National Geographic : 2011 Apr
1 2 3 4 INCA ROAD Lake Titicaca Amazon PACIFIC OCEAN Quito Sucre La Paz Santiago Cajamarca Lima Vilcabamba Ayacucho Maukallacta Cusco PERU BRAZIL ARGENTINA BOLIVIA COLOMBIA VENEZUELA GUYANA SURINAME PARAGUAY ECUADOR CHILE AND E S AMAZON BASIN P A T AGONIA AMERICA SOUTH Employing a shrewd combination of diplo- macy, intermarriage, and military coercion, the Inca conquered a vast realm extending 2,500 miles along the mountainous spine of South America. At their height, they ruled as many as 12 million people, who spoke at least 20 languages. This fractious conglom- eration quickly fell apart after the Spanish conquest in 1532. THE INCA EMPIRE Ambition Unbound After centuries as a growing local power, the Inca dreamed of a greater realm. They went on to con- quer 300,000 square miles in a few generations. Sacred Valley detail at right 3 ca 1500 Turning south, the Inca capture a vast territory, extending their reach to the edge of Patagonia. 4 by 1532 In a final thrust along the eastern slope of the Andes, the Inca expand farther into the Amazon Basin. 1 ca 1400 Having subdued their neighbors, Inca kings launch their first conquests beyond the Cusco region. 2 ca 1470 Pushing to the coast, the Inca defeat the Chimú Empire and carry off many Chimú artisans. WILLIAM E. McNULTY, LAWSON PARKER, AND LISA R. RITTER, NGM STAFF. LANDSAT IMAGE INSET : GLOBAL LAND COVER FACILITY SOURCES: BRIAN S. BAUER, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHICAGO; R. ALAN COVEY, SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY; TERENCE N. D'ALTROY, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY Scale varies in this perspective. Distance from Lima to La Paz is 670 mi (1,078 km). Present-day place-names and boundaries shown.