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The Incas of Tahuantinsuyo, the largest empire in South America


The Inca Empire or Tahuantinsuyo was one of the home to one of the most important pre-Columbian cultures in America and the most important in South America. More than a dozen were the Incas who commanded this empire from its beginning to its peak and in PeruRail we tell you who were the Incas who ruled the Tahuantinsuyo.

Although through the years historians have proposed that there could be 13 or 20 Incas who ruled Tahuantinsuyo, we have selected those of which an agreement has been reached and have been able to be located in time with greater certainty.

Manco Cápac (1043-1088): He was the founder of Tahuantinsuyo and the first Inca of the empire. Under his reign, the Inca people settled in the valley of Cuzco, a decision that led them to have to constantly defend themselves with cultures such as the Aymaras and the Pinaguas that saw the Incas as an invading people. In addition, he is in charge of creating the first Temple of the Sun

Sinchi Roca (1088-1117): Son of Manco Capac. The second Inca is the one who establishes the custom of using the typical Inca ornaments, one of them being the Mascaipacha. In addition, he was commissioned to expand the Temple of the Sun created by his father due to its precarious structure.

Lloque Yupanqui (1117-1145): The government of this Inca was characterized by the maintenance of the territory conquered in Cuzco and the solution of conflicts with some neighboring manors.

Mayta Cápac (1145-1176): Being still small when he took command of the Tahuantinsuyo, his uncle supported him in the command of the empire. Once an adult and capable of autonomous command, the Tahuantinsuyo already represented a significant threat to peoples such as the Aymara.

Cápac Yupanqui (1176-1228): This man came to power through a plot against his cousin Tarco Huamán, the legitimate heir to the throne. Known for being fierce, he was able to dominate ethnic groups such as the Cuntis. He is the one who left the most offspring.

Inca Roca (1228-1277): Like his predecessor, he came to power through a coup against Cápac Yupanqui. This is the first to be called Inca or supreme governor and he was in charge of attacking some ethnic groups to expand their territory and weaken the power of Señorío Ayamaca.

Yahuar Huaca Yupanqui (1277-1298): He was in charge of suppressing curaca rebellions of Muyna and Pinahua. In particular, no great feats are attributed to his reign.

Viracocha (1298-1349): He conquered the dominions of Yucay and Calca, improved the agricultural system and the Inca infrastructure. However, the Chancas requested his surrender by surrendering their dominions and he accepted.

Pachacútec (1349-1408): This was the one who converted the Inca state from a curacazgo into the great Tahuantinsuyo empire. After successfully defending the Inca territories in Cusco from the Chanca, he conquered a significant number of ethnic groups and states. This made the prestige of the Incas grow and, in particular, that of Pachacútec. He is recognized as one of the most successful rulers of Pre-Columbian America and responsible for the construction of Machu Picchu as a religious and resting place. Machu Picchu is one of the greatest Pachacútec legacies that we still have from the Incas and that is visited every year by thousands of tourists in the company of PeruRail. The Inca Citadel is the living representation of the intelligence of the Incas at the time of building in places of complex geography, for which it has generated the admiration of thousands of engineers and architects around the world. Such is its importance to world history that in 2007 it was declared one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World.

Amaru Yupanqui (1408-1438): He was the first-born of Pachacútec and it is said that, due to his lack of war skills after a short term co-reigning with his father, he was replaced by his brother Túpac Yupanqui.

Túpac Yupanqui (1438-1481): First as heir to the throne and then as Inca, he was in charge of warlike campaigns of conquest and exploration. This led him to Quito in the north and to the Rio Maule in the south. Tribes such as the Opotari, Manú and Yanasimi were annexed to the empire.

Huayna Cápac (1481-1523): He dedicated himself to consolidating the territories conquered by his father. In addition, in order to silence the rebellious revolts in some provinces, he displaced the current Villac Umo and for the first time in the imperial era of Tahuantinsuyo an Inca concentrated the political and religious power of the empire. In his period, the construction works of the Sacsayhuamán fortress began by Pachacútec, this imposing structure is composed of large stone blocks joined with incredible precision. It is said that more than 20 thousand men had to move all the rocks used in the construction. The fortress of Sacsayhuamán is an incredible panorama to visit before or after enjoying the magnificent Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu, especially if you travel in the company of PeruRail.

Huáscar (1523-1532): After the death of his father and Ninan Cuyuchi (royal heir to the throne) of Virela, Huáscar was named Inca. However, this decision did not please a large number of nobles and even Huáscar’s brothers. They all began to organize a coup to put their brother Cusi Atauchi on the throne. Upon realizing this, Huáscar ordered the assassination of all those involved. This did not prevent years later from creating a warlike conflict with his brother Atahualpa, who had great power from Quito and a large number of the best generals of Tahuantinsuyo. Finally, Huáscar succumbed to the power of his brother.

Atahualpa (1532-1533): After the Inca civil war, Atahualpa was in Cajamarca on his way to Cusco to be crowned Inca and met the Spanish expedition led by Francisco Pizarro. In this instance a meeting was agreed between the Inca emperor and the Spanish, it is here when the friar Vicente de Valverde, gives him a bible that Atahualpa would throw to the ground, after which Pizarro ordered his men to capture the Inca.

Despite the fact that Atahualpa offered and fulfilled in exchange for his release to fill the room in which he was confined twice with silver and once with gold, “as far as his hand could reach”, Pizarro betrayed him and murdered him. In this way, Atahualpa is recognized as the last Inca because despite the fact that later some were named, these were imposed by the Spanish, therefore, they are not as important as the previous ones.

The Spanish invasion began little by little with the end of the history of the great empire of Tahuantinsuyo. However, to this day, the legacy of the Inca civilization can be seen in the different places they inhabited and above all in cities such as Cusco and its surroundings. Proof of this are the wonder of the world Machu Picchu, the Coricancha Temple, the fortress of Sacsayhuamán and many other places in Peru.

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