inca warfare tactics
He loves visiting and reading about historic sites and transforming that experience into free articles accessible to all. Pizarro and his men charge at Atahualpa and his commanders.

While there were notable and often heroic Inca victories in battle against the Spaniards, winning the war was a different prospect.

Then he decided to dismantle the constructions and flatten the site. ), who created the first Babylonian empire, used all of Sargon’s weapons and tactics. #1 Rated Day Trips From Lima To Unforgettable Destinations, Everything You Need to Know to Avoid the Typical Tourist Mistakes At Machu Picchu, What NOT To Do When Visiting Rainbow Mountain. Despite their eventual defeat by the Conquistadors from Spain, the Inca military was a formidable enemy. What kind of tactics were used by the Inca military that allowed for the successful conquest of the Andean region? The Maya were a mighty civilization based in the low, rainy forests of southern Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize whose culture peaked around 800 A.D. before going into steep decline. On a cosmological level, triumph in war was linked to agricultural fertility, a concept that was probably far older than the Incas. As military historian Ian Heath states, “the arrival of the Spaniards resulted in tactical changes, but these were largely of a defensive nature prompted by the effectiveness of Spanish cavalry”.

Due to the various types of terrain in the region that was conquered by the Inca Empire, the different groups that lived in each terrain had their own strengths and skills (Nova).

Wars and warfare were important to the Maya for a variety of reasons, including subjugation of neighboring city-states, prestige, and capture of prisoners for enslavement and sacrifices. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our, Politics and the Political System of the Ancient Maya, Find Out What Happened to the Mayan People. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account.

Aztecs . The army was commanded by the ruling Inca or a close male relative. However, before gunmen could reload or fire shots, often they would be attacked (Nova). When attendants approached Huayna Capac for a third name, they found him dead. ( Log Out /  Before simply using the brute force of the military, the Incas were also diplomats that negotiated trade and tribute agreements, offered gift exchanges, organized inter-marriages, and relocated populations to newly acquired areas (Cartwright). New York: J. J. Augustin, 1941. Tactics Before battle, the Inca army would usually parade in order to arouse awe in the opposing army. Sign up to get all you need to know about Peru destinations for 2021! Atahualpa, too, consulted oracles. Pease, Franklin. For more information, see the TMP FAQ. By the contact period, Inca armies numbered in the tens to hundreds of thousands. The structure of the cities changed, with the important buildings all being inside the walls. Further, any local looting by soldiers was punishable by death. Different theories have been proposed, including excessive warfare, drought, plague, climate change and more: some belief in a combination of factors. The Aztecs on the other hand were excellent fighters against other tribes, but their tactics were inefficient and did not improve during the fighting with the Spanish. Conscripts fought with the same weapons their ancestors had used. Defeated leaders were labeled atisqa (defeated, weak) and their followers—and their labor—were claimed by the victor. Wielding maces, clubs and battle-axes, these troops would engage directly with the front line of the enemy formation. Nielsen, A.

Diplomacy was an important tool and used time and again by the Incas to acquire new territory with the minimum of bloodshed but sometimes they were obliged to engage in battleand several regions of the empire persistently resisted Inca rule. These were fundamental military advantages. The drumbeat of conquest in the chronicles reflects Inca military values: Cieza states that the histories of the quipucamayocs honored the valiant, victorious kings, while of those who were “remiss, cowardly, given to vice and a life of ease without expanding the realm of the empire, it was ordered that little or nothing be remembered” (Cieza 2010 [1553]). The oracle replied that there had been too much bloodshed already. Were these tactics successful against the Spaniards? Unlike many of their adversaries, Inca warriors would rarely break formation, allowing for greater control and manipulation of the battlefield. Where battle in open terrain was unavoidable, the Inca began to dig large holes filled with sharpened stakes. Standard pre-Columbian Inca battle tactics in open terrain relied heavily upon an initial ranged attack followed by a mass infantry charge at the enemy. Priests and religious idols traveled alongside the military and religious events were respected by all of the soldiers (Cartwright). Other accounts claim that Huayna Capac intended to split his jurisdiction between Huascar, who would govern the peoples of the south, and Atahualpa, his half brother, who would hold sway over the populations of the north. In the highlands, the primary projectile weapon was the sling, with smooth round or egg-shaped slingstones, followed by the bola (ayllu), two or three stones linked by a cord, thrown against the legs of enemy fighters or Spanish horses. Elsewhere, prominent Native buildings were razed and replaced with new Inca architecture. These theories included the Inca army had no modern weapons to fight others, the people had no resistance to disease, and the tribes around the Incas hated the Incas. Inca formations typically consisted of weapon-specific units, often containing certain tribal or regional warriors adept in the use of one particular type of Inca weapon.

While forcing a surrender through a simple show of military strength was a preferred form of “diplomacy,” the Incas certainly didn’t shy away from open warfare when deemed necessary.

Regarding armor, the Inca soldier would wear fleece tunics bearing the symbol for their unit (Nova). Access to tribute labor allowed the Incas to build their network of roads and bridges, monumental architecture, highly engineered agricultural terraces, well-provisioned tambos, and state storehouses. Though versions differ on how Huascar was captured, a particularly vivid story recounts how Huascar donned a headdress and other fineries adorned with gold and, on his litter, entered the field of battle.

For example, while coastal natives were skilled at throwing spears tipped with copper or bone, forest natives were skilled at archery (Nova). Andrushko, V. A., and E. C. Torres.

Food and arms were available from the Inca storehouses, the qollqa, which dotted the countryside. Back to the Medieval Media Message Board. Inca armies, then, consisted of tens of thousands of troops, perhaps even over 100,000 in some battles. All members in good standing are free to post here. In triumphal processions and staged battles in Cuzco, captives, soldiers, and Incas dramatized imperial victory. For this reason, the Inca army was a conglomerate of individual ethnic units, each led by their own local commander and fighting with their own preferred weapons.


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