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Inca Government


The Inca government was capable to administrate, account, recollect and store goods; it was a complex network. You need to understand; the Incas didn't know the paper and did not have writing. It's a rule; any civilization must have a writing system to grow as the Incas Empire did. Then, how the Incas culture grows into such complex culture, without writing? The answer is simple, the Incas did have a way to record events equally effective than writing.

We have writing and the Inca government had the Quipu. We need to clear our mind of the idea of, writing equal civilization. The Incas create complex ways to account goods and record events, with a tool that was create to be a calculator. So, it is right to say, the men responsible to manage the Quipus were extraordinary good mathematicians.
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    • inca quipu
      This Quipu is as tall as an adult and as wide as two people opening their arms.
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    • inca accounting
      The Inca abacus, it uses small different color seeds for units, tens, hundreds and so on.
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    • inca government
      The Inca government food distributions stations probably had look like this.

Khipukamayuqs was the name of the Inca mathematicians. Their name has many ways to spell it, because remember the Incas didn't have any Inca Symbols that represent sounds. They have numbers that represent sounds. Plus the knowledge to use and understand a Quipu is long gone; it's impossible to affirm how the right spelling of any word is. The Khipukamayuqs or Inca mathematicians were the most important people of the Inca government. They collect all the information, from the entire kingdom, resume it and send it to the Inca king.

The Incas method to exchange information was as follows. The network starts with the Khipukamayuq of the Ayllu; the Ayllu was the basic family cell of the Incas Society. The Khipukamayuq of the Ayllu keep record of how many people live in the community, birth, deaths, marriages, elders and crops production. He also keeps record of court decisions and punishments, decisions and actions of the leader of the Ayllu and levels of loyalty to the Inca Empire. The local Khipukamayuq was responsible to keep daily record of everything that happens in the Ayllu.

When all the information was save in a few sets of Quipus, the Khipukamayuq of the Ayllu send a copy of the Quipus to his Inca government superior authority. It is not clear how many levels of passing and re grouping information happen, until the final Quipus, containing the information of the region were send to Cusco capital. The Chasquis were responsible to deliver the Quipus to Cusco capital and conversely. They use the Inca Trail to run from Tambo to Tambo, passing the Quipus to the next Chasqui and so on.

At the top of the Inca government, we found the Apu; he was the leader and principal authority of one quarter of the kingdom. The Inca Empire had four parts, so they were four Apus; each Apu has three sub Apus helping him with the administration. So each Apu region has four men, four Apu regions make them 16 men; all of them together were call the Imperial Council. The council was responsible to advice the Inca king, helping him to decide in matters that will affect the entire kingdom.
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    • khipukamayuq
      The Khipukamayuqs were the accountants, economist and mathematicians of the Inca Empire.
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    • khipu knots
      The image explains how the Incas make their knots in the Quipu.
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    • quipu methodology
      The image explains how the Incas record a number.

We can define the imperial council as the brains of the Inca government. It's unbelievable but they have fresh updates of information every two days. It happens because the transfers of Quipus to update the records in Cusco were really fast. They need a maximum of two days of travel from the farthest point of the kingdom to the Cusco capital. Imagine how many people were necessary to keep the two ways flow of information; they should be thousands.

Peruvian investigators have estimate that it was need 1331 Inca government workers to administrate and control, each ten thousand people. So let's estimate the Inca bureaucracy then; the archaeologist believes the Inca population was about 9 million people. Now if we make a simple calculation, we came out with a smashing 1,197,900 government workers. The advance levels of organization aloud the government to move people and products of all types, where they need it, in a surprisingly short period of time.

Today there is no government that can match the Inca government. For two reasons; because they were a well organize government and their speed to react. When they understand a problem, they give a solution immediately, anywhere in the kingdom. Just to remind you, the Incas occupied effectively about 2,600,000 square kilometers. All absorb and conquered cultures knew that while they will be inside the Inca Empire, all problems will be solve rapidly and efficiently.
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