The Incan Empire was located on the western
side of South America. Although the Empire was huge, it can be
easily divided into three geographical regions - mountains, jungle,
North to south were the Andes
Mountains - home of the Inca civilization. The mountains dominated
Incan society. The mountain peaks were worshiped as gods.
The Andes created a natural barrier
between the coastal desert on one side and the jungle on the other.
The snow-capped mountains were full of deep gorges.
The Inca built bridges across the
gorges so they could reach all parts of their empire quickly and
easily. These mountain gorges were natural barriers. If an enemy
approached, the Incas could simply burn the bridges.
Amazon Jungle: On
one side of the Andes was the Amazon jungle. The Incas must have
entered the jungle occasionally, as they did know about the many
valuable things that could be found in the Amazon, like wood and
fruit and natural medicines. But they never established settlements
there. They had no desire to live in the jungle. The Incas expanded
north and south instead.
Between the mountains and the
Pacific Ocean is a coastal desert 2000 miles long and between 30-100
miles wide. The desert provided a wonderful natural barrier. Some
scientists think it is the driest place in the world. It is not
completely barren. There are fertile strips where small rivers and
streams run from the Andes mountaintops to the sea.