Inca Empire overview | World History | Khan Academy


– [Narrator] What we’re
going to do in this video is think about the significant
empires that formed shortly before the European
colonization of the Americas. In particular, we’re going
to focus on the Inca Empire. In other videos, we have
talked about the Aztecs. But what’s interesting
is this period of time in the 15th and early 16th centuries, when these empires form,
but then shortly thereafter, about a hundred years after they form, they are conquered by the
Spanish conquistadors. So let’s focus on the Inca Empire, but keep it in comparison
to some of the other significant empires and
civilizations we know about. As we enter into the 15th century, we have the kingdom of Cuzco. What we now call the Inca
Empire did not exist yet. The ninth ruler of the kingdom of Cuzco, a gentleman by the name of Pachacuti, he decides to go on a fairly aggressive effort of expansion. It is Pachacuti that takes the Incas from the kingdom of Cuzco,
and creates an empire. Now as I mentioned, they did
not call themselves the Incas. Inca was actually their word for ruler. So this was Pachacuti Inca. Their name for the empire
that gets started by Pachacuti was Tawantinsuyu. What’s it’s really referring
to is the four regions. You can see the four regions
here that were conquered, with Cuzco at the center. One of the interesting things is that right around the same time, we talk about it in another video, you have the Aztec Empire forming. The Aztec civilization
exists well before that, as does the pre-Inca Empire civilizations. But in the 15th century
is also when you have the Aztec Empire form. The Mayan civilization, by this point, is in its post-classical period. It’s classical period is
in bold right over here. But there’s still many
independent Mayan city states in the Yucatan Peninsula. But the two notable empires here are the Aztecs and the Incas, which form in the 15th century. What makes them an empire
is that you have one group, in the case of the Incas,
the kingdom of Cuzco, conquering other peoples,
and taking tribute from them. Now what was interesting about the Incas is that they were able to
form this large empire, the largest empire in the Americas at the time of the European conquest. This empire had 10 million people in it. What’s amazing is that you have this large, powerful empire with
significant building projects. This is a picture of Machu Pichu. Historians believe that it was built as an estate for Pachacuti. So they were able to do
sophisticated construction despite not having a written
system as we know it. They had a system of knots for
some forms of record keeping. But despite that, they were able to have a sophisticated society. Their way of taxing people was
not through formal coinage. They didn’t have a monetary
system as we know it. Members of their society had to dedicate a proportion of their labor to the empire, to the emperor. This might seem different than what we do, but if you think about it, if my income is taxed at
30% or 35% in, say, the US, essentially what I’m
giving to the government is 35% of the work of my labor. I’m just doing it through
a monetary system. They did it directly. A certain percentage of my labor would directly have to be for the empire. That’s how things like Machu
Pichu actually got built. This was called the Mit’a system. Well, like the case with the Aztec Empire, the Inca Empire lasts for about 100 years until the Conquistadors
come into the picture. Francisco Pizarro in particular, on his third expedition,
is able to conquer this powerful Inca Empire. He does this with only
several hundred men. But they were far better
armed than the Incas. But many historians believe there was also complacency on the part of
the Inca ruler at the time. He didn’t believe that these Conquistadors would be able to overtake his army that numbered in the tens of thousands.

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