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A Quechua-speaking tribe which had a empire that stretched from the Pacific coast across the Andes to the Atlantic and from Ecuador 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometers) southward to central Chile.
The Incas conquered this vast territory in a single century, and ruled its people through a highly organized government. In their capital, at Cuzco in Peru, lived the emperor called "The Inca" who was regarded as a god on Earth.
The nobles were a strong and gifted group. They developed among the people great skill in handicrafts, building, and architecture, and they accumulated fabulous wealth in gold and silver. They had no form of writing, but kept records by means of an intricate system of knotted cords called quipus.
Despite the absence of the wheel, the Incas achieved a high level of civilization, with massive stone and adobe buildings and an extensive system of roads. But when the Spaniards arrived in 1532, the empire had been weakened by civil war (1525-1532) between Huascar and Atahualpa. Its fall to Pizarro and his handful of men is considered one of the tragedies of history.
After a few disastrous rebellions, the spirit of the people was broken. Oppression continued through centuries. There are now estimated to be fewer than 3 million pure Incas. The ancient population is said to have been between 8 and 10 million.
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Sources: Article is scheduled to be reviewed.
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