Part 13 out of 13
quippos. It is a very rude attempt to assist the memory. To the
base cord are attached other threads of various colors, and tied
in various ways. We, of course, know but very little about them.
It is claimed, however, that a red thread signified a soldier,
or war; a yellow one signified gold; a white one silver, or
peace; a green one wheat, or maize. A single knot is said to
have stood for ten; two knots, twenty; a knot doubly
intertwined, one hundred, etc. Also the position of the knots on
the threads was to be considered, their distance apart, the way
the threads were twisted, and many other details.<46> It is
manifest, however, that this system of records is of very little
value, and is way below the picture-writing of the Mexicans.
Illustration of Quippos, or Knot Record.--------------
Take it all in all, the Incas are indeed an interesting people.
We believe, however, their culture has been greatly overrated.
Our object in this chapter has been to give an outline of the
Incas and the tribes subject to them. It is impossible in these
few pages to give more than an outline. Should the reader, by
the perusal of these pages, acquire an interest in the culture
of the Andean people just before the Spanish invasion, and be
thereby induced to continue his investigations, the writer will
consider such a result reward enough, even though the
conclusions reached should be totally opposed to those set forth
in this chapter on Ancient Peru.
(1) Xeres: "Report on the Discovery of Peru," Markham's
translation, Hakluyt Society's Publication.
(2) Buckle's "History of Civilization," chap. ii.
(3) Squier's "Peru," p. 9. The Vicuna is a species of the llama.
(4) Squier's "Peru," p. 12. The quinoa is a species of plant of
the same genus as our pig-weeds. But it is a larger plant, and
its seeds give a very nutritious meal. The biscacha is about the
size and shape of the rabbit. It belongs to the chinchilla
family. The llama is the only representative of the camel family
on the western hemisphere. There were three species of this
genus in Peru, the llama, alpaca, and vicuna. These domesticated
and constituted what the Spaniards in their first reports
(5) Squier's "Peru," p. 12.
(6) Morton's "Crania Americanae," pp. 6, 83. Winchell's
"Pre-Adamites," p. 388.
(7) H. L. Morgan. "Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the
Human Family," p. 255; other works by the same author, "House
and House-life of American Aborigines," and "Ancient Society."
(8) The Quichuas were a closely related tribe to the Incas, and
their name has been given to the language of Peru. But as the
Incas were the ruling tribe, their name should have been given
to this family of languages.
(9) "The Geographical Distribution of the Tribes of the Inca
Empire," in "Journal of the Geographical Society," Vol. XLI, p.
281, et seq.
(10) "Peru," p. 571.
(11) Foster's "Prehistoric Races," p. 375. The Zuni Indians have
indeed preserved a tradition of the visit of Coronado three
hundred and fifty years ago, but in such a form that no one not
acquainted with the facts would guess the meaning. "Fifth Annual
Report Archaeological Institute," p. 40.
(12) More than one-third of Mr. Prescott's quotations are from
(14) This idea was largely based on the differences of the
skulls. On this point see "Fourth Annual Report Peabody Museum."
Some authors speak rather vaguely of the ancient race of the
Titicaca basin. We know of no good foundation for such
(15) Garcillasso impresses on his readers the idea that the
Incas was the only tribe at all civilized. The Aymara Indians
were certainly as far advanced as the Incas, and even surpassed
them in the art of cutting stone, if we conclude the ruins at
Tiahuanuco to be of Aymara origin. The tribes of the coast
region were certainly not far behind. The Muyscas, of Bogota,
who were never under the dominion of the Incas, were yet
possessed of a high degree of culture.
(16) Markham in Forbes's "Aymara Indians," p. 111.
(17) "Peru," p. 427.
(18) "It was from Cuzco the nearest point to the sun-rising."
(19) Their name for the Titicaca basin.
(20) Markham, in Forbes's "Aymara Indians."
(21) American Antiquarian, Sept., 1884, p. 295, et
(22) It is manifest that, during the centuries of slow
development which the Incas underwent, they had a great many
chiefs. How many we shall never know. Garcillasso gives us a
list of fourteen, including Huascar and Atahualpa. Montesino
generously increases this number to one hundred and one. Neither
of them knew any thing positive about it; but this latter number
is the more reasonable of the two. Mr. Markham, who goes at the
problem in another way, thinks there were five historical Incas,
counting Huayna-Capac the last. He surmises that the first may
have flourished two hundred years before the conquest.
(23) Markham's Garcillasso's "Royal Commentaries," Vol. I, p. 66.
(24) Markham's translation, p. 151.
(25) Morgan's "Ancient Society," p. 100.
(26) Our authority is Christoval Molina, a priest of Cuzco. He
made a report to the bishop, which must have been written some
time between 1570 and 1584, on the "Fables and Rites of the
Incas." This was translated by Markham, and published by
Hakluyt Society in 1873. He obtained his information by
gathering together a number of aged Indians, including some
priests, who had participated in these ceremonies in the days of
(27) This writer, a native Indian, wrote about the same time as
(28) "Fables and Rites of the Incas," p. 105.
(29) "Peruvian Antiquities," p. 105.
(30) "Peru," p. 5.
(31) Many such quotations could be given, not only from
Garcillasso, but from Molina, Salcamayhua, and others.
(32) Address before the Historical Society of New Mexico.
(33) We can not help wondering if the Incas did not have two
chief executives. This would make them similar to the Iroquois,
and most of the more southern tribes, such as we have already
seen to be true of the Mexicans. Mr. Bandelier says there is
abundant proof that the Incas had two chiefs--one the
"dispensing Inca," the other the "speaking head."
("Archaeological Tour in Mexico," p. 167, note 6.)
(34) "Travels," Markham's Translation, p. 164.
(35) In Forbes's "Aymara Indians," p. 109.
(36) Indian architecture from the Sioux lodge to the houses of
Uxmal, Mitla, and Tiahuanuco, is only understood through Indian
social organization." (Bandelier.)
(37) "Peru," p. 214.
(38) "Two Years in Peru," Vol. I, p. 283.
(39) Markham's "Introduction," to "Report on the Discovery
(40) "In this case it is nonsense to talk of hundreds."
(41) Markham, in Journal of the Royal Geog. Society, Vol. XLI.
(42) Squier's "Peru," p. 375.
(43) The dimensions are: Length, thirteen feet five inches;
height above ground, seven feet two inches; thickness, one foot
six inches. (Squier.)
(44) Squier's "Peru," p. 336.
(45) Markham, in "Journal of Geog. Soc.," Vol. XLI.
(46) "Peruvian Antiquities," p. 110.
END OF CHAPTER XVI AND END OF BOOK.*****************