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 Montesinos' Scheme of Peruvian History

(This is taken from John D. Baldwin's Ancient America, originally published in 1871.)

Peruvian knives 

According to Montesinos, there were three distinct periods in the history of Peru. First, there was a period which began with the origin of civilization, and lasted until the first or second century of the Christian era. Second, there was a period of disintegration, decline, and disorder, introduced by successful invasions from the east and southeast, during which the country was broken up into small states, and many of the arts of civilization were lost; this period lasted more than a thousand years. Third and last came the period of the Incas, who revived civilization and restored the empire. He discards the wonder-stories told of Manco-Capac and Mama Oello, and gives the Peruvian nation a beginning which is, at least, not incredible. It was originated, he says, by a people led by four brothers, who settled in the Valley of Cuzco, and developed civilization there in a very human way. The youngest of these brothers assumed supreme authority, and became the first of a long line of sovereigns.

Montesinos gives a list of sixty-four sovereigns who reigned in the first period. The first was Pûhua Manco, or Ayar-Uchu-Topa, the youngest of the four brothers, whose power was increased by the willing submission of “neighboring nations.” His successor, called Manco-Capac, is described as a remarkable character; “adjacent nations dreaded his power,” and in his time the kingdom was much increased. Next came Huainaevi-Pishua, and “during his reign was known the use of letters, and the amautas taught astrology and the art of writing on leaves of the plantain tree.” Sinchi-Cozque won victories, and “adorned and fortified the city of Cuzco.” Inti-Capac-Yupanqui, another remarkable character, divided the kingdom into districts and subdistricts, introduced a complete civil organization, instituted the solar year of three hundred and sixty-five days, and established the system of couriers. Manco-Capac II. “made great roads from Cuzco to the provinces.” These are the first six rulers named on the list.

In the next thirteen reigns nothing special is noted save attention to civil affairs, occasional conquests, and “a great plague.” The twentieth sovereign, called Huascar-Titupac, “gave all the provinces new governors of royal blood, and introduced in the army a cuirass made of cotton and copper.” The twenty-first, Manco-Capac-Amauta, “being addicted to astronomy, convened a scientific council, which agreed that the sun was at a greater distance from the earth than the moon, and that they followed different courses.” In the next twelve reigns, wars, conquests, and some indications of religious controversy are noted. The thirty-fourth ruler, called Ayay-Manco, “assembled the amautas in Cuzco to reform the calendar, and it was decided that the year should be divided into months of thirty days, and weeks of ten days, calling the five days at the end of the year a small week; they also collected the years into decades or groups of tens, and determined that each group of ten decades should form a sun.”

Among the next twenty-nine sovereigns, Capac-Raymi-Amauta, the thirty-eighth of the line, and Yahuar-Huquiz, the fifty-first, were “celebrated for astronomical knowledge,” and the latter “intercalated a year at the end of four centuries.” Manco-Capac III., the sixtieth sovereign of this line, is supposed to have reigned at the beginning of the Christian era, and in his time “Peru had reached her greatest elevation and extension.” The next three reigns covered thirty-two years, it is said. Then came Titu-Yupanqui-Pachacuti, the sixty-fourth and last sovereign of the old kingdom, who was killed in battle with a horde of invaders who came from the east and southeast across the Andes. His death threw the kingdom into confusion. There was rebellion as well as invasion, by which it was broken up into small states. The account of what happened says: “Many ambitious ones, taking advantage of the new king’s youth, denied him obedience, drew away from him the people, and usurped several provinces. Those who remained faithful to the heir of Titu-Yupanqui conducted him to Tambotoco, whose inhabitants offered him obedience. From this it happened that this monarch took the title of King of Tambotoco.”

During the next twenty-six reigns the sway of the old royal house was confined to this little state. These twenty-six successors of the old sovereigns were merely kings of Tambotoco. The country, overrun by rude invaders, torn by civil war, and harried by “many simultaneous tyrants,” became semi-barbarous; “all was found in great confusion; life and personal safety were endangered, and civil disturbances caused an entire loss of the use of letters.” The art of writing seems to have been mixed up with the issues of a religious controversy in the time of the old kingdom. It was proscribed now, even in the little state of Tambotoco, for we read that the fourteenth of its twenty-six rulers “prohibited, under the severest penalties, the use of quellca for writing, and forbade, also, the invention of letters. Quellca was a kind of parchment made of plantain leaves.” It is added that an amauta, who sought to restore the art of writing was put to death. This period of decline, disorder, and disintegration, which covered the “dark ages” of Peru, lasted until the rise of the Incas brought better times and reunited the country.

Rocca, called Inca-Rocca, was the first of the Incas. He was connected with the old royal family, but did not stand in the direct line of succession. The story of his rise to power is told as follows: “A princess of royal blood, named Mama-Ciboca, contrived, by artifice and intrigue, to raise to the throne her son called Rocca, a youth of twenty years, and so handsome and valiant that his admirers called him Inca, which means lord. This title of Inca began with him, and was adopted by all his successors.” He appears to have had great qualities as a ruler. Not much time passed before he secured possession of Cuzco, made war successfully against the neighboring princes, and greatly extended his dominions. Under his successors, the empire thus begun continued to grow, until it was extended from Quito to Chili, and became the Peruvian empire which the Spaniards robbed and destroyed.








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