Intriguing Fun Facts About the Inca Empire

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The Inca Empire, one of the largest pre-Columbian civilizations, ruled over western South America for about one century, beginning around 1400 CE. Known for its remarkable achievements, the Inca Empire left behind a rich and fascinating legacy that continues to captivate historians and archaeologists to this day.

  • The Inca Empire spanned from modern-day southern Colombia to southern Chile, covering a vast territory that included the Andes and the Pacific Ocean.
  • The Inca road system, called the Qhapaq Ñan, stretched an impressive 30,000 miles and served as a crucial network for communication, defense, and trade between different regions of the empire.
  • Respecting complementary gender roles, the Incas acknowledged a dual-gendered god called chuqui chinchay and held two-spirit individuals in high regard as shamans.
  • The Inca belief system incorporated three realms represented by the condor, the puma, and the serpent, with each animal guarding a different spiritual plane.
  • Although the Incas domesticated few animals, llamas played a vital role in their empire’s expansion, providing transportation, wool, and companionship.
  • The Inca diet was mostly vegan, with guinea pig meat serving as a significant animal protein source while they cultivated over 4,000 varieties of plants, including superfoods like quinoa and amaranth.
  • Inca architecture was meticulously planned according to astronomical alignments, making cosmic connections a central aspect of their built environment.
  • As imperialists, the Incas aimed to unite various cultures under their rule, facing rebellions in the jungle and encountering challenges in conquering certain regions, like modern-day Ecuador.
  • The Incas had a unique communal concept called ayni, emphasizing mutual dependency and the practice of pagos a la tierra to honor Mother Earth.
  • The downfall of the Inca Empire came with the spread of smallpox, weakening their defenses and leading to a civil war that ultimately paved the way for the Spanish conquest in 1532.

The Inca Empire Only Lasted for about One Century

The Inca Empire, one of the most remarkable civilizations in history, had a relatively short lifespan. Lasting from the early 15th century to the mid-16th century, it thrived for approximately one century. Despite its short duration, the Inca Empire left a lasting legacy that continues to captivate scholars and enthusiasts alike.

At its peak in 1527, the Inca Empire covered an expansive area of 2,000,000 km2 (770,000 sq mi) in western South America. This vast territory encompassed modern-day Peru, western Ecuador, western and south central Bolivia, northwest Argentina, the southwesternmost tip of Colombia, and a large portion of Chile.

During their reign, the Inca rulers governed a population estimated at around 10 million people. Interestingly, the total number of Inca nobles was relatively small, ranging from 15,000 to 40,000 individuals. This hierarchical structure allowed for efficient governance and management of the empire.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Inca Empire was its unique economic system. Unlike other civilizations of the time, the Incas operated without money or formal markets. Instead, they relied on a system of reciprocity, where goods and services were exchanged based on mutual obligation and cooperation. This distinctive approach to commerce set the Inca Empire apart from its contemporaries.

Despite not having access to advanced technologies such as the wheel, draft animals, or a writing system, the Inca Empire managed to build an impressive imperial state. Their monumental architectural achievements, such as the magnificent city of Machu Picchu, stand as testaments to their engineering prowess and organizational abilities.

However, the Inca Empire’s reign was cut short by devastating obstacles. The arrival of Spanish conquistadors in the 1500s introduced diseases like smallpox and influenza, which decimated the Inca population. Furthermore, a civil war between the sons of the eleventh Inca Huayna Capac weakened the empire. The deaths of the ruling emperor and his chosen successor due to disease in 1525 further accelerated the collapse of the empire.

Detailed Statistics

Duration Greatest Extent Population
Approximately one century, from the early 15th century to the mid-16th century. At its peak in 1527, the Inca Empire covered an area of 2,000,000 km2 (770,000 sq mi) in western South America. The Inca rulers were estimated to govern a population of around 10 million people, while the total Inca nobles numbered only 15,000 to 40,000 individuals.

The Incas Didn’t Have a Written Alphabet, But They Had Khipu

Despite not having a written alphabet like many other ancient civilizations, the Incas developed a sophisticated system to convey information known as khipu or quipu. Khipu consisted of a series of knots tied on strings of various colors and lengths.

Khipu: The Knot Records

Khipu served as a vital tool for the Incas to record and communicate data across their vast empire. With its origins dating back 5,000 years and refined by the Incas, this unique system enabled them to manage a complex society and administer their territories effectively.

The system consisted of up to 1,500 strings, and the knots were arranged in different patterns and placements to represent numerical, statistical, and even narrative information. The largest decimal recorded on a khipu was an impressive 10,000.

Decoding the Khipu

For many years, researchers have been fascinated by the cryptic language hidden within the khipus. Historians and anthropologists have examined over 900 khipus in museums and private collections worldwide, seeking to decipher their messages.

One significant breakthrough in khipu research is the discovery of the first signs of phonetic symbolism within the cords. This revelation adds a new layer of complexity to the understanding of the khipu system and suggests the Incas had a phonetic component to their communication.

Moreover, another study found a correlation between the tying of pendant cords on primary cords and the clans individuals belonged to. This finding suggests that khipus might not only represent numerical and statistical information but also carry social and cultural meanings.

Khipus as Narrative Epistles

Some khipus are believed to contain narrative epistles, which were created by local chiefs during a rebellion against the Spanish in the late 18th century. These khipus serve as historical artifacts that provide insights into the resistance movements and the Inca society’s dramatic changes during Spanish colonization.

Persistence of Khipu Traditions

Ethnographers continue to search for communities that have maintained the khipu tradition. Occasionally, significant discoveries occur, such as the finding of khipus in the village of San Juan de Collata. These findings shed light on how khipus were used beyond the Inca Empire’s borders and highlight the enduring cultural significance of this unique form of record-keeping.

The Khipu Legacy

Khipus were integral to the Inca Empire’s administration, used for various purposes such as tax registration, censuses, and sharing abstract concepts like narratives and philosophies. With over 600 original khipus found in private and public collections, museums in Lima and Cusco, Peru, preserve these remarkable artifacts, giving us a glimpse into the ancient Inca civilization and their intricate communication system.

Khipu System Khipu Research Epistles of Resistance
Khipus utilized a series of knots on strings to convey information. Researchers have analyzed over 900 khipus to decode their messages. Some khipus contain narrative epistles created during the Inca resistance against the Spanish.
The system had up to 1,500 strings and used a decimal notation. Breakthroughs in khipu research have revealed phonetic symbolism within the cords. These epistles provide insights into the resistance movements and societal changes.
Khipus were used for various purposes, including tax registration and censuses. Studies have identified connections between specific knot patterns and social structures. They serve as historical artifacts reflecting the impact of Spanish colonization.

The Incas Domesticated Few Animals

The Inca Empire, with its vast territory spanning over 5,500 kilometers, ruled over 12 million conquered people in the Andes mountain range. Despite their expansive empire, the Incas had limited domesticated animals. They primarily domesticated llamas, alpacas, and guinea pigs. These animals played crucial roles in their society and daily lives.

The most important domesticated animal for the Incas was the llama. Llamas provided the Incas with a reliable source of food, clothing, and even served as beasts of burden. These majestic creatures could carry impressive loads of up to ninety or a hundred pounds, making them invaluable for transportation in the challenging Andean terrain. The Incas heavily relied on llamas for their robust and resilient nature, which allowed them to traverse long distances.

Interestingly, ritual llama killings were an integral part of major official celebrations during the Inca Empire. These rituals were deeply rooted in their religious beliefs and served as a form of tribute to their deities.

While llamas were the most prominent domesticated animals, the Incas also kept alpacas. Alpacas provided the fine and soft wool highly sought after in commerce. Their wool was used to create luxurious textiles, garments, and blankets. The Incas recognized the distinct capabilities of each camelid, breeding them to serve different purposes in their society.

Domesticated Animals Roles
Llamas Food, clothing, transportation
Alpacas Fine wool production
Guinea Pigs Food source

In addition to llamas and alpacas, the Incas also domesticated guinea pigs. Guinea pigs were primarily bred for food, and they provided a protein-rich source in their diet. Their consumption was especially prevalent among the Incas, who considered grilled guinea pig a delicacy.

Despite their limited selection of domesticated animals, the Incas’ reliance on llamas, alpacas, and guinea pigs was evident in their culture and daily lives. These animals played vital roles in sustaining their civilization, providing essential resources, and showcasing the ingenuity and adaptability of the Inca Empire.

The Incas Were Mostly Vegan

The Inca Empire, known for its impressive agricultural system, relied heavily on plant-based foods, making the Incas mostly vegan. With their control over four climate zones, the Incas had access to a wide range of diverse agriculture and a variety of crops. Their vegetarian diet was a result of their dependence on crops such as maize, coca, potatoes, beans, sweet potatoes, quinoa, avocados, cotton, cashews, squash, and more. These crops were cultivated across the empire and provided the foundation of the Inca diet.

In addition to crops, the Incas also valued the llama and alpaca herds for their wool and transportation rather than their meat. The Incas understood the importance of these animals in their society and relied on them for their daily needs.

The Inca people had a deep respect for the land and viewed agriculture as a form of warfare. They engaged in rituals, sacrifices, and ceremonies to seek favor from the gods and elements, emphasizing the significant role food played in their lives. While meat was reserved for special occasions, the Inca diet mainly consisted of vegetarian staples, including quinoa porridge, potatoes, fish from coastal areas, and various fruits.

Food preparation in the Inca civilization involved boiling or roasting over wood or llama dung fires, resulting in flavorful dishes such as maize cakes, chuno (freeze-dried potatoes), and chicha (fermented beer). Their culinary practices showcased their resourcefulness and creativity when it came to preparing plant-based meals.

Key Points
The Inca Empire controlled four climate zones, allowing for diverse agriculture and a vegetarian diet for most Ancient Andean people.
The Inca agricultural system involved commandeering crops and herds from conquered peoples.
The Inca diet was largely vegetarian, with meats reserved for special occasions.
The Inca cuisine included staples such as quinoa, potatoes, fish, and fruits.
Food preparation involved boiling or roasting over wood or llama dung fires.

The Incas Respected Complementary Gender Roles

In Inca society, women played integral roles in every aspect of life, holding positions that were distinct from those of European women. Unlike their European counterparts, who were primarily perceived as benefiting their husbands, Incan women had a significant impact on the societal fabric.

Spanish chroniclers, both during and after the conquest of the Inca Empire, provided valuable sources that allow us to reconstruct the roles and status of women in Incan society. Their accounts shed light on the unique gender dynamics of the Incas.

Religion played a crucial role in defining gender roles among the Incas. Men controlled cults dedicated to male gods, while women oversaw cults dedicated to goddesses. This duality highlights the complementary nature of gender roles within Inca religious practices.

Women priestesses, known as Mamaconas, held significant power within Incan society due to their roles in controlling earthly fertility and human procreation. They were esteemed for their ability to influence life’s fundamental aspects, cementing their importance in Incan culture.

Education played a vital role in shaping gender roles in Inca society. Girls were sent to acllawasi, or schools for women, where they learned various trades, Incan lore, and governance skills. These schools were exclusive to females and were equated to nunneries by Spanish chroniclers.

Mothers played a crucial role in maintaining familial and societal power dynamics. They ensured the power of their fathers through their involvement in crucial state rituals. This illustrates the significance of women in upholding and passing down power within the Incan society.

Aclas Rank Purpose
Acllas Highest rank Serving noble families and state rituals
Palla Lower rank Serving as artisans, weavers, and cooks
Antis Lowest rank Assisting in agricultural tasks

Aclas were hierarchical institutions that played a vital role in Incan society. The type of acllas a girl belonged to was determined by physical perfection and her family’s social rank. Different types of acllas served various purposes, contributing to the overall functioning of Incan society.

Prestigious girls were selected as chaste priestesses of the solar or imperial cults. They were considered symbolic wives of the gods and held important positions in Incan religious practices.

Women’s influence extended beyond religion to political and economic matters within religious institutions. They actively participated in decision-making processes, showcasing their substantial role in shaping the Incan society.

Women were also utilized as a tool for state power. Their presence was used to strengthen loyalty to the Sapa Inca and the Incan state, solidifying the interconnectedness of gender, power, and politics within Incan society.

However, it is important to note that with the Spanish conquest came significant changes. Incan society shifted to a patriarchal model, and the unique gender roles and power dynamics of the Incas were disrupted.

Despite these changes, the historical records of the Incas provide us with a glimpse into a society that valued and respected complementary gender roles, where women held integral positions and played crucial roles in maintaining familial, societal, and religious structures.

The Incas Had a Unique Communal Concept Called Ayni

The Inca Empire was known for its sophisticated and intricate social structures, one of which was the concept of Ayni. Ayni, which means “reciprocity” in Quechua, was a foundational cultural value that played a significant role in the economic and social aspects of Inca society.

Ayni emphasized the importance of mutual exchange and giving before receiving. It was a concept deeply rooted in the communal lifestyle of the Incas, promoting cooperation and interdependence among community members.

Through Ayni, the Incas practiced a form of service-based barter, where individuals would provide services, labor, or assistance to others in their community in exchange for goods or resources. This system allowed for the equitable distribution of resources and the fulfillment of community needs.

The practice of Ayni extended beyond economic transactions. It was ingrained in various aspects of Inca life, including agricultural work, architectural projects, and religious ceremonies. For example, during the annual ritual of pagos a tierra, offerings were given to Pachamama (Mother Earth) as a form of reciprocity and gratitude.

Ayni also played a role in social cohesion, as it fostered a sense of unity and collective responsibility within the community. It reinforced the idea that everyone had a role to play and contributed to the overall well-being of society.

Incas’ Unique Communal Concept – Ayni

Key Aspects of Ayni Examples
Service-based barter Exchanging services for goods or assistance
Equitable distribution of resources Ensuring that everyone’s needs are met
Embedded in agriculture and construction Cooperative work on communal projects
Religious ceremonies Offerings to Pachamama as a form of reciprocity
Social cohesion and unity Fostering a sense of collective responsibility

The Incas believed that through Ayni, they could create a harmonious and balanced society. This unique communal concept played a crucial role in the success and sustainability of the Inca Empire, showcasing the power of cooperation and mutual support within a civilization. The legacy of Ayni continues to inspire and resonate with people today as a testament to the strength of communal values.

The Incas Never Had to Worry about Starvation

Unlike many other ancient civilizations, the Incas had a remarkably efficient agricultural system that ensured their empire never had to face the threat of starvation. Through their advanced knowledge and innovative techniques, the Incas were able to sustain their vast population and ensure an abundance of food.

The Incas constructed impressive vertical terraces known as andenes, which allowed them to cultivate crops on steep slopes. These terraces maximized the available arable land and prevented soil erosion, enabling the Incas to grow crops in areas that would have otherwise been unsuitable for agriculture.

Additionally, the Incas practiced polyculture, a technique where multiple crops are cultivated together in the same area. This method promoted biodiversity, reduced the risk of crop failure, and increased overall yields. By growing a variety of crops such as maize, potatoes, quinoa, and beans, the Incas ensured a diverse and nutritious diet for their people.

Moreover, the Incas developed effective methods for food preservation. They sun-dried and freeze-dried crops, such as potatoes and quinoa, to store them for long periods. These preserved crops served as essential food reserves during times of scarcity or in regions where fresh produce was not readily available.

The concept of ayni, a fundamental principle in Inca society, also played a vital role in preventing starvation. Ayni was a form of reciprocal labor exchange, where community members worked together on agricultural tasks. This collective effort ensured that no individual or community was left without sufficient food.

From terrace farming to polyculture and ayni, the Incas’ agricultural system was incredibly sophisticated and sustainable. It allowed them to thrive and support their massive empire without ever having to worry about starvation.

Key Aspects of Inca Agriculture Benefits
Vertical terraces (andenes) – Maximization of arable land
– Prevention of soil erosion
Polyculture – Biodiversity and reduced risk of crop failure
– Increased overall yields
Food preservation methods – Sun-drying and freeze-drying of crops
– Long-term storage and availability of food
Ayni (reciprocal labor exchange) – Collective effort in agricultural tasks
– Equitable distribution of food

The Incas Were Imperialists

The Inca Empire, known for its impressive cultural and territorial expansion, can be described as imperialistic in nature. The Incas aimed to unite diverse cultures and populations under their rule, incorporating the unique strengths of each region into their empire. Through conquest and assimilation, the Inca civilization expanded its influence over vast territories, spanning modern-day Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, and Colombia. Their imperialistic ambitions enabled them to establish a centralized state that encompassed a wide range of ethnic groups and languages.

Driven by their desire for political control and economic prosperity, the Incas implemented various strategies to maintain their authority. One notable tactic was the utilization of llamas, their primary beasts of burden. Llamas played a crucial role in facilitating trade and creating vast trading networks within the empire. Additionally, the Inca Empire utilized the symbolism of llamas to forge a sense of unity and identity across their vast territory.

However, the Incas faced challenges to their imperialistic ambitions, particularly in the jungle regions where native cultures had their own alliances and societies. The resistance and rebellions in these areas exemplify the complexities of maintaining control over a diverse empire.

The Inca civilization, though powerful and expansive, was relatively short-lived. Their rapid rise to prominence occurred during the 15th century, but their cultural and territorial expansion came to an abrupt end with the arrival of the conquistadors. Led by Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Peru in 1532, capturing the Inca leader Atahuallpa and ultimately executing him a year later. The execution of another Inca leader, Tupac Amaru, in 1572 marked the final blow to the Inca civilization, leading to its eventual decimation.

The Inca Empire, while imperialistic in its pursuits, left a lasting legacy that continues to captivate the world today. From the ancient capital of Cuzco, sitting high in the Andean mountains at an altitude of 3330 meters above sea level, to the awe-inspiring ruins of Machu Picchu, discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911, the remnants of the Inca civilization stand as a testament to their imperialistic ambitions and cultural achievements.

Key Points Details
Duration of the Inca Empire 1438 to 1532
Territories Spanned Modern-day Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, and Colombia
Llamas as Primary Beasts of Burden Facilitated trade and created vast trading networks
Challenges to Imperialistic Ambitions Resistance and rebellions, especially in the jungle regions
Conquest by the Spanish Conquistadors Arrival of Francisco Pizarro in Peru in 1532, capture and execution of Inca leader Atahuallpa, and subsequent execution of Tupac Amaru in 1572
Enduring Legacy Historical landmarks such as Cuzco and Machu Picchu

The Incas Never Fully Conquered the Jungle

While the Inca Empire was vast, extending from the border of Ecuador and Colombia to about 50 miles south of modern Santiago, Chile, the Incas faced significant challenges when it came to conquering the dense jungles of the region. The jungle regions, with their thick vegetation and distinct cultures, proved to be resilient and resistant to Inca domination.

The Incas encountered resistance from the indigenous tribes who inhabited the jungle areas. These tribes had their own established alliances and customs that differed from those in the Andes, making it difficult for the Incas to assimilate them into their empire. The jungle dwellers were skilled in navigating the dense terrain and had developed unique strategies to defend their territories from external threats.

These jungle tribes utilized guerrilla warfare tactics, taking advantage of their knowledge of the environment to launch surprise attacks and then quickly disappear into the depths of the jungle. The Incas found it challenging to maneuver through the thick vegetation and were unable to fully establish their dominance over these regions.

It is important to note that the Inca Empire did have some influence over the jungle areas. They established trade networks, maintained control over certain strategic points, and implemented policies to integrate the indigenous groups to some extent. However, complete and absolute conquest of the jungle proved to be elusive for the Incas.

The resilience and resistance of the jungle regions can be attributed to their unique ecosystems and the deep connection between the indigenous people and their environment. The jungle provided abundant resources and shelter, allowing the tribes to sustain themselves independently and maintain their cultural identity.

The struggles faced by the Incas in fully conquering the jungle highlight the complexities of their empire and the diverse cultural landscapes they encountered. It serves as a reminder that even the mighty Inca Empire had its limitations and that nature and human resilience cannot be easily overcome.

The Incas and the Jungle: A Table of Challenges

Challenges Impact on Inca Conquest
Resistance from indigenous tribes Prevented complete assimilation and dominance
Guerrilla warfare tactics Difficulties in countering surprise attacks
Difficulty navigating dense vegetation Limited mobility and strategic advantages
Cultural differences and alliances Challenges in integrating diverse groups

Despite their efforts, the Incas were unable to fully conquer the jungle regions, showcasing the resilience and resistance of the indigenous tribes. The jungle territories remained autonomous, preserving their unique cultures and connection to the lush and vibrant ecosystem.

The Incas Believed in Three Realms or Planes

The Incas had a profound belief in the existence of three distinct realms or planes that encompassed their cosmology. These realms, known as Hanan Pacha, Kay Pacha, and Uku Pacha, held significant religious and spiritual significance within Inca society.

The first realm, Hanan Pacha, represented the world above and was associated with the realm of the gods. It was believed to be the dwelling place of deities such as Inti, the sun god, and Mama Quilla, the moon goddess. This celestial plane was regarded as divine and served as the afterlife destination for those who lived virtuous lives.

Kay Pacha, the earthly world, constituted the second realm in the Inca cosmology. It was the physical realm inhabited by humans and animals, representing the world of the living. This realm was characterized by its horizontal existence, situated between Hanan Pacha and Uku Pacha. In the Inca belief system, Kay Pacha was deeply intertwined with everyday life and was considered the realm where humans had the opportunity to lead honorable and balanced lives.

The third realm, Uku Pacha, symbolized the world below or the underworld. It was associated with the Inca god of death, Supay, and was believed to be the final resting place for those who were deemed unworthy of ascending to Hanan Pacha. Uku Pacha encompassed the realm of the dead and was connected to concepts of rebirth, transformation, and spiritual journeys.

To represent these three realms, the Incas associated specific animals with each plane. The condor, a majestic bird, symbolized the heavens and served as a bridge between Hanan Pacha and Kay Pacha. The puma, known for its strength and wisdom, represented the world of the living in Kay Pacha. Finally, the serpent, often associated with the underworld and wisdom, represented the realm of the dead in Uku Pacha.

The significance of these realms and their corresponding animals is evident in Inca architecture and artwork. Many buildings in Cusco and Machu Picchu feature depictions of the condor, the puma, and the serpent, showcasing their importance and sacred symbolism. The Inca chacana, a stepped figure with four angles, also represented the Inca trilogy and was incorporated into constructions and textiles.

Today, the legacy of the Inca trilogy can still be seen in various crafts and artistic expressions in Cusco, Aguas Calientes, and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Sculptures, paintings, jewelry, and clothing often incorporate the symbols of the condor, puma, and serpent, connecting modern artisans to the rich spiritual heritage of the Incas.

Realm Representative Animal
Hanan Pacha (Heavens) Condor
Kay Pacha (Earth) Puma
Uku Pacha (Underworld) Serpent


The Inca Empire, with its fascinating history and cultural legacy, continues to capture the imagination of people worldwide. From their advanced agricultural techniques to their unique communication system, the Incas left a lasting impact on the world.

One of the Inca Empire’s notable achievements was the construction of the Qhapaq Ñan, an extensive road network that stretched over 24,000 miles (39,000 kilometers) and facilitated trade and communication across their vast territory.

The Incas’ agricultural techniques, such as building terraces known as andenes, allowed them to thrive in diverse climates and landscapes. Their record-keeping system, the quipu, consisting of colored strings and knots, showcased their advanced society’s attention to detail and organization.

Celebrating festivals like Inti Raymi, the Inca civilization showcased their reverence for nature and spirituality through elaborate rituals, processions, music, and dance. The Incas’ rich cultural heritage is evident in the present-day Quechua-speaking communities, who constitute a significant portion of Peru’s population.

In conclusion, the Inca Empire’s short-lived existence has left an indelible mark on history. Their achievements in agriculture, infrastructure, and culture continue to captivate and inspire people with their ingenuity and determination.


What is the estimated duration of the Inca Empire?

The Inca Empire lasted for about one century, from the 13th to the 16th centuries.

How did the Incas communicate without a written alphabet?

The Incas used a unique system called khipu or quipu, which was a knot record used to convey information.

What animals did the Incas domesticate?

The Incas domesticated llamas, alpacas, ducks, and guinea pigs.

What was the primary source of nutrition for the Incas?

The Incas followed a primarily vegan diet, with a diverse range of plants as their main sources of nutrition.

How did the Incas view gender roles in society?

The Incas respected and upheld complimentary gender roles, with active roles for women and economic responsibilities for both men and women.

What was the concept of ayni in Inca culture?

The Incas practiced a concept called ayni, which emphasized mutual exchange and giving before receiving.

How did the Incas prevent starvation?

The Incas had advanced agricultural knowledge and techniques, including vertical terraces and polyculture, which ensured that no one went without food.

Were the Incas successful in fully conquering the jungle regions?

No, the Incas faced significant resistance in their attempts to conquer the jungle regions, particularly in regions like modern-day Ecuador.

What was the cosmology of the Incas based on?

The Incas had a cosmology based on three realms or planes represented by the condor, puma, and serpent.