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Chasqi Runners

Page history last edited by Tarrant 14 years, 5 months ago

The fastest of all the ancient messaging systems were the Chasqui runners, who are from the time of the great Inca civilization, 1438AD to 1532AD. The main form of communication between the cities of the Incan empire was the Chasqui runners. The Chasqui runners were young men who ran messages by running in a relay between the cities. They were used by the army as well as by the emperor and merchants.



To be chosen as a Chasqui runner was a great honour, and brought respect to the chosen one. Young boys are chosen for having an athletic physique, very good lungs and the ability to run fast. In Incan society people were chosen by their abilities to do jobs, the people themselves could not choose what they wished to do. The training started from childhood. The training was very rigorous and included running up and down hills to help build up stamina and increase speed on slopes. Along with running up slopes to train, they also raced against each other, as well as doing a lot of running to help them increase the strength of their legs. As for the toes, the training helped splay them so they could better grip the ground they ran on. The Inca had also created a means for the Chasqui runners to develop their lungs so they could breathe in the thin atmosphere of the mountains easier, so they could take in enough oxygen to keep on running.



The Chasqui runners reported all the village uprisings. They would also carry goods to the emperor as well as important government messages. The runners would carry Quipus to help them memorise the message. Quipu was used to record information such as livestock, taxes and produce stores. The Chasqui could carry fresh fish from the coast to the emperor in just two days. The runners knew the importance of remembering the exact message, as a message could easily become distorted being transferred from runner to runner so many times. The punishment for delivering a message incorrectly was severe; for example you could be thrown off a cliff. They had known of the punishment ever since childhood.



The runners would run at top speed for about 1.4km each, before passing the message onto another runner at the next stop point which is a hut. The roads of the Incan Empire formed an important network for the passage of goods, people and information of all types. Huts, called Tambos, are placed 1.4km apart along the roads. The runners would rest, sleep and eat at these huts until the next message arrived. At any given time there could be four runners at the Tambo. Two on lookout to run and two resting. So this system of communication a message could travel up to 280km per day using the Inca Capaq Nan road system which linked the entire empire of Cuzco. This road system stretched for a total of 40,000km and was not rivaled by any other road in existence at the time.The Inca Empire did not use a system of money so the Chasqui’s were not paid. They were however housed at the huts, given food and clothing, thus supporting them.



All of which make the runners were very important to their society as they assisted with the prompt carrying of messages and goods from village to village. This afforded the Emperor greater control over his empire as he could quash uprisings quickly before they spread. The Emperor also had the luxury of fresh goods delivered quickly to him. 



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Advertisement. Chaskee. N.p., 2009. Web. 22 Jan. 2010. <http://chaskee.com/ 


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