Inca Laws

The Incas were a group of South American Indian people who built the Inca Empire. The Empire spanned over 300 years, from around end of the 12th century and until the 16th century. Conquering lands from the beginning of the 15th century, the Incas annexed land from the North of Ecuador to Maule River, located in central Chile. However, the Inca Empire came to an end in the year 1533, after the Spanish conquest of 1532. These people like most other empires, had laws. There were the main laws, the laws against the secondary crimes, and minor laws.


Incans did not have a language in which they could write in, so all the laws in the empire were memorized by designated memorizers. There were three main laws that were Ama Sua, Ama Llulla, and Ama Quella. These words are from the spoken language of the Incas, Queswa. The three words mean don’t steal, don’t lie, and don’t be lazy. The laws were what the Incas used to hold up a strict, disciplined culture.


Main laws were the pillars of the strict and disciplined culture, however besides the main laws, there were other laws called laws relating to secondary crimes, of which, until today, people have only found records of nine. These were: Trying to replace local authorities or violating their authority; attempting to injure the sun god or the nobility; worshiping local gods more than the Inca gods; ignoring court rulings and evading military service; receiving bribes, and not strictly enforcing Incan law; stealing other’s property such as livestock, clothes, and other minor property; murder, adultery, lack of care and not cleaning their homes; not working the land of the Sun, the Inca king, or of other religious parties. These secondary crimes were mostly punished with the death penalty, and if not, those who disobeyed the rules would get a harsh warning. If the offense was repeated, the death sentence was imposed.



 Though most people were given the death penalty or a harsh warning upon committing secondary crimes, nobles on the other hand were punished less severely. And for reasons of supervision, all citizens had to have their doors open so authorities could monitor if any secondary crimes were being carried out.


Incans had many types of rules regarding the overall society, such as the main laws, and those that were for the s There were other minor rules such as when a man passed the age of 50, he was regarded as old, and did not have to pay any more tax, and his workload would shrink to that of a child’s; all citizens of the Inca Empire except nobles, officers, old men, women, and curacas (tax collecting high government officials), had to pay one third of their earnings in tax (or the equivalent amount in work) to the king – Sapa Inca – because the Incas believed the land of the Inca Empire belonged to the Sapa Inca. However, these taxes were collected and then re-distributed fairly among the poor and hungry. Lastly there was a rule that the deformed or disabled people of the Incas could only marry within their category, thus meaning a blind man could only marry a blind women. This restricted the people that one could marry if he or she had a disability.


The Incas had many laws, which are not known today because of their habit of remembering everything instead of writing it down. But the laws in general were made to set positive examples of culture, because Incan culture was about bringing stability and security to their lives, as well as bringing messages of peace.








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