Where have men ever seen the things they have seen here?
Where was it known that so much wealth could come from one land?

—Pedro de Cieza de León, Chronicle of Peru, 1545

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    Alpacas, Paratia District, Peru, 2014. Photo by Doug McMains, NMAI.


Resistance and Adaptation

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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.


Though Spain dismantled their government and religious systems, Andeans found ways to keep their traditions alive. They continued to speak the Quechua and Aymara languages. They adopted the Catholic religion but blended its customs with older beliefs. Apachetas (sites for offerings) along the Qhapaq Ñan remained, with the addition of a Catholic cross.

The Qorikancha in Cusco and other Inka temples became Catholic churches. Inka ceremonies and pilgrimages now incorporated Catholic saints.

To think that God should have permitted something so great to remain hidden from the world for so long in history, unknown to men, and then let it be found, discovered, and won all in our own time!

—Pedro de Cieza de León, Chronicle of Peru, 1545

The Spanish practiced ayni (reciprocity) only to benefit themselves. Native people described their relationship with Europeans as a "funnel law—the narrow end was for the Indians and the wide end for the whites."

Andean people blended Catholicism with their older beliefs. Sometimes this was simply a matter of reassigning meaning—an apu (mountain spirit) became Christ and Pachamama (Mother Earth) became the Virgin Mary.

Andean people adapted European technologies—such as glass making, ceramic glazes, and metallurgical techniques—and married them to traditional craftsmanship.

After the conquest, Inka weavers continued to weave fine textiles. This manta was made for a woman of high social status. The weaving and design are Andean, but Spanish elements (lace patterns and human figures in Spanish dress) blend with abstract Inka symbols called tucapus, emblems of rank.