Who were the Incas?

   The Incas were an Indian people of South Amer­ica resembling in many respects the Aztecs of Mexico. They inhabited the Sierra re­gion of Bolivia and Peru, between the Cor­dilleras and the main range of the Andes. Their chief town was Cuzco. Not satisfied with the fertile plain, they terraced the slopes of the mountains and brought them under cultivation. They were governed by a succession of warlike chieftains. There were military trails, or possibly roads, which passed through mountain dingles, crossed the ranges and traversed bleak deserts. Pack trains of llamas were employed to bring home spoils. Tribute was levied on the tribes residing along the Pacific coast. The Inca builders possessed no little architectural skill. Immense stones were quarried and fitted together to build temples and palaces, displaying an ingenuity rivaling that of the Central American builders. The native artisans were workers in metals and produced pottery of a high order. The priests developed an elaborate system of sun worship. They required subject tribes to furnish "sun maidens" for sacrifice. The war power as well as the wealth of the Incas, had reached its height when the country was invaded by Pizarro. The descendants of the Incas still represent over fifty percent of the inhabitants of Peru. They are described as a slender, well knit people, capable of enduring fatigue. They have a fresh, olive complexion, with a smooth, soft skin. The hair is straight and black, the chin beardless, the nose aquiline. In their homes they are gentle and affectionate. They are industrious cultivators of the soil and make good shepherds, being gentle and patient with the animals.