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Ancient America
Hispanic Heritage
The Incas, Part 2



The Incas, Part 2
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.36

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    excess, mines, provided, communication, chipping, multi-colored, military, civilization, successful, chisel, mandatory, series, outstanding, drying, mortar, surrounding
     content words:    Andes Mountains, Inca Empire, United States, Machu Picchu


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The Incas, Part 2
By Jane Runyon
  

1     The people of the Inca civilization lived high in the Andes Mountains. They had to adapt their way of living to their surroundings. Can you imagine trying to plant crops on a hillside? Can you imagine living in a civilization that had no written language? Can you imagine living thousands of miles away from other people in your empire?
 
2     The Inca Empire was divided into four different regions. The regions all met at one corner. Located at that corner was the city of Cuzco. The ruler, called Inca, lived in the city of Cuzco. He ruled all of the lands around him from his palace. Each of the four regions had their own governor. He watched over the local officials. The local officials were in charge of the farms, the cities, and the mines. The military and the religious groups had their own officials. In a way, having these different leaders worked much like the checks and balances found in the United States government. No one had too much control. The local officials helped settle disputes among the people. They also were in charge of making sure everyone contributed to the mita. Mita was their word for mandatory public service. Each family was expected to volunteer one of their members to work for the benefit of all of the people. In most cases, this meant that one member from each family had to work in the gold or silver mines.
 
3     The Inca were highly skilled architects. They were able to construct stone buildings without using any mortar to seal the stones together. They used a process of placing one large stone on top of another and then lifting it up again to chisel any rough spots off. By the time they were finished chipping and sculpting the stones, they fit together perfectly. Not even an earthquake could topple the stones in the building. The temples at the Inca city of Machu Picchu are a standing monument to the engineering genius of the people.

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