It was the western hemisphere’s largest empire ever, with a population of nearly 10 million subjects. Yet within 100 years of its rise in the fifteenth century, the Inca Empire would be no more. What happened?

Without wheeled vehicles, horses, iron, or a written language, this epic civilization engineered cities, temples, roads, bridges, aqueducts, terraced farms, and more. Their rulers changed again and again, expanding the empire until Spanish conquerors invaded. Learn about the rise and fall of the Inca empire in this TED Ed written by educator Gordon McEwan and animated by Emma Carré.

Next, watch Golden Kingdoms: Luxury & Legacy in the Ancient Americas. Plus: The Complicated History of Surfing.

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