National Geographic : 2011 Apr
were haughty men, ruling as many as 400,000 people in kingdoms arrayed around the lake. eir lands were rich and desirable. Gold and silver veined the mountains, and herds of al- pacas and llamas fattened in lush meadows. Military success in the Andes depended on such livestock. A llama, the only dra animal on the continent, could carry 70 pounds of gear on its back. Llamas, along with alpacas, also provided meat, leather, and ber for clothing. ey were jeeps, K rations, and fatigues all rolled into one---crucial military assets. If the Inca king could not conquer the Titicaca lords who owned these vast herds, he would live in fear of the day these lords would come to conquer him. Seated on a shimmering litter, Pachacutec issued the order to attack. Playing panpipes car ved from the bones of enemies and war drums fashioned from the ayed skins of dead foes, his soldiers advanced toward the Colla forces, a moving wall of terror and intimida- tion. en both sides charged. When the fog of battle li ed, Colla bodies littered the landscape. In the years that followed, Pachacutec and his descendants subdued all the southern lords. " e conquest of the Titicaca Basin was the jewel in the crown of the Inca Empire," says Charles Stanish, an archaeologist at the Uni- versity of California, Los Angeles. But military victory was only the rst step in the Inca's grand strategy of empire building. O cials next set about establishing civil control. If provinces mounted resistance, Inca sov- ereigns reshu ed their populations, deporting restive inhabitants to the Inca heartland and re- placing them with loyal subjects. Residents of remote walled villages were moved to new Inca- controlled towns sited along Inca roads---roads that sped the movement of Inca troops. Inca governors ordered the construction of roadside storehouses for those troops and commanded local communities to ll them with provisions. " e Inca were the organizational geniuses of the Americas," says Stanish. Under Inca rule, Andean civilization owered as never before. Inca engineers transformed fragmentary road networks into interconnected A patchwork of farms covers land near Chin- chero that likely belonged to the royal estate of Tupa Inca Yupanqui. The Inca expertly worked every agricultural niche in their vast territory. At this elevation, more than 12,000 feet, they grew tubers such as potatoes and herded domesticated llamas and alpacas.