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Lost Civilizations of the Andes (1)

Lost Civilizations of the Andes (1)

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Published by Sohrab
an interesting collection of information and illustrations publicly available from the web at: http://davidpratt.info/homepage.htm
an interesting collection of information and illustrations publicly available from the web at: http://davidpratt.info/homepage.htm

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Published by: Sohrab on Dec 12, 2010
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Lost Civilizations of the Andes
David Pratt
January 2010
Part 1 of 2 
Part 1
1.The Incas2.Pre-Inca cultures3.Transoceanic contacts4.The Nazca lines
Part 2
5.‘Inca’ stonemasonry6.‘Inca’ sites7.Tiwanaku
1. The Incas
In 1532 Francisco Pizarro and a small band of Spanish mercenaries landed on thedesert coast of Peru and made their way into the Andean highlands. At that time theInca empire – known as Tahuantinsuyu, or ‘land of the four quarters’ – stretched 5500km, from southern Chile to modern-day Colombia, and had a population of over 10million. The Spaniards enticed the Inca ruler, Atahualpa, to a supposedly peacefulmeeting and took him captive, promising to release him if a huge ransom was paid – aroom full of gold and two of silver. The ransom – worth about $50 million by today’sstandards – was duly paid, but the conquistadors then strangled Atahualpa to deathand marched on Cuzco, the Inca capital.Manco Cápac, Atahualpa’s half-brother, was appointed puppet ruler, but after a fewyears of obedience, he rebelled. In 1536 the Inca army gathered outside the walls of Cuzco and in the fortress at Sacsayhuaman. A fierce battle with the Spaniards ensued.
Lost civilizations of the Andes (1)1
Thanks to their powerful war-horses, steel weapons and sheer audacity, less than 200conquistadors managed to defeat 100,000 Inca warriors, putting 1500 of them to thesword. Within a few years, and with gold-hungry reinforcements pouring in fromPanama, all serious resistance to the Spaniards was destroyed. The Incas’ last junglerefuge, at Vilcabamba, fell in 1572.There were several reasons why the early stages of the conquest of the mighty Incaempire were largely accomplished without major battles. First, the Incas were divided:the death of the 11th Inca ruler, Huayna Capac, around 1527 was followed by a civil war in which Atahualpa deposed his brother Huascar. Second, after the arrival of theSpanish in Central America, infectious diseases such as smallpox swept through SouthAmerica, reducing the population by two-thirds. Third, the 8th Inca ruler had prophesiedaround 1432 that within five generations foreigners would come and conquer the Incas.Huayna Capac later said that he would be the last emperor, and instructed his sons andthe rest of his court to obey and serve the invaders.
The conquistadors were thereforeinitially seen as ‘viracochas’, a reference to the Incas’ legendary white culture-bringer and creator god, Viracocha. However, due to their greed and brutality they were soonreclassified as devils.The Inca people are said to have arrived in the Cuzco area in the 12th century AD.Atahualpa was the 13th Inca ruler since that time. However, Peruvian priests and thedescendants of the amautas, or sages, told Blas Valera, the son of a conquistador anda female native, that their kings went back to 1220 BC.
At first the Incas collaboratedpeacefully with other ethnic groups in the Cuzco region. Around 1430 the Chancas fromthe north invaded the area. After defeating them, the Incas began the age of expansionunder Pachacuti. Quechua was made the official language, and sun worship the officialreligion.
Lost civilizations of the Andes (1)2
Fig. 1.1
Inca expansion.
The Inca pantheon was presided over by Viracocha, followed by Inti, the sun god, andPachamama, the earth goddess. ‘Viracocha’ is usually said to mean ‘foam of the sea’,but more literally it means ‘fat of the sea’, fat being a symbol of life and strength.Another possible interpretation is ‘tilted plane of the (celestial) sea’ – a reference to theinclination of the ecliptic to the celestial equator.
According to Inca mythology, the firstruler of the Kingdom of Cuzco was called Manco Cápac. In one legend, he was the sonof Viracocha, and in another, he was brought up from the depths of Lake Titicaca byInti. The Inca sovereign was held to be the ‘child of the sun’.The Maya of Central America believed that they were living in the fourth world-age,which is widely thought to end in 2012. The Aztecs held that the current age was thefifth. The Incas likewise believed that their own culture was the fifth age, or fifth ‘sun’. Inthe first age, people were nomads, lived in caves and had to fight off wild animals. Inthe second, they lived in crude round houses in fixed settlements. In the third agepeople multiplied, practised weaving, built houses like those of today, grew crops and
Lost civilizations of the Andes (1)3

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