Viracocha became the eighth Inca ruler around 1410. He is recorded on the Biblical Timeline Poster with World History at 1390 AD. From the Incan city of Cuzco, he expanded the empire’s border and even pushed south into the Lake Titicaca region. He took his name from the Incan creator god Viracocha after he appeared to the king in a vision. He abdicated in favor of his son Pachacuti after he fled from an enemy attack on the city of Cuzco.
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The Sapa Inca
Before he adopted the name Viracocha, the eight Inca ruler was named Hatun Topa Inca or High Royal Inca. He was the youngest son of Yawar Waqaq whose reign was marked by many rebellions. His father and a brother named Pahuac Gualpa was killed by members of his own army because of his unpopularity. After the king was killed, the council of elders elected the young prince Hatun Topa as Sapa Inca (The Great Lord) around 1410.
Hatun Topa Inca started his reign by conquering the town of Calca and parts of the Urubamba Valley. He captured the eastern part of the Cuzco Valley and folded into his realm the Muyna and Pinagua people. After their capture, the Inca army was free to push south and conquer the Canchos. Hatun Topa Inca and his army even reached the Titicaca Basin, but they were not successful in conquering the Qulla people who lived there. He was forced to sue for peace and had to return to Cuzco.
He stayed at the Temple of Viracocha in Raqchi when he returned from war. It was said that he received a vision from Viracocha himself that was why he adopted the god’s name in addition to his title as Inca or Lord.
Flight and Humiliation
The rest of his reign was just as rough as his father’s as his relatives were unhappy with his promotion as the king of their people. He also elevated Viracocha as the most important among the Inca gods and this act did not sit well with the followers of Inti, the Peruvian sun god.
In 1438, the Chanca people rose up and threatened to attack the city of Cuzco. The Chanca army’s strength was equal to that of the Inca, so in his fear, Viracocha and his heir fled to his favorite villa located far from the city. Two of his sons, however, remained in Cuzco and led the defense of the city. They defeated the Chanca army, and their heroic efforts (and Viracocha’s escape) spelled the end of the king’s reign. Viracocha was later forced to abdicate as the Inca king. His heir, whom he escaped with, was killed by his own brother. Inca Cusi Yupanqui, one of his sons who led the defense of Cuzco, was proclaimed as the new Sapa Inca by his generals. He later adopted the name Pachacuti Inca and went on to become the Inca’s greatest king.
Public Domain, Link
Brundage, Burr Cartwright, and Arnold Toynbee. Empire of the Inca. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1963.
Julien, Catherine J. Reading Inca History. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2000.
McEwan, Gordon Francis. The Incas: New Perspectives. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2006.
Steele, Paul R., and Catherine J. Allen. Handbook of Inca Mythology. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2004.
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