Eventually, the andenes, stockpiles and quipus served the Inca to steadily develop an empire that eventually dominated a great swath of South America, encompassed 12 million men and women and generated majestic citadels these as Machu Picchu.
But the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th Century triggered the overthrow of the Inca and the decline of the andenes. Colonial violence, epidemics of European conditions and forced displacement devastated the indigenous populations of the central Andes. European crops and agriculture procedures were released and speedily spread in the course of the region.
Yet whilst a lot of andenes ended up abandoned or fell into disrepair, they under no circumstances disappeared completely. Drawing on know-how passed down more than the generations, a lot of Andean farmers go on to use them now, and while usually disregarded by travellers, they continue being a popular sight in spots this kind of as Isla del Sol and the wider Titicaca location, the Sacred Valley around Machu Picchu, and the Colca Canyon in southern Peru, a fissure 2 times the depth of the Grand Canyon.
In current decades, there has also been renewed educational curiosity in andenes as a form of sustainable agriculture that could assistance the earth cope with the climate crisis, h2o shortage and soil erosion. The Food stuff and Agriculture Organization of the UN, for instance, describes regular Andean society as “one particular of the greatest examples of the adaptation and know-how of farmers to their surroundings”, and highlights its sustainable strategy to land usage, h2o administration, soil defense and crop biodiversity.
Four and a fifty percent thousand decades soon after they first emerged, the terraced fields of the Andes appear to be ahead of their time.
Ancient Engineering Marvels is a BBC Journey collection that normally takes inspiration from exceptional architectural concepts or ingenious constructions developed by past civilisations and cultures across the world.
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