A highly civilized Indian tribe of South America, whose empire comprised Peru, Ecuador, and part of Chile. Manco Capac, who led his people to the valley of Cuzco, is the legendary founder of the Inca dynasty. This empire, called by its inhabitants, Tahuantin Suyo, at the time of its greatest extent (c.1492) had a population estimated at ten millions. It had a highly organized government, and system of land tenure. Ruins of towns and fortresses indicate an extraordinary knowledge of architecture, engineering, and metal work. Their religion, based upon the reverence of natural phenomena, had an elaborate ritual. All of the Inca tribe were devoted to the worship of the Sun. In 1532 Pizarro invaded the Inca's dominions, captured the Inca Atahualpa, and wantonly slew thousands of his tribe. The city of Cuzco was captured, and Atahualpa executed in 1535. Pizarro founded the city of Los Reyes, now known as Lima (1535). The last of the direct claimants to imperial dignity was beheaded by the Spanish viceroy, 1571.

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