Inca empire

Five hundred years ago, a great empire stretched along the Andes mountains and the Pacific coast of South America. Ruled by a group called the Inca, this empire united many diverse cultures of the mountain and coastal regions. In just over 100 years, this well organized empire built an impressive system of bridges and roads, linking high mountain valleys with dry desert coasts and tropical lowlands.

Ruler: Sapa Inca
Capital: Cuzco
Organization: divided into four areas called “suyus,” each run by a governor
Population: estimated to be about 10 million people
Cool fact: The Incas built enough roads to stretch from New York to Los Angeles more than eight times.

Image credits: main image, AMNH, Craig Morris.