Ancestors of the Inka

Long before the Inkas reigned, there lived in these regions men like giants,
as large as the figures sculpted in stone reveal.

—Pedro de Cieza de León, chronicler of Peru, 1553

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    The sun gate, Tiwanaku, Bolivia, 2009. Photo by Wayne Smith, NMAI.

The Beginnings of the Road

Wari | AD 600–1100

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    Select highlighted words to hear them spoken in Quechua.

    The Inka spoke the Quechua language, which is still spoken today in the Andes.


The Wari were empire builders. From the highlands of Peru, they expanded their territory and spread their religion. To control remote areas, the Wari established provincial centers and an extensive road network.