Friday, April 24, 2015

The Rise of the Inca State and Empire – Part II

Continuing with the fates that awaited the Lamanites after their 65 year war with the Nephites resulted in the complete destruction of that nation and the death of every Nephite man, woman and child. As stated in the last post, while we do not know what happened to the Lamanites following Moroni’s last entry around 421 A.D., in which the 25-year civil war among the Lamanites was still raging with no end in sight, we have quoted from a poem by Chauncey Thomas who relied on Fernandez Montesinos history of the Inca and their predecessors in describing their lives during this time. Chauncey’s poem continues: 
           And thus a thousands years had passed,
           Like created waves that roll on
           To break along a rock-bound shore,
           Then sink back silent in the vast abyss.

No truer words could be written about the lives of the Lamanites following the fall of the Nephite Nation—there is no written history, no record of their long-lasting civil war, their history for a thousand years did indeed sink into the vast abyss of silence as Lamanite generation after Lamanite generation was born, fought and died, as time passed like the constancy of waves rolling up on the beach moment after moment, day after day, year after year, without a change. 
          So had the noisy years for ages gone,
          Scattered their fretful foam athwart the world, 

          And sunk to silence in the endless past.
          A thousand years of war.
What more appropriate result of unrighteous debauchery performed by the Lamanites in their final 65-year war with the Nephites that Mormon so aptly describes, where men, women and children prisoners of war were sacrificed to idol gods. Yet though the Book of Mormon ends with the defeat of the Nephites, the lives of the conquering Lamanites no doubt went in a way that is so aptly characterized by Chancey’s poem: 
          Oh sympathy ‘tis will thou canst not scan
          With pitying eye the boundless world of woe the past hath known, 

          Else thou wouldst weep thine eyes away in grief, 
          And bless thy loss that thou no more could see…
          Our schemes o’er thrown, enemies bolder grown, 
          Days without peace, and nights without repose, 
          Friends turning cold, aye, many cold in death, 
          Yet colder than the dead, are friends estranged… 
One can easily feel the depression of this period where no hope, no chance for repose (rest), no peace could enter the soul. Where men for generations seemingly without end suffered and paid the price of their evil ancestors’ destruction of a once-righteous people who, themselves, fell from grace and suffered their own terrible destruction. 
         All this and other ills not yet complete,
         Do but destroy our inborn love of life,
         And make most welcome that which endeth all.

A thousand years of war, a heavy price to pay for the Lamanite people as a whole, who lived in the buildings once built and part of the Nephite Nation, using the roads the Nephites built for “there were many highways cast up, and many roads made, which led from city to city, and from land to land, and from place to place” (3 Nephi 6:8), building back up their societies, their cultures, a workable way of life not entirely based upon war and bloodshed.
    In the area of Cuzco, the people who later became known as the Inca were mostly a pastoral tribe, that around 1400 began a period of cultural development. While some of this was innovative, most was built on already proven, sustainable techniques and complexes developed by previous societies, originating back to the first Peruvians, the Nephites. Buildings existed, roads of magnificent size and scope were already in place, impressive monuments, plazas, and stonework covered the land.
Terraced agricultural fields date back to B.C. times throughout Andean Peru
     After a prolonged period of cultural development, agricultural growth from existing terraced lands and irrigation canals allowed for a larger population and the tribe, which would become the Inca began to assert itself in the area. By 1438 A.D., a leader named Pachuti rose to power within the tribe’s counsels and developed the idea of Tawantinsuyu, what would eventually be called the Inca Empire. The name Pachakutiq in Quecha means “he who shakes the earth,” an obvious appellation he bestowed upon himself as he took his little hamlet of Cuzco and built it into an empire over the next 33 years, a fete that was possible only because of the lengthy and extremely disrupting civil war among the various tribes of Lamanites.
     By 1463, the Inca had a growing army, which was led by the Inca’s son, and they turned their attention to the north. At Pachacuti’s death in 1471, his son, Tupac Inca Yupanqui, became the Inca and began conquests to the north of those tribes who would not willingly join the kingdom, which was slowly growing into an empire.
     The Inca, in their rise to power, understood the need to intimidate their enemies and other tribes. They began claiming past peoples, victories, military achievements as their own, folding them into their pantheon of earlier “emperors” they created, giving them names and dates of rule, though several overlapped and some didn’t really fit in at all, but no one seemed to notice. This new Inca leader acquired the title Emperor, and proclaimed a glowing history of his forebearers and those of the Inca in general.   
     The Inca sent spies into other regions which they wanted to bring into their growing kingdom. The Inca offered presents and luxury goods such as high quality textiles, promising these regional groups they would be materially richer as subject rulers of his “Empire.” As the fame spread about this new “Inca” tribe, with their inflated past accomplishments and newly acquired line of hierarchal kings, most other groups and tribes accepted Inca rule as a fait accompoli and acquiesced peacefully.
The Inca used intimidation through shows of power, inhumane treatment of those they fought and executed, and sheer numbers as they spread their own propaganda through the land bringing most others into line without a single battle
     Children of another ruler’s family would be brought to Cuzco to be taught abut Inca administration systems, then return to rule their native lands. This allowed the Inca to indoctrinate the former ruler’s children into the Inca nobility and, with luck, marry their daughters into families at various corners of the expanding kingdom.
     The Inca used a variety of methods, from peaceful assimilation to intimidation to conquest in order to incorporate a large portion of western South America, centered on the Andean mountain ranges, into their Empire. Túpac Inca's son Huayna Capac added a small portion of land to the north in modern-day Ecuador and in parts of Peru. At its height, the Empire included Peru and Bolivia, most of what is now Ecuador, and a large portion of what is today Chile north of the Maule River. By the time the Spanish arrived, the Empire had extended into the Amazon Basin, into corners of Argentina and Colombia, creating an amalgamation of languages, cultures and peoples. The components were not all uniformly loyal, nor were the local cultures all fully integrated. But it was, nevertheless an Empire of great power.
The capture of Inca Atahualpa in 1533 that ended the Inca Empire, though rebellious parts survived for another forty years 
      By 1532 as Frances Pizarro loomed on the horizon, the Inca had existed for only 94 years, and the Empire for not quite fifty. Within a year, the Inca ruler would be dead, the Spanish would be in charge, and the Empire would be a thing of the past—though the Inca line would live on with rebellions from time to time, it would finally be conquered in 1572.
     During that 94 years, the Inca, which started out with around 40,000 population, massed a growing army of 200,000 warriors, and a professional cadre of generals and officers who had to earn their positions, had gained control of nearly all of western South America, controlling between 12 and 16 million people. A fete that never could have occurred had the Inca not already had such an infrastructure in place as buildings, palaces, irrigation, magnificent roads, and a weak opposition of fragmented tribes who, themselves, were just coming out of parts of this long, drawn-out civil war.
(See the next post, “The Rise of the Inca State and Empire – Part III,” for more on the period of time between the Inca rise to power and the coming of the Spanish, and how little chance there was for the Inca to do much other than build up their Empire rather than build magnificent buildings roads and highways that now cover the land)

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