Inca Administration and Khipus

How a large empire was managed and the role khipus played in its administration

MALI, Museo de Arte de Lima

Inca administration and khipusMALI, Museo de Arte de Lima

The administration of a vast empire like the Tawantinsuyo required an efficient control of the population. In this system, the use of khipus played a decisive role in recording and storing of information on such activities, which could then be transported over long distances.

Inca administration and khipusMALI, Museo de Arte de Lima

In the Inca empire, work and production activities were organized based on a decimal system that was applied to different levels of society, from the community up to the region. 

Inca administration and khipusMALI, Museo de Arte de Lima

In the communities, administrators supervised groups of 10, 50, 100, 500, 1,000, 5,000, and even 10,000 individuals. 

Inca administration and khipusMALI, Museo de Arte de Lima

The information was recorded in khipus that were then transported to the governors of each of the Tawantinsuyu’s four main regions (suyus).  

Inca administration and khipusMALI, Museo de Arte de Lima

These lords were responsible for providing information directly to the Sapa Inka, or head of the Empire, and his ministers in Cusco. This video shows how this process occurred during Inca times.  

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