Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/81

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

two small cognate species of the camel genus, furnished abundant food and material for clothing. These they domesticated as the llama and paco, both being Quichua words implying subjugation; they propagated by art the pulse and food-roots of the Cordillera, and established many permanent pueblos in and near the great lake basin of Titicaca, the earliest seat of Peruvian advancement. From this district they advanced northwards, and occupied a canton almost impregnably situated in the midst of immense mountains and deep gorges, known to geographers as the "Cuzco district." In historical times they had separated into two branches, speaking two languages, evidently divergent forms of a single original, called by Spanish grammarians Aymara and Quichua; names which it has been found convenient to use as ethnical terms for the peoples who spoke them. Tradition carried back the history of the Aymara-Quichua in Cuzco and its neighbourhood about three hundred years, during which eleven Apu-Capac-Incas, or "head-chiefs of the Inca (people)" were enumerated; but it was generally considered, and is almost conclusively shown by balancing evidence, that not much more than a century had elapsed since they made their first conquests beyond the limited "Cuzco district," and that only the last five of the Apu-Capac-Incas—Huiracocha-Inca, Pachacutic-Inca, Tupac-Inca-Yupanqui, Huaina-Capac-Inca, and Tupac-atau-huallpa—all forming a chain of succession from father to son, had ruled over an extensive territory. The great expansion took place in the time of Pachacutic-Inca, and is traceable to an invasion by an alliance of tribes from the north, who had long dominated Middle Peru, and now sought to conquer the Cuzco district and the valley of Lake Titicaca. Under Pachacutic this invasion was repelled; the allies were defeated at Yahuarpampa, and the war was carried into the enemy's country: the dominion of the invading tribes now fell almost at one blow into the hands of the chiefs of Cuzco. These victories were rapidly followed by the conquest of the northern or Quito district, now forming the republic of Ecuador, and of the coast-valleys, where a remarkable and superior advancement, founded on fishing and agriculture, had existed probably from an earlier date than that of the stronger tribes of the sierra.

The Spaniards, who obtained information of the Inca people and their dominion soon after crossing the isthmus of Panama, reconnoitred the Peruvian coast in 1525, during the head-chieftaincy of Huaina-Capac. But this chief had died, and a civil war, in which the succession was contested between his two sons Tupac-cusi-huallpa ("the sun makes joy"), commonly known by the epithet Huascar ("the chosen one"), and Tupac-atau-huallpa ("the sun makes good fortune"), had been terminated in favour of the latter, when Pizarro invaded the country in 1532 with a party of 183 soldiers. Everywhere large accumulations of treasure were found; for gold and silver had been mined both in the coast-pueblos and in the sierra from remote times, and the whole of the produce still remained,