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Friday, January 20, 2017

The Incas and Governing an Empire

Governing an Empire
The Inca Empire covered three very different environments: the dry Pacific coast, the hot and humid eastern foothills of the Andes, and several highland plateaus surrounded by rugged mountains.

To link the many regions of their empire, the Incas built more than 14,000 miles (22,526 km) of roads. Two main roads ran the length of the empire, one through the mountains and the other along the coast. Many smaller roads connected the two at different points along the way.

Inca roads were built differently, depending on the environment. Stone causeways led over swampy areas along the coast. On steep mountainsides, roads took the form of stone steps. In the highlands, swaying rope bridges hung across deep canyons.
Along the Inca roads relay teams of runners carried messages, and llamas moved goods. Inca transportation worked so well that Incas in Cuzco could enjoy fresh fish caught in the Pacific Ocean.

Roads could connect the many parts of the empire, but roads alone could not bring the people together. To win loyalty, the Incas showered newly conquered peoples with gifts of cloth and food. They also allowed those peoples' former chiefs to take part in governing.

The Incas made sure, though, that the conquered people learned Inca ways. They brought the sons of conquered chiefs to Cuzco. There they taught them Inca ways to take back to their people. Quechua (KECH»wah), the Inca language, became the official language all through the empire. People were free to worship their own gods only after saying that the Inca gods were more powerful.

To support Inca rule, each household in the empire had to pay a labor tax. For part of each year, all men had to work for the government. They served in the army, cared for government-owned farms and herds, and built roads, bridges, or cities. Most conquered people were able to stay in their homelands. Flowever, some were sent to live in new places. This practice was called mitima (mee»TEE»mah). Mitima helped the Incas begin new communities. It also prevented rebellion by breaking up large groups of conquered people and spreading them throughout the Inca Empire.

What steps did the Incas take to make newly conquered peoples part of the empire?


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