On the 28th & 29th of July, Peruvians celebrate the Fiestas Patrias Peruanas, Peru’s independence from the Spanish Empire. The Spanish colonized Peru after they landed in 1531. On July 28, 1821, General San Martin declared Peru’s independence. In 1826, the Spanish forces surrendered, resulting in the formation of the Republic of Peru. The name ‘Peru’ comes from a Quechua word meaning ‘land of abundance. Peru is a South American nation situated on the north-eastern border of the continent.
It is a land of numerous wonders and is known for its diversity of flora, fauna, and diverse landscapes, ranging from arid plains in the Pacific to the sky-high peaks of the Andes. Most of the country is covered by the dense Amazon rainforest. The nation’s culture is most famous for hosting to several ancient civilizations.
Speaking of ancient civilizations, do you know about the Inca’s written language at the time the Spanish conquers arrived? The Inca empire’s did not have any “written” language, but they had a system of different knots tied in ropes attached to a long cord. This system is called quipu or khipu. Quipu literally translates to “knot” in Quechua.
The ropes also have different colors, which may have encoded information. Evidence from the Spanish crusades shows that quipus encoded census data and stories. So how much of the history Francisco Pizarro and his partner Diego de Almagro told about the Incan empire is true, I wonder? I am not talking about what they experienced here themselves, but what they assumed about the Incan empire since they could not understand the Incan’s written language, the quipus or khipus.
Until today, no one knows how to decode the quipus and there are several hundreds of them in the world today, still waiting to be read.
While I am here in Peru, I am learning a bit about the history of the Incan empire through “Turn Right at Machu Picchu,” written by Mark Adams.
While reading this book, I again wonder; if our source of knowledge about the Incan empire is from the Spaniards, how much of it is fact-based? (Please remember that I am not a historian, just someone who finds history fascinating and usually has more questions about everything in life than answers) Surrounded by these unique historical places, I am in awe, and they make me wonder:
How much do we know about them?
Who built them?
How were they made?
And what use did they have?
As I understand it, the Incas did not have tools, so how could they make these impressive sites equipped to withstand earthquakes? Yes, Earthquakes in Peru are common occurrences as the country is in a seismic zone.
As discovery magazine writes, “In light of its location, the achievement is even more impressive. As Ken put it, “they started with a hostile environment.” The site receives up to 80 inches of rain annually, sits atop steep landslide-prone slopes, and lies upon active fault lines. Despite these obstacles, it has survived more than 500 years of weather and earthquakes and is in remarkable condition. To top it all off, the Incas lacked many of the tools you might think necessary for such an undertaking. “They did not have the wheel, they did not have iron or steel, and they did not have written language,” Ken says. “It would seem impossible that they could build something like this.”
When it comes to who used these places as I refer to what Mark Adams wrote in his book:
“On my first trip to Cusco, John had taken me to a bookstore and loaded my arms with reading material. Then we waited ninety minutes for the proprietor to return from “right next door” with one final volume. The delay was worth it, for that book was Johan Reinhardś Machu Picchu, exploring an ancient Sacred center. In it, Reinhard suggests that trying to understand places like Machu Picchu and Vitcos as individual, self-contained sites misses a larger point. These monuments were built in relation to the sun, the stars, the mountains, and one another. “
Anyhow, countries like Peru and Egypt are fantastic when it comes to tracing our human history. Today we think we are significantly evolved, more evolved than our ancestors, but are we? What if we learned that lots of the past we know is not as it was? Are we being arrogant when we believe that we live in the most evolved era of human history?
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