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The Chasquis (also Chaskis) were agile and highly trained runners that delivered messages, royal delicacies such as fish and other objects throughout the Inca Empire, principally in the service of the Sapa Inca.
Chasquis were dispatched along thousands of miles, taking advantage of the vast Inca system of purpose-built roads and rope bridges in the Andes of Peru and Ecuador. On the coast of what is now Peru their route ran from Nazca to Tumbes. Chasqui routes also extended into further reaches of the empire into parts of what are now Colombia, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile.
Each chasqui carried a pututu (a trumpet made of a conch shell), a quipu in which information was stored, and a quëpi on his back to hold objects to be delivered. Chasquis worked using a relay system which allowed them to convey messages over very long distances within a short period of time. Tambos, or relay stations, were constructed at key points along the road system, often consisting of a small shelter with food and water. Chasquis would start at one tambo and run to the next tambo where a rested chasqui was waiting to carry the message to the next tambo. Through the chasqui system a message could be delivered from Cusco to Quito within a week.
- Highway of the sun, by Victor. W.Von Hagen, page-80, ....These master architects figured out the distances that the Chasqui couriers would run andwhere their platforms would setup.....
- Along the Andes and down the Amazon, John Augustine Zahm. 1912.