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The Inca Empire (Figure 40.1) was the last native state to develop in South America before sixteenth century European invasions introduced foreign culture, religion, and disease. Building on principles common to a millennium-long tradition of Andean statecraft, the Incas innovated and modified their imperial strategies and practices to dominate a larger and more ecologically diverse territory—and to administer a more numerous and cosmopolitan population—than any earlier Andean civilizations. This chapter presents a brief, archaeologically driven account of the rise and expansion of the Inca Empire, focusing on the material record to describe certain essential characteristics of the Inca imperial order (for more comprehensive syntheses see, e.g., D’Altroy 2002; Stanish 2001; and the classic statement by Rowe 1946). In focusing on Inca archaeology this paper cannot do justice to the major contributions made by anthropologists and ethnohistorians to Inca studies (see, e.g., Murra 1980 [1955]; Zuidema 1964; Rostworowski 1999; Pease 1991; Urton 1990—to name only a few).

Keywords

Administrative Center Local Elite American Archaeology Provincial Region Territorial Expansion 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Alan Covey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologySouthern Methodist UniversityHoustonUSA

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