THE INCA EMPIRE: A source of inspiration for the Quechuas

Tucked away high in the Andes Mountains, the Inca Empire was one of the largest empires in the world with its centre in Cusco, modern-day Peru. In little more than 300 years, the Inca Empire stretched across present-day Colombia through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia to northern Chile and Argentina, and by the 15th century, the Incas ruled over nine million people.

You might have seen breathtaking pictures of Machu Picchu, an Inca city built for Emperor Pachacuti that is also called the “lost city” since it was never found by the Spanish conquerors. In fact, the Incas, a highly-developed civilization, are famed for their unique architecture and vast road system, which they built without the help of animals or the wheel. They are also known for their impressive governing structure and immense army. Most Incas were farmers but some also had specialized professions like weavers or musicians. After struggling with civil wars and disease brought in by the European conquest, they were defeated by the Spanish in the early sixteenth century.

The Quechua Indians of the Andes are the direct descendants of the Incas. Beside their mother tongue – Quechua was the official language of the Inca Empire – they have stayed true to their Inca roots in many ways. They rely on subsistence agriculture and nomadic herding as their ancestors did; They still live in the areas once governed by the Inca Empire, although many have migrated to urban centers; Many Inca myths, religious rituals and even farming practices are also preserved in modern Quechua communities. Watch’s episode on Peruvian farmer Zenón Gomel Apaza to learn more about Quechua Indians’ fascinating relationship with their ancestors!
Jul 11, 2016
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