Hundreds of years before the arrival of European explorers, the ancient civilizations of South America developed rich and innovative cultures that grew in and amongst the geographic features of their landscape. The most famous of these civilizations is the Incan Empire. Emerging in 1438 C.E., the Incan Empire developed along the west coast of the continent, with the Pacific Ocean forming its western border, and the formidable Andes Mountains to the east, which provided a natural barrier from outsiders. The Inca relied on the Pacific Ocean and major rivers originating in the Amazon Basin for fishing and trade, as well as rich plant and animal life that they supported. The Inca constructed inns, signal towers, roads, and massive forts such as the famous Machu Picchu, the ruins of which continue to teach archaeologists about the Incan Empire.
Learn more about the history and rich culture of the Inca and the ancient civilizations of South America with this curated resource collection.