History : Nov-Dec 2016
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC HISTORY 11 name means “he who remakes the earth,” began conquering lands sur- rounding Cusco, the imperial capital, located in modern-day Peru. The Inca language, religion, and trade network dominated the Andes. Vast amounts of coca, regarded as sacred by the Inca, were used in reli- gious ceremonies. Cristóbal de Molina, a Spanish priest who lived in Cusco around 1565 and observed Inca tradi- tions, described how the Inca burned leaves and blew coca fumes toward the sun—their main deity—and other gods, as part of a ritual to heal the sick. The plant was also revered for its divi- natory powers, and some priests were An Inca’s Appeal to a Spanish King A FARMER TAKES COCA LEAVES out of his chuspa (coca pouch) and says to his companion, “Chew this coca, sister” in the above illustration, which appears in El Primer Nueva Corónica y Buen Gobierno (The First New Chronicle and Good Government). The author and illustrator, Felipe Guamán Poma de Ayala, was documenting how coca use had become more widespread in the Inca lower classes since the Spanish conquest. Born into a noble Inca family circa 1535, Guamán Poma was educated in the European tradition; he used his talents for writing and illustration in the Nueva Corónica. Finished between 1612 and 1615—1,189 pages long, and with 398 drawings—the book was written to show King Philip III of Spain the effect of colonial Spanish rule. No one knows if the king saw it, but the work remains a valuable source on Inca culture.