Qosqo Inkas' Sacred Capital


It still remains in the past's obscurity the conditions and date when man began inhabiting this continent. However, the most accepted version says that the American man came from the Asian Continent and that taking advantage of the ocean freeze in the Bering Strait could cross to this side of the world. According to archaeology the Nevada Man in present day USA, must have lived about 30 to 50 thousand years ago. In the case of Peru, in 1969 Mac Neish revealed the oldest dates for the first Peruvians: 18 to 20 thousand years B.C. for the Pacaicasa Man around Ayacucho. That age is beyond the logical sphere because it was determined using the absolute date technique of Radiocarbon or Carbon 14. Since that remote time man moved himself through different spots in the Peruvian Andes. In the Qosqo region there were some pre-ceramic settlements, thus the oldest ones and still gatherers were the Men of Yauri and Chumbivilcas with an approximate age of 5 thousand years B.C. Later we had the shepherds of the Canas and Chawaytiri areas and even later as farmers the Men of Qorqa. It is in the Formative period when man appeared in the Watanay Valley (Qosqo Valley). The oldest sedentary settlement in a first phase in this valley was begun in Marcavalle on the eastern part of the present-day city with a relatively organized population of farmers and shepherds using pottery approximately since 1,000 B.C. Organized life in Qosqo City began practically with them. Today Qosqo City is considered the oldest living city in the American Continent with a continuous occupation of about 3,000 years until today. In a second phase, the Chanapata culture was developed about 800 B.C. Later, we had the Regional States and one of the first was that of Qotakalli around 600 A.D. Probably by 750 A.D. the Wari invasion happened, they constructed the buildings of what today we name Pikillaqta. Subsequently by 800 A.D. the Regional State of Killki was formed and later that of Lucre about 1000 A.D. What is traditionally known as the Inka civilization (empire or state) began approximately by 1200 A.D. in its initial phase, and later around 1400 A.D. in its expansive phase. One of the most difficult epochs in the city's life was begun in 1533 with the arrival and subsequent Spanish invasion and ethnocide.

It is still very difficult to state exactly who were the first founders of the city or which would be the valid foundation of Qosqo. They could be the settlers of Marcavalle. Victor Angles suggests that they could be the Sawasiras, Antasayas and Wallas, tribes settled in the valley before the Tawantinsuyo development. Another foundation would be that of the first Inka Manko Qhapaq around 1200 A.D. It is also suggested that Pachakuteq, the ninth king did another foundation by 1438. Finally, after the arrival of the first Spaniards to the city on November 15th 1533, Francisco Pizarro refounded it for the Spanish King following the Spanish tradition on March 23rd 1534; with the name and title of: THE VERY NOBLE AND GREAT CITY OF CUZCO.

In 1535 Pizarro founded the new capital in Lima that immediately gained importance and power even until today. In 1536 Manko Inka began a long and bloody war against the Spanish invaders having a siege of 8 months over the city. Finally in 1572, after a war that lasted 36 years, Tupaq Amaru I, the last emperor of the Inkan dynasty was defeated, captured and executed cutting his head off in Qosqo's Main Square.

In 1650 the city was badly affected by a violent earthquake that destroyed almost every colonial building . Later in 1780 the city was once again shaken but this time by a social-quake: the Tupaq Amaru II rebellion (today, traditionally the Spanish form of his name is used; originally it was Jose Gabriel Thupa Amaro Inga, as it was signed by himself) He fought for the Peruvian emancipation but unfortunately was betrayed, defeated and then executed as well as his whole family and followers in the same city's Main Square. Between 1814-15, Mateo Pumakawa who was the chief of the village of Chinchero and in his youth had fought against Tupaq Amaru II; began once again another rebellion in order to emancipate the country along with the Angulo brothers and some other Peruvians. They were defeated and later executed by the Spanish army. In 1821 Peru got finally its independence from Spain at the end of a long, cruel and bloody process developed in all the countries of Hispanic America.

In 1933 the 25th Congress of Americanists performed in Ciudad de la Plata, Argentina, declared Qosqo City as the " Archaeological Capital of South America". In 1950 another bad earthquake of 7° in the Mercalli scale had shaken the old Inkan Capital that left just one quarter of its buildings standing. In 1978 the 7th Convention of Mayors of the World Great Cities, performed in Milan, Italy, declared Qosqo as " Cultural Heritage of the World". In Paris, on December 9, 1983, the UNESCO declared Qosqo as " Cultural Patrimony of Humanity". On December 22, 1983, by means of Law Nº 23765 the Peruvian government declared the city as " Tourist Capital of Peru" as well as " Cultural Patrimony of the Nation". Today Qosqo is capital of the department having the same name and at the same time the seat of the Inka Region formed along with the departments of Apurimac and Madre de Dios. The 1993 Peruvian Constitution declares Qosqo as the Historic Capital of the country.

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