Lecture: Inca Empire: Narrator: Listen to part of a lecture in a history class. Professor: Okay, so we've been talking about the indigenous peoples living in the Americas before the arrival of the Europeans. In the last class, we began talking more specifically about indigenous empires. And today we'll have a look at the Inca Empire. The political center of the Inca Empire was in the city of Cuzco in modern day Peru. The empire stretched for well over 2,000 miles along the western coast of South America, comprising a few hundred thousand square miles of territory, more than any other empires in the Americas. Compared with other indigenous empires, the rise of the Inca Empire was truly meteoric. The Inca began building their empire in the early 1400s and expanded very rapidly. Then after only a hundred years or so in existence, the empire came crashing down. Now, in most history books, the rise of the Inca Empire is attributed primarily to the leadership of two men, Pachacuti and his son, Topa Inca Yupanqui. Now Pachacuti and Topa Inca Yupanqui were almost certainly cunning leaders. And there's not much doubt they were instrumental in the extraordinarily rapid expansion of the Inca Empire. But over the two centuries BEFORE Pachacuti and Topa Inca Yupanqui grew to power, that is in the 1,200s and 1,300s, their ancestors had already been employing a variety of clever tactics to take control of crucial resources in the region. And they very skillfully develop those resources. For example, they constructed a system of terraces and irrigation canals that would eventually enable Cuzco to produce significant agricultural surpluses, surpluses that Pachacuti and Topa Inca Yupanqui would one day distribute throughout the empire to help PERSUADE millions of people to accept Inca's rule. And it wasn't just this preexisting, highly developed base in the heartland around Cuzco that enable these two leaders to engineer such a rapid territorial expansion. Most of the neighboring societies were in continual conflict with one another, so they were in a position to ally with one another to resist the Inca's advances. And all this ongoing conflict made less powerful societies feel insecure. So many of them actually wanted to be incorporated into the Inca Empire, so as to enjoy the protection they receive. So in the early stages of the empire building, the Inca had very little opposition and were able to gain a lot of power quickly and easily. So to what extent was the rapid rise of the great Inca Empire simply a natural consequence of a highly developed heartland, a couple hundred years's making, in combination with surrounding territories' right for the taking? And to what extent was it the result of the brilliant leadership of Pachacuti and Topa Inca Yupanqui? Well, that's HARD TO KNOW, because much of our knowledge about the rise of the empire comes from history is told by various groups of Inca in Cuzco – Royal kin groups, that were in competition with one another. And the purpose of those histories was not, as you might assume, to supply a TRUE record of the past. It was rather to serve the political aims of those who were telling the histories. Oh ... but fortunately, we're still finding valuable archaeological evidence, and we're hoping that will eventually help us sort out the truth. Ah ... but one conclusion I've come to, after many years of studying history, and that I'd like you to keep in mind, as you continue in your study of history, is that no individual, no matter how brilliant or charismatic, can ever bring about great change, unless the conditions of that place and time are right for them to do so.