25 Incredible Things About The Incas That Will Astonish You

It was the largest pre-Colombian civilization in the Americas and it sprawled a distance of 5,230 km (3,250 miles) or approximately the distance between New York and San Francisco. With millions of citizens the Incas constructed tens of thousands of kilometers of roads through some of the harshest terrain on Earth yet never discovered the wheel. Get ready because these are 25 incredible things the Incas did that will astonish you!

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25

Although the Inca were the largest pre-Colombian American empire, they lacked a written language

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24

For this reason (lack of census records) estimates of their size has varied ranging from 4 million people to nearly 40 million

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23

The Incas practiced something known as skull deformation. Basically they wrapped cloth around the heads of their kids so that they would elongate.

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22

Some of their kings would only wear their clothes once and then burn them

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21

In spite of the fact that they built over 30,000 km of road, they never developed or discovered the wheel

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20

Mail was delivered along this network of roads by way of messengers who would hand mail off to each other using a sort of relay system

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19

Since there was no writing system the messengers had to memorize the messages!

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18

The Incas introduced the world to potatoes via the Spanish conquistadors

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17

In fact, nearly a quarter of Europe's growth between the 1700s and the 1900s was attributed to the introduction of this crop

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16

The Incas constructed buildings without mortar. Basically the huge stones they used fit together so perfectly and tightly that nothing could get between them.

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15

They made use of trepanning, a surgical intervention that involved drilling holes in the patient's skull

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14

Skulls were sometimes used as drinking vessels

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13

They stretched their earlobes so much that they reached their shoulders.

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12

In fact, the Spanish initially called the Inca "Orejones" which means "big ears"

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11

At its peak the Inca Empire stretched a length of 5,230 km (3,250 miles), that's more than the distance between New York and San Francisco.

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10

Incan suspension bridges are rebuilt every year

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9

At one point it was said that the Andes contained more than 200 suspension bridges. This was over 300 years before any suspension bridge was built in Europe

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8

Today, only one of those bridges remains, the keshwa chaca, near Huinchiri, Peru. It has been rebuilt every year for the past 500 years.

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7

Although they never discovered iron or the wheel, they were masters of fiber. Besides suspension bridges they even built ships out of it!

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6

Machu Picchu was so high in the mountains that it wasn't discovered until 1911

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5

The Incas had a very centrally planned economy where farmers were basically told how much of what to produce. And every male was essentially a soldier/farmer

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4

Males had to marry at 20 or else a wife would be chosen for them. They could only have one wife but the leaders were allowed to have more than one

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3

The Incas tested their kids to see whether they should go on to learn a trade or if they should become administrators and upper class nobility

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2

Grilled guinea pig was considered a delicacy and is still eaten in many parts of Peru today

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1

The Incan Empire was defeated in 1532 by Francisco Pizarro and 180 men. He ambushed Atahualpa (the leader of the Inca) and several thousand of his men. The fight was over in less than thirty minutes.

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