The rise and fall of the Inca Empire – Gordon McEwan

The rise and fall of the Inca Empire – Gordon McEwan

It was the Western Hemisphere’s
largest empire ever, with a population
of nearly 10 million subjects. Over an area of more
than 900,000 square kilometers, its people built massive
administrative centers, temples, and extensive road
and canal systems. They did so in an inhospitable,
extreme terrain, all without the use of wheels,
horses, iron, or even written language. Yet within 100 years of its rise
in 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 emerged
from a cave called Tambo Toco. Leading four brothers
and four sisters was Ayar Manco, who carried a golden staff
with instructions to find the place where
it would sink into the ground, showing fertile soil. After many adventures
and extensive searching, Ayar Manco and his siblings
reached the Cuzco Valley, where the staff pierced the ground. After fighting off the fierce
local native population, they founded their capital, and Ayar Manco became Manco Capac,
the first Sapa Inca, or king of the Incas. Archaeological evidence suggests that the Incas first settled
in this valley around 1200 CE. They remained a small kingdom until 1438, when they were nearly overrun
by 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 became
the ninth Inca ruler, assuming the name of Pachacuti,
or “Cataclysm.” Pachacuti expanded Inca rule
throughout the Andes mountains, transforming the kingdom into
an empire through extensive reforms. The empire’s territory was reorganized
as Tahuantinsuyu, or “four quarters,” with four divisions ruled
by governors reporting to the king. Although the Inca had no writing, they used a complex system
of knotted strings called quipu to record numbers
and perhaps other information. A decimal-based bureaucracy
enabled systematic and efficient taxation
of the empire’s subjects. In return, the empire provided security,
infrastructure, and sustenance, with great storehouses containing
necessities to be used when needed. Great terraces and irrigation works
were built and various crops were grown in
at different altitudes to be transported all over the empire. And it was during Pachacuti’s reign that the famous estate
of Machu Picchu was constructed. Pachacuti’s son Topa Inca continued
the empire’s military expansion, and he eventually became ruler
in 1471 CE. By the end of his reign, the empire
covered much of western South America. Topa’s son Huayna Capac
succeeded him in 1493. But the new ruler’s distant military
campaigns strained the social fabric. And in 1524, Huayna Capac
was stricken by fever. Spanish conquistadors had arrived
in the Caribbean some time before, bringing diseases to which
the native peoples had no resistance. Millions died in the outbreak, including Huayna Capac
and 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 winning
the Inca civil war, Atahualpa and his army
encountered the European invaders. Although greatly outnumbered, Francisco Pizarro
and his small group of conquistadors stunned the king’s much larger force
with guns and horses, neither of which they had seen before. Atahualpa was taken captive
and killed about a year later. The Spanish conquerors
were 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 to
a new capital at Vilcabamba and resisted for the next 40 years. But by 1572, the Spaniards had destroyed
all remaining resistance along with much of the Incas’ physical
and cultural legacy. Thus, the great Inca empire fell
even faster than it had risen.

100 thoughts on “The rise and fall of the Inca Empire – Gordon McEwan

  1. Thank you so much to everyone who has started supporting our mission on Patreon! If you're interested in getting involved, check out our Patreon page to learn more:

  2. I have that book by Charles Mann 1491 America before Columbus. It’s full of information about indigenous Americans

  3. I got really intrested in the inca after reading Tintin and the temple of the sun, and i think that even tho the tintin portraition isnt the best realisticly speaking, but it made me want to know more about em, and after i saw that the incas could be played in civ 5 i was exited. And now i just wanted to know more about the incas so this video was really intrestinc.

  4. The leyend is been fixed to feet the national needs of the Peruvians to avoid embarrassment that the funders of the inka empire were born in. The island of the sun wich is Bolivia 🇧🇴 to be correct the funders. manko kapaj and mama ocllo were direct descents of THE TIAWANAKU CIVILIZATION sorry for my English

  5. Interestingly enough, it’s thought that the people of my tribe (P’urhépecha) are distantly related to the inca, as our language is distantly related to quechua with no other language relatives

  6. ‘’It was the Western Hemisphere’s largest empire ever”

    British Empire (Dominion of Canada): am I a joke to you?

  7. So let me get this straight , there was a place called Mexico , that contained Aztec , which fell to conquistadors, that then later a place called New Mexico was born , out of New Mexico the atomic weapon was realised , from that realisation it was created , then in 1945 civilised Americans kill 129,000–226,000 people by dropping two atomic weapons (half of those numbers was within one day) in two Japanese places on the same day ……

    And you tell me human sacrifices don’t happen anymore ….. 🤔

  8. While Native American Empires are interesting, they did not have the same impact on the world as Old World Empires like Egypt had.

  9. The Spanish rules the planet with cruel inhuman and not even following the teaching of the Bible,even they're Christian?,…it shame to us to be human.

  10. Good video. But the incas built their capital upon monolithic ancient ruins they found, and attempted to repair, but the differences were painfully obvious. They built with a form of concrete and rubble, the ruins they repurposed used stone blocks of pink granite weighing dozens of tons. They could not transport the stone from the quarry across the valley, nor could they shape the rocks having no metal that could shape, cut, or barely scratch granite. Fyi.

  11. Exactly what i was looking for! Some names, some truly history more than how did they manage to live in such places.

  12. I thought that creation story was for the Aztecs. That's actually the creation story for the Hopi too. So thier all related?

  13. And I feel it bears mentioning that the Inca had something a lot of other Amerindian cultures didn’t: domestic Llama and the similar Alpaca. These animals gave the Inca wool with which to make all that counting string, as well as warm, durable clothing to help survive the harsh Andean climate. Without them, I doubt there could have been such a successful empire in an environment like the Andes mountains.

  14. I am part Chilean and I am glad I learn from Ted history. They should definitely have a program focused on teaching

  15. I really enjoy Ted-Ed videos. Albeit, sometimes they are too short or compressed. Like this one. Rather than naming several heirs to the throne, I think it would have been more interesting to talk about their culture, infrastructure, technological advancements, and knowledge breakthroughs if there were any. This would let us gain an insight into their way of living.

  16. So are you saying that these civilizations actually didn't just mysteriously disappeared like what pop culture and conspiracy theories say rather they were actually just overthrown by conquerors? Very plausible.

  17. This animation is soo soo beautiful, unlike anything I have ever seen before! Watched the video twice for the sake of it!

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