Pre-Columbian South America

The Inca Civilization

The Inca Civilization thrived in Peru between 1400 and 1533 CE. It became the largest empire in the world at that time. The Incas were able to use their land despite the very diverse landscape, including mountains, deserts, tropical jungle, and plains. The Incas were very skilled and excelled at agriculture. The rise of the Inca empire was extraordinarily quick! They had many inventions to help their empire grow and thrive including freeze-dried food, the Mita System, Quipus, roads, suspension bridges, and terrace farming.

This picture shows Machu Picchu, which is located high in the Andes Mountains in Peru.

The Incas began to freeze-dry food as early as 1,500 years ago. The high mountains and freezing temperatures made the conditions perfect for freeze drying.


Above is Chuño, freeze dried potatoes that were made by the Incas.

The Mita System was a tax system used by the Incas. They used this system because they did not have a currency. Instead, they taxed their "citizens" in labor.


These are examples of the buildings the Inca citizens built.

Quipus were the Incas source of "written communication" and their record-keeping system. They used them to deliver messages and keep track of goods stored in warehouses. The quipu was a major factor in the advancement of the Incan Empire.


Pictured above is a string of quipus.

The Incas were the first to create a road system. The road system stretched for over 40,000 kilometers. The Incas used the road system for many things such as transporting goods on animals and trading with other territories.


Above is a picture of the cobble stone roads in ancient Inca.

The first suspension bridges were a result of the rocky, ravine-covered Andes mountain terrain. They were invented in the 1400's by the Incas. These bridges are immensely different today though, as they were hugely innovated by inventor James Finley.


This is one of the earliest suspension bridges.

Terrace farming was a very important to the Inca Civilization. It provided the Incas with a source of flat land, which was necessary for them to grow crops.


This picture shows the terrace farming in the Andes Mountains.