Ultimately, the andenes, stockpiles and quipus assisted the Inca to steadily develop an empire that sooner or later dominated a good swath of South America, encompassed 12 million persons and created majestic citadels this sort of as Machu Picchu.

But the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th Century triggered the overthrow of the Inca and the decline of the andenes. Colonial violence, epidemics of European health conditions and pressured displacement devastated the indigenous populations of the central Andes. European crops and agriculture methods have been launched and swiftly unfold all through the region.

However when lots of andenes had been deserted or fell into disrepair, they under no circumstances disappeared entirely. Drawing on awareness handed down around the generations, quite a few Andean farmers keep on to use them currently, and while generally overlooked by travellers, they continue to be a prevalent sight in sites this kind of as Isla del Sol and the wider Titicaca location, the Sacred Valley around Machu Picchu, and the Colca Canyon in southern Peru, a fissure two times the depth of the Grand Canyon.

In modern several years, there has also been renewed tutorial interest in andenes as a type of sustainable agriculture that could aid the planet cope with the weather disaster, water scarcity and soil erosion. The Food items and Agriculture Business of the UN, for illustration, describes conventional Andean society as “a single of the best examples of the adaptation and expertise of farmers to their setting”, and highlights its sustainable strategy to land usage, drinking water administration, soil security and crop biodiversity.

Four and a 50 % thousand a long time immediately after they first emerged, the terraced fields of the Andes seem to be forward of their time.

Historical Engineering Marvels is a BBC Journey collection that takes inspiration from unique architectural concepts or ingenious constructions designed by past civilisations and cultures throughout the earth.

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