Machu Picchu
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The Inca government
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Organization of the Inca Government

It is difficult to imagine an empire, to function without information encoded in a paper; But that is how it worked, the well-ordered Inca State. The empire of the Incas, like most complex civilizations around the world, developed some kind of system that regulated the relations between its members, between people, things and between groups of people. It is known that the word statistic, comes from the word state, referring to a network means and channels of communication within a territory. The organization of the Inca government had to be splendid, otherwise it would have been very difficult to manage “the greatest ancient empire of the Western Hemisphere,” or to make possible the construction of cities like Machu Picchu or Cusco, the capital of the empire of the Incas.

The Inca
The Inca was the highest authority of the Tahuantinsuyo

Political Organization of the Inca Empire

The Inca Civilization had a monarchical and theocratic government where the maximum authority was “the Inca”, advised by the imperial council. The Inca state was divided in 4 “suyos” and each one was in charge of a Tucuy ricuy or Ticui ricoj, that acted like a species of governor of this territory. Power in the Inca empire was exercised in the following order.

  • The Inca was the highest authority of the empire, the Inca emperors were attributed a divine origin, and titles of Sapan Inca: as “divine Inca” and “unique Inca.”

  • The Imperial Council was the maximum body, entirely dedicated to the advice of the Inca, was composed of 8 people.

  • The governors of his own (suyuyuq), were four the rulers of each his.

  • The crown prince (auqui). The tradition of the auqui was instituted by the Inca Pachacútec, founder of Machu Picchu, and Tupac Yupanqui was the first auqui.

  • The High Priest of the Empire (Willaq Uma).

  • The Amautas or masters (hamawt’a).

  • The General of the Imperial Army (Apuskipay).

Social Organization of the Inca Civilization

Inca society was hierarchical and rigid; Forming a pyramid where the Inca was at the head, in an empire where there existed great differences between the social classes. These differences were respected by every one of the inhabitants of the Empire, and the people, which was the great majority, constituted their social base.

Social Classes in the Inca Empire

  • Royalty:

    • The Inca, the Auqui (son of the Inca), the Coya (wife of the Inca)
    • Royal Panacas: Relatives of first line (first generations of each Panaca).
  • Nobility:

    • Nobility of blood: Remaining members of Panacas (relatives).
    • Nobility of Privilege: People who stood out for their services; Priests and Acllas; High bosses.
  • The village

    • Ayllu Hatun Rune: The village in general (peasant).
    • Mitimaes: Groups relocated to colonize new regions by teaching people new customs.
    • Servants of the Inca and the Empire. Many of them were prisoners.
Economic activities Machu Picchu
Demonstration of fabric in Andean camelid wool

Economic activities developed in the Empire of the Incas


  • Agriculture.- It was the base of the economy of the empire of the Incas, the lands were communal. Each family had its land to grow and feed. The greater number of members in the family, the greater the amount of land. “La minka” was the way they worked the land; By this method the agricultural tasks were carried out by means of mutual community assistance, in the event that an individual had so much work that he could not with him, or in case of orphans, sick and widows. One of the best areas of cultivation of the empire, was the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

    Potatoes and corn were the basis of the feeding of the Incas, complemented by llama meat and alpaca. Up to 200 different species of potatoes were grown because of their color, shape and size. They learned to dehydrate the potato to avoid its decomposition; Storing them, to ensure the feeding of his army. Their diet was supplemented with vegetables and grains such as olluco, quinoa, tomato, pumpkin, chili, goose, beans, peanuts (from which they extracted oil) and fruits. The Incas used superposed terraces known as platforms to take advantage of the land and water to the maximum, gaining space of culture in the slopes of the hills.

  • Livestock.- The Incas domesticated poultry, hunted wild birds and also fished; But they were the llama and the alpaca in particular, the camelids who played an important role in their economy. They were used as animal load, as source of wool and as food.

  • The Inca Trade.- It was based on the exchange of products between the different regions of the Empire. The dry fish arrived from the coast to the mountain range of the Andes, by the network of Inca roads constructed by the town. In the same way, the inhabitants of the coast received the agricultural products coming from the andes.

Forms of Work in the Empire of the Incas


  • The Mita was a system of work in favor of the empire. It was a shift work in building roads, forts, bridges, urban centers, temples, irrigation canals and mining, etc. There were special jobs, like the freighters of the Inca stilts, chasquis, dancers and musicians. The people forced to perform this task were adult males married between 18 and 50 years, but not women.

  • The Minca, minka, or minga was the work done in favor of the ayllu; Communal work for free and in shifts. Whole families participated in state constructions, such as irrigation canals, as well as help in the farm of disabled people, orphans and the elderly. No person refused, if they did, they were exiled and expelled from the Ayllu and the empire

  • The Ayni was a system of reciprocal family work among the members of the ayllu; Agricultural work and the construction of houses were carried out. It consisted of the help of a group of people to a family; Which had to correspond in the same way.

The greatest achievement of the Inca civilization was the City of Machu Picchu, it was so well organized that it could comfortably keep its inhabitants, without depending on the outside world. If you want to know this masterpiece of the Incas, check the availability of Machu Picchu tickets. There are many people who want tickets to Machu Picchu, and there are only 2500 tickets available, so you have to book them in advance.


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