The Prehistoric World: or, Vanished Races
E. A. Allen
Part 12 out of 13
feasts celebrated at the end of a year. The line of characters
on the left hand are the days characters Eb and Been. In the
lower division, a priest offers a headless fowl to the idol on
the left. In the middle division, the priest is burning incense
to drive away the evil-spirit. In the upper division, the
assistant, with the idol on his back, is on his march through
the village. As yet, we know but very little about the tables.
We know the hieroglyphics of days and of months.
Illustration of Hieroglyphics--Tablet of the Cross.------
Examining the tablets in the Temple of the Cross, at Palenque,
represented below, we notice a large glyph, at the commencement
of the tablet, something like a capital letter. This, Mr.
Valentine thinks, represents the censers which stood in the
temples before the idols, in which fire was constantly kept.<88>
Running through the tablets we notice glyphs, in front of which
are either little dots, or one or more bars with little dots in
front of them. These are day-dates. The dots count one--the
little upright bars, five. The probabilities are that this
tablet is a sort of list of feast-days in honor of the gods
represented by the central tablet.
As we have made a considerable effort to acquaint ourselves with
the social organization and customs of the various tribes, and
have spent some time in learning the details of their calendar
system, and their advance in the art of writing, it will not be
out of place to inquire as to their history--to determine, if
possible, some of the dates to be given for the arrival of the
tribes, and some of the important points of their prehistoric
life. Whatever difficulties we have experienced in acquiring a
knowledge of their customs will be greatly increased now.
Their architecture, social organization, and general
enlightenment could be perceived by the conquering Spaniards,
and our information in regard to the same should have been full
and complete. We have seen, however, how meager it is. The only
light thrown on these disputed points is the result of the
labors of modern scholars. When we were made acquainted with
some of the first principles of Indian society, we could read
with profit the accounts of the early writers.
But, when we come to ask for dates in their history, we are
almost entirely at sea. The traditions, in this respect, are
almost worthless. So, all that we shall attempt to do, is to
present some of the thoughts of our scholars as to the probable
connection of the civilized tribes with each other, and what
value is to be given to the few dates at our command. We will
begin, first, with the Maya tribes. This includes those tribes
that speak the Maya language, and its dialects. It was in their
territory that the most striking ruins were found. They include
the tribes of Yucatan, Guatemala, Chiapas, and Tobasco.
Then there comes a break; but they were also settled on both
banks of the River Panuco. Many theories have been advanced as
to the origin of the Mayas. As yet, the question is not solved.
Not a few have supposed them to be the same as the Mound
Builders of the United States. Dr. Brinton has pointed out that
the language of the Natchez Indians contains some words of the
Maya.<89> A Mexican scholar, Senor Orozco-y-Berra, thinks it
probable that the Mayas once occupied the Atlantic sea-board of
the United States; that they passed from the peninsula of
Florida to Cuba, and thence to the other Caribbean Islands, and
so to Yucatan. He states that the traditions of the Mayas uphold
this view.<90> But others are not ready to admit it. We have
found a number of points of resemblance between the Mayas and
the Nahuas. Differences we would, of course, expect to find; but
still the points of resemblance are sufficiently strong to
indicate either that the tribes were once subject to the same
influence, from whence they derived their culture, or else that
they are descended from the same stock. We have reverted to the
worship of Quetzalcohuatl, and shown how the Quiches, under the
name of Gucumatz, worshiped a similar deity. We have also
referred to the great similarity of the calendar system.
From the limited space at our command, it is not possible to
refer to the traditions of the Maya tribes. We will refer to but
one manuscript bearing on this question; but this is, probably,
the most important one. This manuscript was written by a native
with the Spanish letter, but in the Maya language. It was
written not far from the time of the conquest of Yucatan by the
Spaniards, and the account is, doubtless, as full a one, from
the native stand-point, as can be given. The period of time used
by the author is Ahau, which we have seen is either twenty, or
Carefully going over this manuscript, Prof. Valentine arrives at
the following conclusions: About the Year 137, A.D., the Mayas
started from some place they called Tulla, or Tullapan, on their
migration. Where this place was we do not know. The traditions
of all the civilized nations refer to this place as a
starting-point. It was a "land of abundance." It may be that
this was but some fabled place, such as almost all primitive
people have traditions of.<91> About the year 231, A.D., they
arrived on the coast of Central America, and spread themselves
over a large part of it. This same manuscript speaks of the
"discovery" of Chichen-Itza, 522, A.D. The date of the founding
of Uxmal is given as about the year 1000, A.D. From 1000 to
1200, A.D., was the golden era of the Mayas in Yucatan.
The tribes at Uxmal, Mayapan, and Chichen-Itza formed a
confederacy of which Mayapan seems to have been the head.
About the year 1200, inter-tribal war broke out. It seems to
have been caused by the arrival of Nahua tribes, who established
themselves in Mayapan. They were finally expelled, but they left
the Mayas in such a state of exhaustion that they could not
present a united front against the Spaniards. Such are the
conclusions of Prof. Valentine. He estimates the length of an
Ahau at twenty years, and it does seem that the author of the
manuscript used that number of years.<92>
Of the other branch of the civilized tribes we know but very
little. The historical picture writings of the Mendoza
collection, a collection compiled, remember, after the conquest,
and, therefore, representing the traditions then current among
the Mexicans, takes us back to 1325, A.D., to the first
settlement in the Pueblo of Mexico. Sahagun, a Franciscan monk,
who went to Mexico as early as the year 1529, and remained there
until his death in 1590, wrote a very voluminous account of the
Mexicans, their customs and history, and as he was in Mexico at
the time when their traditions were still fresh in the minds of
the natives, his account is probably as good as any. He obtained
his information in a very credible manner. He gathered together
some old Indians, well acquainted with the traditional history
of their country. They are supposed to have "refreshed" their
memory by inspecting a number of picture writings, which have
It is manifest that this history is valuable, just in proportion
as the traditions are valuable. He makes one statement that
Prof. Valentine has dwelt upon with great ability. He states
that numberless years ago the first settlers came in ships and
landed at a northern port, which, from that cause, was called
Pauntla. This is supposed to be the Panuco River. After they had
settled here, a large part of them, including their leaders and
the priests, went off south; Sahagun says as far as Guatemala.
The party left behind organized themselves into an independent
body. They reconstructed from memory the calendar;
they increased and became powerful, until pushing over the
mountain, they built the pyramid of Cholula, and finally reached
the city of Teotihuacan, where they built a central sanctuary.
For some reason they abandoned their homes, all except the
Otomies, and wandered off across the plains, and high, cold,
desert places, that they might discover new lands.<93>
No dates are mentioned for these occurrences, and we are not
aware that this tradition is mentioned by other writers.
We recall that from the mouth of the Panuco River southward, we
found evidence of considerable population in olden times.
We also recall that in this section are the ruined pyramids of
Tuzpan and Papantla. Prof. Valentine is inclined to think that
this date is referred to on the calendar stone; that is, 231
A.D. Just twenty-four cycles elapsed from this time to the date
of the dedication of the calendar stone in 1479.
He also thinks that the Maya traditions refer to this same
occurrence. One more reference to this same mysterious date is
contained in the traditions of the Tezcucan tribe. According to
the traditions, the beginning of things were in the year 245
A.D. According to this view, then, the ancestors of both Nahua
and Maya people appeared on the gulf coast about 231 A.D.;
in the same place where a Maya-speaking tribe are found to-day.
From here those who developed the Maya culture went to the south
and south-west; those who developed the Nahua went to the west
We do not profess to be a judge as to the value of this
tradition. Our scholars will, probably, at no distant day, come
to more definite conclusions in the matter. Prof. Short thinks
the strangers who at this early time made their appearance on
the gulf shore were colonies of Mound Builders from the
Mississippi Valley.<94> We think it best to be very cautious
about coming to any such conclusions. We must not forget that
back of the twelfth century is nothing but vague traditions.
Mr. Bandelier tells us that "nothing positive can be gathered,
except that even during the earliest times Mexico was settled or
overrun by sedentary, as well as by nomadic tribes that both
acknowledged a common origin."<95> The savage tribes have the
general name of Chichimecas, but by right this term ought to be
applied to the sedentary tribes as well; however, the word
Toltec stands for these sedentary tribes. We have all read about
the great Toltec Empire in Mexico. This is a ridiculous use of
words. There was no tribe or nation of people of the name of
Toltecs.<96> All these prehistoric aborigines were probably
Chichimecas; but by Toltecs we refer to the sedentary tribes,
the skillful workers among them. If we are to judge any thing of
traditions, the original home of these people were somewhere to
the north of Mexico.
There was doubtless the usual state of inter-tribal warfare, but
after a prolonged period the sedentary tribes--the Toltecs--were
exterminated or expelled. Their successors were utter savages,
coming from the north also. We doubt very much whether any date
can be given for this event, but traditions assign it to about
the year 1064. Prof. Valentine thinks he finds a reference to it
in the calendar of stone. If we will notice, in the outer band
near the top are four little bundles, or knots, in all, eight.
We are told that each of these bundles refers to a cycle of
fifty-two years, or in all four hundred and sixteen years.
The date of the inauguration of the stone is 1479. If we
subtract the number of years just mentioned, we have the date
1063. Whether this is simply a coincidence, or was really
intended to refer to that event, we can not say.
Considerable speculations have been indulged in as to where the
Toltecs went when driven out of Mexico. Some have supposed they
went to Yucatan, and that to them we are to look for the
builders of the ruined cities. This is the view of a very late
explorer, M. Charney.<97> Some have supposed we yet see certain
traces of their presence in Guatemala, where they helped to
build up a great Quexche "monarchy."<98> But we know very little
about it. It is not probable that more than a feeble remnant of
them escaped with their lives.
From the same mysterious regions from where had issued the
aboriginal Chichimecas and Toltec people, there subsequently
came still other bands of sedentary Indians, who finally came to
settle around the lakes of Anahuac. These settlers all spoke
closely related dialects of the same language as their
predecessors, the Toltecs. Finally the Aztecs appeared on the
scene, coming from the same mysterious land of the "Seven
Caves." According to their historical picture-writings, they
founded the Pueblo of Mexico in 1325. It is somewhat singular
that no record of this event appears on the calendar stone.
If the artist was ingenious enough, as Prof. Valentine thinks he
was, to represent the dispersion of the Toltecs in the eleventh
century, he surely would have found some way to refer to such an
important event as the founding of their Pueblo. From this date
the Mexicans steadily rose in power, until they finally became
the leading power of the valley.<99>
(1) The manuscript of this chapter was submitted to A. F.
Bandelier for criticism. The part bearing on religion was
subsequently rewritten. Absence from the country prevented his
(2) Mr. Bandelier is the author of three essays on the culture
of the ancient Mexicans. These are published in Volume II of
"Peabody Museum Reports." We wish to make a general reference to
these essays. They are invaluable to the student. Every position
is sustained by numerous quotations from the early writers.
In order to save constant references to them, we will here state
that, unless other authorities are given for striking statements
as to the culture of the Mexicans, their social organizations,
etc., it is understood that our authority is found in
(3) In Mexican, "Tlaca-tecuhtli."
(4) Bancroft's "Native Races," Vol. II, p. 572.
(5) "Contribution to North American Ethnology," Vol. IV, p. 229.
(6) Morgan's "Contributions to N.A. Ethnology," p. 256.
(7) Bancroft's "Native Races," Vol. II, p. 576.
(8) "Who over heard of an imperfectly developed race decorating
so profusely and so delicately their ordinary abodes, in a
manner usually reserved for temples and palaces?" S. F. Haven,
in Proceedings of Am. Antiq. Society, April, 1880, p. 57.
(9) Morgan's "Contribution to N.A. Ethnology," Vol. IV, p. 186.
(10) Cortez saw "trinkets made of gold and silver, of lead,
bronze, copper, and tin." They were on the confines of a true
Bronze Age. Proceedings of Am. Antiq. Society, April, 1879,
(11) "History of the Conquest of Mexico."
(12) Bancroft's "Native Races," Vol. II.
(13) "History of America," 1818, Vol. III, book viii, p. 9.
(14) Wilson's "Conquest of Mexico."
(15) Morgan's "Ancient Society," p. 91.
(16) But, on this point, see "Peabody Reports," Vol. II, p. 685
--note, p. 282.
(17) Morgan's "Ancient Society," p. 197.
(18) Ibid., p. 205.
(19) "Ancient Society," p. 118.
(20) Morgan's "Ancient Society," p. 147.
(21) We refer again to Mr. Bandelier's articles. A careful
reading of them will convince any one that the picture of
Mexican Government as set forth in Mr. Bancroft's "Native
Races," Vol. II, is very erroneous. Mr. Bancroft's views are,
however, those of many writers.
(22) "Ancient Society," p. 528.
(23) Morgan's "Ancient Society," p. 537.
(24) Bancroft's "Native Races," Vol. II, p. 435.
(25) It is needless to remark that these results are greatly at
variance with those generally held, as will be seen by
consulting Mr. Bancroft's "Native Races," Vol. II, Chap. xiv.
Mr. Bancroft, however, simply gathers together what other
writers have stated on this subject. We follow, in this matter,
the conclusions of an acknowledged leader in this field,
Mr. Bandelier, who has fully worked out Mr. Morgan's views,
advanced in "Ancient Society."
(26) Morgan's "Ancient Society," p. 193.
(27) Bancroft's "Native Races," Vol. II, p. 95.
(28) Morgan's "Ancient Society," p. 194.
(29) Bancroft's "Native Races," Vol. II, p. 94.
(30) Morgan's "Ancient Society," p. 195.
(31) Bancroft's "Native Races," Vol. I, p. 344.
(32) Valentine, in Proceedings of American Antiquarian Society,
(33) Gallatin: "American Ethnological Society's Transactions,"
Vol. I, p. 119.
(34) Valentine: Proceedings American Antiq. Soc., October, 1880,
(35) Bancroft's "Native Races," Vol. II, p. 381. Proceedings
American Antiquarian Society, April, 1879, p. 110.
(36) Bancroft's "Native Races," Vol. II, p. 193.
(37) "Fifth Annual Report Archaeological Institute of America,"
(38) Bancroft's "Native Races," Vol. II, p. 389.
(39) Bancroft's "Native Races," Vol. II, p. 325.
(40) Valentine: Proceedings Am. Antiq. Society, April, 1879,
(41) Ibid., p. 111.
(42) North American Review, Oct. 1880, p. 310.
(43) See "Copper Age in Wisconsin," in Proceedings American
Antiquarian Society, No. 69, p. 57.
(44) Bancroft's "Native Races," Vol. II, p. 483.
(45) Proceedings Am. Antiq. Society, Oct., 1881, P. 66.
(46) Proceedings Am. Antiq. Society, Oct., 1881, p. 66.
(47) Bancroft's "Native Races," Vol. II, p. 489.
(48) Bancroft's "Native Races," Vol. III, pp. 182-199. In this
connection, see also Bandolier: "An Archaeological Tour in
Mexico," p. 185, note 2. It seems that none of the early writers
speak of such a belief. The idea of one single God is first
found in the writings of Ixtilxochitl.
(49) Brinton's "Myths of the New World," p. 45.
(50) Tezcatlipoca, the tutelar deity of Tezcuco;
Huitzilopochtli, the tutelar deity of Mexico; Camaxtli, the
tutelar deity of Tlaxcala; Quetzalcohuatl, the tutelar deity
(51) Bandelier: "An Archaeological Tour in Mexico," p. 188.
(52) This subject is fully treated of in Brinton's "Myths of the
(53) "Among the Indians it is very easy to become deified. The
development of the Montezuma myth among the Pueblo Indians of
New Mexico is an instance." (Bandelier.)
(54) Brinton's "Myths of the New World."
(55) Bandelier: "An Archaeological Tour in Mexico." pp. 168-213.
(56) Bancroft's "Native Races," Vol. III, p. 298, note 9.
(57) "American Antiquarian," January, 1883, p. 78.
(58) "An Archaeological Tour in Mexico," p. 67.
(59) "Peabody Museum Reports," Vol. II, p. 600. Dr. Brinton in
"Myths of the New World," p. 281, gives some instances that
might be thought to show the contrary. But even in those
extracts we notice the parties had to deserve the office, and
that in no case was it confined to certain persons.
(60) Bancroft: "Native Races," Vol. III, p. 335.
(61) Bancroft: "Native Races," Vol. II, p. 500.
(62) Mr. Bandelier remarks that the numbers from five to ten
should be macuil-pa-oc-ce, etc. We give the same table as both
Mr. Gallatin and Mr Bancroft.
(63) For authorities on this subject see Gallatin in "American
Ethnological Society's Transactions," Vol. I, p, 49; Bancroft's
"Native Races," Vol. II, p. 497; Valentine, in Am. Antiq. Soc.
Proceedings, Oct., 1880, p. 61.
(64) Perez "Chronology of Yucatan," in Stephens's "Yucatan,"
Vol. I, p. 435.
(65) See Valentine: "The Katunes of Maya History," in
Proceedings Am. Antiq. Soc., October, 1879, p. 114.
(66) We refer to the division of five days, not to the thirteen
day period, of which we will soon speak.
(67) Bandelier: "Peabody Museum Reports," Vol. II, p. 579.
(68) Mr. Bancroft, "Native Races," p. 508, gives a table showing
the variation of authors in this respect. Gallatin "American
Ethnological Society's Transactions," Vol. I, p. 66, says, "the
published hieroglyphics are dissimilar in many respects."
(69) Stephens's "Yucatan," Vol. I, p. 438.
(70) Bancroft's "Native Races," Vol. II, p. 513, note 15.
(71) Proceedings Am. Antiq. Society, April, 1878, p. 99.
(72) Gallatin: "American Ethnological Soc. Trans.," Vol. I,
(73) See Valentine, in Proceedings American Antiq. Society,
April, 1878, p. 106. Gallatin, who is also good authority, gives
the order different, viz., Tochtli, Acatl, Tecpatl, Calli.
(74) Valentine: Proceedings Am. Antiq. Soc., Oct., 1879, p. 84,
(75) Thomas: "A study of the Manuscript Troano," in
"Contributions to North American Ethnology," Vol. V, p. 29.
(76) According to the teachings of the Mexican priests nine
deities governed the days. They had painted lists of these
weeks, and the deities governing each.
(77) Valentine: Proceedings Am. Antiq. Soc., Oct., 1879, p. 85.
(78) In this table we have followed Mr. Gallatin. According to
Prof. Valentine, the order of the years is different.
This, however, is immaterial to an understanding of the system.
(79) Gallatin: "Am. Eth. Soc. Transactions," Vol. I, p. 94,
(80) Thus says Prof. Valentine. The cast of this stone in the
Smithsonian Institution gives the date eight, instead of
(81) For information on the Calendar Stone, consult, "American
Ethnological Society's Transactions," Vol. I, p. 94, et
seq.; Bancroft's "Native Races," Vol. II, chap. xvi, and
p. 755, et seq.; Valentine: American Antiquarian
Society's Proceedings, April, 1878, p. 92, et seq.;
Short's "North Americans of Antiquity," p. 419, et seq.
(82) Morgan's "Ancient Society," p. 143.
(83) Brinton: "Introduction to the Study of the Manuscript
(84) Valentine: Proceedings of American Antiquarian Society,
(85) Gallatin: "American Ethnological Society's Transactions,"
Vol. I, p. 131.
(86) Valentine: Amer. Antiq. Society's Transactions, April,
1880, pp. 59-91.
(87) Brinton's "Introduction to Study of manuscript Troans,"
(88) American Antiquarian Society, April, 1881, p. 294.
(89) "Myths of the New World." The doctor now thinks his
statement just referred to, too strong. There is, indeed, a
resemblance, as he pointed out; but it is not strong enough to
found any theories on.
(90) Short's "North Americans of Antiquity," p. 474.
(91) Brinton's "Myths of the New World."
(92) This historical manuscript represents the traditions of the
Maya people shortly after the conquest. It is very likely its
author had before him picture records of what he wrote.
Such records have since disappeared. The manuscript itself, the
interpretation of it, and Perez's remarks are found in Stephen's
"Yucatan," Vol. II, Appendix. The same in Bancroft's "Native
Races," Vol. V, p. 628. The fullest and most complete discussion
is by Prof. Valentine in Proceedings Am. Antiq. Soc., October,
1879, p. 80, et seq. Whether there is any thing worthy of
the name of history is doubtful.
(93) Proceedings Am. Antiq. Society, Oct., 1882.
(94) "North Americans of Antiquity," p. 578.
(95) "Peabody Museum Reports," Vol. II, p. 387.
(96) Valentine: Proceedings Am. Antiq. Society, October, 1882,
(97) North American Review, from Sept., 1880, to 1883.
(98) Short's "North Americans of Antiquity," p. 218.
(99) This historical notice is a mere outline. Such, however, is
all we wished to give. Those who wish for more details can not
do better than to refer to Mr. Bancroft's fifth volume on the
"Native Races." We do not believe, however, that any thing
definite is known of the early periods of which some writers
give such glowing descriptions. When they talk about the doings
of monarchs, the rise and fall of dynasties, and royal
governors, we must remember the majority of the descriptive
matter is mere nonsense, consequently our faith in the dates
given can not be very great.
END OF CHAPTER XV.**********************
The Prehistoric World: or, Vanished Races
by E. A. Allen
Processed by D.R. Thompson
First knowledge of Peru--Expeditions of Pizarro--Geography of
Peru--But a small part of it inhabitable--The tribes of ancient
Peru--How classified--Sources of our knowledge of Peru--
Garcillasso De La Vega--Origin of Peruvian civilization--The
Bolson of Cuzco--Historical outline--Their culture--Divided into
phratries and gentes--Government--Efforts to unite the various
tribes--Their system of colonies--The roads of the Incas--The
ruins of Chimu--The arts of the Chimu people--The manufacture of
pottery--Excavation at Ancon--Ruins in the Huatica Valley--The
construction of a Huaca--The ruins at Pachacamac--The valley of
the Canete--The Chincha Islands--Tiahuanuco--Carved gateway--The
Island of Titicaca--Chulpas--Ruins at Cannar--Aboriginal
Cuzco--Temple of the Sun--The Fortress--General remarks.
The early part of the sixteenth century was surely a stirring
time in the world's history. The night of the Dark Ages was
passing off of the Old World; the darker gloom of prehistoric
times was lifting from off the New. Spanish discoveries followed
each other in rapid succession in the South. As yet, they
supposed these discoveries to be along the eastern shores of
Asia, but, in 1513, Balboa, from a mountain peak, in Darien, saw
the gleam of the great Pacific, which intervenes between America
and Asia. At the same time he was informed there was a country
to the southward where gold was in common use, and of as little
value among the people as iron among the Spaniards. As gold was
what the Spaniards most desired, we can imagine how they
rejoiced over such information.
The rich country of which Balboa was thus informed was later
known as Peru. Balboa himself did not attempt its discovery.
There was no lack, however, of those who wished to achieve fame
and fortune by so doing. Among other restless spirits who had
been attracted to the New World, was Francisco Pizarro. He had
been associated with Balboa in founding the settlement of
Darien, and, of course, he was among the first to hear of the
marvelous country farther south. In 1518, Panama, on the Pacific
coast, was made the seat of government for the Spaniards in that
section of the country. Pizarro was one of the first there--his
services had been rewarded by the grant of an estate.
The historian of his expedition speaks of him as "one of the
principal men of the land, possessing his house, his farm, and
his Indians."<1> We need not doubt but what he often pondered
over his knowledge of the rich country south. He was well
acquainted with Indian character, and knew that a small band of
resolute Europeans, possessed of fire-arms, could sweep every
thing before them.
He could not endure the quiet life on his estate, and so he
obtained from the governor permission to explore the coast of
the South Sea to the eastward. He spent a large part of his
fortune on a good ship and the necessary supplies for the
voyage, and finally set sail from Panama in November of 1524.
It needed a man of no common spirits to withstand the
disappointments of the next few years. In less than a year this
ship returned to Panama for reinforcements. Pizarro himself and
a few of his men remained at a place not very far from Panama.
Here he was joined by reinforcements under Almagro.
Undismayed by his first experience, he again sailed southward
along the coast. Xeres's brief account is as follows: "When they
thought they saw signs of habitations, they went on shore in
their canoes they had with them, rowed by sixty men, and so they
sought for provisions. They continued to sail in this way for
three years, suffering great hardships from hunger and cold.
The greater part of the crew died of hunger, insomuch that there
were not fifty surviving. During all these years they discovered
no good land; all was swamp and inundated land without
This expedition accomplished nothing further than to obtain
definite information as to Peru. Pizarro's grant from the
governor having expired, and the further fact that he had spent
all his fortune in these unsuccessful expeditions, made it
necessary for him to go to Spain. Received by the emperor with
favor, clothed with ample authority, he was able to raise men
and money, and finally sailed from Panama in 1531 on his third
and successful expedition for the conquest of Peru. Thus was
made known to the world what is regarded as the most wonderful
example of native civilization in the two Americas.
The dawn of history for Peru was the sunset of her native
culture. In a few short years what has come down to us as the
Empire of the Incas was completely overthrown; the enslaved
Indians were groaning under the weight of Spanish oppression;
the demolition of her ancient monuments had already begun, and
romance, tradition, and wonder had already thrown their subtle
charms around the ruins. The old customs and usages were on the
sudden dropped, a new culture was forced upon the unwilling
natives, and prehistoric Peru, though distant but a few years in
time, was as completely separated from historic Peru as is the
culture of the Neolithic Age in Europe from that of the early
The magician's wand in the fairy stories of olden days did not
present results more bewildering in their changes than did the
operations of the Spaniards in Peru. All accounts unite in
praising the government of ancient Peru. There is probably no
question but what the government the Spaniards overthrew was one
far better adapted to the wants of the native inhabitants than
the one they forced them to accept. But when we read the
accounts of that government as set forth by the early writers,
we are at a loss to know what to believe. There is such an
evident mixture of fables, traditions, and facts, that the
cautious student hesitates, and asks what support the researches
of later scholars give to these early writers. We doubt whether
we have to this day clear ideas of the culture of ancient Peru.
This is to be regretted. There is no question but that here was
the highest development of the Indian race in America. If we
accept the accounts given us, here rose an empire which will not
suffer by comparison with the flourishing empires of early times
in Oriental lands. Let us try and learn what we can of this
culture, and see wherein it differed from that of the civilized
tribes already discussed.
Illustration of Map of Peru.---------------
We must, first of all, acquaint ourselves with the physical
features of the country. We can never fairly judge of the
civilization or culture of a people until we know their
surroundings. One of the discoveries of late years is, that the
culture of a people is greatly influenced by their surroundings.
The very appearance of a country whether it is mountainous or
plain, sea-girt or inland, influences the character of a people.
Civilization is found to depend upon such common factors as
climate, food, and physical surroundings.<2> Now if we will
examine the map of South America, we will see that the entire
section of country occupied by the tribes under consideration is
very mountainous. What is known as the Andes is in reality the
most eastern of the two ranges. The western one nearer the coast
is called the Cordillera, or the Coast Range. The summit of this
mountain range often spreads out into great undulating plains,
the general elevation of which is from fourteen to eighteen
thousand feet above the sea. This series of elevated plains
forms a dreary, uninhabited stretch of country, "frigid, barren,
and desolate, where life is only represented by the hardy vicuna
and the condor."<3>
This is the uninhabited portion of Peru. The general width of
this plateau region is about one hundred and fifty miles.
Passing this dreary stretch of country we come to another still
elevated plateau section, which extends to the snow-clad Andes
proper. The distance between these two great mountain ranges is
from one to two hundred miles, but as we see on the map they
come together in places. One such place, the Pass of La Raya,
fifteen degrees south latitude is of importance as marking the
northern extremity of the great basin of Lake Titicaca.
This basin is remarkable in many respects. It is of no
inconsiderable size, being six hundred miles in length by one
hundred and fifty in width. It has a lake and river system of
its own. At the northern extremity of the basin is the noted
Lake Titicaca, which is given by some as the traditional place
of origin of the Incas. This lake finds an outlet in the River
Desaguadero, which flows in a broad and swift stream in a
southerly direction, where it empties into Lake Aullagas.
Of this lake we know next to nothing, but it seems to be
established that it has no outlet to the sea. Thus this Titicaca
basin is but another example of interior basins like that of our
own great Salt Lake. It is not, however, favorably situated for
agricultural purposes. It is a "region where barley will not
ripen except under very favorable circumstances and where maize
in its most diminutive size has its most precarious development;
where the potato, shrunk to its smallest proportions, is bitter;
where the only grain is the quinoa, and where the only
indigenous animals fit for food are the biscacha, the llama and
Thus we see that a large part of the interior of Peru was not
desirable for habitations. But this great plateau region north
of the basin of Lake Titicaca is here and there broken up by
what we would call valleys, but which the Spaniards more
appropriately named bolsons, literally meaning "pockets."
These bolsons are of various altitudes, and, therefore have
different climates and productions. Some are well drained and
fertile, others are marshy and contain considerable lakes. As a
general thing, the bolsons are separated from each other by
stretches of the dreary, desolate plateau; or by ranges of
precipitous hills and mountains, or by profound gorges, along
which courses some river on its way to swell the flood of the
The coast range of mountains of which we have spoken runs nearly
parallel to the coast, distant from it about forty miles.
This stretch of country along the entire coast of ancient Peru
is mainly a desert. Owing to causes which we need not explain,
rain is almost unknown; the consequence is, the coast presents a
dreary, verdureless, forbidding appearance. The melting snows on
the great Cordillera, however, send down, here and there, on
their western flanks, feeble rivers. Some of these rivers reach
the sea, others prolong their flow but a few miles from the
mountains before the thirsty desert swallows them from view.
As is true of all desert countries, all that is needed to render
it fertile is water; so, wherever these rivers occur there are
found wonderfully fertile valleys. Every one of these valleys
was once thickly settled, but, like the bolsons of the interior,
they were not connected with each other. Each valley is
separated from its neighbor by many miles of almost trackless
desert, across which the Incas are said to have indicated the
road by means of stakes driven into the sand and joined by
Ozier ropes. No remains of such roads have been found by
Illustration of Fortress, Huatica Valley.-------
From this description it is "clear that but a small portion of
the country was inhabitable, or capable of supporting a
considerable number of people. The rich and productive valleys
and bolsons are hardly move than specks on the map."<5> It is
necessary that we bear this description of the country in mind.
It will help us to understand as nothing else will how the
tribes located in one rich and productive bolson could, by
successive forays, reduce to a condition of tribute tribes
living in other detached valleys and bolsons. It will also
enable us to put a correct estimate on the extravagant accounts
that have reached us of the population of this country under the
rule of its ancient inhabitants. We can also readily see why the
tribes living in the hot and fertile valleys along the coast,
which were called Yuncas by the Peruvians, should differ in
religion and mental and moral characteristics from the tribes
living in the bolsons of the interior, where the snow-clad peaks
were nearly always in sight, and where the sun, shedding his
warm and vivifying beams, would appear to the shivering natives
as the beneficent deity from whence comes all good.
We must now turn our attention to the tribes inhabiting the
section of country just described. We have seen that the Mayas,
of Central America, the Nahuas, of Mexico, and the sedentary
tribes, of the United States, were considerably in advance of
the great body of the Indian tribes of North America. We find
the same fact true of the natives of South America. Those tribes
inhabiting the territory of ancient Peru, and those of the
territory now known as the United States of Columbia, were
considerably further advanced than the wild tribes living in the
remaining portions of South America. Quite a number of our
scholars have grouped in one class these partially civilized
tribes of both North and South America, and called them the
Toltecan Family.<6> But others do not think that there are
sufficient grounds for such a class division. They can not
detect any radical changes in the domestic institutions of the
various tribes.<7> On this point we must wait until our
authorities are agreed among themselves.
Attempts have been made to classify the various partially
civilized tribes of Peru. There are several difficulties in the
way. It was, for instance, the custom of the Incas, whenever
they had reduced a tribe to tribute, to force them to learn
their language, which was the Quichua, and is what the early
Spanish writers call the general language of Peru.<8> How far
this language was forced on the tribes, and how far it was their
own idiom, we can not tell. Mr. Markham, who has made a very
careful study of all the authorities bearing on Peru, divides
the territory of ancient Peru into five divisions, and in each
locates a number of tribes, which he thinks forms a family.
The first, and most northern one, extends north from near
Tumbez, in the present State of Ecuador. The second extends from
Loja, on the north, to Cerro De Pasco, in about eleven degrees
south latitude. The third, and most important, extends from this
last named place to the pass of La Raya, fifteen degrees south
latitude. This was the home of the Incas and five other closely
related tribes. To the south of La Raya is the basin of Lake
Titicaca, the home of a family of Indians generally known as the
Aymara Indians. This name is, however, wrong; these tribes
should be called the Collao Indians. These four divisions do not
include any territory west of the Cordillera range, except one
part of the third division. These four families are all closely
related. Mr. Markham thinks they all had a common origin.
Mr. Squier thinks the Collao, or, as they are generally called,
the Aymara Indians, are distinct from the others. "They differ
from each other as widely as the German's differ from the
French," is his own conclusion. The entire coast district of
Peru was the home of many tribes of Indians, about which we as
yet know but little. The name by which they are known
We are now ready to proceed to a consideration of the culture of
ancient Peru, and a description of the monuments. But before
doing so we must have a word to say as to the authorities.
At the time of the Spanish conquest of Peru, the Empire of the
Incas was supposed to have been in existence about four hundred
years. But the Incas had no hieroglyphic or pictorial system of
recording events. The most they had was a system of knot records
or quippos, which will be explained in due time. These records
were simply aids to the memory. Mr. Squier places them "about on
a par with Robinson Crusoe's Notched Calendar, or the chalked
tally of an illiterate tapster."<10> They are manifestly of no
value as historical records.
It must be evident, then, that all our knowledge of Peru,
previous to the arrival of the Spaniards, rests solely upon
traditions. We have no reason to suppose that these traditions
are of more value in their case than in the case of other rude
and illiterate people. The memory of such people is very short
lived. The tribes in the southern part of the United States must
have been greatly impressed with Do Soto's expedition.
They heard fire-arms for the first time, and for the first time
saw horses ridden by men. Yet in the course of a few generations
they had completely forgotten all this.<11>
One very eminent authority is Garcillasso De La Vega.<12> Let us
examine his writings a minute. He was born in Cuzco about 1540,
but a few years after the conquest. His mother claimed descent
from the royal family. He left Peru in 1560, when he was just
twenty years old, and went to Spain. He first sought advancement
in the army. Despairing of success in that line, he turned his
attention to literature. One of his first works was an account
of De Soto's expedition to Florida. The historian Bancroft thus
characterizes this work: "An extravagant romance, yet founded
upon facts--a history not without its value, but which must be
consulted with extreme caution." Yet in this work there were no
subtile ties of blood, no natural bias as there would be in
favor of the land of his birth.
About 1600 he commenced his "Royal Commentaries of Peru."
This is the main source of information as to ancient Peru.
We must reflect that he had been away from his native land forty
years when he commenced the work. His sources of information
were the stories told him in his boyhood days, the writings of
the Spanish travelers, monks, and conquerors, and what he
learned by corresponding with his old friends in Peru, which he
did when he formed the design of writing his history. In other
words, his history rests on the traditions extant at the time of
the conquest, viewed, however, from a distance of sixty years.
Who can doubt but what the old man, writing his accounts of this
mother's race, that race that had been so deeply wronged, wrote
it under the influence of that potent spell, which the memory of
old age throws around childhood's days?
It is evident we have in these accounts but little deserving the
name of history. When he undertakes to tell us of the doings of
the Incas, who are supposed to have reigned three or four
hundred years before the Spanish conquest, descending to such
details as what nations they subdued, the size of their armies,
their speeches to their soldiers, the words of counsel they
addressed to their heirs, their wise laws and maxims--and we
know that this account rests on traditions--he who believes that
they are of historical value, is surely possessed of a good
store of credulity. We do not mean to say that his writings are
of no account. On the other hand, they are of value.
The historical part we are to consider simply as traditions, and
we are to weigh them just as we would any other collection of
traditions and compare them with monuments still extant. He is
good authority on the customs and manners of the Peruvians just
previous to the arrival of the Europeans.
We have seen what strange mistakes the Spanish writers made in
describing the government and customs of the Mexicans. We have
no doubt but what substantially the same mistake has been made
in regard to Peru. We believe that a careful, critical study of
all that has been written on the subject of Peru by the early
writers will establish this fact. As yet this has not been done.
We must therefore be careful in our description of the state of
society amongst them, as we do not wish to make statements not
supported by good authority.
We must try and decide as to what is the most probable origin of
the ancient Peruvian civilization. Some of the earlier writers
on this subject would trace it to an influx of Toltecs, the same
mythical race that is credited with being the originators of the
culture found in Mexico and Central America. But our modern
scholars have clearly shown that the Toltec Empire, which was
supposed to have preceded the Mexican, never existed. What we
are to understand by the Toltecs is the sedentary tribes of
Indians, either of the Nahua or Maya stock. The only value we
would assign to the story of their dispersion is that it is a
traditional statement that the migration of the sedentary
Indians has been in a direction from north to south.
Illustration of Ruins at Pachacamac.---------------
We have no means of knowing when the first tribes arrived in the
country, or of their state of culture. It was doubtless at a
very early date, and the tribes were probably not far advanced.
We have no reason to suppose the culture of Peru was influenced
from outside sources at all. We can not detect any evidence of a
succession of races in Peru. The distinguished author to whom we
have already referred<13> speaks of what he calls the ancient
Peruvians as distinguished from the modern tribes that
acknowledged the government of the Incas.<14> We think that all
the evidence points to a long continued residence of the same
race of people.
We may suppose that in the fertile valleys of the coast, and in
the bolsons of the interior, tribes of rude people were slowly
moving along the line of progress that conducts at last to
civilization. There is no reason to suppose that this progress
was a rapid one. Under all circumstances this development is
slow. We must not forget the natural features of the country.
The inhabited tracts were isolated, hence would arise numerous
petty tribes, having no common aims or mutual interests.
Each would pursue their own way, and would keep about equal pace
through the stages of Barbarism.<15>
In process of time geographical and climatic causes would
produce those effects, from which there is no escape, and some
tribes would distinguish themselves as being possessed of
superior energy, and the same results would follow there as
elsewhere; that is, the dominion of the strong over the weak.
All other circumstances being equal, we would look for this
result in a section where a mild climate and fertile soil
enabled man to put forth his energies, and rewarded his labors.
All accounts agree in speaking of the bolson of Cuzco as well
provided by nature in this respect. One eminent traveler speaks
of it as "a region blessed with almost every variety of climate.
On its bracing uplands were flocks of llamas and abundance of
edible roots, while its sunny valleys yielded large crops of
corn, pepper, and fruits.<16> Mr. Squier thinks that, on the
whole, the climate is very nearly the same as that of the south
This bolson was the home of the Incas. A number of writers speak
of the Incas very much as if they were a royal family. It is not
necessary to discuss this point very extensively at present.
All our accounts of their early history are traditional.
Mr. Markham and Mr. Squier, both competent judges, assert that
the weight of traditions is to the effect that the Incas
originated near Cuzco. "Universal traditions," says Mr. Markham,
"points to a place called Peccari Tampu as the cradle or point
of origin of the Incas." As near as we can make out from the
description, this was where, as seen from Cuzco, the sun
appeared to rise.<18>
We must remark that the sun was the ancestral deity of the
Incas. All the Andean people worshiped some object as an
ancestral deity. "An Indian," says La Vega, "is not looked upon
as honorable unless he is descended from a fountain, river, or
lake, or even the sea, or from a wild animal, such as a bear,
lion, tiger, eagle, or the bird they called a condor, or from a
mountain, cave, or forest." The Incas claimed descent from the
sun. So we can see why their legends would center on the place
where the sun appeared to rise. In after years, when they had
extended their conquests to the Collao,<19> and stood on the
shore of Lake Titicaca, the sun appeared to them to rise out of
its waves; and so this lake became to them a second point of
We see we can not solve the question of the origin of the Incas
until we solve the deeper problems of the origin of the Andean
tribes. Every thing seems to indicate a long-continued
residence, perhaps for centuries, and a slow advance in culture.
We are not to suppose the Incas were endowed with unusual
capacity for improvement; all the tribes were probably about
equal in this respect.<20> But their situation was in their
favor, and they did not have to contend with those obstacles
that confronted other tribes. They must have increased in
numbers and in culture; they would in time feel themselves
strong enough for conquest. We must bear in mind the peculiar
geographical features of the country. In the isolated valleys
and bolsons were living other tribes, but little inferior to the
Incas. There were no common interests between these tribes.
One by one they fell before the assaults of the Incas, and were
reduced to tribute. Rendered still more powerful by success, the
Incas pushed on their conquests until finally all the tribes
living in that vast stretch of country from the Andes to the
Pacific, from Chili to the United States of Colombia,
acknowledged themselves tributary to the Incas. This was the
state of things when the Spaniards, under Pizarro, appeared on
When we undertake to learn the history or the state of culture
among the Incas, we are entering on a difficult subject.
Of their history, we know but very little more than is given in
this outline; and owing to the complete absence of all records,
we can not expect to know very much. Garcillasso draws such an
inviting picture of the happy government of the Incas, that we
would suppose that no rebellion or insurrection would ever
occur. It seems, however, that their government was as much
subject to such trials as any. Mr. Forbes tells us that "the
Aymaras never submitted tamely to their Peruvian masters, but
from time to time gave them much trouble by attempting to
recover their independence." And M. Reville tells us of the
Incas that, "more than once they had to suppress terrible
insurrections." And we shall see, further on, that the
probabilities are that the various tribes composing this
so-called empire were not more compact and united than were the
tribes composing the Mexican Empire.
Shortly before the conquest, the Incas had reached their zenith
of power. Huayna Capac, who died about 1525, was in reality the
last of the Inca chiefs. Under his management the tribes as far
north as Quito were reduced to tribute. The story goes that
shortly before his death he divided the empire between two of
his sons. One, Huascar, the rightful heir to the throne;
the other, Atahualpa, half-brother to Huascar. His mother was
daughter of the last king (?) of Quito. Her father had been
forced to submit to the victorious Huayna Capac. This division
of the Incarial Empire, was not at all to the liking of either
Huascar or Atahualpa. They both wished to be sole Inca.
Civil war was the result. Atahualpa, by treachery, had taken his
brother prisoner, and would doubtless have achieved his
ambition, but just then Pizarro invaded the country, and the
reign of the Incas was over.
Thus far, the story. We very much doubt whether this expresses
the facts of the case. There is no question, of course, that
civil war was in progress when the Spaniards arrived, which war,
by the way, was a very fortunate thing for the Spaniards; but we
do not know enough about the government of the Incas to know
whether Huayna Capac could bequeath any powers to his sons.
About all we are justified in saying is, that on his death, two
persons (they were very likely brothers, and sons of Huayna
Capac) aspired to the chieftaincy of the Incas, and, failing to
agree, resorted to war to settle the matter.
The question is, how far back in the unrecorded past can we
follow tradition? Huayna Capac is thought to have been chief for
about fifty years. His predecessor is said to have been one
Tupac Yupanqui. Velasco, an early writer on the Peruvians,
thinks he was chief for about thirty-six years. As this would
carry us back nearly one hundred years, it must be evident we
have gone about as far as we can place any reliance on
tradition. However, the third chief, going backwards, was also
called Yupanqui, sometimes denominated "Yupanqui the Great," and
his reign (?) takes us back to about the year 1400. "Beyond this
point," says M. Castaing, "we fall into a mythological era."
We fully agree with him. We can not think there is any special
value in accounts of events said to happen before that
time--that is, for historical purposes.
That there were victorious chiefs, conducting victorious forays
before that date, is, of course, admitted. That the names of
many of the chiefs have come down to us, as well as some of
their notable achievements is quite possible. It is also evident
that some mythological personages would appear in tradition as
"reigning Incas." It is equally plain that neither Garcillasso,
nor any of the Spanish writers, had any clear ideas of these
ancient times or events. All traditions finally settle on Manco
Capac as the first chief of the Incas. M. Castaing says he "is
but an allegory of the period of formation."<21> The date of the
accession of this mythological chief is given by most
authorities as about the year 1000. M. Castaing thinks it was in
the middle of the twelfth century. It does not make much
difference which date the reader concludes to accept--one will
do as well as the other.<22>
Let us turn our attention to the culture of the Incas, and their
state of government. Here we would expect to be on firm ground.
We would expect the Spanish writers to give us reliable accounts
of the state of society of the people they conquered. But, as
Mr. Squier remarks, the overthrow of the Peruvian government
"was so sudden and complete that the chroniclers had hardly time
to set down the events which took place before their own eyes,
and had little leisure, or perhaps inclination, to make a
careful investigation into the principles of their civil and
religious polity. As a consequence, this work has devolved upon
the laborious student and archaeologist of a later time."
In other words, we are to compare the accounts given us by the
early writers with our present knowledge of Indian society.
We have already made the statement that the Inca were a tribe of
Indians. But, if they were a tribe, did they have the usual
subdivisions of a tribe--which, we remember, are the phratry and
gens? The Spanish writers say nothing about such divisions.
This is not strange. They said nothing about the phratries and
gentes of the Mexicans; and yet they were in existence.
Neither did the English mention the institution of the phratries
and gentes among the Iroquois; and yet they were fully
developed. We answer, that the Inca tribe were divided into both
phratries and gentes. It is necessary to show what grounds we
have for such belief. It is well to have a little better
understanding of the surroundings of this tribe.
The isolated section of country which they occupied is about
seventy miles long by sixty in width. "The proper name for the
aboriginal people of this tract," says Mr. Markham, "is Incas."
This word must have been at first the title for chief--for all
the chiefs in this section were called Incas; but, in process of
time, the name was assumed as the special title of the tribe at
Cuzco. Mr. Markham gives us further the names of seventeen
lineages who occupied this valley. Whether a lineage was a tribe
or not we can not decide. We will now confine our attention to
the ruling tribe at Cuzco.
The Spaniards noticed that Cuzco was divided into two parts,
called respectively Upper and Lower Cuzco. Garcillasso tells us
that this division was made as follows. Manco-Capac with his
wife and queen were children of the Sun, sent to civilize the
Indians, who, before their arrival, were a very degraded sort of
savages. From Cuzco this sun-descended couple went their
different ways--the king to the north, the queen to the
south--"speaking to all the people they met in the wilderness,
and telling them how their father, the Sun, had sent them from
heaven to be the rulers and benefactors of the inhabitants of
all that land; ... and, in pursuance of these commands, they had
come to bring them out of the forests and deserts to live in
villages." This sounded so good to the wild tribes, that they
"assembled in great numbers, both men and women," and set out to
follow their exhorters.<23>
The tribe that followed the king settled Upper Cuzco; while the
queen's converts settled Lower Cuzco. This division was not made
so that those living in one half should have any special
privileges over the other--for they were all to be equal, like
brothers. The division was solely in order "that they might be a
perpetual memory of the fact that the inhabitants of one were
assembled by the king, and the other by the queen." The only
difference between them was, "that the people of Upper Cuzco
should be looked upon and represented as elder brothers, and
those of Lower Cuzco as younger brothers."
Such is the account of the settlement of Upper and Lower Cuzco.
Any one acquainted with the general principles on which the
division of Indian tribes into phratries took place, can not
help concluding that these divisions were simply two phratries.
The inhabitants of each traced their descent back to a
supernatural personage. They were equal in power to each other
as elder and younger brothers. Polo Ondegardo simply remarks
that "the lineage of the Incas was divided into two branches,
the one called Upper Cuzco, the other Lower Cuzco."<24>
There ought to be no objection to substituting for the word
branches used above the scientific term our scholars now employ;
that is, phratry. Each tribe of the Iroquois confederacy was
divided into two phratries, and their name for this division was
a word which meant brotherhood.<25>
Whatever doubt we may have on this point vanished when we come
to examine into the customs of the Incas. We must not forget
that the most prominent way a phratry shows itself is in matters
of religion, and in the play of social games. "The phratry,
among the Iroquois," says Mr. Morgan, "was partly for social and
partly for religious objects. ... In the ball game, for example,
they play by phratries, one against the other. Each phratry puts
forward its best players, usually from six to ten on a side, and
the members of each phratry assemble together, but on opposite
sides of the field in which the game is played. The members of
each phratry watch the game with eagerness, and cheer their
respective players at every successful turn of the game."
Illustration of Relics from Guano Deposits.---------
Let us see how it was among the Incas.<26> Like all Indian
tribes, the Incas were very fond of ceremonious feasts.
Nearly every month they celebrated one or more. We gather from
Molina that on occasions when the whole tribe participated in
such religious observances, the people of Upper Cuzco sat apart
front Lower Cuzco. In the month corresponding to August they had
a celebrated feast, the object of which was to drive out
all evil from the land. We read: "All the people of Cuzco came
out, ... richly dressed, sat down on benches, each man according
to the rank he held, those of the Upper Cuzco being on one side,
and those of Lower Cuzco on the other." And of another feast we
read: "They brought out the embalmed (?) bodies of the dead
Incas, placing those who had belonged to Upper Cuzco on the side
where that lineage was stationed, and the same with those of
Lower Cuzco." Other examples could be given, but this point is
well established. In games this same division was observed,
since we read that in the month of December, "on the first day
of the month, those who had been armed as knights--as well those
of the lineage of Upper Cuzco as those of Lower Cuzco--came out
into the square with slings in their hands, ... and the youths
of Upper Cuzco hurled against those of Lower Cuzco." We may
therefore consider it well established that the Incas were a
tribe of Indians having two phratries.
Let us now see how the matter stands in regard to gens.
This division follows almost as a matter of course, but it is
well to see what separate grounds exist for the assertion.
Garcillasso, in his description of Cuzco, after a reference to
the division into Upper and Lower Cuzco, tells us further that
it was divided into twelve wards. Mr. Squier gives us a map of
the ancient city. From this we see that the twelve wards were
arranged in an irregular oval around the principal square.
Seven of them belonged to the division of Upper Cuzco, the other
five to Lower Cuzco.
This division is utterly unintelligible to us, unless we suppose
them to be subdivisions of the phratries. It makes no difference
what name we bestow upon them, in effect they can be nothing
else than gentes. As to the number of them, it is well to notice
a coincidence in the statement of an Indian writer,
Salcamayhua.<27> On a certain very important occasion there were
assembled "all the councilors. The governor entered the
chamber, where twelve grave councilors were assembled."<28> The most reasonable explanation that can be
given for the number twelve is that each gens had one
representative in the council. The Incas are thus seen to be
very probably, at least, no exception to the general rule of
From our present standpoint what can we learn as to their
government? It is, of course, well known what the position of
the early writers on this subject is. They all agree that the
government of the Incas was a monarchy of the strictest type.
We have seen what a wonderful empire they bestowed on the
Mexicans. The Peruvian Empire is painted in still brighter
colors. Modern writers have not allowed the early accounts to
suffer by repetition. Rivero uses the following language:
"The monarchs of Peru, ... uniting the legislative and executive
power, the supreme command in war, absolute sovereignty in
peace, and a venerated high-priesthood in religious feasts, ...
exercised the highest power ever known to man."<29> Even so
cautious a writer as Mr. Squier speaks of the Incas as ruling
"the most thoroughly organized, most wisely administered, and
most extensive empire of aboriginal America."<30>
It is freely admitted that there is much that is indeed
wonderful in the culture of the Incas; but it has, undoubtedly
been greatly exaggerated. To deal with this question as it
should be would require an entire volume of itself, and would
require far more extensive research than the writer has been
able to make, or is, indeed, prepared to make. It will do no
harm to see what we can learn by comparing the statements of
some of the early writers with what we have now learned of
Let us first inquire as to the council. There is no question as
to the existence of a council. Garcillasso and all the early
writers refer to it in an accidental sort of way. To show the
force of this statement, we will give a few quotations.
Garcillasso, speaking of the movements of the Inca Viracocha,
says: "Having passed some years in making journeys, he returned
to Cuzco, where, with the advice of his councilors, he resolved
on war." And, in another place: "Having consulted with his
council" he assembled his army. Talking about the son of the
foregoing, he says: "In fine, this king, with the advice of his
council, made many laws, rules, ordinances," etc.<31> In the
foregoing we are made aware of the existence of a council, but
are not told as to its size or powers. Each gens would of course
be represented in the council. We have spoken in one place of
the number twelve. Mr. Bandelier tells us that the council
consisted of sixteen members.<32> As to its power we are also
left in the dark; but, judging from what we have learned of the
council among the Mexicans and Indian tribes of the North, who
can doubt but that it was the supreme governing body?<33>
The more we study this question, the more points of resemblance
we would find with the social organization of the Mexicans.
The tenure of land was of course the same, as we learn from the
report of Ondegardo--some differences may have occurred in
regard to tribute.
The Mexicans, we must remember, were at the head of a
confederacy, and the tribute was brought to Mexico to be divided
among the three tribes. The Incas were the only tribe, in the
case of Peru, having supreme power. Having no one to suit but
themselves, they introduced some new features. The tribute,
instead of being all brought to Cuzco, seems to have been, at
least a portion of it, stowed away in storehouses located at
places most convenient for the Incas. Cieza De Leon says: "The
Incas ... formed many depots full of all things necessary for
their troops. In some of these depots there were lances;
in others, darts; and in others, sandals: and so, one with
another, arms and articles of clothing which these people used,
besides stores of food. Thus, when a chief was lodged in one of
these depots with his troops, there was nothing, from the most
trifling to the most important article, with which they were not
supplied."<34> This tribute was gathered by regular
tribute-gatherers. As in the case of Mexico, these appear in
history as governors. Ondegardo says they left "Cuzco every
year, and returned in February, ... bringing with them the
tribute of the whole empire."
As a rule, the Incas did not interfere with the customs of the
tribes they had conquered. Garcillasso says: "Excepting a few
alterations that were necessary for the welfare of the whole
empire, all the other laws and customs of the conquered province
were retained without any change." In the main, all they wished
for was tribute. Yet they seem to have had some idea of a higher
policy than that. They are credited with carrying out measures
which would certainly tend to bring the tribes into a close
union. Mr. Squier remarks: "The efforts of the Incas to
assimilate the families that were brought within their empire,
by force or alliance--in respect to language, religion, and
modes of life--were powerful and well-directed."<35> This was a
step ahead of any thing that can be said of the Mexicans.
In the matter of language, it is said they made persistent
efforts to have the conquered tribes learn their own language.
De Leon tells us that it was a law throughout the kingdom that
this language should be used--"fathers were punished if they
neglected to teach it to their children in their childhood."
How much we are to believe of this account is doubtful.
Mr. Markham has shown us that the languages of all the interior
tribes were related. We know how difficult it is to compel a
conquered people by law to learn a foreign language. William the
Conqueror made an unsuccessful attempt to compel the
Anglo-saxons to learn French--it ended by his followers learning
English. Are we to believe that a tribe of Peruvian Indians were
successful in spreading their language over a wide extent of
territory in the course of a few generations?
Illustration of Burial Towers.-----------------
What is considered as the great stroke of policy on the part of
the Incas, was their system of colonies. On this point De Leon
tells us: "As soon as a province was conquered, ten or twelve
thousand men were ordered to go there with their wives; but they
were always sent to a country where the climate resembled that
from whence they came. If they were natives of a cold province,
they were sent to a cold one; and if they came from a warm
province, they went to a warm one. These people were called
mitimaes--which means Indians who have come from one country and
gone to another." On this we might remark, that the Incas did
not always show such discriminating care where they sent the
exiles, since Mr. Markham tells us that the "descendants of
colonists on the coasts of Peru (a warm climate, notice) still
retain traditions concerning the villages in the Andes (a cold
province), whence their ancestors were transported."
We will only refer to the so-called royal roads of Peru.
Humboldt observed them in Northern Peru, and speaks in high
praise of them. Many of the early writers mention them. De Leon
gives us a really wonderful account. Modern travelers have not
been so fortunate in finding their remains. Mr. Squier does not
mention them. Mr. Hutchinson searched at every place along the
coast, and could find no trace of such works. The northern part
of Peru, where Humboldt saw them, was almost the last section to
be conquered by the Incas. It is singular that they should have
been in such a hurry to build roads in that section, when the
other parts of their territory were destitute of them.
We are now prepared to inquire as to what remains of this
ancient people have come down to us; and in studying these ruins
we must keep constantly in mind the social organization of
Indian tribes.<36> We notice on the map, at about 8° south
latitude, a place marked Truxillo. It is situated nearly two
miles from the sea, in the valley of the Chimu. Its port is the
town of Huanchaco, a dilapidated village of a few hundred
houses, about ten miles further north. Truxillo was founded in
1535 by Francisco Pizarro, and was once a place of considerable
importance, but at present it is probably most noted for the
famous ruins located near it. Several of the fertile coast
valleys that we have previously described, here unite;
consequently this was a place of great importance to the coast
tribes. The ruins here are among the most remarkable in Peru.
The road from Huanchaco to Truxillo passes directly through the
field of ruins.
Illustration of Palace.------------------
Mr. Squier tells us that the ruins "consist of a wilderness of
walls, forming great inclosures, each containing a labyrinth of
ruined dwellings and other edifices." As our space is limited,
we will describe but one of these inclosed spaces. This is a
view of what is usually called a palace, but this certainly is
an absurd name. The inclosure contains some thirty-two acres;
the walls surrounding it are double, and sufficiently heavy to
resist field artillery. At the base the walls, in some cases,
are fifteen feet thick, gradually diminishing toward the top,
where they are not more than three feet thick. They vary in
height, the highest ranging from thirty to forty feet high.
In order to give a clear idea of these walls, we introduce this
cut, which gives us a section of the walls. The materials of
which they are built is adobe.
Illustration of Section of Palace Wall.--------------
Within this inclosure we notice three open places, or courts, a
number of smaller cross-walls dividing the remaining space into
a number of small courts. Around each of these courts, generally
on three sides, are the ruins of houses. All in the interior of
the large inclosures is so far gone in ruins that we can with
difficulty make out the plan. Inclosures, such as we have
described here, are the principal features of the Chimu ruins.
Mr. Squier speaks of one three or four times the size of this
one. With our present knowledge we are justified in concluding
that Chimu was the head-quarters of a powerful tribe. We are
surely justified in assuming further that each of these great
inclosed squares, containing upwards of thirty, forty, and even
fifty acres, was the home of a gens--their fortified place.
Of the houses, Mr. Squier says: "Around each court the dwellings
of the ancient inhabitants are grouped with the utmost
regularity. ... Some are small, as if for watchmen or people on
guard; others are relatively spacious, reaching the dimensions
of twenty-five by fifteen feet inside the walls. These walls are
usually about three feet thick, and about twelve feet high.
The roofs were not flat, but, as shown by the gables of the
various buildings, sharply pitched, so that, although rain may
not have been frequent, it was, nevertheless, necessary to
provide for its occurrence. Each apartment was completely
separated from the next by partitions reaching to the very peak
of the general roof. There are no traces of windows, and light
and air were admitted into the apartment only by the door."
On one side, at least, the whole area of the city was protected
by a heavy wall, several miles of which were still standing at
the time of Mr. Squier's visit. At various places along this
wall, cross-walls extended inward, thus inclosing great areas
which have never been built over, and which show all evidence of
ancient cultivation. We notice, near the upper end of this
inclosure, a court, occupied by a mound. This is known as a
huaca, which calls for some explanation. It seems that
the general name among all the Peruvian people, for a sacred
object, is huaca. Being a very superstitious people, this name
is applied to a great variety of purposes, amongst others, to
these great artificial mounds, the majority of which are
probably burial mounds. The construction of many of these mounds
is very singular. It seems as if they were a large collection of
rooms, each one of which was filled with clay or adobe. In some
of these chambers, probably, treasures are concealed. One very
celebrated huaca, at Chimu, was found to contain an enormous
amount of gold vessels.
We must not forget to notice the arts of the Chimu people.
The walls of the inner edifices were often ornamented as is seen
in the following cut, of which the upper one is stucco-work and
the lower one is in relief. Adobe bricks are allowed to project
out, forming the ornamental design. Other ornaments of
stucco-work were observed. The second figure on this page gives
us an idea of this style of ornaments. As an evidence of how the
climate of Peru preserves ruins, we would mention that, though
this last stucco-work has been exposed to the elements for
probably several centuries, yet it is still apparently perfect.
Illustration of Ornamentation of Walls.---------------
Illustration of Adobe Ornament.-----------------------
The Chimu people were certainly very expert workmen in gold and
silver. De Leon asserts that, when the Incas conquered them,
they took to Cuzco many of the artisans of the country, "because
they were very expert in the working of metals, and the
fashioning of jewels and vases in gold and silver." In the cut
following we have two vases--the smaller one of gold, the
larger of silver." The material is very thin, and the ornaments
are produced by hammering from the inside.
Illustration of Gold and Silver Vases.---------------
Illustration of Bronze Knives and Tweezers.-------------
Besides such works as just described they had the art of casting
representations of men, animals, and reptiles in
silver--sometimes hollow, sometimes solid. They even cast more
complex objects. Mr. Squier says he has one "representing three
figures--one of a man, and two women, in a forest. It rises from
a circular base about six inches in diameter, and weighs
forty-eight and a half ounces. It is solid throughout--or,
rather, is cast in a single piece, and rings, when struck, like
a bell." The trees, he says, are well represented, their
branches spreading in every direction. The human figures are
also well proportioned, and full of action. They also knew how
to manufacture bronze. Many agricultural implements are found,
not only at Chimu, but all along the coast. In the preceding cut
we have bronze knives and tweezers--also, a war-club of the
All the coast tribes of Peru excelled in the manufacture of
pottery. Mr. Squier tells us that, in this sort of work we find
"almost every combination of regular or geometrical
figures"--men, birds, animals, fishes, etc., are reproduced in
earthenware. In this cut we have one of the many forms. Notice
the serpent emblem.
Illustration of Water-jar.---------------------
Illustration of Water-jars from Ancon,-----------
The people of Chimu, whose ruins we have been describing, belong
to the coast division--differing in many respects from the
Peruvian tribes in the interior. Our information in regard to
the coast people is very limited. We have to judge them almost
entirely from the ruins of their towns, and the remains of their
handiwork. There is no reason to suppose they were the inferiors
of the Peruvians in culture. It is quite the custom to speak of
them as if they were low savages before the Incas conquered the
country; and that they owe to the latter all their advance in
culture. On the contrary, we may well doubt whether their
condition was at all improved by the Inca conquest. The coast
people are supposed to have been conquered about one hundred
years before the Spanish conquest. It was only after a most
stubborn resistance that the principal valleys were subdued.
Illustration of Cloth found in Grave.-----------------
It is not necessary, neither have we space, to give a review of
all the ruins along the coast. They are very plentiful. There is
not an inhabitable valley but that they abound there. The soil
where not irrigated is very dry, and tends to preserve any thing
buried therein. All the coast people buried their dead; hence it
is that we find, in nearly all the coast valleys, such extensive
cemeteries. At Ancon, for instance, twenty miles north of Lima
it is simply wonderful how extensive the cemeteries are.
Mr. Hutchinson says they extend for miles. Very extensive
explorations have been made here for scientific purposes.
We have given, earlier, some water-jars excavated at Ancon, in
last illustration we have some specimens of cloth found in
graves farther north; and in the same locality was found a very
wonderful piece of feather-work. The small feathers were so
fastened to a ground of cotton cloth that they could not be
Illustration of Wall in Huatica Valley.----------
Another noted place, about the same distance south of Lima, is
Pachacamac. Mr. Squier concludes, from the cemeteries at this
place, that it was a holy place, to which pilgrims resorted from
all parts of the empire so as to be laid to rest in holy ground.
When we learn of so many other similar localities, we see that
this conclusion does not follow. The most we can say is, that
these valleys have surely been settled for a long while.
The city of Lima is situated on the south bank of the Rimac
River, about six miles from the coast. Its port is the town of
Callao. The valley is called the Huatica Valley. Very extensive
and wonderful rains occur in this valley, between Lima and the
sea. We are told these ruins are thick and close over a space of
a few square miles, and are inclosed within a triple wall.
The last cut is given as a representation of a portion of this
wall, though only a small portion here and there is still
discernible. Amongst these ruins are a large number of
Illustration of Burial Mound, or Huaca.------------
Some are huacas, or burial mounds; and some are in the nature of
fortresses. It is best to explain a little more particularly
about the burial mounds of the coast region of Peru. This cut
gives us an idea of their appearance. As to their construction
Mr. Squier says: "Many if not most of the pyramids, or huacas,
were originally solid--built up of successive vertical layers of
bricks, or compacted clay, around a central mass or core."
But this is not always the case; since in many huacas we find
walls, in some rooms, and, finally, as before remarked, some
apparently consist of a large, many-storied building, the rooms
of which are all filled with clay. In the mound just mentioned,
Mr. Hutchinson found a number of inclosures--though the work was
done in a rough, shapeless manner. Mr. Squier gives us a
description of a many-roomed huaca as follows: "Thanks to the
energy of treasure-hunters who have penetrated its sides, we
find that it had numerous large painted chambers, was built in
successive diminishing stages, ascended by zigzag stair-ways,
and was stuccoed over and painted in bright colors.
The conquerors filled up these chambers, and recast the edifice
with a thick layer of adobe."<37>
This is surely a singular piece of work. The building just
described by Mr. Squier must have been much like a pueblo.
We wish we had fuller descriptions of it. Mr. Squier is eminent
authority, and scholars delight to honor him for his researches.
We take the liberty, however, to question some of his
conclusions. How does he know that this structure was ever used
for any other purpose than as a mound? It is indeed a singular
way to construct a mound, but when we learn of the existence of
mounds showing the different methods of work--some solid, some
with walls, others with rude rooms, still others with rooms
towards the top--why not say that this many-storied building was
simply one style of mound-building? He claims that the Incas
filled up these rooms, and transformed the house into a mound.
Mr. Hutchinson claims there is no proof that the Incas did this
sort of work.
As an example of fortress-mounds, also prevalent in the valley
of the Huatica, we present the next cut. Mr. Hutchinson
describes this mound as being eighty feet high, and about four
hundred and fifty feet square. "Some of the adobe walls, a yard
and a half in thickness, are still quite perfect. That this was
not likely to have been a burial-mound may be presumed from its
formation. Great large square rooms show their outlines on the
top, but all filled up with earth. Who brought this earth here,
and, with what object was the filling up accomplished? for the
work of obliterating all space in these rooms with loose
earth must have been almost as great as the construction of the
building in itself."<38> So it seems that in the fortress-mounds
also we meet with this same mysterious feature--rooms filled
Illustration of Fortress Mound.----------------
The Huatica Valley was also the location of a famous temple--at
least such are the traditions--and ruins are pointed out as
being those of the temple in question. It is simply an immense,
large inclosed square, of some forty-nine acres. On each side of
this square there is a huge mass of ruins, and another in the
center. In our next illustration we have a portion of the wall
surrounding the ruins on the south side of the supposed temple.
This is the largest of the group of ruins. The walls are seventy
feet high; the area at the top is over five acres. Here, again,
we notice the same mysterious feature already referred to, for
"on the top of this were also discernible the outlines of large
square rooms, filled up, as all the others, even to the topmost
height of seventy feet, with earth or clay."
Illustration of Temple Wall.----------------------
This cut is given as a fort, meaning thereby a fortress-mound,
such as we have already described. It is said to be situated to
one side of the temple. From this we understand that the wall
seen in the cut is that already mentioned as inclosing the
temple. Another ruined fortress found in this valley is given
Illustration of Fortress, Huatica Valley.-----------------
Twenty miles south of Lima, in the valley of the river Lurin, is
an important field of ruins, known as Pachacamac, which is still
the name of a small village in the neighborhood. We give a
general view of the ruins. The principal point of interest,
about it is the ruins of an old temple. Traditionally, this, is
one of the most interesting points in Peru. All the coast tribes
were very superstitious. We have already referred to the
celebrated temple near Lima. The temple at Pachacamac was of
still greater renown. Arriaga, a famous ecclesiastic, took an
active part in extirpating their idolatrous belief. From his
accounts, it seems they were much addicted to fortune-telling.
Their gods were made to give out oracles and their temples
became renowned just in proportion as their priests were shrewd
in this matter.
Illustration of Pachacamac.--------------------
Those at Pachacamac were especially skillful, and it is said,
pilgrims resorted to it from all parts of the coast. As a
consequence, it became very rich. The god that was worshiped
here was a fish-god. The name of this god, and the name of this
old town are alike lost to us. When the Incas conquered the
coast people, they imposed the name of one of their own
divinities on this temple, and by that name the place is now
known to us.<39>
The ruins of the supposed temple are seen on the hill in the
background of the picture. A number of writers speak of this
hill in such terms as to imply that it was altogether
artificial, like the famous pyramid at Cholula.
Mr. Squier says that it is largely artificial, but that the
central core is a natural hill. He speaks of rocks cropping out
on the highest part, which seem to be conclusive of the matter.
They built up great terraces around this central core.
These terrace walls are now in such a ruined condition that they
can with difficulty be made out. We introduce this cut as a
nearer view of the ruins of the temple.
Illustration of View of the Temple.--------------
Some writers assert that the Incas erected on the summit of this
hill a temple of the sun. There are, however, no good proofs of
this assertion. According to Mr. Squier the only ruin of the
Inca type of architecture is a mile and a half distant.
Mr. Hutchinson noticed, on the very top of the hill, evidence of
the same mysterious proceedings to which we have already
referred--that is, great rooms all filled up with clay.
He propounds this query: "Whose hands carried up the enormous
quantities of earth that fill every space and allow no
definition of rooms, halls, or, indeed, of any thing but the
clay itself, and the walls cropping up from amongst them?"
We are afraid this query can never be answered. Mr. Hutchinson
found graves to be very plentiful all over the field of ruins.
Quite a number of curiosities have been found in these graves.
We present in this cut some of the same. We call especial
attention to the duck-headed bowl. Compare, this with the cut
given in Chapter X, and we will be struck with the similarity.
Another view of the ruins at Pachacamac is given earlier in this
chapter. As in the case of the ruins of Grand Chimu, the whole
field of ruins was encompassed by a wall, portions of which Mr.
Hutchinson observed on the north, stretching away from the sea
inland. Explorers have found here true arches. They are said to
exist in Northern Peru. We are at a loss to account for their
appearance, for certainly the people generally were ignorant of
Illustration of Relics from Graves at Pachacamac.-------
The valley of the Canete, the next one we meet going south, is a
very large and very fertile valley. It is also full of ruins,
but not differing enough from the others to justify a separate
description. About one hundred miles below Lima we notice three
small islands. These are the Chincha Islands, noticeable on
account of the immense quantities of guano they contain.
It seems that at various depths in this guano deposits are found
relics of man. In our next cut we present some of these objects.
The two small vessels which were probably water jars, were found
buried in the guano at a depth of sixty-two feet. The other
figure, a wooden idol, was found at the depth of thirty-five
Illustration of Relics found in Guano deposits.------
We have no very good data on which to rely when we attempt to
estimate the number of years required to bury the water jars to
the depth where found. Thousands of years must have passed.<40>
The water jars are not rude forms. No little skill is indicated
by their formation. The wooden idol is not necessarily near as
old as the jars, but no one can doubt but that it dates from
long before the Inca conquest of the valley. Another collection
of small idols, and supposed royal emblems, also found in guano
deposits, but at an unknown depth, is shown earlier in
We have thus far been describing the ruins that occur in the
territory occupied by the coast tribes, a people in many ways
different from the great body of Peruvian people in the
interior. According to traditions, the conquest of the coast
tribes took place about one hundred and fifty years before the
Spanish conquest. The details of this conquest are given with
great precision. We doubt whether any great reliance can be
placed upon them. We might remark that while Garcillasso traces
the progress of the conquest from the south north, Salcamayhua
reverses this order, and makes the victorious Incas march from
the north to the south. One or the other made a mistake
Illustration of Prehistoric Pottery Ware.----------
The Inca conquest of the coast tribes was a very thorough one.
The names and traditions of the tribes were blotted out.
The word Yunca, by which they are known, is from the Inca
language. The same is true of the names of the coast valleys,
and yet, from what we have already learned of them, we feel sure
that they were very far from the degraded savages Garcillasso
would have us believe they were. The inhabitants of each
valley formed a distinct community under its own chief. De Leon
says: "The chief of each valley had a great house, with adobe
pillars and door-ways, hung with matting, built on extensive
terraces." This might have been the official house of the tribe.
They were an industrious people, and the evidence is abundant
that they had made considerable advance in cultivation of the
ground. They "set apart every square foot of ground that could
be reached by water for cultivation, and built their dwellings
on the hillsides overlooking their fields and gardens.
Their system of irrigation was as perfect as any that modern
science has since adopted.<41> It is an altogether mistaken idea
to suppose the Incas were the authors.
We are not without evidence that they were possessed of
considerable artistic skill. This preceding collection of
pottery ware is not the work of savages. Mr. Markham further
tells us that they made "silver and gold ornaments, mantles,
embroidered with gold and silver bezants, robes of feathers,
cotton cloth of fine texture, etc." We have already referred to
the tasteful decorations of the walls of Grand Chimu.
"Figures of colored birds and animals are said to have been
painted on the walls of temples and palaces." At Pachacamac the
remains of this color are still seen on a portion of the walls.
This cut represents the head of a silver cylinder found in one
of the coast valleys. The ornamentation is produced by hammering
up from below.
Illustration of Silver Cylinder Head.------------
We must now leave the coast regions and investigate some ruins
in the interior. We have already spoken of the Lake Titicaca
region. Not far from the southern border of that lake we notice
a place marked Tiahuanuco. Here occur a very interesting group
of ruins. They consist of "rows of erect stones, some of them
rough, or but rudely shaped by art, others accurately cut and
fitted in walls of admirable workmanship; long sections of
foundations, with piers and portions of stairways; blocks of
stone, with mouldings, cornices, and niches cut with geometrical
precision, vast masses of sandstone, trachyte, and basalt, but
partially hewn, and great monolithic doorways, bearing
symbolical ornaments in relief, besides innumerable smaller
rectangular and symmetrically shaped stones rise on every hand,
or lie scattered in confusion over the plain."<42> In fact, all
explorers are loud in their praise of the beautifully cut stones
found in the ruins.
Illustration of Terrace Wall, Tiahuanuco.------------
We have seen in our review how general has been the desire to
raise foundations, sometimes of great extent, on which to place
buildings. This is true of the ruins under consideration.
Here the pyramid or foundation was faced with stone work.
In this illustration we have a view of such a wall yet remaining
in place. The labor expended on such a wall was very great.
We notice in the cut three large standing stones. These are
ranged along at regular intervals between. No mortar was used in
the construction of the wall. If we examine the large standing
stone carefully we will notice on the side a sort of projecting
shoulder. The stones of the wall that come in contact with this
standing stone are cut to fit this shoulder.
Illustration of Method of Joining Stone, Tiahuanuco.
The remaining stones in the wall were held in place by a
peculiar arrangement, illustrated in this cut. Round holes were
drilled in the bottom and top of each stone. There is reason to
suppose that bronze pins fitted into these holes.
Furthermore, each stone was cut with alternate grooves and
projections, so as to fit immovably into each other.
One case was observed where either the will has entirely
disappeared, or else it was left unfinished, and so we have a
row of these standing stones, as seen in this illustration.
This has been called the American Stonehenge name is
inappropriate, because we have no reason to suppose the plans of
the builders of the two structures were at all similar.
Illustration of Pillars of Stone, Tiahuanuco.--------
The most celebrated feature of these ruins is the presence of
huge gateways, each one cut out of a solid mass of stone.
We give a view of the most noteworthy of these gateways. It is
now broken, tradition says, by a stroke of lightning.<43>
The upper portion is covered with carvings.
Illustration of Gateway, at Tiahuanuco.----------------
North of Tiahuanuco is Lake Titicaca. This was the sacred lake
of the Incas. We have already referred to the probable origin of
this feeling. Near the southern end of this lake, on the western
side, is the peninsula of Copacabana. Separated by a narrow
strait from the northern extremity of this peninsula is the
sacred island, Titicaca. According to traditions, the Incas
sought, in all ways, to beautify this island. They built
temples, and laid out gardens. The hills were leveled as much as
possible, terraced, and then covered with earth brought from
afar. According to the statements of early writers, pilgrims
were not permitted to land on its sacred soil until they had
undergone certain preliminary fasts and purifications on the
main-land. Landing on the island, they traversed a terrace, and
by a narrow passage way they were conducted between two large
buildings, where other ceremonies were performed.
The most sacred spot in all the island was a rock in the
northern part. Only priests of especial sanctity were allowed
near it. The rock to-day presents but the appearance of a
weather-worn mass of red sandstone. It is traditionally
represented as having been plated all over with gold and silver,
and covered, except on solemn occasions with a mantle of rich
color and material. Here the sun was believed to have first
risen to dispel the primal darkness. To this day the Indians
regard it with superstitious veneration. The traveler's guide,
when he comes in sight of it, removes his hat, and reverently
bows to it, and mutters to himself a few words of
Illustration of Ruins on the Island of Titicaca.-----------
The whole appearance of the island shows how highly it was
regarded. In one place the remains of a drinking fountain were
noticed. Streams from some unknown source were still bringing to
it their limpid burden. Perhaps as noticeable a ruin as any is
represented in this cut. It is called the Palace. It is in a
sheltered nook. The lake washes the very foot of the foundation
on which it stands. It is two-storied. In the lower story were
twelve rooms, so connected with each other that but four of them
communicated by doors with the outside. The others were
certainly dark and illy ventilated. The second story was entered
by means of the terrace in the rear. The same statement may be
made in regard to its rooms; they did not, however, at all
correspond in arrangement with the rooms below. The Island of
Coati, but a short distance to the south-east, was sacred to the
moon. It has also a number of ruins. The approach to this was
guarded by a number of terraces.
Illustration of Ruins, Island of Coati.-------------
We will describe one more class of ruins found abundantly in the
Collao region. These are burial towers, or chulpas. A view of
one is here presented. The chulpas are common in the Titicaca
basin, and usually occur in groups, and almost always in
positions from which a large extent of country can be viewed.
The great mass of a chulpa is solid, but within is a dome-shaped
chamber, into which the opening seen in the cut leads.
Sometimes the chulpas are round, and in some the masonry is of
that variety we have already mentioned, called the Cyclopean.
Another view of burial towers is given earlier in this chapter.
Illustration of Burial Tower.--------------------
As a mere description of ruins becomes tiresome, we will now
pass to Cuzco, and see of what we can learn of the architecture
of the Incas. The Incas were, of course, a very rich and a very
powerful tribe. All the tribes of ancient Peru had to pay them
tribute. We way therefore suppose that the pueblo of Cuzco was
well built, the houses large, and imposing, and that the
official buildings for worship and tribal business would be
commensurate with their importance as a tribe. Yet we have but
very few accounts of these buildings. Immediately after the
conquest, many of the Spanish leaders settled in Cuzco.
They made many changes in the various edifices, and introduced
into them many improvements. At present in the modern city we
still find portions of ancient walls, and can trace the
foundation of various buildings.
Illustration of Terrace Wall at Cuzco.---------------
The site of the city of Cuzco is very uneven. It stands on the
slopes of three hills, where as many rivulets come together.
The ancient builders had to resort to extensive terracing in
order to secure level surfaces on which to build. These
terraces, built in a substantial manner, and faced with stone,
are still standing in many places. In this illustration we have
a view of such a wall. Observe that the stones are not laid in
regular courses, nor is there any regularity as to their size.
This is a good example of a Cyclopean wall. Some of the stones
must weigh several tons, and they are fitted together with
marvelous precision, one stone having as many as twelve angles.
All accounts agree that the temple of the sun was the grandest
structure in Cuzco. We present an illustration of one end of it.
This end is slightly curving. It is necessary to remark that
this end now forms part of the Church of Santo Domingo.
The fine-looking window and balcony are modern additions to this
ancient building. According to Mr. Squier, the temple was an
oblong building, nearly three hundred feet long, by about fifty
in width. It formed one side of a spacious court. It did not
extend east and west, but rather north-east and south-west.
Early chroniclers affirm that the inner walls of this temple
were covered with gold. Portions of very thin plates of gold
exist in private museums in Cuzco, said to have formed part of
this covering. The end of the temple shown in our illustration
was covered with a great plate of gold intended to represent the
sun. This plate was all in one piece, and spread from wall
Illustration of Temple of the Sun.-----------------
Only fragments of the ancient buildings of Cuzco now exist.
But enough are at hand to enable us to describe their general
characteristics. As a rule, they were built around a court, the
outer surface presenting the appearance of an unbroken wall.
These walls are excellent specimens of Inca masonry.
All travelers speak in their praise. Mr. Squier says: "The world
has nothing to show in the way of stone-cutting and fitting to
surpass the skill and accuracy displayed in the Inca structures
at Cuzco." There was but one gateway to the court. This entrance
was broad and lofty. On the lintels, over the doorway, was
frequently carved the figure of a serpent. The apartments were
constructed so as to face the court, and nearly all opened upon
the same. In some cases rooms wore observed, to which access
could be obtained only after passing through several outer
rooms. Some of the walls yet remaining at Cuzco are from
thirty-five to forty feet high. This would indicate houses of
two or three stories.
It is here necessary to state that the structures we have been
describing are considered by most writers as palaces of the Inca
chiefs. Names hive been bestowed upon them--such as the palace
of Huayna Capac. It is asserted that each Inca chief built a
separate palace. The credulous traveler is even pointed to a
pile of ruins said to have been the palace of that mythical
personage, Manco Capac. There is some conflict of authority as
to the names of these palaces. Modern tradition names one of the
most imposing piles as the palace of Inca Rocca, and as such it
is described by Mr. Squier and others. Garcillasso De La Vega
says this chief's palace was in an altogether different part of
the city.<45> Those who call these buildings palaces, think the
houses of the ordinary people have all disappeared. It is
evident, however, that if our views of the state of society
among the Incas be right, that it is a misnomer to call these
structures palaces. Some of them may have been public buildings,
devoted to tribal purposes. But we need not doubt but that this
was the type of communal buildings erected by the natives
Illustration of Fortress Walls.-----------------
We must describe one more piece of aboriginal work. This is the
celebrated Fortress of Cuzco. As we have stated, the ancient
pueblo, or city@, was built on the slopes of three hills. One of
these, easily defended, was strongly fortified, and thus
converted into a citadel. Though called a hill, it is in reality
a projecting headland. Back of it rise still higher hills.
The portion overhanging the city is very precipitous, in fact,
almost incapable of ascent. There is, however, a pathway up this
front, ascending in places by stone steps. On this front it did
not need very strong fortifications, yet sections of stone wall,
serving for this purpose, are to be seen. They have been mostly
thrown down, and the stones rolled or tumbled down the hill to
be utilized in building. The main defensive works are where the
headland commences, from which point the city is not visible.
Illustration of Section of Fortress Walls.-------------
In this illustration we have a view of the three massive walls
which defended the citadel. They are really wonderful works.
In order to understand the construction, we will present an
imaginary section of the walls. The walls support terraces, but
they rose above the terraces so as to form a parapet. To prevent
the accumulation of water behind the parapet, channels were cut
through the walls at regular intervals to drain them. The height
of the outer wall is at present twenty-seven feet; the width of
the terrace thirty-five feet. The second wall is eighteen feet
high; the width of its terrace is also eighteen feet. The height
of the third wall is fourteen feet.
The Incas divided the year into twelve months, but we do not
learn how they kept track of the years. In this respect they
were behind the Mexicans. Neither do we know of any
hieroglyphics for days, or months, or years. In the matter of
keeping records, they must have been far below the Mexicans.
Our next illustration is that of one of their knot records, or
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