History of Bolivia: pre-Columbian eraHistory of Bolivia: pre-Columbian era

History of Bolivia: pre-Columbian era

The pre-Columbian era is haunted, in Bolivia, by different empires that successively took hold of territories more or less extensive.

There has been, among others, the Chavin, the Huari and then the Tiwanaku Empire (also written Tiahuanaco). This pre-Inca period left a lot of ruins, moreover on Titicaca Lake’s shores where it throve.

Several archaeological discoveries put on light ceramics, decorated stelae, engraved pillars, and also irrigation canals and terrace crops, which shows the organization and knowledge this culture already had between the 6th and the 9th century.

It also seems that their astrological knowledges were relatively advanced, because of the edifices’ orientation we still have today. Then, came the Aymara’s domination, which made the transition with the Inca Empire.

The Inca domination only lasted a few time, from 1476 to 1534. A stupendous expansion from Cusco, in Peru, had quickly followed a very big organization of all the annexed territories, from north of Chile and Argentina, to Ecuador and south of Columbia.

The Inca society is ruled by the Inca, son of the Sun, living God, emperor and absolute leader. The overwhelming hierarchy and a powerful army imposed the very strict social order of the empire. This social order, very complex, was viable thanks to the excellent communication system and highway network crossing all the Empire, from the Andes to Amazon.

A characteristic of the empire’s organization is to commingle all the goods and to pay taxes in the form of working time, as well as to redistribute resources between different regions, according to necessities (natural disasters, etc.).

But the integration of different peoples to the empire in such a drastic and fast way could not happen without some rebellions and political unsettlements. In the succession war, Atahualpa, emperor’s step-brother, took the power by force. But as he was not considered as heir of the sun, omens advertising the end of the Inca domination got across the empire. All of this helped the Spanish conquest. 

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