The Sapa Inca Illustration

Inca Empire for Kids
The Sapa Inca

The Sapa Inca was all powerful. He owned everything. He was the head of government. He made the laws. His word was final.

A Sapa Inca had many wives and many children. It was his wives job to pick up anything he might have dropped, including a hair from his head. Everything about the Sapa Inca was sacred and had to be guarded and handled with care.

Only the Sapa Inca could wear a special hat made of gold and feathers. He wore heavy gold jewelry and extremely heavy gold earplugs. His clothes were embroidered and covered with jewels. His slippers were made of fur or the finest cloth. The Sapa Inca only wore an outfit once. Once his clothes were removed, they were burned. The Sapa Inca kept many weavers busy making him a new outfit every day.

Each time the Sapa Inca left his palace, his face was covered with a translucent cloth. He was too important to be seen by just anybody. Everywhere the Sapa Inca went, so went an entire parade of hundreds of servants and assistants and nobles.

Some Sapa Incas had as many as 100 children. Before a Sapa Inca died, he chose the next Inca from his sons. The oldest son did not automatically get chosen. Each son had to prove themselves most worthy. Only the Sapa Inca could decide who was the most worthy.

After his death, his body was mummified and remained in his palace. His royal family and all his servants remained in the palace with him, to wait on him, should he need anything. They were not entombed. They lived their life, and went to marketplace, and ate wonderful foods, like always. A new palace was built for the new Sapa Inca. Cities had several palaces, but only one palace housed a living Sapa Inca.

The Sapa Inca was not just a ruler. He was believed to be a direct descendant of the sun god. That made him a god.

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