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Polo de Ondegardo. Report, 1561—1570.

p. 151

Written in a memorandum book, apparently as a rough Draft, among the papers of the Licenciate Polo de Ondegardo.

(Manuscript in the National Library at Madrid. 4to, on parchment, B. 135.)


IT must be understood, in the first place, that the lineage of these Yncas was divided into two branches, the one called Hanan Cuzco, and the other Hurin Cuzco. From this it may be concluded (and there is no memory of anything to the contrary) that they were natives of the valley of Cuzco, although some pretend that they came from other parts to settle there. But no credit should be given to them, for they also say that this happened before the flood. From what can be gathered and conjectured in considering the traditions of the present time, it is not more than three hundred and fifty to four hundred years since the Yncas only possessed and ruled over the valley of Cuzco as far as Urcos, a distance of six leagues, and to the valley of Yucay, which is not more than five leagues.

 Touching the Lords that the people can remember, their recollection does not carry them back beyond the time already stated. They preserve the memory of these Lords by their quipus, but if we judge by the time that each is said to have lived, the historical period cannot be placed further back than four hundred years at the earliest.

 It must have been at about that period that they began to dominate and conquer in the districts round Cuzco, p. 152 and, as would appear from their records, they were sometimes defeated. For, although Andahuaylas, in the province of the Chancas, is only thirty leagues from Cuzco, they did not bring it under their sway until the time of Pachacutec Yupanqui Ynca, who defeated those Chancas. The history of this event is given in the record of the Pururunas, or huacas, which originated and resulted from this battle with the Chancas, the commencement of all the Ynca victories.1 On the other side of Cuzco is the road of Colla-suyu; and they also retain a recollection of the time when the Canas and Canches, whose country is even nearer, were paid to go with the Yncas to the wars, and not as vassals following their lords; and this was in the same battle in which Pachacutec Ynca fought against Usco-vilca,2 Lord of the Chancas. They also recollect the time when they extended their dominion along this road to the lake of Villca-ñota, the point where the Collao begins. Two powerful rivers flow out of this lake, one going to the north sea, and the other to the south. The lake was worshipped by the natives, and looked upon as a noted huaca. A long interval of time elapsed before the Yncas advanced beyond this point. It was the successor of that lord who conquered the Chancas who began to advance beyond this point, and those provinces had no peace until the time of Tupac Ynca, father of Huayna Ccapac. We found these wars recorded in the registers of the Yncas, but each province also had its registers of wars, so that, if it were necessary, we might very easily fix the time when each province was subjugated by the Yncas.

 But it is enough to understand that these Yncas at first extended their conquests by violence and war. There was no general opposition to their advance, for each province p. 153merely defended its land without aid from any other; so that the only difficulty encountered by the Yncas was in the annexation of the districts round Cuzco. Afterwards all the conquered people joined them, so that they always had a vastly superior force as well as more cunning in the art of war. Thus it was seldom that they were completely defeated, although sometimes they were obliged to retreat, and desist from a war during a year.

 No province ever attempted to disturb them in their own land, only seeking to be left in quiet possession of their territories, and this seems to me to have been a great advantage to the Yncas. There is no memory of such an attempt in their registers; but, after the districts were reduced to obedience, the great natural strength of this region conduced to its security. The four roads which diverge from Cuzco are all crossed by rivers that cannot be forded at any time in the year, while the land is very rugged and strong. There cannot, therefore, be a doubt that in this, and in possessing better discipline and more knowledge, lay the advantage they had over all the other nations of this region. This superiority is shown in their edifices, bridges, farms, systems of irrigation, and in their higher moral lives. If other nations have anything good, it has all been taught them by the Yncas. The Yncas also had a different system of warfare, and were better led, so that they could not fail to become lords over the rest. Thus they continued to extend their dominions and to subjugate their neighbours.

 The second thing that may be taken for granted is that having resolved to conquer and subjugate other nations, the Yncas sought some colour and pretext for prosecuting their objects. The first story that these Yncas put forward, though it was not the title which they finally asserted, was an idea that, after the deluge, seven men and women had come out of a cave which they call Paccari-tampu, five leagues from Cuzco, where a window was carved in masonry in most p. 154 ancient times; that these persons multiplied and spread over the world. Hence every province had a like place of worship where people came forth after the universal destruction; and these places were pointed out by their old men and wizards, who taught them why and how the Yncas venerated the cave of Paccari-tampu. Thus in every province these places of worship are to be found, each one with a different tale attached to it.

 With this title the Yncas were for a long time unable to conquer more than the provinces bordering on Cuzco until the time of Pachacuti Ynca Yupanqui. His father had been defeated by the Chancas, and retreated to Cuzco, leaving his troops in a Pucara or fortress. Then the son formed an army out of the fugitives, and out of the garrison of Cuzco, and out of the men of Canes and Canches, and turned back to attack the Chancas. Before he set out his mother had a dream that the reason of the victory of the Chancas was that more veneration was shown for the Sun than Pachayachachic, who was the universal Creator. Henceforward a promise was made that more sacrifices and prayers should be offered to that statue. Then the son was promised a victory over the Chancas, and that men should be sent from Heaven to reinforce him. With this title he went forth and conquered, and thence arose that idea of the Pururaucas, which was one which was most important for the Yncas as a title in extending their conquests . . . . . sacrifices of many kinds were continually invented, and all who were subjugated were taught that Cuzco was the abode and home of the gods. Throughout that city there was not a fountain, nor a well, nor a wall, which they did not say contained some mystery, as appears in the report on the places of worship in that city, where more than four hundred such places are enumerated. All this continued until the arrival of the Spaniards; and even now all the people venerate the huacas given them by the Yncas.

p. 155

 The third thing to be understood is that as soon as the Yncas had made themselves lords of a province, they caused the natives, who had previously been widely scattered, to live in communities, with an officer over every ten, another over every hundred, another over every thousand, another over every ten thousand, and an Ynca governor over all, who reported upon the administration every year, recording the births and the deaths that had occurred among men and flocks, the yield of the crops, and all other details, with great minuteness. They left Cuzco every year, and returned in February to make their report, before the festival of Raymi began, bringing with them the tribute of the whole empire. This system was advantageous and good, and it was most important in maintaining the authority of the Yncas. Every governor, how great lord soever he might be, entered Cuzco with a burden on his back. This was a ceremony that was never dispensed with, and it gave great authority to the Yncas.

 The fourth thing is that in every place where a settlement or village community was formed, the land was divided in the following manner: one portion was set apart for the support of religion, being divided between the Sun and the Pachayachachic, and the thunder, which they called Chuquilla, and the Pacha-mama and their ministers, and other huacas and places of worship, both general and such as were peculiar to each village. It would take long to enumerate them, for they were so numerous that, if they had had nothing else to do, the sacrifices alone would have given them occupation. For each town was divided in the same way as Cuzco, and every notable thing was made an object of worship, such as springs, fountains, streams, stones, valleys, and hill summits, which they called apachetas. Each of these things had its people whose duty it was to perform the sacrifices, and who were taught when to sacrifice and what kind of things to offer up. Although in no part were there so many objects p. 156 of worship as in Cuzco, yet the order and manner of worshipping w

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