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Social System

Page history last edited by Ryan Richards 14 years, 6 months ago



Inca Social System 


By: Ryan Richards


The social system of the Inca was very effective in growing their civilization to become one of the most powerful in the time period.  Their ruler or Sapa Inca controlled the Incan civilization.   He had a wife, or possibly wives, that ruled along side him.  Wives were called Coyas.  Further down the ranks was the High Priest and Army Commander in Chief.  Under the Commander in Chief’s control were the four regional army commanders.  Temple priests were also highly ranked, as religion was of great value to the Incan people.   Following the temple priests were architects, administrators and the army generals.  There were also creative jobs within the civilization such as artisans and musicians.  Subsequently, army captains, and accountants followed.  Sorcerers, farmers, herding families, and conscripts were at the foundation of the system. The ranks towards the bottom of the structure had almost no chance if any, to advance in their rank.  Also, they were only allowed to have one wife.



Above is a picture of the last Sapa Inca, Atahualpa.


The social system only went through a handful of reformats but the few that it did improved the civilization tremendously.  With the ever-growing population the rulers had to find a way to keep up with the demand for food. To generate food as well as money, an Incan ruler moved the some Incan people to make room for a corn farm.  This was not just any farm.  Many people worked in the fields and each group was responsible for their own area to grow and harvest.  The groups would rotate plots of land each year to maximize the potential corn output of the soil. 


The next change had less to do with the lower class people and more to do with the ruler and his wives.  Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, an Incan ruler, decided that a ruler could not inherit land from his forerunner thus eliminating a building where every ruler would reside. Alternatively, the land was given to the descendants of the deceased ruler.  Each new ruler had to search out their own land and construct their own estate.


Also, the same ruler declared that there would be resettlement to maximize prosperity for the civilization. When a new region was under Inca control they would move citizens that had been part of the Incan civilization for a long time to that new location.  This resulted in the citizens being less likely to revolt or break away from the Incan government.


The Inca’s social system worked well for a very long time without any substantial problems.  I believe if not for the Spanish the Incas would have continued to expand their civilization across even more of South America.  




pre-Columbian civilizations." Encyclopædia BritannicaEncyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2010. Web. 19 Jan. 2010  <http://school.ebonline.com/eb/article-9109431>.   


Inca. Minnesota State U, n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2010. <http:/http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/prehistory/latinamerica/south/cultures/inca.html>.    


WSU, Richard Hooker. Civilizations in America - Incas. Washington State U, 6 June 1999. Web. 19 Jan.  

       2010. <http:/http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/CIVAMRCA/INCAS.HTM>.         


Atahualpa. N.d. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Jan. 2010. <http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c6/Ataw_Wallpa_portrait.jpg>.  

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