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Inka Andean Imperialism

Assessing the Southeastern Inka Frontier

Tawantinsuyu was a thriving Andean empire that assimilated, synthesized, and reshaped ancient sociopolitical institutions from earlier cultural developments. In less than a century (A.D. 1400-1592), this empire positioned itself as a dominant power in the Andean world. At its peak, the Inka expanded at a subcontinental scale, encompassing a variety of ecologies and ethnicities of varying levels of complexity that integrated groups dwelling on the Pacific coast, the cold highlands, intermediate valleys, and the eastern tropical piedmont (Figure 2.1). As a result, this polity became the Tawantinsuyu (Land of the Four Quarters), a multiethnic empire governed by the many royal panaca families residing in the capital city of Cuzco. Whereas to the south of the empire were the Collasuyu and Cuntisuyu quarters, to the north were Chinchaysuyu and Antisuyu. This chapter provides an overview of the most relevant state institutions and practices that made possible the Inka expansion. The research goals on the Southeastern Inka frontier are also explained.

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