Brief Cusco History: Before and after the Incas

Free of the Tiahuanaco-Huari control, the local ethnic groups fought amongst themselves for domination and around 1200 A.D. the powerful Incan government was formed. Due to the fact that these cultures had no written languages, it is difficult to ascertain the exact origin of the Incas or the names of their first monarchs known as Sapallac Inca Cuna or Sapa Inca. Garcilaso de la Vega does resurrect two legends about the origin of the Tahuantinsuyu in his Royal Commentaries of 1609. The first makes reference to Manco Cápac and Mama Ocllo, children of the sun and brother and sister / husband and wife, who emerged from the waters of Lake Titicaca with the mission to found an empire; it is told then that as they were walking, Manco Cápac took his staff and jabbed it into the ground and the place where it embedded itself was where the kingdom was to be; this happened to be the hill called Huanacaure, close to Cusco, where they settled and instructed the men in the ways of agriculture and cattle raising. The other tale speaks of four brothers, the Ayar, and their respective wives, who left the caves of Paccaritambo with the purpose to establish a city.

After the mythical founding of the city, a line of rulers was established, known as the legendary Incas since their existence has not been irrefutably proven. With the arrival of Pachacútec in 1438, the Incas start their stage of known history. This government began the expansion of the territory, remodeled the city, and started a war in the south against the Chanca tribe, a powerful ethnic group that stopped the Incas advancement into new territories.