13 May The Great Inca Rebellion
“In 1491 the Inka ruled the greatest empire on earth.”
– Charles C. Mann, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
The Inka Empire, Tawantinsuyu (“the four suyu”) was the largest empire the Americas had ever seen, and at their best, they were the largest in all the world. They achieved this with very little technology: They knew nothing of iron or steel, nor did they develop wheeled transport or written language.
Despite these obvious handicaps they managed to build roads, irrigation canals and administrative centres in difficult terrain. They took and kept land though war and kept record using ropes tied in knots. They kept their power for just over a hundred years ruled by a royal bloodline descendent from their sun god Inti, the creator of man.
Their rule was an impressive but fleeting one. It all came to an abrupt halt when the Spanish Empire decided to invade. The Inca were feared by their enemies but didn’t stand much of a chance against the Spanish military with their steel armour, very effective guns and beastly horses. Just like that the Spanish came riding in and ended the Inca Empire in one fell swoop. Or did they?
This long-accepted story is being updated with the latest archaeological findings of the Inca ruins. Using state-of-the-art technology and science we’ve uncovered some surprising new evidence that calls a lot of what we thought we knew into question. We may have also found the first gunshot wound in the Americas.
Friday at 8 PM on National Geographic Channel (ch 220, May 15th)