By Waltraud Q. Morales
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Extra resources for A Brief History of Bolivia, 2nd Edition
The Empire of the Inca The empire of the Inca, founded near the sacred city of Cuzco in modernday Peru at the beginning of the 13th century, ultimately dominated the entire Andean and coastal regions. At its head stood Sapa-Inca (“supreme Inca”), the hereditary emperor who claimed descent from the sun god Inti. Although the term the Inca or Incas is generically used to describe all the Quechua-speaking inhabitants of the vast, multinational Indian empire, the term specifically refers to the ruling caste or the royal princes of the Quechua people, as well as to the supreme emperor, Sapa-Inca.
The most probable cause of the empire’s collapse, according to several modern experts, may have been a widespread and prolonged drought. The Kingdoms of the Aymara Bolivian historians believe that the Tiwanakan Empire was succeeded on the Bolivian altiplano by numerous small, regional Indian kingdoms. The people of these kingdoms were the direct ancestors of Bolivia’s Aymara. In modern times, Bolivians use the names Kolla and Kollasuyo to refer in a collective sense to the Aymara-based indigenous culture of the Bolivian altiplano and to all the Aymara kingdoms, respectively.
The silver boom in the 16th century, however, shifted economic and political influence to the city of Potosí. For a time, Potosí was the most populated city in colonial Bolivia. Later, the tin boom in the 19th century once again shifted the power balance, this time northward along the altiplano to the mining centers of the department of Oruro and the city of La Paz. Today, Sucre remains Bolivia’s constitutional capital, but its population is dwindling and its significance is primarily historical.
A Brief History of Bolivia, 2nd Edition by Waltraud Q. Morales