In every country there are ruins; old stone walls, chimneys, foundations. As a child, I remember climbing over a stone foundation on the East bank of the Allegheny River that was said to have been an old house that President Washington had slept in. Maybe he did; maybe he didn’t. What mattered to me then was it was off-limits because of snakes, its close proximity to the river, and it was too far for me to hear my mom call if she wanted to check on me.
We, the other naughty children who explored with me, because it was pretty much off-limits to all of us, made up stories about the place. We were sure it was haunted, that it was inhabited by spirits of the dead indians the army had killed, and white people who went to the house and never were seen agaIn. Nevermind that the Allegheny Indians were peaceable folks, in our tales, the white men always got scalped, the indians were shot with new Winchester rifles. The women, well, unless they were Annie Oakley, which in my mind I was, they kept the home fires burning.
k around Peru, I’ve visited ruins of pre-Inca people such as the Chachapoyas, Wari, Moche, Nazca, ..and many more…than the Inca. As I wandered through the impressive foundations, I wondered what games the children played, how the family structure was set up, if the girls coud be warriors? I know they had engineers, astronomers, shaman, warriors, builders, laborers, masons, farmers, and managers, but how did the community function exactly?
The foundation of anything depends on the people. Marriages, education, emotional stability and of course the physical stuff that I, and many thousands of folks and academics have been exploring. Thanks to the Incas who built Machu Picchu where the greedy Spanish couldn’t find it we have a whole city of foundations to learn about the culture. The Inca empire was the largest empire in pre-Colombian America. It stretched through what are now five countries, from Ecuador to Chile, taking in Argentina, Bolivia, and Columbia. Five major languages were spoken (Quechua the official ) and lots of other smaller ones because as the Incas subdued other tribes their languages and customs were incorporated. Quechua is still spoken by many people in Peru.
However, as grand, strong, and intelligent as they were, the Inca empire only lasted from 1438 to 1533. 95 years! They were overthrown by, and yes I’ll say it again, greedy men who were motivated by Christian greed; men who believed that if you didn’t believe as they did, you didn’t deserve to live.
The Inca religion worshipped the sun, the stars, and Pachamama-mother earth. Their communities were built to last. The buildings did; the culture didn’t. They were overpowered by might, (bigger, better weapons), the passion felt by people who were convinced they were right and everyone else was wrong, and the unquenchable thirst for money-(gold).