The Bolivia Reader: History, Culture, Politics
States and Conquests in the Andes
For more than a century, Inka territory spread far beyond its home base in Cuzco, reaching north and south along the mountain chain of the Andes. As Pedro Cieza de León’s chronicle attests, the Inka combined military might with symbolic and material enticements to win over the regional Aymara federations in Qollasuyu. To local authorities, they offered gifts of gold and finely woven tunics. They gave Inka brides to Aymara lords, thereby sealing through kinship new political alliances. Local religious worship was respected while also absorbing it within the overarching Inka cult of the sun. Local populations stood to benefit from a negotiated pact with the new ruling power, since Inka largesse could mean new livestock, enhanced irrigation, or agricultural improvement. Such Inka strategies provided a degree of imperial stability that violence alone could not have secured, and were the object of admiration for some of the Spaniards who arrived in a new phase of conquest.
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