The Inca Roads

An old Inca road A bridge on a Inca road

Roads were a very important reason why the Incas were able to maintain control over such a large area of land.  The overall length of the road system may have been over 25,000 miles!  The roads were only used for official business.  Ordinary people could not use the roads unless they had received special permission. Distance markers called "topo" were placed along the roads.  The two main royal roads ran parallel to each other, one through the Andes the other along the coast.

One of the important uses for the roads were to relay official messages.  Runners, called "chasquis" lived in huts that were built every four to six miles along the road.  They would receive a message and run to the next hut.  In this way a message could travel up to 150 miles in one day.   Sometimes the runners would also be used to bring fish from the coast to the emperor in just two days.

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