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Inca empire

The last and greatest of the states of the pre-Columbian Americas. At its peak in about 1500, the Inca empire comprised much of modern Peru, Equador, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. It ruled around 12 million people. The Incas were a Quechua-speaking people of the Peruvian Andes. According to Inca traditions, Manco Capac founded the Inca state at Cuzco (c.1200-30). Spectacular expansion began under Pachacutec (r.1438-71) and continued under his son Tupac Yupanqui (r.1471- 93). A war of succession broke out on Huayna Capac's death (1525) between his sons Huascar and Atahuallpa. Atahuallpa's victory came only months before the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro invaded the fatally weakened empire in 1532. Though Inca resistance to the Spanish continued for many years after Atahuallpa was executed by Pizarro in 1533, the Inca empire died with him. The Inca state was highly organized, had an extensive road system and a rigidly hierarchical social structure. The emperor, considered an incarnation of the sun god Inti, had autocratic powers. The Incas consolidated their conquests by imposing their language and culture on conquered peoples. The civilization was not original but drew on 2,000 years of Andean tradition.

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