One of the most incredible things about the Incan Empire is that it grew to be the largest empire in pre-Columbian America in the space of 100 years, this could be said to be due to the Inca’s incredible organizational skills which were present in every aspect of their empire. The Incas called themselves Tawantinsuyu but were later called the Incas after their ruler, the Sapa Inca.
In 1105 AD the first Incan lord, Sinchi Roca begins to rule his tribe, at that time the Incas were still a small tribe but were beginning to grow in power. In 1438 the Incas began to gain more and more control, in this year they are attacked by the Chaca people, the most powerful tribe in South America at the time, the Incas defeat the Chacas and from there steadily start to conquer more of the surrounding areas in South America, their empire expanded to present-day Peru, Bolivia, northern Argentina, Chile, and Ecuador.
The Inca’s made sure that when a new tribe was conquered (whether peacefully or by force) they were properly assimilated into the empire, this was done by sending the leaders of the tribes to Cuzco (the capital) and taught the Inca’s culture, they were not forced to change all their ways but were expected to work for the empire and follow their laws but they gave the leaders of the tribes authority and tried to keep things in the tribes unchanged to keep the people happy and generally cooperative. (Malpass, Michael A. (1996) Daily Life in the Incan Empire Chapter 2, Politics and Society, Greenwood Publishing, London)
One thing that was enforced upon the entire empire was the Incan language, to improve communication throughout the empire all people had to learn Quechua, the Inca’s language. For quick communication throughout the empire roads were built and messengers were used to run supplies and messages (by memorising) across the empire, each runner had a set section of road in which they would have to run.
Although the Inca’s had no written language they used quipus to record information, a quipu is collection of strings tied together which is knotted in patterns to record information, thousands of quipus have been found and the amount of threads attached varies from 5 to up to 2000. In 1532 the 112 million strong Incan Empire was defeated by a 250 Spanish conquistadors led by Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish had more sophisticated weapons and brought diseases such as smallpox with them that the Incas had never been exposed to, bringing to an end the largest pre-Columbian empire in the Americas.
What was the Hierarchy of the Incas?
The basic hierarchy of the Inca’s is similar to that of many other civilizations at the time, the basic structure was: the Sapa Inca and royal family, upper aristocracy (Apus and Royal Governors), administrators, artisans and laborers. Most if the privileged positions were held by relatives of the Sapa Inca. The royal family was all educated and children of the higher classes would receive 4 years of schooling...