inca warfare tactics

An Inca army on the march was a splendid sight. Cartwright, Mark. Additional victories followed in the Yanamarca Valley (north of Hatun Jauja), at Angoyaco, and at Quipaypán (between Apurímac and Cuzco). ( Log Out /  To maintain an empire which stretched right down the western coast of South America and permit the rapid deployment of troops wherever they were needed, the Incas built a network of fortresses connected by an even more extensive road network. Militarism was also prominently celebrated in Inca culture. Eventually, one fled and established a rump government in the jungles of Vilcabamba. Despite having skilled spear units within their ranks — with spears as long as 20 feet by some accounts — the Incas did not learn to use these weapons effectively against Conquistador horsemen.

Wars and major raids were led by the Ahau or King. Huascar followed the oracle’s counsel. ( Log Out / 

Further, the community would not be robbed of all their resources as long as they pledged allegiance to the Inca king, accepted the Inca sun god Inti as the supreme deity, and offered regular tributes both in goods and labour. Pease, Franklin. Scale and logistics were the great military strengths of the Incas—not technology, tactics, or battlefield organization.

One example includes an Inca religious event in which no fighting was permitted on a new moon, which the Spanish took advantage of when attacking the Inca empire (Cartwright). Others report how southern and northern armies met at Riobamba or Mochacaxa, where Atahualpa’s forces won, killing one of Huascar’s commanders. The Araucanian Indians (Mapuche) in Chile, for example, used spear walls to great effect against Spanish cavalry, but the Inca military did not utilize such methods successfully against mounted units. Memories of the civil war differ. Military campaigns doubled as propaganda campaigns; groups who surrendered were treated leniently, their leaders given enhanced authority, while those who resisted could be massacred or deported. “Inca Warfare.” Ancient History Encyclopedia, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 19 May 2016, www.ancient.eu/Inca_Warfare/. He was known to create alliances, then later end them, conquering his former allies. Sometimes the construction of walls seemed desperate: in some cases, walls were built right up to important temples and palaces, and in some cases (notably the Dos Pilas site) important buildings were taken apart for stone for the walls. Wielding maces, clubs and battle-axes, these troops would engage directly with the front line of the enemy formation. O’Toole also explained how weapons were acquired from the Spaniards, as well as how the Spaniards taught their Andean allies how to make swords. The arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors, however, was to expose the Inca civilization to a new form of warfare, both tactically and technologically. 2nd ed. Inca spearmen would join the fray in order to help hold the line of battle. Conscripts fought with the same weapons their ancestors had used. On a cosmological level, triumph in war was linked to agricultural fertility, a concept that was probably far older than the Incas. These prizes included land, the right to sit with the king, prestigious administrative positions, gold and silver breastplates, fine clothes, captured women, weapons, and livestock. After initial dramatic defeats and the loss of their king, the Inca actually won some battles and resisted the superior armed invaders for another 50 years. However, as the empire expanded, this became too impractical for the king to be so long-absent from the capital Cuzco, and the burden of command in the field often rested on the shoulders of his brother or son. “The Spanish and the Myths of Conquest.” Humanities Core Course Winter 2018. The arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors posed a new tactical problem to the mighty Inca Empire. New York: Norton, 2004. Further, any local looting by soldiers was punishable by death. According to military historian Ian Heath, “the arrival of the Spaniards resulted in tactical changes, but these were largely of a defensive nature prompted by the effectiveness of Spanish cavalry.” It soon became clear to the Incas that defensive measures were needed in order to counter Spanish cavalry, especially in open terrain. Historical anthropologists used to believe the Maya were a peaceful people, who warred upon one another rarely if at all, preferring instead to dedicate themselves to astronomy, building, and other non-violent pursuits. In addition, these soldiers were in fact farmers and their effectiveness, or lack thereof, probably explains why the Incas eventually began to form a professional army. ( Log Out /  What if Eisenhower Had Driven On to Berlin? The Incas turned to two tactical ploys: fighting in terrain that would naturally restrict the effectiveness of horses, or altering the terrain in order to impede them. Areas dealt with in this way included Tunanmarca, Canete, and the Cayambe people in Ecuador. Topic, J. R., and T. L. Topic. Although the Incas came to prefer certain ethnic groups for garrisons or for the emperor’s guard, such as the Cañari and Chachapoya, they never developed a professional army, relying instead on forces that could be quickly mustered and disbanded. He loves visiting and reading about historic sites and transforming that experience into free articles accessible to all.

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