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The ancient South American religion of the Incas encompasses both political and spiritual elements as an integral part of the largest empire in the Americas, historically beginning in 1438 with the rise to power of Emperor Pachacuti Yupanqui. Governing more than 906,000 square miles of South America by the time of the Spanish conquest in 1532, the Inca Empire, or Tawantinsuyu, held a general belief system and series of religious practices that intertwined with the ideology of the ruling elite. While this ruling class called themselves Incas, the term was not a widespread cultural denotation; instead, individual descent groups retained the names that tied them to their region of origins. The religious beliefs and practices discussed here were spread by the Incas but without the ...

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