The New International Encyclopædia/Viracocha

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The New International Encyclopædia
Viracocha
Edition of 1905. See also Viracocha on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

VIRACOCHA, vē'rȧ-kō'chȧ (foam of the sea, in allusion to his white beard). The supreme god of the ancient Quichua (q.v.) of Peru. He is represented as the creator and ruler of the sun, moon, and all other objects in nature, including the human race. In his incarnate form he is said to have issued from Lake Titicaca as a venerable man, with a fair skin and a flowing white beard. He proceeded northward, teaching those who would listen, and visiting swift miraculous destruction upon those who refused to hear. To the chief of Pacari-tampu or Paucar-tambo, ‘The House of the Dawn,’ who received him with special hospitality, he gave his staff, which afterwards turned to pure gold on the birth of the chiefs next son, the famous Manco-Capac, founder of the Inca dynasty. Having accomplished his mission of organizing the Quichua tribes into a civilized community, he departed by way of the western ocean. In his principal attributes Viracocha appears as the universal Light God, as indicated by his fair complexion, white beard, his appearance in the east, and his journeying to the west. The god Pachacamac (q.v.) appears to be only Viracocha under another form. As the Aztec Emperor saw in Cortés the messenger of the lost Quetzalcoatl (q.v.), so the Peruvians, expecting the return of their great incarnate god, hailed the Spaniards, with their fair-skinned and bearded faces, as the children of Viracocha, and the name continues in common use among the natives to designate those of the white race.