1200–1527: The Inca Era
The Inca first became a dominant culture in the 1200s, after the Inca Manco Capac established himself and his family in what is today the city of Cusco. He is considered to have ruled 1150-1178.
Please note: Dates in most history books were based off Spanish records and new carbon dating shows that many of them were wrong. For example, most books say Machu Picchu was built in the 1440s but carbon dating in 2021 showed that people were already living there in the 1420s.
The best way for any traveler to learn about the Inca is to visit the places that they lived and to try to see the world through their eyes. As you travel around Peru, especially during your time in Cusco, you’ll hear a lot about the Inca Pachacutec and the Inca Atahualpa, but there were many others. Most historians record 14 Incas before the Spanish invasion and 4 more “puppet” Incas during the colonial period.