The Inca Civilization essay
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The Inca Civilization essay example:
Around 1300 C.E., the Andes mountain range contained a revolutionary civilization, the Incas. The Inca incorporated elements and aspects of past Andean civilizations to create and mold themselves. The Inca civilization included a very intelligent and thoughtful group of various cultures. The Inca were a very successful group of people, which was the result of a strong government, which rivaled many other governments that came after it. Keeping watch over the Inca was a powerful leader, Pachacuti, who controlled his civilization with a use of various techniques. The Inca civilization of pre-Colombian American used concise and astute methods to control its peoples.
The Inca civilization, also known as the Twantinsuyu, commanded its people through an overpowering government, which was centralized, organized, and had the ability to seize a large portion of land through the use of a strong military. Inca, known as Pachacuti (1438-1471 C.E.), initiated military alliances and campaigns, which gave them the ability to seize lands, which included the entire area from Cuzco to the shores of Lake Titicaca. They extended control over this vast area throughout Pachacuti’s reign. By 1520, the Inca would rule an area of almost 3000 miles. The people under the rule of Pachacuti were controlled by an ingenious government, which had state organization and bureaucratic control. That government had achieved a new level of integration and domination not known in North and South America. The incredible civilization of Twantinsuyu was separated into four provinces, each with its own governor or leader, and divided into smaller districts. Each district had 10,000 people each, to get even more control over the people. The governors of each province were brothers and sisters of the royal family, which tightened the screw even more to get control over its people. The people in each of the provinces were required to pay a labor tax (mita). The labor tax was collected in terms of doing actual labor. One example of paying this tax was assigned labor on state and church lands, building projects, and mining.
Labor tax, or Mita, was essential for the Inca to control its people throughout the Andes. The government and the provinces had a balanced system. The provinces gave loyalty and labor to the government, and the government gave them goods some independence. Roles and obligations were gender specific and were equal and interdependent. Women were required to weave high quality cloth for religious ceremonies. Woven cloth had a political and religious significance. Women had as much work to do as the men. The men had a job, which included the expansion of Inca civilization. The men would have to join the military.
The military was a strong factor in the ability for the Inca to control its peoples. The military was another way to pay off taxes. Conquered peoples were also offered to join and quite often would accept. In order to keep those people who were controlled under military satisfied, the government would reward them goods from conquests. These goods were rare for other Inca. In return, the government required loyalty. The military conquest was successful because it was guided by a huge well-equipped army and it practiced diplomacy, in which the Incas offered the elites of the region the choice of submitting peacefully, backed by the threat of armed conquest. The Inca were not only a military based society, but they also demand their people to be organized and educated.
The Inca civilization was able to control its people by organizing them and also educating the unknowledgeable. The Inca was controlled by an organized but very complex road system. Throughout the Inca civilization a complex system of roads, bridges, and causeways were built as needed by the people.
Along these integrated and complex roads, came way stations. These way stations were spaced a day’s walk apart and their purpose was to be a host for inns, supply centers, and a storehouse. This method of roads provided great trade between peoples of the Inca. The Incan government also required education and applied the spread of Quechua, the language of the Inca, as the means of unifying and integrating the area the Inca had conquered. Each land conquered was added to the Inca civilization for rule. By teaching the language to the conquered people, the Inca were able to control those people easily. Quechua was taught near and around Cuzco, where Pachacuti resided at that time.
Quechua speakers from Cuzco were sent to freshly conquered lands to provide an example and garrison. The people of the provinces remained loyal to the Inca because they had freedom to do many local practices. The Inca gave local rulers in the provinces, also known as curacas, privileges. In return for the privileges the Inca required loyalty, which the Inca cherished so much. The Inca would also cherish a strong religion. The Inca religion centered around the sun.
The Inca civilization controlled and commanded its people by ensuring them that they were ruled by a man who was considered to be in the same realm and world as a god. The Incan religion centered on the worship of the sun. The ruler, or Inca, was worshipped as a god who was a descendent of the sun god. The capital city of Cuzco was considered to be the center of the universe, and one can still see the ruins in Cuzco of a large temple dedicated to the sun. In order to maintain the loyalty to the sun god’s descendant the Incan government did not allow the worship of local gods. The people of the Inca truly believed that Inca was a man who is closer to the spirit of the sun god than anyone else on the planet. Proving the Incas loyalty and worship of their leaders, past rulers of the Inca would be mummified and then treated as intermediaries with the gods. The cult of the dead weighed heavily on the living. Religion was a true part of Inca culture and was part of everyday life.
The mighty empire of the Incas collapsed abruptly in 1532 C.E. with the arrival of a small band of Spanish conquerors led by Pizarro. The Inca king, Atahualpa, had believed the light-skinned Spaniards were demigods and trusted them. This made it easy for Pizarro to capture and later execute Atahualpa. Although the Incas greatly outnumbered Pizarro’s band of 180 soldiers, the Incas’ primitive weapons were no match against the Spaniards’ guns and canons. The Incas were quickly defeated and their ruler was killed. During the long period of Spanish domination huge numbers of Incas died from the diseases brought by the Spaniards, as happened also with the native people in Central America and Mexico. Those natives who did survive had to work more or less as slaves on the plantations and in the silver and gold mines run by the Spaniards.