[In Our Time] The Inca

The Inca

13/06/2019 by BBC Radio 4

Web player: http://podplayer.net/?id=73346104
Episode: http://open.live.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/6/redir/version/2.0/mediaset/audio-nondrm-download/proto/http/vpid/p07d07rk.mp3

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss how the people of Cusco, in modern Peru, established an empire along the Andes down to the Pacific under their supreme leader Pachacuti. Before him, their control grew slowly from C13th and was at its peak after him when Pizarro arrived with his Conquistadors and captured their empire for Spain in 1533. The image, above, is of Machu Picchu which was built for emperor Pachacuti as an estate in C15th.


Frank Meddens
Visiting Scholar at the University of Reading

Helen Cowie
Senior Lecturer in History at the University of York


Bill Sillar
Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Archaeology at University College London

Producer: Simon Tillotson

Listen Date: 2019-08-03


  • listening to this in the middle of horrendous traffic meant that I barely paid attention
  • The one thing I did take away – that the succession war within the Inca empire meant that they were more interested in doing the dirty on each other than on kicking out the vastly outnumber conquistadors. Which sounds similar to what happened with the British in India.
  • This then sparked a larger meditation on how it’s not like the British practiced ‘divide and rule’ if we were divided to begin with. Which had side meditations on how the Congress pretends that the British invented interreligious division, and the BJP pretends that the British and the Mughals before them invented caste division. And a final meditation on how we could do with a truth and reconciliation commission; and on how bloody hard it must be to make them successful.


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