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UNIT 8: Early Economies

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VIDEO SEGMENT: Inkan Tribute Economy

Unlike China, England, or Japan, some early economies thrived without the development of markets or money. This video segment looks at one such example: the fifteenth-century Inkan Empire of the Andean highlands. This empire is unique in world history because of its physical terrain: Nearly 4,000 miles in length down the western coast of South America, it was bounded by ocean to the west and harsh mountains to the east, it had very little arable land, and it hosted a wide range of ecological niches from high plateaus to valleys and rainforests.

The Inkan Empire integrated all of these ecological niches into one state system, assumed ownership and responsibility for all land and products, and divided it all up to benefit the common good. In return for a fair share of the empire's goods, the state demanded tribute from everyone. Kin groups (ayllu), ruled by local lords (Kuraka), determined both the tribute and distribution of goods. The form of tribute varied by locality; it generally included fish, cloth, salt, agricultural produce, and — perhaps most importantly — human labor. Such tribute kept the empire supplied with goods and services, while the distribution of goods and services to subjects by the Kuraka allowed people to meet their needs for food and shelter without the use of money or independent markets.

SELECTED IMAGES AND MAPS


Anonymous, QUIPUS, INKAN KNOT ROPE (n.d.). Courtesy of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography, Harvard University.

Ken Hibbitts, MACHU PICCHU, WIDE VIEW (n.d.). Courtesy of Ken Hibbitts, www.alpacasbythesea.com.


Anonymous, MACHU PICCHU VIEW FROM HUAYNA PICCHU, PERU (n.d.). Copyright 2003 Oregon Public Broadcasting and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Hot Pepper Studios, created for Bridging World History, THE INKAN ROAD SYSTEM (2004). Courtesy of Oregon Public Broadcasting.



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