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The Inca Empire and their Agriculture - Essay Example

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The Incas started to settle in the Cuzco area, the site where presently Machu Picchu is with the transition from hunter-gathering to agriculture that took place about 2700 years ago. …
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The Inca Empire and their Agriculture
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Download file to see previous pages Almost 1800 years after their selection of agriculture as a profession, there was a session for which warm weather prevailed, thus enabling the civilization to flourish. The Incase used Llamas to transport their goods. Llamas were also a potential source of wool and meat for the Incas. As the Llamas carried goods from the jungle to the mountains, they occasionally stopped at ponds to quench their thirst and that was where they defecated communally. “This provided fertiliser which was easily collectable as today by the local people for the surrounding field systems” (Chepstow-Lusty cited in Anning, 2011). Despite the fact that the Andes are included among the tallest mountains across the world, the Incas managed to coax harvests from the sharp slopes of the Andes. Crops whose resilient breeds were developed by the Incas included but were not limited to quinoa, potatoes and corn. The Incas managed achieved this by building cisterns and irrigation and canals that wiggled all around and down the Andes. They cut terraces inside the hills that became steeper and steeper from the valley towards the slopes of the mountains. In the 1400s, the area covered by the terraces was about a million hectares. “In this way the whole hill was gradually brought under cultivation, the platforms being flattened out like stairs in a staircase, and all the cultivable and irrigable land being put to use” (Vega cited in Graber, 2011). ...
The Incas compared the quality of plants including kantu flowers, grain, wheat, panti, and quinoa grown at different light intensities and altitudes. As a result of their experimentation, the Incas found that the deeper planted crops were exposed to cooler temperatures as compared to the ones planted at more heights. Also, different plants were found to react in a different way to the quantity of sunlight and water provided. The difference of temperature between the lower and higher levels was considerable. At certain places, the difference of temperature was as much as 15 ?C, which is what the difference of temperature is between a point at the sea level and another point at a height of 1000m from the sea level (Rediscover Machu Picchu, n.d.a). The agricultural cultivation done by the Incas and the irrigation systems they developed were so strong that they have continued to work to date. The Incas created stepped agricultural fields. Owing to the height of mountains surrounding the Sacred Valley region, path of the sunrays reaching down the valley is blocked while the sides of the mountain receive sunlight for a significant portion of the day. There are certain regions in the valleys where the limited space justified the use of steps to enlarge the area for cultivation of crops. The steps also enabled the Incas to achieve more control over the supply of water required for irrigating the crops. The steps provided the Incas with protection against floods and landslides as the water did not find vast horizontal regions to accumulate. “The rocks used for creating the steps strengthen the sides of the mountains, thus protecting what is in the valleys ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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