It was the Western Hemisphere’slargest empire ever,
with a populationof nearly 10 million subjects.
Over an area of morethan 900,000 square kilometers,
its people built massiveadministrative centers, temples,
and extensive roadand canal systems.
They did so in an inhospitable,extreme terrain,
没有依靠车轮 马匹 铁器
all without the use of wheels, horses, iron,
or even written language.
Yet within 100 years of its risein 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 emergedfrom a cave called Tambo Toco.
Leading four brothersand four sisters was Ayar Manco,
who carried a golden staffwith instructions
to find the place whereit would sink into the ground,
showing fertile soil.
After many adventuresand extensive searching,
Ayar Manco and his siblingsreached the Cuzco Valley,
where the staff pierced the ground.
After fighting off the fiercelocal native population,
they founded their capital,
Ayar·Manco 更名为Manco·Capac 成为第一位Sapa·Inca
and Ayar Manco became Manco Capac, the first Sapa Inca,
or king of the Incas.
Archaeological evidence suggests
that the Incas first settledin this valley around 1200 CE.
They remained a small kingdom until 1438,
when they were nearly overrunby 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 becamethe ninth Inca ruler,
assuming the name of Pachacuti,or”Cataclysm.”
Pachacuti expanded Inca rulethroughout the Andes mountains,
transforming the kingdom intoan empire through extensive reforms.
The empire’s territory was reorganizedas Tahuantinsuyu, or”four quarters,”
with four divisions ruledby governors reporting to the king.
Although the Inca had no writing,
they used a complex systemof knotted strings called quipu
to record numbersand perhaps other information.
A decimal-based bureaucracyenabled systematic
and efficient taxationof the empire’s subjects.
作为回报 帝国提供了国防 公共设施
In return, the empire provided security,infrastructure, and sustenance,
with great storehouses containingnecessities to be used when needed.
Great terraces and irrigation workswere built
and various crops were grown inat different altitudes
to be transported all over the empire.
And it was during Pachacuti’s reign
that the famous estateof Machu Picchu was constructed.
Pachacuti’s son Topa Inca continuedthe empire’s military expansion,
and he eventually became rulerin 1471 CE.
By the end of his reign,
the empire covered much of western South America.
Topa’s son Huayna Capacsucceeded him in 1493.
But the new ruler’s distant militarycampaigns strained the social fabric.
And in 1524, Huayna Capacwas stricken by fever.
Spanish conquistadors had arrivedin the Caribbean some time before,
bringing diseases to whichthe native peoples had no resistance.
Millions died in the outbreak,
including Huayna Capacand 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 winningthe Inca civil war,
Atahualpa and his armyencountered the European invaders.
Although greatly outnumbered, Francisco Pizarroand his small group of conquistadors
stunned the king’s much larger forcewith guns and horses,
neither of which they had seen before.
Atahualpa was taken captiveand killed about a year later.
The Spanish conquerorswere awed by the capital of Cuzco.
Pizarro described it as so beautiful
that “ it 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 toa new capital at Vilcabamba
and resisted for the next 40 years.
But by 1572, the Spaniards had destroyedall remaining resistance
along with much of the Incas’ physicaland cultural legacy. Thus,
the great Inca empire fell even faster than it had risen.