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Ancient chroniclers recount contradictory facts without any sense of inconsistency, and modern writers reproduce them, without commentary, with a beautiful indifference. Someone will assert that trade did not exist, and then, a little further on, will describe the fairs and the markets. Someone else will picture the Andean tribes before the Inca conquest as plunged in barbarism and then will speak of their methods of agriculture and of their tribal organization.
These are so many evidences of the uncertainties that continue to exist in the minds of the authors. Thus, the result of reading and research is very deceptive. The empire of the Incas is presented to us, in turn, as the normal development of the society that preceded it, or as the realization of a definite plan conceived by a sovereign; as the most atrocious regime of tyranny that the world has ever known, or as an ideal organization of society whose destruction must move us to tears; as the consummation of the slave state, and as an idyllic earthly abode.
Every writer, ancient or modern, has presented us with a Peru fashioned according to his own tastes, aspirations, ideas, and feelings; and the impartial critic asks himself in astonishment what this strange empire was that some good minds could regard as a hell on earth and others as a paradise.
But the economist is not the only one who can profit from the study of the Inca system. The historian, the sociologist, the archaeologist, and the ethnologist also have an interest in knowing it well, for the better orientation of their own researches. And we, on our part, shall have to make inquiries of them all, either to illuminate the past with the help of the vestiges brought to light by excavations or to reveal in the present the survivals that can explain the ancient customs of which they are the last reflection.
Unfortunately, it has not been possible for us to confine this work exclusively to the economic domain, as we should have liked to do. The inadequacy of the works devoted to pre-Columbian South America has compelled us to examine and consider certain historical and sociological questions of which a knowledge is indispensable for the understanding of this book.
However, the treatment of these problems has been made as brief as possible. The purpose of this work, it need hardly be said, is purely scientific. Comparisons between economic systems established at different times must always be made with the greatest circumspection, and we propose to call particular attention to the exaggerations of those authors who seek in the Peruvian experiment either an apology for or a condemnation of modern socialism.
To measure the distance that separates the society of the Incas from our own, it suffices to point out that in the Inca empire the management of the economy was in the hands of an elite that was destroyed by the Indians themselves in the course of their civil wars and by the Spaniards at the time of the conquest. And even though we may be deluding ourselves concerning the extent of the interest that this study of the past could have for our contemporaries, we do not consider it profitless to investigate this singular empire, taking apart its complicated machinery and stripping away all its military and political exploits, all the anecdotes and all the legends, unobsessed by names and dates.
It is surely no detraction of the economists to assert that they are almost completely ignorant of ancient Peru. If only, thanks to our efforts, some of them decide to study it with greater penetration than has been possible for us, we shall not regret having tried in these few pages to bring the extraordinary enterprise of the Incas to life again. We have given our own solution in Vol. I, ch. As in the Egypt of the Lagides, this experiment appears to have been predominantly fiscal in character.
V, , completed and revised in the light of the many works published between that date and the present. Beyond the steps of the steep Cordilleras, Beyond the mists where the black eagles soar, Higher than the summits hollowed out into funnels, Where the familiar lava boils in bloody flow. Those determinists who seek at any cost to explain every social order in terms of its natural environment would be greatly embarrassed by the case of the Incas.
They will not find here the essential elements that, according to them, make possible the birth of a great civilization. No country in the world seems better to have deserved the praise of which Europe was deemed worthy than does this plateau lost in the center of a vast continent: everything here was inferior except man himself. To understand the attraction of a place where Nature is so niggardly, one must have seen this part of South America, so distant and so little known.
It is a region that the traveler hesitates to traverse, but where he discovers such marvelous horizons that he cannot tear himself without regret from their contemplation and remains haunted by the memory of them long after he has left them behind. Briefly, Peru is made up of three strips of land running from north to south and separated from one another by the two parallel chains of the Andes. Accordingly, the traveler making his way from the Pacific toward the Atlantic must cross the two Andean chains, the passes of which are rarely less than 13, feet above sea level and whose highest peaks rise to almost 23, feet.
He will journey, in consequence, through all degrees of altitude and meet with an astonishing variation in landscape, climate, flora, and fauna. On the other hand, if he were to set out from what is now Colombia and proceed southward down the length of the inter-Andean plateau, he could continue for months to enjoy the same temperature, contemplate the same scenery, and eat the same food. Thus, in the first case, the predominant impression would be one of diversity; in the second, of monotony.
The Peruvian coast is entirely without rain. The cold ocean current from the polar regions of the Pacific, known as the Humboldt Current, flows along the shore from south to north. It makes the sea colder than the land and removes the humidity from the ocean breezes, allowing the aqueous vapors to condense into fog. It is only at certain times, and hardly even then, that the Peruvian hillsides adjacent to the sea are bathed in a dew that makes some growth of vegetation possible; but this comes to an end very quickly, the plants die, and the sun effaces the last vestiges of that ephemeral springtime from the arid soil.
Farther north, on the contrary, the Humboldt Current veers westward toward the Galapagos Islands, the sea becomes warmer than the land, rain falls on the coast, and a lush tropical vegetation springs up in the maritime provinces of the present Republic of Ecuador. Thus, the lengthy seaboard of Peru offers centers of habitation only along the watercourses that descend from the Cordillera.
The littoral consists of a series of fertile transverse valleys, separated at their beginning by the spurs and foothills of the Andes and then by deserts that are sometimes more than sixty-two miles long. That is why, in our day, no railroad like the one in Chile has yet been built down the length of Peru. In spite of the latitude, the climate is temperate because of the southwest winds that constantly cool the air.
The Incas conquered the seaboard only after they had established themselves in the interior. Their empire came into being on the inter-Andean plateau, at an altitude of from 5, to 13, feet. It did not blossom in the gentle warmth of the tropics, as Spencer has mistakenly supposed, but in the icy blasts that blow down from the Cordilleras. At first sight, this plateau appears like a corridor laid out between the two ramparts of the Andes, but it is a corridor through which passage is not always practicable, for it is cut across by the ramifications that, at wide intervals, join the two mountain chains.
They do not flow to the coast, but toward the north or the east in the direction of the forests, thus isolating the interior completely. Only one, the Santa, traverses the western Cordillera, while six of the principal rivers cut through the eastern range. Contrary to what we might think, the Peruvian plateau faces the Atlantic. The forests of the eastern slope of the Andes form the third zone, and on the east of the Inca empire they constituted a barrier as impassable as the deserts and the snow-capped peaks, as mysterious as the ocean.
Their great luxuriance and alluvial soil extend to distances that the Indians of the plateau in earlier days could perhaps not even imagine. Gonzalo Pizarro, who, in search of cinnamon, was the first to venture into these inhospitable areas, wandered around for two and a half years and lost more than half his men; and when at last he returned to the plateau, he was so changed that people did not recognize him at all. For all practical purposes, the transition from the coast to the sierra can be noted by the difference in the roofs of the houses: they are flat in the first region, and sloping in the second.
As can be seen, the characteristic feature of all this part of South America is what may be called its cellular structure cloisonnement. The habitable regions are far apart and often separated by obstacles difficult to surmount. Conditions such as these are prejudicial to the establishment of a unified state and favorable to the growth of regionalism and social conservatism. One can well imagine how centers of civilization may have sprung up in the different basins, how migrations from one to another may have occurred, or how influences may have made their way through the notches in the mountains; but it is hard to understand how an empire could have been built up under such unlikely circumstances.
Let us pause now on the plateau that was the center of that empire. Depending on the altitude, we shall find valleys with a temperate climate bolsones, cabeceras, quebradas , and broad expanses of cold the puna. Above a height of 15, feet the barren puna brava climbs to the eternal snows. Beyond the limits of the fertile valleys that are scattered here and there, the plateau presents the most striking spectacle of desolation imaginable.
An ocean of stunted grass stretches north and south into infinity, cut by courses of solidified lava and strewn with stones spewed out by the volcanoes. To east and west, the two ranges of the Cordilleras reach out to touch the horizon with their ramparts of rock and snow.
There is nothing here that can give life to these solitudes: no man; no tree, except for a few scant resinous shrubs; hardly any animals—only a few plovers and some ducks by the shores of the lagoons, some falcons, and the condor that soars in high circles in the icy air. Sometimes a knot of mountains fissured by earthquakes rises up, blocking the horizon from view; sometimes there will be a long stretch of sandy desert with a deformed and nettlesome vegetation of giant torch cactus, spurge, and aloe—enormous and grotesque growths that brandish their needles and spearheads in the air and lift up cleft stumps adrip with blackish sap; occasionally one comes upon an array of undulating grass-covered hillocks watered by a fine drizzle of rain that soaks into the spongy soil and veils the mountains in a transparent mist; and then once more the gray immensities stretch away to the north as far as the eye can see, in the direction of Quito, between those colossi of the Andes that have created a triumphal approach, bordered by volcanoes, to the present capital of Ecuador.
Everything here is monumental, awesome, and mysterious. The very rivers flow toward unknown horizons. The Egyptians could not discover the sources of the Nile; the Peruvians, on the contrary, saw rivers arising all around them without ever knowing what distant sea received their waters. Nothing relieves the starkness of this landscape. The alternation of the seasons is scarcely noticeable, and day and night in these latitudes never vary their length.
The dry grass, without disappearing, blends its faded drab tones with the green of the new shoots and carpets the soil with a gray uniformity. There is no winter or summer here, nor any spring; it is the land of eternal autumn. There is no word to express the intense poetic quality of these solitudes when the sudden tropic night falls upon the colorless landscape. Life and death seem to lose all significance in this tranquil and silent immobility where nothing has been made for man, where the mountains are barriers, and the rivers torrential floods.
Among the few fertile valleys that open out on the intermontane plateau, there is a narrow one, roughly from eighteen to twenty-five miles long, situated between the canyons of the Apurimac and the Urubamba, at an altitude of 11, feet, surrounded by treeless limestone plains, and dominated by mountain peaks that rise to some 17, feet above sea level. Although isolated at the bottom of this dip in the terrain, the city is really in the center of the plateau.
Lima, the present capital of Peru, on the coast, is separated from the provinces of the interior by the barrier of the Andes, which is traversed by the railroad of the Oroya, the highest in the world. Pizarro chose Lima in order more easily to maintain direct relations with the mother country, but it is a metropolis that faces outward, and its situation makes it more international than Peruvian.
Farther to the south stretches another region that is equally celebrated, that of Lake Titicaca. It is hard to imagine it as the center of a great civilization that has since vanished. The vegetation is so scanty that the wild olive is the only shrub that can gain a foothold there, the water of the lake so cold that a man could not bathe in it in safety. Torrential rains, scorching sun, freezing nights succeed one another, although the presence of a body of water mitigates to some extent the extremes of temperature.
As it is, this land exercises a singular fascination on those who have come to know it. Like the desert or the ocean, the puna holds the soul of its people captive. If the environment has not determined the social order here, it has nonetheless set its mark upon the inhabitants. Contemplation of the imposing vistas of the plateau has made the Indian grave and pensive. Gray tones and infinite horizons have disposed his temperament to sadness and revery.
If the Peruvian is mild and docile today, it is probably because of the political and social regime to which he submitted; if he is indolent, this may be due to his Amazonian origin, though the latter is still uncertain; but if he has no notion of time and if respect for the ancient nature-gods still has a place in his heart, it is beyond any doubt because generation after generation he has led his flocks of llamas in the gray silence across the Andean solitudes.
The social characteristics derived from this environment—attachment to tradition and dispersion into isolated communities—reappeared after the Spanish conquest. Today as in the past, merchants and officials are the only ones who really succeed in freeing themselves from the grip of these geographic impediments to communication.
But there was a time when all these Indians were closely united under a common dominion. They often developed on the banks of a great river. Most authors reason from the examples furnished by antiquity. III, ch. There too there is a dearth of arable land. More than half the soil cannot be cultivated. Wolf, Ecuador , p. XII, The Indian of the plateau—the Quechua—is a very clearly marked physical type. Bouguer asserts,  but olive-brown; the skin tough in texture, the face oval-shaped and wide, the head large, the brow slightly bulging; a wide mouth, strong jaws, thin lips, very white and even teeth; dark, arched eyebrows; small, dark, sunken eyes with long lashes and the whites of a yellowish cast; high cheekbones; a rather long nose, with wide nostrils; thick, black, long, glossy hair, but a sparse beard—all in all, his features are regular, but lacking in delicacy.
His prominent muscles, broad chest, and well-set shoulders make him seem rather strong and heavy in spite of his small hands and feet and slender ankles. The women, of a similar build, lack the grace and suppleness of their taller and slenderer rivals of the forest tribes. On the other hand, both men and women give an impression of physical wellbeing; few are hunchbacked, bandy-legged, or bald. Where did this Indian come from?
This is an important problem, for societies are not built in a day, and the one we are about to study was preceded by a long evolution that at least partially explains it. According to them, before the Inca empire there were in Peru only scattered tribes consisting of barbarous idolators with no common ties. Some of these writers—Garcilaso, for example—blacken the picture as much as they can in order to set the Inca civilization in a better light, representing the Indians of an earlier day as dissolute cannibals who feasted on the flesh and blood of their enemies;  as perpetually at war with one another;  and as without leaders except for the captains whom they chose as their commanders in time of war.
The use of this word thus signifies that the Indians would obey only the leaders whom they themselves chose. Some speak of elected sovereigns, others of hereditary monarchs, and still others of caciques or curacas , without being any more specific. Herrera remarks that in his time the situation had not changed in this respect in Chile, New Granada, or Guatemala;  and Ulloa compares the Indians of the pre-Inca period to wild beasts.
This basic error on the part of the first historians has given rise to numerous inaccuracies among later writers. In the course of recent years archaeology has brought to light an entire past whose existence had hardly been suspected. We propose to reconstruct it here, though only very cursorily, in its major outlines, without subjecting it to any critical examination, which would be outside the scope of this work, but simply with the object of situating the Inca civilization historically.
The first point to be noted, about which there is no longer any question today, is the Asiatic or Australian origin of the Indians. Palavecino, who, in comparing the Quechua language with that of the Maoris of New Zealand, has discovered that thirty per cent of the words of these two languages were formed from the same elements and that a great number of them had identical meanings. How did this identity come about? It would have been easier to cross from America to Polynesia, as the voyage of the Kon-Tiki demonstrated, but the natives of South America were very indifferent navigators.
Can it be assumed, then, that the Asiatics crossed over by way of Bering Strait, taking advantage of the chain of the Aleutian Islands? We can find no reason for such a fantastic expedition. In Asia there was neither a lack of living space nor a deterioration in the climate nor any pressure brought to bear by conquerors. Besides, this migration would have left some trace behind. Did the Polynesians make their way over the South Pacific at the time of the advance of the polar ice?
There is nothing to confirm this bold hypothesis. We believe that a comprehensive explanation must be sought that will be able to deal with all the different unsolved problems of prehistory in the South Pacific. The statues of Easter Island, the Fiji monolith, the tombs of Paracas—the necropolis of a vanished city—the sign of the stairway frequently found in the Andes, the bas-reliefs at the Gate of the Sun in Tiahuanaco: these await the single theory that will explain them all.
The brightest beam of light that illuminates American prehistory is that cast by the civilization of the Mayas in Yucatan. It spread over the southern continent, and its influence is no longer contested today. On the other hand, there is much debate over the thesis that migrations from the shores of the Caribbean Sea reached the Andean plateau by way of the rivers across those territories of Venezuela and Brazil that still remain almost entirely unexplored.
This would explain the traces of Amazonian invasion that have been attributed to remote epochs. The Urus, who live on the banks of the Desaguadero south of Lake Titicaca would, according to this hypothesis, be the descendants of the ancient Amazonians Arawaks. They have continued to be hunters and fishermen.
They must once have inhabited a vast stretch of land extending as far as the Pacific Ocean, and their language was still spoken over a large part of the plateau at the time of the Spanish conquest. It is only recently that the connecting links have been discovered in the long chain of civilizations that unites Central with South America. The natives came from the north by way of the Andean plateau; but the stream of migration sometimes divided, and some of them would retrace, in the opposite direction, the road taken by their ancestors.
Flux was followed by reflux. Since a great deal of uncertainty still prevails in this whole area of American prehistory, we shall not attempt to take a stand in regard to controversies that it is for the archaeologists and ethnologists to resolve, but shall confine ourselves to presenting in composite form the various items of information provided by the specialists. The different civilizations are distinguished from one another primarily by their styles of sculpture, pottery, and textiles.
The connecting link between Central America and Peru was formed by the civilizations that developed on the territory of what is now the Republic of Ecuador. The brachycephalic people who came from the north drove back the dolichocephalic natives, first from the coast and then from the plateau.
The vanquished peoples were to become the Jivaros, who now inhabit the forests in the eastern part of Ecuador Oriente , and who have attained a sort of celebrity through their skill in the preparation of shrunken heads. Marshall Saville has made a study of the bas-reliefs, stone seats, and statues found on the coast, all of which evidence a culture that seems to have remained primitive. The most ancient civilization of Peru has recently been identified by J.
Its sculptors had a delirious imagination, which imbued them with a love for the monstrous and the horrible, and which clearly distinguishes them from those of Tiahuanaco. It is sculptural in character, at first done in white and ochre red, and later in black.
The vessels are surmounted by a stirrup-spout formed by a pair of arched tubes joined together at the mouth. The scenes depicted on the vases are varied and often very vivid: battles, banquets, hunting and fishing, a chief carried in a litter, household work, etc. Taken together, they reveal the existence of a well-advanced state of civilization: a sumptuous court, officials, artisans, servants—a whole social hierarchy.
They also show us that certain immoral practices were not uncommon. Much more mysterious is the civilization of Paracas. Thanks to the dry climate, the heat, and the strong currents of air that freshen the atmosphere, the objects dug out of the necropolis of that name have remained intact. Wrapped around the mummies were found fabrics of cotton and wool in a variety of vivid colors as many as sixteen different tonalities have been counted.
The motifs, representing felines wildcats or pumas , birds, fish—either humanized or fantastic—and men—linear, polygonal, or naturalistically drawn—are well proportioned to the dimensions of the fabrics and are harmoniously and symmetrically distributed. Several pieces of material bear a motif, often very complicated, which is repeated several times, but always with some change of detail, very much like a theme and variations.
Two other important cultures, less ancient than those of which we have just spoken, developed side by side: that of Recuay and that of Nazca-Ica. The remains of the first are found in the Huaylas corridor: pottery of white clay, vases with cylindrical necks, with scenes in high relief depicted on their upper parts, and black geometrical designs. More beautiful and more celebrated are the polychrome pottery vessels of Nazca, adorned with highly complicated drawings of mythological beings, of men either stylized or realistically depicted, and, above all, of fish, for the inhabitants of the area were fishermen.
Ica pottery is in three colors and rich in geometric designs. Its capital, Tiahuanaco, was situated on the shores of Lake Titicaca in an area so desolate that some authors, in order to explain its presence there, have thought it necessary to assume that the climate of the area must have undergone a change. Such modifications have, in fact, occurred in various places: in upper Argentina, in the region of Atacama, and in Ecuador.
On the subject of the Tiahuanaco civilization a great many theories have been held, of which we shall not make any thorough examination here. According to H. Urteaga, Tiahuanaco was probably Quecha, and not Aymara as is generally believed.
We know nothing of the daily life of the people except that most of them were farmers, for their language is rich in agricultural terms; that they knew how to work in stone, construct objects in copper and bronze, and make pottery; and that they carried on trade with the coast: vases in the Tiahuanaco style have been found in Ecuador, ornaments of this provenance reached the shores of the Pacific, and this commerce perhaps extended as far as Central America.
Nor do we know anything about the capital itself, save that it still lifts its beautiful monolithic Gate of the Sun in the midst of a desert landscape and that it keeps its stone foundations hidden in the soil, from which they are only just beginning to be unearthed.
All that we know of this empire is that it was spread over a very wide territory. Aymara place names are to be found today in northern Argentina,  and Aymara dialects in the province of Huarachiri in Peru and in the region of Arica on the Chilean seaboard; and the style of Tiahuanaco deeply influenced the ceramics and textiles of the coastal areas. What remains to us from this people is its language: Aymara.
Language is the living expression of a segment of humanity. If it is rich in abstract words, it points to a high degree of intellectual culture. If it abounds in technical terms, it indicates an advanced economic development. If it is complex and skillfully put together, it attests a long period of evolution. When a word expresses an idea, it is because that idea has been conceived; and when a word denotes a place, it is because that place has been occupied.
Every word marks, in some domain or other, a conquest by man. Now the Aymara language is exceedingly rich. It possesses formative affixes that permit the modification of verbal roots and contains a great number of synonyms capable of denoting the most delicate shades of meaning, so that Max Uhle finds it superior to the Quechua language itself. The Tiahuanaco civilization was destroyed by some cataclysm—invasion, epidemic, or earthquake. Nevertheless, there are certain differences between them.
In physique, the Aymaras have a more oval- or lozenge-shaped face; they are a little taller, and the upper torso is proportionately higher; and slanting eyes are more frequent among them than among the Quechuas. A still more striking fact is that while the languages spoken by these two ethnic groups have forty per cent of their words in common, there are differences of syntax between them that are inexplicable on the assumption that one is derived from the other. At the present time, the boundary between the Aymaras and the Quechuas runs on the northeast from Lake Titicaca to Cojata and on the northwest from this lake to Puno; .
There may have been other important centers of life and culture elsewhere, but not enough is known about them to enable us to speak of them here. First, we see what a mistake it would be to regard the Incas as a primitive people. Even before their time there had already been alternate periods of prosperity and depression.
No one is in a position to say whether the Indian of the fifteenth century was superior or inferior to his precursor of the Tiahuanaco period. Progress does not follow a straight line, and the notion of a continuous or even intermittent evolution toward a better state of affairs is a postulate no longer encountered anywhere but in textbooks. Next, the civilization of Peru was not subjected to any influence from the Mediterranean.
Hypotheses concerning Jewish or Egyptian immigrations must be rejected, for the Indians at the time of the Spanish conquest had no knowledge of iron or the wheel or glass or wheat, and it is known today that they themselves had discovered copper and bronze. In the third place, it is evident that natural obstacles, however difficult to surmount, did not prevent numerous migrations from taking place. It would be a mistake to suppose that what we have called the cellular structure of these regions had the result of keeping people forever bound to their native valleys.
We are astonished, in fact, to find that so many changes of domicile could have occurred, for, in addition to those we have mentioned, there were a number of secondary movements here and there in South America.
Thus, the inhabitants of the Atacama district emigrated toward the north and the sierra;  and groups of Guaranis who had come from the middle of South America settled in the north of what is now Argentina; later the Andean tribes drove them back, and they then returned to their point of departure. Fourthly, there exists in South America a common substratum of Amazonian origin. The history of the great Inca dynasty is itself extremely confused in many respects, and we shall not undertake to make it clearer here.
The names of monarchs and the precise dates of events are matters of indifference to us; we are interested only in the nature and order of those events and in the development of institutions. Most of the Spanish chroniclers, including Garcilaso, call the first of these rulers by the name of Manco Capac, and the second Sinchi Roca. As we have seen, after the civilization of Tiahuanaco had flourished in all its splendor, a long-continued eclipse took place.
Then the sinchis took over the direction of the different tribes. No doubt, once they had achieved permanent status, they were the first sovereigns. Hence, it is easy to understand that there is a tendency today to regard Manco Capac and Sinchi Roca, not as two individuals, but as two dynasties, as legendary beings. Indeed, the mythological character that the chroniclers themselves attributed to the first of them confirms this interpretation.
What is certain is that at a given moment in history the Incas established themselves, by fair means or foul, as the dominant class in the valley of Cuzco, which was already inhabited. They forthwith began their conquest of the plateau and concurrently developed an increasingly efficient organization. The great struggles with the rival tribes—first the Collas and then the Chancas—served to strengthen the central power and enabled the upper class to free itself once and for all from its original geographical limits, to increase its knowledge, and to enlarge its means of action.
Thus, the elite came to stand out more and more conspicuously from the mass of the people. It is not known how long the Incas reigned: from to years, according to Bias Valera; from to years, according to Ondegardo and Acosta; more than years, according to Balboa; and nearly 1, years, according to Sarmiento.
Garcilaso lists thirteen monarchs, but he probably names some of them twice, for the number given by Balboa and Montesinos is not so large. What follows is the approximate line of succession of the sovereigns. We shall not set down the dates of their reigns, for these vary from one author to another; we shall merely indicate the century in which each of the Incas probably lived. The last sovereign, Huayna Capac, had, contrary to custom, divided his empire, which had become too large, between his two sons, the legitimate heir Huascar and the bastard Atahualpa.
On the death of the monarch, civil war broke out between these fraternal enemies, and Atahualpa, the conqueror, had Huascar and his family put to death. The Spaniards arrived just in time to take advantage of the existing disorder and establish themselves as masters. At this moment the empire extended for more than two thousand five hundred miles from the river Ancasmayo, two degrees north of the equator, to the river Maule, thirty-five degrees south of that line, and its area was approximately six times that of France.
We propose to examine here the social structure of that empire at this time. The entire history of the Incas, in fact, ran its course in the span of four hundred years: the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, during which the sovereigns were hardly more than tribal chieftains or at best the chiefs of a confederation of tribes like so many others Chachapoyas, Huanucos, Chinchas, Chancas ; the fourteenth, which was the century of preparation; and the fifteenth, when they reached their apogee.
And yet so brilliant was its short day of splendor that dazzled historians even up to the present have failed to perceive, in its shadow, the great civilizations that preceded it; and so deeply did the Incas stamp their imprint upon their people that the passing centuries have not yet been able to efface it, and the ethnologist continually rediscovers it among the Indians of today. II, ch. Morua, Historia , Vol. To be sure, it was often so used by the chroniclers.
It was only with their decline that liberty degenerated into anarchy and the disturbances broke out that completely discredited this institution. Historia general , Dec. V, Bk. Imbelloni, La esfinge indiana and G. Entirely without reason, H. Joyce, South American Archaeology , p.
The Kon-Tiki, a raft built along the same lines as those once used by the natives, left Peru and was allowed to drift. The current carried all those on board toward Polynesia. Heyerdahl, Kon-Tiki London, For the refutation of this hypothesis, see L. Posnansky, Tihuanacu , p. A whole literature exists on the curious Uru people, who are on the way to total extinction as a result of the disappearance of the totora reeds, which they used in making boats.
The Urus differ from the Aymaras and profess to antedate other men. Romero, El departamento de Puno , p. Hewett, Ancient Andean Life , p. Kroeber, Peruvian Archaeology in ; J. Muelle and C. VII, No. For earlier opinions, cf. Velasco, Historia , p.
The former is expressive; the latter is not. Kimmich maintains that it resembles Chinese towns in its outer wall of defense and its sloping roofs. Paz Soldan, Arte de la lengua yunga Lima, and E. Larco Hoyle, Los Mochicas , and H. I, No. We do not know for what city Paracas served as the necropolis. No trace of it exists in the environs. Urteaga, op. The reader will find beautiful reproductions in this work.
Latcham, El comercio precolombiano , p. Imbelloni, op. Means, op. VI, No. We shall return to Machu Picchu when we speak of the cities of the Incas. Saavedra, El ayllu , p. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, an Italian Jesuit, L. A little later, D. There is another early seventeenth-century work of the same title by Diego Gualdo. Vignaud op. In this book we shall call the emperor or king the Inca and give the generic name of Incas to the Indians of royal blood, who belonged to the upper class.
Rouma, Les Indiens quitchouas et aymaras, etc. Brussels, Squier writes that the Aymaras are as different from the Quechuas as the French are from the Germans Peru , p. The Esmeraldas did not submit to the Inca influence. They spoke a language belonging to the Chibcha family.
There are traces of dwellings in northeastern Bolivia that indicate the existence of a once numerous population different from that of the plateau. Many objects of the pre-Columbian era in South America are identical with those brought to light by excavations in the Old World. The vases found by Schliemann on the site of Troy are like those of Peru. II, p.
The Incas and the Pharaohs resembled each other in more than one respect, and certain authors have busied themselves in drawing up lists of analogies from which they draw the conclusion that the Indians are of Aryan origin. But the pace of progress is unequal. Some peoples are advanced, and some are retarded; and the forms of this progress are far from being identical. Although the idea of monarchy was the same among the Incas and the Pharaohs, the social structure of their peoples was nevertheless absolutely different.
Let us, therefore, be on our guard against both extremes: it is just as much an exaggeration to conclude from an identity of ideas or of products that there must have been some reciprocal influence as it is to disregard the identity on the assumption that all progress is the result of independent lines of parallel development. Wiener, drawing his inspiration from Montesinos, acknowledges the existence of kings who performed the function of high priests pirhuas and later of high priests with the attributes of sovereignty amautas before the Inca invasion Essai sur les institutions, etc.
Mitchell Humphreys calls our attention to the discrepancies existing among the various authors who have treated this subject, but does not give the probable list of sovereigns Dauer und Chronologie der Inkaherrschaft [Rostock, ]. An ingenious theory recently advanced by J. This eminent Americanist maintains that the list of emperors compiled in Peru by the chroniclers had been fabricated by the Indians in such a way as to give their history a well-balanced and harmonious appearance.
He concludes from this that their power, born of conquest, had not yet been legitimized by prescription and that the King of Spain was consequently justified in dethroning them. This curious reasoning is characteristic of the legal mentality of that time.
There are very few countries in which one does not observe a constant pressure of the population toward an increase beyond the means of subsistence. The increase of population in relation to the means of subsistence was one of the dominant factors in the imperial policy; and the conquests, the technical progress, the social organization all expressed the continuous effort of the Quechuas to extend and intensify the cultivation of the soil.
To be sure, vital statistics are lacking, not because they are nonexistent—on the contrary, the gathering of statistics had attained a rare degree of perfection, as we shall see—but because we no longer know how to read the quipus by which they were recorded. Nevertheless, the increase in population before the Spanish conquest is evident not only from the statements of the chroniclers, but from a study of the facts. At the time of the conquest the population of the Inca empire was probably between eleven and twelve million.
We shall return to this point later. Here we shall note merely that in , on the eve of the war, the total population of all races within the limits of the ancient Peruvian empire was scarcely larger than that which lived under the rule of Huayna Capac. There should be nothing surprising in this predominance of the demographic factor. In assuring peace and security within his frontiers and decreeing a stern code of moral behavior, the Inca promoted the growth of the population.
Infanticide and adultery were severely punished, prostitution was almost completely suppressed, and marriage was made obligatory. Every year, or every two or three years, at a fixed date, the young women from eighteen to twenty and the young men from twenty-four to twenty-six were solemnly assembled.
Most people were married, not by royal authority, but in accordance with local custom. Here we encounter that duality upon which we shall later shed a fuller light, and without which it is impossible to explain the Inca system: the coexistence of rational planning and local custom. In marriage, as in other matters, the custom varied with the region; but, in general, the Indian who wanted to marry a girl would buy her by making presents to her father and the local chief—the curaca —and the representative of the monarch would have nothing more to do than to register the agreement of the parties.
In brief, the Indian was obliged to marry, but he could receive additional wives at the hand of his sovereign. It seems beyond dispute that the confirmed bachelor—that is, the young man who had not made up his mind to take a wife by the age of twenty-five or twenty-six—was married by authority. In any case, the choice of a spouse remained extremely circumscribed, since it could be exercised only within certain limits of age, social class, and territory.
Any union outside the community was prohibited. Marriage was indissoluble except in the case of adultery on the part of the wife, which, in certain provinces, could lead to her being repudiated, subject to the authorization of the Inca if the woman concerned was the wife of a curaca , or of the curaca if she was the wife of an ordinary Indian.
Generally speaking, however, adultery, whether on the part of man or woman, was prohibited on pain of death. Polygamy is met with only among the high officials or local chiefs in command of more than a thousand families, and especially in the household of the Inca sovereign himself. It was a custom that granted every man the right to have as many wives as he could support. In practice, this meant, in most cases, only one.
For the Inca monarch, polygamy was a political necessity. His family, which to a considerable extent constituted the ruling class, had to be large enough to assure a sufficient recruitment of military leaders and civil administrators. While the local chiefs could have as many as five or six wives, the Inca could have an unlimited number.
These polygamous practices are often cited as a cause of the increase in population. Such a conception of marriage seems surprising to us today; yet the Spaniards themselves adopted the principle of obligatory unions shortly after the conquest in an effort to put an end to the immorality prevalent among the white men. In a royal decree ordered the encomenderos whose functions we shall describe later, and whose number included all the conquistadors or their descendants to marry within three years under pain of losing the encomienda that constituted their means of livelihood.
It may be added that compulsory marriage is entirely logical in a socialist system. Socialism, defined as the absorption of the individual by the state or the local community, must inevitably lead to official mating, as communism must inevitably lead to the communal sharing of women. The laws of Lycurgus deprived the unmarried man of his rights of citizenship; Plato pressed this idea to its farthest extreme when he envisaged yearly unions only among couples so matched as to assure the improvement of the race; and Campanella, in his famous Civitas solis , did not confine himself merely to setting the dates when nuptials were to be officially solemnized, but required that conjugal relations should take place on days fixed by authority in accordance with the counsels of astrologers and physicians.
As their arable lands were limited, they did not deem it essential that the population should increase. Another cause of the increase in the population was undoubtedly the system of labor, which we shall have to study. The Indian had his family assist him in the accomplishment of the task that was assigned to him by law.
Thus far we have seen no more than a part of the agonizing problem with which the Inca sovereigns were faced: The population was increasing. What were its means of subsistence? From the description we have given of the Peruvian plateau it can well be imagined that they were far from sufficient. For the most part, arable lands were few and poor; the valleys themselves, like that of Cuzco, were incapable of feeding groups even moderately prolific. Thus, the population was unevenly distributed.
It was so dense in the fertile regions that Squier compared Peru to China. Thus, Cuzco and Ollantay were built on rocky slopes, and the coastal towns of Pachacamac and Chincha were situated outside the territory that the rivers could render fertile. The staple food of the Peruvians was maize.
This plant is remarkably well suited to poor soil and primitive processes of cultivation. Because of the way it grows, the number of stalks it can put forth in a given space is severely limited, and this makes it easier to cultivate. It is not necessary for the entire surface of the field to be conscientiously ploughed; it is enough to dig holes in the ground at the proper intervals and to bury the seeds in them.
No cereal produces such a crop as this, and its stalks provide a fodder that is superior to wheat straw. It is of better quality in the cold regions, where it has a long period of nurture, than in the warm valleys of the coast. Maize is the sacred grain of the New World. Ondegardo tells us that the harvests were poor three years out of five and that in certain villages, notably in the Collao, the Indians reaped only a fifth of what they needed to support life.
He adds that in a good many districts there were harvests only every six or seven years. Next to maize, it was vegetables that played the most important part in the diet of the Peruvians. A number of other plants also provided food for the population. Salt was plentiful in Peru and was found near both Tumbez and Cuzco. As we shall see later, hunting was strictly regulated.
There were few domestic animals. The Indians had a sort of duck,  a great many guinea pigs—the only animals on the coast—and dogs. A few tribes of northern Peru enjoyed the flesh of these last, but in the central provinces dogs were considered more of a liability than an asset because they had to be fed; this is the reason why only a small number of them were to be found in pre-Columbian America, although they multiplied rapidly after the Spanish conquest.
Lastly, the inhabitants of the plateau used to eat certain rodents the abrocome, the viscacha, and the agouti and certain marsupials the opossum , the bones of which have been found in the tombs of Machu Picchu. Not only were these two species used as beasts of burden, but their wool served as raw material for the manufacture of textiles, their flesh as meat, and their dung as fuel. Along with maize, the llama formed the basis of the whole economy of the plateau.
The Spanish conquerors, at a loss for a name to denote this animal, with which they were unacquainted, would sometimes call it the big sheep and sometimes the small camel. The latter appellation is rather felicitous, for the grass of the puna ychu is all the food the llama needs to satisfy it, and it can go entirely without food and water for several days. It does not need to be shod, for it has cloven hoofs, nor to be saddled, for its thick fleece is sufficient protection; it has no fear of the cold, and it likes high altitudes.
It is rarely encountered north of the equator, where there is a dearth of ychu. It can scarcely carry more than a hundred and ten pounds for a distance of twelve and a half miles a day. It is not very intelligent, for a rope stretched in front of it below the neck is enough to keep it from moving forward; it does not have the sense to take a slight movement backward and lower its head so as to pass under this obstacle. This makes it easy to pen up whole flocks of them.
It eats only during the day and chews its cud at night. The alpaca, or paco, the wool of which is longer and silkier than that of the llama, is even less suited for use as a beast of burden. At the time of the Incas, the members of the ruling class possessed great flocks of llamas, frequently numbering more than five hundred head.
Among the common people, every head of a family owned a pair of llamas. He had the right to kill and eat the young offspring, and, in addition, to receive some sides of meat at the time of the royal hunts; but with certain exceptions that we shall consider later in discussing livestock allotments this amounted to a rather meager total.
No one knows whether the llama really prevented cannibalism, as some maintain,  but this beast was certainly a blessing to the poor Indian of the plateau. It constituted an article of exchange of the first rank and made it possible for the inhabitants of the very cold regions to procure by this means the maize they needed. And the Indian showed his affection for the llama in a thousand touching ways.
The llama is not only a useful animal; it is graceful as well. No doubt the llama of today carries much merchandise unknown to the Incas, but the animal itself has not changed since pre-Columbian days any more than the man who drives him or the profile of the mountains and the horizon of the plateau. On the coast, fish naturally occupied a large place in his diet, but it was very rare on the plateau, for no fish could live in those torrential streams.
The diet of the Peruvian Indians was thus primarily vegetarian. Garcilaso, who tried to enumerate all the things the Peruvians lacked, was obliged to draw up a list of impressive length. Desolate stretches of grass, rocks, or sand; a dearth of water on the coast; insufficient warmth on the plateau; a scarcity of animals—all made for a perpetual struggle for survival and growth.
The Indian is a man continually on the defensive in the struggle for existence. Only external conquest and an internal organization that left no place for waste could enable a people to live under these conditions. No doubt it would be a great mistake to believe, with the Marxists, that economic factors explain everything; for the troubled times that followed the disappearance of the civilization of Tiahuanaco could have continued, the excess population could have been wiped out by civil wars or in the wake of a series of famines, and the Spaniards would have found the country in the state in which they found the coasts of Darien and New Granada.
But from the moment when an intelligent and ambitious leader stood forth and asserted himself, he was obliged to begin the struggle against Nature. The pressure of population on the means of subsistence was one of the determining factors in Peruvian policy, and we feel its influence acting throughout all phases of the drama in which the Incas played their historic role. Elsewhere in the same book ch. The general histories avoid this difficult subject of the Peruvian population.
The Spanish demographic statistics of the sixteenth century are fiscal, representing only the taxable inhabitants from eighteen to fifty years of age , and it is therefore necessary, in order to calculate the whole population, to multiply these figures by an arbitrary coefficient—four, four and a half, or five. Epidemics seem to have decimated the population on a number of occasions before the Spanish conquest.
This is not correct. There can be no doubt about the total decrease in population, and the majority of the Spaniards acknowledged it. Marcos de Niza speaks of territories in which the population had dropped from eighty thousand to four thousand Relation , F. These figures are fantastic, but the fact of depopulation is certain.
According to M. But the Inca empire did not include all this territory, for the eastern part of the first three and the southern part of the last were outside its territories; on the other hand, it included the Andean region northwest of Argentina. The Inca used to give his provincial governors the right to assign wives to their principal officials.
Among the Chibchas marriage took place by purchase. Restrepo, Los Chibchas , p. IV, ch. VI, ch. A description of the Indian family of the present day will be found in the last chapter of this book. It includes a feature-rich libraries and SDK that makes building 3D project as easy as possible. Wallpaper backgrounds can even be animated.
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