Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Inca and Pre-Inca: Let’s Be Realistic About This – Part II

Continuing with “Were the Inca the builders and creators of the fantastic construction found in Andean Peru?”
As to the famed Inca building and roads, let us keep in mind that this was a small tribe before the 1430s, in which surrounding tribes continued to do battle, with one, the Chanca (Chanka) from Andahuaylas (modern Apurimac), a small, but much larger tribe from the mountains to the West of Cuzco, a group of tribes historically known as rebellious and fearless warriors. They were known to have existed around 1400 A.D., reaching their height during that century. They were intimidating warriors, who painted their faces, and screamed when fighting and carried the mummy of their grandparents on their shoulders, were bloody in battle and much feared. Their ferocious manners in battle were meant to be intimidating, and at their height, which would have been in the 1430s, they attacked Cuzco with an estimated 40,000 men. Though small in size the Inca in Cuzco seen by the Chanca as easy prey, and no doubt would have been except for the subterfuge of the Inca who built life-size stone figures of warriors around Cuzco to convince the Chanca they were a much larger people with far more warriors than really existed.
So sure of an easy victory over the Inca, as the Chanca approached Cuzco, they divided their troops into three armies, sending two on to Contisuyo and the third took the Cuzco Road. According to legend developed by the chronicler Betanzos, the Inca ruler, a now old and tired man, left Cusco to its fate and took refuge together with his son Urco in the fortress of Chita. In this context, a hero figure appeared to defend Cusco, the young prince Cusi Yupanqui, to be later known as Pachacutec, who, with his followers constructed and appropriately dressed, an "army" of stone soldiers standing guard in front of the city and ready to go into battle.
    Soon, the Chanca were rushing down the hillside of Carmenca, brandishing their weapons and emitting war-whoops. They came covered in red war-paint with their hair braided in tiny battle-style pigtails, rushing headlong into the camouflaged pits the Inca had dug. A curaca (ruler of the Choco-Cachona áyllu) called Chañian Curi Coca, having patiently awaited the enemy approach, then attacked with such a ferocity that he defeated the Chanca in his quarter and, based on the Inca legends, “even stone soldiers built by the priests came to life and took part in the battle,“ becoming “the pururaucas, mysterious allies of the Incas” that spread horror among the panicking Chanca soldiers.
Pachacutec made offerings to leaders of other tribes in Cuzco Valley to join them in defending the city against attack

Prior to the attack, Cusi Yupanqui tried to make alliances with his neighbors, but they decided to await the result of the battle so they could take the victor's side. Now, to decide the outcome of the battle, Cusi Yupanqui, or Pachacutec, sought out the Chanca chief Uscovilca, killed him, captured the sacred idol he carried, and by showing it to the Chancas demoralized them and precipitated their flight. However, shortly afterward, the Chanca regrouped, but Cusi was victorious again, this time thanks to help from neighboring tribes who had seen his earlier victory. The Incas rushed in pursuit of their enemies and captured some valuable loot that would help them to further the expansion of their future empire.
    Having soundly defeated the Chancas, Cusi Yupanqui gathered his booty and prisoners and traveled to the fortress where Viracocha and Urco were hiding. According to legend, the father transferred his power to is other son, Urco, on the spot and sough to kill Cusi Yupanqui who had left for Cuzco; but the younger son knew his father’s tendencies, was prepared for the attack and defeated those who sought his life. Reaching Cuzco, Cusi appropriated the "imperial tassel"—the sign of Imperial power, even though the sign of the Incas was the rainbow and two parallel snakes along the width with the tassel as a crown, which each king used to add for a badge or blazon those preferred, like a lion, an eagle and other figures—and at the same time, according to ancient custom changed his name to Pachacutec Inca Yupanqui, which was the real beginning of the Inca in Cusco, now called the golden age of Cusco.
Inca expansion, a highly impressive achievement in and of itself, can be traced to the beginnings of the fifteenth century when, in less than a century the small highland kingdom taken over by Pachakuti became an empire of major dimension and now forms one of the modern chapters of Andean history. Between 1438 and November 15, 1532 when the Spaniard Francisco Pizarro reached the Peruvian town of Cajamarca, the Inca launched their small community on political growth and wars of expansion. In that 94-year-period, with the last five years taken up in a civil war (Dynastic War) between the two half brothers over the succession of the Incan throne, Huáscar and Atahualpa, sons of Huayna Capac by different mothers, really leaving only an 89 year period for growth and expansion.
    Then, considering the three earlier years when Pizarro was in the Andes and Atahualpa was busy trying to learn his intentions, we come up with basically an 86 year period where the Inca would have and could have been involved in building and expansion of their empire. The successive rulers of the Incas were well chosen and Pachacutec as founder was succeeded by his son, the empire builder Tupac Yupanqui and he in turn by Huayna Capac, the great statesman.
This expansion took the Inca from the small valley of Cuzco northward to the Ancs Maya, which is now known as the Patía River in southern Colombia all the way in the south to the Maule River in Chile, and eastward from the Pacific Ocean to the edge of the Amazonian jungles, covering some of the most mountainous terrain on earth. In that 86 years, the Inca had expanded their empire from the small region of Cuzco to an estimated 690,000 square miles just before the arrival of the Spaniards.
    This vast area of land varied greatly in cultures and in climate. Because of the diverse cultures and geography, the Inca allowed many areas of the empire under control of local leaders, who were watched and monitored by Inca officials. However, under the administrative mechanisms established by the Inca, all parts of the empire answered to, and were ultimately under the direct control of, the Emperor. Scholars estimate that the population of the Inca Empire numbered more than 16,000,000 at the time of the Spanish arrival.
    In that short 86 years, Huayna Capac was the son of the previous ruler, Túpac Inca,  and the grandson of Pachacuti, the Emperor who had begun the dramatic expansion by conquest of the Inca Empire from its base in the area around Cuzco. In the three generations of these rulers, historians claim that while fighting wars on four fronts, against hundreds of tribes, they built 25,000 miles of Inca roads, and the most impressive fortress and complex structures ever seen by man, such as Sacsayhuaman, Tiahuanaco, Ollaytambo, Machu Picchu, etc., many of which took numerous years to build and required skills the Inca never acquired or demonstrated—some of which are difficult to understand even in today’s modern, technical world among engineers and builders, including the movement of huge blocks of stone that weighed as much as 100 tons and more over several miles of mountainous terrain, fitted with remarkable precision that would be extremely difficult to achieve in our world today.
    The idea that all of this was attributed to the Inca is beyond understanding—especially, when the Inca themselves told the Spanish conquerors they had no idea who built such areas as Sacsayhuaman and Tiahuanaco.
(See the next post, “Let’s Be Realistic About This – Part III,” for more information about the early Inca, who they were, where they came from, and the accuracy of their achievements)

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