Túpac Inca Yupanqui

Túpac Inca Yupanqui

Túpac Inca Yupanqui (a.k.a. Topa Inca) _qu. "Tupaq Inka Yupanki" (literally “noble Inca accountant”) was the tenth Sapa Inca (1471-93 CE) of the Inca Empire, and fifth of the Hanan dynasty. His father was Pachacuti, and his son was Huayna Capac.


His father appointed him to head the Inca army in 1463. He extended the realm northward along the Andes through modern Ecuador, and developed a special fondness for the city of Quito, which he rebuilt with architects from Cuzco. During this time his father Pachacuti reorganized the kingdom of Cuzco into the "Tahuantinsuyu", the "four provinces".

He became Inca in his turn upon his father's death in 1471, ruling until his own death in 1493. He conquered Chimor, which occupied the northern coast of what is now Peru, the largest remaining rival to the Incas.

The Pacific expedition


Tupac Inca Yupanqui is also credited with leading a roughly 10-month-long voyage of exploration into the Pacific around 1480, reportedly visiting islands he called "Nina chumpi" ("Fire Island") and "Hahua chumpi" (or "Avachumpi", "Outer Island"). The voyage is mentioned in the "History of the Incas" by Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa in 1572. [See [http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/20218 online version] of the book, page 91; in English.] Pedro Sarmiento described the expedition as follows:

:…there arrived at Tumbez some merchants who had come by sea from the west, navigating in balsas with sails. They gave information of the land whence they came, which consisted of some islands called Avachumbi and Ninachumbi, where there were many people and much gold. Tupac Inca was a man of lofty and ambitious ideas, and was not satisfied with the regions he had already conquered. So he determined to challenge a happy fortune, and see if it would favour him by sea. …

:The Inca, having this certainty, determined to go there. He caused an immense number of balsas to be constructed, in which he embarked more than 20,000 chosen men. …

:Tupac Inca navigated and sailed on until he discovered the islands of Avachumbi and Ninachumbi, and returned, bringing back with him black people, gold, a chair of brass, and a skin and jaw bone of a horse. These trophies were preserved in the fortress of Cuzco until the Spaniards came. The duration of this expedition undertaken by Tupac Inca was nine months, others say a year, and, as he was so long absent, every one believed he was dead.


Much of the research is skeptical if the voyage ever took place. Supporters of the tradition have usually identified the islands with the Galápagos Islands. It has also been suggested that one of the islands was Easter Island where oral traditions have been claimed to record a group of long-eared "hanau eepe" coming to the island from an unknown land. [ [http://www.rongorongo.org/leyendas/031.htm The "Hanau Eepe", their Immigration and Extermination] .] The natives were obviously not unaccustomed with seagoing ships when Jakob Roggeveen arrived there (despite not being able to build them themselves as by then the island had been devoid of sufficient quantities of larger trees for some time), and there are indications - South American microorganisms in the lake sediment of Rano Raraku appearing at a compatible date, the "nga'atu/totora" bulrush otherwise known from Lake Titicaca of which still-living plants were used by the Incans for thatching ship superstructures, and possibly the Incan-style masonry of Ahu Vinapu) - suggesting that at least one stray ship from the exploring fleet may have indeed happened upon Easter Island. Intriguingly, Easter Island genealogies mentions a "Tupa Ariki" ("Prince/King Tupa") who has been (controversially) conjectured to have ruled around 1485 for a short time and then left by ship.

There exists an oral tradition on Mangareva in the Tuamotus, telling of an incident during the reign of the brothers Tavere and Taroi (which are, however, presumed to have ruled at a considerably earlier date, though this is not based on exact data) where an important chief named "Tupa" with skin redder than the Mangarevans' arrived with many ships from the East. The Incan legends, on the other hand, speak of "black people" and artifacts being brought back from "Nina" and "Hahua chumpi". The artifacts, unfortunately, seem to have been lost after the Spanish conquest. While there are some discrepancies between the legends and known fact, these can be the result of oral transmission over several generations. From what is known about the shipbuilding and seafaring skills of the peoples involved, such a voyage would have been at least technically possible.


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