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The Incas were South American Indian people who ruled one of the largest and richest empires in the Americas The Inca Empire began to expand about 1438 and occupied a vast region that centered on the capital Cusco in southern Peru The Empire extended more than 2500 miles 4020 kilometers along the western coast of South America It included parts of Present - Day Colombia Ecuador Peru Bolivia Chile and Argentina The Inca Empire was conquered by Spanish Forces soon after their arrival in 1532 Inca emperors ruled their far - reaching territory through a complexed political system The Incas took over many areas by military force Their political system kept a balance between the central authority of the emperor and local rulers The name Inca was originally the title of the emperor The peoples he governed had many names But after the Spanish conquest all people under the emperors rule were called the Inca Inca is a group name which covers a large numbers of tribes The original Incas were Quechua speakers who lived in South - Eastern Peruvian highlands Tribes later conquered by the Incas tended to assimulate Inca culture to the exclusion of their own In the 15century led by Pachacuti Inca Yupaqui and his son Topa Inca the Inca Empire exploded over the Andes Both leaders claimed to be descendents of the sun the most important symbol in Inca religious life When Topa Inca died in 1493 Pachacutis Andean domain ran nearly 2500 miles from North Ecuador into Chile and covered some 350000 square miles The Incas are famous for their intricate gold work and elaborate weaving For subsistence they relied on terraced and irrigated cultivation and very little on hunting and fishing In the mountain areas the main crop was quinoa and in lower areas maize beans peanuts and squash They kept llamas alpacas dogs guinea pigs and dogs Men worked copper and gold and women made fabrics and
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