2 Legends that Explain the Origins of the Inca Empire

Inca Empire Icon

As many ancient civilizations, the empire of the Incas origin does not have a clear history, and is explained on the basis of legends. These legends  use some real characters, some fantastic ones, some real facts and some not so real ones.

There are 2 legends in the Peruvian Tradition that explain the origin of this Empire in Peru:

Manco Cápac and Mama Ocllo Legend

It is the most well-known legend, and was written by the chronicler of Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (1539 – 1616), whose maternal family belonged to the Incan nobility, in this way he obtained important information on the origins of the Inca culture.

According to legend, Ayar Manco (aka Manco Capac) and Mama Occlo, his sister-wife, emerged from Lake Titicaca sent by his father the Sun God to civilize the barbarian populations and to found an empire that honor him.

Manco Capac should found a city that will become the center of the world. To find the right place, his father, the Sun God, had given him a goldenrod. He recommended travel north of Lake Titicaca and sink the cane on the land through his pass, until he find the place where it would sink easily.

Manco Capac & Mama Ocllo

When they arrive in the northern region of Lake Titicaca, they were seen by the locals who mistook them with gods because of the brightness of their clothing and jewelry. Days passed and Manco Capac couldn’t find the land where the cane sinks easily.

But one day, when they arrived in a majestic valley cordoned off by beautiful majestic mountains, the goldenrod sank into the land to the astonishment of Manco Capac and Mama Occlo. That’s how they knew that this place should become Cusco, the capital of the Inca Empire and the navel of the world.

Manco Capac undertook the task civilizing the people in the valley of Cusco; he taught men about agriculture, fishery, house construction, science, religion, etc. , while mama Ocllo was given the task of empowering women in household chores fabric to create garments that cover their nakedness.

Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo were the founders of the empire that later their descendants transformed into the great Incas Empire we are proud of.

The Ayar Brothers Legend

The first record of this legend was written by Juan Diez de Betanzos (1551), who lived in Cuzco and spoke Quechua, his wife was an Inca princess linked to the lineage of Pachacutec and Atahualpa.

According to legend, after a great flood emerged from the mountain called “Tampu Tocco” the Ayar brothers, four men and four women, their sisters-wives.

They were: Ayar Manco and his wife Mama Ocllo, Ayar Cachi & Mama Cora; Ayar Uchu & Mama Rahua and Ayar Auca & Mama Huaco.

Ayar Brothers

Seeing the situation of the land and the poverty of the villagers, the four brothers decided to go toward the south-east and look for a more fertile and favorable land to settle.

On the trip there was the first conflict between Ayar Cachi who was husky and angry, and the other brothers. Thus, the brothers planned to get rid of it and ordered him to return to the caves of Pacarina for supplies. As soon as Ayar Cachi entered the cave, he was betrayed by his servant who locked him inside the cave to placing a stone at the entrance. Ayar Cachi unable to leave, cried so energetic that managed to shake the earth, open the mountains and shake the heavens.

The remaining brothers and their wives continued their journey and arrived at Mount Huanacauri where they found a stone idol of the same name. The brothers entered the place of worship of that idol with much fear. Ayar Uchu challenged the idol jumping on him, as punishment, he was immediately petrified. He had advised his brothers to continue the journey.

While still looking for the fertile land, Ayar Auca went to explore a nearby area, he got wings and flew to the place known as the Pampa del Sol in whose place landed and he became a stone.

Ayar Manco (aka Manco Capac) was the only brother who managed to reach the valley of Cusco where he found fertile soil. There he could sink the goldenrod that he received from his father, the Sun God, to determine the location of the foundation of what would later be the Inca Empire, also known as Tawantinsuyu.

Inca Empire South America


It can be said, that both legends tell the story of towns in search of fertile land, while the legend of Manco Capac, indicates that the origin of this town is the area of Titicaca Lake, the legend of the Ayar Brothers, tells us about 4 ethnic groups that came together looking for the land, but only the strongest group survived.

Finally, I think that no matter where empire of the Incas came from, what is important is what they left us: the basis of the culture of the region.

I hope you liked the post, if you have any question, leave me a comment below. Don’t forget to share this content to your friends using the social share buttons.


2 Comments on “2 Legends that Explain the Origins of the Inca Empire

  1. Me encanto su página está muy interesante 😜😜😌😌😉😉creo que les falta muchos informes porqué como queremos visitarlos falta mas información mil gracias 😌😌😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *