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And Then There Were 12: The Inca Emperors

The Inca Empire, one of the greatest the Americas has ever known, had 12 rulers over its lifetime from the late 12th century to the mid-16th century. The emperors, or chieftains, were called Incas; the legendary founder of the dynasty was Manco Cápac. The foundations of the palaces of the sixth and eighth leaders, Inca Roca and Viracocha Roca, respectively, are still visible in Cusco. Pachacútec was a huge military figure, the Inca responsible for creating a great, expansive empire. He was also an unparalleled urban planner. He made Cusco the capital of his kingdom, and, under his reign, the Incas built Qoricancha, the fortresses at Pisac and Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, and mighty Machu Picchu. Huayna Cápac, who ruled in the early 16th century, was the last Inca to oversee a united empire. He divided the Inca territory, which by that time stretched north to Ecuador and south to Bolivia and Chile, between his sons, Huáscar and Atahualpa, which resulted in a disastrous civil war. Atahualpa eventually defeated his brother but was captured by Francisco Pizarro in Cajamarca and killed by the Spaniards in 1533, which led to the ultimate downfall of the Incas. The 12 Incas, in order, are as follows:

1. Manco Cápac

2. Sinchi Roca

3. Lloque Yupanqui

4. Mayta Cápac

5. Cápac Yupanqui

6. Inca Roca

7. Yahuar Huácac

8. Viracocha Inca

9. Pachacútec

10. Tupac Inca

11. Huayna Cápac

12. Atahualpa

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