From approximately 1450 to 1530, the western coast of South America flourished under a vast Incan Empire. At their height, the Inca were worthy of comparison to the ancient Roman society. Among their many achievements, their roadways, government, and counting systems particularly helped the Incas dominate a vast area of South America. They set up roads running the length of the kingdom from Ecuador to the southern borders of Argentina and Chile making an extensive communication system. Each road had chasquis or messengers at certain posts along the way who carried messages from one end to the other with remarkable efficiency. The network of roads led to the great success of the Incas, simplifying the governmentÕs efforts to keep watch over the empire. Their government was very organized and kept records of everything. Although the Inca had no writing system, they had a complex method of counting called the quipu. The quipu was a system for recording data using knotted cords. Knots indicated units; tens, hundreds, thousands, and tens of thousands. Single cords would be fastened to hang from a thicker cord like a fringe to keep track of such things as crop yields and storage capacity. These quipus were quite complicated and managed by quipucamayocs, or accountants. To tell the difference between knots and their meanings, quipucamayocs used different sizes and colors. For example, a yellow string signified gold, a white one: silver, and red: soldiers.
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