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p. 151


Written in a memorandum book, apparently as a rough Draft, among the papers of the Licenciate Polo de Ondegardo.

(Manuscript in the National Library at Madrid. 4to, on parchment, B. 135.)


IT must be understood, in the first place, that the lineage of these Yncas was divided into two branches, the one called Hanan Cuzco, and the other Hurin Cuzco. From this it may be concluded (and there is no memory of anything to the contrary) that they were natives of the valley of Cuzco, although some pretend that they came from other parts to settle there. But no credit should be given to them, for they also say that this happened before the flood. From what can be gathered and conjectured in considering the traditions of the present time, it is not more than three hundred and fifty to four hundred years since the Yncas only possessed and ruled over the valley of Cuzco as far as Urcos, a distance of six leagues, and to the valley of Yucay, which is not more than five leagues.

 Touching the Lords that the people can remember, their recollection does not carry them back beyond the time already stated. They preserve the memory of these Lords by their quipus, but if we judge by the time that each is said to have lived, the historical period cannot be placed further back than four hundred years at the earliest.

 It must have been at about that period that they began to dominate and conquer in the districts round Cuzco, p. 152 and, as would appear from their records, they were sometimes defeated. For, although Andahuaylas, in the province of the Chancas, is only thirty leagues from Cuzco, they did not bring it under their sway until the time of Pachacutec Yupanqui Ynca, who defeated those Chancas. The history of this event is given in the record of the Pururunas, or huacas, which originated and resulted from this battle with the Chancas, the commencement of all the Ynca victories.1 On the other side of Cuzco is the road of Colla-suyu; and they also retain a recollection of the time when the Canas and Canches, whose country is even nearer, were paid to go with the Yncas to the wars, and not as vassals following their lords; and this was in the same battle in which Pachacutec Ynca fought against Usco-vilca,2 Lord of the Chancas. They also recollect the time when they extended their dominion along this road to the lake of Villca-ñota, the point where the Collao begins. Two powerful rivers flow out of this lake, one going to the north sea, and the other to the south. The lake was worshipped by the natives, and looked upon as a noted huaca. A long interval of time elapsed before the Yncas advanced beyond this point. It was the successor of that lord who conquered the Chancas who began to advance beyond this point, and those provinces had no peace until the time of Tupac Ynca, father of Huayna Ccapac. We found these wars recorded in the registers of the Yncas, but each province also had its registers of wars, so that, if it were necessary, we might very easily fix the time when each province was subjugated by the Yncas.

 But it is enough to understand that these Yncas at first extended their conquests by violence and war. There was no general opposition to their advance, for each province p. 153 merely defended its land without aid from any other; so that the only difficulty encountered by the Yncas was in the annexation of the districts round Cuzco. Afterwards all the conquered people joined them, so that they always had a vastly superior force as well as more cunning in the art of war. Thus it was seldom that they were completely defeated, although sometimes they were obliged to retreat, and desist from a war during a year.

 No province ever attempted to disturb them in their own land, only seeking to be left in quiet possession of their territories, and this seems to me to have been a great advantage to the Yncas. There is no memory of such an attempt in their registers; but, after the districts were reduced to obedience, the great natural strength of this region conduced to its security. The four roads which diverge from Cuzco are all crossed by rivers that cannot be forded at any time in the year, while the land is very rugged and strong. There cannot, therefore, be a doubt that in this, and in possessing better discipline and more knowledge, lay the advantage they had over all the other nations of this region. This superiority is shown in their edifices, bridges, farms, systems of irrigation, and in their higher moral lives. If other nations have anything good, it has all been taught them by the Yncas. The Yncas also had a different system of warfare, and were better led, so that they could not fail to become lords over the rest. Thus they continued to extend their dominions and to subjugate their neighbours.

 The second thing that may be taken for granted is that having resolved to conquer and subjugate other nations, the Yncas sought some colour and pretext for prosecuting their objects. The first story that these Yncas put forward, though it was not the title which they finally asserted, was an idea that, after the deluge, seven men and women had come out of a cave which they call Paccari-tampu, five leagues from Cuzco, where a window was carved in masonry in most p. 154 ancient times; that these persons multiplied and spread over the world. Hence every province had a like place of worship where people came forth after the universal destruction; and these places were pointed out by their old men and wizards, who taught them why and how the Yncas venerated the cave of Paccari-tampu. Thus in every province these places of worship are to be found, each one with a different tale attached to it.

 With this title the Yncas were for a long time unable to conquer more than the provinces bordering on Cuzco until the time of Pachacuti Ynca Yupanqui. His father had been defeated by the Chancas, and retreated to Cuzco, leaving his troops in a Pucara or fortress. Then the son formed an army out of the fugitives, and out of the garrison of Cuzco, and out of the men of Canes and Canches, and turned back to attack the Chancas. Before he set out his mother had a dream that the reason of the victory of the Chancas was that more veneration was shown for the Sun than Pachayachachic, who was the universal Creator. Henceforward a promise was made that more sacrifices and prayers should be offered to that statue. Then the son was promised a victory over the Chancas, and that men should be sent from Heaven to reinforce him. With this title he went forth and conquered, and thence arose that idea of the Pururaucas, which was one which was most important for the Yncas as a title in extending their conquests . . . . . sacrifices of many kinds were continually invented, and all who were subjugated were taught that Cuzco was the abode and home of the gods. Throughout that city there was not a fountain, nor a well, nor a wall, which they did not say contained some mystery, as appears in the report on the places of worship in that city, where more than four hundred such places are enumerated. All this continued until the arrival of the Spaniards; and even now all the people venerate the huacas given them by the Yncas.

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 The third thing to be understood is that as soon as the Yncas had made themselves lords of a province, they caused the natives, who had previously been widely scattered, to live in communities, with an officer over every ten, another over every hundred, another over every thousand, another over every ten thousand, and an Ynca governor over all, who reported upon the administration every year, recording the births and the deaths that had occurred among men and flocks, the yield of the crops, and all other details, with great minuteness. They left Cuzco every year, and returned in February to make their report, before the festival of Raymi began, bringing with them the tribute of the whole empire. This system was advantageous and good, and it was most important in maintaining the authority of the Yncas. Every governor, how great lord soever he might be, entered Cuzco with a burden on his back. This was a ceremony that was never dispensed with, and it gave great authority to the Yncas.

 The fourth thing is that in every place where a settlement or village community was formed, the land was divided in the following manner: one portion was set apart for the support of religion, being divided between the Sun and the Pachayachachic, and the thunder, which they called Chuquilla, and the Pacha-mama and their ministers, and other huacas and places of worship, both general and such as were peculiar to each village. It would take long to enumerate them, for they were so numerous that, if they had had nothing else to do, the sacrifices alone would have given them occupation. For each town was divided in the same way as Cuzco, and every notable thing was made an object of worship, such as springs, fountains, streams, stones, valleys, and hill summits, which they called apachetas. Each of these things had its people whose duty it was to perform the sacrifices, and who were taught when to sacrifice and what kind of things to offer up. Although in no part were there so many objects p. 156 of worship as in Cuzco, yet the order and manner of worshipping was the same.

 A knowledge of the huacas and places of worship is very important for the work of conversion. I have a knowledge of them in more than a hundred villages; and when the Lord Bishop of Charcas doubted whether the custom was so universal, at a time when we were in a joint commission by order of his Majesty, I showed him the truth of it in Cuzco. And although the discovery of these things has taken time, yet it has been necessary as regards the question of tribute and contributions. For a very large portion of the harvests was set apart for this service, and stored in places prepared for the purpose. Part was expended on the sacrifices of the villages, and a larger share was taken to Cuzco from all parts. The portions thus set apart were from a third to a fourth, varying in different districts. In many villages all belonged to the Sun, such as in Arapa and others. In these the greater part was devoted to sacrifices, in others (belonging to the Ynca) not so much.

 Another share of the produce was reserved for the Ynca. This was stored in the granaries or sent to Cuzco, according to the necessities of the Government. For it was not always disposed of in the same way. The Ynca supplied with food all his garrisons, his servants, his relations, and the chiefs who attended upon him, out of this share of the tribute, which was brought to Cuzco from all parts of the country. In time of war the provisions from some parts were sent to others, in addition to the ordinary consumption, and there was such order in these arrangements that no mistake ever occurred. Sometimes the stores were sent from the magazines in the mountains to the coast, at others from the coast to the interior, according to the exigencies of each case, and this was done with never-failing speed and exactness. When there was no demand the stores remained p. 157 in the magazines, and occasionally there was an accumulation sufficient for ten years.

 There can be no doubt that this share of the Ynca was well managed. I visited many of the store-houses in different parts, and they were, without comparison, larger and better than those set apart for the service of religion.

 The lands set apart for the tribute of the Ynca and of religion were sown and reaped in the same order; but it must be understood that when the people worked upon them, they ate and drank at the cost of the Ynca and of the Sun. This work was not performed by gangs, nor were the men told off for it, but all the inhabitants went forth except the aged and infirm, dressed in their best clothes, and singing songs appropriate for the occasion. In these two kinds of tribute there were two things that seem worthy of note. One is that the aged, infirm, and widows did not join in it. The other is, that although the crops and other produce of these lands were devoted to the tribute, the land itself belonged to the people themselves. Hence a thing will be apparent which has not hitherto been properly understood. When any one3 wants land, it is considered sufficient if it can be shown that it belonged to the Ynca or to the Sun. But in this the Indians are treated with great injustice. For in those days they paid the tribute, and the land was theirs; but now, if it is found convenient to tax them in some other way, it is clear that they will pay double tribute—in one way by being deprived of their land, and in another by having to pay the tax in the form that may be now fixed. If any one, as is often done, sets up a claim by saying the Ynca had power to appropriate the land, the injustice and wrong is all the greater; because if such was the right, his Majesty succeeds to it; and, as regards encomiendas for a life or lives, it is clear that it is not the intention to grant them, nor is it just as regards the estate p. 158 of the Ynca. Such tribute or tax was levied by the Ynca as King and Lord, and not as a private person. Hence arose a notable mistake. It was declared that all the farms of coca belonged to the Ynca, which was true, and therefore they appertain to his Majesty. He could grant them in encomienda, and resume them at the end of the term, if he so pleased, as is the case with the alcabalas of Valladolid. The Fiscal exerted himself to prove that the farms belonged to the Ynca, and that the encomienda only extended to the Indians, and this was through not comprehending the nature of the tribute that was given to the Ynca. In effect the Ynca took the produce of all the coca farms throughout the Andes for his own use, except a few small patches granted to chiefs and camayus.4 All the rest was taken to Cuzco, but there was not then so much as there is now, nor one fiftieth part; for in this too the reports were deceptive, as I have more particularly shown in my report on the coca.

 The Ynca did the same with all the males in the flocks, which were appropriated for the service of himself and of religion, being left, however, in the same district where they were bred, and merely counted. No female was included in the tribute. The pastures and hunting-grounds were demarcated, that the flocks might not be passed from one province to another; but that each might have its assigned limits. This rule has also given rise to pretensions on the part of some, to the flocks, on the ground that they belonged to the Sun or the Ynca; and, before order was established, a great quantity was seized on this pretext. It is very certain that if his Majesty took the tribute of the flocks, he would not wish that it should be given out of what the Indians held as their own, and enjoyed as such; but only from that which belonged to him, from having been given by them to the Ynca and to religion.

 After I had become thoroughly acquainted with the subject, p. 159 I severely censured some who took a quantity of flocks from the Aymaraes and other parts, on this pretext. But, on an appeal to the Audiencia, it was permitted on the ground that his Majesty succeeded to the right.

 It was not all the flocks that were treated in this way; for a portion, though a small one, was left to the district, and another to the chief, who afterwards granted some to his servants. Those belonging to religion and to the Ynca were called Ccapac-llama, and the others Huachay-llama; which means rich and poor beasts. A division was prohibited, and to this day they are all enjoyed in common.

 In the matter of the flocks they made many rules, some of which were so conducive to their preservation that it would be well if they were still observed. It may be said that, in a great part of the kingdom, the people are maintained by the flocks. They flourish in the coldest regions, and there also the Indians are settled, as in all parts of the Collao, and on the sides towards Arequipa and the coast, as well as throughout Carancas, Aullagas, Quilluas, and Collahuas. All those districts, if it were not for the flocks, might be looked upon as uninhabitable; for though they yield papas, quinuas, and ocas, it is an usual thing for three out of five years to be without harvests, and there is no other kind of produce. But, by reason of the flocks, they are richer and can dress better than those who live in fertile districts. They are very healthy, and their villages are more populous than those in the warm lands, and the latter are even more frequently without their own products, than those who possess flocks. For the flocks are sent down with wool, and return laden with maize, aji, and pulses. This is the reason that, in the rules, a hundred Indians of the barren land, though they be far from the mines, give more than two hundred from the fertile land. Then Indians who take their flocks to Potosi gain more in a month than any other ten in a year, and they return with their flocks improved.

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 There was a rule that females should never be killed, and thus the flocks multiplied exceedingly, for neither were those of the Ynca or of religion killed except for sacrifices. If any beast was attacked with carache,5 which is the disease by which so many have been lost in our times, the rule was that they should not be fed or cured, but buried at once, deep in the ground, as the disease was infectious.

 The flock of the community was shorn at the proper season, and the wool was divided amongst the people, each regetting the quantity he required for himself, his wife, and children; so that all were clothed. A portion of the flocks of the Ynca and of religion were also shorn, and cloth was made out of the wool and taken to Cuzco, for the use of the Ynca, and for the sacrifices. It was also used for clothing the attendants of the Ynca, or was stored in the magazines. Thus in each village they had workmen, called cumpicos, to weave the rich cloth which they made in great quantities. The store-houses were quite full of cloth when the Spaniards came, as well as with all other things necessary to sustain life and for war.

 One thing should here be noted, which is that when they distributed the cloth to each man according to the quantity required for clothing his family, no account was taken of what such a person might have of his own, because he was supposed to enjoy this without prejudice to his enjoying his share with the rest, even if a family possessed a large quantity. It is important to decide how this tribute may now be taken, with due regard to justice, from the estates of religion, of the Ynca, and of the community. For in the event of there being sufficient for the payment of this class of contribution, and of that which results from it and is made from the wool, but a deficiency under some other class, it would not be reasonable to make up such deficiency by an exaction from every head, which is the way that it is p. 161 now made up. For if one Indian only has a single head of flock it will be taken for the tribute, while if another possesses a hundred head no more than one will be taken. This consideration gave rise to their own custom that no man should pay tribute from his own personal property, but only from the work of his hands, all working as a community. It is clear that the tribute of religion and the Ynca was levied from the whole community for the public service, while the private property of each man was held by favour from the Ynca, and, according to their laws, they had no other title to it. From this private property no tribute of any kind was exacted, even when it was considerable in amount. But all were obliged to do their part in producing the tribute demanded from the community. It is not right, therefore, that they should now be taxed by the head, but rather according to their estates. If there are a thousand Indians in a Repartimiento, among whom there are five hundred mitimaes6 who never possess any sheep, and if the tribute amounts to five hundred head, it is impossible to raise it. Consequently when, by reason of the flocks, the tribute is to be paid in sheep, it is necessary to ascertain to whom the sheep belong, and to assess the mitimaes and the natives separately. Thus the difficulty will be overcome, and the injustice will be avoided. The community is composed of rich and poor, and the tribute of sheep should be distributed among those who breed them, without including any poor man who happens to have acquired a single sheep. For this immunity should be granted, and the matter is of sufficient importance to justify this digression.

 The same remark applies to the tax which is exacted throughout the Collao and the province of Charcas where they have flocks. This consists in having to convey to Potosi a quantity of provisions in proportion to the number of sheep in the flock. This class of tribute was well known p. 162 in the time of the Yncas, because they carried tribute to Cuzco on the sheep of the Sun and of the Ynca in great quantities. But in assessing this burden the mitimaes were treated with great injustice; for, as they were all taxed together, the natives received their share, and the mitimaes theirs, so that the natives conveyed their provisions on their beasts, while the mitimaes had to carry them on their own backs, for a distance of forty leagues and more. It is a serious matter for an Indian to have to carry three arrobas on his back, which is the weight of a fanega of flour, besides his own food, and the loss of time.

 The ancient tribute was to sow the crops for the Ynca and for religion, and to reap them and carry the harvests to the store-houses, where there was always a superfluity.

 Another mistake that has been made in levying taxes, especially in the Collao, through which the Indians have been much oppressed, is through their being ordered to pay a quantity of provisions according to the extent of the land they possess for sowing with papas, from which they make chuñus. For out of five years, there is but a small yield in three, so that the Indians have to pay all they possess. Thus the men and their families suffer throughout the year by reason of the tribute.

 On the death of an owner of land, the heirs and descendants possessed it in common, without the power of dividing it; but the person who represented the Ayllu had the charge, and all the rest enjoyed the fruits in common, which were divided among them in the following manner: If a son of the first possessor had six sons, and another son had two, each one had equal shares, and there were as many shares as persons. At the time of sowing they all had to be present to divide the crop; and at the harvest if any one, even though a descendant, had not been at the sowing, he could neither take his share nor give it to another. Yet even if he was absent ten years, he did not lose his right, if he p. 163 chose to be at the sowing; and even when there were so many descendants as that there was scarcely a mazorca of maize for each, the rule was still observed; and it is still kept up in the district of Cuzco, where the lands are held in this manner.

 This custom of each descendant having a right to a share, should be known when any business connected with the levying of taxes is to be arranged. Thus the lands belonged to the whole village, and he who did not work at the sowing had no share in the harvest.

 The reason may now be understood why, in so many lawsuits that are submitted to the Corregidores and Audiencias, scarcely any are between an Indian and another of the same village, but between one village and another.

 After the Spaniards came, the Indians continued for a long time to till the lands of the Ynca and of religion, and to store up the harvests according to the old custom, and to burn a portion in sacrifice, believing that a time would come when they would have to give an account to the Ynca. When the President Gasca marched through the valley of Xauxa against Gonzalo Pizarro, I remember that he rested there for seven weeks, and they found stores of maize there for several years, upwards of fifteen thousand fanegas near the road. When they understood that these reserved lands might be sown for their own profit, the people of different villages began to sow them, and hence arose many lawsuits.

 When people went to work on land out of their own district, it was also for the Ynca and religion, and the land set apart for this was called suyus. But there were also some Indians left to irrigate and guard these suyus, who, though in a land beyond their own district, were always subject to their chiefs, and not to the chiefs in the land where they resided. These are a different class of men from the mitimaes, who were removed from the jurisdiction of the chiefs under whom they were born.

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 It should be understood how those lands which were tilled belonged to the sowers. In the Collao, where no maize can be raised, the people had lands on the coast, and sent men down to till them, near Arequipa for instance. In the time of the Marquis of Cañete, who was Viceroy of these kingdoms,7 owing to information which I supplied, these suyus were returned as belonging to the province of Chucuito, but all the others suffer by reason of this custom not being understood.

 The order which, up to this time, has been adopted for the conversion of the Indians, is for the priests to visit each village, with a book showing who are baptized, who are married, who have more than one wife. Thus the shepherd knows his sheep and is known by them. The ancient custom by which no man moved from his district, was a marvellous aid.

 The rules of New Spain, where the country is very populous, are not applicable to this land. This was well understood by that prudent and illustrious worthy Don Antonio de Mendoza,8 whose memory will long be cherished, and whose loss will be felt more every day by his Majesty and by the people of the Indies. At the end of a year, during which he had studied the affairs of this land, though he was suffering from illness, he said that before issuing any orders it was necessary to do three things—first, to see the country; second, to know the capacity of the Indians; and third, to understand their customs, rules, manner of living, and ancient system of taxation. For all this it was necessary that he should have had better health and fewer years.

 The order established by the Ynca in matters relating to the chase, was that none should hunt beyond the limits of his own province; and the object of this was that the game, while proper use was made of it, should be preserved. After p. 165 the tribute of the Ynca and of religion had been paid, leave was given to supply the requirements of the people. Yet the game multiplied by reason of the regulations for its conservation, far more rapidly than it was taken, as is shown by the registers they kept, although the quantity required for the service of the Ynca and of religion was enormous. A regular account was kept of all the hunts, a thing which it would be difficult for me to believe if I had not seen it.

 The Ynca made similar regulations with regard to the forests, in the districts where they were of any importance. They were assigned for the use of the regions where there was a want of fuel, and these forests were called moyas of the Ynca, though they were also for the use of the districts in the neighbourhood of which they grew. It was ordained that they should be cut in due order and licence, according to the requirements. It should therefore be understood that the pastures, the hunts, and the forests were used in common under fixed regulations; and the greatest benefit that his Majesty could confer on these Indians, next to their conversion, would be to confirm the same order established by the Yncas, for to frame new rules would be an infinite labour.

 There was another kind of contribution in the time of the Yncas, which was as heavy and onerous as all the others. In every province they had a house called Aclla-huasi, which means "the house of the chosen ones," where the following order was kept: There was a governor in each province whose sole duty was to attend to the business of these houses, whose title was Apu-panaca. His jurisdiction extended over one hunu, which means ten thousand Indians, and he had power to select all the girls who appeared to him to be of promising dispositions, at the ages of eight or nine years, without any limit as to the number chosen. They were put into this house in company with a hundred Mama-cunas, who resided there, where they were taught all the accomplishments p. 166 proper for women, such as to sew, to weave, to make the drinks used by the Indians; and their work, in the month of February, at the feast of Raymi, was taken to the city of Cuzco. They were strictly watched until they reached the age of thirteen or fourteen years and upwards, so that they might be virgins when they should arrive at Cuzco, where they assembled in great numbers from all the provinces in the middle of March. The order of distribution was as follows:—

 Women were taken for the service of the Sun, and placed in the temples, where they were kept as virgins. In the same order women were given to the service of Pacha-mama, and of other things in their religion. Then others were selected for the sacrifices that were offered in the course of the year, which were numerous. On these occasions they killed the girls, and it was necessary that they should be virgins; besides offering them up at special seasons, such as for the health of the Ynca, for his success in war, for a total eclipse of the sun, on earthquakes, and on many other occasions suggested by the Devil. Others were set apart for the service of the Ynca, and for other persons to whom he showed favour. When any man had received a woman as his legitimate wife or mamanchu, he could not take another except through the favour of the Ynca, which was shown for various reasons, either to one who had special skill in any art, or to one who had shown valour in war, or had pleased the Ynca in any other way. The number of women who were set apart for these uses was very great, and they were selected without any regard to whom they belonged, but merely because they were so chosen by the Apu-panaca, and the parents could not excuse or redeem them under any circumstances. Estates were set apart for the support of the houses of the chosen ones, and this tribute would have been felt more than any other if it had not been for the belief that the souls of the girls that were p. 167 sacrificed went to enjoy infinite rest, which was the reason that sometimes they voluntarily offered themselves for sacrifice.

 One of the chief articles of tribute was the cloth that was given for the service of the Ynca and of religion. Great quantities of this cloth were distributed by the Ynca among the soldiers, and were given to his relations and attendants. The rest was deposited in the store-houses, and was found there in enormous quantities when the Spaniards arrived in these kingdoms. This cloth was of many textures, according to the uses to be made of it. Large quantities were made of the very rich cumpi, woven with two fronts. A more common kind was made for the sacrifices, for in all the festivals much cloth was offered up. For these supplies the beasts of the Ynca were shorn at the proper time, worked up, and sent to Cuzco, with the other tribute, in the month of February, besides what was stored in the magazines, in accordance with the instructions issued in each year.

 The beasts required for Cuzco were sent in the same month, in the quantity that had been ordered, all being males, for females were never wasted either for sacrifices or for food. The Pachayachachic, whom they held to be the universal Creator, the Sun, the thunder called Chuquilla, the Pachamama, and an infinite number of other objects of worship, all had their flocks set apart, and the wool from them was distributed in the city of Cuzco for the sacrifices, and to clothe the people who served the huacas. A quantity of cloth was also used for the service of the houses where the embalmed bodies of the Lords Yncas were kept. Here also were taken all kinds of food, such as maize, chuñu, aji, and every other kind of provision that was raised in the farms. All these things were arranged with such order, that it is difficult to understand how the accounts and registers can have been so well kept.

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 An immense quantity of personal service from an the provinces was also required in the city of Cuzco, for the Ynca and his court. Every province that was conquered had to send its principal idol to the city of Cuzco, and the same province continued to provide for its service and sacrifices in the same order as when it was in the province.

 Another very heavy burden consisted in the supply of men for war, as there were frequent rebellions in various parts of the empire, and it was necessary to guard all the frontiers, especially along the river of Maule in Chile, and on the Bracamoras in the province of Quito, and towards that of Marcas, and in the province of the Chirihuanas, bordering on Charcas, and towards the forests of the Chunchus and Mosus. On all these frontiers we still meet with pucaras or fortresses where the garrisons were assembled, with roads leading to them. Mitimaes also were sent, from different provinces, to live on these frontiers.

 Those who performed special services were exempted from other classes of tribute. There is an example of this in the province of Lucanas, where the people were trained to carry the litter of the Ynca, and had the art of going with a very even and equal pace. In Chumpivilcas the people excelled in dancing, and many were exempted on that account. In the province of Chilcas there is a red wood of excellent quality for carving, and the Chilcas brought it thence to Cuzco, a distance of two hundred leagues, in very great quantities, with many representations carved and painted on it. The wood was burnt for sacrifices in fires kindled in the great square, in presence of the Ynca and of the embalmed bodies of the dead lords. Thus the best product of each province was brought to Cuzco.

 In the arrangement of tribute, men were also set apart for the construction of public works, such as bridges and roads. In an the royal roads from Quito to Chile, and still p. 169 further on to the borders of the government of Benalcazar,9 and the branch road to Bracamoras, there were chasquis stationed at the end of every tupu, both on the road of the coast and of the mountains. A tupu measures the same as a league and a half. At these points there were small houses adapted to hold two Indians, who served as postmen, and were relieved once a month, and they were there night and day. Their duty was to pass on the messages of the Ynca from Cuzco to any other point, and to bring back those of the governors, so that all the transactions and events of the empire were known. When the Ynca wished to send anything to a governor, he said it to the first chasqui, who ran at full speed for a league and a half without stopping, and passed the message to the next as soon as he was within hearing, so that when he reached the post the other man had already started. They say that from Cuzco to Quito, a distance of five hundred leagues, a message was sent and another returned in twenty days. I can believe this, for in our wars we have sometimes used these chasquis, and as it was an ancient custom, they readily made the arrangement. In this way letters have been brought from Cuzco to Lima in three days, a distance of a hundred and thirty leagues, over a very bad road. The Yncas also used these chasquis to bring up fresh fish from the sea; and they were brought up, in two days, a distance of a hundred leagues. They have records in their quipus of the fish having sometimes been brought from Tumbez, a distance of more than three hundred leagues. The food of the chasquis was provided from the store-houses of the Ynca; for those who worked for the Ynca'a service, or for religion, never ate at their own expense.

p. 170



 One other contribution and tribute in the time of the Yncas imposed heavy labour, and this was the demand for Indians to work at the edifices of Cuzco. This work was very toilsome, for all their buildings were of masonry, and they had no tools of iron or steel, either to hew the stones out of the quarries or to shape them afterwards. All this was done with other stones, which was a labour of extreme difficulty. They did not use lime and sand, but adjusted one stone to another with such precision that the point of junction is scarcely visible. If we consider the number of times they must have fitted and taken off one stone before this accuracy was attained, an idea may be formed of the toil and of the number of workmen that was required. To this labour was added the conveyance of stones from great distances by force of men's arms. Any one who has seen their edifices, will not doubt their statements that thirty thousand men were employed. For not only are these works above the ground, such as those in the city and fortress, but there is also much well-cut masonry underground, as well hewn as any that can be found in Spain. As they had nothing but stone tools, it seems to me that a hundred Indians could not work and shape a single stone in a month, and any one who likes to look at them will certainly think the same. These edifices are not only in Cuzco, but in many other parts where the work must have been much more heavy and difficult, by reason of the stones being more distant. For at Cuzco, from Santa Ana, which is in Carmenca, where the city commences, to Angostura, there is a distance of three leagues, a little more or less; and within this space all kinds of stone for building are to be found, black and white, hard and soft; and all the stones of the neighbouring hills are excellent for lime and plaster. I have examined the quarries, and have seen their ingenious contrivances, in company p. 171 with dexterous artificers from Spain, and they assured me they had never seen so many kinds of excellent stone within so small a space. He who has seen the work which the Yncas commenced in Tiahuanacu, near Chuqui-apu,1 and considers that the stone is not met with within a hundred leagues of the spot, will understand the advantage enjoyed by Cuzco.

 This service was exacted throughout the kingdom; it being arranged in Cuzco in each year, as regards the number of men to be employed and the work to be done.

NOTE.—This report is incomplete at the end, and the copy at Madrid has been made by a very ignorant clerk who left blank spaces when he did not understand a word or passage.



Sacred-Texts Native American Inca Index


p. 152

1 See G. de la Vega, ii, p. 57; and the present volume, p. 92.

2 Should be Ancohualla, or Hanco-hualla. See G. de la Vega, ii, 58, 82, 329.

p. 157

3 That is, any Spanish settler.

p. 158

4 Officials.

p. 160

5 See G. de la Vega, ii, p. 378.

p. 161

6 Colonists.

p. 164

7 From 1555 to 1561.

8 Viceroy of Peru from 1551 to 1555.

p. 169

9 Sebastian de Benalcazar, one of the first conquerors of Peru, and Governor of Popayan.

p. 171

1 The modern city of La Paz.