Sapa Inca

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Representation of the Sapa Inca, Pachacuti, wearing the "Mascapaicha" (royal crown), in the main square of Aguas Calientes, Peru

The Sapa Inca (Hispanicized spelling), Sapan Inka or Sapa Inka (Quechua for "the only Inca"), also known as Apu ("divinity"), Inka Qhapaq ("mighty Inca"), or simply Sapa ("the only one"), was the ruler of the Kingdom of Cusco and, later, the Emperor of the Inca Empire (Tawantinsuyu) and the Neo-Inca State. While the origins of the position are mythical and tied to the legendary foundation of the city of Cusco, historically it seems to have come into being around 1100. The position was hereditary, with son succeeding father. The emperor was viewed as a god.[1] The principal wife of the Inca was known as the Coya.

There were two known dynasties, led by the Hurin and Hanan moieties respectively.[2] The latter was in power at the time of Spanish conquest. The last effective Sapa Inca of Inca Empire was Atahualpa, who was executed by Francisco Pizarro and his conquistadors in 1533, but several successors later claimed the title.[3]

Choosing the Inca[edit]

Chronicles identify the Inca as the highest ruler in similitude of the European kings of the Middle Ages. However, the access to this position was not linked to the inheritance of the eldest son, but to the choice of the gods by means of very rigorous ordeals, to which the physical and moral aptitudes of the pretender were tested. These trials were accompanied by a complex ritual through which the Sun nominated the one who should assume the Inca position. Inti, if he agreed, gave the power of the rain to the future Inca.[4] With the passage of time, Incas named their favorite son as co-governor with the intention of securing his succession,[5] for example, Huiracocha Inca associated Inca Urco to the throne.[6]

Tokapu or symbolic motif representing the meaning of Sapan Inca (first row, first from the left).

Functions[edit]

The Sapan Inca accumulated in his person the political, social, military and economic direction of the State.[7] They ordered and directed the construction of great engineering works, such as Sacsayhuaman, a fortress that took 50 years to complete;[8] or the urban plan of the cities.[9] But their most important work was the network of roads that crossed the entire empire and allowed a rapid journey for the administrators, messengers and armies[10] provided with hanging bridges and tambos.[11] They had to be always supplied and well cared for.[12] They founded military colonies to expand their culture and control and ensure the maintenance of this network.[13]

At the religious level, they promoted the cult of Inti, regarded as their father,[14] and organized the calendar.[15] At the political level, they sent inspectors to oversee the loyalty and efficiency of civil servants.[16] The monarchs promoted a unified and decentralized government in which Cuzco acted as the articulating axis of the different regions or Suyu.[17] They appointed highly trusted governors.[18] At the economic level, they decided how much each province should pay according to its resources.[19] They knew how to win over the curacas to ensure control of the communities. These were the intermediaries through whom they collected taxes.[20]

Traditionally, every time an Emperor died or resigned, his successor was disinherited from his father inheritance and formed his own lineage royal clan or Panaka, his father's lands, houses and servants were passed to his other children remaining on the previous Panaka. The new Sapan Inka had to obtain land and spoils to bequeath to his own descendants.[21] Each time they subdued a people, they demanded that the defeated leader surrender part of their land to continue in command.[22]

Distinction symbols[edit]

The Inca was divinized, both in his actions and his emblems. In public he carried the topayauri (scepter), ushno (golden throne), suntur páucar (feathered pike) and the mascaipacha (royal insignia) commonly carried in a llauto (headband), otherwise the mascapaicha could also be carried on a amachana chuku (military helmet).[23]8 In religious ceremonies he was accompanied by the sacred white sacred flame, the napa, and covered with a red blanket and adorned with gold earrings.[24]

Pre-Conquest Sapa Incas[edit]

First dynasty[edit]

Little is known of the rulers of the first dynasty of Sapa Incas. Evidently, they were affiliated with the Hurin moiety and their rule did not extend beyond the Kingdom of Cusco. Their origins are tied to the mythical establishment of Cusco and are shrouded in later foundation myth. The dynasty was supposedly founded by Manco Cápac, considered the son of the sun god Inti.[25]

Sapa Inca Picture Birth Death
Manco Cápac
c. 1200 CE – c. 1230
Manku Qhapaq uchuy.png Considered the son of
the sun god Inti
c. 1230
Sinchi Roca
c. 1230 – c. 1260
Inca sinchi roca.jpg son of Manco Cápac c. 1260
Lloque Yupanqui
c. 1260 – c. 1290
Inca lloque yupanqui.jpg son of Sinchi Roca c. 1290
Mayta Cápac
c. 1290 – c. 1320
Inca mayta capac.jpg son of Lloque Yupanqui c. 1320
Cápac Yupanqui
c. 1320 – c. 1350
Hp inka5.jpg son of Mayta Cápac c. 1350

As a rough guide to the later reputation of the early Sapa Incas, in later years capac meant warlord and sinchi meant leader.

Second dynasty[edit]

The second dynasty was affiliated with the Hanan moiety and was founded under Inca Roca, the son of the last Hurin Sapa Inca, Cápac Yupanqui. After Cápac Yupanqui's death, another of his sons, Inca Roca's half-brother Quispe Yupanqui, was intended to succeed him. However, the Hanan revolted and installed Inca Roca instead.

Sapa Inca Picture Birth Death
Inca Roca
c. 1350 – c. 1380
Hp inka6.jpg son of Cápac Yupanqui c. 1380
Yáhuar Huácac
c. 1380 – c. 1410
Inca yahuar huacac.jpg son of Inca Roca c. 1410
Viracocha
c. 1410–1438
Hp inka8.jpg son of Yáhuar Huácac 1438
Pachacuti
1438–1471
Pachacutec-small.png son of Viracocha 1471
Túpac Inca Yupanqui
1471–1493
Tupac-inca-yupanqui-small.png son of Pachacuti 1493
Huayna Capac
1493–1527
Inca huayna capac.jpg son of Túpac Inca Yupanqui 1527
Huáscar
1527–1532
Waskhar lifetime portrait.jpg son of Huayna Capac 1533
Killed by Atahualpa
Atahualpa
1532–1533
Ataw Wallpa portrait.jpg son of Huayna Capac 26 July 1533
Killed by the Spaniards

Ninan Cuyochi, who was Inca for only a few days in 1527, is sometimes left off the list of Sapa Incas because news of his death from smallpox arrived in Cusco very shortly after he was declared Sapa Inca. He had been with Huayna Cápac when he died. The death of Ninan, the presumed heir, led to the Inca Civil War between Huáscar and Atahualpa, a weakness that the Spanish exploited when they conquered the Inca Empire.

Post-Conquest Sapa Incas[edit]

Sapa Inca Picture Birth Death Notes
Túpac Huallpa
1533
son of Huayna Capac 1533 Installed by Francisco Pizarro.
Manco Inca Yupanqui
1533–1544
POMA0400v.jpg son of Huayna Capac 1544 Installed by Francisco Pizarro. Led a revolt against the Spaniards in 1536; after his defeat, established the Neo-Inca State in Vilcabamba.
Paullu Inca
1536–1549
Paullu 1838.jpg son of Huayna Capac 1549 Installed by the Spaniards after Manco Inca rebelled; ruled in Cuzco.
Sayri Túpac
1544–1560
Hurtado de Mendoza and Sayri Tupac Inka.jpg son of Manco Inca Yupanqui 1560 Ruled in Vilcabamba.
Titu Cusi
1563–1571
Titucusiyupanqui.jpg son of Manco Inca Yupanqui 1571 Ruled in Vilcabamba.
Túpac Amaru
1571–1572
TupacamaruI.JPG son of Manco Inca Yupanqui 24 September 1572
Killed by the Spaniards
Ruled in Vilcabamba. The last Sapa Inca.

This last Sapa Inca must not be confused with Túpac Amaru II, who was leader of an 18th-century Peruvian uprising.

In popular culture[edit]

Literature[edit]

  • Pachacutec, a resurrected Sapa Inca king who is over 500 years old, plays a major role in James Rollins' novel Excavation.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wilfred Byford-Jones, Four Faces of Peru, Roy Publishers, 1967, p. 17; p. 50.
  2. ^ Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa; Gabriel de Oviedo (1907). History of the Incas. Hakluyt Society. p. 72.
  3. ^ Cova, Antonio de la. "The Incas". www.latinamericanstudies.org. Retrieved 2017-07-26.
  4. ^ Temoche, 2010: 27
  5. ^ Rostworowski, 1999: 53
  6. ^ Rostworowski, 2001: 124
  7. ^ Molestina, 1994: 26
  8. ^ Temoche, 2010: 227
  9. ^ Temoche, 2010: 31, 154, 225
  10. ^ Temoche, 2010: 159
  11. ^ Temoche, 2010: 53, 111, 144
  12. ^ Temoche, 2010: 145
  13. ^ Temoche, 2010: 71
  14. ^ Temoche, 2010: 181
  15. ^ Temoche, 2010: 179
  16. ^ Temoche, 2010: 144-145
  17. ^ Temoche, 2010: 157
  18. ^ Temoche, 2010: 144
  19. ^ Temoche, 2010: 143
  20. ^ Temoche, 2010: 116
  21. ^ Bravo, 1985: 95; Temoche, 2010: 130
  22. ^ Temoche Esquivel, Juan Francisco. Avaliação da influência do choque térmico na aderência dos revestimentos de argamassa (Thesis). Universidade de Sao Paulo Sistema Integrado de Bibliotecas - SIBiUSP.
  23. ^ Molestina, 1994: 26
  24. ^ Martinengui, 1980: 37
  25. ^ "Who Was The Sapa Inca?". Ancient Pages. 2016-01-27. Retrieved 2017-07-26.