Who were the Inca people? What were they best known for?
- Answer requested
- by Pamela Eastland
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- History buff since childhood. CSL & Eco added to Medieval lore. + Classics.
- Answered just now
- In fact, Inca is not the name of the people, but of the rulers.
An Inca is the counterpart to a Pharao.
Except, this is a bit insulting to Pharaos, since Pharaos are not known for human sacrifice, Incas are.
At the change between one dead and next live Inca, regularly a virgin was sacrificed.
So, among some Spaniards, the Peruvian previous to Spanish conquest are best known for human sacrifice.
Other speciality, chewing coca leaves in order to endure the tax which was exacted in labour. I think this was coca leaves with lime, so it was the equivalent of taking cocaine.
But let’s not rest on only bad things. Quechua is a tongue which is still alive, it is a tongue in which verb forms are conjugated also for evidentiality - you can’t say “she died”, you have to choose between:
- a form meaning you saw her die or heard her death scream
- a form meaning you heard from someone else that she died
- a form meaning you inferred she was dead (like if you wrote to her and she did not answer - bad example for an Inca period, since quipus were perhaps not used as we use writing)
- a form meaning you guess she died, but you really can’t tell for sure.
They also cultivated the potato and maize (what in US is considered as “corn”).
They also tamed the llama or alpaca.
They also are the prime wearers (after Ancient Roman times) of a clothing known as Poncho, and their headgear is useful in the cold to this day, here we are dealing with a Swedish imitation:
And you know what - they kept most of these things up even after the Spanish conquest.
Not the quipus, though.
One more thing, a convert who had learned writing from Christians also wrote down the orally passed down story of the Inca rulers. The first of them had - before a trek leading to Peru - managed to claim he was the son of the Sun.
“Manco Cápac (Quechua: Manqu Qhapaq, "the royal founder"), also known as Manco Inca and Ayar Manco was, according to some historians, the first governor and founder of the Inca civilization in Cusco, possibly in the early 13th century.”
Manco Cápac - Wikipedia