Most historians recognize the fact that the empire of the Incas in Peru was one of the great civilizations that was lost due to the expansion of the Europeans into the New World. The Incas were once an empire boasting with riches and controlling a large portion of the west coast of South America. Until the arrival of the Spanish, the Incas did their own thing within their culture, with few outside sources affecting them. This paper focuses mainly on the role that the Spanish played in changing and eventually eliminating the culture that was the Incas. Facts drawn from outside sources will illustrate the changes the Incas made from the pre-Columbian age to their unfortunate downfall. Also mentioned will be the actual invasions by the Spanish and the cultural change in the Spanish after the conquests.
The Europeans at the time of Columbus' first voyage probably did not expect to find such a large array of civilizations when they landed five centuries ago. Not only was the vast number of tribes awesome, but the technology that some had was much more than anticipated. The Incas, like many other tribes, built great structures mostly as religious shrines or temples. Some well known areas are especially laden with these structures: Machu Picchu, Cuzco, and Lima. The religion of the Incas is may seem familiar to anyone who has heard of any indian religion, but it does contain a flavor that separates it from other religions. The Incas were a polytheistic culture, believing in one supreme god, and a few lesser gods. When referring to the Supreme Being, the Incas called him Viracocha. That name had been passed down over centuries, used for worship of the Creator and Ruler of the Universe. The Incas were ...
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...ves any longer. They were allowed to go about their business after the conquest for the most part. Spanish men married Inca women, and the two cultures began to become interracial. Spanish ministers set up communities to help the indians learn the religion and give the sacraments. Had the Spanish not conquered these indians, another nation probably would have. The money-complex was too strong in Europe to worry about the misfortunes of other people. As long as the people of Europe were satisfied, that was all that mattered.
Means, Philip A., Fall of the Inca Empire. Gordan Press Inc., New York, 1964.
Lockhart, James, Spanish Peru, 1532-1560. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 1968.
Baudin, Louis, Daily Life in Peru. The Macmillan Company, New York, 1962.
Markham, Sir Clements, The Incas of Peru. AMS Press Inc., New York, 1969.
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