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Where was the Inca Empire?

Inca mountain villageInca mountain villageAbout 500 years ago, the Incas ruled an empire in the Andes Mountains of South America. It stretched 4000 kilometres (2500 miles) from north to south. Until the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, it was the greatest empire South America had ever seen. The Incas were skilled craftspeople. They cut and shaped blocks of stone until they fitted together exactly. Many of their sturdy buildings, walls and roads still stand today.

An Inca noble receives giftsAn Inca noble receives gifts

The first Inca emperor, Manco CápacThe first Inca emperor, Manco Cápac

The rise of the empire

The Incas were originally chiefs of a small mountainous area in what is now Peru. After conquering their neighbours, they became the most powerful people in the region.

The Inca emperors ruled over their 10 million subjects from their capital, Cusco. The emperors claimed they were descended from the sun and that gave them the right to rule.

The stones in buildings constructed by the Incas were fitted together so precisely that you couldn't fit the blade of a knife through the joints where the stones met.

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