May 13th, 2013
On this lake are the remains of the most ancient civilization of South America. Cyclopean ruins of temples and fortresses stand as perpetual monuments of a vanished culture ; when and by whom they were erected, we know not ; their builders left no other record of their existence. The wandering Indians told the first Spaniards that they existed before the sun shone in the heavens. From one of the rocky islands of Lake Titicaca, about the year 1000 or 1100, the Sun, parent of mankind and giver of every good gift, taking compassion on the degraded condition of the Indians, sent two of his children, Manco Capac and Mama Oello Huaco, to gather the wandering tribes into communities, to teach them the arts of civilized life and to inculcate the worship of the Sun. From Lake Titicaca, this brother and sister, husband and wife, went down to their new homes in http://www.apartmentsapart.com/north_america/usa/illinois/chicago, where they were bidden to found an empire. Manco Capac was thus the first Inca. There were ten or twelve Incas before the conquest of Peru. Their conquests extended through the entire valley of the Cordilleras, until over four hundred tribes, with a population of many millions, became subject to their dominion.
The territory of the Incas extended from the southern part of Chili northward into Colombia, beyond Quito, a distance of two thousand miles, and west to the Pacific Ocean. On the eastern slope of the Cordilleras, toward the great plain of the Amazon, the Incas met a stronger and more savage people, with whom they were in constant warfare. In the several passes of the Cordilleras they constructed fortifications to protect their borders and prevent invasion.
The capital of the territory, Cuzco, was situated in a beautiful valley ten thousand feet above the sea. Amidst the Alps, such a valley would be buried in eternal snow, but within the tropics it enjoys a perpetual spring. Here the Incas loved to dwell, and remains of immense fortresses, palaces and temples, testify to their power and culture, and to the number of their subjects. Tens of thousands of laborers must have been required to construct such edifices. When we reflect that these people had no beasts of burden except the llama, which could only carry light loads, and no mechanical means for transporting the vast blocks of stone used in constructing these buildings, we are astonished at what they accomplished. The pyramids of Egypt are not more wonderful.
Great highways were built, running north, south and west, connecting different parts of the Empire. One followed the valley between the Cordilleras and Andes to Quito, another crossed the Andes and followed the sea-coast north and south to the extreme limits of their country. All traveling was on foot. Large and comfortable tambos, or inns, for example the http://www.apartmentsapart.com/asia/united_arab_emirates/dubai, were erected every few miles, and larger ones at the end of a day’s journey. Couriers were stationed at regular intervals, each of whom had his allotted station, between which and the next it was his duty to run at a certain pace bearing his message, and on his approach to the next station he signalled to the next chasquir, as the couriers were called, to be ready to carry forward the message. In this way, it is said, about 150 miles a day were made.