The Incas were one of the mightiest and the largest empires in the whole of America. They were called the Incas which roughly meant "the ruling people", and we first find them just north of Lake Titicaca in the 1200's, in what today is southern Peru. This occurred at the same time as the Aztecs (mexica) entered Mexico from the north, and Chinggis Khan began his world conquest from Mongolia. Another word for themselves was Quechua (of which, have named the languages related to them). Perhaps the Incas originated from the northeastern forest areas, and migrated to the Cuzco basin in the Andean highlands nearly a thousand years ago. These people spoke a Quechua dialect, and they were mainly hunters, fishermen, and farmers (Mangudai 1). How the Incas rose to become one of the strongest empires in all the Americas is just one of the mysteries, which many people are still trying to solve. .
Many civilizations must adapt to the elements of the environment in order to survive. The Incas exceeded survival and were able to thrive throughout the many regions of their empire. Machu Picchu was one in a series of royal estates built in the Urubamba Valley on the Inca Empire's eastern region. The mountain peaks, rise to the north and south, while the Urubamba river, runs along the valley floor more than 1500 feet below. The city of Cuzco is a fertile land for agriculture, well watered by the many streams fed by glacial snows. The valley lies at a lower, warmer altitude than the Inca capital of Cuzco, which provided an escape from the June-through-August Andean winters but resulted in little to no rainfall. The Incas also settled on the coastal center of Pachacamac where they were able to utilize the warm, dry weather for growing crops utilizing the runoff of the mountain waters efficiently. Their land rises from coastal desert into the world's second highest mountain range in the world (Cock, Insert).