The Incas (Peoples of America) Essay

The IncasIntroduction:Terence D”Altroy’s book “The Incas” is researched based and has the authenticity of a good product on the subject.

To make one understand the Incas in the proper perspectives, he covers all the important areas and provides complete details as for history, social organizations, useful general information and economic production. The book is not meant for the casual reader but for the serious student of history, as for its vicissitudes and the growth of Incas. Terence begins his narratives from the decades following the Conquest. In the book of this genre, anthropological theory is important for providing proper explanations of the many stages of development. He shows understanding and awareness about historical change and how such changes subsequently resulted in social change. He relies on the archeological finds as well as the written sources, both Spanish and native. They are intertwined in healthy proportion.

The slant of writing and description is primarily historical. The author’s objective is to provide complete derails about the Inca tribes, their life, living and struggles and viewed from this perspective, the author has served the purpose very well. At the zenith of its fame, the great empire of Incas covered an area of Western South America. How a small Andean Society in Southern Peru made extraordinary progress and savagely beaten a century later by the overwhelming forces of Spanish Conquerors. The book explores the entire empire from Chile to Ecuador.     When the author highlights the progress made by the Andean Society, he elucidates the stage from which they have prospered by giving details about their ritual practice, architecture and accounting methods.  The interesting system of ‘khipu’ rope-knotting techniques that they used to detail the movement of goods and transmit laws, are explained in depth. The book gives authentic details about their cult of the dead and the relics and bones of those buried.

They serve as an interesting tool to document the cultural aspect of the era. Even in the modern era, serious tribal conflicts are routine, where a number of tribes live in a particular geographical area. Many such instances can be quoted from the present African countries. But Incas was a great empire with a number of different tribes and also people from Andean Plateau.     The cause of Incas defeat at the hand of Pizzarro was amazing. A bare 168 soldiers did the trick of outsmarting 80,000 Inca army. The unbelievable fiasco within the Incas army was worth careful analysis, because that was the beginning of the doom of the Inca Empire.

The incident took place on Friday, November, 1532. Pizzarro faced the dismal prospectus of saving his own life and that of his men. Inca Prince Atawallapa refused to receive them as he was completing a fast at the hot springs of Konoj to celebrate his victory in a war over cuzco’s throne. This indiscretion on the part of the King of not assessing the situation and the enemy’s intention properly and providing the enemy a day’s time was his gravest undoing. By next evening the King was Pizzarro’s prisoner.

      The devastating defeat of such a big army by the Spanish forces was attributed to their horses, steel and germs. The part not achieved by the Spanish army was completed by the diseases they brought with them. Another believable theory was that the Spanish intelligently applied the policy of divide and rule. They enlisted in the army the local tribes to fight the Incas.

This view was substantiated by the research of Guillermo Cock, the Peruvian archaeologist, who discovered an old Incan burial ground on the borders of Lima. He mentioned about some Incan graves and also graves of other natives of the region. The bodies are mutilated, with bows on the skull and many broken bones. Many of the graves are not in the methodical style of Incans. One body has the bullet wound that can be attributed to Spanish Guns.

  One more theory doing round is, other Indian tribes played a dominant role n vanquishing the Incas. In this connection, the mention of Francisco’s concubine is made. The Inca rebellion was put down not by the Spanish Cavalry, but by the army assistance provided by the concubine’s mother, a tribal chief, at the request of her daughter, to help Pizarro. The Spanish invaders, apart from plundering the wealth, indulged in the heinous acts of destroying the civilizations of the Incas, including the burial sites. Even though they came in small numbers, they intelligently applied the ‘divide and rule’ policy.

They succeeded in instigating one tribal chief against the other, to secure their own position. Spaniards suppressed the local people and took all steps to eliminate the traditions. Their unique farming system was as put to an end. One member from each family was forced to work for long hours, and when he died the family was obliged to send his replacement.     At its height, the great empire of the Incas encompassed an area of western South America comparable in size to the Roman Empire in Europe. This book describes and explains its extraordinary progress from a small Andean society in southern Peru to its rapid demise little more than a century later at the hands of the Spanish conquerors. The Incas is the first book to fully synthesize history and archaeology in an exploration of the empire from Chile to Ecuador.

Drawing from commentaries and research by hundreds of chroniclers, explorers, and scholars, the account explains how the Incas drew from millennia of cultural developments to mold a diverse land into a dynamic, powerful, and yet fragile polity. From this integrated perspective, The Incas profoundly rethinks the nature of imperial formation, ideology, and social, economic, and political relations in Inca society. Illustrated with numerous maps and photographs, this scholarly yet accessible book will become the new standard account of the most impressive of the pre-Columbian civilizations of the Americas.Conclusion:Terence is an outstanding and well-published scholar and is an authority on the history of Inca Empire. He is the world’s leading expert on Incan civilization and with his research and study of written material; he has provided a bold new history of Incas. The book coves five countries of the entire Andean region, and ten million people. It has abundant maps, photographs and figures and serves the purpose of the general readers as well as the scholars. Terence is eminently suited to write his book.

He is the Professor of anthropology at Columbia University and this world’s leading Inca specialist is the Director of the Columbia Center for Archaeology. He has authored many books, Provincial Power in the Inca Empire (1992) Empire and Domestic Economy (2001-co-author) and co-editor of Empires (2001)                                                                        ======