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Tahuantinsuyu or Tawantisuyu, the name given by the Incas to their empire. Meaning "Land of the Four Quarters," it derives from the Quechua words for "four" (tawa) and "quarter" (suyu). The empire of Tahuantinsuyu stretched in the north from the Ancasmayo River, on the modern border between Ecuador and Colombia, to the Maule River in the south, just below the modern city of Santiago, Chile, a distance of 2,500 miles. The suyus were the four main administrative units of the empire, and each was named for a province within it: Chinchasuyu, the northwestern quarter; Antisuyu, the northeastern quarter; Contisuyu, the southwestern quarter; and Collasuyu, the southeastern quarter. The suyus were originally conceived as four equal units, with the city of Cuzco located at the central point where they all came together. Over time, however, the expansion of the empire increased the territory of the suyus unequally.

See alsoIncas, The .


John H. Rowe, "Inca Culture at the Time of the Spanish Conquest," in Handbook of South American Indians, vol. 2 (1946), p. 262.

Additional Bibliography

Rostworowski de Diez Canseco, María. History of the Inca Realm, trans. Harry B. Iceland. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Someda, Hidefuji. El imperio de los Incas: Imagen del Tahuantinsuyu creada por los cronistas. Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Fondo Editorial, 1999.

Villanueva Sotomayor, Julio. El Tahuantinsuyu: La propiedad privada y el modelo curacal de producción. Lima: Ediciones Luciérnaga, 1994.

                                         Gordon F. McEwan