Huayna Capac

Huayna Capac[note 1] (1464/1468–1524) was the third Sapan Inka of the Inca Empire, born in Tumipampa[10][11] sixth of the Hanan dynasty, and eleventh of the Inca civilization. As other Sapa Inkas, Huayna Capac subjects commonly approached him adding epithets and titles when addressing him, commonly as Wayna Qhapaq Inka Sarsaparilla Tukuy Llaqt'a Uya "Unique Sovereign Wayna Qhapaq Listener of All Peoples".[12] His original name was Titu Kusi Wallpa.[9][13] He was the successor to Tupaq Inka Yupanki.[14]: 108 

Wayna Qhapaq
Inca huayna capac.jpg
Wayna Qhapaq, drawn by Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala. The title, in Poma de Ayala's nonstandard spelling, reads: El onceno inga Guainacapac, "The Eleventh Inca, Guayna Capac".
Sapa Inca of the Inca Empire
Reign1493 – 1524
PredecessorThupaq Inka Yupanki
SuccessorWaskar and Atawallpa
Ninan Cuyochi (titular)
Bornc. 1468
Tumebamba or Cusco, Peru
Died1524 (aged c. 55–56)
ConsortKuya Kusi Rimay, Kuya Rawa Ukllu
IssueNinan Kuyuchi, Waskar, Atawallpa, Thupaq Wallpa, Manko Inka Yupanki, Atoq, Paullu Inka, Kispi Sisa, Konono, and others
IncaRuna Simi, Qhapaq Simi
HouseTumipampa Ayllu
DynastyHanan Qusqu
FatherInka Thupaq Yupanki
MotherKuya Mama Ukllu

Background and familyEdit

The exact place and date of Wayna Qhapaq's birth are unknown. Though he was raised in Cusco, he may have been born in 1468 in Tumebamba (modern Cuenca) and have spent part of his childhood there.[15][16][17][18] He was the son of Thupaq Inka (ruled 1471–1493) who had extended Inca rule north into present-day Ecuador, a process continued by Wayna Qhapaq.[19][20]

Wayna Qhapaq's first wife was his full sister, Koya "Queen"[21] Kusi Rimay.[22] The couple produced no male heirs but Wayna Qhapaq sired more than 50 sons and about 200 children[23]:113 with other women. Wayna Qhapaq took another sister, Rawa Okllo, as his royal wife. They had a son called Thupaq Kusi Wallpa,[9] also known as Waskar.

Other sons included Ninan Kuyuchi (the Crown Prince), Atawallpa, Thupaq Wallpa, Manko Inka, Paullu Inka, Atoq, Konono, Wanka Auqui, Kizu Yupanqui, Tito Atauchi, Waman Wallpa, Kusi Wallpa, Tilka Yupanqu.[23]:109-112 Some of them later held the title of Sapan Inka, although some later Sapan Inka were installed by the Spaniards.

Among the daughters of Wayna Qhapaq were Azarpay (the First Princess of the Empire), Kispe Sisa, Kura Okllu, Marca Chimbo, Pachacuti Yamqui, Miro, Kusi Warkay, Francisca Coya[24][25] and others.[23]:112[14]: 112, 118 

In addition to Kusi Rimay and Rawa Okllo, Wayna Qhapaq had more than 50 wives including Osika, Lari, Anawarque, Kontarwachu and Añas Qolque.[5]:143[23]:109-112


Tawantinsuyu or Inca empire at its peak under Wayna Qhapaq.

As a "boy chief" or "boy sovereign", Wayna Qhapaq had a tutor, Wallpaya,[9]:218 a nephew of Inka Yupanki. This tutor's plot to assume the Incaship was discovered by his uncle, the Governor Waman Achachi, who had Wallpaya killed.[14]: 109 

In the south, Wayna Qhapaq continued the expansion of the Inca Empire into present-day Chile and Argentina and tried to annex territories towards the north in what is now Ecuador and southern Colombia.

Ruins of the Inca city of Pumpu. Wayna Qhapaq used to spend time relaxing in the nearby Chinchay Cocha lake connected to the city by a river.

In Ecuador, formerly known as the Kingdom of Quito, Wayna Qhapaq absorbed the Quito Confederation into the Inca Empire after marrying the Quito Queen Paccha Duchicela Shyris XVI in order to halt a long protracted war. From this marriage Atawallpa was born (1502 AD) in Caranqui, Ecuador. Atawallpa was to inherit the Kingdom of Quito, by the will of his father Wayna Qhapaq, and later Inca Emperor after defeating his brother, the Inca Emperor Waskar in the Inca Civil War, where Waskar Inka attempted to conquer the Kingdom of Quito after seven years of peace. Wayna Qhapaq became fond of Ecuador and spent most of his time there, founding cities like Atuntaqui. The capital of the empire was in Cuzco, and Wayna Qhapaq rebuilt Quito to make it the "second capital" of the empire.[26]

As Sapa Inca, he also built astronomical observatories in Ecuador such as Ingapirca. Wayna Qhapaq hoped to establish a northern stronghold in the city of Tumebamba, Ecuador, where the Cañari people lived. In the Sacred Valley, the sparse remains of one of Wayna Qhapaq's estates and his country palace called Kispiwanka[27] can still be found in the present-day town of Urubamba, Peru.

In present-day Bolivia, Wayna Qhapaq was responsible for developing Cochabamba as an important agriculture and administrative center, with more than two thousand silos (qollas) for corn storage built in the area.[citation needed] Further north in Ecuador, Wayna Qhapaq's forces attempted to expand into the lowlands of the Amazon basin, reaching the Chinchipe River, but they were pushed back by the Shuar.[28]

Wayna Qhapaq acquired a special fondness for the central Peruvian Andes and its local highlights; he is recorded as having spent time relaxing in the Chinchaycocha lake on the Bombon plateau. Many Inca raft vessels were brought to the lake directly from Ecuador for his amusement.[29]

On its way to Cusco, after Wayna Qhapaq's death in Quito, the procession carrying his body stopped in the vicinity of Shawsha, a city in the central Peruvian Andes, acknowledging the fondness for the area that he had felt for the region and because the local inhabitants had been some of the most loyal to its causes.

The Inca empire reached the height of its size and power under his rule, stretching over much of present-day Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, and southwestern Colombia. It included varying terrain from high frozen Andes to the densest swamps. His subjects spanned more than two hundred distinct ethnic groups, each with their own customs and languages. The empire spanned 3,500 kilometres (2,200 mi) north to south comprising the Pacific Ocean coast on the west and the Andes in the southeast and the Amazon Basin on the east.[30]

Despite the geographical and cultural challenges, The Inca Empire or Tawantinsuyu ("the united four regions") was sophisticated for its time and place. At its height, it had monumental cities, temples, marvellously-engineered fortresses of stone, roads cut through granite mountain slopes, and massive agricultural terraces and hydraulic works. A dedicated ruler, Wayna Qhapaq did much to improve the lives of his people. In addition to building temples and other works, Wayna Qhapaq greatly expanded the road network.[31]: 144  He had storehouses (qollqas) built along it for food so that aid could be quickly rushed to any who were in danger of starvation.

Wayna knew of the Spanish arrival off the coast of his empire[14]: 131  as early as 1515.

Death and legacyEdit

Wayna Qhapaq died in 1524.[32]: 82–83, 85  When Wayna returned to Quito he had already contracted a fever while campaigning in present-day Colombia (though some historians dispute this),[33] likely resulting from the introduction of European disease like measles or smallpox,[14]: 117 [34]: 115  The Spaniards had carried a wide variety of deadly diseases to North, Central and South America; and the Native Americans had no acquired immunity against them. Millions of Central- and South Americans died in that epidemic including Wayna's brother, Auqui Tupac Inca, and Wayna's would-be successor and eldest son, Ninan Kuyuchi. His sons Atahualpa Inka and Huascar Inka were granted two separate realms of the Inka Empire: his favorite Atahualpa, the northern portion centered on Quito; and his legitimate heir Huascar, the southern portion centered on Cuzco.[31]: 146  The two sons reigned peacefully for four to five years before Huascar had second thoughts.[32]: 89 

Huascar quickly secured power in Cuzco and had his brother arrested but Atahualpa escaped from his imprisonment with the help of his wife. Atahualpa began securing support from Wayna Qhapaq's best generals, Chalkuchimac and Quizquiz, who happened to be near Quito, the nearest major city. Atahualpa rebelled against his brother and won the ensuing civil war and imprisoned Huascar at the end of the war.[32]: 89–94 

Pizarro and his men had the good fortune of ascending into the Andes just as Atahualpa was returning to Cuzco after the successful conclusion of his northern campaigns. After launching a surprise attack in Cajamarca and massacring upward of 6,000 Incan soldiers, Pizarro took Atahualpa prisoner. To secure his release, Atahualpa pledged to fill a room of approximately 88 cubic meters with precious golden objects, the famous Atahualpa's Ransom Room. Over the next months, trains of porters carted precious objects from across the empire. These including jars, pots, vessels, and huge golden plates pried off the walls of the Sun Temple of Qurikancha in Cuzco. On May 3, 1533, Pizarro ordered the vast accumulation of golden objects melted down, a process that took many weeks. Finally, on July 16, the melted loot was distributed among his men. Ten days later, Pizarro had Atahualpa executed.

Lost mummyEdit

All the Inca emperors had their bodies mummified after death. Wayna Qhapaq's mummy was on display in his palace in Cuzco and was viewed by the Spanish conquistadors of the Inca Empire. Later, it was taken from Cuzco to his royal estate of Kispiwanka where it was hidden from the Spanish by Wayna Qhapaq's relatives and servants. At some point it was taken back to Cuzco, where it was discovered in 1559 by the Spanish. Along with mummies of 10 other Inca emperors and their wives, the mummy was taken to Lima where it was displayed in the San Andres Hospital. The mummies deteriorated in the damp climate of Lima and eventually they were either buried or destroyed by the Spanish.[35][36]

An attempt to find the mummies of the Inca emperors beneath the San Andres hospital in 2001 was unsuccessful. The archaeologists found a crypt, but it was empty. The mummies may have been removed when the building had been repaired after an earthquake.[37]


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  1. ^ Also spelled Guayna Cápac, Guayna Capac, Huain Capac,[1] Guain Capac, Guayana Capac[2][3] (in Hispanicized spellings), Wayna Kapa, Wayn Capac,[4] Wayana Qhapaq, Wayna Kapak,[5] Wayna Capac, or Wayna Qhapaq. The name comes from Quechua wayna boy, young, young man; qhapaq "the mighty one",[6][7] "the young mighty one", "powerful young one"[8] or "powerful youth"[9])

Further readingEdit

Regnal titles
Preceded by Sapa Inca
1493 – 1524
Succeeded by