At its height, the Inca empire stretched from modern day Colombia to central Chile, and had about nine to ten million inhabitants, yet in 1532 Francisco Pizarro and a meager 62 horsemen and 102 foot soldiers conquered the empire. Pizarro was able to conquer the Incas not only because of his cunning and ruthlessness, but also because their kingdom was in disarray, therefore, I will discuss what I believe are the three main reasons why the empire fell, and none of them will have anything to do with Francisco Pizarro.
My first explanation for the demise of the Incas is their rapid and recent expansion they had gone through only a few decades before Pizarro arrived. Circa 1438 AD Inca Yupanqui (Pachacutec) defeated the Chancas and expanded his empire out of the Cuzco valley. Around 1463 AD, while Inca Yupanqui was busy organizing his conquests and remaking Cuzco, the capital of his empire, his son, Topa Inca, was allowed to take control of the Inca army and continue the task of conquest. During that time, Topa Inca conquered the Northern Highlands of Peru, the Southern and Central Highlands of Ecuador, and then the Northern and Central Coastal areas of Peru. When Inca Yupanqui died around 1471 AD, and Topa Inca became Sapa Inca and took over the empire. During Sapa Inca’s rule, the empire virtually doubled in size, with the conquest of the lands of the Southern Coast of Peru, the northern half of Chile, Northwest Argentina, and Eastern Bolivia. This was done less than sixty years before Pizarro marched into Cajamarca (Davies 125-129).
The successor to Sapa Inca was his son Huayna Capac in 1493 AD.
When Topa Inca died ca. 1493 AD, he was succeeded by his son Huayna Capac. The empire had expanded rapidly to absorb millions of people spread over thousands of miles of land, and Huayna Capac had to concentrate much of his effort on quelling various rebellions in the north and defending the large border. Thus, when Huayna C...