorded on the quipus was sent annually to the capital, where it was submitted to inspection by the amautas, who were a type of learned accountants and teachers and who possessed the keys by which the quipus were deciphered. These keys that they used were called Quipucamayos. Additionally, one cannot imagine that these quipus could have served to record the traditions of the people, as they were inferior to hieroglyphics, and even to the writings and pictures of the Aztecs. Although the quipus could not convey abstract ideas, they could portray objects quite accurately.

THE LAST INCA — When the Spaniards came and acquired the knowledge of the size of Atahuallpa’s army, they resolved to take the Inca prisoner by whatever means. In this regard, says Ordoñez López, Atahuallpa went to where he was invited by the Spaniards, accompanied by an extremely large and brilliant retinue of more than 5000 select troops. As soon as the Inca had arrived at the plaza he was met by Friar Vicente Valverde. If there had well been priests of noble descent, of high morals, profoundly religious and of noble sentiments, there have also existed immoral, viscous cleric flunkies full of vice, as were the Friar Vicente Valverde, the priest Diego Saltamar, and others that we will not name because they are not important to the present narrative. As we said, the Friar Vicente Valverde, captain of the expedition, set himself to explain the mysteries of the Christian religion, and concluded demanding that the Inca recognize these truths and submit himself to the authority of the king of Spain. The Peruvian monarch calmly replied that he did not recognize the God of which they spoke, that for him the Sun was the supreme deity, and with respect to his estates, he had acquired them from his ancestors. At this the friar replied that what he has spoken were the words of the very God, contained in the sacred scriptures. The Inca responded that he would like to know where Valverde had learned such extraordinary things. “In this book,” replied the captain, presenting to him his prayer book. The Inca grabbed the book, and having glanced through a few pages, put it up to his ear, “This thing that you gave me does not speak or say anything to me,” Atahuallpa replied, and threw the book on the ground with disgust. At this moment the Spaniards, full of ire, threw themselves on the unsuspecting Indians, made a great bloodbath of them and took Atahuallpa prisoner.

Atahuallpa, fearing for his life, and suspecting that the Spaniards would want to put his brother on the throne, offered to Pizzaro an unbelievable ransom if they would allow him to go free, as in his captivity he had convinced himself that the thirst for gold dominated his oppressors. So he promised nothing less than to fill the room in which he was kept prisoner with gold to as high as a man could reach with his outstretched hand. Pizarro immediately accepted and drew a white line around the four walls nine feet high. In order to carry this out the Inca asked for two months of time, which were granted to him, and he immediately gave the necessary orders to his subordinates; for al­though he was well guarded and watched, he was still surrounded and served by his servants and retinue, and the Spaniards permitted him to communicate with his subjects.

Thus, while they brought the treasures from the temple of the Sun, from Cuzco and all the places that abounded with gold, Atahuallpa suspected that his brother Huáscar had made contact with Pizzaro, offering him even greater riches, and to put an end to that possibility, directed that Huáscar be put to death, and he was thus drowned in the Andamarca river.

Some five weeks after the Inca had been taken prisoner, Almargo had arrived at Cajamarca with reinforcements of about 150 men, bringing word that Hernando de Luque had perished in Panama.

Meanwhile, various detachments of Spaniards roamed through the country without being molested in any part. They visited Cuzco, Jauja, Pachacamac and other important places. Having gathered in Cajamarca an immense amount of gold which did not yet fulfill the ransom of the Inca, the impatience of the Spaniards did not permit any more time to fulfill the ransom. Therefore they separated out the fifth part of the ransom that would belong to the king and which Hernando Pizarro personally carried back to Spain.

It is calculated that the ransom of the Inca included 40,865 marks of silver and 971,125 pesos of gold which were divided among Pizarro, Almargo and the other Spaniards according to their rank.

Pizarro, an ambitious man without human sentiments, assassinated more than twenty Indians because they would not reveal to Pizzaro the locations of the gold-bearing regions, until the Indian Kellca conducted them to Chuquiapu, and told them “Sir, this is the river whose currents carry the metal that you seek, but you will not find the true origin of this metal until you come to the region of the Yunkas (Yungas). There you will find it in abundance.” Pizzaro, believing himself to have been mocked by the Indian, ordered his soldiers to hang him from the branches of a tree, where the poor Indian choked to death.

The kechua race were overall submissive, respectful, cultured and gave homage to any human being that was blessed with knowledge superior to their own.

On the other hand, the Spaniards, bloody, cruel and inhuman assassins, put these subjects of the great empire of the Incas to death without any qualms, that resulted in the disorganization and destruction of the empire.

The Inca, Atahuallpa, after delivering the demanded ransom, demanded his liberty, but Pizzaro did not release him on the pretext that there were sinister rumors of rebellions and concentrations of armed forces. Soto was sent to determine the extent of these rumors, but found nothing suspicious; to the contrary he found the country quite tranquil. Nevertheless, Pizzaro had determined to put the Inca to death as a traitor, and rejected the protests of Soto himself, and the other twelve Spaniards who held positions of authority, who maintained that only the king of Spain could judge any other king held as a prisoner, and that all the rumors of an indigenous rebellion were pure fables without any foundation whatsoever.

On the night of August 29, 1533, Atahuallpa was bound and conducted to the great plaza of the city, there to be burned alive as a usurper of the throne, guilty of fratricide and blasphemy. However, he was granted the grace to be only hung at the foot of the fire if he would concede to be baptized by the name of Juan. This he granted, and he was hung and was buried in the cemetery of the Church of Cajamarca (Catamarca).

The following day he was given a funeral at which the Spaniards feigned the greatest solemnity.

This bloody scene of the conquest of Peru was a prelude to the great tragedy in which all the principal actors perished in a violent manner.

And with the death of the last Inca the famous empire died also. The Spaniards, despots, bloody and cruel in the treatment of the Indians, resolved rather than to exterminate them to subjugate them and make them simple slaves, obligated to serve their new masters and to render submission to the king of Spain.

[1] The llauto was one of the particular outfits of the ruling Incas. It was a species of turban with the colors of the Tahuantinsuyo, and was woven from the wool of the vicuña. It included a type of braid of different colors that was wound around the head five to six times, and two white feathers of the mysterious bird called the Coraquenque.