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Inca Empire for Kids
Daily Life of
the Common People
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The common people had no freedom. By Inca law, they  could not travel on the roads. By law, they could not be idle. They had a little time each day for bathing and eating and sleeping, and the rest of the time, they had to be working. 

The common people lived and worked in small groups or units. There were a dozen or so people in each unit. Each person in each unit had a job to do. If you did not do your work, you were breaking the law, and could be killed. 

Most commoners, as usual, were farmers. The emperor controlled all the land and each group worked a plot of land given to them by a government official. That official let them keep food to feed themselves. The rest was given to the nobles and the emperor. 

There was a tax on the food the common people kept.  But the Incas did not use money. This "tax" was paid in labor. When the farmers were not farming, they were mining, or fixing the roads (the only time they could walk on the roads), or building something. 

There were many laws that kept commoners tightly controlled. For example, if a man did not marry by the time he was twenty, a wife would be selected for him, and he had to marry her. Babies were left alone all day, by law, because care for crying babies took time away from work. The only training kids of the common people received was how to do a job. The job they were assigned as a child was their job for life. 

The common people, except for craftsmen, did not live in the city. Each unit lived together in a hut in their field.  Homes had no windows and no way to leave except by the front door. The door was covered only by a piece of leather or woven cloth. Inspectors checked to make sure all people were in their homes only when they should be. 


Family and Social Life 

Food, Clothing, and Shelter 

Incas for Kids

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Written by Lin Donn
Clip Art Credit: Phillip Martin
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