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  • It was the Western Hemisphere's largest empire ever,

  • with a population of nearly 10 million subjects.

  • Over an area of more than 900,000 square kilometers,

  • its people built massive administrative centers,

  • temples, and extensive road and canal systems.

  • They did so in an inhospitable, extreme terrain,

  • all without the use of wheels, horses, iron, or even written language.

  • Yet within 100 years of its rise in the fifteenth century,

  • the Inca Empire would be no more.

  • According to legend,

  • the ancestors of the Inca rulers were created by the sun god Inti,

  • and they emerged from a cave called Tambo Toco.

  • Leading four brothers and four sisters was Ayar Manco,

  • who carried a golden staff with instructions

  • to find the place where it would sink into the ground,

  • showing fertile soil.

  • After many adventures and extensive searching,

  • Ayar Manco and his siblings reached the Cuzco Valley,

  • where the staff pierced the ground.

  • After fighting off the fierce local native population,

  • they founded their capital,

  • and Ayar Manco became Manco Capac, the first Sapa Inca, or king of the Incas.

  • Archaeological evidence suggests

  • that the Incas first settled in this valley around 1200 CE.

  • They remained a small kingdom until 1438,

  • when they were nearly overrun by the neighboring Chanka tribe.

  • The Inca king at this time, Viracocha, and his designated heir fled in fear,

  • but one of his other sons remained

  • and successfully rallied the city's defenses.

  • For his military skill, he became the ninth Inca ruler,

  • assuming the name of Pachacuti, or "Cataclysm."

  • Pachacuti expanded Inca rule throughout the Andes mountains,

  • transforming the kingdom into an empire through extensive reforms.

  • The empire's territory was reorganized as Tahuantinsuyu, or "four quarters,"

  • with four divisions ruled by governors reporting to the king.

  • Although the Inca had no writing,

  • they used a complex system of knotted strings called quipu

  • to record numbers and perhaps other information.

  • A decimal-based bureaucracy enabled systematic

  • and efficient taxation of the empire's subjects.

  • In return, the empire provided security, infrastructure, and sustenance,

  • with great storehouses containing necessities to be used when needed.

  • Great terraces and irrigation works were built

  • and various crops were grown in at different altitudes

  • to be transported all over the empire.

  • And it was during Pachacuti's reign

  • that the famous estate of Machu Picchu was constructed.

  • Pachacuti's son Topa Inca continued the empire's military expansion,

  • and he eventually became ruler in 1471 CE.

  • By the end of his reign, the empire covered much of western South America.

  • Topa's son Huayna Capac succeeded him in 1493.

  • But the new ruler's distant military campaigns strained the social fabric.

  • And in 1524, Huayna Capac was stricken by fever.

  • Spanish conquistadors had arrived in the Caribbean some time before,

  • bringing diseases to which the native peoples had no resistance.

  • Millions died in the outbreak,

  • including Huayna Capac and his designated heir.

  • The vacant throne ignited a civil war between two of the surviving brothers,

  • Atahualpa and Huascar,

  • greatly weakening the empire.

  • In 1532, after finally winning the Inca civil war,

  • Atahualpa and his army encountered the European invaders.

  • Although greatly outnumbered,

  • Francisco Pizarro and his small group of conquistadors

  • stunned the king's much larger force with guns and horses,

  • neither of which they had seen before.

  • Atahualpa was taken captive and killed about a year later.

  • The Spanish conquerors were awed by the capital of Cuzco.

  • Pizarro described it as so beautiful thatit would be remarkable even in Spain.”

  • Though the capital had fallen

  • and the native population had been destroyed by civil war and disease,

  • some Incas fell back to a new capital at Vilcabamba

  • and resisted for the next 40 years.

  • But by 1572, the Spaniards had destroyed all remaining resistance

  • along with much of the Incas' physical and cultural legacy.

  • Thus, the great Inca empire fell even faster than it had risen.

It was the Western Hemisphere's largest empire ever,

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B1 UK TED-Ed inca empire capital ruler extensive

The rise and fall of the Inca Empire - Gordon McEwan

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    詹士緯 posted on 2018/04/20
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