Bonus Blog

While I think that everything we talked about over the semester was interesting in its own way, my favorite subject was the Inca and Machu Picchu. I like that we are still rediscovering some of their old cities, and the history is still being decoded. With Machu Picchu, I guarantee you almost any person you ask, knows what Machu Picchu is. However, maybe one in thirty actually knows any of the background information on it. I really enjoyed learning all about it, because I’ve grown up seeing these beautiful pictures of the place, but never really known anything about where it came from. Knowing what I know now about the history and the architecture of the place, just makes me more interested in the people themselves. Machu Picchu had a fantastic drainage system, which successfully drained almost all of the water away from the city without causing mud slides on the terraces. I sometimes catch myself making the mistake of assuming ancient cultures weren’t very developed or capable of complex projects, but it’s places like Machu Picchu that show just how intelligent the people of the past were.
The Inca culture as a whole was also fascinating to me. I was really surprised to learn that Inca itself means king in their language. Something I thought was interesting was their concept of split inheritance. Whenever a ruler died, he still owned all of his possessions, palaces, lands, jewels, and servants. This meant the new ruler had all the prestige, but he had very little possessions. I wonder if they were the only society to do things this way? It’s the first time I’ve heard of it.
The only way the new ruler could get possessions was to levy more labor and to conquer more land. I think the labor aspect is interesting too. The people of the kingdom didn’t pay taxes in money like we do, but with labor and public service. So instead of paying the government, you just helped to build new palaces or temples or whatever was being built at the moment. I wish our government could do that instead. Our communities, parks, roads, and infrastructure in general would probably be in a lot better condition.
The Incan quipu are extremely interesting as well. Quipu are varying lengths of string with other strings of varying colors knotted on them in different ways. Quipu were the Incan way of record keeping, however the key to what each section means has never been found. It is thought to have been destroyed by the Spanish during the Conquests. It would be awesome if some type of code was discovered. So much of the history and past of the Incas could be unlocked.