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Peru

The Inca's — The Inca Empire, for all its greatness, existed for barely a century.
The Incas had no written language and their history was entirely oral, passed down through the generations. Manco Capac was the first of the Inca rulers. The reigns of the seven Incas who succeeded Manco Capac spanned a period from around the 12th century to the early 15th century. The small tribe they governed was one of several groups living in the Andean highlands during the 13th and 14th centuries. These Incas left few signs of their existence, though the remains of some of their palaces can still be seen in Cuzco.

The 9th Inca, Pachacutec, began the empire's great expansion. Until his time, the Incas had dominated only a small area close to Cuzco, frequently skirmishing with, but not conquering, various other highland tribes. One such tribe, the expansionist Chancas. occupied a region about lS0 hen east of Cuzco and, by 1438 was on the verge of conquering Cuzco. Viracocha Inca and his eldest son, Urcon, believed that their small empire was lost but Viracocha Inca's third son refused to give up the fight. With the help of some of the older generals he rallied the Inca army and, in a desperate final battle,
managed to rout the Chancas.

According to legend, the unexpected victory was won because the boulders on the battlefield fumed into warriors and fought on the side of the Inca. The victorious younger son changed his name to Pachacutec and proclaimed himself the new Inca over his father and elder brother. Buoyed by his victory over the Chancas he began the first wave of the expansion which was to eventually create the Inca Empire. During the next 25 years, he conquered most of the central Andes between the two great lakes of Titicaca and Junin. Huayna capac, the 11th Inca was the last to rule over a unified empire. By this time,
Europeans had discovered the new world and various epidemics started sweeping down on the Empire. A civil was also erupted.

In 1532, after several years of warfare, Atahualpa's battle-hardened troops won the major battle of the civil war and captured Huascar outside Cuzco. Atahualpa, the new Inca, retired to Cajamarca to rest. Meanwhile, Francisco Pizarro landed in northern Ecuador and marched south in the wake of Atahualpa's conquests. Although Atahualpa was undoubtedly aware of the Spanish presence, he was too busy fighting the civil war to worry about a small band of foreigners. The empire's main expansion occurred in the 100 years or so prior to the arrival of the conquistadors. Our knowledge of their history dates back to the "chronicles" which included accounts of Inca history as related by the Incas to the Spanish chroniclers.

As a mighty military figure, historians have frequently compared Pachacutec to the likes of Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan. He was also a great urban developer. Pachacutec devised the city's famous puma shape and diverted the Sapphi and Tullumayo rivers into channels which crossed the city, keeping it clean and providing it with water. He built agricultural terraces and many buildings, including the famous Coricancha temple and his palace on what is now the western corner of the Plaza de Armas in Cusco. Source



Puerto Rico
The Rich Port — Christopher Columbus and his crew were the first Europeans to discover the island of Puerto Rico on Nov. 19, 1493. They found the island populated by about 60,000 Taínos, peaceful people thriving on their fishing and agricultural skills.

The Spanish newcomers originally named the island San Juan Bautista in honor of St. John the Baptist, and named the capital Puerto Rico, which means rich port. Later, the names were switched, making the capital San Juan and the island Puerto Rico.

The city was later used as a transshipment port for gold being mined in Puerto Rico and gold and silver from South America being stored in the city for transshipment to Spain.

In 1521, concerned about threats from European enemies, Spain began constructing massive defenses around the city of San Juan. The strengthening of El Morro, San Cristóbal, and San Gerónimo forts as well as the city walls were the stronghold elements of these successful defenses. Sugar became Puerto Rico's most important agricultural product, helping establish a thriving economy. It was a very important growth factor for the island because, in 1570, its gold mines were declared depleted. During the 1600s, Puerto Rico's settlements expanded with the establishment of such areas as Arecibo,
San Blas de Illescas (later renamed Coamo), and Ponce.

The 18th century brought hurricanes, droughts, plagues, and a constant threat of attack on the island's shores because the British, Dutch, and French were intent on capturing Spain's possessions in the New World. By 1776, the official census stated the population had grown to 70,210 people.

In 1809, Puerto Rico was recognized as an overseas province with the right to send representatives to the Spanish government. Political unrest characterized this era and, in 1868, a small group of landowners in Lares rose up in arms against Spain. The uprising was quickly put down, and is now commemorated as "El Grito de Lares." In 1897, Puerto Rico was granted a Letter of Autonomy from Spain, allowing it to enter into free commerce with the United States and European colonies. In 1898, as a result of the Spanish-American War, Puerto Rico became a territory of the United States. Legend has it that in 1898--just before the last Spanish governor of Puerto Rico surrendered to the U.S. troops at the end of the Spanish-American War — he took a last look at La Fortaleza's (the executive mansion) grandfather clock and hit it dramatically with his sword, thus stopping it at the exact moment the Spanish lost power over Puerto Rico.

The 20th century saw phenomenal growth for the island. In 1917, the U.S. Congress granted Puerto Ricans U.S. citizenship and, two decades later, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt launched the Puerto Rican Reconstruction Administration, which provided agricultural development, public works, and electrification of the island. By 1951, Puerto Rico acquired the right to establish a government with its own constitution and, in 1952, was declared a semi-autonomous commonwealth territory of the United States.

The island then entered a 20-year period of unprecedented economic development as it heavily promoted and attracted manufacturing plants primarily from the U.S. mainland. By the 1960s, the development was being referred to around the world as the "Puerto Rico Miracle," as other developing economies looked to the island as an example of industrialization. The 1970 census showed Puerto Rico was mostly urban for the first time in its history.

During the past quarter century, as Puerto Rico's economy diversified into commerce and services, the island's status once again dominated its politics. The pro-Commonwealth consensus that ruled since 1952 broke down. Commonwealth and
statehood are now at rough parity, with independence holding a 5% share of electoral support. Status plebiscites in 1993 and 1998 were inconclusive, and both the public and political leadership remain deeply divided. This isn't stopping the island from growing, however, because life in Puerto Rico largely resembles most U.S. mainland states in business, education, commerce, dining, day-to-day activities, and more. Source

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