By Zachary S.

Why did the Inca build so many miles of roads and how did they do it?

Stone roads flooded through the Inca Empire for many communication reasons. The roads were mainly used for communication, moving troops for the army, and to transport goods. Common folk and townspeople were not allowed to travel on these roads. Notes and mail were delivered verbally or by using a quipu. Ducksters explains a quipu to us, “A quipu was a series of strings with knots. The number of knots, the size of the knots, and the distance between knots conveyed meaning to the Inca, sort of like writing. Only specially trained officials knew how to use quipus.”

The Inca built thousands of miles of roads to make paths for transportation across the empire. For example, the Inca “runners” delivered news and mail, llamas and alpacas were used to transport goods to different places within the Inca territory, and the roads provided easier and faster ways to get to their barracks or the battlefield. Wikipedia stated the fact that, “The Inca road system linked together about 40,000 kilometers (25,000 mi) of roadway and provided access to over 3,000,000 square kilometers (1,200,000 sq. mi) of territory. The military in the U.S. now is the same way; we use roads to get the military to their barracks or the battlefield (unless the war is overseas)."

The intricate, long-lasting roads consisted of bridges, causeways, stairways, and also had small stations. Sometimes there were larger, more luxurious complexes placed every 20 km or so, where travelers could spend the night and refresh. Mark Cartwright says that, “The large stone path was an important physical symbol of imperial control.”


"Inca Empire Science and Technology." Ducksters. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Aug. 2015. <>.

"Inca road system." Wikipedia. Web. 25 Aug. 2015. <>.

Cartwright, Mark. "The Inca Road System." Ancient History Encyclopedia. N.p., 8 Sept. 2014. Web. 26 Aug. 2015. <>.

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