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Machu Picchu History

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Machu Picchu History

The empire of the Incas was established in Cusco, by the year 1,200 AD. Its origin is given in relation to two famous legends; one is the legend of Manco Cápac and Mama Ocllo, and the other is the legend of the Ayar Brothers. In both cases, the legends point to Manco Cápac as the founder and first governor of the empire. But it was until the time of the Pachacútec, that the empire achieved its greatest expansion and power, reaching to cover almost 2 million km2 and it was precise during this time, that the Inca City of Machu Picchu would be built.


The arrival of the Spanish conquerors would cause the fall of the empire, at which time the Inca city would have been abandoned when it was still to be finished, and although some people say that the Spaniards knew about the existence of Machu Picchu site, they could never have found it. The truth would be that the location would only be known by local inhabitants, until the time of its discovery, the year of 1911, when Hiram Bingham with the help of Yale University, the National Geographic Society, and the Peruvian government, gave it to know the whole world. Bingham began excavation work in the area, from 1912 to 1915, when the thick vegetation that covered much of the discovery was removed, and numerous niches of the city's inhabitants were discovered.  

Machu Picchu became the preferred tourist destination in Peru and one of the most important on the planet. Being declared by UNESCO as a Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Also voted by millions of people from all continents, to be chosen as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World; Machu Picchu in Peru is without a doubt, the greatest heritage left by the Inca civilization.




Machu Picchu History


Inca times

Before Machu Picchu was built, this area was inhabited by nearby towns such as Vilcabamba and the Sacred Valley, which sought to expand. But after the expansion of Inca power, they became part of the growing Tahuantinsuyo Empire.


The studies agree that Machu Picchu history starts in the middle of the 15th century, it was built under the government of Emperor Pachacútec, the main responsible for the Inca expansion and its transformation from a simple manor to the magnificent empire that we now know it was.


According to Machu Picchu history, during the mandate of Wiracocha, the lordship of the Incas, was constantly threatened, by its western neighbors, the Chancas; faced with the possibility of an invasion, Wiracocha, along with his heir Inca Urco, fled the city abandoning his village at the mercy of the invaders, Cusi Yupanqui, also son Wiracocha, decided to fight against the Chancas, making alliances with the local ethnic groups, in this way I could defeat them, thus saving the Inca Empire. The victory against the Chancas made the Inca Wiracocha recognize him as successor to the throne. This is how Cusi Yupanqui took the reins of what would soon become an empire of approximately 2 million m2. He went on to change his name to Pachacútec Yupanqui Cápac Intichuri, which translated into Spanish means Son of the Sun, which changes the course of the earth. With Pachacútec in command, the Inca domain ceased to be a manor to expand rapidly and become the great empire of which we have record. This time of prosperity, allowed the construction of magnificent works, being the most important the Machu Picchu Incas citadel.


Why did Pachacútec build Machu Picchu in this place?

We can conclude that the interest of Pachacútec to build a city like this, in a place like this, responds to what was admired by the place, a lush environment surrounded by natural beauty and apus (sacred mountains), which could serve as a checkpoint and colonization of an Empire that grew incredibly fast, acting as an entrance to the Antisuyo, from the heart of the empire; In addition, the area gave access to important products that could only be obtained in the jungle; like coca. 

Perhaps the most important reason was that Pachacútec fell in love with the place, and this continues to happen with millions of people who visit Inca Machu Picchu citadel.




Reason for its construction 

At first it was believed that Machu Picchu was built in order to serve as; military fortress or even as a rest home for Pachacútec; both hypotheses that were taken as true, lost weight with the passage of time. Comprehensive studies, carried out by some of the best specialists, have revealed that Machu Picchu was used as a place of worship, a religious sanctuary. Other speculations suggest that it served as a monastery, where the girls who would serve the Inca and the High Priest were prepared, since of the 135 bodies found, 109 turned out to belong to women. Although its use as a palace is not ruled out.


It is believed that Machu Picchu city had between 300 to 1000 inhabitants, during its time of splendor. The study of the Inca society, indicates that the manpower for the culture in the city, would have been formed by the people dominated (called mitimaes), coming from different parts of the empire.



Although this is attributed to the American Hiram Bingham, other sources indicate that Agustín Lizárraga, tenant of Cusco origin, would have arrived in the city nine years before his official discoverer. It is said that, Lizárraga left an inscription on one of the walls of the Temple of the Three Windows. Said inscription would have been documented by Bingham himself, and later erased.


The history of Lizárraga and his visits to the ancient Inca ruins, caught the attention of Hiram Bingham, who was investigating the last Inca strongholds in the area. Upon hearing these rumors, Bingham would begin the search, in the company of the Cuzco tenant Melchor Arriaga, and a sergeant of the Peruvian Civil Guard arriving in Machu Picchu, in July 1911. In the place there would be two families, the Recharte y los Álvarez, established south of the ruins. Finally a child of the Recharte would be the one who guided Bingham to the city of stone, covered by a thick vegetation.


Machu Picchu history

We assume that Bingham immediately understood the enormous historical value of his find, so I requested support and auspices from Yale University, the National Geographic Society and the Peruvian government, thus the studies of the archaeological site began. Carried out since 1912 for three years. Period in which it was possible to clear the undergrowth that infested the Inca city.


In 1913, National Geographic published in one of the editions of its magazine, an extensive article of Machu Picchu, and the works that were carried out there, thus making known the lost city to the whole world. Over the years, the City of Machu Picchu would grow, acquiring tourism importance nationally and then internationally, which earned it the title of Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, in the year 1983. And On July 7, 2007, after a vote on the Internet, by millions of people around the world, Machu Picchu was declared one of the seven wonders of the modern world.





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