The Inca Empire – Out of Thin Air – Extra History – #1

Lima 1615 the old man clutches a parcel fat and square that he’s dragged from one end of a fallen Empire to the other He is a mixed-race Christian the son of an Inca aristocrat and a former translator for priests seeking to study and suppress native Andean beliefs Fifteen years before he’d had his property confiscated after suing to get his ancestral lands back since then He’s wandered the country observing the disappearing Inca life compiling a chronicle complete with illustrations It’s a history of the Inca but also a catalogue of abuses by the colonial Spanish his conclusion Spain must reform the government in a way that protects native people and values their culture. He’s carried this book all 1,000 loose pages of it through harsh terrain and bandit country that it survived to this point is a minor miracle and now he’s finally sending it to its intended recipient the king of Spain so Guam on Palma de Ayala takes the only copy of his life’s work and hands it to a man aboard a ship No one will see it again for 300 years When you get off the plane the first Thing you notice is how thin the air is and as you exit the airport a man in a poncho offers you a Styrofoam cup full of coca leaf tea to help you deal with the Andean altitude and your hotel has oxygen tanks in the lobby Cusco sits at nearly three thousand four hundred meters or eleven thousand two hundred feet in altitude when you walk the cobblestone streets you feel dizzy and have to stop for a breath after a few blocks and Then you start to notice something strange Every large Spanish building in the city has been built on a foundation of Incan stone That’s because the Spanish didn’t build Cusco they merely built on top of it it was in fact the Inca who despite the altitude built a city here and Not just any city mind you a city that ruled the largest indigenous Empire to ever exist in the Americas the Inca Empire spanned 2500 miles along the Pacific coast of South America Stretching from present-day Colombia to Chile and it ruled as many as 12 million people but sheer numbers can’t really convey What an impressive feat that was because the Inca also controlled some of the most varied and harsh terrain on the planet Ranging from snow-capped mountains to the humid Amazonian jungle to the Atacama Desert parts of which haven’t seen rain in nearly 400 years Walk the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu a fairly short route You can still follow today and he’ll pass dusty valleys lush agricultural terraces alpine tundra and Jungle, the massive andes themselves create these micro environments forcing the moisture out of passing cloud formations So part of the inca heartland remain wet while earth in the other areas. Stay powder dry in fact many settlements stand at altitudes that are difficult to breathe in for anyone but the Andeans whose lungs have adapted to absorb more oxygen actually After building all of these celebratory churches on the foundations of the Incan capital of Cusco the Spanish moved the capital to Lima partially because they couldn’t handle the altitude but Despite the complexity of ruling over and building in such varied environments The masonry of the Inca highway cuts through all of them at times tunneling through solid rock winding its way through ruins of settlements, fortresses, Terraces and temples and the Inca built this sophisticated state without iron tools the wheel riding or draught animals money or a written language However, they did have quipu, a series of knotted ropes that help them calculate complex equations and remember numbers and dates but the rest of their culture their folklore their religion and their history was all Oral, which becomes a bit of a problem when it comes to telling the history of the Inca Empire Because while the conquest is well documented We have no sources from before the period of the Spanish conquest Like the buildings of Cusco where Spanish constructions stand on inca foundations all of our stories of the Empire Come to us to one extent or another via their colonizers following the Spanish conquest dozens of priests Administrators and former conquistadors set to work interviewing native people in order to capture the Empire’s oral history and while these accounts are better than nothing their usefulness is mixed at best See after the fall of the Inca Empire a struggle began over the Empire’s cultural legacy Spanish authorities stripped the valuables from shrines leveled temples suppressed native religious practices and Confiscated the Imperial mummies and the part of that campaign Involved collecting and telling the Incas oral histories some of the priests collected these stories in hopes It would assist in conversion but many considered the Inca devil worshipers or wrote specifically to make their rule appear illegitimate justifying the Spanish conquest conversely more sympathetic accounts came from Conquistadors who married into the inca elite and had a closer relationship with the culture but these two can display a major gap in understanding even after living in Peru for decades the Spanish didn’t really Understand the Inca or any of the other people who lived under the Empire’s banner Their ideas about religion society and politics were just too different for these chroniclers to capture accurately For example, the Inca didn’t perceive history in a linear fashion to tell the history of their four province Empire They wouldn’t start at the beginning They’d tell the history of the most important province beginning to end before moving on to the neck Most important and so on and it’s from one of these Spanish accounts that we get the date of the Empire’s founding But even that is controversial and maybe entirely wrong the closest we have to a native perspective comes mostly from a generation of mixed-race authors the sons of marriages between Inca noble women and their Spanish conquerors all Christians who were born after the Empire’s destruction among them was blas fira a mixed-race jesuit whose pro inca views especially those about native languages being suitable for discussing church doctrine may have led his order to Imprison then exile him to Spain eventually He was murdered and his work burned during an English pirate raid Only a few excerpts remain from his history mostly in the work of another half Inca chronicler Inca Garcilaso de la Vega who wrote extensively on the Empire’s history but while vega’s book Royal commentaries of the Incas is considered the first literary masterpiece by a Native American It has problems as a work of history because you see Vega left Peru as a teenager and published his chronicles forty-nine years later Meaning his memory of the oral history had likely degraded not to mention He was writing with a specific objective in mind while Guam and Poma rallied against Spanish abuses and Valera pushed for indigenous language and culture to be seen as equal Vega portrayed the Inca Empire as a Perfect society one without poverty where aristocrats like his family provided everything a person would need in Fact it appears that this mode of argumentative history was a hallmark of Andean culture to the Incas It seems history was not necessarily about capturing reality in a fully accurate picture But rather in molding the past to make a specific point, for example the Spanish found multiple Incan families in Cusco told elaborate but conflicting versions of the same history each using it to Justify their claim to a piece of land and as a result of these conflicting testimonies modern historians have come to vastly different conclusions about the Empire depending how they read the sources and because of this Incan society has been portrayed as everything from a communist utopia to a Totalitarian nightmare and details of the Empire’s founding continue to be debated But the history’s paired with archeology do tell us this in the early 13th century a line of kings began Coalescing around what would become the city of Cuzco? Manco capac the semi-mythical founder and as the legends say one of the first people to walk the earth Established the kingdom of cuzco before turning to stone Then came his successors each taking the ruling title of Sapa Inca each named for their greatness in Construction and war and they each took names that matched their glory and were also pretty baller if I do say so myself Such as the valorous generous Inca the left-handed the splendid accountant the Magnanimous and my personal favorite he who weeps blood they built the city and expanded their territory creating the Inca ways of life and bringing order to a chaotic world or Perhaps not because archaeological evidence indicates that many of the things we consider Incan accomplishments their farming terraces building style Agricultural products statecraft roads and knotted quipu were actually inherited from previous Andean societies But regardless of their source the Inca were about to use these tools on a scale No one had ever seen because in Cusco the Sapa Inca had a son He was not the oldest nor the favorite of his father, but he was intelligent brave and with a ruthless vision He had a birth name but that is not how he would be known. He would be known as the earth shaker Pachacuti first emperor of the Inca and a man who would remake the world in Cataclysm Special thanks to educational tier patrons Ovid Xia Turk Joseph blame and Gerald Spencer diamond

Comments 100

  • The Extra History for Cusco. The Extra History chosen specially [by patrons!] for Cusco. Cusco's Extra History!

  • "The Earth-shaker"
            Me: 'gets chills'

  • They built the city on rock, but did they build it on roll too?

  • The Europeans themselves in the begining of the discovery didn't see history in the same linear way we do now.

  • Hmm…this isn't talking about pre-Incan stone structures. The incans also found them and built upon them

  • I hate how YouTube demonetizes your channel when it’s teaching so many people about amazing things about history it just hurts me

  • I read the Garcilaso book when I was 12. The Incas were my passion! I still love their style. I visited Peru in 2017 and was disappointed…Peru was not Inca enough! Too many churches & saints…and the llamas were being replaced by cows.
    But Machu Picchu was awesome of course!!!

  • Guamán Poma de Ayala. The accented á means the words that ends on a vowel plus the letter n is where the word is pronounced stronger. GuaMÁN

  • holyshit run it's the "The left handed"

  • Can you please tell the history of the Philippines from the revolution to the Present.

  • Damm i never thought I'd see a vid of an englishmen talking something about the history of my country.

    Coincidentally I went to Cusco a couple of months ago, yeah it took a couple of days to get used to it without coke leafs.

    I've been more interrested on history from other places but watching this vid is getting me a resurgence of willingness to go back on those lessons i learnt in school huh.

    I remember tho that the Inca is what you ment by the king, the supreme ruler, hence the 12 Incas were the 12 rulers ending with Atahualpa winning the civil war before the spanish came.

  • In indigenous cultures more than one person or family have traditional historical territorial use and ownership.

  • The altitude in Cuzco (Qosqo in runasimi, the incan language) wasn’t that much of an issue for me

  • Yeah… so the Spaniards were jerks back then.

  • I want mexican revolution please

  • As a peruvian, i'm proud of what you did here. It's impressive

  • As a Peruvian, I’m extremely excited to see this series!!! I learned a hell lot of inca history in high school, so I’m d excited to relearn it through another lens!

  • Mentioning the Inca trail as "very short" was a nice bit of sarcasm there

  • the Inca also built everything without any mortar. the stones that were cut for construction were cut exactly to fit side-by-side one another.

  • Huacac, the Inca Blood Weeper!

  • im abuild my water park -Disney

  • 1:29 WHAT'S HIS NAME??

  • I can imagine He Who Bleeds Blood, or The Earth Shaker, shouting "BOOM, BABY!!!!"

  • As a Peruvian, it makes me so happy to finally see Extra Credits make a series on the Inca Empire.

    Cant wait to see the next episode!

  • Actually Guamán Poma wasn't an anti-spanish or anti-colonial writer, in his paints and book he shows his loyalty to the Crown of Castile and the spanish kings, he shows himself as a servant to the thrown.
    In fact, he is born in an aristocratic family from a tribe conquered by the incas (the yarowilcans) and in the book talks about how bad the incas were with his tribe and how the yarowilca tribe saw the spanish as liberators and join them in the war against Atahualpa. Then Guaman writes about thr bad decisdions the viceroy of Perú was doing at the time and shows a list of things he would do if were in his position (in this way, telling the king that he shold be the viceroy of Perú).

    But the rest of the story seems accourate, good job.

  • very cool video! I have always wondered about early american civilizations … inca, maya, those in the US like ojibwe, miami, …

    maybe I missed it but do you guys post your research sources anywhere? it would be cool to have a place to follow up.

  • Lima balls lmao

  • 3:58 Zelda?

  • Hold on! How did the Inca build Machu Pichu if they didn't research The Wheel? You clearly need that tech in order to research Guilds which allows you to build that wonder. Also – not reasearching Writing and Bronze Working. What were the Incas thinking? That's some weird strategy.

  • Or Simo hayha the best sniper on earth

  • Peruvian here with some fun facts:
    >Incas knew how to make Pop Corn.
    >They had medicine based on herbs, improvised surgery, drugs and chants: Ichuri were low class healers, comascas were mid range witch doctors and the highest tier healers were the amaucas, working for the nobility itself.
    >Quipus were more than accounting tools. the Quipucamayoc was the guy who knew all the positioning for the knots and what they meant, and there were more positions found that the ones used just for counting on decimal base or doing the basic functions (+ – * ÷)
    I think there was a dude here who theorised they could do advanced diferential stuff with them, given the way some buildings were made, but that's just a theory.
    >We still haven't recovered all of Incan history we have (at least in Perú) because it's hard talking with some communities that don't speak Quechua nor Aymara, but dialects of their own.

  • How topical that I'm planning a trip to Peru later this year if I can swing it.

  • 1:41 Never been to Cusco, but I've been to La Paz (Bolivia) a few times, which is even higher at 11,975 feet (3650 meters) above sea level, and as someone who was born just a bit over 30Km (20 miles-ish) away from the coast, you breathe like you have your head in a plastic bag…..

  • So, nobody found Yzma's secret lab yet?

  • from what I understand, the Inca believed that someone kept their possessions even after death, and for kings that included land possessions. So any land conquered by the now deceased king still belonged to him, so the new king needed to conquer new lands to have his own, which explains why the Incan empire was so vast and constantly seeking expansion.

  • I love andean music ❤️

  • Always sucks when history doesn’t make it out of itself in one piece

  • While thin air at high altitudes can be difficult to handle intially, humans in general can adjust quickly.

  • So the Inca tell their stories via Tier lists

  • Lima Limaballs

  • Haven’t even started this video and ik it’s gonna be great. Excellent topic !

  • thumb up if you remember horrible histories song relating to Pachacuti:

  • new art style is poopoo

  • You need to visit or read about the Q'ero Nation, they are the last descendants of the inca priests, and have been living without any contact from the western world for almost 500 years. Till 1940s.

  • My mom volunteered in Bolivia with the Peace Corps before she got married; actually that was the same two years that my dad was in Vietnam as a helicopter mechanic on the front lines (he declined to marry her until after they got back because there was such a big risk that he wouldn't make it back–I'm very happy he did!) so I was raised hearing about Inca lands and traditions–though of course by the late 1960s it was basically memories. A few years ago, one of my cousins went to the same Bolivian town that my mom was stationed in, also with the Peace Corps. My partner is from Ecuador so of course he helps me learn more about the Inca from a slightly different perspective. I am grateful for this series because cultures mean a lot to me, and this culture is too important to my world to ignore.

  • You splendid accountant, you.

  • Para cuando el video de Alan

  • Very nice video. I am a chilean student of history and I am very interested in this topics, like its said in the video, the Spanish put their fingers in the native history, and the interpretation of our history since then has been difficult… but there is something that historians have not done too much since, they haven't learned the native cultures and languages, and that tool is very important.

    Recently some people have discovered native versions of the history in cups early on the spanish arrive in the Tawantinsuyu for example, or some native words and concepts that can help to understand better all of this.

    I have started with mapuche and quechua languages, there is a long way to discover more on this…

  • 8:41 "they built the city…" on rocks and roles. (couldn't resist)

  • I knew it! Pachacuti, my Civ bro! 😀

  • This series' theme is so different and fun!

  • The literal meaning of Pachacuti is even cooler: "he who overturns space and time".

  • Make history of Emperor Pedro II

  • Spain didn't hae colonies, they hae VIRREINATES


  • I'm half Peruvian so I think I needed this.

  • Incas, founders of the industrial revolution, thanks for the potatoes!

  • 8:12 Manco Capac is a Pillar Man. That tracks.

  • "hey, who's your favorite Incan king?"

    "probably sapa inca"

    "yeah but which sapa inca?"

    "he who weeps blood" (intense metal riff in the distance)

  • I expect at least one Tupac joke from this series. History buffs know what I'm talking about.

  • Riiight, the Extra History series. The series for the Inca. The series chosen specifically to tell the story of the Inca. Inca's series.

    …that series?

  • So what I'm getting from the first few minutes is that the Inca Empire would make a great Pokemon region

  • British people know Pachacuti for another reason

  • mexicans could see the future and the past the had gold underwater mirrors to invite forrest ghosts and desert souls they used mirrors […]ot this is forbidden to […] you have to be invited in and need the introduction. please forget all that i just said

  • Whats the difference between a communist utopia and a totalitarian nightmare?

  • This series is acciedentally timely considering what's been happening to the Natives in the Amazon lately.

  • Bruh if I go there I Wil die
    Im from holland
    We are literally half underwater

  • Bring the old voiceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  • Can you guys please do the history of the aztecs and mayans

  • The 166 downvotes are from Spanish Catholics who think glorifying pagan societies is heretical.


  • Them Spaniards be too dark


  • living at 2600 m above sea level has its perks. and coca leaf tea is great regardless of needing it or not.

  • 2,500 miles? Hmm… yes, I have problems driving that far, and these sots have to walk it.


  • Please do teddy roosevelt!

  • The old song that who speak of the crusades plz give him the mic again your sound is terrible

  • So when do the gods move to Rome and stand in menacing yet fabulous positions for 2000 years until the nazis wake them up

  • Earth Shaker vs The Splendid Accountant.


  • Didn't almost everyone in history write history with the intent of pushing an agenda instead of documenting reality?

  • Its sad the Spanish tried to eradicate incan culture.

    There was no point in forcing them to abandon Quechua, traditional clothing, or traditional religion…

  • The Spanish: exists
    Me, a EU4 player: laughs in Incan Religious Reforms

  • Since we're now in South America a vidoe on Brazil or Bolivar and colombia would be nice.

  • Honestly I'm kind of disappointed with your perspective in all of this. I hate recommending this book, because the prose is both awful and pretentious, but you should really read Rethinking History by Keith Jenkins. Then you should read Misplaced Massacre by Ari Kellman, which is a fantastic book that puts Jenkins' theory into practice to discuss the history of the Sand Creek Massacre.
    The short version is that history is necessarily an exercise in storytelling. It isn't possible to record every detail of events. Even just trying to record all of the subjective experience of a single person is impossible. Memory itself is incomplete. So history is not an exercise in saying what happened. History is an exercise in arguing that something is important and meaningful in the present. Building on that, historiography is not about sussing out which sources are "good" or "bad". All sources are good sources, because it's not about reading and believing the superficial text of a source, it's about interrogating a source to read its biases (bias is a neutral term by the way, not a proxy for good/bad. All sources are biased).

  • Thanks for the bit of Andean music at the end!

  • You manage to cover majapahit empire of water and now Inca empire of air. fire kingdom and earth kingdom next

  • I really like the updated art style! Keep up the great work

  • Growing up in Peru I remember how upset I was as a child when I learned of how theSpanish melted all the gold incan artifacts to ship to Spain and demolished temples to build churches on top of them

  • Lima balls

  • I'm loving all the recent NA videos 😁

  • Any chance you can cover the Easter Rising and Irish Troubles?

  • Awesome video! Can't wait for part 2!

  • Patchacuti? More like patchabooty am i right fellows? Damn he good shake the earth if u catch my +6 terrace fsrm


  • You know, their view on history kind of makes sense considering their lack of a proper written language. Without chronicles, historians, bureaucratic reports, no one has any source text for reference and the concept of history comes down to "He says, she says". It's not set in stone, like it litterary is for most lost empires. Might explain their parallell accounts of the province histories, as without a central 'state epic' written down there's no single history to point to.

    It's actually very impressive the Incas managed to carve out a massive cohesive empire without written language.

  • Do San Martín

  • If Kusco doesn't bust into the room with a carpet rolling out yelling, "BOOM BABY" I will be so disappointed.

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