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Current time:0:00Total duration:4:36

Video transcript

what we're going to do in this video is think about the significant empires that formed shortly before the European colonization of the Americas in particular we're going to focus on the Inka Empire and other videos we have talked about the Aztecs but what's interesting is this period of time in the 15th and early 16th centuries when these empires form but then shortly thereafter about a hundred years after they form they are conquered by the Spanish conquistadors so let's focus on the Inka Empire but keep it in comparison to some of the other significant Empires and civilizations we know about so as we enter into the 15th century we have the kingdom of Cusco what we now call the Inka Empire did not exist yet the ninth ruler of the kingdom of Cusco a gentleman by the name of patch akuti he decides to go on a fairly aggressive effort of expansion and it is patch akuti that takes the Incas from the kingdom of Cusco and creates an empire now as I mentioned they did not call themselves the Incas Inca was actually their word for rulers so this was patch akuti Inca their name for the empire that get started by patch akuti was to one day sue you and what it's really referring to is the four regions and you can see the four regions here that were conquered with Cusco at the center now one of the interesting things is that right around the same time we talk about it in another video you have the Aztec empire forming the Aztec civilization exists well before that as does the pre inca empire civilizations but in the 15th centuries also when you have the Aztec empire form the Mayan civilization by this point is in its post Classical period its Classical period is in bold right over here but there are still many independent Mayan city states in the Yucatan Peninsula but the two notable empires here are the Aztecs and the Incas which form in the 15th century what makes of an empire is that you have one group in the case of the Incas the kingdom of Cusco conquering other peoples and taking tribute from them now what was interesting about the Incas is that they were able to form this large Empire the largest empire in the Americas at the time of the European conquest this Empire had 10 million people in it and what's amazing is is that you have this large powerful Empire with significant building projects this is a picture of Machu Picchu historians believe that it was built as an estate for pot jacuzzi so they were able to do the sophisticated construction despite not having a written system as we know it they had a system of not for some forms of record-keeping but despite that they were able to have a sophisticated society their way of taxing people was not through formal coinage they didn't have a monetary system as we know it members of their society had to dedicate a proportion of their labor to the Empire to the Emperor and this might seem different than what we do but if you think about it if my income is taxed at 30% or 35% in say the US essentially what I'm giving to the government is 35% of the work of my labor I'm just doing it for a monetary system they did it directly a certain percentage of my labor would directly have to be for the Empire and that's how things like Machu Picchu actually got built this was called the myth a system well like the case with the Aztec empire the Inca Empire lasts for about a hundred years until the conquistadors come into the picture and Francisco Pizarro in particular on his third expedition is able to conquer this powerful Inca Empire and he does this with only several hundred men but they were far better armed than the Incas but many historians believe it was also complacency on the part of the Inca ruler at the time he didn't believe that these conquistadors would be able to overtake his army that numbered in the tens of thousands