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Part of the complex Pukará de Quitor as seen from the inside

Pukara (Aymara and Quechuan "fortress", hispanicized spellings pucara, pucará) is a ruin of the fortifications made by the natives of the central Andean cultures (that is to say: from Ecuador to Central Chile and the Argentine Northwest) and particularly to those of the Inca Empire. The Spanish also referred to Mapuche earthen forts in the Arauco War by this term.

Furthermore, one of the most refined branches of the Chavín culture is sometimes referred to as "Pukara culture" or "Pukara style". It seems to have been a foundation of the later Wari Empire and Tiwanaku culture.

Today, the term is commonly found in toponyms of the Andes region, like for the pukaras of Andalicán, Pucará de Angol, Camiña, Cañete[verification needed], Nama, Quiapo, Tilcara, Turi, Pucara del Cerro La Muralla, Pukara of La Compañía, Pukara de Lasana, Pukará de Quitor and Puka Pukara.

Number and location of Inca Pukaras[edit]

Pukaras were mostly located near the frontiers of the Inca Empire. The greatest concentration is in northern Ecuador, indicating that the Incas encountered the sternest resistance to their expansion there, an assumption confirmed by the early Spanish chroniclers of Inca history. The table following is a rough count of the number and location of Inca pukaras which are known to archaeologists.

Country No. of Inca Pukaras[1]
Northern Ecuador 106
Southern Ecuador 27
Cuzco Region, Peru 5
Southeastern Bolivia 14
Northwest Argentina 15
Chile 17
Grand Total 184


  1. ^ Anderson, Amber M., "War and Conquest: Inca strategies and struggles in Northern Ecuador", https://www.academia.edu/11358577/War_and_Conquest_Inca_strategies_and_struggles_in_Northern_Ecuador, accessed 27 May 2017