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Inca Laws

Page history last edited by calwilmott@hotmail.com 14 years, 6 months ago



Social Studies 8








 Incan Law and Order



  One of the factors contributing to the success of the Incan empire was definitely law. The set laws of the Inca kept people safe and content. Although many crimes were committed, the criminals would be caught and severely punished. Having a fear of what would happen to them if they stepped out of line as well as a religion that frowned upon crime helped the Incans maintain a powerful empire.


By law, every man in Incan society had to work. Even nobles would work sometimes to try and set an example. To the Inca, nobody except the government owned land. Every regular citizen was assigned land to work on and farm, which was clearly marked out. These markers were very serious, as moving a marker to make your land larger or smaller was punishable by death.


Some of the main things considered crime to the Inca were theft, betrayal, murder, treason, laziness and cheating. The laws were greatly affected by religion because of the fact that the Incan moral code was “ama suwa, ama llulla, ama quella,” Which means, “do not steal, do not lie, and do not be lazy.” As this was a part of their religion that they strongly believed in and grew up with, it really played a roll in keeping the Incans in line.


The punishments were harsh and severe. The main punishments for committing crimes involved the criminal being killed. If caught cursing the gods or insulting the Incans, the criminal would be thrown off of a cliff. If an Incan was caught stealing or cheating, they would be beaten with stones. If caught a second time, they would be beaten to death. Another punishment of stealing and cheating was getting the hands or feet cut off. All of these punishments were much less severe towards the higher classes. These harsh punishments created a fear of committing crime in the Incan society.


  If somebody lived through their punishment, they would be classified as a criminal. They were taken care of by the state. But, every day they would be forced to tell their story to people passing by the city gates. If their stories were good, the people would give them something valuable, like food or jewelry. This reminded people of what would happen to them if they disobeyed the Incan rules.


  Having these set laws in a society helps develop and maintain it. It kept order and peace in a society, as people could live knowing they are quite safe from theft and murder. People would also possibly be happier because of this. Finally, they would know the consequences if they tried to start a riot or revolt. Every powerful and long lasting society had laws, including the Inca.




"Inca." Encyclopedia Americana. International Edition ed. 1996. Print.


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"Inca Empire." Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2010. 



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