Wade Davis on Inca Society

"The Incas ruled with absolute power but understood that a people well fed and treated fairly produced more and worked harder than those suffering from injustice and privation. The entire system was based on the enlightened self-interest of a nobility that derived its authority from the gods and its power from the control of the most formidable armies of the known world. Demands on the individual were severe, but predictable and consistent. The state guaranteed freedom from every sort of want and in exchange demanded heavy tribute in labor. This fundamental reciprocity allowed the ruling elite to harness tremendous levies of workers to build the great public works of the empire. Evidence of their tireless works is found everywhere in Peru today: rivers channeled and straightened to liberate precious agricultural land, massive boulders carved into ceremonial pools or decorated with wild facades of iconography, remnants or royal roads, bridges, palaces, and way stations."

Wade Davis, One River, 1996

Suggested reading
  • The Lost Amazon: The Photographic Journey Of Richard Evans Schultes by Andrew Weil, Chris Murray, and Wade Davis
  • Light at the Edge of the World: A Journey Through the Realm of Vanishing Cultures by Wade Davis
  • Last Place on Earth by Mike Fay and Michael Nichols
  • One River: Explorations and Discoveries in the Amazon Rain Forest by Wade Davis by Wade Davis

  • Continued: People of the Rainforest
    Unless otherwise specified, this article was written by Rhett A. Butler [Bibliographic citation for this page]

    Other resources

    Contact me if you have suggestions on other rainforest-related environmental sites and resources for this country.