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South American Problems (Classic Reprint)

South American Problems (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from South American Problems

This ancient pre-inca civilization disappeared cen turies before the discovery of America. Its remains, however, were scattered over the whole Andean plateau and on this base of an ancient culture, not entirely lost in its efiects, although its remembrance had disappeared from the memory of men, a new era of splendor easily revived under the dominion of the Incas.1 Prescott's History of the Conquest of Peru presents the classic picture of the Inca civili zation, but it is hard to separate fact from fable in the authorities on which all such accounts must be based. The Incas had no written language or litera ture, and while there exist ancient chronicles writ ten by some of the conquerors and missionaries it is impossible to place absolute confidence in these narratives. 2 So that the real character of the em pire of the Incas and the conditions of the South American people at the time of the Spanish conquest are but uncertainly known to us. It seems clear, however, that there was a widespread, socialistic, theocratic civilization organized and administered by the Incas, and reaching from Colombia to central Chile and the Argentine. Wonderful schemes of irrigation and not less wonderful systems of roads were con structed. Armies were organized which brought the whole Andean plateau under the Inca sovereigns, who appear to have possessed from the eleventh century.

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