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Inca Empire

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History >> Aztec, Maya, and Inca for Kids

When the Spanish arrived on the west coast of South America in the 1500s, a large portion of the region was ruled by the powerful and sophisticated Inca Empire. The Empire had ruled much of the region since the early 1400s. The center of the Inca Empire was the city of Cusco.

Pre-Inca Empire

2500 BC - Around this time people in the region began farming. They grew potatoes, corn, cotton, and other crops. They also started forming villages.

900 BC - The Chavin civilization begins to form in the northern Andes highlands.

850 BC - The Chavin build the city and temple of Chavin de Huantar. It is located around 160 miles north of where Lima, Peru is today.

700 BC - The Paracas civilization begins to form.

200 BC - The Chavin civilization collapses.

100 AD - The Nazca civilization begins to flourish. The Nazca are known for their complex textiles and ceramics. They are also famous for the Nazca Lines drawn in the desert floor. These lines form the shapes of large animals when viewed from the air.

200 AD - The Paracas civilization collapses.

600 AD - The Huari civilization begins to form in the area.

800 AD - The Nazca and Moche civilizations come to an end.

1000 AD - Many more cultures begin to form in the area during this time including the Chimu.

1200 AD - The Chimu build their capital city Chan Chan.

Inca Empire

1200 AD - The Inca tribe, led by Manco Capac, founded the city of Cuzco in the Cuzco Valley region.

1200 AD to 1400 AD - The Inca live in and around the city-state of Cuzco. During this period of time they do not try to expand their area of control.

1438 AD - Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui becomes the leader of the Inca. He begins to conquer nearby tribes and expand the control of the Inca Empire. He reorganizes the government into the Tawantinsuyu and builds the city of Machu Picchu.

1471 AD - Tupac Inca Yupanqui, Pachacuti's son, becomes emperor. He will greatly expand the Inca Empire.

1476 AD - Emperor Tupac defeats the Chuma Empire and their lands become part of the Inca Empire.

1493 AD - Huayna Capac, Tupac's son, becomes emperor. The Inca Empire will reach its peak under the reign of Huayna Capac.

Decline and Fall of the Inca Empire

1525 AD - Emperor Huayna Capac dies from a plague. This was likely smallpox brought by the Spanish conquistadors. A large portion of the Inca population will die from smallpox and other diseases over the next several years.

1525 AD - The sons of Emperor Huayna, Atahualpa and Huascar, fight over the crown. The Inca Empire fights a civil war for the next five years.

1532 AD - Atahualpa defeats Huascar and becomes the emperor. At the same time, Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro arrives in Peru. Pizarro captures Atahualpa and holds him for ransom.

1533 AD - The Spanish execute Atahualpa and install Manco Inca as Emperor.

1535 AD - Francisco Pizarro founds the city of Lima, Peru and names it the capital of the region.

1537 AD - Manco Inca flees to Vilcabamba and forms an Inca government separate from the Spanish.

1541 AD - Francisco Pizarro is killed.

1572 AD - The Spanish execute the last of the Inca emperors, Tupac Amaru, signaling the end of the Inca Empire.



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  • Inca
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    History >> Aztec, Maya, and Inca for Kids






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