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Chasqi Runners

Page history last edited by Chris 12 years, 6 months ago

The Chasqi Runners

The Chasqi

            The Inca Empire stretched from Ecuador to Chile, and but the Inca didn’t have a writing system. it was difficult to send message or anything around the vast empire. They solved this problem the Inca came up with Chasqi Runners. These agile runners were the key to communication and served the Empire for over four hundred years.


            The Inca Empire reached from up in Ecuador to the tip of Chile, and the Chasqi (Chasqui), were the only method of communicating to those in the farthest parts of the Empire. The Chasqi were highly trained runners that carried messages, royal foods, and other items around the Empire.


Punishment and Reliability

            The Chasqi Runners were trained from boyhood and they made themselves remember every part of the message, because the penalty of an incorrect message was immediate death. Without the help of the Chasqi runners the Incan empire would have shaken itself apart ages ago.


            Each Chasqi was assigned a route that they knew by heart and could run barefoot and by night, they were so well trained that they could run 150 miles a day. The Chasqi were so efficient that they could deliver a message from the Inca capital, Cusco to Quito, which are 1200 miles apart, in ten days.

Delivering System    

            The Chasqi would work in pairs of two over the span of fifteen days; each Chasqi was stationed every two miles. Where the Chasqi were stationed was called a Tambo. Tambos were constructed every two miles. Chasqi ran from one Tambo to another, and there were two Chasqi in each Tambo, one kept watch for the incoming runner while the other slept.


Chasqi Equipment

            An incoming Chasqi runner would signal his arrival with a blow on a conch shell known as a pututu. Each Chasqi also carried a qipi which was basically a backpack used to carry objects. The pututu was one of the three things that a Chasqi brought with him; the other two were a quipu, which was a bundle of knotted ropes, which could be used to carry messages. The quipu was one way of communicating a message; the other way was for the message to be communicated by mouth, so each Chasqi had to have an extremely good memory. Each Chasqi also carried a qipi which was basically a backpack used to carry objects.

            Without the Chasqi the Incan Empire would not have reached the power that it did. The Chasqi were like the telephone of the Incas. The Chasqi were amazing people whom without the Empire couldn’t have flourished.




Image: http://chaskee.com/chasqui.jpg


"Chask33." Chaskee Online Shop. Chaskee, n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2010. 



"Chaski." Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chasqui>.


"Tambo (Incan Struture)." Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2010. 


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