Topa Inca Yupanqui

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Topa Inca Yupanqui
Drawing by Guaman Poma in 1615
Sapa Inca of the Inca Empire
SuccessorHuayna Capac
Bornc. 1441
Cusco, Peru
Diedc. 1493 (aged 51–52)
Chincheros, Peru
ConsortMama Ocllo
IssueHuayna Capac
Túpac Inca Yupanqui
QuechuaTupaq Inka Yupanki
SpanishTúpac Inca Yupanqui
DynastyHanan Qusqu
MotherMama Anahuarque

Topa Inca Yupanqui or Túpac Inca Yupanqui (Quechua: 'Tupaq Inka Yupanki'),[1] translated as "noble Inca accountant," (c. 1441–c. 1493) was the tenth Sapa Inca (1471–93) of the Inca Empire, fifth of the Hanan dynasty. 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).[1] His wife was his older sister, Mama Ocllo.[2]: 88 


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

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

He extended the realm along the Andes through modern Ecuador,[3]: 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 Sapa Inca (sole ruler) 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 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 storehouses for provisions and clothing.[2]: 98–105 

Tupac Inca died about 1493 in Chincheros, leaving two legitimate sons, and 90 illegitimate sons and daughters. Chuqui Ocllo, one of the wives of Tupac Yupanqui, convinced him that his son Ccapac Huari would succeed him, however, Topa Inca Yupanqoi changed his mind and decided on his son Titu Cusi Hualpa (who would later become emperor Huayna Capac). This provoked anger in Chuqui Ocllo and she poisoned Topa Inca. She and her favorite son were both killed soon after Topa Inca's death.[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")[4] and Hawa Chumpi ("outer belt",[5][4] also spelled Avachumpi, Hahua chumpi). The voyage is mentioned in the History of the Incas by Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa in 1572.[6] 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 slaves, 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 
"¿Viajarón los Incas por Oceanía?" Revista Enraizada. (In Spanish) 2020.


Many historians are skeptical that the voyage ever took place. Supporters have usually identified the islands with the Galápagos Islands[citation needed]. It has also been suggested that one of the islands was Easter Island,[citation needed] where oral traditions have claimed that a group of long-eared hanau eepe came to the island from an unknown land.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b von Hagen, Victor W.; Murra, John V. "The origins and expansion of the Inca state". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f de Gamboa, P.S., 2015, History of the Incas, Lexington, ISBN 9781463688653
  3. ^ Prescott, W.H., 2011, The History of the Conquest of Peru, Publishing, ISBN 9781420941142
  4. ^ a b Teofilo Laime Ajacopa (2007). Diccionario Bilingüe Iskay simipi yuyayk’anch [Quechua-English dictionary] (PDF). La Paz, Bolivia.
  5. ^ "Diccionario: Quechua - Español - Quechua, Simi Taqe: Qheswa - Español - Qheswa" (PDF). Diccionario Quechua - Español - Quechua. Gobierno Regional del Cusco, Perú: Academía Mayor de la Lengua Quechua. 2005.
  6. ^ See online version of the book, page 91; in English.
  7. ^ The "Hanau Eepe", their Immigration and Extermination, Rongorongo.

External links[edit]

Regnal titles
Preceded by Sapa Inca
1471 – 1493
Succeeded by