Mayan, Incan, And Aztec Civilizations Incan Roads And Bridges

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Incan Roads and BridgesMayan, Incan, and Aztec CivilizationsINCANROADSANDBRIDGESThe Incas built one of the ancient world's best transportation systems. They built roads and bridges tokeep the empire together. The transportation system allowed them to havefast communication between villagesand cities. They also used it to movefood and other supplies. The roadsalso allowed military troops to movefaster .moreThe Incan roads stretched forthan 10,000 miles. The Incas .-- '%. :-I /.: . ,'-".::-' ----- .II'--'"'""""'' '-'--II had two major roads. The Royal Roadwas 3,250 miles long. It went from thenorthern border of the empire through Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia into Argentina and Chile.The other major road, thecoastal highway, was 2,520 miles long.The Apurimac Chaca, the hanging bridge over theApurimac River in Peru, was one of the most famous ofthe I ca.n chacas. It is known as The Bridge of San LuisRey In literature.rr -,, , /I'l - ."11 .cIt ran from the village of Tumbes in the north, through the desert, then into Chile.Several other roads ran between the two major ones. The standard width of the roadswas 24 feet. They were narrower only when natural barriers were in the way. The roadsincluded side walls to keep out sand drifts and to mark the road. There were also markersalong the road to tell the distance to the next village.Incan workers provided the labor to build the roads as part of the .'labor tax" they paidto the government.Government engineers directed the workers.The roads belonged to the government. No one could use the road without specialpermission.The Incas did not use wheeled vehicles on their roads. The travelers andmessengerswalked to their destinations.The Incas used llamas to carry goods on theroads. They built rest houses called tampus about every 12 to 20 miles along the roads. Inaddition to providing a place to rest, most tampus also had food available.The Incas built causeways to elevate the roads in swampy areas. They also builtamazing bridges, which they called chacas. The hanging bridges are the most famous ofthe Incan chacas. One Incan bridge was over 250 feet long. Built in 1350, it lasted unti11890.The Incas used the fibers of the maguey plant to weave the cable for the bridges. Themain cables were from four to five feet thick. Incan workers had to replace the cables aboutevery two years.The I ncas also built pontoon bridges made of reed boats tied together. Another typeof Incan bridge had a basket hung from a cable stretched between two stone towers.Travelers got into the basket, and a workman then pulled along the cable to the other side.'0;e MarkTwainMedia,Inc., Publishers60'L

Mayan, Incan, and Aztec CivilizationsThe Llama: The Animal of the Incas"'fI THEILLAMA:;"r.c.THEiANIMALOFTHEINCASThe most importantanimalto the"Incas was the llama. It was the only largenative animal of the Western Hemisphereto be tamed. The horse and cow came tothe Americas later. The Incas were theonly people of South or Central America touse animals to help in their work.The llama is a member of the camelfamily.der and It aboutis aboutfourfourfeetfeetlongtall plusat itsa shoultail ofabout six inches. An adult llama can weightup300OdpounThs.IIehamaIasasden,-'/.The Iama was used as a pack animal by the body, long neck, and long thin legs. Its head is similar to that of a camel. It has large eyesand a pointed snout with a split nose. Its hooves have two toes.Although the llama does not have a hump like its cousin the camel, its body storeswater well. The llama can travel great distances without needing water .The Incas used llamas to carry food and trading goods throughout the empire. Theanimal is well suited to the rugged mountains of the Andes. It also adapts well to highaltitudes. The llama can carry loads of about 100 to 130 pounds and can easily travel sixto 12 miles per day over uneven ground. On flat ground it can travel 20 to 25 miles in oneday. The llama can even run faster than a horse when necessary.The llama was, and still is, a source of wool. Its wool is thick and greasy and comesin a variety of colors. The Incas used llama wool to make blankets, ropes, and sacks to carrygoods. They tanned the hide of the llama to make leather. Many Incas used this leather tomake sandals.The llama was also a source of food. The Incas dried llama meat in the heat of theSun. Charquiis the Incan name for dried llama meat. Our word "jerky" comes from the Incanword charqui.T oday the llama is still an important animal in the Andes Mountains. The descendants of the ancient Incas use the llama in much the same wav as their ancestors did.(i} MarkTwainMedia,Inc.,Publishers69

Mayan, Incan, and Aztec CivilizationsThe IncasTHE INCAS; ,The early history of the Incas is a mystery.Since the Incas never developed a system of writing,we must rely on the writings of their Spanish conquerors for any Incan history that we know. We canalso study artifacts of the ancient cities for clues tothe early Incas' story.We do know some Incan myths. One earlystory is that the sun god created the first Incan,Manco Capac, and his sister. The god told them togo and teach other Indians. They went into thewilderness to establish a city. They named their cityCuzco, and it became the capital of the Incan empire. a'""'-,The Incas probably began as one of manysmall tribes in the Andes Mountains. At its peak, theIncan empire spread through parts of what are nowPeru, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina. The The Incas conquered a vast empire inIncan land included desert, fertile valleys, some rain South America, constructed a 12,000-mileforests and the Andes Mountains.road system, and developed terrace farm,.ingand irrigation systems.The Incas conquered most of their territoryunder the leadership of Pachacutec, who ruled from 1438 to 1471. The Incas crushed mostof the other tribes during brutal fighting.The Incan empire was so large that they built a system of roads that stretched over12,000 miles. The Incas did not use wheeled vehicles on their roads. The great road systemwas for pedestrians. Only the road system of the ancient Romans was equal to that of theIncas.The Incas developed terrace farming. They cut terraces into the steep sides of themountains to create more farm land. They also dug irrigation systems to bring water fromthe mountain streams to the terraces. Many of the Incan roads. terraces, and irrigationditches are still in use today.The llama was an important animal for the Incas. They tamed the llama and used itfor transportation of men and materials. The llama also provided the Incas with wool andfood.The Incas developed a counting system that used a based of ten. They used a quipusto remember numbers. The quipus had a main cord about two feet long. They tied manycolored strings to the main cord. Each string had knots tied in it. The color of the strings andthe distance between the knots had special meanings.The Incan civilization was at its peak when the Spanish arrived. Francisco Pizarroled the Spanish invaders against the Incas. After a series of fierce battles, the Spanishdefeated the Incan king, Atahualpa, and in 1533 he was killed. The descendants of theIncas, like those of the Mayas and Aztecs, continued to live under the rule of the Spanish.e MarkTwainMedia,Inc.,Publishers45

Mayan, Incan, and Aztec CivilizationsIncan Agriculture .-. I.Many of the foods we usewere also part of the Incan diet.farmers grew a greater variety ofthan any other ancient AmericantodayIncancropstribe.,,v.,.,\. .They grew potatoes, com,tomatoes,avo:cados, peppers, strawberries, peanuts, ;cashews, squash, beans, pineapples,chocolate, and other crops.iThe potato was the most impor- tant food of the Incas. The y called it 'I : ",-,;0.':'.: . .::. --:: .'i. . " .-. :I{papa. The Incas had many varieties and.n.'-' 'r,colors of potatoes, and today we know of Using step-Iike terraces carved into the mountain40 of those varieties. The potato becamesides, the Incas created more flat land for crops. Thethe main source of food for the Incas terraces, which are still used today, also helped consince they could plant it at great heights trol soil erosion.in the Andes Mountains.Some of the varietiesof potato would also resist the frosts of theregion.The Incas used the first known freeze-dried process. They left the potatoes outsideto freeze. Then the Incas trampled the potatoes by foot to squeeze the water out of them.Next they left them in the sunlight to dry .The Incas called these dried potatoes chufiu. TheIncas preserved chuiiu either whole or ground into flour. Chuiiu would last for years withoutspoiling and was easy to store. The Incas were able to eat it throughout the year .Corn was another important Incan crop. The Incas planted over 20 varieties of corn.Corn is called maize by many Indian tribes. The Incas named it sara. Corn was grown onlyin the lower regions.The mountains presented farmers with special challenges. T o create enough flatland for the crops, the Incas carved flat step-Iike terraces into the mountain sides. Theterraces also helped to keep the soil from being eroded. Modern Andes farmers still usemany of the ancient Incan terraces.Planting the crops was a group effort. The men would break up the soil with plantingsticks. The women then followed, putting the seeds into the earth. The children often workedin the fields to scare away birds and animals that might eat the crops before the harvest.The Incas also developed a system to carry the water of the mountain streams to theterraces. They dug canals and tunnels and built raised aqueducts to carry the water. TheIncan water system is still in use today.Farming was the subject of many Incan religious ceremonies. After the plantingseason, the Incas made sacrifices to the rain god. At another major festival, the Incasthanked the gods for a good harvest.@ MarkTwainMedia.Inc.Publishers51

Mayan, Incan, and Aztec CivilizationsCITIESTHE" I iItII. :"' 1i"Cities of the IncasOFINCAS' The Incas were masterbuilders. They had the best plannedcities in the ancient Americas. Planners laid out the cities in a grid.Each city had a central plaza, withthe major temples and public build-,.Jings surrounding it. The center ofeach city included temples, a palace for the visiting Inca, and housing for the priests andHouses for the commonnobles.people -::::r.: -7:-Incan architects used trapezoidal openings for the doors andwindows in .their buildings. The buildin s were made of hugecut and polished stones set perfectly In place.surrounded the central area.A wall that was 50 feet high encircled the city of Chimu. However, most Incan citiesdid not have walls around them. The Incas built large stone fortresses near the city. Thecitizens would gather inside the fortress in time of danger .Incan buildings remain among the most amazing ever built. The Incas used hugeblocks of stone. One stone measured 36 x 18 x 6 feet. They cut and polished each stonewith small stone tools and then moved each stone into the proper place. The stones fittogether perfectly, so the builders did not need to use cement to keep them in place. Eventoday, a knife blade cannot fit into the cracks between the stones of the ancient buildings.The Incas used trapezoidal openings for all of their doors and windows. The foursided openings were smaller at the top than at the bottom. The Incas did not decorate theoutside of their buildings, but they made beautiful decorations for the insides of the palacesand temples. They often used solid gold for these decorations.The two most famous Incan cities are Cuzco and Machu Picchu. Incan legend saysthat the first Incan ruler founded Cuzco. This happened in about A.D. 1100. Cuzco soonbecame capital of the entire empire. It is in a mountain valley about 11,000 feet above sealevel. Two rivers flowed into the valley to supply water.Wars and invaders destroyed the ancient city. In 1400 Cuzco was rebuilt. The newcity had two large plazas, the Inca's palace, the Sun Temple, and other temples andgovernment buildings.The best preserved Incan city is Machu Picchu. Explorers rediscovered it in 1911.Its ruins include temples, palaces, military buildings, and common houses. The Incas ofMachu Picchu built terraces for farming. They also had a stone aqueduct to bring in waterfrom a mile away.@ MarkTwainMedia.Inc.Publishers63

Incan ReligionMayan. Incan, and Aztec CivilizationsLike the other Indian tribes, the Incasworshipped many gods and goddesses. Themajor Incan god was the god of nature,Viracocha, the creator .Another Incan god was Inti, the sungod. Gold was the symbol of Inti. The sungod temple is the most important structure inCuzco, the major city of the Incas. The Incasbelieved Inti was, the father of Incan rulers.They worshipped the ruler as a living god.Major Incan goddesses includedthose of the earth and the sea. The Incasalso worshipped m any lesser gods and goddesses. These included gods of thunder ,the Moon, stars, rainbows, and others.The Incas believed they could learn-h. II f hd b dDt e WI 0 t ego s y Ivmmg.Ivmmg ISstudying objects to find magic signs. Priestswould look at things such as animal organs,flames of a fire, or movements of animals, and".Winged attendants of the thunder god areshown in profile rather than full face. The figureshave rayed headdresses and carry staffs.from these they would try to discoverif it wasa good day for planting crops, going to war, or making other important decisions.In addition to the gods and goddesses, the Incas worshipped hUBCBS. A huaca wasa scared place or thing. Huacas included mummies of the dead, temples, holy places, andthings of nature such as mountains, springs, and stones. Each Incan family had smallstatuesin their homes of huacas. The statues were sacred to that family.Religious ceremonieswere an important part of Incan life. Each family had dailyprayers to their huacas. The priests performed daily ceremonies at the various temples. Thehigh priest was a favorite relative of the ruler .The Incas held a major religious festival during each of the 12 months of theircalendar. The Incan year began in December with the Capac Raimi. This means "themagnificent festival." This was the most important and elaborate of all celebrations. PaucaHuaray, in March, celebrated the ripening of the earth. The June ceremony of Inti Raimi wasthe festival of the Sun. Uma Raimi, the festival of the water, occurred in October.Some rituals happened inside the temples. The great monthly festivals occurredoutdoors. All of the people could take part in them. The celebrationsincluded dancing,feasts, games, songs, and parades. The ceremonies also included sacrifices and offerings.Incas sacrificed animals such as the llama and guinea pigs. At times human sacrifices,includingeMarkTwainchild sacrifices,Media,Inc.,were part of the rituals.Publishers48

Mayan, Incan, and Aztec Civilizations Incan Roads and Bridges INCAN ROADS AND BRIDGES The Incas built one of the an-cient world's best transportation sys-tems. They built roads and bridges to keep the empire together. The trans-portation system allowed the

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