Topa Inca Yupanqui

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Topa Inca Yupanqui
Sapa Inca (10th)
Drawing by Guaman Poma in 1615
Reign 1471–1493
Predecessor Pachacuti
Successor Huayna Capac
Issue Huayna Capac
Full name
Túpac Inca Yupanqui
Quechua Tupaq Inka Yupanki
Spanish Túpac Inca Yupanqui
Dynasty Hanan
Father Pachacuti

Topa Inca Yupanqui or Túpac Inca Yupanqui (Quechua: Tupaq Inka Yupanki),[1] translated as "noble Inca accountant," was the second Sapa Inca (1471–93) of the Inca Empire, fifth of the Hanan dynasty, and tenth of the Inca civilization. His father was Pachacuti, and his son was Huayna Capac.[2]:93 Topa Inca belonged to the Qhapaq panaca (one of the clans of Inca nobles).[3] His wife was Mama Ocllo.[2]:88


Map of the expansion of the Inca Empire under Topa Inca Yupanqui

His father appointed him to head the Inca army in 1463.

He extended the realm northward along the Andes through modern Ecuador,[4]:144 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", Tupac Inca led extensive military conquests to extend the Inca empire across much of Southern America.[2]:89-92

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.

He conquered the province of Antis and subdued the Collas. He then made his brother Tupac CCapac, whome he had killed, replacing him with another brother Apu Achachi. He imposed rules and taxes, creating two Governor Generals, Suyuyoc Apu, one in Xauxa and the other in Tiahuanacu. Tupac Inca Yupanqui created the fortress Saksaywaman on the high plateau above Cuzco, which included store houses for provisions and clothing.[2]:98-105

Tupac Inca died at the age of 85 years, leaving two legitimate sons, and 90 illegitimate sons and daughters. He had nominated Ccapac Huari, son of his concubine Chuqui Ocllo, but they were both killed soon after Tupac Inca's death. This left the path clear for his legitimate son, Titu Cusi Hualpa, to succeed him[2]:106-107

The Pacific Expedition[edit]


Topa 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 belt")[5] and Hawa Chumpi ("outer belt",[6][5] also spelled Avachumpi, Hahua chumpi). The voyage is mentioned in the History of the Incas by Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa in 1572.[7] 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.[2]:93-94


Many historians are skeptical that the voyage ever took place. Supporters 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 claimed that a group of long-eared hanau eepe came to the island from an unknown land.[8]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e f de Gamboa, P.S., 2015, History of the Incas, Lexington, ISBN 9781463688653
  3. ^
  4. ^ Prescott, W.H., 2011, The History of the Conquest of Peru, Publishing, ISBN 9781420941142
  5. ^ a b Teofilo Laime Ajacopa, Diccionario Bilingüe Iskay simipi yuyayk'ancha, La Paz, 2007 (Quechua-Spanish dictionary)
  6. ^ Diccionario Quechua - Español - Quechua, Academía Mayor de la Lengua Quechua, Gobierno Regional Cusco, Cusco 2005 (Quechua-Spanish dictionary)
  7. ^ See online version of the book, page 91; in English.
  8. ^ The "Hanau Eepe", their Immigration and Extermination, Rongorongo.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Sapa Inca
As ruler of the Inca Empire

Succeeded by
Huayna Capac