Distribution of crops among the Incas

Farming was the main economic activity of the Incas. It was the basis of their sedentary way of life. But first the Incas had to overcome the territory’s biggest constraint: it was very mountainous. So how did they manage to farm? They adjusted the territory by building terraces. First they built walls that were two to three metres high, and then they filled the space between the walls and the mountain with earth. This created level plateaus of land that allowed them to farm, even on the mountainside.

A shared land

The lands of each village were divided into three sections. The inhabitants farmed all three sections, but the crops from the first section went to the emperor for redistribution. The crops from the second section went to the priests. The peasants kept the crops from the last section for themselves. The Incas mainly grew potatoes, tomatoes, beans, corn, peppers and peanuts.

Author: Alexandre Lanoix

For more images of Inca food see “ Image via Inca Foods They Ate” at  


Important concepts and big ideas:

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[glossary slug=’dailylife’]
[glossary slug=’trade’]
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[glossary slug=’distributionofincome’]
[glossary slug=’distributionofwealth’]
[glossary slug=’taxes’]

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