Kingdom of Cusco

Kingdom of Cuzco
Map of the Kingdom of Cusco.
Capital Cusco
Languages Quechua, Puquina.
Religion Inca religion
Government Monarchy
Sapa Inca
   1200-1230 Manco Cápac
  1230-1260 Sinchi Roca
  1260-1290 Lloque Yupanqui
  1290-1320 Mayta Cápac
  1320-1350 Cápac Yupanqui
  1350-1380 Inca Roca
  1380-1410 Yahuar Huacac
  1410-1438 Viracocha (Inca)
Historical era Pre-Columbian
   Manco Cápac organized the Kingdom of Cusco 1197
   Pachacuti created the Tawantinsuyu 1438
Area 40,000 km² (15,444 sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Wari Empire
Inca Empire
Today part of  Peru

The Kingdom of Cusco (sometimes spelled Cuzco and in Quechua Qosqo or Qusqu) was a small kingdom based in Cusco on the Andean mountain ranges that began as a small city-state founded by the Incas around the 12th century. In time, through either warfare or peaceful assimilation, it began to grow and was succeeded by the Inca Empire (1438-1533).


A Brief Overview

The Inca people began as a tribe in the Cuzco area around the 12th century AD. Under the leadership of Manco Cápac, they formed the small city-state of Cusco (Quechua Qosqo), shown in red on the map below.

In 1438 AD, under the command of the Sapa Inca (paramount leader) Pachacuti (world-shaker), the Incas began a far-reaching expansion. The land which Pachacuti conquered was about the size of the Thirteen Colonies at the outbreak of the American Revolution of 1776, and consisted of nearly the entire territory of the Andes mountain range.

The Kingdom of Cusco in 1438, shown in red on the map.

Pachacuti reorganized the kingdom of Cusco into an empire, the Tahuantinsuyu, a federalist system that consisted of a central government with the Inca at its head and four provincial governments with strong leaders: Chinchasuyu (NW), Antisuyu (NE), Kuntisuyu (SW), and Qullasuyu (SE). Pachacuti is thought to have built the citadel of Machu Picchu, either as a family home or as a vacation estate.

Sapa Incas

The Sapa Inca of the first dynasty of the Kingdom of Cusco were, in order, Manco Cápac, Sinchi Roca, Lloque Yupanqui, Mayta Cápac, and Cápac Yupanqui. Evidence of state organization dates from 1200 AD.[1] Little is known of this population, but in later years the meaning of cápac meant warlord and sinchi meant leader adding to the idea they could have been rulers.

Long before the Spanish found the Inca, the Inca civilization had begun as a small, centralized state that eventually grew to cover a large amount of territory along the western coast of South America from Colombia to Chile. The Inca civilization spread rapidly from their small beginnings in the Kingdom of Cuzco located in southern Peru.

The Beginning of the Empire

The following outlines each of the Incan rulers and a few of their accomplishments in greater detail.

Maya Capac: (c. 1290's?)

Maya Cápac (Quechua Maya Qhapaq Inka) was the fourth Sapa Inca of the Kingdom of Cuzco (beginning around 1290 CE) and a member of the Hurin dynasty.The chroniclers describe him as a great warrior who conquered territories as far as Lake Titicaca, Arequipa, and Potosí. While in fact, his kingdom was still limited to the valley of Cuzco.

His great military feat may have been the subjugation of another tribe in the valley, the Alcaviza.

The Fall of the Civilization

Túpac Amaru: (1571–1572)

Túpac Amaru was the last legitimate Inca to rule (in the Vilcabamba region as the Neo-Inca State), and, unfortunately, the most unfit. With the death of his elder brother Titu Cosi, he ordered the execution of all Spanish people living in Vilcabamba, and led an unsuccessful and poorly planned rebellion against the colonists. This resulted in his death and the end of Incan sovereignty, for Vilcabamba was occupied and the survivors enslaved.


  1. Covey, Alan R.; Southern Methodist University (January 2006). "Chronology, Succession, and Sovereignty:The Politics of Inka Historiography and Its Modern Interpretation". Comparative Studies in Society and History. 48 (1): 169–199. doi:10.1017/s0010417506000077.


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